Lotus flowers and how to cook Lobster-back from vacation

Last week was vacation time for me. I had a much-needed break from life and got to just be most of the week. My youngest son was on his summer trip and  I am currently between part-time jobs and looking at how realistic a big dream of mine is to move forward with my reiki/health coaching business and having an actual building  to be able to hold space for people to heal, learn to cook and connect people with amazing healers and local artists.

Timing to just be was perfect. While it was just a “staycation”, I am back feeling refreshed and ready and eager to move forward with life and my dreams.  Sometimes that is all that is needed. To just step back from everything and just be and not even focus on anything to allow it to come into focus on its own.

One of our day trip days was to the NY Botanical Gardens. It’s been years since I have been there. The last time I was there I was there alone taking classes on Ayurveda and Indian cooking. I never did get to walk the grounds and just soak it all in. So this was a real treat.

We showed up for two really perfect events for me. First we walked in and there was a farmers’ market going on right on the grounds. Wednesday’s it is free to walk the grounds and so you can get in to enjoy the farmers’ market as well.  There were lots of yummy goodies.

photo 1

The other thing going on , and it’s going to be going on till September, was the “Wild Medicine” exhibit they had going on. I had seen that Dr. Weil had gone to it on his fb page and had made a mental note I wanted to go but had forgotten till we planned our trip down. I was so excited about this. It’s not part of the free stuff , so if you go on Wednesday you will need to pay $20 but this gets you into this event as well as you can ride the tram around the grounds and to be honest, I think we got a lot of value for the money.  In the exhibit there was lots of information on plants as medicine and you got to do some hands on things like smell and drink tea, enjoy some fresh juice at the citrus exhibit and my personal favorite was the chocolate exhibit where we got to grind some cocoa pods and then try fresh raw cocoa nibs and some 70% cocoa. I’m always saying that chocolate is medicine if you use the good stuff and don’t abuse it.

photo 3

I’d say the chocolate was my favorite part of the day but I took a good 100 pics or so of Lotus flowers. I just love the flowers and there were so many different kinds and colors and I got sort of overwhelmed by it.  At one point I was pleading with a bee to land on one particular flower for a picture I wanted. I’d be curious what others thought of me but really don’t care. I got the shot. Thank you Mr. Bee.

Not the shot with the bee but your here for food right?

Not the shot with the bee but your here for food right?

There was even some wonderful sculptures to enjoy. Talk about playing with your food.

One of four for the seasons, this was for the fall harvest.

One of four for the seasons, this was for the fall harvest.

On the way home we made a stop in Norwalk, Ct at the famous Stew Leonard’s store. I remember over 20 years ago when we moved here and I first took my kids into the store to buy groceries what a crazy place this was. Where else can you see milk being put into cartons, have cows moo at you, have vegetables and dairy items sing to you and enjoy a petting zoo and try samples of things like do-cro (a cross of a donut and a croissant)?  If your ever in Ct it’s a worth a stop.

Singing dairy and eggs

Singing dairy and eggs

Multigrain everything bagels are a must on your shopping list at Stew's. These were fresh and warm...mmm

Multigrain everything bagels are a must on your shopping list at Stew’s. These were fresh and warm…mmm

The great thing about Stew’s is the prices. We had been one of our local grocery stores (I kindly wont name) and saw lobsters but the price was insane and the tank was nasty and well I’ll stop there.  My husband remembered he saw lobsters on sale at Stew’s so a plan was hatched to hit there on the way home from our NY day.

Bagging up our live Maine Lobsters

Bagging up our live Maine Lobsters

The downside was driving the Merritt Parkway with a couple of live lobsters and hitting rush hour traffic, I wanted to roll the window down and yell “every body move, we got live lobsters in the car”. I wanted to make sure they got home alive and well for dinner. I read they don’t cook well if they die before. Which struck me odd honestly.

I’ve never cooked live lobsters before and I have to tell you this. If you haven’t, it’s easier than you think.  I was slightly concerned I was not going to be able to put them into the pot and cook them. But I did.

There was a moment when I thought about walking to the end of our street and setting them free in the Sound. It passed.

There was a moment when I thought about walking to the end of our street and setting them free in the Sound. It passed.

*The How to:

While steaming is the way most restaurants cook them I choose to boil them. I got my biggest pot set with water and lots of salt and brought it to a boil.  Just before I was ready to put the lobsters in, I cut the rubber bands off their claws. You don’t want any rubber taste in the water. Yuck! You can leave them on if your afraid but honestly if you grab them from behind they are not going to reach back and pinch you.

The important thing is to put the lobsters in head first (so see the claws go in first anyhow) and then be prepared to have a tail sort of give a kick and splash you. At least one of mine decided to seek its revenge on me before going under.

You cook in the boiling water for 15 mins or untill the shells turn bright red and the tails have curled. I think it took only 12 mins for mine to get that way.

While the lobsters are cooking you can melt your butter and get set up to eat. I put out a large bowl for the shells and while we didn’t have official lobster tools we did just fine with small forks for pulling meat out, a nut cracker for breaking shells and my kitchen sheers for cutting down the center of the tail. I found it simple to eat the lobster by just twisting and pulling legs off and claws and the tail. Just make sure , just like shrimp, to remove that back dark line in the tail from the meat before eating.

We served our lobster with a salad made from fresh grilled local corn, tomatoes diced, green onions and a little salt and pepper. It was simply delish and way, way cheaper than going out to eat lobster and more fun honestly.

The aftermath

The aftermath

So I have to end this with funny.  Cooking with Christopher Walken and his shopping trip to Stew’s.

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