Food and Leisure

A lob story

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie & Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star

KARLA: I never used to eat lobsters and was not fond of crustaceans until about seven years ago here in New York. Tita Rose Pettersson, who married our foreign executive chef at The Plaza, Uncle Gosta, prepared grilled lobsters for me and I absolutely loved it. I now crave for crabs and lobsters, shrimps and prawns — things I was never fond of when I was young.

During my first month of culinary school at the International Culinary Center, we had a shellfish day and prepared lobsters. Excited little me kept thinking how good my lunch would be and was imagining already how to take home the leftovers. Those thoughts faded when our chef instructor gave a demo on how he wanted us to cook the lobster. He wanted us to twist the head and body in opposite directions and I was not sure if I was prepared for that, especially since they were live lobsters. I believe the chef saw my facial expression and so when it was my turn with the lobsters, he stood beside me. He watched me taking my time, talking to the lobster and petting it so it would stop moving. The four-year-old girl in me named it Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. As soon as I picked up the lobster, chef knew that I was struggling and immediately started saying over and over again, “Just do it. Don’t think about it. Go, go, go.”

We sautéed the lobster tails and made a sauce called sauce Americaine using the shells of the lobster with tomato, brandy and tarragon. We also had to do a flambé for the sauce so that was pretty exciting. It was so good and was definitely worth the stress.

MILLIE: After hearing Karla’s lob story, I was craving for lobsters. On a recent trip to Hong Kong to meet up with Nancy Tso, a former schoolmate from Switzerland, Nancy and I likewise feasted on tasty lobsters. We spent most of our time catching up while sipping coffee instead of shopping at one of our favorite places, the Cafe Landmark on Des Voeux road in Central that offers fabulous cakes. But this time, we noticed almost all the tables were eating lobsters at teatime. So we got curious and decided to dine with Nancy’s sister Gigi and her husband David plus another friend, Helen Tsui.

For starters, I had the lobster with mango slices, apple and celery salad, served chilled and very refreshing on a hot summer day. Gigi and David shared the crabmeat with tofu salad while Nancy had the crabmeat with avocado. Helen opted for the lobster bisque. For our main course, it was unanimously the Boston lobster linguini in a light cream sauce and we asked for three orders to be split into five so we could all have a hearty portion. The lobsters were fresh and meaty and I even ate the claws without a struggle.

We even had room for dessert as we all shared a mango Napoleon with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream.

KARLA: I also had the opportunity to do the prep for chef Alain Sailhac’s workshop and had to handle lobsters. One of the tasks given to me was to wrap the live lobsters with a damp towel and seaweed. I was told that they would remain alive in the refrigerator for another two days. They say that petting the lobster will put it to sleep and will relax them. It will also stop them from moving too much and will therefore make the deed easier as they won’t be tensed up. You can also anaesthetize them in iced salt water for 30 minutes or in the freezer for three hours.

Here’s a tip: In cooking lobsters, it’s common practice to cook them for eight minutes per pound and an additional two minutes for every pound after.





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Send email to milliereyes.foodforthought@gmail.com and quichethecook.ph@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook: Food for Thought by Millie & Karla Reyes

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