5 Star Makeover: Tail Gating with Lobster Sauce Crab Poutine with Oka Cheese

Tail what?  Tail gate was the clever theme our wonderful hosts Lazaro and Natasha settled on for this month’s 5 Star Makeover. Clever and confusing! See I am not a sports fan at all. And I am not alone because the announcement of the theme caused a lot of reaction from my fellow challenge friends. OK so I knew the word but I had no clear concept of what a tail gate party was. I am sure some Canadian sport fans have them but not nearly to the extent of our friendly Southern neighbor.

After a bit of research I understood tail gate food revolved around a grill and pot luck like dishes. Lots of junk food in general too. What could I make that would have a certain Canadian flair, even better if it could have a Québecois touch? Of course! I would make our ultimate world famous fast food: poutine! Now even if the rest of the world thinks this is our national dish…it is not. Let me say it again: poutine by no means is considered fancy.

Yet this is suppose to be a gourmet challenge. Have no fear, Chuck is here! I based my poutine on the Lobster Poutine recipe by Montreal local super star chef Chuck Hughes. This is one of the recipes Chuck prepared on Iron Chef America that helped him kick Bobby Flays’ ass (pardon my French Québecois). What can I say, French Canadian Chuck beating Bobby on Iron Chef America, it was a proud moment for Montrealers!

I made a few bold changes in Chuck’s recipe – not by choice but by obligation. I got to the grocery store pretty late and the fish monger was gone. The young kid taking over the next door deli section was trying to be helpful, resigned himself to package a lobster for me but could not find the price scan and I eventually found canned crab meat. There was also no curd cheese left when I got to the store, which is THE poutine cheese to use. I did however find some Oka Cheese which I thought would make for a good substitute. Curd cheese is kind of bland but Oka packs a punch flavor wise, I just had a hunch it would work. It really did! Please take my word on it and try the recipe, poutine is not a photogenic dish so don’t judge purely on appearance.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

On a funny note this was my first time ever do real French fries…as in deep frying. No one was hurt and nothing was damaged BUT I did manage to set the burner on fire. Half of me was trying not to laugh my head off and the other half was trying to remember how one puts out a fire in the kitchen again? Oh yeah put a lid on it or baking soda.

Ξ Lobster Sauce Crab Poutine with Oka Cheese Ξ
adapted from Chuck Hughes


  • 250 gr crab meat (original recipe 2 large lobsters, 1 ½ lbs each)
  • 4 cups of lobster base sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, dilute in water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes with skins on, washed and cut lengthwise into fries
  • 1 lb Oka cheese, cut in cubes (original recipe cheese curds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying


To make your own lobster base from scratch see my recipe here, I had some in the freezer already. If you prefer using lobster meat, cook your lobster, remove the meat and make base with the shells.

For the sauce, reduce the lobster base in half. Add a little bit of base to the cornstarch mixture the add it all to the pan and cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Next, whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Preheat oil in deep fryer to 300F (148C) and blanch the fries for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and let stand for several minutes.

Increase the temperature of the oil in the deep fryer and immerse the fries in the oil again for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Place on a tray lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Plate fries in a shallow bowl and garnish with the crab and Oka cheese . Pour the lobster sauce over top. Makes 4 servings.


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From the Sea Stew

Well if you think I was going to make my lobster broth and move on without another word you were oh so wrong! Of course I was planning on using a good amount of my many liters pronto. And my first use of the lobster broth will be for a delicious fish stew.

I am not normally a big fan of fish stews or soups but I came across a flavorful recipe with good potential. I gave it a go and I was very satisfied with the results. It makes a big batch and I live alone….3 days 3 bowls an I am still in love. Today for lunch I topped it of with a hard boiled egg and it was a lovely addition. So if you are also not a big fan of fish soups I would keep an open mind and give this one a shot!

Fish Stew


  • 1 fennel bulb, green tops and core removed, white part chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 14 oz canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups of fish or lobster stock
  • salt and pepper
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 24 ounces of any assorted fish scraps: lobster, shrimp, salmon, halibut, haddock, cut into large chunks


  1. In a large soup pot, sauté the fennel, onions and garlic in the olive oil until they soften.
  2. Pour in the wine and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, fennel seeds, hot pepper flakes, saffron, bay leaves and stock.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the orange zest and fish to the simmering soup and bring back to a boil while stirring gently.
  6. Lower heat again and let simmer for 15 minutes and serve immediately.

So much lobster let us do Broth

Don’t forget you have till February 19th 2010, 7 PM EST to enter to enter the What is your Color TEArapy Mood Contest I am hosting.

Last Saturday we saw the price of lobster was more then decent so a lobster dinner was called for…no questions asked. We were 3 and we got 6 lobsters for $50. Score! It was boiled perfectly. Score! It was absolutely yummy and delicious. Score! We had a huge pile of lobster carcasses and it was about to go in the garbage. NO! STOP!

Are you kidding me you are throwing a goldmine down the garbage. Make some lobster broth instead. Oh you will covet the golden brothy nectar after I promise. Use it after for making Lobster Bisque, Fish stews or Linguine with Shrimp in Creamy Lobster Broth. Here is how to make a broth without running to the super market:

Improved Easy Lobster Broth

6 lobster shells, just the shell clean out the body innards
1/3 cup olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
8 sprigs of parsley
3 cups white wine
5 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

If you happen to have some around, we did not, throw in some carrots, celery, leeks and/or fennel.

Throw everything in a pot. Add enough water to just cover the shells. Bring to a boil and then simmer 90 min. Strain and discard solids. Readjust salt and pepper if necessary. That is it. If you have more or less shells just divide or multiply accordingly.

Cool it down, split it into portions and you can even freeze it. With 6 lobsters we ended up with 7 liters of broth. Yeah freezing and gifts!

Update: I am adding Stef comment to the blog. He already told me he wanted perhaps to add some text when we cooked at his place…I forgot to ask him but he just left a long comment so adding it. How awesome to be dating someone who is as nerdy food obsessed as I am! Take it away Stef….


Too add to Evelyne’s broth blog, I will need to go back in time. Actually, about 1h30 before she had the idea of using the carcasses for broth.
The cooking of the lobsters…
Simply put:
– Boil water with sea salt. Cover.
– Add the live lobsters in the pot (For fun, you may want to traumatise your kids here…Just kidding!). Cover
– Once the water starts to boil and the steam is coming out of the pot, remove the cover and time for 10 minutes for 1 lbs lobster. Add 1 minute per additional ¼ lbs of lobster (1 ¼ = 11 minutes, 1 ½ lbs = 12 minutes etc…)

What I like about adding sea salt is that I don’t need to use garlic butter because the salt enhances the natural taste of the lobster. Served with a nice Rosé wine (Sowhilo – Reif Estate). Yummy!

Get cracking!!!

Oh no, that’s for eggs. My bad!


Linguine with Shrimp in Creamy Lobster Broth

Last few days I have seen posts of recipes without pictures. I mean come on….really? No Pic? Well guess what. I made dinner tonight and it was so good I had to share. Of course I did not think of taking a picture. So sorry to those I criticized in my head he he.

It lobster season! Got out there and get yourself some lobster. OMG it was $4.88 a pound at my grocery store…$4.88 a pound!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was about to throw away the shells and then it dawned on me I should make a quickie stock. This stalk is not real full recipe…its a quickie version with what I had at home.

Linguine with Shrimp in Creamy Lobster Broth

for 2 servings, recklessly adapted from Cab Cooks

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →