Sunday, July 31, 2011

My birthday lunch!

Mother Nature delivered big with a sunny summer day to help me celebrate my 50th year on Earth! I made a delicious al fresco lunch that Dan and I enjoyed under the shady pergola along with my twin brother, his wife and my mom. For the lunch I envisioned all quintessential farm fresh foods and treasures from the sea, and finally decided upon a cobb salad made with lobster instead of chicken. My very clever husband named this a cobbster salad. How perfect! In a circular mold I layered diced yellow tomatoes and corn, then creamy avocado with a hearty squeeze of lemon, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, diced crispy Black Forest bacon and, finally, the lobster, which I had mixed with a dressing of mayo, diced shallots, grated lemon zest, scallions, chives, smokey pimentón paprika, cayenne pepper, cider vinegar and honey. I know, right?! The limoncello vinaigrette for the calamari course came from Mario Batali—the man, the myth, the legend. One interesting note: the squid ink pasta garnish for the calamari dish was cooked, then molded into squiggly shapes and baked in the oven until crisp. The end result was a crispy crackery bite with just a subtle hint of the sea. The lobsters were supplied from my teenage nephew Devin, caught in his traps off the Beverly coastline. Lettuce, tomatoes, corn, edible flower blossoms and herbs came from either my gardens or Marini Farm in Ipswich. A special shout out to my mom's neighbor Teresa (a wine rep) who supplied some of the sparkling wines that we consumed. We also imbibed a lovely French Pouilly Fuisse, an Italian Mionnetto Prosecco, a Spanish Segura Viudas Cava, and other miscellaneous libations. Hey, it was a very long afternoon! Here's the menu:

Moët & Chandon champagne
amuse bouche of mozzarella pearls, tomatoes, pesto and boxwood basil

Pallini limoncello
sauté of calamari with limoncello vinaigrette, 
chive oil, chili, and crunchy squid ink pasta

2009 Charles Viénot poully fuisse
lobster cobb salad tower

Mionetto prosecco
nectarine and blueberry tart with honey vanilla ice cream

Happy birthday to me!

Parting shot...
A lucky wasp had a few sips of my sweet and tart limoncello!

all photos, Dan Ryan and Diane Carnevale

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