Friends, please hold on to your bowler hats, we’re about to get surreal for real, far out, outa sight, dyn-o-mite, dreamy, steamy, and WHOOOOOA! It’s time for a little Surrealism with your appetizers.
Before we dig in, let’s have a quick recap. (Or if you’ve got a minute, go back and read Part 1. It’s all about the Cubist cocktails – totally worth a read!)
The theme is Modernist Art Movements. We each chose one style to interpret for our course. The menu and art movements are listed below.
- Drinks – Dan and Greg – Cubism: Cubist Cocktail featuring jelly shots in a variety of colors and flavors, cut into fancy shapes; Wines included Bordeaux, Medoc, and Roussillon (more on that later)
- Appetizers – Ann and Ilise – Surrealism: Roasted Vegetable Salad with Parmesan Mousse; Baked Lobster Tails with Clarified Butter
- Main Course - Karen and Kathleen – Constructivism: Smoked Arctic Char Burger; Tomato Aspic; Steamed Asparagus; and Arancini Pyramids with Herb Lemon-Butter Sauce
- Dessert: Ellyn – Post-Impressionism: A Multi-Media Musing on the Iconic NYC Black and White Cookie
In this post we’ll focus exclusively on the Surrealism/Appetizers course. We went a little overboard with apps and activities so there’s a lot to report on.
A Part 3 post (coming soon) will delve into the main course and dessert.
But first, let’s summon the creative spirit, create a little ambiance, and turn up the tunes to enjoy a pop/rock/folk playlist with an artistic theme. Please enjoy.
Surrealism began in the early 1920s with roots in Dadaism, the avant-garde art movement intent on upending society’s norms. Best known for visual artworks and writings although the performing arts were represented too, Surrealism gained popularity in the 1930s and 40s.
Among the best-known Surrealist artists are Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.
Surrealist artists sought to channel the unconscious to unlock the power of the imagination and explore the space between dream and reality. Sigmund Freud was profoundly influential for Surrealists, particularly his book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899).
Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions, and non-sequitur.
Surrealism was meant to be, above all, a revolutionary movement.
Sources: The Art Story; The Met; MoMA; Wikipedia
Here are a few Surrealist works we especially like, including three that directly inspired our dishes:
The first app we served was a salad of roasted beets and rainbow carrots topped with dollops of parmesan mousse. It was quite tasty, but that’s not the interesting part. That distinction belongs to the delivery system for each person’s first bite of the mousse. We riffed off Magritte’s painting titled Les Amants (The Lovers) and then this happened … (Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.)
All agreed that the mousse was a creamy, flavorful, decadent delight – the perfect accompaniment for baked potatoes, roasted veggies, salads, even grilled steak. We liked it just fine with nothing more than a breadstick for dipping. Yum!
The mousse recipe may be downloaded here. Please note: this is another case where using high quality ingredients really makes a difference, so get the best quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that you can. Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
I have taken their notes, mashed them up, and now present to you The Foodies Co-Created, Infiltrated, Exclamated, Surrealistic Essay While We Waited. There are two versions – one in which I pulled a clause or sentence from each writer and edited them together; and another more randomized offering (which is probably truer to what the Surrealists intended back in the day).
Version #1 (edited):
Smart asses unite to intimidate. Doodles doodles Howdy Doody doodles. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Dan wearing cheesecloth on his head! Bridal veil. Did anyone notice the cats, the absence of dog? Yes. We did. Introspective pondering on why we are here on this planet. Is this the best way to convey ideas?
Version #2 (random words):
Had orange to evil the wonderful. Gelatin wearing bridal this head. Time mother sister how put what. It and wait for isn’t did. One clocks like piano I’m dandy. Everything way pack good places asses.
I think that’s not too bad for a roomful of hungry, slightly intoxicated Foodies!
Our final appetizer was inspired by two Surrealist works: Magritte’s The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe) and Dali’s Lobster Telephone. Take a look. Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
Recipe sources: Lobstergram and Serious Eats
If your lobster tails are frozen, start by thawing them in cool water for 30-60 minutes, depending on size of the lobster tails. Once the tails have thawed, you should:
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Blanch the lobster tails in boiling water for 90 seconds, then plunge them into an ice bath. This step will make it easier to do the remaining lobster prep, manipulating the meat from the shell.
- Cut the top of the shell lengthwise, starting from the base and going toward the end of the tail.
- Crack the bottom of the shell using your hands, but be sure that you don’t smash the shell.
- Reach inside the newly opened shell and gently remove the meat from the shell, but don’t detach the meat from the base of the tail. After pulling the meat out, lay it on top of the shell.
- Remove the darkly colored vein from the meat and throw it away.
- Place the tails on a baking pan with enough water to shallowly fill the bottom of the pan. The water helps to steam the tails.
- Baste the tail with clarified butter and top it with seasoning of your choice – paprika is a good choice for great flavor and color.
- Bake your tails for exactly 1 to 1 ½ minutes per ounce. You’ll know that your baked lobster tails are done when the meat is white and firm with no gray coloring or translucency. NOTE: Our tails took more like 2 minutes per ounce to cook. Use the coloring and translucency tips as your ultimate guide to doneness.
- 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Continue to cook over medium-high heat; an even layer of white milk proteins will float to the surface.
- Bring to a boil; the milk proteins will become foamy.
- Lower heat to medium and continue to gently boil; the milk proteins will break apart.
- As the butter gently boils, the milk proteins will eventually sink to the bottom of the pot, and the boiling will begin to calm and then cease.
- Once boiling has stopped, pour butter through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or through a coffee filter into a heatproof container to remove browned milk solids. Let cool, then transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. Clarified butter should keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator.
|Printable Recipe- Baked Lobster Tails with Clarified Butter|
|File Size:||521 kb|