Basics

How To Cook and Clean A Dungeness Crab

November 30, 2013
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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 …

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Crabs 101-A Quick Primer on All Things Crab

November 24, 2013
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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 …

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Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce

October 19, 2013
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October is the beginning of stone crab season which runs through May. If you’re not familiar with stone crabs, you might recognize their distinctive black tipped orange claws. Stone crabs are best known and most often associated with the 100 year old Miami Beach institution, “Joe’s Stone Crab” restaurant. People may know the succulent claws and their famous mustard sauce, but most don’t know the story behind how the crab claws made it to the plate for the first time.

In 1913 New Yorker Joe Weiss moved to Miami Beach Florida and opened a restaurant named Joe’s. In 1921 he met a marine biologist visiting from Harvard University, who was working on building a local aquarium. The biologist asked Joe if he ever cooked the indigenous stone crabs, which were plentiful, but had a peculiar taste. Joe started experimenting with the crabs and discovered that if they were eaten hot …

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Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

June 29, 2013
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Summer has arrived with a bang, seemingly overnight. There are “excessive heat warnings” all over Southern California this weekend with temperatures expected in the 100-110 range. If you’re still willing to cook, I’ve got the perfect meal for a warm night or a Sunday brunch served al fresco. And if you’ve never poached fish before, it’s an easy method which every cook should have in their repertoire, so now is the time to learn!

Poaching fish and shellfish is one of the lightest, healthiest ways to cook seafood and it showcases the true flavor of the fish because the cooking method is gentle and lets the flavor of the fish shine.  Traditionally, poaching is done in a court bouillon, a French culinary term which translates to “short boil”, and refers to a lightly flavored broth traditionally used to poach fish, shellfish and even vegetables. Court bouillon usually contains …

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Home Made Chicken Stock

April 1, 2011
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A couple of weeks ago I posted about how to brine and roast a chicken where I wrote how I always assumed that everyone realized that roasting a chicken was easy and how that assumption made an “ass out of u and me.” My second assumption was that people also knew how easy it was to make chicken stock and did not need me to provide that information. Again, I was disabused of this notion.

So, here we are with my easy-peasy recipe for home made chicken stock. You don’t need much more than a big soup pot, the leftover bones from that roasted chicken, and some vegetable odds and ends. There are a couple of options here as to how you make the stock.

Option #1 is the recipe below where the chicken bones are roasted first with onions. This results in a nice rich stock with a …

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How to Brine and Roast a Chicken

March 12, 2011
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Sometimes I assume things which I consider to be easy about cooking, things which are common sense to me, are the same for everyone else. But we all know the platitudes about “assuming” and “common sense.”
There I go, doing it again…
They say if you “assume” you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” They also say, “common sense is anything but common,” but who are these mythical “they” people anyway? I digress…

This concept was brought home to me recently while talking to friends, all of whom enjoy eating, but don’t spend as much time cooking as I do.  I was trying to explain to someone about how easy it was to roast a chicken. They looked at me as if I just suggested they consider making their own bacon.

I said, “All you do is get a whole chicken, throw it in the oven, roast …

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