Monday, June 08, 2009

Sunday, June 7th - BBQ Lobster

D went sailing today and I had decided last night that I would bake focaccia. It took most of the morning. It was a gorgeous day so perhaps not the best use of my time. It did allow me to catch up on some of my writing though. I'm in experiment mode on my focaccia baking. I used half half unbleached flour and whole wheat breadflour last time and it turned out quite well. I thought I would go full on the whole wheat breadflour this time and it was alot drier than the last time. It's still a fantastic bread, no doubt but it's closer to a dense loaf than a focaccia. I will outline the recipe as I did it here. I will follow it with a combination of the last time that I think will land where I want it to. I'll try again later. I also used alot less olive oil in the bread dough than the last time. I misread the recipe and thought that all the oil listed in the ingredients were meant to go in but some of it was meant to be used for the pan. I thought that went without saying. Who lists lubrication oil in the ingredients?

The type of flour you use in a bread dough has a big effect on the bread in many ways. You may need more or less moisture, oil/fat or salt. I used the same amount of flour and the texture of the dough ball was the same as last time but it was chewier and drier. I also measured out the yeast this time instead of using the whole envelope. An envelope has 2t of yeast and I only need 1.25t for this bread.

Herbed Whole Wheat Focaccia with Oil Cured Olives and Anchovies
1 1/4 c warm (115 degrees C if you have a thermometer, quite warm but not boiling)
2 T honey (wet the spoon, it will help dish the honey)
1 1/4 t yeast
1/2 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 T chopped fresh oregano
2 T Olive oil
2 t salt
3 1/4 c whole wheat bread flour
1 T Olive oil for bowl during first rising
2 T Olive oil for cast iron pan during second rising and baking
1/4 c chopped pitted oil cured olives
6 filets of anchovies chopped in halves or thirds into 1 inch pieces.
In the mixing bowl, dissolve the honey in the warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast. Set aside for at least 10 minutes until it's all frothy on top like a capuccino.
Wash and finely chop the herbs. Add the herbs, oil and salt to the mixing bowl and start on a slow stir with the dough hook on the mixer. Add the flour 1/2 c at a time. It may be different 1/4 c either way but I have played with this and all that flour will work its way in. When you're at 2 c, turn up speed to a 2. When it's mostly in turn to a 4 for a few seconds. Turn it down to 2 for most of the time and turn up to 4 for a few seconds every once in a while. Turn off and pull dough off the hook as it climbs at least twice. It should knead for at least 10 minutes. 8 if you want it a bit more tender. In which case, you probably shouldn't use bread flour. Bread flour is developed with extra gluten.

By the end, all the flour will have been absorbed and the bowl will be cleaned of gunk. Turn off mixer and remove bowl from the stand. Form the dough in to a ball and lift with one hand. Pour in the 1T of oil into the bowl. Swirl the dough ball around in the bowl so the bowl is coated. Plop the dough ball back in upside down so the oily part is up. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm dark place for 90 minutes.

Oil a 12" cast iron pan with 2T of olive oil. Push down the risen down and put into the pan and spread the dough out into the pan with your fingers like you're massaging someone or playing the piano. Let rise for another hour. Now you can't really cover with a cloth or it will stick. Use a pot lid or a big bowl. Pre heat oven to 375 with a rack in the lower third.

After an hour, dimple in the olives and anchovies and sprinkle 1t of course salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes. You can let it sit in the oven with the heat off in the pan for 10 min while the pan cools down or immediately lift the bread out of the pan with a big silicon spatula onto a cooling rack.
It was flipping awesome. As it cooled down it was chewier than I had planned. SO HERE IS WHAT I WOULD DO after 2 goes at this.
1) use half all purpose, unbleached flour and wholewheat breadflour OR all all purpose, unbleached flour.
2) use 3.5 T olive oil in the dough. Same amount of oil for the rest of the steps.
3) I might uses 1/4 t more yeast but that's not a biggie.
Dinner was BBQ Lobster. It was on sale at TnT for 7.99 /lb for 4 lb or bigger. That is a crazy good price for Vancouver. Now 4 lbs is a bit nuts but there are two of us. I think a generous meal would be 1.5 lbs per person. Those smaller ones sometimes go on sale but quite rarely. We missed the sale a month ago. They're normally 2x that price. We grilled a whole bunch of asparagus with some olive oil, course salt and fresh pepper.

Breakfast while baking was an Crimini Mushroom and Pepper Omlette

2 organic eggs
6 crimini mushrooms brushed and sliced
2 peppers sliced

Fry off the veg and set aside.
Beat the eggs with one of the shells of milk.
Move the egg around as it cooks in the pan until barely any more jiggly on top. I used butter in the pan on low heat. I don't like to brown the eggs. I don't like that taste.

Celery and Blue Cheese salad

This is a super easy salad and nothing is written in stone. I like more blue cheese but play it like you like it. Slice a few stalks of celery on the bias thin. About 2-3 cups. Add about 1/2 c crumbled blue cheese. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil. Sprinkle with course salt and black pepper.

BBQ Whole Lobster with Basil and Chive butter

(this is for the 4 lb, the time will vary depending on size. I've read 10 minutes for 1lb ones.)

Basil and Chive butter

1/4 softened butter (1 t salt if it's unsalted, if you want)
10 small leaves basil
1 T finely minced fresh chives
In a medium bowl chop the butter into cubes. If your butter is cold, nuke it for 10 s.
Wash the basil leaves and shake dry. Stack in a pile like sheets of paper. Roll tightly and hold firmly. Slice across the roll in 1mm thickness. (Chiffonade) You'll have ribbons of basil. Add to butter.

At your chive plant, grab the plant like you're making a ponytail. Give it a hair cut to the amount you want. Rince, holding the bunch and shake dry. Use the scissors to finly cut directly into the butter. Mix with a fork. Spread a large piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. Use a rubber spatula an mound it onto the plastic wrap. Clean as much out of the bowl and the fork. Bring up the edges of the plastic and form a ball and put in the fridge to firm up. This was more than we needed for the lobster but it lasts.



Remove the claws and crack with the back of the knife. Place on the grill. They'll take longer.
Run a large knife down the middle of the whole body. D did this. It twitched the whole time. I had to leave the room. Oil the whole lobster and sprinkle with course salt and pepper.

Place on the grill open side down for a few minutes only, lid down. Turn over and cook with split side up. Total cook time was slightly over 20 minutes. Slather with the basil and chive butter and dig in.
Leave the claws on the grill as you eat the tail and asparagus.


Serve with a white, slightly acidic and bright. Don't go too oaky. It won't play well with the lobster. Chablis, Unoaked Chardonnay or the like.

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