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In another life I spent lots of time in Sarasota, FL as my first husband’s family lived there. Fast forward to a recent trip to Longboat Key visiting good friends from Canada. Blessed with spectacular weather, we took a little time out and, partly in homage to the announced closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, went to the Ringling complex.
Full disclosure: I’ve always been something of a circophile as I went regularly with my father as a child and, even by myself as an adult, never missed the show’s annual appearance at Madison Square Garden. Something about so much spectacular all at once that appealed to my multi-tasking self.
We went to the Circus Museum that houses the enormous Howard Bros. Circus Model, a 44,000-piece re-creation of the circus from 1919-1938 when it played one-night stands all over the country. The model is terrific, depicting the gigantic cook tent where thousands of meals were served daily; rehearsal areas, tents devoted to circus horses, raising the big top and more.
Adjacent displays include several calliopes, costumes, posters, circus wagons and memorabilia including enormous rings, exactly like one that the “World’s Tallest Man” nonchalantly slipped off his finger and into my hand so I could wear it as a bracelet. There are videos of famous circus acts including the Flying Wallendas, Clyde Beatty and Gunther Gabel Williams, both of “wild” animal training fame. I loved the poster of one of my fave acts, the seal who played the horn (does anyone remember the song–could it have been My Country ‘Tis of Thee?) Sadly, there was no mention of another act I loved, Unis, the man who balanced on one finger wearing top hat (never removed) and tails.
I remember the pre-show fun of going downstairs to feed the elephants and see Gargantua, the gorilla who hulked in his specially air-conditioned cage. I found him terrifying as I was always sure this would be the day he’d break free and crush me to death –not very Jane Goodall but that’s nine years old for you.
In May Ringling Bros. will close, partly due to rising costs, partly to animal activism and probably also because entertainment is now available at the touch of a button on an electronic device. Despite all the work it took to arrange and perform, the circus remains a romantic, romanticized part of American history.
Popcorn is an integral part of circus lore. Herewith, Popcorn Cauliflower:
Florets from 2 cauliflower hearts–if florets are too big cut in half.
1 tsp salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
About 6 Tbls olive oil
Preheat oven to 450. In large bowl combine everything except the cauliflower and mix. Then add cauliflower and toss to coat well. Place in single layer on a cookie sheet and roast uncovered for 30-35 minutes, tossing pieces occasionally.
And that, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, is it. Pink lemonade is the time-honored circus beverage but if this veggie will be part of dinner, how about a cold white wine? A toast to Ringling and his confreres.
For those non-New Yorkers, the Q is the just-opened Second Avenue subway. Construction of same has been going on seemingly forever, wrecking businesses along the avenue, adding to traffic congestion in the area and generally driving everyone mad.
The three-stop new line opened New Year’s Day; as I was going to a party ‘up the line’ I took it. Talk about small worlds: I got off at my stop and ran into people I know. While we chatted we took the very long escalator to the top and ‘ran into’ my (non-New Yorker) older daughter and her significant other coming down the opposite escalator. The Q is what the rest of our ancient subway should look like–clean, shiny, laden with interesting art and pretty nice all around. Sadly, two days later when I took the Q again, soil was beginning to build up although it has a long way to go to match the rest!
The second Q trip took me to the Museum of Art and Design, a truly great venue that doesn’t get enough visitors. I’d planned to go to the current show’s opening reception but got stuck in traffic so this was my exposure to the current exhibition devoted to the work of five artists.
Crochet Coral Seas: Toxic Reef is made up of crocheted yarn combined with plastic trash from the ocean to point up the stress living reefs undergo due to global warming. The exhibit, the work of sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim as well as other crafters, is gorgeous, colorful and uplifting as well as upsetting when you think of all the junk in our waters. Another work on view is Forbidden Fruit by Chris Antemann who works in Meissen porcelain–I don’t usually think of porcelain as sexy and
lascivious but here it is. Both shows close pretty soon so get to MAD if they interest you. While there, drop into what is absolutely the most wonderful museum gift shop in the city– while very little could be characterized as inexpensive, everything is stunning.
On Saturday, during our biggest snowfall this winter so far, there was a sign- making workshop for the upcoming Women’s March Saturday, January 21 from 11-4. It’s going to be a zoo but it’s a once in a lifetime (let’s hope) thing. There will be similar marches in DC, others US cities and many in other parts of the world; this is the link if you want to sign up and take part:
Were you marching and afterwards could make your way back to my home, I might serve you:
WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH SAUSAGE AND COLLARDS (this amount feeds 6; just double for 12)
1 package frozen bulk sausage, thawed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 packages frozen chopped collard greens (or substitute frozen chopped spinach or kale)—do not thaw
2 cans cannelloni beans, drained, rinsed and slightly mashed
Salt and pepper
1 Tbls. red wine vinegar
Cook sausage and onion in a large pan over medium heat until sausage is all cooked through to brown and crumbled into bits. Try not to let bottom of pan burn.
Add collard greens or spinach, beans and 4 cups water, season with salt and pepper. (About 1 Tbls. salt –add, taste and add more depending). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until soup thickens a little, about 8 minutes. Stir in the red wine vinegar.
Serve with crusty bread and a salad. Drink to getting through the next four years.
Please click above to go to the article on my October trip to Verona, (Venice, second part of the trip, will come later), published 12/09/16 on Go Nomad.
Now for an accompanying recipe. You didn’t think I’d be nutty enough to give you a recipe for donkey as in the article did you? These meatballs are easy and can feed a crowd as part of a buffet or a small group as dinner.
Lamb Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 onion, peeled and chopped very small
1/4 c heavy cream
2 egg yolks (recipe says extra large but use what you have)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch cayenne pepper (if not around, use a good grind of regular pepper)
2 lbs ground lamb (or the pork, veal, beef mix you can buy to make meatloaf)
Kosher salt, more freshly ground black pepper
1 c bread crumbs
1/4 c chopped parsley
Heat broiler. In bowl mix onion, cream, egg yolks, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cayenne or other pepper. Add lamb. Season well with salt and pepper. Add bread crumbs and parsley and combine well. Make meat into balls just a little bit bigger than golfballs.
Grease baking pan with olive oil and put meatballs on it, spacing evenly. Put in broiler and cook, turning once or twice until brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven.
28 oz can whole tomatoes
3 Tbls olive oil
dash of rosemary (sprig of fresh; pinch of dried)
1 med onion peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/4 c orange juice
3 inch strip of orange peel with white under part removed.
Chop tomatoes or use blender to chop. Put olive oil in medium saucepan, heat a minute, add rosemary, red pepper, blend.Cook another minute, then add onion, thyme, cumin, bay leaf and cook about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, orange juice and peel. Cook about10 minutes over medium-low heat. Add salt if needed.
Pour sauce into a big baking dish (a lasagne pan works fine) that can go into oven. Put meatballs in sauce. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until sauce bubbles and meatballs are cooked through. Serve w feta crumbled on top. Toast meatballs and Verona in Valpolicella. Or your house plonk.
The Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, is to my mind, the most beautiful theater in NYC It was built in 1907; originally named the Stuyvesant and renamed after Belasco in 1910. David Belasco, known as ‘the Bishop of Broadway,’ (a tad odd for a nice Jewish boy but he loved the appellation and went around in a sort of clerical collar), had the theater built as he wanted it, complete with Tiffany ceiling panels and other Tiffany lights as well as magnificent woodwork and murals. In 2010 , the theater, which has been owned by the Shubert Organization since 1948, underwent a massive restoration to bring it back as much as possible to the condition it was in when Belasco was alive.
I had the chance to see the theater inside and out thanks to work as a volunteer with the New York Landmarks Conservancy which gave the coveted Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award to the theater for interior renovation in 2011. The theater is small with 1000 seats and has two balconies so it’s not suitable for all productions. In the company of Thomas Stein, the Shubert project coordinator for the renovation, we started our visit onstage and then went to view the star’s dressing room which is relatively small but at least it’s a single with its own shower and toilet. As you go up, dressing rooms and accompanying plumbing are more, um, democratic.
The 2011 renovation was overseen by designer Francesca Russo who brought back the cozy ‘living room’ atmosphere Belasco envisioned. Downstairs, a series of murals by Chmielewski depicts scenes from Rienzi, a Wagner opera I’d never heard of, that includes a portrait of a
pope with Belasco’s face.
Lighting was enormously important to Belasco who wanted his productions to have a natural look. Belasco is credited with helping develop modern stage lighting to evoke mood and setting. Beginning in February, 2017, Joe Mantello and Sally Field will be at the theater in The Glass Menagerie. I can’t speak about the production but the theater is glorious.
Here’s a bit of a jump. Among Belasco’s theatrical endeavors was writing Madam Butterfly which was later adapted as the libretto for Puccini’s opera of the same name. Madam Butterfly–Japan–teriyaki salmon, yes? Why not?
Teriyaki Salmon from Gordon Ramsey
2 piece of fresh ginger, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced (I’d use one if I used garlic at all)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp mirin (rice wine)
4 salmon fillets Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the ginger and garlic into a bowl and mix with the soy sauce, maple syrup, mirin and a drizzle of olive oil.
Place the salmon fillets in a dish, season with salt and pepper and pour the sticky dressing over them. Cover with film (as in Saran wrap) and set aside in the fridge to marinate for up to 2 hours, but at least 20 minutes.
Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of oil. When hot, add the salmon, skin side down, reserving the marinade. Cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the reserved marinade and cook for a further minute or so, until the salmon fillets are opaque halfway up the sides. Turn them over and cook on the other side for 3–4 minutes, basting with the sauce so that the salmon is well coated. Add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick.
Serve the salmon fillets on individual plates, spooning over any teriyaki sauce left in the pan.
Belasco was a stickler for detail so perhaps you’d like to summon his ghost,(said to have haunted the theater until Oh! Calcutta played there), and serve sake with dinner. No? Your call.
I’m taking a course at Hunter College called Shakespeare’s Heroines. Hunter is a wonderful resource, (and handy– only a few blocks away from where I live), although they don’t make it easy to register as what’s known as a ‘senior auditor.’ My sense is they offer this ‘perk’ because, as part of the CUNY system, they have to.
The professor, who shall go unnamed, is a treat, reminding me in the best possible way of some of my Vassar teachers. Not a kid, this woman also teaches at PACE and Montclair State University in NJ–something like six or seven different courses overall, which seems like an incredible load –yet somehow manages to keep it all straight. Years of experience probably help. She’s well-informed, has a sense of humor and structured the Hunter course so the students learn how to write a research paper using resources like the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and learn to understand Shakespeare as theater.
One of the course requirements is seeing one of the Bard’s plays live and in person and documenting attendance. Early in the season I ran into a young classmate, (an actual, matriculated student), at a presentation of Measure for Measure at Bryant Park. Never one of my favorite works, this offering was not enhanced by the addition of a “minstrel,” i.e., an overall-clad guy who played the banjo with accompanying bells on one ankle as well as a noisy party behind the stage that looked like a lot more fun than watching Isabella and Claudio. Each actor in the play had elected to speak in a different dialect, several vaguely Southern, and the whole was a mish-mash of styles. The good part: it was free and I saw it with friends.
Taking a course now is a big departure from back in the day. I mostly do the required reading (a play a week plus several critical works) but don’t deal with either papers or exams. In some ways, age does bring privileges.
This recipe has nothing–zero-zip– to do with Shakespeare but it does require (a little) measuring. It works well for serving to a group and can be frozen for later use. The original came from Sam Sifton in the NY Times a few weeks ago. I modified it for ease; it’s probably not as good as Sam’s version but quicker and would have been even more so had I put my blender together correctly and not had a sauce explosion that set me back a good half-hour.
Chicken Tetrazzini (modified from Sam Sifton, New York Times)
This is a link to the original recipe: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018335-chicken-tetrazzini
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3 or 4 cremini mushrooms (or not; I thought they’d make a nice addition)
1 ½ cups chicken stock, (Sam suggests homemade or low salt–guess which I used?)
1 tsp cayenne (original recipe calls for several kinds of chilies requiring seeding, cooking, peeling. To decrease the work AND degree of hotness as I was cooking for non-spice lovers, I simply used cayenne. Next time will bump up amount to 1 Tbls or use real chilies.)
1 ½ cups whole milk (I used 2% and whole would be far better)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (or less)
1 medium-size shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese (buy packaged)
1 pound spaghetti
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, the meat removed and shredded, approximately 1 pound
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
Put porcini in small bowl, pour boiling water over them and let them soak. Strain, chop, set aside.
In a medium pot over medium heat combine chicken stock, milk, garlic, shallots. Simmer about ten minutes. Add cayenne, remove from heat and pour into a blender with 6 ounces of the grated Cheddar. Process to a smooth consistency. Reserve.
Heat oven to 400. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water in the large pot until just al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Return spaghetti to the cooking pot and toss it with all mushrooms, chicken and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a casserole dish, approximately 9 inches by 13 inches (in my house called a ‘lasagna pan’) and pour the reserved cheese sauce over it. Cover with the remaining shredded cheese, place in oven and bake until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.
Not hard, not all that much measuring and delicious. Serve with a good salad and voila, there’s dinner. Pour the wine but skip measuring. These days we need all the alcohol we can get.
St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. On Sunday, October 2nd, thousands of people and animals of every type gathered at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine for the saint’s feast which includes the annual Blessing of the Animals. It’s a hoot, or, more correctly, a yowl, bark, snort and whinny.
There were lots of incredibly well-behaved dogs (and a few cats) in attendance, each sporting a red carnation. Zoe, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel sat quietly behind us; down the row a large lab wagged herself silly; everyone smiled benignly at the occasional outbreak of barking.
During the event, I had several sneezing attacks which my friend insisted was a coatimundi allergy.
(For those not in the know, a coatimundi is a racoon-esque mammal with a ring-tale.) This particular coati was among the more exotic animals in the procession that included a camel, cow, horse, kangaroo, goats, hawks, owls, a huge tortoise aboard a rolling dolly, a peacock, rabbits, a fox and other birds and beasts.. The highlight, though probably not for her or her handlers, was when Peggy, a white llama, lay down in the aisle next to our seats and would not be budged. Finally, when the procession traversed back up the aisle and a cow almost tripped on her, Peggy arose and agreed to depart. Clearly, she had other plans for the day.
In addition to the regular service and the animals there were dancers, puppets, music set to sounds of the tundra wolf, humpback whale, harp seal and more. Churches all over bless animals in honor of St. Francis but none does it in more style than St. John’s.
Since we spent the day honoring animals, it seems wrong to include a meat recipe. Herewith, something that doesn’t involve anything with a face or a mother:
Chunky Vegetarian Chili (courtesy Cooking Light)
Serves 8 (if you want less, decrease proportionately)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 16-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, juice and all
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Get out that can opener!
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add sugar and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Serve in mugs or bowls with a salad, bread, taco chips or what you will.
Be sure there’s water in your pet’s bowl. For you, a glass of wine.
Spent a week in the Berkshires, specifically Becket, MA, home of Jacob’s Pillow. My rented cottage was only a small step up the bunk I’d shared at camp in Maine many moons ago, in Sherwood Forrest, an area rife with cutesy, Robin Hood-esque names (Maid Marion Drive, Will Scarlett Lane, etc.), just across the street from a pretty lake.
The location required a tad too much time behind the wheel as every event was in a different hamlet. One night I went to Tanglewood, something I’d never thought of as a competitive sport. It is if you picnic on the lawn and return your lawn chair to your car before going into the concert venue. Finding your car after the concert is another sport–I clocked in at one-half hour, a personal best.
In Pittsfield to collect a friend I stumbled into the very chic Hotel on North where your breakfast comes in a galvanized pail (God know why you’d want it served that way but it’s probably cute). There’s a very good bar and restaurant just off the lobby as well as Dory & Ginger (www.doryandginger.com) a wonderful gift shop packed with delightful things to take as hostess gifts (or use yourself.) Cara Carroll, one of the owners and I began to chat and she recommended dinner at the Dream Away Lodge, not too far from the rented cottage, www.thedreamawaylodge.com. Rumored to have been a brothel and speakeasy during the depression, Dream Away is a terrific restaurant complete with outdoor fire pit and a wildflower meditation labyrinth as well as live music on many nights. Dinner was so good we returned for a second outing.
At Melville’s home, Arrowhead, we learned that “sleep tight” is a holdover from the days of rope beds– as the rope slackened, it required tightening. Didn’t look ultra-comfy regardless. Melville, who had worked onboard whaling ships, wrote Moby Dick at Arrowhead where he became friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne to whom he dedicated the book. The Melville-Hawthorne friendship was deep but for some reason didn’t last very long.
It was a great week including meals at the houses of friends in the area.
This is a recipe for Mexican Elote which we had as an appetizer at Dream Away (not their official recipe.) Make it –it will change the way you think about mayo even if you hate it. In Mexico you get the whole ear of corn; we had it as kernels cut off the cob, mixed with the other ingredients and presented with tortilla chips to dip with.
This amount would serve four. For fewer, decrease amounts; for more, increase. It would work fine mid-winter with frozen corn kernels.
4 ears corn, shucked
1/4 cup melted butter (think you could skip this)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese (or use feta)
tortilla chips if you’re going to remove kernels and serve as an h’ors doeuvre.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. (Note; grilled is better but you can get away with cooking the corn in the usual fashion–it just won’t have that charred taste).
Grill corn until hot and lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill. Roll the ears in melted butter, then spread evenly with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese, then sprinkle with chili powder. (If you’re going to go the appetizer route, cut off the kernels, mix mayo and cheese, toss kernels and sprinkle chili powder on top. Serve in dish with tortilla chips. (a blast of fresh lime juice won’t hurt either.)
A round of margaritas might be in order but a cold beer, Mexican or not, would go nicely.
Thanks to cousins who own a house on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in Western NY, I had a chance to visit. The Chautauqua Institution, (always referred to as “the Institution” with echos of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, although it’s not remotely similar), is a few miles up the road. Originally called the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, the Institution was founded in 1874 as an educational experiment in out-of-school vacation learning–with a heavy Methodist overlay. Today, about 7500 people visit during the nine week summer season attending readings, talks, opera, dance, concerts, and other programs.
We went to a talk by writer Lily King describing how she put together her book, Euphoria, a novel loosely based on the life of Margaret Mead. (If you haven’t read it, run, do not walk.) King is in her early 50s with long, blonde ringlets and a joyful, unaffected manner. It had been a while since I read the book– re-reading it was even better. FYI, the Chautauqua book club, more formally known as the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, began in 1878 making it the oldest continually operating American book group.
The Mikado was playing one evening, a version larded with Chautauqua- specific jokes and references. We went to see it performed in a very old, rather majestic theater. Another night, my hostess and I heard the Music School Festival Orchestra play a work by Richard Strauss, (yes, the waltz king but this was a tone poem with a title that translates as Alpine Symphony), accompanied by glorious nature photographs projected on three huge screens. Lots of mountains and snow with some bees, animals and plants thrown in as well as views of the planet.
Culture aside, one of my personal highlights was kayaking. Fortunately, the family vessel is very untippable. There I was, paddling along when suddenly the Sheriff’s boat appeared, inquiring via loud- hailer if I had a life vest with me. I didn’t but was close enough to the dock to pull in. Lesson learned.
We ate very well enjoying the bounties of the season. One night my cousin Susie casually produced a cherry pie; this is her recipe.
Susie’s Classic Cherry Pie
1 and 1/2 pounds (roughly 6 cups) sour cherries. Use frozen which takes care of the pitting. Squeeze out some of the moisture.
Dust bottom of unbaked pie shell (Pillsbury with no shame) with corn starch or flour and add cherries. Sprinkle 1 1/2 fresh lemon juice on cherries and about 2 tsp. sugar. Dot with butter.
Top with lattice crust (you can undoubtedly find a “how to” for this on YouTube.). Brush top with egg white.
Bake 10 minutes at 425 oven; then 30 minutes at 350. Cool.
Serve with ice cream, crème fraiche or nothing. It’s delicious at dinner and accompanies a cup of breakfast coffee nicely.
The name Tiffany makes me think of robin’s-egg blue jewelry boxes and stained, leaded glass lamps. I got another think in Boston at the Ayer Mansion, the only surviving residence built and decorated by the master himself, Louis Comfort Tiffany. The house includes exterior mosaics as did Tiffany’s personal residence, Laurelton Hall, sadly destroyed in a fire in the 1950s.
Tiffany was one of the pioneers in the field of interior design. The house, on Commonwealth Avenue, was built from 1899-1902 for entrepreneur Frederick Ayer and his second wife, Ellen Banning Ayer. Together with his brother, Dr. James Cook Ayer, Mr. A. made his fortune in patent medicines including a little wonder for “chest complaint” that was popular and no surprise– turns out this cure- all was 3% heroin.
Boston Brahmins were appalled by the Ayer house that defied conventional norms, built as it was of limestone and granite amidst other houses of more classic red brick. Ayer went all out for Tiffany’s stained glass windows and a wonderful central light fixture that runs up all five floors. The house had an elevator so that Mr. Ayer, many years his wife’s senior, could be transported to the top floor where he reveled in the sanctuary that was his smoking room. Mrs. Ayer fancied herself an actress; accordingly, the entranceway is shaped like a stage with a proscenium arch and an inlay of a Romanesque temple that gives the illusion of depth.
After Mr. Ayer’s death in 1918, the house was taken over and almost wrecked by various businesses until it was purchased by an organization connected to the Catholic Church. There have been numerous renovations with many ongoing. I was a little surprised that visitors were allowed to touch as we went through but the preservation expert leading the tour seemed non-plussed. If you’re in the area, check out the house; tours of this National Historic Landmark are available on certain Saturdays and Wednesdays for a $10 donation. To find out about a tour or to rent the mansion for your next shindig, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s far too hot for Boston Baked Beans and I never liked Boston Cream Pie so here’s a recipe for Lobster Roll from Martha Stewart. Lobster Rolls are a summer classic and less expensive to make than to buy. Go for it.
Lobster Roll a la Martha
1 1/2 pounds cooked, shelled lobster meat (about four 1 1/2-pound lobsters), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives (optional)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or chervil (optional) (I’d omit chives and tarragon but that’s personal)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
Coarse or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 top-split hot-dog buns
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for rolls
Stir together lobster and mayonnaise. Stir in chives and tarragon (if using), and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, while preparing rolls, or up to 2 hours.
Heat a large heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat until hot. Lightly brush outside of buns with butter; transfer to skillet. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. (Heat got to you; skip this step and just brush inside of buns with a little melted butter. Or not.)
Spoon about 1/2 cup lobster mixture into each bun. Serve immediately with a side of crunchy potato chips.
To drink, hoist a tankard of Sam Adams beer.