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Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Brother's Recipes

My culinary exploits have been very limited this week.  I have been caring for a family member in the hospital, so I have been spending minimal time at home, and my kitchen endeavors have been limited to whatever I can throw together quickly and keep my kids happy.  Things like pasta and meatballs, tacos and that old favorite standby, bacon-and-eggs-on-a-bagel.

None of which are exciting enough for blogging.

So I'm going to kick the excitement waaaaay up (at least for me).  And blog about my brother.

He used to own a lobster restaurant.  It was an adorable little bistro that was just perfect for him to showcase his extraordinary cooking skills.  It was very successful and garnered outstanding reviews.  Bobby Flay used to have a cooking show called "FoodNation" and my brother and his restaurant were featured in a segment on Connecticut restaurants.

If you go to foodnetwork.com and search the site for "lobster bisque," the #1 rated recipe for this dish is my brother's recipe, the one that he cooked for Bobby Flay.

Click here to be taken to the recipe.  It's not for novices, due to the time involved, but it is not difficult to prepare.   Since it makes 20 servings you might want to prepare only 1/4 of the recipe the first time you make it.  It's a very smooth, flavorful bisque with chunks of sweet lobster meat. 
Here is a photo of the bisque he prepared on the show.

He also prepared "Citrus Lobster" on the show........of all the dishes he had on his menu, this was my favorite.  Totally yummy.  Click here to be taken to the Citrus Lobster recipe.

He no longer owns this restaurant because the building which housed the restaurant was taken by eminent domain during an urban renewal project.  He considered simply re-opening in another location, but the restaurant was named after the street it was on, so unless he was able to find another spot on that street, he would have had to come up with a new name....it's hard enough to alert your customers that you're relocating; changing the name would have been another hurdle.  He was unable to find a suitable location and decided to return to his "real job"--psychology.

But the desire to own another restaurant just wouldn't go away, so he kept an eye out for the right opportunity.  Which presented itself last year in the shape of a teeny-tiny little pizza joint whose owner was looking for someone to buy out her remaining 11-year lease.

He had plans to change things right from the start, but wisely held off until he got a feel for what shouldn't be changed and what needed to change.  And then he made the changes slowly.  Like a name change, from Greek to Italian.

And menu changes to reflect his love of lobster.  His lobster bisque sells quite well!  My kids and I took a road trip to the restaurant last month and met one of his "regular" customers, who just that day learned that my brother was also the owner of the now-defunct lobster restaurant.  He proceeded to tell us how he has refused to eat lobster bisque for the last five years because nobody could come close to his favorite (from the lobster restaurant).  A friend of his was telling him how good the lobster bisque was at the new pizza restaurant, and that the owner of the lobster restaurant and the pizza restaurant were one and the same. 

But the biggest change has been the addition of Italian cookies and pastries.

Like Cannoli Cake.


Neapolitan cookies.......a perfect blend of cherry, almond and chocolate.


And Venetian 7-layer bars.

My brother, his 7-layer bars and his recipe for Italian Cold Melon Star Burst soup were recently featured (along with Roslyn Kind) in a short clip on ConnecticutStyle promoting the Garde theater.


You can watch him here. 



The first mixture he poured into the soup was actually honeydew (he said cantaloupe).  I would make an excuse and tell you that maybe he was nervous being on camera, and that caused his slip of the tongue.  But anyone who watches this clip can tell that he's not the slightest bit nervous on camera, as proven when the host counts down "one minute........thirty seconds...." and my brother calmly finishes his demonstration.  The prosciutto was not the only ham in the shot!  I think he's awesome.

And for those of you who might want to prepare a non-alcoholic version of the melon soup (here I go with the tweaking again), I would suggest using Welch's white grape juice in place of the wine.


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