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The difference between male and female lobsters

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Served hot out of the shell or in your favorite recipe, lobster is a mild and slightly sweet delicacy to be savored and enjoyed. But did you know that some shellfish aficionados claim that female lobsters are superior to males?

One reason for this is that female lobsters produce roe. Also called coral, lobster eggs are dark green but turn a brilliant red when cooked and are considered a gourmet food item.

Additionally, female lobsters have wider, fleshier tails than males. While the tail meat doesn’t have a distinct taste, many prefer its texture and its appeal in terms of plate presentation.

Identifying the sex of your lobster

While male and female lobsters look almost the same, there are some visual differences. Male lobsters tend to have bigger claws than females of a comparable size. And as already mentioned, females have wider tails than their male counterparts.

Under their tails, all lobsters have small appendages, called pleopods, or swimmeretes, which help them to swim. On a female, these limbs are soft and feathery, while on a male, they’re hard and bony.

Male versus female lobsters
Which lobster you choose is a matter of personal taste. If you prefer claw meat, go for a male. If you favor tail meat or love the roe, a female is the best option. No matter your preference, you’re certainly in store for a decadent and luxurious meal.

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Vegetarian shepherd’s pie

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Say hello to a new family favorite. This classic dish with a twist is so tasty, you may want a second serving.

Start to finish: 1 hour
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients
• 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into big chunks
• 1/4 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 1 carrot, diced
• 1 celery stalk, diced
• 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
• 1 19-ounce can lentils, drained and rinsed
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
2. Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain the water, add the milk and butter and mash until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan, and sauté the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and mushrooms for about five minutes or until soft. Add the lentils and thyme. Mix well and transfer to an 8 x 11 inch baking dish. Cover with the sweet potato puree.
4. Cook for about 30 minutes and serve.

You can make individual portions by building the shepherd’s pie in several ramekins.

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Creamy corn chowder

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This hearty corn chowder is the perfect meal for a cold, wintery night. Indeed, it’s a recipe you’re sure to come back to again and again.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
• 6 slices bacon, chopped
• 1 leek (the white part only), finely chopped
• 1 large potato, diced
• 20 ounces corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
• 13.5 ounces creamed corn
• 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup (15%) cream
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary
• 1 bay leaf
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 4 chives, chopped

Directions
1. In a large pot, cook the bacon. When it’s almost done, add the leek. Continue to cook until the bacon is crispy and the leek is translucent. Drain the bacon grease.
2. Add the potato, corn, broth, milk, cream, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the potato is soft.
3. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish with the chives, then serve and enjoy.

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Slow-cooked chili con carne

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There’s nothing better than a meal made in the slow cooker, especially when it’s this chili con carne.

Start to finish: 8 hours and 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 10

Ingredients
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 celery stalk, diced
• 1 carrot, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons chili seasoning
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/4 cup ketchup
• 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
• 1 18-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 red pepper, diced
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup beef broth
• Salt and pepper
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2 green onions, sliced

Directions
1. In a large pan over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and brown the beef in it. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
2. In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and cook the onion, celery and carrot. When it’s almost done, add the garlic, chili seasoning, cumin and dried oregano. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Add the ketchup, diced tomatoes, beans, red pepper, brown sugar and beef broth and cook until hot. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour over the beef in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
5. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding more chili seasoning, salt and pepper, if necessary.
6. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and some of the sliced green onion.

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Homemade fried chicken

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If you want fried chicken that’s crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside, then try this recipe. You won’t regret it!

Start to finish: 5 hours (1 hour active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients
• 1 whole chicken
• 2 quarts 2% milk
• Juice of half a lemon
• 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
• 2 teaspoons dried basil, divided
• 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided
• 2 teaspoons paprika, divided
• 2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
• 2 teaspoons white pepper, divided
• 2 teaspoons salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons garlic salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons celery salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 quarts vegetable oil

Directions
1. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings).
2. In a large bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice to make buttermilk. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Add a teaspoon of each herb and spice to the buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. Put the chicken into the milk to marinate and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
4. After marinating, put the flour into a bowl and add one teaspoon of each herb and spice. Mix well to combine.
5. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and coat it completely in the flour mixture. Let rest for a few minutes.
6. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot until it reaches 400 °F.
7. Carefully put 2 pieces of chicken in the oil, and fry until they reach an interior temperature of 165 °F. Repeat until the entire chicken in cooked.
8. Drain on a piece of paper towel and serve with your choice of sauce.

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Baked brie with pear jam

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This decadent dish is easy to prepare. Serve it as an appetizer or as a crowd-pleasing dessert. Either way, it’s sure to be a winner.

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 1 10-ounce wheel of brie
• 1/4 cup pear jam
• 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 1 baguette, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
2. Cut the brie in half horizontally, thereby creating 2 round slices.
3. Spread the pear jam on the inside of one section of the wheel and cover with the other half, thereby reassembling the entire wheel of cheese with the pear jam in the middle.
4. Place the wheel on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
5. Using a knife, score the top of the cheese to create a checkered pattern.
6. Top with walnuts, honey and rosemary and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is just starting to melt.
7. Serve with slices of baguette.

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Spicy chicken and sweet potato stew warms up everyone

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Ahhh, stew. It’s a comfort food in the harsh winter, not only in its makeup but in its usefulness: we can stand over a steaming bowl and feel warmth on our face. Plus, it’s a great way to use up that stray potato left over from the holidays.

Stews start with a base of liquid, meat cut into cubes, and typically some type of root vegetables. Categories typically include brown stews, in which the meat is browned in fat before the liquid is added, and white stews, in which it is not.

Although stews are generally considered a pedestrian dish, there are some, like beef burgundy, that are fine dining-approved. And every culture seems to have its twist, according to Encyclopedia.com: from Argentinians who add fruit and bake them in a pumpkin or squash shell, to bigos, also known as hunter’s stew, considered Poland’s national dish.

Here is a recipe for spicy chicken and sweet potato stew from the website Allrecipes. It’s easy, hearty, and, like the appeal of most stews, it’s a one-pot meal.

Ingredients:
6 servings
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sweet potato,
peeled and cubed
1 orange bell pepper,
seeded and cubed
1 pound cooked chicken
breast, cubed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
11/2 tablespoons all-purpose
flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup frozen corn
1 (16 ounce) can kidney
beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in sweet potato, bell pepper, chicken, tomatoes, and 2 cups of water. Season with salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

Dissolve flour in 2 tablespoons water, and stir in to boiling stew. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 10 to 20 minutes. Stir the stew occasionally to keep it from sticking.

Once the potatoes are done, stir in corn and kidney beans. Cook a few minutes until hot, then stir in cilantro before serving.

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Upcoming Events

Feb
19
Wed
8:45 am Reaching Out Now Career Day @ Skyline Middle School
Reaching Out Now Career Day @ Skyline Middle School
Feb 19 @ 8:45 am – 2:30 pm
Reaching Out Now Career Day @ Skyline Middle School
Reaching Out Now (RON) together with Skyline Middle School to host its 1st annual Career Day, “Passport to Success.” Joining with area business leaders, Warren County Public School, as we come together to empower our[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 19 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
2:00 pm Rotary Club Blood Drive @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Rotary Club Blood Drive @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Feb 19 @ 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Rotary Club Blood Drive @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
All are invited to the Rotary Club of the Shenandoah Valley (The Area ONE|ders) blood drive on Wednesday, February 19th, from 2pm-7pm, at the Front Royal United Methodist Church (1 W. Main St. Front Royal)[...]
Feb
20
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 20 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Feb
21
Fri
9:00 am Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Feb 21 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Are you considering independent, corporate, or social entrepreneurship, or being groomed to take over a family business? Then, this workshop is for you! Topics to be covered: Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur The Importance of[...]
Feb
22
Sat
10:00 am Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths @ Strokes of Creativity
Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths @ Strokes of Creativity
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths @ Strokes of Creativity
Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths In this beginner level class, you will learn some basic crochet stitches and pattern reading to make pretty dishcloths for your home. Instruction will be for right-handed crochet. Please pre-register!
11:00 am Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 22 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Art Stars is a special needs art discovery program. This program is for ages 8 and up. Registration begins January 22. Participants should have a caregiver or attendant present in the program.
12:30 pm Crochet Workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Crochet Workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Feb 22 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Crochet Workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Crochet Workshop Do you have a crochet project you need a little help with? Already bought the supplies, but need help reading the pattern? All skill levels are invited to this Bring Your Own Project[...]
1:00 pm Discover love, adopt at Petco @ Petco
Discover love, adopt at Petco @ Petco
Feb 22 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Discover love, adopt at Petco @ Petco
Stop by Petco located at 2580 S Pleasant Valley Rd. on Saturday, February 22, between 1 and 4 PM. Meet the amazing Petco adoption team from the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke, learn more about[...]
1:00 pm Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Feb 22 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Moving Mindfully: Finding and keeping your footing @ Ruby Yoga
Join Ruby Yoga and Deborah Romero of Optimal Posture LLC for a series of workshops on moving more mindfully through life using the principles of yoga and the Alexander Technique. Slated for Saturday, Jan. 25,[...]