Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lookin FINE in '09!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a glorious time ringing in 2009. May it be bright and much more financially sound than last. And most of all, may you experience many days of healthful-deliciousness this coming year. I kicked off NYE doing just that and cooked dinner for a few close friends--a nice, chill way to celebrate the evening without all the ball-dropping, cab-snatching chaos that envelops this city every freaking year. It was a small group, so I decided to just keep things simple and light with a hint of decadence, it being NYE and all. Not giving things too much thought prior to the day (not so typical of me, but the holidays have been a bit nutty), I ducked out of my warm apartment late afternoon and jetted over to Whole Foods and then down to Bleeker Street in the freezing cold weather. Why I thought it'd be a smart idea to run around the city for 2 hours in 20 degree weather, I have no clue, I'll do whatever it takes to come up with a decent meal I guess. Pushed onward by the blasting wind, I skirted over to Bleeker and hit up The Lobster Place (great lobsters at $11.99 per lb), Murray's Cheese Shop (a venerable standby), and Amy's Bread.
Here's the off-the-cuff menu I went with:
Cheese & cracker plate - drunken goat cheese and a warmed goat cheese w/rosemary bread & fig spread
Arugula salad w/blood orange, shaved pecorino romano and orange-balsamic vinaigrette
Lobster papardelle pasta w/roasted tomatoes
Vanilla bean ice cream w/warm sour cherries in red wine

I must say, for an impromptu dinner, it was darn tasty. I ended up making things a little easier on myself and bought a lobster that was already steamed. Next time, I'd tweak the recipe below and definitely would purchase a fresh, live lobster and cook it myself. I'd also probably swap the chili-garlic oil at the end for a dab or two of butter to bring out the richness in the lobster a little more. Not as heart-healthy, but NYE is a special occasion and all. Here's the pasta recipe, it's a keeper!

Lobster papardelle with roasted tomatoes
1 - 1 1/2 lb steamed lobster, remove meat from claws and tail, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 package of papardelle ribbons/nests
1 Tbsp olive oil (addtl Tbsp for roasting tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pint grape tomatoes

1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp basil, julienned or chopped
1/3 cup parmesan cheese + extra for sprinkling
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
1-2 tsp chili-garlic oil for drizzling *or try 2 tsp butter at end
*I make a little ramekin of chili-garlic oil every few days just for flavoring/finishing. I like it spicy! Combine 1 *small* clove minced garlic, 1/8 tsp red chili flakes, a dash of salt and about 2-3 Tbsp olive oil. It should keep for 3-4 days.

Preheat oven to 325.
*Roasted tomatoes: Toss grape tomatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic minced, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until skin bursts.
*Pasta: Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pappardelle and cook 7 minutes until al dente. Drain.
*Sauteing lobster: Heat heavy, large pan or stockpot on medium with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, onion and wine until alcohol cooks off a bit, about 2-3 minutes. Add pieces of cut tail and claws and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in roasted tomatoes, red chili flakes, salt, pepper and parsley and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until meat is cooked through. Toss in pasta, parmesan, basil and chili oil/butter at last minute and toss to serve.


melissa said...


just found your website and oh no! lobsters?? non-stick pans?? teflon! ah! this is not healthy!

have you heard about dupont's top chemist admitting the company "threw out" the negative research that showed teflon breaks down during normal cooking temps? google it.

anyway, those poor lobsters.

Marissa said...

Hi Melissa,

Thanks so much for your comment. Let me just clarify a few things. First, I'll just say, I agree with all that you've said! The lobster I purchased was from a local purveyor. Yes, there is concern about overfishing of lobsters and that fishermen/women in the Northeast obviously aren't benefiting sufficiently from the low prices of lobsters at the moment. That said, lobster is an occasional luxury (as this recent article in the New York Times by Melissa Clarke points out -
I rarely ever have lobster period and have never made it before, so I attempted it for New Year's per the special evening. Typically, as many of my other posts cite, I buy as much as I can locally from the greenmarket.
As for the teflon pan, you're absolutley right and good catch! I'm definitely not a fan of them or of non-stick pans in general. However, sometimes you just have to make do with what you have. I was out of luck with another pan that would be large enough to hold everything and had to pull out this particular pan from the depths of my cabinet -- a super old hand-me-down from a former roommate. Funny enough, I had just gone to a cookware store earlier in the week to purchase a good-sized stainless steel saute pan, but of course they were temporarily out of the one I preferred. Anyhow, the point is, thanks for your comment, sometimes you've got to work with what your kitchen has on hand and make things as healthy as you can in light of challenges. I think that's a great philosophy to employ when it comes to healthy eating in general. None of us are perfect, but every positive effort counts!

CookiePie said...

Sounds like a fabulous meal!