A little rain never stops my group when we make plans. Annual summer lobster boil didn’t exactly go as planned with on and off rain and intense humidity in my slice of NJ.
It’s crazy to think how much can change in a year. The lineup was a little different for sure. I had just started hanging out again with one of my best friends from elementary school. We had grown apart in middle school and hadn’t seen nor heard from him since, but my other friend went to college with him and brought him back into the fold. I was also seeing a different girl and this was the first time I introduced her to my friends. The relationship ended about a month later after she went crazy in Atlantic City during a school trip, and just to further illustrate how relationship crazy I was/am, in the year since I’ve dated four others. That number is going to be significantly less by next year’s lobster boil. I was working as the manager for one of our family’s ice cream stores. I hadn’t even considered being a travel agent yet. So I know I’ve already stated that I am the real food enthusiast and culinarian in the group but that doesn’t nearly elaborate enough about how little some of my friends know about food. Hahah. In fact I remember last year when we decided to do the lobster boil two of them the week before watched non-stop videos on YouTube to learn trips tricks and hacks on how to crack and peel lobsters and crab legs. I guess they didn’t want to have to ask me to do it for them. It was fun seeing them try their new techniques. We had a cooler full of beer, a pitcher of white sangria, a gallon of sweet tea, and afterwards we built a bonfire and just relaxed outside.
Those were simple and fun and beautiful moments. You don’t forget nights like that. Nights that engage every sense of your being. You remember the sound of cracked shells. The smell of the butter and the beer we used to boil the seafood. The bright reds of the crab and lobster, full and rich and plump. The taste of each salty sweet piece of meat. How tough the shells were in your hand and the satisfying reward of breaking through the armor. I was blissfully happy and simplistic. No experiment. No blog. No thoughts. No worries. I don’t know if I’d want to go back to that. Sometimes a little awareness, no matter how painful, is worth it.
I think I did much better yesterday than I did the first time my friend brought his new girlfriend over though. I didn’t let myself dwell on what I did or didn’t have. I didn’t concern myself with the world turning without me. I focused on my passions and joys. Cooking. Enjoying good food. Being a good host. Entertaining and being entertained by friends. It was a great night and I didn’t let anything affect my enjoyment of it. No negative thoughts here. Just good times. I have to admit, it is nice to have someone new in the group. I can bring out all my old jokes again!
No matter what changes, the lineup, the weather, our statuses, what doesn’t change is my time-honored perfect lobster boil recipe. This relationship blog is about to delve into food blog territory, but bear with me. I know what I’m doing and maybe one day someone will pay me for it too. Until then this one’s on the house.
Annual Lobster Boil
For 5 people (or more depending on who’s in your group and who starts dating). Next year we might have to cook for more.
A lobster per person (I usually go 1 ½ lbs)
Snow crab legs (1 – 1 ½ lbs per person)
Clams (I prefer the smaller little necks but you can also do cherry stones). This year I did cherry stones because they were on sale. Depending on which, ½ dozen to a dozen per person.
Potatoes, corn. Sausages (I do a mix of Polish kielbasa and French andouille). Know your group and love your appetite fillers.
In your largest (and I mean largest) pot, start by melting a stick of butter. Sautee some chopped garlic. When fragrant (but not brown) add the chopped sausages and cook until they begin to brown. Add the potatoes, washed and quartered, and corn, split in half. Pour around 18 oz of beer (I do one bottle of lager like Corona Extra and one bottle of a lighter sweeter beer. In summer the Schofferhoffer Hefeweizen, a grapefruit beer, is an excellent choice not just for cooking but for keeping cool and refreshed. Cover and let simmer until potatoes are almost fork tender and corn is a vibrant yellow. When potatoes and corn are almost ready, add the lobster, crab legs, and clams. Pull off heat when lobster and crab legs are bright red and the clams begin to open. Let cool, and serve with reckless abandon right on top of your super amply wrapped and waterproofed table. This is a) for the sheer look of serving a mountain of seafood right on your table like a feast from Neptune himself and b) for easier cleanup: when you’re all done just wrap and roll up the table covering and trash.
This is very important: RESERVE the broth left in the pot! Begin by ladling some into small bowls and serve alongside the feast as a dipping sauce. More flavorful than butter. Can’t speak to its health but…definitely more flavorful. With the rest, well, it’s an incredibly strong and powerful broth with the most intense and pure flavors of seafood. I’m not entirely sure what to do with it yet. Open to suggestions. But if not I’ll find something and when I do I’ll do a supplemental for it. I’ve poured the broth into quart containers and frozen it for now.
Man: 23 Loneliness: 7