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..........It's Just That Simple!

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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!
FYI on Lobsters, Maine Lobster!


Although nobody can determine exactly how many live lobsters it takes to make a pound of meat because you need to take molting into consideration, it can roughly determined.. Generally speaking, during the winter time, when lobsters are at their fullest of flesh, it takes about 4 1/2 pounds of live lobsters to get a pound of meat. In the late summer, when lobsters have shed(molted), it takes about nine 1-pound live lobsters to get a pound.

There are approximately two cups of lobster meat in one pound.

To hold a lobster correctly without feeling the "pinch", simply hold it at the end of the carapace where it joins the tail.

To pack lobsters for traveling, put them in a Styrofoam or insulated outer box packed with ice. To prevent lobsters from coming into contact with the fresh water, ice should be enclosed in plastic bags. Cover lobsters with seaweed whenever possible, this will insure them to be alive at least a day of traveling.

You can keep live lobsters for about 15 hours under refrigerated conditions, although most will survive for at least 24 hours. Keep them damp with a wet cloth or a layer of seaweed. Do not store live lobsters in fresh water or enclosed in plastic bags.

In Maine, lobsters are less expensive from the end of August to the beginning of November because this is when most lobsters are harvested.

The difference between a hard-shell and soft-shell lobster is when the lobster outgrows its shell. It molts and discards(or sheds) the old shell. It then has a soft shell and is called a "shedder" or soft shell. As the lobster feeds, its shell hardens, and it adds meat to its body. Soft-shell lobsters have less meat than hard-shell lobsters, but their shells also weight less. Since you buy lobsters according to their weight, they are about the same in terms of price. It should be noted, however, that hard-shell lobsters usually survive longer in the refrigerator than one that have soft shells.

It is okay to eat a soft-shell lobster and some people prefer them because, as they say, the meat is a little sweeter and they don't need any tools to crack them apart.

A lobster molts about twenty-five times in the first 5-7 years of their lives. After that, they molt less often, about once a year. After a molt, it takes months for a shell to harden and fill in again with meat.

Lobsters increase  in weight about 20 percent after they shed.

How much water to boil a lobster? Put one to two inches of water in the bottom of a pot to steam lobsters, or allow 2 1/2 quarts of water per lobster if you want to boil them. You don't have to use salt water, but some chefs believe lobsters taste better if you add salt to the water or use seawater, which contains about 3 percent salt.

A lobster is done when you are able to pull out an antennae easily.

A live lobster is generally a greenish-brown color when alive because of many different color pigments called chromatophores. When it is cooked, these pigments are masked except for astaxanthin, which is the background red pigment.

The tomalley functions like a combination intestine, lover and pancreas in the lobster. Some people(this chef included) think this is the best part of the lobster.

The black vein in the tail is generally removed before eating. It won't hurt you, it is simply the intestine where part of the digestive system is. The taste is slightly unpleasant but not readily tasted.

The red part you sometimes see inside a lobster is the roe or unfertilized eggs which have not been extruded. It is called "coral" and many people find this very tasty.

There are NO parts of the lobster that is poisonous.

A lobster drops a claw as a defense mechanism, but grows another over a couple of years.

Here are some common terms(both new and old-school) to describe the size of lobsters.

1-pound: chickens
1-pound to 1 1/8-pound: heavy chickens
1 1/4-pound: quarters
1 1/2 to 1 3/4-pound: selects
2-pound: deuces or 2-pounders
2- to 2 1/4-pound: heavy selects
2 1/4- 2 1/2-pound: small jumbos
Over 2 1/2-pound to ab out 4-pound: jumbos

Large lobsters have the same textured meat as smaller. However, cooking a lobster for too long can make it tough, so make sure you only cook lobster until the meat is done, regardless of the size.

Maine lobster is NOT found only in Maine! Homarus Americanus is found on the east coast from Newfoundland to North Carolina.

A crayfish is NOT a baby lobster. It is related but they live n fresh or brackish water whereas lobsters live only in saltwater.

You can microwave a whole lobster quite easily. Simply plunge the tip of a knife between its head and first segment while on its belly. The lobster may show signs of movement for a few minutes.

You can, if desired, take a skewer and run it the length of its tail to prevent curling. Arrange lobster in a casserole dish or other high sided microwave-safe dish, add 1/2 cup hot water and cover tightly with film wrap, poking a few holes with a fork throughout the top in order to vent some of the steam. Microwave on high, turning over after 6 minutes for a total time of between 10-12 minutes, or until the antennae pulls out easily.

To cook lobster tails on your grill, run a pair of kitchen scissors along the underside of the tail, removing this softer shell. Insert a skewer between the remainder of the upper shell and the meat, to prevent furling while cooking. Place tails with the shell side down on grill grates set in the high position. Grill for 5 minutes over medium heat. Turn tails during cooking, grilling the other side for 6-7 mintues. Return tails to shell side down position and baste meat with melted butter mixed with lemon juice if desired, but watch out for grill flame-ups.

Lobsters DO have teeth, but they are in its stomach. The stomach is located a very short distance from the mouth, and the food is actually chewed in the stomach between three grinding surfaces that look like molar teeth called the "gastric mill".

Many, MANY, people have asked me "How do you tell a male from a female lobster?" You simply turn the lobster on its back and look at the first pair of swimmerets. If it's a male, the swimmerets are hard and bone-like; they are soft and feather-like in the female.

 

Ol' Barney Beal

One can't talk about lobsters without mentioning a certain Barney Beal. he is larger than life now and apparently was when he was alive as well. many folklore's and legends are just that, but with Barney, it is true.He existed, lived on and around Beal's Island, Maine and was as tough as they came(next to Ol' Gus Bailey that is).

His feats of strength are stuff of legend but the stories are indeed true, although some may have compounded on that legend. Here are a couple to enjoy.

It seems that Barney Beal was on one of his trips along the coast in his freighter. He stopped at Rockland and, while standing on the dock, he became involved in an argument about any man, there, that could lift a 1200-pound anchor which lay on the dock. Several tried it but no one could move it. Then someone turned to Barney and asked him to try. he declined until a man standing nearby said that he would be him five dollars that he couldn't lift it. Well, Barney couldn't let a challenge like that go by, so he accepted. He walked over, bent down, and lifted the anchor clear of the dock.

When it came to paying off the bet, the fellow backed out. Barney said, "That's all right." he reached down, raised the anchor again, walked it to  the edge of the wharf, and dropped it--right through the bottom of the boat belonging to the man who had refused to pay off the bet!
As told by Olive Coffin, Steuben(1963)
Northeast Archives #62031

Well, tall Barney Beal weighed about 325 pounds and was just about six feet seven inches tall. He would sit down in a common kitchen chair and drum is knuckles on the floor.

One time he came to Bill Cummings' store here in West Jonesport, and Porter told him he could have what flour he could carry out of the store in barrels. So Barney picked up one barrel and put it on the counter, got another barrel under his arm, and then got the one on the counter under the other arm and took them out the door and down to his rowboat.
Wendell Beal, West Jonesport(1963)
Northeast Archives #15251

 

The Yankee Chef™
 ..........It's Just That Simple!