New Year’s Tea
This New Year’s Tea at Upton Alley was not attended by the guest of honor. He left Upton unceremoniously New Year’s morning in a motorcar, discarding his flamenco costume as though shedding last year’s skin. Those left behind kept up their spirits by watching Downton Abbey and seeking solace in tea.
As the foggy mantilla of the previous evening lifted, I found myself alone packing away the castanets and preparing to receive guests. …And in the presence of two perplexing, red-jacketed creatures. Naturally, I sought the good counsel of Miss Toklas.
Here is the recipe she suggests on page 60:
Cook 4 small lobsters not weighing more than 1 lb. each in boiling water, salted, for 18 to 20 minutes. During this time melt in a saucepan 4 tablespoons butter and heat in it 1 large carrot cut in thin rings and 2 medium-sized onions with a clove stuck on one of them and the white of 1 leek. When they are coated in butter sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over them, mix well. Add alittle by little 1 cup of hot dry white wine and 1 cup hot bouillion, 1 large bouquet of parsley, fennel and basil, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of saffron, 4 cloves of crushed garlic and 4 tablespoons of tomato purée. Cover and cook slowly for 1 hour. Cut the lobsters longitudinally, take out the meat and place the 8 pieces in a hot casserole, take out the meat from the claws and place in the interstices of the lobster meat in the casserole. Take out of the sauce the parsley, fennel and basil if you wish. They did not in Perpignan. Pour the sauce over the lobster meat into the casserole. Serve piping hot.*
* Note. Bouillon is a “boiling”, a stock made of veal, chicken or beef bones simmered in water with the special vegetable and herbs appropriate to the dish.
Of course these are Modern times, so I changed a few things. For one, I had only 2 lobsters. I partially steamed them in just a bit of salted water and used the resulting liquid as my bouillon. I did not use basil because I had none. And I finished the sauce with a healthy splash of rye whiskey. This dish was served as part of the menu below.
I believe Cousin Violet would have approved.
Upton Alley Season One
Episode 1Tea Sandwiches of Cucumber and Cream Cheese,
Parma Cotto Ham and Black Bread,
and Ngapi Kyaw and Butter