Monday, June 28, 2010

Lobsters and Chippy Things

The first part of this post is not for vegetarians or the faint of heart.

I killed my first animal for food last week. By killed, I mean I actually stuck the knife through the lobster's head to kill it before steaming it. I have fished before, but my grandfather kindly took pity on 10-year old me and took care of everything after I pulled the fish in. I have witnessed lobsters being killed. But this was different.

We were cooking a lobster feast for my in-laws while we vacationed on the Jersey Shore. Carl, from New Deal had showed me how to humanely kill them and so Dave and I got out the cutting board, the sharpest knife we could find, and steeled ourselves. It was emotionally difficult, pulling the lobster out of the bag, looking into its eyes, and knowing that it had seconds left to live. And, despite what you may be told, as you kill them, and for a few minutes afterwards, they thrash and twitch.

I don't know if it was the culmination of a great beach day, eating dinner with family; the delicious New Jersey lobsters; finally preparing lobster in the kitchen my grandfather did, which is one of my favorite summer memories of childhood; or because we actually killed the food we ate which gave us an overwhelming sense of responsibility and our place in the world, but it was the best lobster dinner I have ever had, hands down.

We steamed them for 15 minutes and served with the herb butter from our lobster grilling feast.

On a lighter note, my two-year old daughter, Vivien, made her first recipe, good girl. For days she has been at me to "make a chippy thing" which she explains by holding up a yellow, plastic disc from a game and her tiny rolling pin. I finally had time to take her up on it yesterday. I asked her what we do and she explained that we need flour. The following is my recollection of what we made (there was not time to write anything down!). With very little guidance from me, we took her ideas and made what the rest of us would call a pie.

Vivien's Little Chippy Thing

Crust
2 cups flour
1 pinch salt
6 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
4 TBSP Crisco
4 TBSP ice cold water

In a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt. Cut in butter and Crisco. Sprinkle in water and mix with hands until it just forms a lump. Split into two and roll each out into 8-inch round crusts. Put one in the bottom of an 8-inch pie plate.

Liberally cover the bottom crust with 1/2 to 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips.

Pour over the chips:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup strawberries
2 cups peaches

If using frozen fruit, put fruit in a pan over medium heat until just defrosted. Strain juice out (save for drinking or ice cream or a sauce, etc.) and add fruit into pie pan.

Cover with top crust and crimp closed.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until starting to brown. Remove and let cool. Enjoy.