[FHCx293] National Seafood Bisque Day

Greetings from California!

TODAY IS NATIONAL SEAFOOD BISQUE DAY!

And we are actually by a body of water this time!

We are on a short fall vacation to Southern California, and our first stop from the airport was to get into some bisque. We achieved our goal thanks to Roy’s at the Anaheim Garden Walk (you know, right next to Disneyland).

Lobster Bisque that had some Thai curry flavors. Spicy and tasty!

Our crew for dinner! AKma and AKpa on the right, SPAK, SPuncle SPark, and SPark’s coworker/BFF Howie


Tomorrow is National Brandied Fruit Day. On towards vacation!

-SPAK

[FHCx269] National Crabmeat Newburg Day/National Lobster Day

Wait a second.

IT’S NATIONAL CRABMEAT NEWBURG DAY! and… LOBSTER DAY, again…?

Ok, let us explain. June 15th was Lobster Day. At least, before 2016, it was considered Lobster Day. But on June 28th, a Junior Senator from Maine pushed a resolution through the Senate to set National Lobster Day to be September 25th. This is a real thing that happened this year. A new food holiday has been designated by the Federal government of the United States of America.

Well considering that we’re doubling up with another Newburg, it makes sense that you have Deja Vu right now. Same recipe, now with crab in addition to lobster.

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2 eggs, 1/2 cup cream

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1/2 cup butter, melted on low

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Add in egg and cream, but try NOT to let the egg cook.

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Salt, nutmeg, red pepper flakes

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Add the meat!

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Serve on toast

Just as good with crab added in.

Tomorrow is National Pancake Lovers Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx167] National Lobster Day!

Claws n tails!

IT’S NATIONAL LOBSTER DAY!

Lobster is synonymous with expensive dining. When we made lobster newburg not long ago, getting the lobster meat itself was a trial. So to celebrate lobster day, we did a couple things on the cheap:

Lobster spread with crackers!

It’s pretty good! Seafood spreads are often hit-or-miss. Sometimes you get the kind that smells like a tuna canning factory in Detroit, and sometimes you get a quality spread that has some depth. We enjoyed this one.

Our other way of celebrating was seeing an extremely absurd romance movie!


It was also really good. Very weird and lobstery.

Tomorrow is National Fudge Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx85] International (Swedish) Waffle Day/National Lobster Newburg Day!

TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL WAFFLE DAY AND NATIONAL LOBSTER NEWBURG DAY!

In the US, Waffle Day happens in August, on the anniversary of the patent of the Waffle Iron. So we’ll see you guys in 5 months on that.

However, in Sweden, they celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation by eating waffles. I guess similar to the whole Candlemas thing, Mardi Gras whatnot. We aren’t Catholic, but we’re assuming that most religions are just as much about food as we are. And as SP had the day off from school, we had some waffles at Brunch using our favorite Kodiak mix. As usual, the mix provides an amazing fluffy golden waffle while packing a huge protein punch and limiting calories from fat and sugar.

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The other part of today was Lobster Newburg. Our guess is that if you live on the East coast, you already know what this is. Invented by a sea captain in New York, this dish is based on the premise that lobster meat needs more butter and cream than you could possibly dip it in. It involves cooking a sauce from cream, butter, eggs, and sherry, and mixing lobster meat in it. We used this recipe to get ourselves a lobster fix.

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This is the goop.

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The goop plus some (extremely expensive in the Midwest) real lobster meat

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Served on toasted buns!

It’s really, really good. It has a nice kick from the cayenne pepper and a milky creaminess that mixes well with the tenderness of the lobster. Were it not for the inaccessibility of lobster in the area, and the massive caloric punch to the gut of using 1/2 cup of cream, we’d probably make this one more often. But as many of the food holidays so far have done for us, it was an interesting experiment into a food neither of us had heard of, let alone eaten before.

Tomorrow is National Nougat Day and National Spinach Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx24] Peanut Butter/Lobster Thermidor Day

(Baman Piderman Pwactice Da Counting)

Today would be a really terrible day to combine our food holidays into one meal, because

IT’S PEANUT BUTTER DAY AND LOBSTER THERMIDOR DAY!

Lobster whatidor day? We didn’t know either. But first, peanut butter. We thought we’d keep it simple with some Skippy we had around the house, since the real culinary thrills were to come later in the evening.

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Nothing quite like a classic PB&J.

Yesterday we went to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships since it was in St. Paul this year. As we were leaving, they were handing out Jif peanut butter bars to everybody (because Jif is an event sponsor) so we were able to save a couple for Peanut Butter Day as well. Impeccable timing!

jif

They looked like this. We ate ours before remembering to photo-document. (photo from akronohiomoms.com)

And now for the exciting part. Going into today, we knew very little about lobster thermidor and expect that most other people didn’t either. So, here are our findings:

  1. At the end of the 18th century/turn of the 19th century the French Republic was trying to take religion and royalism out of their government (including their calendar), and thereby renamed the 12 months of the year. What’s left when you can’t name stuff after gods and kings? Nature! So, Thermidor was a summer month running from mid-late July to mid-late August. Also, there were 10 days of the week for some reason and this whole French Republican Calendar business was only used for 12 years before they apparently gave it up. Pretty weird stuff… check out the Wikipedia page.
  2. Like a hundred years after the Republican Calendar was used for anything, a playwright named Victorien Sardou wrote a play about a coup during the French Revolution known as the “Thermidorian Reaction,” named for the month during which it occurred. Remember how Louis XVI was executed on the guillotine? One of the guys who made that happen was Maximilien Robespierre, and he was the dude whose turn it was to get overthrown and executed during the Thermidorian business. He also didn’t really want stuff (like the calendar) to be de-Christianized, and the French Republican Calendar became a thing right after they knocked his block off. So take that, Max!
  3. In 1880, a little over 10 years before Thermidor (the play) had its debut at the Comédie-Française (which is maybe a block or two away from the Louvre), Auguste Escoffier was working at a Paris restaurant and devised a lobster recipe (remember him? He went on to later invent Peach Melba in honor of the opera singer!). It’s a lengthy and complicated process, but essentially the lobster meat is removed, cooked and mixed with various other ingredients including but not limited to egg yolks, and put back into the lobster shell. Years later, once Thermidor had debuted in the nearby theater and become popular, the lobster recipe was renamed Lobster Thermidor.


We were only able to find one restaurant in all of the Twin Cities area that serves Lobster Thermidor, and that’s Blackstone Bistro. Bless them. Can you imagine us trying to make something like this ourselves?! They’ve been open in St. Louis Park since last March, and we hope they’ll be open for a long time. Their menu is as varied as it is extensive, and not a single thing we ate was disappointing.

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Hot, tasty bread to begin!

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Spicy feta, olive, and herb butter to go with the bread

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This appetizer was an off-menu special, so it’s hard to remember what exactly they called it. The dip is a really robust and well-seasoned tomato sauce with goat cheese and basil. Are you surprised that AK, lover of all things spaghetti, deems it her favorite of the evening?

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There was bruschetta on the menu, so we had to order it. By law. Grilled shrimp, cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil pesto, baby arugula, and a balsamic reduction. Mmm.

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SPad’s lamb chop came out looking pretty atop saffron vegetable rice, dried dates, and tzatziki sauce.

 

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SPam’s choice was another off-menu special. A potato pancake on the bottom, a layer of asparagus, and steak… smothered with a poached egg, creme fraiche, and caviar.

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SPom’s potato wedges are so huge that they’re blocking her chicken kebabs! Chef Sharif is Egyptian, so you KNOW those kebabs were good.

And finally, our main objective:

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Lobster Thermidor with a vegetable blend and sherry cream! Also served with a side of mushroom-garlic farro.

There was definitely some mood lighting going on, so it was a whole heck of a lot prettier in person. Below the lobster tail was a bed of spinach, and the cream sauce from the lobster soaked into it and tasted so nice and savory. We dipped everything we could into that sauce. The outer layer of the mixture is crisp, sort of like the top layer of a baked breadcrumby mac & cheese, and the gooey inside with tender lobster chunks was a perfect complement. For those who tend to be anti-seafood: nothing about this dish smells or even really tastes fishy. It’s more creamy and almost cheesy than anything else.

Wouldn’t you know it, this place also has beautiful and delicious desserts!

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Chocolate cake! It was standing up originally, but we knocked it over by accident.

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Rush – Sable crust (very much like graham cracker crust), salted caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, and vanilla gelato.

Lobster Thermidor was a surprise hit! That said, there’s no way we’re ever cooking it ourselves.

Tomorrow, we two coffee non-drinkers will take on Irish Coffee. Wish us luck.

SPAK

[FHCx21] National Granola Bar Day/New England Clam Chowder Day

We’re 21 days into our food holiday challenge!

IT’S NATIONAL GRANOLA BAR DAY AND NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER CHOWDA DAY!

Granola bars are the quintessential after-school snack. I think that a lot of granola bars have gone underrated for too long. Now, some are definitely more artsy and less fartsy, but even the most basic, kid-targeted granola bar can hit the spot.

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We couldn’t help picking these up on clearance.

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Chocolatey, peanut buttery, granola-y

The real treat for the day was heading up to Smack Shack for dinner to get some chowda. Smack Shack used to be just a food truck that was permanently parked at a bar in Minneapolis until it opened its own brick-and-mortar. And the homebase is a beautiful spot in the North Loop – because let’s face it, what restaurant isn’t in the North Loop now – serving awesome lobster day after day.

So here’s the rundown on the chowder.

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Le menu

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Here’s our bowl, waiting to be eaten with ferocity

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Each spoonful was super creamy and liked to drip slowly off of the spoon

New England style is milk-based. Basically, if it’s got any tomato in it, you’ll be stoned by angry Bostonians. Smack Shack hits the nail on the head, with delicious potatoes, onions, and clam bits floating around a sea of thick, gooey soup. When you see the bottom of that bowl, you feel a little twinge of sadness that the fun has come to an end.

Well, until you get the main course, that is.

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Smack Shack’s Lobster Roll with some lobster Mac & Cheese. We did the mac. We did the lobster mac.

Tomorrow is an interesting one: Blonde Brownie day!

-SPAK