The First in the Nation Lobster Caucus

Soooooo…..yeah. I’ve been absent.  Basically, real life crept up on me and then hogged all my time.  Real life can be very demanding. Damn, Real Life…lighten up.

BUT- I’m back and with a LONG overdue post.  The culmination of my 30 Before 30 List: a live lobster.  I mentioned the lobster to some friends (who had already sampled Beef Wellington and Duck L’Orange) and they requested to be present there.  Over drinks the event turned into a “BYOL” party.

Yes, BYOL means Bring Your Own Lobster.

Our friends arrived….lobsters in tow:

You're the guest of honor!

We're so excited to have you for dinner! I mean, err....

For those of you who have seen “Julie/Julia” you’ll remember that Julie Powell was haunted by the idea of “offing” a crustacean.  I was significantly less put off by the task, but my dinner guests were practically gleeful about it:

No sign of a guilty conscience.

Not batting an eyelash.

You're enjoying this, aren't you?

Captivating

We boiled 13 Lobster.   Sidenote: Is the plural “lobster” or “lobsters”?

It was a lot of boiling and plunging of lobsters. I think at one point my kitchen was turning into the set of a snuff film, but we pulled through:

Dinner is served!

UNFORESEEN BONUS: Boiled lobster “hold” well.  The first few in the water were still tender and warm by the time we sat down at the table.   We had plenty of first time lobster caucus goers, so I laminated  instructions to help everyone.  But again, there was no hesitation:

15 gallons of boiling water later....

So, 1 pound of butter, 13 lobsters, 8 bottles of wine, and 3 bottles of champagne later….

I. Was. Thirty.

Lobster. Champagne. Friends. Maybe this 30 thing isn't so bad afterall.....

The pictures don’t do it justice.  Our BYOL party was christened with a new more official title and secured itself as an annual tradition.  It even made it onto this year’s Christmas card!

If you forgive my long absence, you might even get a invite for next year.

More soon,

xoxo Flyover Foodie

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Let’s Do This

Just a quick update before I head off to my annual foray into overeating….

My yearly tradition of competitive eating….

My yearly spike of sodium and caloric intake….

The Eat A Thon.

Bring. It. On.

I get weirdly nervous before this competition every year.  But we’re only a few hours out….so I’m ready to get in the mindset of eating some serious wings (for a good cause). So here we go…time for some motivational trash talking:

You are going down, Wings.  Just think just because you’re an appetizer I won’t annihilate you and all your friends?  Wrong.   You’re not even a tough appetizer: not wrapped in bacon.  No toothpick required.  You’re only a breath away from chicken strips and you know who eats chicken strips?  Little kids.

So don’t think your so tough, stacked up in a big pile hot from the fryer.  You’re all sauce and suckage, Wings.   I am going to eat you like I was born and raised in Buffalo.

Wish me luck!

xoxo Flyover Foodie

Friday Hot Dish- 10/15

Hope you saved room, because here’s the

FRIDAY HOT DISH!

1. This week was the World Food Prize, an annual celebration of those who have made contributions to end world hunger.  The event was started by Dr. Norman Borlaug, a native son born, raised, and educated in Flyover country.  He’s also a Nobel prize winner who is credited with saving more lives than anyone in history.   That’s one hell of an accomplishment.  Spend a couple minutes reading about the past recipients of the honor….it’s an inspiring group: World Food Prize Laureates

All set up for the World Food Prize

2. I don’t have children (yet.) (No, that’s not a hint.) But I  have a slew of nieces and nephews with some food “issues”.  Too be fair, I used to cry when my mom made corned beef.  And my older sister used to shun all mom’s dinners in favor of sandwiches of white bread and ham and cheese loaf. (I know. Shudder).  Check out this awesome slide show of parents succumbing to kids’ tastes.  I’m am so making that ostrich egg.  Give ‘Em What They Want

3. So other than election results, what else is happening on November 2nd?  The return of the elusive cult favorite, the McRib.  I think the Handsome Husband already has it marked on his calendar.  McRib returns And yes,  there are people who hunt the elusive McRib down, trying to locate it in its natural habitat.  I think I may be married to one of them….McRib Hunters

4. New HOT DISH feature: There is so much food literature out there.  From books on eating well to collections of personal essays on food, to behind the scenes stories from some of America’s top restaurants.  So each week, I’ll link to a new food book for you to check out.

I’ll start with one I’ve actually read.   The bestseller Heat by Bill Buford is all about Mario Batali’s rise to fame, the kitchen at famed restaurant Babbo, and learning the art of butchering.  The stories of Batali’s appetite and energy are almost exhausting to read, but the full access he gave to the author makes it an amazing story.  The butchering Check it out here: Heat

Hope I peaked your appetites looking ahead to this gorgeous fall weekend.   More next week including our FINAL 30 before 30 recipe post.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

 

 

In Support of Overeating

“They that study hard ought not to eat so much as those that work hard, their digestion being not so good.” – Benjamin Franklin

There are a few times a year where we get to indulge; even a few times where we can overindulge.   But I’m a lucky girl: I actually get to overeat once a year to help raise money for a good cause!!

Clean and dainty...no overeating here!

October 20th is the 5th annual Iowa Central American Relief Effort (I-CARE) Eat-A-Thon.   I-CARE is a non-profit started by two of my law school classmates.  After studying abroad and then returning to Nicaragua, they were moved to action by the poverty they witnessed.  And ICARE has grown each year: this year the non-profit began a revolving micro-loan fund to empower people to build a better future for themselves.

Best of all: they cover all the expenses of the non-profit themselves so 100% of the money raised benefits their projects in Central America.  Please read more about I-CARE here.

This is where I come in.  This is my FOURTH year participating in their largest fundraiser: the Eat -A-Thon.  The rules of the Eat A Thon are simple: 2 rounds, 15 minutes total, eat as many chicken wings as possible.  My supporters pledge money per wing…so each wing eaten equals money for charity.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: This is one of the few times I can use “literally” correctly…I have literally eaten as many as humanly possible (without dying) each year.  The evidence:

EXHIBIT A: 2006

Not now bro, I'm in the zone.

The Results: 39 hot wings eaten in 30 minutes.

EXHIBIT B: 2008

Getting down and dirty

Please note the pained look....that is dedication people!!

The results: 46 hot wings eaten in 15 minutes.  (I know…I’m a monster.)

EXHIBIT C: 2009

This must be early...note the clean face.

And the results??  Last year I ate a personal best 47 wings in 15 minutes (Don’t act like you’re not impressed)

Over the  last few years I have eaten 132 wings and raised over $2,000.  Each wing has been worth an average of $10.00.  And next Wednesday….I’m doing it all again!!

If you are a fan of chicken, or charity, or just eating in general, would you consider helping me reach another personal best this year?  You have all been so supportive of this blog and I would love to have your support for my one annual charity event.  Your per wing pledge helps me raise money with EACH hot wing I consume and every penny goes to a good cause.

I mean…how often can you support a good cause that involves hot sauce and Tums.  Lots and lots of tums….

You want in?  Email me at theflyoverfoodie@gmail.com and tell me your pledge.  THAT’S IT!  After the Eat A Thon, the non-profit directors will contact you with the gut-wrenching results and the steps to fulfill your pledge (PayPal, baby!)

Thanks for your support, both moral and financial!!

Any of you ever dabbled in competitive eating?  What food would you dominate an eating contest in?

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. I promise to post post-competitive results here, along with some love for my donors!

Estupido

“There is no untrue proverb” – Don Quixote

Dear Spain,

You are one of my dream destinations.  I already have a travel book all about you!   I would like to pre-apologize for the following account because I pretty much butcher your national dish.  Can I still come visit?  Maybe you could teach me a thing or two.  xoxo, FF

So, yeah.  Paella is harder than I thought.  My research lead me through dozens of different recipes.  Some cook over an open fire.  Some on the grill.  Some with seafood.  Some with chorizo.  Some with eel or rabbit.  And almost all requiring a paella pan.  Uh oh.  We are officially sans paella pan in the Flyover house.

I should have been further concerned when I realized paella was not one of the 28,442 recipes in The Joy of Cooking. ie. Not an average home meal.   I did find one recipe for paella that used a baking method and had made an appearance in Bon Appetit magazine.  Somewhat comforted, I made up my mind that this would be the best option with my lack of fire and pans.

I was buoyed further when Handsome Husband (who had a flirtation with Spain in his younger years) spotted this in the grocery store:

 

Mariscos Mixtos!!

 

FANTASTICO!  This would be my seafood mix for the recipe.   I would still have to cut the recipe since I was making it for two, but this amount of mixed seafood would be almost perfect.

Start by cooking the bacon in your pot, then remove and cook the chicken.  In goes the onion, the rice the pimentos (I also added roasted red peppers), and the saffron.  This will smell delicious and be full of potential:

Next I added the liquid and bring it to a simmer.   This mixture gets poured into a baking dish.   Rinse the seafood…..

 

Cuttlefish, shrimp, mussels, squid, and clams..........OH MY!

 

…and add to the rice mixture with the chicken.  Finally, the peas and the bacon pieces get sprinkled on top.  Cover the dish with foil and pop it into a 450° oven.

 

Pre-Oven

 

The recipe uses clams and mussels in their shells and requires cooking for 45 minutes or until the shells open.  Obviously, I was editing/reducing the recipe so I reduced the cooking time slightly so it wouldn’t be totally dry….maybe 30 minutes total.  And….

 

Post-oven

 

It was still kind of dry.  The reviews of the recipe on Epicurious noted that the seafood tended to get dried out and that the rice could get mushy.  Check and check.

Do I get sympathy points for plating?

 

A poor representation of Spain

 

True Spanish paella should have a crusty bottom and seafood that retains its flavor and texture.  It has a little bit of heat, but also the exotic warmth of the saffron and pimento.   Notsomuch for my paella.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: I learned two things.  1. Those marsicos mixtos would be great in a fun pasta dish.  I fully plan on purchasing those little guys again.  2. Some dishes require special equipment to fully realize their potential.  I have a feeling paella is one of those dishes.

I hate to say it, but I think this was probably my least successful dish of the list.  But I will not hold that against Spain.   And hopefully, Spain will not hold it against me.

I should probably just go there and learn what TRUE paella should taste like.  What do you say, Handsome Husband?  (hint, hint)

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. Our FINAL 30 Before 30 post is coming up asap!!!