Chef Carrie Cooks: Lobster Cooking Tips

First off, it’s Lobstermania this weekend at DLM (sale starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday and once they’re gone, they’re gone)! But we actually kick it off with our sold out Lobster 101 cooking class event Friday night at the DLM Culinary Center (hint: buy your tickets early next year). On Saturday, you can procure fresh, live Maine lobster for $15, which is quite a deal for such quality of lobster weighing in at 1.25 lbs or larger. You can buy them already steamed fresh or you can do it at home with no Annie Hall freak-outs, I promise! Follow my tips below for steaming or boiling live lobster, and before you know it, you’ll be serving up a couple for dinner alongside corn-on-the-cob and some of our Bakery’s new Cheesy Cheddar Biscuits!

To start, if you have never handled a live lobster, keep the bands on. Also, the lobster doesn’t “scream” when you start cooking it. If you do hear a noise it’s just the steam escaping from the shell.

Lobster Boiling Tips

Boiling a lobster is easy and probably the best way for cooking 4 or more at one time. Get a big pot and fill with fresh water about 2/3 full. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of salt per gallon of water. Bring to a boil and add lobsters. Start the timer when the water comes back to a boil. You can figure 6-7 minutes for a 1.25-lb lobster, 7-9 minutes for 1.5-lb lobster, and 10-12 minutes for a 2-lb lobster.

Lobster Steaming Tips

Steaming lobster works great and tends to yield a more tender, less messy cooked lobster than boiling. Fill a large, deep pot with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, add the lobsters, cover, and steam, about 8 minutes per lb.

How do you tell when it’s cooked? Remember, sometimes the lobster may be undercooked even if the shell is entirely red. Double check that the meat is a creamy white color with no translucent areas. Give a good tug on one of the antennas and if it pops off, the lobster is done You can also insert an instant read thermometer into the underside of the tail. It should read 135-140°F.

The Simple Pleasures of Culinary Herbs

This is my favorite time of year—I can fling open the kitchen window and invite the balmy air to swirl, reminding me of the pleasures of the garden, lazy evenings on the porch swing, birdsong in the morning, and signs of life refreshing itself. One of the first things I do to mark the season is to establish my potted culinary herbs in a sunny window.

culinary herb

I always choose organically grown herbs, like the Organic Potted Herbs we carry in the Floral Department. I think the organic herbs taste better and I like that they’re ethically grown and nutritionally sound. Two basil plants are a must because I love fresh pesto and it’s so easy to make. In addition, we’ll also have mint, chives, parsley, thyme, and oregano.

While I’m admittedly a casual cook, I seldom prepare a dish in the spring that doesn’t include at least one culinary herb from my window garden. When the honeydew melons are ripe, I pluck a stem of mint, strip the leaves, slice in strips, and sprinkle over a wedge of melon. The fruit is cold and sweet making the mint a refreshing counterpoint. The experience of preparing this also is pure pleasure as the act of stripping the mint releases its essential oils, adding an artful dimension to an ordinary morning.

Flavored vinegars are a cinch to make with fresh herbs, even for the modest cook. Pour two cups of white wine vinegar in a clean jar, add ½ cup of assorted fresh herbs, shake well, and set the jar in a cool, dry place for ten days. Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth into a clean jar and cap tightly. The herb vinegar should keep for about six months at room temperature, ready to jazz up a variety of dishes!

But why stop at the kitchen door? The use of fresh culinary herbs is limited only by the imagination. Tired tootsies? A friend of mine makes a tea with a handful of basil leaves, pours it in a basin, and soaks her feet. Basil contains a natural anti-inflammatory that will ease aches while the aroma soothes the senses. Mosquitoes a bother? Rub enough thyme between your palms to release the essential oils—the scent acts as a natural repellent. Most importantly, don’t wait for a recipe or a remedy to enjoy your fresh herbs. Pluck a leaf from the nearest plant as you go about your day, bruise between your fingers. Then breathe. Relax. Appreciate.

The A-List: Add Pizzazz to Your Party With These Paper Goods

The month of May certainly has brought a whirlwind of events to celebrate, with everything from the Cinco de Derby, to Mother’s Day, and now a Royal Wedding. It’s also time to celebrate the graduating class of 2018, and our Housewares department is just the ticket as we strive to find the perfect pairings to help you entertain. So here’s my A-list of spring favorites, featuring three design-forward companies—Sophistiplate, Hester & Cook, and Simply Baked.  These companies are releasing on-trend products that bring back the thrill of entertaining.

For anyone who loves to play with patterns and colors, (hands up, that would be me!) you can mix and match these paper goods to create a multitude of tablescapes and infuse personality into your party décor.

Start with table runners, place mats, and serving paper from the husband & wife team of Nashville-based Hester & Cook. Next, layer in Sophistiplate, an Italian-designed tableware company offering their signature wavy-edged Petalo bowls & plates. Sprinkle in even more sophistication with Simply Baked, which was founded by two Oregon entrepreneurs who believe in the art of entertaining. I love their little cups, frilly cocktail picks, and sparklers. Not only can you directly bake in these cups, but they also double for serving crudités, small bites, and party favors! Their cocktail picks add whimsy & elegance. After all, what’s a party without a dressed up drink in hand?

After a long winter, gatherings have moved outdoors. The lights are strung over the patio, and neighborhoods are filled with sounds of laughter, kids playing, and warm, late night conversations. The time to entertain is now, so why not mix stripes and dots, or bold colors with wood grain and pops of glitzy gold? Let’s get this party started and watch those grad caps fly!

5 Tea Sandwiches for a Royally Delicious Tea Party

Peggy Neary, DLM Culinary Center manager, appeared on Living Dayton, showcasing the most delightfully elegant platter filled with an array of tea sandwiches and sharing how to make a few. Each sandwich was cut neatly and Peggy explained how afternoon tea is generally served with lighter fare, such as tea sandwiches. Below are some of her favorite tea sandwich recipes. Use them for any number of events, such as a bridal or baby shower or a tea party, including one to celebrate the highly anticipated royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

1. Cheddar Chutney Tea Sandwiches (Yield: Makes 24 tea sandwiches)

9-oz jar Major Grey’s Chutney (about ½ cup), pieces chopped
½ lb Barber’s 1833 Vintage Cheddar Cheese, grated coarsely (about 2 cups)
½ cup sour cream
3 oz cream cheese, softened
12 slices DLM Raisin Walnut Bread
½ cup minced fresh parsley
softened butter
6 Slices DLM Oven Roasted or Wood Smoked Turkey Breast

In a bowl stir together chutney, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and salt and pepper to taste until combined well to make a Cheddar chutney. Spread Cheddar chutney on all 12 slices of bread. Place a slice of turkey on 6 slices of the bread. Make 6 sandwiches with filling, turkey, and bread, pressing together gently. Trim crusts and cut into quarters. Spread edges with soft butter and coat edges with chopped parsley. Sandwiches may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled.

2. Garden Party Cucumber Tea Sandwiches (Yield: Makes 32 tea sandwiches)

1 thin cucumber
16 slices DLM white sandwich bread
4 oz fresh unsalted butter
1 to 2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper

Peel cucumber and slice in paper-thin rounds. Salt rounds lightly and place in colander for 15 minutes to drain. Press to release water; pat dry with paper towels. Spread slices bread with softened butter. Put two layers of cucumber slices on bottom slice, sprinkle with finely chopped mint, salt and pepper to taste and top with another buttered slice. Press lightly with palm of hand. Cut all crusts off with a sharp knife. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally and then again into quarters.  Serve with points facing up!

3. Checkerboard Tea Sandwiches

Filling ideas: For an easy filling, visit our Deli and pick up DLM Tuna Salad, *Chicken Pecan Salad, *Old Fashioned Chicken Salad, or our Made Right Here Egg Salad. *mince these salads for a finer sandwich filling.

Garnish ideas: Spear each sandwich with an olive, pickle slice, or small cherry tomato and line up on platter like a checkerboard.

4. Smoked Salmon, Caper and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches (Yield: Makes 16 tea sandwiches)
5½ oz cream cheese
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp capers, drained, finely chopped
8 slices whole wheat bread, lightly buttered
8 slices smoked salmon

Mix the cream cheese, red onion, and capers together in a bowl. Spread this mixture onto four slices of the bread. Top with the smoked salmon and close the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread. Cut all crusts off with a sharp knife. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally and then again into quarters.

5. Roast Beef Finger Sandwiches with Horseradish Cream (Yield: Makes 16 tea sandwiches)

8 slices white or wheat bread
Horseradish cream (recipe following)
¼ pound DLM deli-sliced roast beef, thinly sliced
4 slices havarti cheese
1 English cucumber, peeled into paper-thin strips
Softened unsalted butter

Horseradish Cream
3 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp fresh grated horseradish or prepared horseradish
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

For horseradish cream, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Spread bread slices with softened butter. Spread one side of 4 bread slices with Horseradish Cream, and divide roast beef among bread slices. Top with a slice of cheese and remaining 4 bread slices. Trim crusts and cut each sandwich into 2 fingers, and wrap each with a cucumber strip.

 

Graduate Your Grad Party Planning

As you make plans to celebrate your grad in style, know that we’re here to help with some of the prep that can make graduation party planning, well, stressful. To start, look no further than our Deli as you plan the menu for your gathering to celebrate your grad. From sandwich trays to sides and apps, you’ll see just how we can help make the food prep as easy as 1, 2, 3!

When it comes to the cake, we’ve got you covered there, too, thanks to the Love Cakes by DLM team. Graduation time is one of our favorite cake seasons as we take great pride in baking and decorating the cakes to reflect the personality of each grad. Whether you choose a sheet cake or multi-tiered cake, we can add edible images and have it reflect your grad’s alma mater or upcoming school colors.

You can either pick up a copy of FEAST, our catalog of entertaining-made-easy offerings, in stores or access it here (Click Here to View FEAST). To place an order, simply call or visit your favorite Dorothy Lane Market at least 24 hours in advance. Here, we’ve outlined a good place to start:

  1. SANDWICH TRAYS

    Set the stage with a sandwich tray so you can mix and mingle with this no-fuss stunner. Our most popular grad party picks are Mini Sandwiches (with a variety of rolls, meats, and cheeses; or Tuna Salad, Egg Salad, Chicken Pecan Salad, or Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad), or The Ultimate Sandwich. Think outside the bun and get a Meat & Cheese Tray so your guests can build their own sandwich.

  2. DIP, SLICE, NIBBLE


These crowd pleasers never go out of style. Choose from Fruit, Cheese, and Vegetable Trays to an assortment of Antipasto, a Mediterranean Hummus Appetizer Tray, Bread Bowl Dip featuring our DLM Spinach Dip, or a Mexican Appetizer.

3. THE SIDES


Round it all out with Deli salads, Made Right Here, such as our top-selling Classic Potato Salad, Pine Club Pasta Salad, Homestyle Macaroni Salad, and so many more! Although you are welcome to select from our case, we recommend placing an order if you want a specific item or for any needs over 3 lbs

4. A CAKE AS UNIQUE AS YOUR GRAD

As you make graduation party plans, let us help create something memorable for your party. The Love Cakes by DLM team invites you to stop by (Love Cakes is located behind DLM Washington Square). Or, you can call (937) 535-5719 to place an order and discuss your graduation party cake plans. Flavors & Fillings: Choose from favorites such as light and moist white, chocolate, yellow, and marble, or specialties like carrot and red velvet, all topped with buttercream icing. A filling, such as strawberry, raspberry, lemon, chocolate mousse, or ganache, can be added to any cake for an added touch.

 

Cinco de Salsa y Guacamole!

Cinco de Mayo is a salsa party at DLM. Here’s why—back for the season are two of my favorites that we make right here, Salsa Verde and Salsa Roja. If you haven’t tried them, stop by this week and get a taste.

The Salsa Verde is made with fresh tomatillos that we roast over high heat. We add lots of organic lime juice to ramp up the bright, citrusy flavor of this salsa. Although it is pretty darn good with tortilla chips, I love it as sauce that I put over things like grilled fish (think Mahi Mahi or tilapia) or a simple grilled DLM Natural Chicken Breast garnished with a couple slices of ripe avocado.  Try it over some soft scrambled eggs this weekend, you won’t’ regret it!

The Salsa Roja has a slightly sweet, smoky flavor because we roast the fresh Roma tomatoes, onions, and Poblano peppers together over high heat until they get blistered and charred. Then we pulse them all together in a food processor until slightly puréed. So of course it’s great with the regular line up chips, quesadillas, and tacos. Personally, I like this one spooned over a grilled DLM Natural Beef Skirt Steak with some warmed tortillas on the side.

Of course you can’t forget the guacamole! You can always pick up a tub of DLM Guacamole from Produce, or if you make it yourself, be sure to check out a couple of our nifty tools to help. The Ultimate 3-in-1 Tool Kit from Cookut helps you make perfect guacamole in 3 minutes, plus helps you prepare, serve, and store all in one kit! You can also help keep your guacamole fresher longer with the Guac-Lock that seals without losing flavor or color by creating an airtight seal. Olé!

Let’s ‘Stalk’ About It!

Spring is the best time to enjoy asparagus, and while the extended winter weather delayed the local crops rolling into the stores—it will be arriving in the coming weeks—there’s still plenty of the noble green of spring to enjoy. When asparagus is this fresh, use it in abundance! Now is a great time to start challenging yourself to get out of the same old way you both cook and eat asparagus. I know that roasting and grilling are the easiest and most common ways to cook one of America’s favorite spring veggie, but it is amazingly versatile in your kitchen.

My favorite way is raw, shaved with a vegetable peeler as either the base of a salad or as an ingredient in one. Throw chopped asparagus in a stir-fry with some local shiitake mushrooms, or enjoy it is as a simple, puréed soup. With its vibrant green color it just tastes like spring!

Asparagus spears tend to be categorized in 3 sizes—thin, medium, or thick. It’s hard to grill or roast those skinny ones, so use them in sautés, stir-fries, or soup. The larger ones tend to have a mellower, meatier flavor and I like these roasted or grilled. (Make sure you peel them first!) Medium sized spears are pretty versatile so have fun and do a little exploring with your cooking method. We’ve pulled together 5 recipes for you to test out as you Aspire to Asparagus this spring.

Aspire to Asparagus with These 5 Recipes

Nothing says spring like asparagus displayed at our stores! What we love most is that it’s incredibly versatile as its spears can be enjoyed raw, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or mixed with vegetables, beans, poultry, or seafood. Another way to devour these delicious stalks is to steam and serve with citrus hollandaise sauce, melted butter, Pecorino Romano, or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. From crunchy and satisfying Asparagus Fries to a Hot Asparagus Crab Dip and Spring Asparagus Sauté, DLM’s Chef Carrie has you covered with these 5 recipes to help you Aspire to Asparagus in your kitchen!

1. Asparagus Fries + Garlic Aioli

2. Spring Asparagus Sauté

3. Spring Pea, Asparagus, & Pecorino Salad

4. Shaved Asparagus Salad

5. Cold Asparagus with Hot Crab Dip

Hydroponically Awesome Masterplan Strawberries

When it comes to strawberries, I want it all. I want sweet, juicy flavor with red flesh to the middle of the berry. I want to clearly see every strawberry in the package before I decide to purchase. I want freshness that will last for days. I want my berry grower to understand what real sustainability means, not only with availability of product, but also with preserving water, growing more fruit per acre of land, eliminating the need for pesticides, and creating a great work environment.

David Akahoshi and Ibrahim Elnashar have all this and more with their hydroponically grown berries. David’s father was in the produce business and saw how hard it was on the farmers. He knew there had to be a better way, so they started Masterplan Berries to show just that. I had the privilege of seeing this state-of-the-art facility in Santa Maria, California, where there’s row after row of perfect strawberries. Some just blooming while others were bountiful and red throughout.

DLM’s Dennis Chrisman (right), VP of Produce and DLM Springboro store director, recently visited Masterplan. Masterplan co-founder David Akahoshi’s father was in the produce business and David was determined to explore a different way to enhance the working conditions.

GROWING A BETTER BERRY

Berries in Ohio have always been a challenge as they need cool nights and warm, sunny days—a rare formula here limiting our local season to a few weeks. Santa Maria has the perfect temperatures.

However, when it’s too cold at night, David simply raises the temperature of the water being fed to his plants. The root system is grown in shaved coconut husk, known to be disease resistant and water retentive. With year-round hydroponic growing methods, the berries are protected from pest, wind, disease, drought, flash flooding, and freezing temps, all while using 75% less water in a state that’s water challenged. The berries are field packed in a single layer to protect them from bruising, with each berry seen clearly in the recyclable package.

GOOD PICKINGS

I’ve visited many strawberry fields and can attest to how difficult picking can be. Harvesters bend over for hours 12-18 inches from the ground. The Masterplan system makes it easier and less back-breaking because the system is four feet above the ground. They’re able to pick faster, thus earning a better wage. Typically, berry fields have less than a 25% retention rate. Masterplan is close to 100%, thanks to these improved working conditions.

These stats are wonderful, however you must try them for yourself as they’re full of flavor and beauty. In a world where popular labels are owned by huge corporations, we are buying from David the farmer, and I love that!

Fish Tacos in 3 Easy Steps

So tasty, so fresh. and so easy to make! Fish tacos can turn any dinner into a party! You can whip them up quickly at home with these 3 easy steps (and a little help from DLM).

Step 1: Stop by our Seafood department and pick up fresh fish, such as halibut, mahi mahi, tilapia, or grouper. Season with your favorite taco seasoning and either grill or pan fry the fish until done.

Step 2: Load up your tacos with DLM Fresh Guacamole, Salsa, or Pico de Gallo. Or see for yourself how easy it is to make your own cabbage slaw with a package of angel hair coleslaw tossed with Terrapin Ridge Farms Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing and a squeeze of fresh lime. Garnish with crunchy radishes and cilantro.

Step 3: Last, but not least, is the tortilla. Whether you choose corn or flour, crunchy or soft we’ve got you covered. Warm them briefly right before piling with fresh fish and toppings and voilà—dinner is done in no time!