Monday, February 15, 2010

Lobster Thermidor and Valentine Cocktails

Valentine Day turned out to be dreary in terms of the weather. Since moving out of the hubub of the city, we are less likely to drive in on rainy days.  We luckily,  however, were invited to Gretchen and Jeremy's house to enjoy Lobster Thermidor.  What a nice treat!  Gretchen and Jeremy are cooking through Julia Child's recipes and we were wondering if they could top the Christmas  Boeuf Bourguignon. They did, indeed! 

Lobster Thermidor was created in 1894 by Marie's, a Paris restaurant near the theatre Comédie Française, to honour the opening of the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou, according to Wikipedia.  The play had to do with the overthrow of Robespierre and the end of the Reign of Terror.  The recipe was a huge success, but the play was a flop, if Wikipedia can be believed.  There are many variations of the dish, but key are chopped lobster meat, cheeses, cream, egg yolks, dry mustard and sherry or cognac. The dry mustard and alcohol give it the distinctive taste, so if you are preparing it and don't have all the ingredients on hand, you must be sure to have those two. 

 Julia Child made the recipe famous and it became one of her signature creations.  It can be found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and also on the internet using a simple Google search.  In Baton Rouge, the key is to find lobster.  On Valentine Day this can be a real challenge, but Jeremy was not to be stifled.  Whole Foods was the source this time. His were precooked so that eliminated a step, but he did steam them for seven minutes with the suggested stock in Julia's instructions.  The trek for the seafood was very much appreciated as Lobster Thermidor is a labor of love fit for Valentine Day!   A substitution of crawfish will not do for this delicacy!

I am not going to give you this recipe, but instead direct you to this site:  http://www.oprah.com/food/Lobster-Thermidor where you can find all the details.  It seems that Oprah has many of Julia Child's recipes on her site including notes and tips of preparation.  Very impressive!  Lobster Thermidor is so rich that a simple salad and bread are all that are needed to round out the meal.

Before dinner, we decided to enjoy a variation of Cosmopolitans.  A pink cocktail seemed the perfect aperatif.  John concocted this delightful martini-like drink for us.  The technique and the ingredients are what make it a hit.  Be sure to chill the glasses, first by filling them with icy water.  A warm martini is no good!

John's Valentine Aperatif  (Makes 2 generous cocktails)

2 jiggers Grey Goose vodka
1/2 jigger Triple Sec
Juice of a  fresh lime
1 jigger of cranberry juice

Combine all in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously and pour into chilled , glasses.  Can be garnished with a sliver of lime.

Jeremy and John treated Gretchen and me to one fine Valentine Dinner.  Thanks, guys!

3 comments:

  1. Uh oh, I think Lobster Thermidor might have to be my next adventure in cooking. You have my mouth watering! Thanks for the tip about Oprah having a lot of Julia Child's recipes on her site. I will have to check it out.

    Also, Cosmos are one of my absolut (pun intended) favorite drinks! ;-) I like them with cranberry juice, but sometimes I substitute pomegranite or acai juice instead. Yum!

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  2. Thanks for reading! John actually used some cranberry juice that had grape juice mixed in. We were out of the regular stuff. It was delicious! We have also made them with pineapple juice instead of lime. that's good, too.

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