We've had a cooler and rainier than normal last couple of weeks so I haven't had much to report on the Spring Garden. We've been munching away on home grown lettuces, snow peas, English peas, daikon radishes, lots of herbs and even a couple of heads of broccoli, but all were eaten raw or cooked simply, so no fabulous garden recipes to report.
There is an exciting development in the garden, however. We have had a thrilling front row view of three baby kestrels fledging from their nest box. Several years ago Dan made a big birdhouse and popped it onto a maple tree in back of our house in hopes of luring pileated woodpeckers to nest there. Instead, one year we got a pair of kestrels, small, shy falcons with beautiful markings, that enjoy snacking on rodents (yay!) and other birds (there goes my bird sanctuary!). They returned again this year and chased away various hopeful starlings and grackles, but we hadn't seen them nesting once the foliage grew out. To our delight, one by one, we heard baby bird chirping and saw one, two and then three fuzzy kestrel chicks leave the nest.
We believe we have three young boy kestrels, whom we've alternately referred to as Chip, Robbie and Ernie ("My Three Sons") and Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe ("Bonanza"). Little Joe is runtier than his two bigger chick mates so we've become particularly attached to him, rooting him on in his short fledgling flights from nest to ladders to our backyard swing set. Glad to see that's getting some use again.
Dan is particularly enraptured with raptors, so he's been nonstop wearing a pair of binoculars around the house most days. We saw one of the parents (they zoom in and out so fast you can't focus on their plumage to determine their gender) drop off an enormous snack for one of the older kestrel chicks. It was the size of a pigeon, but it had some big old yellow chicken feet, so we're still trying to guess what that unfortunate fowl was. My neighbor down the road does raise turkeys, so maybe this was an early Thanksgiving for Hoss or Adam. We never found any remains, so those gnarly, huge feet must've gone down the hatch too.
Enough ornithology, this is a food blog after all, and since we didn't poach one of our Three Sons, I will focus on a fabulous Lobster Pasta that I made for Dan on Father's Day. My own egg chicks and I went off to the grocery store and had them steam up three lobsters for us and then hied away home to cook them up. It was a lot of labor to crack and pick out the lobster meat and I made a mountain of pots, but luckily my two daughters incorporated dish washing and other kitchen labors as our Father's Day present to our patriarch.
Luscious Lobster Pasta
3 medium (1.5 lb.) lobsters, steamed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch garlic scapes, finely chopped (or scallions)
3 large stalks celery, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
1 handful basil leaves, slivered (I have purple and green garden basil which made it very colorful)
1 lb. cooked pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove meat from lobsters, chop coarsely and refrigerate until later. I don't personally like the green liver, but you could add that if you enjoy it. I did add the red roe from the female lobster in our mix. Removing lobster meat requires hand strength, good cracking tools (and a handy mallet for the big claws), as well as a hot, soapy shower afterwards for the prep cook.
I saved the lobster shells, clipped of the feathery gills and eye stalks and placed them in a stock pot with water to cover. I brought this to a boil, then simmered it for 1 hour for a nice lobster broth to add to my pasta sauce, with plenty of stock leftover to freeze.
Heat heavy sauce pan. Add olive oil and heat. Add in garlic scapes and stir 2 minutes. Add celery and saute another 3-4 minutes, or until it is softened. Add 1-1/2 cups lobster stock and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until it is reduced by half. Through in butter to melt. Add reserved lobster meat and basil and just heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook up pasta and when it is al dente, drain and toss it into lobster sauce. Serve immediately.
I am submitting this elegant, if laborious and therefore reserved for special occasions, pasta dish to the weekly Presto Pasta Nights event, started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, and hosted this week by Katerina of Daily Unadventures in Cooking.
Looking forward to another roundup of great pasta dishes after today's deadline. Dan certainly loved this recipe!