December 2013

Marinated and Chilled, Cracked Dungeness Crab Legs

December 17, 2013
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Does your family have one of those stories which has been told and re-told so many times that it has taken on a life of its own? Does the story goes beyond gossip to become gospel?

What happens when you find out the story is not true?

If you’re me, you share it anyway, because it’s a good story.

This, my friends, is the tale of my uncle and the crab…

When I was little, and even back to my mother’s childhood, my grandparents would hold an open house party on Christmas Eve for their friends and family. They would put out a big spread of food which usually included a couple of homemade pizzas and, given that they lived in the San Francisco Bay area, seafood straight from the wharf. One of the most popular items was a cracked and marinated dungeness crab which was a perfect component …

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Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel

December 12, 2013
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Sweet and salty. That combination gets me every time.

Chocolate covered pretzels? You bet! Salted caramel ice cream? My favorite. Even peanut M&Ms have me reaching into the office candy jar.

But chocolate and salted caramel? That’s a long time favorite and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might recognize the topping on the tart above as the same on this popular Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel. There’s also this Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust and Salted Caramel (which has been pinned on Pinterest over 216,000 times!). I’ve also done chocolate tarts in the past with strawberries and with lemon curd.

Call it “recipe recycling” if you want, but why not take the best of several recipes to make something equally delicious? The two caramel desserts above were something I made for previous Thanksgiving dinners (in addition to the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie I make …

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Good Crud

December 4, 2013
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When I was a kid we were poor. Like welfare, food stamps, free school lunches poor. I am not ashamed of this, it helped form the self reliant and frugal person I am today.

I remember standing in line with my mother for assistance and noting that the other women and children in line did not look much like me but that was more observation than shame (Oakland CA, where we lived in the early 1970′s was predominantly African American). I remember my mom using food stamps when they were still paper coupons and not a plastic card, and shopping at the “Dented Can Store” when you could get 10 cans of corn for a dollar and who cared if they were dented? School lunch tickets were my normal.

Again, it was all ok by me because my mom was a really good cook and most of the time we …

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