October 29, 2009

The Big Apple

Seriously. This was a REALLY big apple. I'd never seen an apple as big as this. Our friend Derek brought it back from Nova Scotia --

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-- and he had to check it as luggage. I had to hold it in both my hands to carry it in from the car. It fed the boyfriend and me for two days. I'm not kidding. This beauty is called a Honey Crisp and the name couldn't better reflect the apple. Sweet and crunchy (Honey Crisp is a much better name though, don't you think?) -- the juice, like nectar. It was the most delicious apple I've ever had.

Now, if you're like me, when you think of Nova Scotia you think lobsters and fishing boats, not apples.

So of course Derek also brought us four live lobsters (he was able to carry these on the plane).

I've seen lobsters in tanks at those strange Chinese restaurants where many sad looking fish and crustaceans stare back at you begging to be released back to the wilds. I've had the most amazing lobster grilled cheese sandwich at Joey's and I've had the misfortune of wearing a Red Lobster bib on the rare occasion I've found myself at the restaurant. But I have never had a live lobster in my home. I've heard the horror stories of them screaming when they hit the boiling water. I've read Julie & Julia and MTAOFC and know the trials of preparing a live lobster. I wasn't prepared to put any living thing into a pot of boiling water. Enter the boyfriend.

His theory (as told by Derek) was that if you hold them upside down long enough they "fall asleep" and then you quickly plunge their heads into boiling water and they never wake up. Ever. His other theory (shared by many) is that lobsters don't feel pain. I'm not so sure. I think anything would experience some negative impact when thrown into a pot of boiling water. I've heard frozen peas squeal.

The boyfriend held the lobster and I got the scissors out to snip the rubber bands off its claws. I wanted to leave them on but the boyfriend didn't think they would add anything to the meal, so off they came. And the "sleeping" lobster immediately started snapping. It's little globular eyes sought out mine, it clacked it claws, it wiggled its many spidery legs and it freaked me out. "Quick, into the pot" I hollered at the boyfriend. The lid was firmly in place, we looked at each other and breathed a sigh of relief. No screaming. All we had to do now was wait twenty minutes or so until they were a bright red and the antennae pulled out easily (my god, you've got to be kidding me!).

We fired up the barbeque to cook some steaks just in case the lobster didn't turn out. Twenty minutes later, with the steaks eagerly awaiting their fate, we removed the lid and looked inside. It was a thing of beauty. Two bright red, really dead lobsters. We pulled them out of the pot and now that my food wasn't moving I had no qualms about stabbing a knife through its head and pulling its claws off.

I think we both felt as if we had ventured from our cave, tracked our prey, killed it and dragged it back to cook it over our fire. Grunt. It was delicious. And we had leftovers for lobster mac and cheese. Talk about comfort food.

Thanks Derek. Where are you going next?

October 23, 2009

Sweet Delights

I received this great award from Kit over at Kit Courteney Writes. It's been a couple of weeks since she awarded it to me and I feel horrible that I'm so tardy in replying and passing it along but time has just been slipping away. So without further ado, here's the deal:

Thank the person who gave this award to you
Copy the logo and place it in your blog
Link the person who nominated you
Name seven things about yourself that no one would really know
Nominate seven Kreative Bloggers

So thank you so much Kit. I'm deeply honoured and extremely pleased.

Hmmm -- now let's see -- seven things about me that no one would really know. I'm a blabber mouth (that's not one of them, everyone knows this) and an open book so there isn't much about me that people don't know. But I think I can come up with seven:

* I can wiggle my ears

* I like liver (but haven't eaten it since I left home because my dad cooked it the best)

* The name given me at birth was Susan Nicol

* I played the piano for ten years and the clarinet for seven

* I don't have favorite things -- I don't like to be limited in that way

* I am an only child

* I remember the 17 digits of my bank card but only when I type it

Well, that wasn't that tough. But now I have no secrets. My closet yearns for a skeleton or two (I'll have to get to work on this).

This next part will be the difficult part for me, narrowing my nominees to just seven, but here goes:


(Ok that was hard -- I had double the nominees)

No pressure to the wonderful blogs/women I've nominated. I just wanted to let you all know how much I think of you and your Kreative Blogs. Enjoy and have a great weekend everyone.

October 5, 2009

String Me Along

I just finished reading Julia Child's My Life in France and Julie Powell's Julie & Julia. I love to cook so it was entertaining and informative to read both these books back to back. I remember watching French Chef when I was a kid (along with Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet -- what a souse he was -- I loved him.) and being in awe of this huge American woman with the strange voice. The way she chopped heads off fish, threw meat around, ran out of things to say and never managed to look in the right camera at the right time was fantastic.

This past Saturday I was flipping around the channels and stopped on PBS. There she was. Julia. And she was chopping heads off fish. She was every bit as big and bold as I remembered her. She was making Bouillabaisse and throwing everything in -- heads, bones, whole fish, eel, scallops, mussels and clams. It all seemed so haphazard yet looked delicious. But I'm allergic to mussels, and a whole fish staring up at me isn't my idea of a leisurely Sunday brunch so when the next segment aired and she was doing a roast chicken she had me. The boyfriend and I did a Beer Can Chicken last week and it was amazing, but watching Julia throw that poor bird around, prodding it with this and that, I heard the challenge and knew I had to pick up the gauntlet.

Thanksgiving in Canada is this coming weekend, and I always cook a turkey. I'll pick out my bird Wednesday and keep it cooling in the fridge until Sunday. (I've found a great place for organic turkeys, and they really do taste better that Butterballs.) And I want to do a Julia turkey, which means trussing.

tr.v. trussed, truss·ing, truss·es

To tie up or bind tightly.
To bind or skewer the wings or legs of (a fowl) before cooking.
To support or brace with a truss.

I've never attempted this before but Julia made it look so easy. She dug around in her cupboard and produced the largest darning needle known to humankind. It was about 12" long and about 1/4" in diameter. She threaded it with heavy string and proceeded to sew that thing up like she was mending a sail. "Just push the trussing needle through the legs, and up and around, roll the bird over and tuck the wings in here and push the needle through the top of the breast and roll the bird over again and fasten tightly." How hard could it be? I could do this. But...where in the hell do I buy string? Seriously. I can't think of a single place that sells string. I knit. I have plenty of yarn. But somehow I think Julia would not approve.

I googled "where to buy string" and I got a dozen hits for "strings for musical instruments". I then googled butcher's twine and discovered many other people asking where to buy it. Without twine how can we truss?

My dad had an old, empty peanut can with a hole punched in the plastic top. And in this can was a never ending supply of string. My dad isn't alive anymore. There are some things we children should ask our parents before they are gone. I never thought this would be one of them.

I know Guinness has a world record for the largest ball of string. It's currently at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane Stadium. If anyone out there lives nearby, maybe you could snatch a couple of feet and drop it in the mail to me. I don't need it until Sunday. Thanks.