Is anything really as plain as “Vanilla” or as simple as “Vanilla?” To be “vanilla” is actually saying a lot and nowadays even more so. Because of conditions in the world, vanilla is now becoming an expensive commodity. So, to be “vanilla” today is considered something very special.
Many times, people should be like vanilla… simple, yet inviting. Vanilla adds so much to the culinary world. Vanilla is comforting, like a warm hug, a gentle and kind word, a soothing touch. Vanilla adds a dimension to many foods, mostly baked goods, that leaves the taste-buds in pure ecstasy.
In life, we should do the same. When we are in the presence of others, we should always leave making the other person feel good about themselves and /or for what they are doing! We should leave adding a dimension to their lives that will always make them remember you, your kindness and genuine caring of them and their needs. We should never as humans speak negatively towards anyone, for we are ALL brothers and sisters. The world is growing and as we grow, we are forced to learn about one another and our ways, cultures, religious beliefs and so on. When a person does not understand or has a hard time learning that is when anger, hate, frustration and dissension happens among (Wo)mankind. It is our duty to open up our minds and our hearts, to learn and accept each other and mostly, to LOVE one another.
People are like ingredients in the food world. Just like in mankind, in the food world, there is literally thousands of different spices, herbs, meats, fishes, produce… you get the point! There is a lot to choose from and you don’t always know about every single thing, BUT (and that is a big but) we have the ability, in most cases, to study and learn! Think about it, if you only had one ingredient to cook, how boring would that be? Well, mankind is the same, if we were all the same, the world would be just a bunch of drones. Now the question really would be, then, what would that clone be designed after, what would be the basis of its being. So, as you can see, it is absolutely necessary that we are all different and being different means that we all are DIFFERENT! Seriously then, why does anyone want or even feel that they can change another human being.
O.K. just like with food, we can alter it in some form or fashion, but that doesn’t mean we change the core of that being (or food). In the food world, it is actually more exciting to incorporate several ingredients to create a sensational dish or baked good. In life, it is becoming the same way in the fact that as new cultures start to blend together, just think about how wonderful life will be! Now, instead of just dancing the way you always have, now you can learn new dances, new songs, new foods, new ways to make life even more exciting! That will happen only and only when we get past the prejudice, the angers, the violence that is happening around the world. Once we embrace one another as brothers and sisters (from another mother…) then the world will be a little more like “Heaven on earth!”
With vanilla becoming a rare commodity at the present, it is like “liquid gold”, so today’s recipe will, of course, feature vanilla and is something that was created years ago when working down in Boca Raton. Now that gig is a story in itself, anyhow, one day, one of his guest was a real estate tycoon, not mentioning any names but you can say that no one will “trump” him! That particular day, the menu was “Vanilla” poached lobster. The sauce is basically an “Americana” sauce infused with fresh vanilla bean paste and the lobsters were poached with the vanilla bean skins in the water. If using fresh lobsters, poach in the water for only 3 minutes and then instantly submerge into an ice bath. You only want to cook the meat several minutes, not all of the way. Placing the vanilla bean skin in the water adds another dimension to the flavor profiles of the dish. Remove the lobster, cool and then proceed to remove the meat from the tail and claws.
Side note: to crack the claws without a mess, place into a Ziploc bag and that will keep the squirting inside the bag!
O.K. next a traditional butter poaching method is used with the vanilla bean paste added to the butter mixture. Using some of the reserved poaching water*, here is a basic butter poaching method.
- 1 tsp. raw sugar
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. water *(water reserved from poaching liquid)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/4 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Lobster meat reserved from par poaching
- 1 Tbsp. chervil sprigs
Directions: In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low and slowly begin whisking in the chunks of butter to emulsify. Do not allow to boil or sauce will separate. Adjust heat to keep the temperature of the butter mixture between 160-190°F for poaching. Whisk in vanilla and sea salt. Add lobster tails to butter sauce (beurre monte) and poach 6-8 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. The lobster consistency should be soft and the color opaque. Remove lobster from the beurre monte, garnish with chervil, and serve or you can be really decadent and serve with the Sauce Americana below.
Left side note: Heating butter above 160°F will cause it to separate. A beurre monte is a technique of keeping melted butter in an emulsified state between 180-190°F for poaching meats or vegetables.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound whole lobster, steamed and shells removed (*reserve 1 cup of stock)
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 cup lobster stock*
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Salt/ pepper and pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla paste or to taste
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter. When the pan is smoking hot, add the lobster shells. Sauté the shells for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bright red. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato puree. Flambé the brandy. Pour in the lobster stock and white wine. Season with parsley, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid up to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine chinois into a sauce pot. Whisk in the cream and bring up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the 3 tablespoons butter, one tablespoon at a time, then season with the vanilla, salt/ pepper and cayenne.
You can add some exotic mushrooms like Crimini, shitake, morels and the likes along with a few red and yellow cherry tomatoes for a little color and the acids helps balance the vanilla sauce. Let simmer until the mushrooms are tender and then add the tomatoes for just a minute or so. To serve, you can be as creative as you feel. You can slice the tail and re-construct the lobster, using the head as garnish and the tail piece. You can leave the tail whole and layer the dish with risotto. It is endless in the ways that you can prepare the final plating.
One thing for sure, get ready for a major, intensely rich “Mouthgasm!” Seriously folks, this is a very rich, extremely tasty crowd pleaser! So that means you must invite a crowd (size depends on you) over and celebrate life! Then, my friends, you again are doing your part to spread world peace, one intense “Mouthgasm” at a time!
Remember, nothing is ever as plain as it seems. There is always something more, something deeper inside each and every one of us. The trick is to be deep, with added dimensions yet simple, comforting and inviting! To give to the world your love, your compassion, yourself… is something that each and every one of us should do! GIVE, give of yourself everyday and the world will be a much better place! May the Universe in all of its Glory, bless you in ways that you would never imagine and why, because you are worth it and you, my friends, are simply amazing, never forget that! Until next time, give yourself a big HUG and go to the mirror, right now and tell that beautiful human being staring back at you just how much you love YOU! Peace
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others! Gandhi