Friday, June 25, 2010


Best ever lobster & cheese sandwich!

I recently had the pleasure of a short trip to the New Jersey shore.  No trip to the shore would be complete for me without spending some quality time in Cape May.  Beautiful Cape May is located at southernmost tip of the Garden State and is home to some of the most beautiful historic Victorian homes in the United States.  

For me Cape May is a journey back to my youth.  I have been vacationing there since I was 5 years old.  The beauty of the town is that it never changes.  Businesses come and go but the structures remain intact and as charming as they ever were.  In fact, I think it looks better every year.  I'm rooted in Cape May.  When I'm on the tiny, pristine boardwalk smelling the aroma of roasted nuts from Marrow's Nut House and gazing out across the white sand to the ocean I feel as though time has stood still.

I feel the presence of my parents all around me when I'm in Cape May.  They loved it there.  I watched the first moon landing on a portable black and white TV with my dad while sitting  the steps of the Lafayette Motel which is still there.  The first mini golf courses which sparked my obsession still sparkle.  The church that my mother dragged me to on Sundays, when I would have preferred to be swimming, still watches over the quaint pedestrian mall in the center of town.

On this trip we found ourselves in a local beachfront restaurant for lunch.  This was never one of my "hangouts" as it was usually boisterous and a little too loud with live music and pitchers of beer everywhere but it was convenient and air conditioned.  I looked over the menu and decided on something which sounded odd and oddly interesting.  My Foodie Friday recipes have always been my own or family recipes which have been handed down to me but this week I'm going to share the recipe for that unusual but amazingly delicious lobster & cheese sandwich. This is more about the idea of combining ingredients that you wouldn't necessarily pair and having a truly great surprise.

good quality grain or ciabatta bread
lobster meat [cooked]
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil leaves
russian dressing

Make a sandwich by covering the insides of two pieces of bread with the two cheeses.  Top one of the pieces of bread with a lump of lobster meat and then a few leaves of fresh basil.  Add about a tablespoon of russian dressing over the basil and close the sandwich.  Butter the outsides of the sandwich with softened butter and brown in a skillet until toasted on both sides.

This sandwich was halved and arranged on a plate with potato chips and a cup of tomato soup for dunking.  I found the soup to be completely unnecessary and overpowering.  The flavors of the melted cheeses with the hint of sweet from the lobster and Russian dressing work so well with the crisp clean bite of the fresh basil.  This is a gooey, savory elegant sandwich.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Lobster fra diavolo is a sure-to-please summer favorite of mine.  Piquant and light, I prefer to serve mine over a heaping bed of mafalde pasta.  Mafalde is best described as narrow lasagna noodles.  They stand up well to the spicy sauce and yet they're delicate.  You can adjust the heat factor of this devil's dish from mild to torturous.  I prefer mine on the medium to hot side.  

One 32 ounce can of good quality tomato puree, preferable San Marzano tomatoes.  
4 medium lobster tails*
1 small onion minced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
one 8 ounce jar of roasted red peppers
2 teaspoons dried oregano
6 leaves fresh basil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes [to taste]
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound mafalde pasta

In a small saucepan lightly brown the onion in olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic and remove from heat.  Add tomato puree, 1/2 tomato can of water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, oregano and 5 basil leaves.  Reserve one leaf of basil to chop and sprinkle over cooked dish.  Return sauce to heat and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

While the sauce is simmering par boil the lobster tails in salted water with the white vinegar for 4 minutes.  Immediately remove the tails to a cold water bath to cool for handling.  

When the lobster is cool enough to touch, cut the tails in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and remove the meat.  Now I like to cut the meat into bite-sized pieces but you can leave them halved.  Set aside until sauce is done.

Now bring a large pot of salted water to boil and prepare the mafalde according to the package directions.

Drain the roasted peppers and slice into medium strips.

At the 45 minute mark remove the sauce from the heat and add the lobster, peppers and wine and return to the heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve on a platter over the cooked pasta.  Sprinkle the basil leaf over top and enjoy!  

* you can easily substitute cleaned, raw shrimp or even calms.

Monday, June 7, 2010


After last week's sour double-header downer I was craving one of my comfort courses.  Golf Quest sporting complex was the destination of the week.  The weather reports were ominous so I didn't want to stray too far from home and this course is just about 35 minutes away in Brookfield, Connecticut.  Simple and charming, this place always makes me smile.

When you first drive up, the main building which houses the driving range, pro shop and snack bar is crisp, clean and inviting.  There are some trees for shade over the parking lot.  The course is to the left.  You don't have to go to the main building except for the restrooms because the mini golf office is, as it should be, in a hut at the entrance to the course. There is also a snack or ice cream shack there but I've never seen that open.  As you approach the hut there is a small pond on the left which begins the vague New England theme.

The course is not very difficult but it is challenging enough to hold my interest as a repeat visitor.  The holes are varied with bumps, berms and rough patches.  There are a couple of multi-level courses for added fun.  One of the quirky bits about this little gem is the choice of fairway colors.  They are bright and cheerful but nothing about this place is garish or over-stated.   The colors add a little visual whimsy without giant mechanical creatures.

Some of the fairway colors are evocative of a mid-century Barbie Dream House. 

If Barbie and Ken went on a New England adventure this is surely where they would have played mini golf.  

For an overall fun and refreshing game of mini golf, this is the place.  It is laid-back, and relaxing without being dull or boring.  Bring the kids [when I'm not there] and have a great family outing.  The course is well maintained and the brief interaction I have had with the staff has always been pleasant.  

I give this place a B+.  Points deducted only for degree of difficulty and lack of those great ball retriever flags.  

Golf Quest Family Sport Center
1 Sand Cut Road
Brookfield, CT.

Friday, June 4, 2010


This simple recipe is an all-time favorite of mine.  Great for company entertaining but I make it at least once a week for myself when asparagus is in season and reasonable.  They are caramelized and slightly chewy and are delicious hot, cold or at room temperature.  I always make enough to have leftovers to put in a salad during the week.


1 bunch fresh thin asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

Preheat oven to 400*.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Wash the asparagus under cold water with the rubber band intact.  Remove the rubber band and snap off the touch bottoms or cut about 1.5 inches.  Place the asparagus on the cookie sheet in a single layer.  

In a small bowl or measuring cup combine all the remaining ingredients and pour over the asparagus.  Cover with foil and bake on center rack for 20 to 25 minutes turning half-way through the cooking.    The stalks will be dark and tender.