Thursday, February 9, 2012

With my love

That box of chocolates hastily grabbed on the way home, an assortment of rainbow colored macaroons and a vanilla scented candle burning; expectations high.

The cynics decry this day for should we not show
our love everyday, but what is wrong with a moment dedicated to the expression of appreciation? A robin’s egg blue bag is lovely to find perched on the kitchen counter next to your morning coffee as is bouquet of your favorite flower, but for me these synthesized lyrical messages are not necessary. No, what I need is time together.

Love is the collective effort put into something or someone, and is not a purchased feeling and does not have to be manifested with a red laminated heart. I want the sweat of the relation to be the present and not just due to the slick remnant of an embrace (though I would snub that). In ruminating how I wanted to spend our day of recognition I made the request we spend it together building and prepping for the future…in the garden. It may be the dead of winter and every little is growing, but spring will be here tomorrow and life’s bed must be made. So, my gift will be a three-day rental of a 5-horse power roto-tiller, delivery of 12 buckets of aged manure, and me and my partner spending time the days together toiling away and re-committing to the future.

Many may view a whole weekend of rising early and working in the cold not very romantic though for me it is quite the opposite. Sharing life, creating memories and planning for the future is deeply touching to me and reinforces the commitment I am in, not to forget the hope for a bountiful harvest months after the FTS flowers have died and that box of chocolates is still requiring a regular spin class visits to offset that Valentine largess. 

Mango Lobster Salad – yields 4 servings

1-small red onion – thinly sliced
1-lime – juiced (approx 1/3-cup)
1-1/2 pound lobster
1 mango
1 avocado
1/2-cup thinly sliced heart of palm

Bring a wide 6-quart pot filled with water to the boil. Place the lobster in the water and cook for 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the water, and allow the lobster to cool.

In the interim, toss the sliced onion with the lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a small work bowl, and let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

Peel and slice the mango and avocado into 1/8-inch thick strips.

Next, breakdown the lobster by carefully cracking the lobster’s shells and removing the tail and claw meat. Ideally, you want to remove whole sections of meat. Slice the tail meat into sixths on a slight angle. Slice the claw, as well on an angle, in fourths.

Assemble the salad by placing a ring mold (a tuna can opened on both sides works as well) on the center of the plate. Lay down a layer of avocado, then mango. Fan a layer of lobster meat, and then repeat with the mango and avocado. Top each mold with a layer of heart of palm. Gently remove the mold, and garnish each mold with a bit of the red onion. Drizzle each salad with Mint-Cilantro Dressing (recipe follows).

Mint-Cilantro Sauce – yields approx. 1 cup

1/4-cup soy sauce
2-tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/8-teaspoon fennel seeds
1-teaspoon orange zest
1/2-cup mint leaves
1/4-cup cilantro leaves
4 scallions – green portion only
1/4-cup olive oil
1/8-teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place all ingredients into the container of a blender, and process until completely smooth. Taste and correct seasoning.