This I know... (French Fridays with Dorie: Vanilla Braised Lobster)

These things I know to be true:

1) A woman did not design airport bathrooms. At a minimum, the person who has designed airport bathrooms has never tried to juggle a roller-board suitcase, a carry on bag and a coat while performing stall gymnastics. Just saying.

2) If you are running tight on a connecting flight (as in ten minutes from the time you land) and your flight is leaving out of the last possible gate in Terminal F - you are almost certain to land at the furthest gate in Terminal B and will have to take a ridiculously long shuttle ride (after waiting in a very long line) to get to the next gate. (I'm looking at you, Philadelphia airport)

Do you know what else I know?
Pepper crusted filet mignon makes The Dude happy.
Potatoes that have been pre-boiled, smooshed (technical term) and then fried in duck fat until the skins are crispy makes me happy.
Lobster poached in butter makes everyone happy.
Now, The Dude and I aren't big into hearts and flowers and all that stuff to celebrate Valentine's Day - however, I do find it a perfectly acceptable excuse for the following: one splurge meal at home (my treat - to avoid going out on "the day") and one splurge meal out at a later date (his treat, of course).
This year, vanilla braised lobster tails played a starring role in our home cooked meal. After reading through the cooking instructions for the live lobster, I decided that I was totally fine with letting the grocer steam the lobsters for me and then pulling the tails to poach later at home. The step of clarifying the butter was a little time consuming - and if I ever made this again, I would pick up a tub of ghee at the grocer and skip that step. We enjoyed the poached lobster, although the vanilla bean was a little strange for both of us.
The lobster was joined by beef filet mignon, potatoes crisped in duck fat and roasted carrots. We had a lovely 2007 Brunello with the meal - I am totally kicking myself for not making note of the maker. Added bonus - we didn't have to fight the Saturday night V-Day crowds (ugh - who wants to do that?).
I have to share one anectdote on our "splurge" dinner out, the following night. I picked an Italian restaurant that I hadn't been to ("Italian" Italian - not "spaghetti and meatballs" Italian). In checking out the menu, we noticed that they had a chef's tasting menu. We talked to the waiter and he said that there wasn't a listed menu for this - the chef made whatever he wanted to for each course. We decided to give it a try (we had already ordered our wine, so the waiter made note of what was on our table and let the chef know).
While we were waiting, The Dude and I had a discussion about beef cheeks and whether or not he would be able to eat them (he said "couldn't do it"). We also discussed how they came up in one of our French Fridays dishes and how most people substituted because they couldn't get them. (You know where this is headed, don't you?) When the main course came out, it just happened to be (drum roll, please)...braised beef cheeks on saffron risotto.
French Fridays meets the "real world"...
I hope everyone is keeping warm (unless you are in SoCal - then stay cool).
Peace out.

This port participates in French Fridays with Dorie


  1. Great post, Cher. I love the story of the tasting menu, I would be scared
    not knowing what was coming. I'm glad you enjoyed your "at home" dinner,
    it certainly sounds wonderful. As for keeping warm, even though we have
    a small amount of snow compared to other places, I don't think I will ever
    be warm again. ( Remind me of that statement in July/August.)

  2. I love a good tasting menu :) And I loved the sound of your V Day meal! Lovely!

  3. The lobster sounds amazing. And, you are right on with the first two points of your essay. I wonder if Philadelphia and Newark airports were designed by the same person. Hmm...) Great work - I love reading your stuff!

  4. Although I knew where that story was going, I just couldn't believe that would happen. There must have been a listening device attached under the table and the Chef decided to have a Gotcha moment. I do feel sympathy also for those of who you have to travel in your jobs this Winter and deal with weather issues. @$#%& Glad you enjoyed the lobster. I thot about ghee but, after seeing the jar of it at TJ's and reading some of the customer comments, I just couldn't go there. What really interested me were the potatoes crisped in duck fat. Yum.

  5. Your airport comments cracked me up. Way too true. Airport bathroom stalls are absolutely impossible. I always seem to have a cup of coffee too, in addition to the roller bag, carry on, coat, etc....Your dinner sounds amazing. Especially those potatoes. I'm already trying to figure out when I can make them.

  6. Loved this post, Cher. Totally agree with the bathroom stall thing...and if there's no hooks, what am I supposed to do? put my stuff on that nasty floor? Don't think so. Now, your lobster dinner sounds great! What I do want to know is, if you enjoyed the tasting menu overall? (I always like to order them because it's fun, but there's that risk...)

  7. So, did he eat the beef cheeks? I would happily eat braised beef cheeks on saffron risotto!

  8. Yes I want to know if he ate the beef cheeks too. Loved your story. We avoid the crowds on V-Day too. This particular lobster recipe was a little to fussy for my tastes. Broiling is so much easier. I am going to try making potatoes with duck fat, hopefully next month.

  9. I'm with you on Valentine's Day, I'll use just about any excuse for a good meal. I also agree that I'll be buying ghee next time because the whole clarifying step took some time.

    And too funny that the Dude was served beef cheeks! Were they good?


Post a Comment

Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.