Beef Wellington and lobster mac ‘n cheese.
That’s what my husband requested as his home-cooked birthday meal last month. It wasn’t a milestone birthday but it did bring him close to the big four-O and the thought of it made him feel less spry and definitely less social.
So beef Wellington and lobster mac it was. I splurged on two live Canadian lobsters from Carrefour hypermarket @ 169 dhs/kg. The two lobsters below totaled 1.2 kg.
Every time I boil a lobster, I’m reminded of the first time I ever did it. We were living in a small studio in Manhattan with a tiny stove and the largest pot we owned was still insufficiently sized to boil the four lobsters that Scotch had brought back from his trip to Boston.
I begged Scotch to do the deed – which would be to put the lobsters in the pot of boiling water – but he refused. However, he did attempt to put the lobsters out of their misery before they were boiled to death. I said attempt. It was certainly a valiant effort. His method was to take a large knife and slice through the brain (we read about the technique on Wiki). But because he refused to touch the lobsters to make a clean slice, he resorted to stabbing them multiple times, hoping to get at the brain. *Cue horror movie sound effects with silhouette of person’s hand making repetitive up and down stabbing motions.*
Now that my Boston lobsters looked like they had been bludgeoned to death, IT WAS TIME. I lifted the first lobster with tongs (I refused to touch them too), and dropped it into the pot. Except the lobster decided to make one last ditch effort to save itself and extended both its claws and its tail and clung to the edge of the pot, as if saying, “Don’t do this to me!”
THAT is the image that comes to my mind every time I have to boil lobster.
But these days, I’m a seasoned lobster killer boiler – I don’t even need tongs! I just pick up the suckers by the head, and well, you know. And I now have a large stockpot so it makes things easier.
The hardest part about making this dish was trying not to eat all the lobster meat while I was de-shelling it! However, when I twisted the lobster head away from the body and – holy green greatness batman! – HELLO LOVER! – hot tomalley, hot tomalley! How could I resist slurping up my favorite part of the lobster – well I couldn’t 🙂
The lobster mac is what I would call a scrumpt-so-licious success! It was worth the extra effort of making my own lobster stock to achieve that rich lobster-y flavor in the cheese sauce. My son certainly enjoyed it.
Alas. The beef wellington didn’t fare so well.
I’m a bit of a klutz in general and after accidentally dropping and smashing to bits a ramakin filled with egg whites (that was fun cleaning up!), I thought I was off the hook easy and that would be my one and only kitchen disaster of the night. But as I opened the fridge to transfer the beef Wellington to the oven, I saw a flash of doughy-yellow, and before I realized what was happening, the beef Wellington in all its pastry-dough wrapped goodness had gone PLOP and fallen onto the kitchen floor.
That’s when I too went PLOP, fell to the floor, and started to cry my eyes out. Birthday dinner R-U-I-N-E-D! Three hours of prep-work R-U-I-N-E-D!
At that point, my wonderful husband not only picked me up off the floor and calmed me down but he also managed to save the Wellington. It was a little worse for wear, all smushed up, probably a bit gritty, but overall the damage was not too bad.
I guess the important thing was that, despite its fall from the fridge, the beef Wellington tasted absolutely wonderful! The crust was perfectly crisp, the mushroom layer was earthy and flavorful (especially since I threw in wild mushrooms to give it more oompf), and the tenderloin was as its name implies – tender and tasty.
So happy birthday my love! And sorry again for the Wellington tears. Oh, and for almost eating all the lobster before it went into the mac – whoops.
Beef Wellington recipe from: The Waitakere Redneck’s Kitchen
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese recipe from: Epicurious.com