Mini-Lobster Season is Upon Us: Cleaning out the Pantry

It is with slight sleep deprivation that I write this post as Mr. Foodie and I were woken up five times by lightning and thunder while we slept. You think you’ve seen an awesome storm? Well so did I until last night. The lightning strikes so close that it sends a blinding light into the room and then the thunder shakes the whole house. Luckily our power did not go out, but Mr. Foodie plans to buy a surge protector for our electrical panel asap!

Yes, she is really covered w/ spiny lobsters.
Photo Credit: Youtube user deermeatfordinner

In other news, it is officially mini-lobster season down here in the keys, which for locals means tons of tourists, water traffic, and jacked up grocery prices. It’s okay, though, much of the Keys’ economy depends on such things. Mini-lobster season is a two day affair where anyone with the right gear, a license, and a boat can catch the region’s spiny lobsters up to a per person limit (and only if they are the right size and not bearing eggs). Basically it gives the populace a crack at it before the major lobstering companies set their traps. What was once a rather low-key couple of days has turned into a massive undertaking. I’ve seen boats going out days ahead of time to scout locations to hunt and copters flying overhead – whether for tourist rides or scouting for lobster hidey-holes, I don’t know, but it is intense. Mr. Foodie and I have been warned, and we are not participating even though the prospect of catching my own lobster appeals to me immensely. But come August 6 we will be allowed to try it again and all the tourists will be gone.

To catch a lobster, you need a net, a tickler, gloves, and measuring stick – this is the only equipment with which you can catch one. This video gives you a pretty good idea of how it’s done.

Perhaps in August I’ll have some pictures of Mr. Foodie and I with our own lobsters in hand!

The theme of this week was: Clean out the Pantry. Mr. Foodie and I are staying in Marathon for five days starting today, so we had to get through our perishable items and avoid buying even more groceries than we had before packing up to leave. On Monday I took stock and then built a meal plan around what we had so I only needed top pick up a few things from the store this week. We already had a box of pasta and a crazy amount of feta cheese, so I decided to make an adapted version of The Tasty Cheapskate’s Feta Alfredo. I did not include bacon or broccoli because I a) did not want to buy a pack of bacon just for this and b) had other plans for my broccoli. Other than those items, my version is very similar. Instead of cream I used milk since I had it on hand, but the effect was similar (if a little leaner). It was incredibly tasty. Mr. Foodie (who doesn’t care for pasta dishes usually) loved this one. We put a lot of peas in ours because we had them so why not? I sadly do not have a picture because we ate a lot and then packed up the leftovers for lunches before I thought about it. Just trust me that it was a very fun use of the feta and peas.

We also made stir-fry to use up the broccoli and some chicken stock I had. Plus, Mr. Foodie LOVES Asian dishes in general and my stir-fry in particular. I use a recipe adapted from this easy stir-fry sauce. This time, I cooked up four thin fillets of beef, set them aside, and poured in the sauce, added veggies, cooked them a bit, added the beef, and sprinkled a little flour to thicken off the heat until the rice was ready. This is because I did not have any veggies that required cooking this time – just leftover broccoli and canned bamboo shoots. Normally, if I have fresh veggies to cook (like green beans, broccoli, sprouts), I saute/steam them, add the sauce, then proceed with the steps I listed. I use a plastic container with a lid and handle to shake up the sauce before adding it to the veggies. Clean, easy, and delicious!

Post-dinner pic – I need to get better
at remembering to take pix first!

Mr. Foodie and I do not own a rice cooker, although we can definitely appreciate the fluffy rice that those gadgets produce. I make mine on the stove top which I know is intimidating for some, but honestly I just follow the directions on the rice bag in most cases. Typically it states a 2-1 water to rice amount, bring to a boil, simmer for 20-25 minutes with the lid on (no peeking). Because it normally takes me at least this long to cook everything else and because I don’t have to keep an eye on it, I don’t see it as a burden to make it this way and I’ve only screwed it up twice since I started cooking rice on the stove.

Operation clean the pantry was a success, and now we’re off to Marathon for a few days of fun, work, and more eating adventures.

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