Kitchen Accomplice: A beach bisque for your cottage opening

 This recipe is designed for a soup to put in a thermos and pour into ceramic mugs.  

It can be consumed while you survey your beaches as you investigate Mother Nature’s winter activity while you were away.

This bisque will keep you warm even while your feet are chilled.  

Wear wool socks and a stocking cap and, together with this velvety soup, you will have what you need to survive — elegantly.  

Holding the mug will keep your hands toasty warm.  

Have a selection of hors d’oeuvre on a tray ready to slip into the oven on your return from your surveillance.   

The perfect Toddy Time!  

And a great inauguration to open your summer place.

I can think of no grander soup to serve than a simple lobster bisque.  

This, to me, is one of the finest achievements of the culinary arts.  

You will have lots of time this summer to serve the bounty of the lakes, and I know you will do that.

This will make a perfect beginning heralding a full summer of good times ahead.

 It is especially nice to have something special to look forward to as you take off the storm windows and window coverings, wash the windows, sweep up the critters that were able to sneak through in your absence, get the water flowing through the pipes again, make the beds, and get the place warmed up.

Did I mention a Toddy?  Yes.  

And I will share a time-honored recipe, too.

The big deal with special soups is the stock.  

The stock is the secret few are willing to share with you.  

And yes, you can use the boxed and canned varieties.  

You will get a good result.  

If you use your house made variety of stock, you will get a superlative result.

Here’s how to do it.  Take the following ingredients and place them in a stock pot:

•    4 T salted butter

•    1 large Spanish onion, peeled and minced

•    3 cloves garlic, minced

•    2 carrots, peeled and sliced

•    2 ribs celery, minced

•    2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ? inch         chunks

•    8 cups lobster stock (we’ll get to that)

•    2 T tomato paste

•    1 cup dry white wine

•    2 cups heavy cream

•    1 T Worcestershire sauce

•    1 1/4 pounds cooked lobster meat, but into bit     sized pieces

•    1/3 cup brandy

•    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a stockpot melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Sauté for 12 minutes.  

Add the potatoes, lobster stock, tomato paste and white wine.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender and soft, 30 minutes or so.  

Remove from the heat and puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender.  

Stir in the cream, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lobster meat, and brandy.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Place the pot back on the stove for 3 minutes to heat through.  

When heated thoroughly, pour into individual thermoses and serve.  

This will serve 8 to 10.

Lobster stock

•    3 lobsters, 1 1/2 pounds each

•    1 large Spanish onion, quartered

•    3 ribs of celery, cut into thirds

•    3 carrots, cut into thirds

•    1 1/2 cups dry white wine

•    1 6 oz can of tomato paste

•    8 sprigs of fresh parsley

•    Coarse salt, to taste

•    3 bay leaves

•    8 whole peppercorns

•    Water as needed

Fill a 10 quart pot with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  

Drop lobsters into the pot. Boil 8 minutes.  

Remove from the pot and let cool until they can be handled.  

Remove the meat from the shells and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.  

Reserve the shells and bodies.

In a stockpot place the shells, onion, celery, carrots, wine, tomato paste, parsley, salt, bay leaves and peppercorns.  

Add enough water to cover the lobsters by 3 inches.  

Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium high.  Simmer 1 ? hours, adding water as necessary.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Discard the solids and refrigerate up to 3 days before using.

Lobster will be great on a salad before you leave the cottage!

For your Toddy, you will need:

•    1 ounce of Evan Williams Kentucky bourbon

•    1 T honey

•    1/4 lemon

•    1 cup hot water

•    1 tea bag

Coat the bottom of a ceramic mug with honey, add the bourbon and the lemon juice.  

Make the tea with the tea bag and hot water.  Pour the steaming tea into the mug and stir.

The hot hors d’oeuvre should be simple.  

I would think buttered crustless bread cut into about 4 long pieces per slice and then topped with  Porcini mushrooms and Harvarti would be just about perfect.  

Bake at 350 until cheese is nicely melted and bread is slightly crusty.  

If you wish, you can put more crunch on the bread by baking it 5 minutes before topping it.  You can also add some red pepper flakes if you like some heat.  

Or a whisper thin layer of Dijon mustard before you add the toppings is also a pleasant addition.

A great introduction to a beautiful summer ahead.


Judge John Kirkendall is a retired Washtenaw County Probate judge. He serves on the Elder Law Advisory Board of the Stetson University College of Law.

He has taught cooking classes for more than 25 years at various cooking schools in the Ann Arbor area and has himself attended classes at Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, as well as schools in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. He is past president of the National College of Probate Judges.


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