Showing posts with label lobster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lobster. Show all posts

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Please Welcome Guest Shari Randall

Our guest today is Shari Randall, author of Curses, Boiled Again!  And she's talking lobster or "lobstah" (if you're from New England.)  Her tales had me drooling.  Oh, for a lobster roll right now! Alas lobsters are a little thin on the ground in Michigan! 

On the Lobster Roll Trail

By Shari Randall

I confess: I’m a fraud. For two reasons. 

Here I am on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and trust me, I’m not a cook. I have more take out places on speed dial than I have cook books. When Peg Cochran asked me to visit, I jumped at the chance. In the same way I enjoy watching the mastery of cooks on Iron Chef, I enjoy the recipes cooked up by these talented authors.

Writing About Lobsters

I had to be reassured when my publisher asked me to write a mystery series set in a lobster shack. No recipes required. I’ve never even cooked a lobster! But my publisher wanted New England charm, a different kind of detective, and a suspenseful mystery. That I could do. But how could a non-cook get the lobster shack setting right?

Thank goodness I live in southeastern Connecticut, home to two lobster shacks that make “best of” lists every year. And being a former librarian, I did what any writer in my flip flops would do: research.

So, one morning last summer my husband and I set off on our lobster roll eating extravaganza, er, research tour.


Research is the delight of procrastinating authors. I couldn’t have come up with a better way to avoid actual writing. We rolled north from Connecticut along roads as scenic as they come, dipping into quaint towns along the shore, checking out cedar shingled shacks covered with sun-faded lobster buoys and circled by hungry diners and thieving sea gulls. Did I learn anything beyond how nice it is to sit on a dock with a cold beverage and a hot lobster roll as the sun sets? You bet.

One of the biggest things I learned: Who knew there was an ongoing debate about the best way to make a lobster roll? Depending on where they grew up or where they had that first lobster roll, people fall into two camps: those who prefer the Maine style lobster roll and those who prefer Connecticut style.

Lobster Rolls--Connecticut style vs Maine Style 


They’re both delicious, right? They’re not that different, right? Perish the thought! Maine style adds a mayonnaise base to (perhaps appropriately) cold lobster meat, making a lobster salad, and usually adds a bit of greenery – shredded lettuce – as a starting point. From there chefs riff on many variations of salad, adding onion, celery, herbs, and spices to diners’ delight.
Connecticut style is hot lobster meat piled on a buttered and toasted hot dog bun, with melted butter accompaniment. Delectable fresh lobster meat, warm buttered roll, more butter…. You can see why many prefer this preparation. Unadorned, classic, elegant in its simplicity. In my book, CURSES, BOILED AGAIN, the lobster rolls are Connecticut style all the way, befitting a lobster shack in mythical Mystic Bay, Connecticut.

But of course, it’s all personal preference. As we traveled along the New England shore, taking in the lighthouse views and stopping for beach breaks, it was easy to appreciate the merits of both kinds of lobster roll. We swung back home to our two favorite shacks, Abbott’s and Ford’s in little Noank, CT, where we sat on the dock and watched the sailboats slide by, not a care in the world. Ah! Vacation and lobster roll nirvana.

Oh, the second reason I’m a fake? Well, as our lobster tour progressed, I had to face a tragic, hilarious, and inconvenient truth.

I’m allergic to lobster.

Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll….
Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer- especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.
Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case.

Suspenseful and entertaining – left me longing to visit the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack!” – Donna Andrews

Delightful! A fun whodunit full of New England coastal charm and characters who feel like friends. Warm humor, a delectable plot, and clever sleuthing will keep you turning the pages." —Krista Davis

Shari Randall is the author of CURSES, BOILED AGAIN!, the first in the Lobster Shack mystery series. She’s a former librarian, military spouse, mother of two globe-trotting kids, and the Sisters in Crime Library Liaison. You can see what she’s up to on her Facebook page


Want to win a free copy of CURSES, BOILED AGAIN? Enter this Goodreads giveaway, through January 30.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lobster and Corn Soup

by Sheila Connolly

This past month, for our 37th (!) anniversary, my husband and I went out to dinner.  Where we live, there are few nearby choices (although plenty if we want to fight traffic for an hour or more), and this place is one of the few that is both close and serves good food.

The first-course special of the evening was Lobster and Corn Chowder.  I though the combination of local lobster and fresh corn was brilliant, although I had my reservations about the "chowder" part, because most often that means a soup heavy with potatoes and cream. But we took the plunge anyway, and were not disappointed by the very tasty soup that appeared before us.  As predicted, the sweetness of the lobster and the corn made them the perfect pairing, with a little edge contributed by grilling the corn first. 

I wanted to recreate it at home.  Simple, right?  Except when I started looking for a recipe, I came up blank.  Nothing on Epicurious.  Nothing in my large and eclectic selection of cookbooks (oh, no, Julia has failed me!).  So I was stuck with improvising.

It wasn't hard. The basics are simple:  boil a lobster (please don't make me explain how to terminate the poor creature—just honor it by enjoying the soup), remove the meat and chill, covered, until you need it.  Since there were only two of us eating this, I used one one and a quarter pound lobster and one ear of corn.  You can easily increase the amounts, and increase the stock (below) proportionately.

Make a hearty fish/lobster stock:

Lobster carcasses and shells

1 quart water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
Sea salt

Place the lobster carcasses (minus meat) in a large pot and add the water (it should cover the lobster bits). Add the wine, onions, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns, and let simmer, uncovered, and reduce for about an hour. (Keep the lobster shells covered with liquid.)

Season with a bit of salt and taste.  If the flavor seems light, simmer for another 10-20 minutes.  Strain (if you're not going to use it immediately, cover it after it has cooled and keep refrigerated, no more than three days; you may also freeze it).  Makes about two cups.

When you are ready to make the soup:

Husk the corn and remove as much silk as you can.  Grill it briefly so that some of the kernels are a bit charred.  When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs. You should have about one cup (for two servings).

Now comes the fun part.  Place your stock in a clean pan and bring to a simmer.  Taste!  Stir in 2 Tblsp unsalted butter and 3/4 cup heavy cream.  Add some paprika (sweet) and a dash of any herbs or spices that strike your fancy (I used turmeric, for a bit of an earthy taste; you could also add a pinch of cayenne if you want some bite).  Taste again.  Add some more sea salt and freshly ground pepper if you like.

When you're happy with the flavor, you can plate your soup:

In a wide shallow bowl, scatter the corn kernels.  Take your lobster meat (at room temperature) and make a nice nest of it in the middle of the bowl, so that some rises above the surface. Ladle the soup around the lobster island. 

And enjoy!  We found this goes well with a crispy flatbread toasted with some Parmesan cheese—it's a nice contrast.

Note:  this is a relatively thin soup, nice for a summer meal.  If you want to thicken it, you can mix some cornstarch in water, then add to the strained soup, stirring well.  Simmer for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year to all!

Happy new year!!!

From Daryl aka Avery:

I hope this finds you happy, alert, and raring to go to tackle a new year. What makes this year different than any other? You, your attitude, your enthusiasm. Okay, I guess that pretty much is how we should look at every day, right? I try. Believe me, I try. :)

Fun days ahead with all the football games. Yesterday, Stanford (my alma mater) won!  Go Cardinal.  (A color, not the bird - silly, yes, but what can you do? Choosing a color and a dopey tree for a mascot was the student body's way of protesting having their longtime mascot, a regal Indian, 86'd, thanks to a petition. Ergo, petitions work.)

Anyway, for the end of college football season and looking forward to the professional season windup, I decided to make some lobster bisque. I was inspired by my stepdaughter's beautiful son, Eliijah. He is just starting to learn to cook and has great enthusiasm. He is picky about food, but when he likes something, he really likes it and wants to learn to cook it. He had lobster bisque at Red Lobster. I looked up the recipe and it didn't look quite right. I think restaurants are sneaky and sometimes post things that are close but not the real thing. So, Eliijah and I tweaked it.

This is Eliijah learning that a piece of bread between your teeth while chopping onions keeps the fumes from getting into your eyes.

This soup took a few steps, but it was well worth it. Delicious. We served it with a green salad and breadsticks (gluten-free for me). What a fun night.




2 Lobster tails
4 cups water
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
½ cup butter
1 cup onions, finely diced
½ cup carrots, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
½ cup tapioca starch or sweet rice flour
¼ cup brandy
1 ½ cups tomatoes, (diced) (I used canned, liquid strained)
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups heavy cream


Chop the vegetables and set aside.

Put water, wine, and chicken stock in deep pot and bring to boil. Place lobster tails in the broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Remove lobster from broth and set to the side. When cool, remove the back shell and dice the lobster meet into tiny cubes.

Meanwhile, strain broth through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.

Return pot to the stove and add the butter. Melt. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Heat for 3 minutes on medium. Stir. Add the brandy. Stir. Add the gluten-free flour. Stir until all flour incorporated.

Add the tomatoes, paprika, thyme and salt. Stir well. Add the reserved broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Cook for 25-30 minutes on medium low heat.

Remove from the heat and puree the mixture in small batches. Return to the pot. Add the lobster and cream.  Heat about 3-5 minutes and serve. 

Note: I got lobster tails at the grocer. 2 did the trick. They were frozen and not too expensive.

* * * * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 
coming February 2013.

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

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Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego,
DARYL WOOD GERBER...and her new series
debuts July 2013

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"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!