It tasted like spring and friendship and laughter and collaboration. And wine… it definitely tasted like wine but I’m not sure that any of that actually made it into the recipe. And for that matter, there really is no recipe. Actually, I take that back – there is a recipe and here it is: put three cooks – three friends – in the kitchen with some great ingredients and see what happens.
It started with one of my besties, Gary, arriving in town. He is one of my favorite people to cook with and even though he lives in Reno, we cook together virtually – sharing food ideas long distance – on a regular basis. It’s a far cry though from having him live and in person in my kitchen though. But the thing is that the line of people is long that wants to see Gary and his wife, Jen, on the rare occasion that they make a trip to Boise and it’s best not to make too many concrete plans. But as often is the case, it’s the impromptu moments that can be the best.
Cruising my Facebook feed on Saturday afternoon I saw that Whole Foods was having a super sale – two lobster tails for $10. While at the store, Gary called. A rough plan was devised. We’d reconvene at the house in 20 minutes and get started. He walked up to the door carrying three chilled bottles of white wine while I unpacked the lobster, fresh arugula, cream and the asparagus that looked just too good to pass up. With the refrigerator door open, I started pulling other things from the fridge as we conspired. Cremini mushrooms. A big bundle of leeks. Garlic.
My husband volunteered to make fresh pasta and got started as I chopped vegetables and Gary blanched the asparagus.
A big pan with the lobster was set on the stove to poach, seasoned with whatever fresh herbs could be rummaged up. Music and conversation and chopping and sizzling sounds started to fill the air.
Leeks were slowly cooking down in butter, little bits of lobster stock being added along the way – cooking almost like a risotto until it eventually became more of a jam.
Meanwhile, pasta production was in full swing. And a second bottle of wine was opened about now I’m just sure.
Lobster meat was extracted from shells and chopped and tossed in a hot pan with sautéed mushrooms and the asparagus, a touch of cream, the cooked down leeks and who knows what else Gary might have thrown in there. Pasta was added to boiling water and quickly cooked to al dente. An arugula salad with bleu cheese, dried apricots, fennel and walnuts was placed on the table. Dishes clanked as they lined up on the counter. Napkins and silverware were pulled out. Jen joined us as we slid onto chairs at the dining room table with steaming bowls, clinking glasses in congratulations of our impromptu meal.
While typically I am a planner, it’s times like this that make me realize that many of a perfect evening often come out of no planning at all. Cheers to you Gary & Jen and I hope we don’t have to wait a year and a half to do it again.