Valentine’s Day Recap

Let me preface this post by saying that I cooked the entire day.  From about nine o’clock until about six o’clock, I was doing something in the way of dinner prep.

You’ve been warned now.

I loved it. I had such a good time whipping up our Valentine’s Day meal, I would do it again, right now… Okay, well, maybe next week. You get it.

For those of you who don’t know, this was my V-Day menu:

Maine Lobster with Wild Mushrooms and Rosemary Vapor (with a budget-friendly twist)
and
Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse Parfaits with Strawberries

Let’s start with the dessert:

When/if you make this, don’t worry if the strawberries are a little tart.  The mousses are so rich, and sweet, you don’t need to do anything with berries.  I also would use more strawberries next time. I used one carton.  next time I will use one and a half.

One of the best part about this dish is the tangy sweet zing of the lemon mousse. Use  allllll of the lemon zest, and if you have two lemons, use half of that lemon’s peel.

This is my attempt at having a double boiler. My mother has one at home, and I always used it for my chocolate desserts.  If you want to make mousse on a regular basis, you might want to consider investing in one.

So I added my yolk, sugar lemon juice and lemon zest mixture to my quasi double-boiler, and mixed, mixed mixed.

Warning: making mousse is not for impatient people.  You must must MUST keep your water simmering, not boiling.  If you made your water too hot, if will result in scrambled eggs… Albeit, tasty eggs, but not exactly servable eggs… Trust me, I would know. I had to throw out my first attempt.

Anyway, you mix and mix and mix until it is thick, and reaches 160-170 degrees. Oh, a candy, or instant-read thermometer is a must for this dish.

Simmering water

your mousse should look something like this.

Now for the chocolate mousse:

After you have finished your lemon mousse, wash out your double-boiler (this dish count for this dessert, and the main course is staggering, so be prepared), and add your chocolate and whipping cream.

As you can see, I used chocolate chips.. This is not my common practice, but when you’re making this on a budget, you can definitely go with the cheaper chocolate alternative.

Keep the chocolate cream mixture on the double boiler, until it’s just melted, then remove it from the heat. Give it a nice mix, then allow it to reach room temp. You don’t want to over cook your chocolate. It gets grainy and icky, so beware!

After both mousses have reached room temp, fold in whipped cream and put in wine glasses… The only thing I will say about the wine glasses is that their narrow tops make it difficult to artfully layer the mousse and strawberries. When I do this again, I will find some cheap wine glasses with a larger top.

Now, on to the main course. I’ll show you pictures of the dessert at the end of the post. : )

As you can see, this is not a whole lobster.  We are on a budget, and after discussing our needs with the butcher, he told us that two lobster tails would be perfect for dinner for two… And much much more affordable.

Here are my lobster tails, post-boil. It took me about ten minutes for them to cook all the way through.

I used kitchen shears and a fork to pop the lobster meat out of their shells. If you just gently run a fork or knife around the edges of the exoskeleton, you should be able to get it out with little fuss.

After I removed the meat, I let the hot lobster shells soak in cold water. You will need the shells for your lobster stalk.

Roughly chop your lobster meat into nice bite-sized pieces, then cover and refrigerate.

Now that you have cooked the lobster, and cooled the shells, you can chop up your veg for the stalk.

Then you put them into a pot, with oil and the lobster shells.

Cook them for about fifteen minutes until they look like this:

Then add water and boil it.

Obviously I changed pots… the other one was too small. And the dish-count  rises along with my blood pressure.

Boil for forty-five minutes, then pour the stock through a strainer, discarding the veg and shells.

It doesn’t hurt to strain it one more time to make sure that only the liquid remains.

Then put it back, sans veg in the pot and boil it until it reduces to two cups… It will take about an hour… When you get down to the last fifteen minutes or so, check it, and make sure that it does not reduce further than two cups.

While you are waiting, prepare your rosemary leaves for the rosemary vapor. I only used one cup of rosemary leaves, divided them into two little bowls and  poured piping hot water on them right before we sat down to dinner. If I do this dish again, I will roughly chop the rosemary to get even more vapory goodness from them. This may seem like a silly step, but truly, the aroma of the rosemary, changes the flavor of the lobster and mushrooms.

At this point, once the lobster stock has reduced, you can put it in the fridge and go beautify yourself if you want. I did. : )

When you’re ready to eat, sauté your mushrooms (no, mine weren’t wild.. Just what was on sale, and that’s okay) in oil and butter with thyme and garlic (I left my garlic in the dish, and used about eight cloves).

Heat your lobster stock until it’s simmering, then put it in a blender with one cup(!!!) of butter. Blend until it’s frothy and silky.

Add lobster meat to mushrooms. Reheat lobster then remove from heat.

Now is the time to get out your rosemary and pour the boiling water on it. It smelled soooo good.

Ladle on the lobster broth and enjoy. Oh, I almost made a risotto with sun-dried tomatoes.

Yummy, and surprisingly sweet. I think next time I will decrease the amount of water added to the stock, and use a little bit of chicken stock… I realize that that is unholy, but I would have liked the dish to be a touch more savory. All in all, a wonderful dish.

Here’s my dessert:

It was very very good.

Valentine’s Day was lovely. : )

What did you do last night?

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