Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Try Before you Buy - Recipe Style

It’s been one busy (almost) week since I last posted. As you may recall, I was planning to spend at least part of the weekend redoing our bedroom. That actually went very well, but you’ll have to take my word for it until I can manage to get the pictures uploaded. I spent my Saturday doing that, my Sunday looking at a potential new house and then celebrating Valentine’s Day with dinner (more on that later) and a movie. Monday I tackled an organizational nightmare (no pictures of that either, it was too ugly) in which I sorted, laundered, folded, dusted… Let’s put this simply, I cleaned the room shared by two teenage boys. Now you understand, eh? That night my sweetie and I celebrated part two of Valentines Day because we were both too tired to finish the movie the first night. Yeah, we’re pretty exciting when we try to be.

Now, as to the parenthetical note above where I reference VDay Dinner, let me just say I got the idea from Cosmo. Yes, Cosmopolitan The Magazine had a recipe in it and I must have been reeled in by the title “A Sexy Meal With Your Man.” Even more likely, I was tantalized by the subtitle “Dim the lights, put on good music, and serve up this decadent, mouth-watering (and so easy, shhh!) meal.” Sounded great to me, so we went for a easy meal that included Lobster Potpie, Dijon Vinaigrette on Green Salad and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries.

Let me begin with the Potpie recipe:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
½ pound cooked lobster meat (can be bought at the seafood counter)
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (keep refrigerated until ready to use)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set out two 2-cup individual ovenproof bowls
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add corn and peas. Stir in flour and cook1 more minute. Add milk and chicken broth, stirring constantly. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Then remove from heat, add lobster and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. Cut the dough in half, and reserve one half for another use. On a lightly floured surface, flatten out the pastry, using a floured rolling pin, to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using one of the bowls as a guide, cut the pastry into two circles. Spoon the filling into the bowls, and place one circle of dough on top of each potpie, pressing the edges to seal the pastry to the bowl. Cut a vent in the center so air and moisture can escape. Using a pastry brush, cover the entire surface of each pie with beaten egg. Bake until the pastry is puffed and becomes a dark golden brown shade, about 35 minutes.

Let me first point out the things I liked about this recipe:
  • Simple ingredients, most of which I had on hand
  • The flaky crust!
  • Easy prep (especially when my sweetie helps me)

Now the things I didn’t find easy, sexy or otherwise appealing


First let’s go over the drama of getting the meat. Don’t believe that little note that says I can find cooked lobster meat at the seafood counter. Every meat counter I went to (with a seafood section) looked at me like I was crazy. Mind you they were stocked full with lobster tails and the kind that are still swimming around in their tanks. That doesn’t really work for me though. You see, I get freaked out whenever I look at, cook or eat anything that looks like it did while it was still alive. When I was younger, I didn’t even like to have the entire turkey on the table at Thanksgiving. I only eat chicken wings if they’ve been broken in half and fish with eyeballs? No way. Just last New Years I convinced myself to cook and eat crab legs and found – to my delight – that I absolutely love them. With that knowledge (and the fact that I knew Merv would help me) I left the store with two small lobster tails.

Things went well from there. Merv cooked the tails, cleaned out the meat and cut it up nicely for use in each potpie. The recipe was, in fact, as easy as it seemed and 40 minutes later we were sitting down to potpies, green salads with Dijon vinaigrette and champagne. I’m the kind of girl who will always eat my salad first, so I set about eating that and Merv started in on the potpie. I find myself drawn to the pastry crust and enjoyed the taste. After finishing my greens I dug into the piping hot middle of my pot pie and took a big bite. It was then that it hit me: I’ve never tasted lobster before. I looked at Merv, bewildered, and asked “Is this what lobster is supposed to taste like?” He assured me it was and I took another bite. This was not at all what I expected. Turns out: I don't like lobster! I guess it would have been a good idea to find that out before putting in the time and effort, but it was still a lesson learned.  Don't plan a meal with a main ingredient you're not absolutely sure you love!  That said, the base of the recipe is actually pretty doggone good, and I think I’ll be trying it again with some other seafood in its place. Maybe I’ll even continue in search of another potpie recipe. Any ideas out there?



angie c said...

hey girl! I have a great potpie recipe where the filling part sounds just like the one in yours, except it uses chicken or turkey! And you put it in a piecrust (did yours use puff pastry?). We love our chicken pot pie recipe around here, and I just make it in a regular pie pan or even a square baking dish.
I'm not a fan of lobster either- except when it is made by Disney Chefs on the disney cruise. then it is decadently wonderful!

Netters said...

I think I may have to try your Lobster Pot Pie recipe. I love puff pastry ... and I may substitute crab meat for the protein.

I have a wonderful pot pie recipe. It makes 2 chicken pot pies - and is really good. So good, that my father-in-law said that it beat KFC (which, when he said it, he really meant it as a compliment ... but I was not sure it actually was a compliment).

My pot pie recipe, you can either put into a pie crust or a puff pastry. So, if you are loving your puff pastry crust, you can definitely still use it!

Have a great weekend!

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