I love to look through cook books, in particular, unusual ones. Yesterday I was reading one my grandmother sent me years ago called “Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”, written by Marie Nightengale, who was actually the sister of a dear friend of my mothers.
She provided a lot of interesting facts about Nova Scotia, as well as recipes retrieved from the days when pots were still hanging over a fire in the hearth. Interesting stuff. Brewis, Frumety, and Skirl in the Pan, were among the more interesting, and certainly unusually named selections. A great many of the recipes originated from Scotland, such as these, and although fun to read, not something I’d readily get moving on the stove. This is not to say, that they’re not excellent.
There are certain foods that I just can’t warm up to. Haggis, which is made from the stomach bag from a sheep. The directions are to clean the bag and soak overnight. Next day boil the pluck, don’t ask I have no idea, and the bag for about an hour leaving the windpipe over the side of the pot so all the impurities can escape. Okay, that’s too much information for me. It really is what you’re used to.
There’s a recipe for turtles in shells. Small turtles are breaded and put in the top shells with butter and baked. Mine shall remain in its turtle bowl, that is, unless the cat ever figures out how to reach the top shelf of the bookcase. In that case, I’m sure breading would be optional.
A couple of recipes call out for 1 pig’s head. Now, my freezer is packed with just about everything, but last time I looked inside I found nothing returning the favor.
The author writes about Nova Scotia in such a way, that it made my heart tug. I thought I’d share my favorite paragraph.
“Nova Scotia! A land of beauty; of rugged seacoasts, where the waters lash up like so many frothy petticoats in a vain effort to cover the naked cliffs. A land of hills so green as to bring tears to a Scotsman’s eye in a nostalgic longing for the “hills of home”. A land of beautiful valleys and picturesque covers, tranquil then and now, but which in the interim would echo with the sounds of pirates’ soirees. A land to be steeped in the traditions of those who were to settle her – the French, the English, the Germans, the New Englanders, the Irish, the Scottish and the Negroes. All of these people were to bring their customs, traditions and superstitions to weave the intricate pattern of our heritage and change the face of the land.”
Growing up I was often taken on road trips. The province is a peninsula, so nearly totally surrounded by water. From the lush valleys with soil so rich it looks like clumps of rich chocolate, to craggy coastlines lined with driftwood strewn beaches, and colorful fishing villages the fishermen’s lobster traps stacked along the wooden piers, there is something special to see wherever you find the highway leads you.
One of my favorite trips was to the Cabot Trail, located on Cape Breton Island, which is at the northern end of the peninsula. In all my travels, I have until this time, never seen scenery to parallel what you find there. The area offers not only spectacular ocean and mountain vistas, but a large animal population ranging from sheep to moose. There are so many fabulous places to stop and feast on seafood that it’s mind-boggling trying to make a choice, and beautiful hotels in the area. If you get a chance to visit try the Keltic Lodge. I went there with my grandparents as a child and still have vivid pictures in my mind of our times there. And let’s face it, it wasn’t the day before yesterday that I was still sporting my Mary Jane’s, if you know what I mean.
One blessing among many of being a child on the Eastern Seaboard, was the seemingly endless supply of fresh seafood available wherever you went. I do miss my lobster, but with market price now being half a car payment, I usually just pay my respects as I pass the tank.
This recipe is particularly good, but with lobster, you have to work to hard to make it taste bad, although I’ve seen it done in my time. Have a great day! If you decide to take that pig’s head out of the freezer, I’ll forward the recipe in the book for you to try.
2 1 1/2 lbs. live lobsters
dash of lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
8 oz. Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. dry sherry
3 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup EV olive oil, plus 2-3 Tbsp. for drizzle
2 sour dough baguettes, cut in 1/2″ slices diagonally
Bring large pot of salted water with a dash of lemon juice to boil over high heat. Plunge lobsters into water head first. Cook until shells are vibrant pink (about 9 mins.). Transfer to roasting pan and let cool until you’re able to handle (or hold with clean kitchen towel). The site below provides some great tips on how to cook and remove meat. I use the above method of cooking but either works well.
Cut lobster meat into 1/2″ cubes. Place in mixing bowl. In separate large mixing bowl combine onion and vinegar. Let stand for 10 mins. Add lobster, tomatoes, celery, shallot, minced garlic, dry sherry, basil, parsley and 1/4 cup oil to the onion/vinegar mixture. Toss to coat well. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. On cookie sheet place baguette slices in single layer. Place 3-4 Tbsp. of EV olive oil in small bowl and brush on top side of each piece of bread. Rub with whole garlic clove. Place in oven and toast until lightly golden brown. Let cool. Place dollop of lobster mixture on top of each slice. Serve with cocktail sauce or lemon slices on the side if desired. Yum.