So, even though I advertise myself as a vegetarian, a few times a year, I get an unavoidable craving for seafood. And because I am weak, I give in and then am saddled with fish guilt for a few months…until the next craving settles in. Today’s slip was caused by the enabler that is Ina Garten and her lobster pot pie. Because in addition to not eating meat, I also don’t eat pot pies. Because I don’t like them (I think it’s the unnatural orange of the carrots and also maybe the sludgy sort of texture). But for some reason, when Ina made her lobster pot pie, my immediate reaction was ‘MUST HAVE.’
But because I live in central Illinois, the only lobster to be had in the market is the live ones in the tank which make me sad and almost put me off my seafood craving. There was frozen, cooked shrimp in the freezer section – and the organic ones, which I like to think means that they had a very nice little castle in their roomy tank to look at before they were humanely and quickly…well, you know – and that put me back on track.
However, I think I’m going to have to chalk this up to a waste of fish guilt because it turns out I really don’t like pot pies. Too rich, too…creamy, too smoodgy. Blech! Which is a first for an Ina recipe, but I don’t think it’s her fault, really. I mean, aesthetically, I could appreciate the flavors (and the pearl onions were a nice touch), it’s just the whole pot pie-ness of the pot pie.
At the last minute, I also ended up making her dill fingerling potatoes (but with cilantro because I didn’t have any dill) and even though some of them ended up a bit undercooked, they were really, really tasty – I’ll definitely be making these again. And now I’m going to go have a piece of the lime coconut cake and try not to think about the pot pie and the poor shrimps who died for it.
So…vegetarian friends, can you forgive me?
Even though it is well into March and is also technically spring, the weather here is being typical Illinois spring weather (i.e., it’s snowing today). So I thought I’d take a page from Smitten Kitchen‘s blog and make a tropical dessert to try and dispel the spring winter blues. Despite its use of a Controversial Ingredient, I decided to go with her Key Lime Coconut Cake. And it is definitely a good use of the CI. I don’t know if it’s because it’s toasted, eliminating its cuticle texture, or what, but it’s a very nice addition to the sweet tanginess of the lime – sort of sweet and toasty and crunchy. And I think it helps keep the cake very nice and moist, too, which is always a welcome side effect.
I had a couple of substitutions to make as there were no key limes to be had around here and I also did a combination of cream (which I had on hand for another recipe which should hopefully be making an appearance here later today) and 1% milk to try and make whole milk. And everything seemed to come together just fine! So, yes, definitely a success – yum!
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
After reading and enjoying The Maltese Falcon and discovering that Dashiell Hammett was the creator of the fabulous Nick and Nora Charles, I decided to move on to The Thin Man. And I liked it! I think I found it a little more confusing than The Maltese Falcon – there were lots of characters who ended up being important but who only appeared on the page maybe once or twice, though the explanation at the end was good (except for the parenthetical asides about how things turned out which I found kind of odd). There were lots of suspects, though, and I, like Nick and Nora Charles, kept going back and forth between who I thought had dunnit only to be taken completely by surprise by the actual solution. I wish there had been a bit more of Nora Charles, though – she sort of fades into the background for the second half of the novel or so, but when she’s there with Nick, she’s very likable – and clever, too, which is nice to see, especially in a hard-boiled detective novel.
I think the most impressive thing about the novel, even moreso than Nick’s detective skills, is the couple’s ability to drink! Honestly, I wasn’t sure how anyone was still on their feet, let alone solving a murder mystery! But I guess it was another time full of speakeasys and glittery cocktail parties.
My rating: B+
An intersting side note: Toward the end there, I was trying to read very quickly so I could move onto my next book (I’m not telling you what it is until I’ve read it, but I fully expect that it will be made entirely of win and awesome) only to be thwarted by this:
What’s that, you ask? That is the remains of pages 139-140 and 141-142. Missing from my copy of the book! Fortunately I was able to find another copy here at my parents’ house and finish the book, but it was still a little confusing there for a few minutes. Weird! I’ll definitely be heading back to B&N to get a complete copy tomorrow…