Loving Lobster

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. Over the past few weeks, I have treated myself to lobster almost anytime I’ve seen it on a menu. Lobster Cobb salad? Yes, please. Lobster potato salad? Absolutely. I just can’t say no to these decadent crustaceans.

What better time to celebrate luxurious lobster than adding it to your Valentine’s Day menu?! I took a cooking class a few years ago and quickly learned that cooking lobster is actually incredibly simple. The key, however, is to make sure you are buying the freshest, highest-quality lobster you can get your hands on. Enter LobsterAnywhere, a Maine-based company that ships! Maine lobsters are well known for their sweet, white meat. They’re supposedly among the best lobsters around.

Below, find a recipe from the company that you can easily prepare at home.

Grilled Tail Off Lobster

You will need:

– 1 Maine lobsters
– 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

If it is frozen, thaw the lobster. You can do this by placing it in the refrigerator overnight or running cold water over it until it is thawed.

Remove the rubber band from around the lobster’s claws.

Split the lobster in half by cutting down its spine.

Brush each half with melted butter or olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Place the lobster halves on the grill to medium-high heat (400 degrees Fahrenheit), shell-side down, and cook for about four minutes or until the meat is slightly charred.

Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

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Labor Day Burger Recipe

Every now and then, I’m reminded of recipes from my previous books that are old favorites. One of them is this lamb burger. I don’t know about you, but I love burgers and I love lamb. What makes this burger even more unique is that is has a delicious Greek twist.

As our grilling days of summer get fewer and fewer, consider mixing things up with this lamb burger recipe. It’s perfect for Labor Day weekend.

As an added stylist tip, I thought I’d share a little secret with you: I love serving burgers in a pita. It makes for a really pretty presentation and a clever twist to something that is perceived as a ho-hum burger. Plus, it contains all of the messy burger goodness to one neat little pocket. Genius!

Photo from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

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Homemade Guacamole and Salsa Verde

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. It has been so incredibly hot in Atlanta recently (or if it’s not hot, it’s raining and therefore, humid). I’ve been sticking to recipes that keep the oven off and the house cool. I’ve been deep in Annette’s archives looking for inspiration, and I found these recipes for guacamole and salsa verde. Tacos and fajitas are a quick meal that I can usually convince my husband to prepare on the grill. I love the idea of adding homemade salsa and guac to make the meal extra special.

Find the recipes for both below!

Guacamole
Serves  6-8

You will need:

– 4 ripe avocados
– 3 tablespoons lime juice
– ½ cup chopped tomatoes
– 2 cloves of garlic minced
– 1/3  red onion diced fine
– ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
– ¼ teaspoon sea salt
– 5 drops hot sauce * optional

To Prepare:

Half and scoop avocado into a bowl and smash the avocado with a fork. Next add the rest of the ingredients and combine with the fork.

Salsa Verde

You will need:

– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 12-15 tomatillos, husked
– 5 garlic cloves
– 2 green chilies
– 1 yellow onion peeled cut in half
– 1 cup fresh cilantro
– 2 tablespoons lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

To Prepare::

In a bowl toss tomatillos, chilies, onion and garlic cloves in olive oil and salt.

Place on a cookie sheet and in the oven for 20 minutes.

Let cool and then place roasted vegetables into the bowl of the food processor with chopping blade, with the cilantro lime juice and pulse for 5 seconds.

All Photos from Picture Perfect Parties, Rizzoli NY

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Fish on the Grill:: Smoked Rosemary Branzino

Why not take your grilling to a new level and try your hand at grilled Branzino?

Branzino is flaky and subtle, and it takes on flavors quite well. I love to smoke it with rosemary from our garden. The results are a buttery smokey flavor with a soft and melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s a great summer recipe and the flavors could be translated to other fish types as well. A meal like this will really wow guests. Let me know if you give it a try!

Smoked Rosemary Branzino
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3  whole cleaned Branzino about 2 lbs
– 3 lemons
– 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
– 1 large bunch of fresh rosemary on the stems
– 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped coarsely
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 3 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare:

Have your fishmonger gut and clean the fish. Rinse under cold water, pat dry and set aside.

In a glass dish place fish and coat with thyme, rosemary, salt and oil, squeeze 1 lemon over the fish and massage into the fish. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Start the fire, after coals are white, (about 1 hour) pull the fish from the fridge place on the grill, place the large bunch of rosemary next to the fish and close the lid of the grill. Smoke should start forming, do not open the grill for 5 minutes. This will ensure the smoky flavor permeates the fish.

After 5 minutes, gently turn the fish to cook the other side. Add more rosemary if the rosemary has burned. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered. Watching to make sure the fish doesn’t burn.

Remove and garnish with lemon slices and serve warm.

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Fireside Paella Party

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I have always been intrigued by cooking over an open fire. There’s nothing like burning wood to infuse every dish with a lovely smoky flavor. A few years ago, when I was the entertaining editor of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME, I hosted a fireside paella party that was featured in the magazine, and I thought that with people itching to get outdoors, it would be a great time to revive the recipe.

While paella is a labor-intensive dish, prep time accounts for most of the work, making the dish relatively easy for the host to assemble once guests arrive. I love giving even the most casual event an exotic flair. Low-slung tables on top of layered Moroccan rugs transported guests to another place. I gathered arty props, including golden Moorish lanterns with delicate filigree cutouts, to decorate the table. A collection of colorful Moroccan tea glasses with votives added twinkle, and for a pop of color, I snipped bright flower heads and scattered them down the table’s center. Hot pink peonies were especially dramatic.

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As the fire pit blazed and the sun went down, we sipped pink sangria and watched the flames lick the bubbling paella pan. If you are looking for an excuse to gather an intimate crowd without the fuss of a big meal, paella is your answer.

Annette’s Fireside Paella
Serves 8

You will need:
• 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
• Olive oil
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 green bell pepper
• 2 tablespoons saffron
• 1 pound chorizo, cut into 3-inch pieces
• ½ onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 4 cups Bomba rice (a specialty Spanish rice)
• 6 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup crushed tomatoes
• 2 cups haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
• 1 pound calamari, cleaned and cut crosswise into ½-inch rings
• 16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
• 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed
• ½ package frozen lima beans
• 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
• 2 lemons

To prepare:

Place chicken in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle chicken with paprika and ½ teaspoon salt; turn chicken to coat. Cover chicken and let marinate, refrigerated, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Remove stems, seeds, and ribs from peppers and cut into quarters. Cut quarters crosswise into ¼-inch strips; set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind saffron. Put saffron mixture in a medium bowl and add 2 cups of warm water. Whisk until well combined; set aside.

If using a charcoal grill, make a fire in your grill. When the briquettes are completely covered in gray ash, hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill grid and count how many seconds you can comfortably leave it there. When you can only hold it there for a second or two, you have high heat and are ready to cook. (Alternatively, you can cook paella on a stove over high heat.)

Place a 20-inch paella pan with 3-inch sides over heat source. Coat bottom of pan with olive oil and heat until pan is very hot, about 5 minutes. Add chicken thighs and cook, turning, until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add chorizo and cook, turning, until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.

Add onions and garlic to pan, and saute until onions are caramelized.

Add rice and saffron water to onion-garlic mixture and stir to coat; cook about 1 minute. Add 3 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, peppers, and haricots verts. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

Add chicken, sausage, calamari, and shrimp, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes more. Add clams and mussels. Cook until rice is tender, about 15 minutes, adding more stock as necessary.

Add lima beans and peas and cook until tender, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice; serve immediately.

Photography by Sarah Dorio

First appeared in Atlanta Magazine’s HOME

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