Happy New Year!*
May the blessings of the past year continue into this one and may the joys flood out the sorrows!
I know that it seems like I have been slacking. And maybe I have been a little. But rest assured I have been cooking! Just not in my own kitchen!
Aside from being ill with the ninja death flu (Even after I got a flu shot! The nerve!), traveled up to Spokane this winter to invade a close friends home and wreck his brand new kitchen which he has so graciously opened to me.
May years ago C and I started a tradition together.
C’s mother had passed on when he was still young and he was not close to the rest of his family. So every year he was more or less alone on Christmas.
Being a sentimental soul (something I will most often deny), I didn’t think anyone should be alone on Christmas. And as I am Russian Orthodox and celebrate Christmas on January 7th, December 25th was really just another day for me. Somewhere along the lines we decided to celebrate it together.
We called it the Orphan’s Christmas as he was orphaned from his family and I was orphaned from American Christmas tradition. The idea was to invite anyone who didn’t have someone to celebrate with. But that first year we did it alone. We borrowed a cabin up in big bear and lounged our way through Christmas.
That was almost 10 years ago. And the tradition is as much about food as it is about spending the holidays together.
Since we were treating ourselves, for dinner we decided to make the most decadent thing possible! Lobster! That first year we had it with a salad decorated with edible flowers and mashed potatoes.
The lobsters were a near disaster! Unused to cooking at high altitudes and having NO idea what to do with two large lobster tails I had settled on broiling them in the shell. Like I had seen restaurants do many times before. Only it didn’t come out the way it does in restaurants. Even after an hour the lobster meat was not done though the shells were in fact bright pink and the tail fan had turned black. Enclosing them in foil just didn’t help the situation any.
In desperation I cut the lobsters in half and my signature Christmas dish was born.
It has evolved some over the years. I started with just cramming the lobster shell full of butter of keep the meat moist as it cooked. But somewhere along the line that didn’t seem decadent enough and I started adding blue cheese, mixing it with the butter and letting it become molten and golden. A fitting crown to the king of seafood!
I think the dinner has evolved with my style and my confidence. Still simple, but with the sumptuous touches that only experience allows.
Somewhere the plain melted butter got a golden hue.
And the simple sour cream mashed potatoes turned into luxurious aged cheddar and broccoli mashed potatoes. The ones I make only once a couple of times a year mostly because even the thought of them makes my arteries creak!
It is not a low fat meal by any means. I estimate that during my 5 days with C, I ate more fat than I usually do in 2 months!
But it is oh so worth it!
Every single delectable bite.
Alas I have no pictures to share so you will just have to take me at my word. The camera which I had intended to pack into my suitcase lay forgotten on my bed.
So just my words are going to have to suffice!
Blue Cheese Lobster
2 large lobster tails
4 oz blue cheese
3 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 pound)
Pinch of salt
Pre-heat the broiler.
Place two of the stick of butter in a small saucepan and set over low heat. Leave the butter alone. Don’t swirl it or stir it. Just let it melt and foam and do what ever it is going to do. Check on it occasionally until it turns golden brown. If the heat is low enough this can take an hour and can be done way in advance. Once it has turned golden. Gently pour off the liquid butter without disturbing the solids on the bottom. This can be kept warm till serving or refrigerated.
Refrigerated the butter will keep as long as butter keeps in the fridge.
Place the lobster tails in a cutting board belly side down. Take a large chef knife and carefully stick the tip through the second shell segment till it hits the cutting board. Continue the downward motion of the knife to split the tail in half as evenly as possible. First away from the fin then towards it. DO NOT cut all the way through!
With your hands fold the tail open like a book and flatten. Do the same thing with the remaining tail.
Lightly salt the tails and slather with butter, making sure to work some butter into the sides.
Place under the boiler and allow to cook until almost cooked through. Crumble the blue cheese on top and return to the broiler until browned and bubbly and the lobster is cooked all the way through.
Serve with the browned butter.
Cheddar and Broccoli Mashed potatoes
2 pounds of potatoes, preferably Yukon gold
6 oz aged, extra-sharp white cheddar, grated 
½ cup sour cream
Salt and Pepper
1 broccoli crown
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Set them to boil in salted water until tender.
Trim the broccoli so that only the tips of the flowerets are left. Each floweret should be no larger than half an inch.
Place the flowerets in a colander and dunk into the boiling potato water for 3 minutes or until they are a verdant green. Remove, drain and set aside. They will continue to cook for a few minutes.
Once the potatoes are ready, drain them and return them to the stove to evaporate the water at the bottom. Mash lightly then add the cheese and sour cream, salt and pepper. Continue to mash until the potatoes are the desired consistency and the cheese has melted completely. Stir in the blanched broccoli.
Serve piping hot!
 Our lobsters usually come from Costco and are quite large. Adjust the recipe as necessary for smaller tails.
 My preference is Boarshead Aged Canadian Cheddar, but any excellent super aged cheddar will do. Dubliner is fantastic as well.
* My only resolution this year is to do two posts a week in this blog! We will see how I do.
** I did not take this image. This is, as far as I know an AP photo. If you know who took it I would like to give credit where credit is due.