The most horrible and excruciating thing about living outside of New England is how expensive (and unsustainable) it is to get my hands on fresh and delicious New England lobster. If you a. have been living under a rock, or b. grew up somewhere NOT on the eastern seaboard (aka in the middle of Texas), you are seriously missing out. Lobster is the food of the gods and men and the greatest thing to crawl on this wonderful planet. If I could eat it for every meal every single day I would. Where I grew up, you’d walk down to the dock and buy those living ocean dinosaurs right off the fishing boats. I worked a summer at a lobster restaurant, so I like to think I know a little about the critters and figured it was my civic duty to educate my adorably ignorant Texas friends.
So what makes a good Memorial day cookout? Enter: fourteen live Maine lobsters, flown in fresh from New England. Special thanks to Quality Seafood (http://qualityseafood.wordpress.com/) here in Austin for getting these fellas fresh every Saturday! Add potatoes, corn on the cob, coleslaw and biscuits and we have ourselves a feast!
Since I’m in central Texas, I decided to consult my trusty Salt Lick Cookbook (http://www.saltlickbbq.com/pages/Salt-Lick-Cookbook.html) for a good southern biscuit recipe. I also ended up making their coleslaw because why not?
(I hope I’m not breaking any laws by posting this…)
Hisako’s Biscuits (from the Salt Lick Cookbook)
- 5 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- pinch of baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 2 tbs warm water
- 2 cups buttermilk
Sift the dry ingredients together and then cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, add it to the buttermilk and then slowly combine it into the dry ingredients, forming a dough. Stick it in the fridge. I did this the day before.
Roll the dough out to 1 in thick and cut into circles. I used the rim of a small cup. Butter the tops and bottoms on a cookie sheet and let stand a few hours to rise. Bake for 15 min.
Like a dummy (or maybe I was busy executing a feast?) I forgot to take pictures of either the biscuits or coleslaw. Fail whale.
Salt Lick Coleslaw (from the Salt Lick Cookbook)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 2 tbs salt
- dash or 2 of white pepper
- 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- pinch celery seed
- sesame seeds, toasted
- vinegar mix
Bring vinegar to a boil and add sugar and salt, stirring until dissolved. Turn off the heat. In a mixing bowl, add the pepper and slowly add the hot vinegar mixture, whisking constantly. In a separate bowl, add cabbage and sprinkle with oil. Add celery and sesame seeds and then the vinegar mixture and combine.
Onion Potatoes (recipe from the side of the Lipton onion dip mix box)
I love these potatoes. My mom used to make them all the time for my brother and I. Figured I’d bust them out because they were super easy and my oven wasn’t occupied.
- a bunch of potatoes, cut into cube-ish shapes
- a packet of Lipton onion dip mix
- olive oil
Set the oven to 450 degrees. Turn on the air conditioner if you’re in Texas. Toss potatoes in olive oil to coat, then dump the bag of Lipton onion dip/soup mix (you know what I’m talking about..) over the potatoes and toss. Stick them in the oven for 30-45 min. I cooked so many at once that it took way longer than that, but just check them periodically. Once they’re browned, soft and liiiiitle crispy, they’re done.
For my corn on the cob, I brushed each ear with melted butter, then ground some salt and pepper, wrapped them like burritos in foil and stuck them on the grill. You can also get the same effect by peeling back the husk, pulling off all the stringy silk, brushing them with butter, then pulling the husk back over the ear and tying the end with twine. Stick ’em on the grill and turn every so often to cook through.
For the lobsters, we just boiled water and dropped them in for 5-10 minutes. Look for white junk to start coming out of the body (albumin) and you’ll know they’re done. We had this MASSIVE pot on loan from a friend and cooked all 14 at once, which was so awesome. Certain friends in attendance were weary of dropping the live lobsters into the water, but there’s no crying at lobster boils, just drop them in NO MERCY.
The key to executing a good party or cookout is planning. From picking the menu, to making a shopping list and getting everything made without being stuck in the kitchen for the entire affair, organization and planning is clutch. My general timeline follows:
- Figure out what the hell to make
- Shop for ingredients
- Make biscuit dough and set in fridge to rise
- Roll out biscuit dough and cut, set to rise
- Prep corn
- Make potatoes and stick in oven
- Put corn on the grill
- Make coleslaw
- Put biscuits in oven once potatoes are done
- Boil lobsters
- EAT EVERYTHING
Also a shout out to Jen who brought KILLER banana pudding. I’d ask her to guest blog about it but she says is some ancient family recipe. Whatever.
Add some friends, cornhole, cold beers and American flags, it turned out to be a pretty awesome Memorial Day.