Recipes

Marinated and Chilled, Cracked Dungeness Crab Legs

December 17, 2013
Thumbnail image for Marinated and Chilled, Cracked Dungeness Crab Legs

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 …

Read the full article →

Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel

December 12, 2013
Thumbnail image for Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel

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 …

Read the full article →

Good Crud

December 4, 2013
Thumbnail image for Good Crud

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 …

Read the full article →

How To Cook and Clean A Dungeness Crab

November 30, 2013
Thumbnail image for How To Cook and Clean A Dungeness Crab

This is part 3 in an ongoing series about crab which includes Crab 101 (all you ever wanted to know about Crabs) and Stone Crab with Traditional Mustard Sauce. More to come…

How to Cook:
It’s Dungeness Crab season right now, September to June, on the Pacific Coast of North America. Much of the time you will find whole crabs already cooked and chilled. If not, and you’re buying live crabs, then the rule of thumb is to steam or boil them for 7-8 minutes per pound.  If boiling in multiple crabs, start timing when the water comes back to a boil. Base the number of minutes needed for cooking on the average crab weight, not the total weight.

Once your crab is cooked, rinse under cool water until just cool enough to handle. The crab in the photo below is a cooked crab. You can tell because the …

Read the full article →

Crabs 101-A Quick Primer on All Things Crab

November 24, 2013
Thumbnail image for Crabs 101-A Quick Primer on All Things Crab

It’s not hard to imagine why we humans eat certain foods. Fragrant fruits with sweet aromas hang, tempting us from the vine. Who could resist the prehistoric version of a ripe strawberry? Maybe the inspiration came from watching other animals. We know sea otters eat oysters. Bears forage for honey and pull live salmon out of the river.

But who (or what) ate the first king crab pulled from the depths of the sea, all sharp claws, pincers and hard defensive shell?

Who said, “Yes, let’s tackle that sea monster, throw it in a pot of boiling water and crack it open” to then discover the delicious rich meat inside? Some brave soul, that’s who.

Crabs are a member of the crustacean family, meaning they have jointed, crust-like, shells. There are over 4000 different varieties of crab, most of which never see the light of day, dry ground, or …

Read the full article →

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Garbanzos and Feta

November 9, 2013
Thumbnail image for Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Garbanzos and Feta

Months ago when I was researching for a series on eggs, I came across this recipe for eggs poached in tomatoes. While I didn’t include it in the series, it stuck with me as something I wanted to try, having seen similar versions on my travels in Turkey and Morocco. In Turkey this dish is called Menemen (where the eggs are usually scrambled) and in most of North Africa and Israel it’s called Shakshuka.  Even Italy has its version called Uova al Purgatorio (but without the garbanzos). 

It’s not hard to have almost every ingredient on hand to make this dish on the fly; canned tomatoes and garbanzos are staples in my pantry, as are the spices. Onions, eggs, and even feta cheese are almost always in my ‘fridge. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, cutting it in half to serve two, and adding a few spices (the …

Read the full article →