Give thanks where it’s due

July 8, 2009

SpicytamarindlobsterRestaurant meals often bring surprises with them. Unfortunately, it’s usually a bad surprise that blemishes your mealtime; however, every once in a while you get a fantastically wonderful surprise when you dine out. We had that experience recently at a little restaurant in our neighbourhood called Sweet Basil.

To be honest, we went there by default since it was a Monday and our first choice Asian restaurant, Mi Ne Sushi, was closed. We’ve been to Sweet Basil dozens of times and while it’s usually good, it has never been phenomenal until our last visit when we ordered the special Spicy Tamarind Atlantic Lobster pictured above.

It was absolutely fantastic and, get this, only $32 for the same amount of lobster that would be sold for $50 (or more) at any Toronto steakhouse.

When’s the last time you had a wonderful restaurant food experience? Did you send your compliments back to the cooks in the back? If not, why not?


How to cook lobster

June 10, 2009


One of my top 10 favourite foods is lobster. I love it as a food in and of itself, as the basis for more elaborate recipes (such as Lobster Thermidor – yum!) or as an ingredient in foods such as quiche. About the only thing I don’t adore made with lobster is a sandwich — why hide that sweet and succulent goodness beneath white bread?

Canadian lobster, caught in the deep cold waters off our Atlantic coast, is the best in the world; however, so many people (I’m thinking about old-fashioned steak houses) ruin this wonderful seafood by cooking it incorrectly or for too long. It’s a shame when getting it right is oh so easy!

6 steps to perfect lobster:

1. Place a 10 L pot of water on the stove over high heat. Add about three tablespoons of sea salt to the water or just enough to make the water taste slightly briny.
2. Add three cloves of peeled garlic, a peeled, chopped onion, a bay leaf or two, half a bunch of parsley and a handful of peppercorns. (If you have a spare carrot and a stalk of celery, chop them up and add them, too).
3. Bring to a rolling boil.
4. Remove the elastic bands from the claws of two 2 lb (1 kg) lobsters or three 1 lb (500g) lobsters and add them to the boiling water. Submerge completely.
5. Cover the pot until the water returns to a full boil. Once the water begins to bubble and boil, set the timer for 8 minutes for 1 lb (500 g) lobsters or 10 minutes for 2 lb (1 kg) lobsters.
6. Drain well and, when cool enough to handle, crack the shells and remove the meat.

See? It’s easy!

Have you cooked lobsters at home or do you consider them a restaurant treat?

Topline Trends Tuesday: Lobster – poised to become the new shrimp

March 31, 2009

img_2583According to a recent CBC news report, Atlantic Canadian lobster is now often a cheaper grocery store choice than bologna: “During the fishing season off the Nova Scotia coast at the end of the year, prices on the wharf fell to $3.50 per pound ($7.70 per kilogram). Sale prices for live lobster in grocery stores over the holidays dropped as low as about $13 per kilogram.” (According to Grocery Gateway, in Ontario bologna is currently 9.98 per lb.)

So, what will the lobster fishermen – an industry already struggling before the economic downturn – do to encourage higher lobster prices?

They have a multi-pronged plan to encourage people to use lobster more often in home cooking and to remind consumers that Canadian Atlantic lobster is a premium choice.

To that I say Bravo! I’d love to see people (in other words me) eating more of this wonderful Canadian seafood.

What about you? Do you think lobster will start turning up in your shopping cart more often if you can start thinking of it in the same category with shrimp?

PS: Pictured above is chef Derek Bendig and the lobster quiche he made for a party I went to a few weeks ago. It was pretty yummy.