Sunday, August 14, 2011


(Or, as titled by Nathanael "Clambake, Clambake, oh what fun!")

Meet our dinner last night.

And a few of his friends:
red v. blue

kirk and the lobsters

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. Most women take their husbands out to dinner for their birthdays, or maybe stop by a bakery and buy them a nice cake. I, on the other hand, decided it would be fun to have a clambake for my husband's birthday. I mean, what could be more fun than bringing a little bit of beach to my closet-sized kitchen and tiny backyard in the middle of the city?

Not to be deterred by the fact that I had no sand, and couldn't dig a hole in my brick patio backyard, I found an alternate clambake method here. This goes to show that 1) you can find anything on the internet, and 2) there are people just as crazy as me out there!

Here is the pictoral version of our clambake, as documented by Nathanael. (Taken in my windowless kitchen, so they are a little dark!)

First, find some lobsters, and some friends. Thanks, Kirk, for helping with my mad scheme!

Next, give your lobsters some beer. You want them to die a happy death, after all:
lobster and beerdrunken lobster

Grab some fellow sea-creatures:

And some vegetables and seasonings:

Until your counter is full of ocean-y goodness:
drunken lobster 2

Next, soak some cloths in cheap beer:
soaking cloths

Lay a cloth out on the counter and put a lobster and handful of mussels and clams in the center:
lobster and mussels

Pile on ears of corn, red potatoes, a lemon, some quartered onion, smashed garlic, and some rosemary & thyme:
ingredients 2

Add some italian sausage to the top, and tie up the bundle. Place your bundle on a large sheet of foil and wrap the bundle in seaweed:
adding seaweed

Wrap your bundle securely in foil, and you are ready to grill!
on the grill

While your clambake is cooking, enjoy a little beach ambiance:

After about an hour, check to see if everything is cooked:
off the grill

Spread out on your picnic table:
the spread

the aftermath

We pretty much followed the Washington Post recipe for this clambake. The proportions on that recipe are for giants, however; I used 6 1-lb lobsters, 4 lbs of mussels, 2 dozen clams, 10 ears of corn, 10 sausages, and 16 potatoes. We made 6 packets (plus a 7th with extra with veggies and mussels), and it was plenty to feed 12 people. We used the "steam in packets" method, but put the seaweed between the foil and the flour-sack cloth. This kept everything really moist and had a good flavor, plus was easy clean up! I was unable to find fresh seaweed, so I ended up using dried seaweed from the Chinese market. I soaked it overnight then drained it. We used about 3/4 a bag of charcoal, and let the grill heat for about half an hour before we started. We could get four packets on our grill at a time, so we did them in two shifts. Each packet cooked in about an hour (so the charcoal lasted just barely long enough to finish the second set--it may have helped to add a few more hot coals when we put on the second set). We grilled the sausages at the end (to get them crispy), and grilled a few of the mussels that hadn't quite opened yet. I also didn't prepare the lobster before serving it, like the article said. This is a clambake, people! You spread it out on the table and let everyone dig in! (Also, half the fun is watching your guests figure out how to crack open a lobster ;)). I served everything with drawn butter and chile-thyme spiced butter.

1 comment:

  1. yum, that looks like a blast! good job improvising ;)