Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lobster Apocalypse: Part 1

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe by Hubert Keller

Yield: 4 Servings

  • 3 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • 4 1 lb Live Lobsters
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Minced Shallots
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Diced Carrot
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Diced Celery
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Tbs Cognac
  • 2 Tbs Port
  • 1 1/2 Cups + 2 1/2 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • 5 Sprigs Parsley
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Dried Bay Leaf
  • 3 Inch Piece Celery Stalk
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 8 oz Small Shells or Elbow Macaroni
  • 3 Tbs Finely grated Mimolette or Aged Cheddar
  • Salt
  • White Pepper
Cooking Directions
    Mise en place
  1. Mince the shallot, dice the carrot and celery and assemble the bouquet garni with the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and celery stalk.
  2. Bring 1.5 gallons of water to a boil in a large stock pot, add the vinegar and salt as for pasta.
  3. Cook each lobster, covered, for 3 minutes transferring them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking.

  4. Drain the lobsters and carefully dis-assemble them.
  5. Remove the meat from the shells, keeping it as intact as possible.
  6. Melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat and add the lobster meat.

  7. Saute the meat gently for 2 minutes, remove the claw meat and cook the tails another minute. Set aside to cool.

  8. Add the shallot, carrot and celery to the pan and cook gently for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the 1 1/2 cups cream, cognac, port and bouquet garni to the pan and simmer for about 7 minutes until slightly reduced.
  10. Cover the pan and set aside.
  11. Whisk the remaining cream until it thickens, whisk in the egg yolks and refrigerate.
  12. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain.
  13. While the pasta is cooking, cut the lobster meat into bite size pieces.
  14. Position a rack on the second level of your oven and turn the broiler on high.
  15. Remove the bouquet garni from the sauce and add the lobster meat, the cheese, and the pasta. Bring to a boil, mixing well, and add salt and pepper to taste.

  16. Ready to broil
  17. Pour the mixture into individual oven safe serving dishes or into a 9" baking dish.
  18. Spread the cream and egg yolk mixture over the top and broil until golden brown.


This is a rather "chef-ly" recipe. I've added a couple steps to make the process a little more explicit.

The original recipe is made with Mimolette a bright red-orange aged cheese from Lille, France. It can be difficult to find but a traditionally made, aged, raw milk cheddar works wonderfully.

It may seem that there is very little cheese in this recipe. That's because Mimolette has a rather strong flavor. Feel free to add more. I used about a quarter cup - about 8 tablespoons. Just remember, the lobster is the main event, not the cheese.

Don't overcook the lobster - it's boiled for only 3 minutes, then sauteed in butter another 3 or 4 minutes, then added to the boiling hot sauce and broiled. The last thing you want is rubbery lobster chunks.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Harrison Telecaster Assembly Part 2: Wiring

Wiring a Telecaster is pretty simple given it's just six parts: 2 pickups, a three way switch, tone and volume controls and a small capacitor. The first step is to mount the hardware on the control plate:

3-Way Switch and Pots Wired
Then follow one of the many wiring diagrams easily found online. Nothing much to it. It actually takes longer to cut and tin the five pieces of connecting wire than it does hook 'em all up.

Since I installed the bridge pickup in the previous episode, the next step is to mount the neck pickup in the pick guard. It works just like the bridge pickup - little screws (2 this time) and rubber tubing. Unfortunately, the pickup's wires have a long way to go and they're really not stiff enough to make it through the rather tight route in my Warmoth body. The solution:

Pulling the Neck Pickup Wires through
Slide a piece of guitar string through the route, crimp the pickup wires onto the right hand end, and gently pull 'em through. Once complete you end up with this:

Pickups & Jack Ready to Connect
From left to right, output jack, bridge pickup, neck pickup. You might find that the screws supplied with your pickups  are too long to fit in the Warmoth neck pickup route. They're made of pretty soft metal and easy to cut with regular diagonal cutters. I had to trim about an eighth of an inch off mine to allow the pick guard to lie flat.

Wiring Complete
Now we can wrap up the wiring. The black wires are the "ground" wires and the white and yellow wires are "hot". It's just a matter of soldering everything together.

First the hot leads (yellow and white) from the pickups get soldered to their spots on the 3-way switch. The the signal wire from the output jack to it's spot on the volume control and finally I attached the three signal grounds to the body of the volume pot and the remaining leg of the tone capacitor to the body of the tone pot. (Some builders like to run the tone cap. over to the volume pot so all the grounds are on one place.)

Note that I left the pickup leads full length. There's plenty of space in the control cavity and in the (highly likely) event I ever swap them out they'll be easier to reuse in another guitar that may have different routing.

Before drilling and screwing everything down I backed both controls off, carefully plugged in and gently tapped the pickups with a small screwdriver to make sure both were operating and the 3-way switch was correctly wired.

Next! Drilling, Neck and Final Assembly

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Harrison Telecaster Assembly Part 1: Body Bits

A few weeks ago I spotted a really sweet rosewood Telecaster body at Warmoth. Expensive? Yep - $756.00. But it was a finished (gloss) body for just a couple bucks more than a raw body. Then I noticed that Warmoth no longer had rosewood as a body wood in their build to order system. So I checked in with "upper management", got the go-ahead, and ordered it along with the usual bits and pieces a guitar body needs.

So what we have there is the Warmoth body, Fender Vintage Telecaster pickups, and all the other body parts. All chrome, and yeah, because this is going to be a George Harrison style guitar a BWB pickguard that will cover up a big chunk of that beautiful body.

String Ferrules

There are two approaches to installing the ferrules. Tap 'em in with a hammer or heat them with a soldering iron and press them in. I decided to try the soldering iron technique but it turned out I ended up doing both.

Basically, you warm up a ferrule on your soldering iron for about 30 seconds

 and then press it into the hole with a little screwdriver

About half the time I found the ferrule cooled off quickly and I so used a block of wood and a small hammer to tap the ferrules into place.


The next bit was the jack. I used an Electrosocket. The first step of course is to solder on the signal and ground wires:

Then thread the wires into the body and align the screw holes parallel to the wood grain

More or less parallel
I had to gently tap the socket into the body because the factory finish had made the hole slightly smaller than the nominal diameter.

I didn't have a drill bit small enough to drill pilot holes so I lubed the little screws with soap and carefully screwed them in. These guys are very small and it would be easy to twist off a head. So it's important to be careful here. Add a drop of Loctite to hold the jack in place.


The bridge is a little more complicated. The first step is to attach the pickup. It's the normal 3 screw Telecaster arrangement. I used Fender Vintage Telecaster pickups and they come with the little pieces of rubber tube and all the necessary screws.

Pop the screws into the bridge and slip the little pieces of tubing over them.

Then position the bridge pickup and tighten the screws until the tubing just begins to compress. Notice that the copper base plate has a wire connecting to the pickup ground. There's no need for an additional bridge ground since the screws contact both.

Thread the pickup wires through to the control cavity.

And screw down the bridge using the four included screws.

If you order your bridge from Warmoth it comes with a tiny Alen wrench to adjust the saddle height. Don't lose it.

Next: Neck pickup and control Wiring.


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