Let’s talk about crazy things. Is it insane to be stressed out over the summer, when life is supposed to be carefree, calm and full of relaxing holidays? Of course it’s crazy! But I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, so after enjoying countless relaxing summers without a care in the world, I have ditched that this year, in favor of embracing a more manic me.
Sure, BBQs, picnics and lazy days with friends are fun, but so is working full time, blogging, baking and the countless other things that pop up in our daily lives, am I right? While you, sane, readers may not completely agree, I assure you that I have at least one person on my side… bizarre, eccentric genius Salvador Dalí. Who else’s imagination would lead them to pair a telephone with a lobster?
Dalí’s 1936 work, Lobster Telephone is a classic example of Surrealism, an artistic movement that sought to juxtapose fantasy and reality in a way that makes the viewer rethink their preconceived notions of what is normal. Dalí explained his quirky crustaceanous telephone in his 1942 autobiography, The Secret Life of Dalí: “I do not understand why, when asked for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, I am never served a cooked telephone.” While I don’t anticipate that I will be replacing my treasured iphone with an aquarium of lobsters any time soon, I can appreciate the craziness that Dalí evokes when he suggested that maybe we should combine such a normal, everyday object with one that will surely pinch us.
Art historians have come up with plenty explanations for this work, but since I have not yet shared my lobster-related recipe with you—in which case you could skip all of this crazy-talk, and go straight for the good stuff—I am not going to delve into Dalí’s obsession with erotic pleasure and pain in his study of the lobster as an aphrodisiac. Instead, my initial reaction to this work was one of self-reflection, specifically in how attached I have become to technology, namely my phone. When I really think about it, I am really quite connected at all times, something that certainly doesn’t encourage me to stay calm and collected. If I suddenly reached for my phone to do something non-urgent, like check my instagram for the hundreth time, or check the weather without actually looking outside, and my phone was actually a lobster, would it be such a bad thing? If definitely would not be good on a Monday morning, but what about for a weekend afternoon? It could be pretty nice; a pinching (yet tasty) monster forcing me to live my life and disconnect for a bit.
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
¾ cup Arborio rice, thoroughly rinsed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped finely
¼ cup dry white wine
pinch of salt
1 pound lobster, steamed
Parmesan or Manchego cheese for grating
Heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce to low, and let simmer. Meanwhile, chop the lobster into bite size pieces, set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the shallot, and cook another minute or two. Stir in the rice, mixing to coat completely in the butter. Add the wine and ½ of the stock. Mix gently, and then allow the rice to absorb most of the liquid. Continue to add the stock this way, in ½ c. increments, stirring occasionally. When you run out of liquid, the risotto should be creamy and thick. Season with a pinch of salt, and remove from the heat. Grate a bit of cheese into the risotto, and stir. Divide between two plates and add the lobster—“Provecho!” as I am sure Dalí would say! How do you deal with stress in a positive and delicious way? Let me know in the comments, unless your answer is something crazy (hard) like “run a marathon.” Otherwise, share your wisdom! 🙂