Friday, November 2, 2012

Lobster Pot Pie and Lessons Learned

Last week my friend, aka the test kitchen dummy, presented me with the task of making lobster pot pie. There were problems. So many problems I don't even know where to begin.
Seafood is the one chapter of cookery (and eatery) that challenges me the most. I've never liked fish. I'm slowly dipping my toe into these somewhat uncharted waters.  I figured if I could make gumbo and devein and prepare 2 pounds of shrimp, I felt up to the task of lobster. The strategy was that after googling lobster preparation and recipes, it seemed prudent to find a source for frozen lobster meat as I was not up to the task and timing of using fresh/live lobster, especially if it was to end up in a pot pie.
Lessons learned:

1) Fish makes shitty leftovers.
2) Only agree to make tkd requests when Safeway ingredients will suffice
3) Know when to channel my inner Iron Chef from the get-go and prepare to make do with what I get or be super* explicit when issuing a shopping list. 
4) Always go to trusted sources** when attempting a new recipe
5) Be thankful for foodie neighbors***

 *1 lb of frozen lobster meat ("don't get whole lobster!") apparently was translated as one 2 pound frozen whole lobster

"This was all they had, I figured you'd figure something out" ...after scraping about 3 ounces of meat out of that lobster...
***Sheena saves the day with a can of frozen lobster meat imported from her last trip to New Brunswick

A funky recipe (given to him by the co-worker who inspired the request) elicited my next problem : **I was left standing with a cup of cream (no mention anywhere as to when to add it) over a pot that was already a watery mess... no way I could add another cup of liquid. I put the cream back into the carton and made a roux. The filling was really tasty and that canned lobster meat was brilliant, but
by the time, sometime that evening, I got the pies baked up with puff pastry, I was pretty much over the whole thing.
One of the three  pies came our really puffy and pretty, the other two, the pastry had sunk in the corner and was not so pretty. It was too dark, I was too tired and too frustrated to even attempt a picture at that point.
My apartment smelled fishy for days and I was not happy about that. I sent the pies off the next day with tkd and have yet to hear how he liked them. I can't imagine him, evenwith his cast iron stomach and indiscriminate taste, thinking this was a remarkable effort in any way.
But you can't win 'em all.

Herein lies the rub: I enjoy the solitary confines of my little kitchen and the freedom of creating what I want, when I want but I need a more present and audible audience...a greater purpose, I guess. I need somebody to cook a fresh-from-the-oven meal for, but whose flexible enough to be amenable to my moodiness.
What's the equivelent of the kitchen booty-call?

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