Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Makes Me Crabby Week: Crabmeat Indienne

I'm completely wiped out today, so I'll keep this one short and sweet - and include the explanation for my fatigue at a later time. Instead, let's talk a little of "what's in a name." Shakespeare makes a fairly compelling case that what something is called does not affect its inherent values. But names definitely lead us to expectations. I wouldn't expect something called an "orange" to be purple in color. Likewise, I would expect a dish called "Spicy chicken" to be, well, spicy. In "Can-Can" Frank Sinatra makes a similar observation - "I once knew a girl who had the nerve to call herself Virginia!"

Today's crab recipe is named Crabmeat Indienne. And do you know what makes this recipe "Indienne" my friends? Well, that's easy! It's the inclusion of curry powder!

Honestly, I would consider this dish much more "curried crab" than an Indian dishes I've ever had. It lacks the complexity of flavors of most Indian dishes. The balance of spices with a buttery sweetness. So I was disappointed in it. It didn't meet my expectations because what's in a name does matter. So I present it to you with all pretenses pulled. Don't pay attention to the name and see if you enjoy this crabmeat with curry.

And because I want to be perfectly up front with what you're eating, no fancy name for the rice, just good ole rice cooked with saffron, raisins, and pine nuts. This is a recipe I've used often with couscous, and thought "huh, bet it would be good with rice too." It is. I love raisins and pinenuts in pretty much everything. The only other addition I would suggest is some feta, but I didn't know how that would work with a crab main dish.

Crabmeat Indienne (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups crabmeat
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Stir the flour and curry powder into the skillet and cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the chicken broth slowly and cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the crabmeat and cook only until heated through.

Saffron Rice with raisins and pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp crumbled saffron
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Saute the onion in the butter about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir, cooking just long enough to coat the rice, 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock to rice and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove 1/4 cup of the hot liquid and pour over saffron. Let steep 5 minutes, then add back in to the boiled chicken stock.
  5. Pour rice and stock into a 1 qt. casserole and stir in rice and pine nuts. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Makes Me Crabby Week: Crabmeat Terrapin Style

I know, I know, I owe you a ton of recipes and catchups! Thatboy and I just got back from our 4 year anniversary trip (can you believe we've been married 4 years? It seems so weird given that we've dated over twice that many years!) and blogging is not the only thing I'm behind in.

Returning from a vacation back to regular life is always hard for me. I'm a schedule person by nature, and while I'm fine with venturing afield, part of me is always distracted by missing out on my usual routine at home. So now we're back and trying to get back into the swing of things. I finally caught up with most of the housework and can devote myself back to frivolous stuff like blogging. Which is exciting because you have a lot to look forward to: Vacations, adorable babies, a race, and eventually we'll move away from crabs onto something equally as fun!

But for now, let's continue on with the crab recipes, shall we? The next recipe is for crabmeat terrapin. I'm not really sure what the name means. I have no history or no reasoning for what makes this dish a terrapin. Because frankly, when I think of terrapin I picture this guy:

And there are certainly no turtles in this dish. Although both turtles and crabs have shells, there aren't a lot of other similarities. For instance, for many years I had a pet turtle named Chris - and I've never had a pet crab. Wait a minute. I think I might have had a hermit crab at one point in time, although I'm fairly certain that's not the type of crab you would use in this dish. I used those snow crab legs I was telling you about ages ago (or at least that's how long it seems).

The finished product reminded me of a crab omelet. It would make an excellent breakfast, although we ate it for dinner with some rice. As a dinner, the finished product reminded me a bit of an egg foo young, so I paired it with some steamed rice. Of course, adding some peanuts and celery helped with that whole egg foo young comparison, but if I were serving it for breakfast I'd probably top it with some avocado instead.

Crabmeat Terrapin Style (The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups crabmeat
3 Tbsp dry sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
dash of cayenne pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the onion and cook over low heat until soft and yellow.
  3. Remove the onion and set aside.
  4. Stir in the crabmeat, add the sherry, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
  5. Beat the cream and egg yolks together. Slowly add to the saucepan, stirring briskly.
  6. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
  7. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and cayenne.

Steamed Rice with Peanuts

3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp butter
1 cup brown rice
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add the salt and butter.
  3. Slowly add the rice, celery and peanuts.
  4. Cover and simmer. Don't remove the cover for 40 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Summer Makes Me Crabby Week: Creamed Crab

Do you feel deserted? I know it's been a while, but we had a major emergency in Thathouse - Thatmom needed an escape. So in the middle of the week last week, we headed out for an emergency girls' vacation.

To the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara.

First stop was lunch with Toxicesq and China who happened to be visiting the Happiest Place on Earth. And then we were off.

Alllll the way to the outlets, where we had to make a second stop. Because Thatmom and I needed some retail therapy. And some hats for lounging by the pool, since we had both forgotten to bring our own.

By the time we got to Bacara, it was LATE. And we had been in the car all day. We were exhausted.

So while Thatmom checked in,

I scoped out the lobby.

Our room was gorgeous - Thatmom's first order of business is always to check the bathroom for "product" (as Thatdad used to call it). She loved that it was Fresh toiletries, but didn't love that most contained mango, which she is ridiculously allergic to. She did love the oversized shower - she's really into those.

I showed Thatboy a picture of the room and showed him which bed I slept in and he laughed and told me I got the jenky bed. We had to tell him it was just the angle, and it was the same size as the other bed. Both beds were already turned down for us, because, as I said, it was late!

On our drive up, we were starving and didn't want to stop because we'd already been on the road ALL day. "Let's order room service!" Thatmom suggested. So as soon as we got into the room we called down and had them bring up two giant cheeseburgers for us. They brought up more than that - check out the setup!

What, you don't go to a spa and order cheeseburgers? Well maybe you should.

Thatmom dug right into hers. And even though both of us are notorious for not finishing our burgers, we made a good showing! I think we both did about 3/4 of a burger.

And then it was off to bed - because driving, shopping and eating makes you very very tired. The next morning I was with it enough to take a picture of our view. That's the ocean over there to the left!

And then we did a tour of the grounds before hitting up the fitness center....and then I retired my camera for the rest of the trip, but rest assured, there was plenty of lying by this:

Nothing better than a pool with a view.

But I can't leave you during crab week without a crab recipe! So let's go with another great spa option - creamed crab. I doubt you'll find it on any spa menu to be honest, because it's not exactly light or healthy. Then again, neither was the creme brulee oatmeal we enjoyed at the spa. But we're big fans of "everything in moderation" in Thatfamily, so having creamed crab one night certainly is allowable. Especially when paired with something lighter like boiled brown rice.

Creamed Crab (The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups light cream
  • dash of Tabasco
  • 3-4 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 cups crabmeat
  • salt
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the flour and blend until smooth.
  3. Slowly add the cream, stirring consistently, until smooth and thickened.
  4. Add tabasco and sherry and cook over low heat for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the crab and salt to taste, and cook only until heated through.

Why boil rice? It's a little trick I picked up from the back of a rice container. I am NOTORIOUS for ruining rice- well, that is, until I got my rice cooker. Before that it was either a soggy mess, or burnt to the bottom of the pot. But pasta? I can make pasta with the best of them. This is a similar method - boil rice like pasta and then drain. Even I don't mess this one up.

Boiled Rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 qts water

  1. Bring water and salt to a boil.
  2. Slowly add the rice to the water so that it doesn't stop boiling. Give the pan a shake so the rice levels.
  3. Boil rice 35-40 minutes, until the rice is firm, not mushy.
  4. Drain the rice in a colander.