Saturday, October 24, 2009

The glory of the Lobster

This was a fun day. Especially where i don't get out much, but even for someone who does get out quite often, this would be ranked pretty high on the scale of fun. (especially for  a wannabe foodie such as myself!)

Today was the day that my sister-in-law got to compete as one of the three finalists in a state wide cooking contest. The cooking contest was to find  Maine's Lobster Chef of the Year.
This is not a small deal.
The 3 finalists were chosen from recipe submissions that came in from all over the state. All three of the finalists were Maine born-and-raised which wasn't a requirement, but it was a nice fact.
Another interesting fact is that my sister-in-law, aside from being the only female finalist, was also the only finalist without any formal training as a chef, the guys she was competing against were graduates of either Le Cordon Bleu North America or  the Culinary Institute of America. Now if that doesn't sound impressive, i don't know what is.

Now, i had intended to take a photo of each sample dish as the tasting was going on,  but i was trying my best to be objective and discussing it with hubby and listening to and watching the demonstration- as each chef prepared the dishes while we were tasting.

I did however photograph my SIL' tasting sample:

Maple Butter Poached Lobster Tail with Sweet Potato and Fuji Apple Bisque and Fizzles of Green Onion 

That is quite a mouthful of a name for what is known as an "amuse bouche" . It looks like a nice piece of lobster tail on in a small pool of clarified butter, but looks are deceiving. The butter-like substance is the Bisque of Fuji apple and sweet potato, it has a nice creamy texture with a good balance of sweet and just a touch of tartness. The recipe also contains orange zest and i noticed it as a pleasant extra touch that kept the bisque from tasting flat.

There is a lot of butter in the recipe, but since the lobster is simply poached in the butter, you don't actually eat very much of it. The maple syrup as it is properly used in this dish, brought out the sweetness of the lobster without being  cloying.  This is an important thing to note since i think many people might think that real maple syrup is similar to pancake syrup. They are totally different entities.

There is a reason why you can get 32 ounces of pancake syrup for $2.50 but 8oz of real maple syrup costs at least $5.00. 

I think my favorite quote from my SIL's demonstration was when asked about why she uses unsalted butter...

the reply was "Because salt is one of those things you should watch your intake of."  as she deftly began  a pound and a half of butter melting in a pot.

Now you know why i like her so much!

i might write more on this later. i started it Friday night and finally got enough written for it to make sense this Saturday morning!  Or i may leave it at this :-)

1 comment:

Faith said...

Very interesting! And exciting to have your sister in such a huge event. That sample makes me hungry. LOL

I feel like I was just on the set of a Food Network cooking competition.

Maple syrup is something that I've never had the opportunity to get used to. I do love natural things, so I want to, but it's so darned expensive. LOL The flavor, being different to me, is rejected by my mind as appropriate to be on a pancake or waffle, but I will overcome my syrup naivete.

We have friends who have moved here from NY and they adore real syrup.

I make a milk-based syrup for all of our things, it is very caramel flavored.

I am a butter fiend! Go, Sis!!!!