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Help in planning a Down-East lobster dinner menu

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Just found out I'm in co-charge of a LobsterFest for the Hinsdale Rotary Club to be held on Fridary, February 19. It was announced today in our weekly newsletter. First I'd heard about it. :rolleyes:

We hold it in a community house which has a pretty decent commercial kitchen, so the equipment shouldn't be a problem. We'll be boiling between 60 and 80 live lobsters. We traditionally serve fried corn fritters with this (we haven't done it for about eight or ten years, so I'm a little rusty.)

I'd like to have fried clam strips either as a side or appetizer. (I spent 4 years hanging out at the sidewalk kitchen in front of Ivar's Acres of Clams on the waterfront in Seattle, soaking up his remarkable fried clams, and I have very fond memories.) I make a mean Tartar Sauce, so that's not a problem.

I priced FedEx-ed live Maine lobsters... :eek: :eek: :eek: so we will probably get them from a large Chicago seafood distributor, Supreme Lobster, which is conveniently nearby.

I need other suggestions - apps and nibbles, sides, desserts, and so I have turned again to my always-reliable staff :p at ChefTalk!

I'll appreciate your suggestions as I always do.

Thanks

Mike :smoking:
travelling gourmand
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post #2 of 23
Found this menu ...not sure how formal your going ?

Goat cheese medallions
Roasted olives with fennel and lemon
Asperagus / Bacon
Spicy scallop / cranberry jam
Pinot Gris Pear sorbet
Lobster with caviar mousse and dijon mustard sauce
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse with a 3 split strawberry / mint leaf on top or

Keller's Molten Chocolate tart.

Petals
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

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post #3 of 23
Is this event supposed to be authentic Down-East?

Clam chowdah.
Steamed clams not fried (and never strips).
Corn on the cob.
Roasted or baked potatoes, or potato salad.
Cole Slaw
Rolls.
Choc cake or brownies or strawberry shortcake.
post #4 of 23
Ya beat me to it, KCZ.

Mike, at traditional clam bakes, everything actually is steamed. So you might give some thought to that. Steaming the clams would also make the logistics a little easier, particularly if you stick with the corn fritters.

Were it me, I'd have a New England style clam chowder as a starter. And something like an apple pan dowdy for dessert.

Along with the whole lobsters I'd have corn on the cob, steamer clams, roasted or steamed potatoes, and lots and lots of melted butter.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 23
While petals has a great menu, KCZ's is more like what I'm used to getting in New England. But I'd substitute your corn fritters for on-the-cob, since you can make them just fine with canned or frozen and what you can get on-the-cob in February is not fit to eat. :angry: And I agree about the steamed clams -- esp. if you are going to do the fritters. What with all the melted butter, you don't really want another fried dish.

May I add Indian pudding (cornmeal, molasses, eggs, spices) as a potential dessert? :lips:

And don't forget the whipped cream on dessert, whatever it is. :thumb:
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks, gang -

We're off to a good start and I appreciate it all!

Don't know why I didn't think of chowdah and Indian pudding right off the bat. Lived in and around Boston for 12 years, so I should have had it in mind. :blush:

My wife does an excellent chowder, and I've recently made Durgin Park's recipe for Indian pudding. That will definitely be on the bill of fare. With a nice vanilla ice cream. By the way, if anybody gives you an Indian pudding recipe that calls for corn syrup, cross him off your cooking list. Only dark molasses (not blackstrap - it's too strong) is appropriate.

Keep going! :thumb:

Mike

and...

I'm with Suz'... corn on the cob ain't with it in February, and frozen - or even TJ's canned is quite good, so we'll stay with fritters, most likely.
travelling gourmand
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
KCZ-
Sounds like you come from the right place to advise me...

How about the steamed clams? (You may not wean me away from my beloved fried clam strips (with tartar sauce) but I'd like to think about them.

Can you refer me to a recipe?

Thanks

Mike
travelling gourmand
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post #8 of 23
Hi Mike>>>

you have a PM :thumb:

dan


Edit add: Wow, is everything sounding good! My wife and I drove to Maine before our first child was born. What great food we had...and the chowder. You simply can't eat without trying a bowl from each and every place!

The party's sounding really good.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hey, Dan...
All you have to do is join the Hinsdale Rotary Club, and you can come, too!

Mike

We gotta get together one of these days.
travelling gourmand
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post #10 of 23
burr ridge, how far are you from STL?
menu reads great.
Lemon ice cream another good option, though apple crisp or pandowdie sounds wonderful too....with loads of whipped cream.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 23
Mike,


A few more to the list:


Oyster crackers for your chowder
Steamed mussels
Crab cakes
Crab dip


Red potato salad
White beans
Green beans
Cucumber salad
Pasta salad
Wild rice
Couscous
Sweet potato fries


Hollandaise sauce with orange peel (maltaise sauce)
Tomato or bell pepper puree (sabayon)
Bearnaise sauce
Gremolata


Flavoured butters
basil
Terragon
Citronella
Maitre d'hotel

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(155 photos)
  
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(155 photos)
  
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post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
"burr ridge, how far are you from STL?"

Not too close, Shroom' - it's at the far end of I 55, just outside Chicago. But, if you want to come up and give me a hand, let me know. :roll: We could certainly use an actual caterer!

I'm pretty much a Missouri type, myself. Born in St. Louis; mother from Troy, and father from a farming family in Jackson, just up the road from Cape Girardeau. They met at the U of Missouri, Columbia (the only one at that time.)

They went east, though, and I grew up in Bethesda, MD, so I'm part of that Eastern Establishment. Do my best to live it down, since I've come back and lived in flyover country since 1961, though with a 10-year hiatus on the West Coast, where I acquired a taste for Dungeness crabs...:thumb:

Mike
travelling gourmand
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post #13 of 23
Being from Maine I have been to a couple of Down East Shore Dinenrs in my life time hehe

Quite often strawberry shortcake on a biscuit is served.

And NEVER clam strips. hehe

the clams and lobster should be steamed of course.

Have also seen bean hole baked beans served in stead of cold slaw too.
post #14 of 23
yes, we do :)

Let me know what you think of Succulent Seafood.

dan
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
PJ-
Obviously, I have to acknowledge your regional expertise...

But since I'm in charge (and doing most of the cooking) by jing I'm gonna have fried clam strips! :lol: Just a little gourmetic license.

As a matter of fact, our likely supplier, Supreme Lobster, sells prepard, battered clam strips, so I expect we will just get a bushel of these and supply the hot oil ourselves.

Thanks for reminding me of the baked beans; another lapse of memory on my part. They're on the tentative menu now. And, the strawberry shortcake will be an excellent excuse for the large quantities of whipped cream suggested by many on this thread.

I continue to be grateful for your interest and help. :thumb:

Mike
travelling gourmand
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post #16 of 23
I would go with loaded shrimp hushpuppies instead of corn fritters.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Interesting idea.

Can you refer me to a recipe?

Thanks

Mike
travelling gourmand
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post #18 of 23
Any thoughts on beverages? Suggestions could be handy here :) Sounds like a great feast
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #19 of 23
Clam strips??? Oh, I am in pain here. LOL, j/k.

As to the steamed clam recipe, I don't believe there is one...you get a bunch of clams and throw them in a big pot +/- some seaweed, although I expect the latter would be hard to come by in the Midwest.
post #20 of 23
Oh yes, an apple crisp would be great. Another thing that I'm sure everyone would enjoy is a chicken pot pie or say a pumpkin cheesecake.
post #21 of 23

Shrimp Hushpuppies

Shrimp Hushpuppies: (This was originally a Neely FNTV recipe)

1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use more & I also add 1 teaspoon Old Bay)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 small onion, grated
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, cleaned and tails removed, chopped (I use 3/4 pound)
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Peanut oil, for frying

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Drop heaping tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into the hot oil. I use a 1" mini scooper that I spray with non stick spray.

Fry in batches for 2 to 3 minutes each.

Remove from the oil to paper towels to drain and season immediately with salt and pepper Transfer to a serving platter or bowl and serve with the onion dip.

Recipe makes about 20 to 22 hushpuppies (1" diameter hushpuppies for me) using the mini scooper. I also have made the batter ahead of time and kept chilled in an air tight container.:thumb:
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
MrsBush...

Thanks very much for the recipe.

I'm not usually much a fan of the Neeleys, but this one reads pretty well indeed.

I'll give it a try before we get down to the wire. :thumb:
travelling gourmand
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post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

How about appetizers?

Great suggestions so far, and much appreciated.

Seems like I'm short of appetizers. Not sure about the clam strips (which are very New England, as well as West Coast) as appetizer - maybe more of a side.

The chowder's probably more of a first course than an app.

Keep 'em coming, please!

Mike :thumb:

Yeah, I know it's hard to do fried clam strips if you're steaming everything, but this is a dinner out of a commercial kitchen, not a beach party feed! :lol:
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