Monday, March 30, 2009

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I just love that there live Thee-a-ter.

This past weekend CrabCake2 was involved in his high school's production of Fiddler on The Roof. CC2 was one of the pit musicians and played the Reed 1/Flute 1 position; a spot filled with numerous solos.

The "pit" is often overlooked in these productions even though the musicians and musical director put in hours and hours of work. They are there for the entirety of the final week of rehearsals. For CrabCake2 this meant 3 to 5 hours a day of playing and rehearsing after school.

The results were sensational. Fiddler is a classic play filled with funny jokes, dancing, touching moments and a seemingly endless list of songs you can hum after you've left the theater (unlike modern musicals, e.g. Rent).

What was great about Fiddler is that it's the same play that Crabby himself was Stage Manager for back when he was in high school. Decades later, the Crabby family has come full circle theatrically speaking.

Great shows never die, they just fall out of fashion. Eventually someone comes to his or her senses and brings a classic back to life. That's my plan for today's recipe. Chocolate pudding made from scratch.

Hey, hey, hey, I can hear you groaning out there. This is not a hard recipe. Yes, there is a fair amount of stirring, but trust me it's well worth it. You have the ability to control how thick the pudding is and you get to see exactly everything that goes into the production. So take a risk on an old standby and enjoy...

Homemade Chocolate Pudding
from The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker & Ethan Becker
1997 Edition

1 3-cup bowl or 5 ramekins (four to five ounces)

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups half-and-half, divided (OK to substitute whole milk)
3 TBSP cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Whipped Cream for serving

In a heavy saucepan, mix together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Gradually stir in the warm water to form a smooth, runny paste.

While stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

Stir in 1 3/4 cups half-and-half.

In a small measuring cup, mix the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half. Thoroughly incorporate the cornstarch slurry into the chocolate mixture.

Cook, while constantly stirring, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for an additional minute.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla

Pour the pudding into the bowl or ramekins and press plastic wrap directly onto the pudding surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Serve with whipped cream.

You know, it's hard to beat chocolate pudding. Yes, there's a lot of stirring, but after you've tried this version, you'll never settle for that boxed instant crap again.

Well crablings, I'm off, until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.

"If I were a rich man, budda, budda, biddy, biddy, bum..."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Apple-Poblano Chutney

By nature, I am not a patient person.

Little things annoy me.

If a book is boring, I'll skip a hundred pages and see if I can pick up the story. (By the way, if I can pick up the story, I throw the book away; anything that transparent and glacially paced doesn't deserve to be read.)

I don't understand why supermarkets have 20 checkout lines but never open more than 5.

Why do I have to listen to the lie about the phone options changing because they never do?

Hell isn't fire and brimstone, it's the Post Office at noon. It's Airport Security on a quiet Tuesday.

There's a reason this site is called Crabby Cook and not Chuckles the Chef.

Usually I don't let this impatience affect my cooking.


Today I'm giving you a recipe that flavor-wise survived my restlessness. Sadly, my temporal intolerance affected the texture of this chutney, (shown here with roast pork loin). It's got great flavor, you just need to give it some extra time to properly enjoy...

Apple-Poblano Chutney
from A Cowboy In The Kitchen by Grady Spears and Robb Walsh

1 TBSP unslated butter
1 cup peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apples (1 large)
1 cup diced red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup roasted Poblano peppers, diced*
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup Jalapeno Pepper jelly
1/2 cup julienned fresh sage
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.

When melted, add the apples, onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they just begin to soften.

Add the diced Poblano peppers.

Pour in the white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

Add the jelly, stirring to fully melt and incorporate into the mixture. The mixture should be thick and jam-like.

Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the fresh sage. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and serve at room temperature.

As you can see from the photos, I got impatient and served it warm, as a result it wasn't fully set. No worries crablings, it was still very good. It sets up quite nicely in the fridge and can be used over the next week or so.

OK, time to go relax a bit. Until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.

*Roast Poblanos

Turn your broiler to high. Lightly oil the peppers and place on a broiler pan.

Roast the peppers, turning as each side becomes charred black. Place the blackened peppers in a paper bag and fold the top closed. Allow them to steam in the bag for approximately 10 minutes. The steam will loosen the charred skins of the peppers. Peel and discard the skin.

Cut the peppers in half and discard the seeds.

Peeled roast peppers will keep in the fridge for 3 days or 3 months if frozen in a plastic bag.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Duck Fried Rice

Crabby Quiz:  What's white, more or less 50 years old, wears glasses and weighs an average of 250 pounds?

Give up?  Why, it's everyone in Section F at last Saturday's Eagles concert.

If you are "of an age", the Eagles wrote the soundtrack of your youth. Love 'em or hate' em, you can at least hum along to everything from "Desperado" and "Take It Easy" to "Tequila Sunrise" and "Hotel California". Going to a concert now is both a pleasant stroll down memory lane and a stark reminder that time waits for no fan or band.

Saturday night brought their "Long Road Out of Eden" tour to the Palace of Auburn Hills. Given that the average age of the group is 61, it seems that the road out of Eden might be considered going in the wrong direction.  Especially unnerving was the resemblance between Timothy B. Schmit and the Cryptkeeper.  Schmit wasn't alone.  Don Henley, either setting or following the lead of his fans, hadn't missed too many meals.  It had me thinking that "Heart of The Matter" referred to a chat with his cardiologist.  

There were other changes.  I understand that Time is a merciless force, so I wasn't too surprised by the occasional cane or wheelchair.  What did set me off though was the handful of scooters.  Here's a bit of Crabby advice, if you need a scooter to get around at an Eagles concert, stop eating for a while, your heart and joints will thank you.

Speaking of joints, there was no smoking at the concert.  Beer and mixed drinks were being sold in comically large plastic glasses, but I saw no grass or cocaine.  But that doesn't mean the show was drug-free; there was a guy in the Mens room making a killing dealing Cialis and Flomax.

But no one cared.  The show lasted 2 1/2 hours with a brief break.  We heard all the old songs and only had to suffer through a handful of the new ones. Recognizing that we hadn't come to learn new lyrics, the Eagles turned into one big sing-a-long. 

Leftovers.  Some of the best meals are leftovers.  In that vein, today we're going to make that Chinese restaurant stalwart, fried rice.   This meal really exists to clean out the fridge. This can be made with any leftover meat or tofu, but in honor of the richness of the Eagles legacy, I'm making it with some extra duck breast, enjoy...

Duck Fried Rice
by Crabby

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP Peanut Oil

8 ounces mushrooms, chopped into large dice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red or orange pepper, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger 
Pinch of red pepper flakes
8 ounces (or so) of leftover duck (or other meat)
1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
3 cups cooked white rice

3 TBSP Soy sauce
1 TBSP Sesame Oil

In a non-stick pan, melt 1/2 TBSP of butter over medium-high heat.  When foaming add the lightly beaten eggs and a pinch of salt.  Lift the edges of the pan to help the uncooked egg run to the sides.  

Once set, transfer the egg to a cutting board and allow to cool.

In a large saute pan or wok, heat 2 TBSP of peanut oil over high heat.  When hot add the scallions and diced peppers, cook for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger  and red pepper flakes. Saute 1 minute.

Add the duck and thawed peas, saute 1 minute.

Add the rice, soy and sesame oil.  Saute for an additional 2 minutes.


This is great comfort food.  The spiced up leftovers not only remind you of previous meals but also inspire you to think of new ways of looking at ingredients.  It's ridiculously easy and tasty.  CrabCake2 sees to it that fried rice never lasts more than one meal.

Well crablings,  I'm outta here for now, got to try and get the ringing out my ears.  Probably should have bought those official Eagles earplugs before the show.  Joe Walsh can still bring it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Roast Fennel with Parmesan

There are PUIEs and PPIEs.

When I worked at IBM we had a programmer assigned to support our particular financial group. Lets call him Estav8Barry. Way back then programmers were fairly exotic, they acted like gatekeepers to the treasures of the Ark. Everything was lingo and it was all designed to remind you that you not only didn't get programming, but that as a mere newbie, you could never even hope to know the secrets of their inner world.

Problem was Estav8Barry knew nothing about finance and accounting but still had to work in the real world with us. We told him what we wanted the program to do, he'd write code, we'd break it, he'd re-write. This "do loop" ran until the thing actually worked. A perfectly symbiotic, if inefficient relationship.

But we always argued over PUIEs (pronounced: pueeys) and PPIEs (pronounced: poopies). Probably User Input Error vs Probably Programmer Input Error. "It's your fault!" "No, it's your fault!" "Why can't you write decent code?" "I wrote what you asked for!"

Another "do loop" spinning away.

Well cooking has its share of PPIEs and PPIEs. I still think the Clafoutis is just a wrong recipe, a PPIE. People have left comments saying I did everything right, not a PUIE, but it is supposed to taste like that. I just don't believe it.

So today I am posting another head scratcher of a recipe. Roast Fennel with Parmesan seemed like a no brainer. Short ingredient list, easy prep, straightforward cooking approach. How bad could it be? Well what we ended up with smelled like a PUIE and tasted like PPIE. Maybe you crablings can fix this one.

Roast Fennel with Parmesan
from Giada's Family Dinners, Giada DeLaurentiis

4 large fennel bulbs
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove fronds from fennel. Chop and reserve fronds for garnish.

Slice the fennel horizontally in 1/2 inch sections. When you get to the base of the bulb, remove the tough inner core.

Arrange the fennel in a lightly oiled baking dish, slightly overlapping the rounds. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then add the Parmesan cheese.

Bake about 45 minutes, until the fennel is fork tender.

Remove from the oven and liberally garnish with the chopped fennel fronds.



I don't get it. This couldn't be simpler. The rings were intact and nicely browned. They were also a flavorless glop. I don't get it crablings, this should be a delicately flavored dish. SSSal thought it was OK, though maybe in need of more Parmesan. I thought it needed to be put out of its misery. Ah well, until next time, when I reassert my complete mastery of all things kitchen, remember, you can do it you can cook.

PS 25 years later we're still friends with Estav8Barry, at least on the Christmas Card level.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Clafoutis

Crabby Cook: Trying Recipes so you don't have to.

I'll admit, as a slogan it's not much.

In the last year SSSal and I have prepped over 100 different recipes. That involves finding recipes, reading recipes, trying to decide if the recipe makes sense and after all that, preparing, presenting and photographing the dish.

It's not always pretty. What you see here are the ones that made it. There are more than a few who never see the light of day. Yes, you can do it, you can cook, but you have to be ready for the occasional stumble.

I tend to avoid complicated recipes. Not because they're hard, but because every additional step is another opportunity for something to go wrong. I try and avoid recipes with lots of ingredients added in small amounts; I mean really, can 1/8 of a teaspoon of anything really make that much difference?

With that in mind, I present a new feature, "Fix the Crab". From time to time I'm going to post recipes that just didn't work and I'm going to challenge you, my little crablings, to try the recipe and tell me where we screwed up. Today's it's a dessert.

Outside of the name, everything about this dessert said it should be great. A short, but highly complimentary list of ingredients combined with minimal actual baking work. How could it possibly go wrong? Not only that, the result photographed beautifully, (you'd be surprised how many meals are surprisingly un-photogenic). So let's get started, please try and show me how to enjoy...

Chocolate Raspberry Clafoutis
Gourmet magazine, March 2009

12 ounces fresh raspberries (2 3/4 cups)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, (or use chips)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Toss the berries with granulated sugar and let stand for 15 minutes.

Blend the milk, butter, eggs, brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt in a blender until smooth.

Evenly scatter the berries with their juices into the baking dish. Pour the batter on top.

Bake until slightly puffed and firm to the touch, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the chopped chocolate (or chips).

Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

OK. Is that hard. No, in fact it seems virtually impossible to mess this recipe up. But the result was a mealy, mushy, spongy cake that felt woefully underdone. If it had been left in the oven any longer though, the edges would have turned to a (very) crunchy cookie texture.

It's at times like this you want to blame the oven.

"Maybe the temperature is off. You think we should try it on convection bake?"

The oven is working fine for every other meal. Nope, it's not the technology. It's either the input or the operator. So here's your challenge crablings. Make this recipe and tell me if it turns out great for you. I've taught you well, so I know you can do it, you can cook.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pork Chops with Dijon & Dried Cherries

"That's it. Oh yeah, baby!"

This winter won't end. It's 40 degrees outside, rain's failing in sheets, the wind's howling, a teenage girl just flew past my window...and her little dog too.

"Turn to the right. Oooooh, slowly now. OK, now spin back."

I'm getting distracted. I'm looking for diversions. I'm giving in to my baser instincts.

"God, look at the size of those!!! Those two are huuuuuge!"

Raindrops tap out "Florida" in Morse code; a keening wind moans "Arizona". I close my office door, I lean back in my chair and I let my mouse take me away. Click! 2 bed/2 bath Bonita Bay oceanview condo. Click! 3 bed/3 bath home with Sonoran views.

I'm human. The flesh is weak. I try to stay away, but it's the internet, the stuff is everywhere. It doesn't hurt to just look a little, does it? I mean, I'm a guy, guys like to look.

I'm talking about real estate porn. Since the middle of February I find myself taking breaks during the day and loading up real estate web sites. Not just any sites, this time of year my fetish runs to warm weather. Endless virtual tours of desert vistas encircling lush golf courses and beachfront condos with Gulf of Mexico sunsets.


I want to be outside! I need to be outside without having to spend 10 minutes putting on extra clothes. I'm tired of looking like a Sherpa. But it's too soon.

One more indoor recipe. I can't get outside to grill, so I'll give you a simple sauce that can be whipped up while the meat is resting. This recipe could be prepared with chicken breast, though today I'm going to ask you to enjoy...

Pork Chops with Dijon & Dried Cherries
base recipe from with some tweaks by Crabby

4 center cut or pork loin chops about 1 1/4" inches thick
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions or shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 TBSP dried cherries or raisins
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 TBSP Dijon mustard

Season the chops with salt and pepper.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter and oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and nearly stopped foaming, add the chops and brown 2 - 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the chops to a plate and drain the pan of any excess cooking fat. Add the green onions/shallots to the pan and saute for 1 minute.

Add the wine and bring to a boil. Scrape up any brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, (about 1 minute).

Add the chicken stock and return the chops to the pan along with any accumulated juices. Bring the liquid to a simmer, partially cover the pan and cook the chops for 15 minutes, turning once.

Transfer chops to a platter and lightly cover with aluminum foil. Add the dried cherries to the pan juices and bring to a boil, reduce by half, about 2-4 minutes.

Add the heavy cream and boil for an additional two minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard. Check the sauce for seasoning, adjust if necessary.

Spoon the sauce over the chops and serve.

Mustard sauce reminds me of autumn, so this will have to get us through another patch of rough weather. It's a very easy sauce crablings; just have everything ready to go into the pan before you start. Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.

"Oh, mama! Check out the bay windows on that one!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chicken Piccata

Cooking can be dangerous. Cooking is not for the faint-hearted or the slow fingered. Cooking requires concentration, precision and cat-like reflexes. If you're not paying attention, cooking can kill.

Every now and then things don't go according to plan. Every now and then, the train jumps the track.

A few weeks ago, SSSal was working on a dessert while I assumed a pasha's repose on the sofa, mesmerized by some drivel on television. The first shriek was actually quite muted. The second a little less so.

Shouting into the kitchen, "Are you OK?"

"Ahhhh, wellllll, I'm not sure."

{Crabby Tip: "I'm not sure" should be interpreted as a bad sign}

Upon entering the kitchen I found two of SSSal's fingers entwined in the beaters of her hand-held mixer. The good news is that they were still attached to her hand. The bad news was that the mixer didn't look like it was going to let go and I don't particularily care for lady fingers as a dessert.

Who knows what causes good appliances to go bad? After years of faithful service the KitchenAid had gone all Christine on her master's hand. What had been a trustworthy, dependable tool had turned into the Death Mixer 3000. We popped the rotors and I quickly pried the blades open. At that point adrenalin wanes and pain rushes in.

No permanent damage. A few bruises, some recurring tingling and a general wariness of spinning objects seem to be they only fallout.

So, what to do when cooking gives you lemons? Lemonade? Amateurs! Piccata of course. Normally this meal is made with veal scallops but in today's troubled times SSSal chose to use Giada DeLaurentiis' chicken version, (See, even with the calamity she knew enough to get right back up on the cutting board). This meal is quick and tasty, but fair warning, this is one of the messiest cooking experiences out there. No matter what you do, there'll be splatter around the cooktop. Other than that, enjoy...

Chicken Piccata
from Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halved horizontally
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 TBSP unsalted butter
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup drained capers, rinsed
2 TBSP chopped flat leaf parsley

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large saute pan melt 2 tablespoons of the butter along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and drained capers to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Retrun the chicken to the pan and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to form a sauce.

Serve the individual pieces of chicken spooning sauce onto each piece. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Now, I find this sauce a touch tart, so I've increased the amount of chicken broth in the dish. Otherwise this is yet another in the seemingly infinite Crabby arsenal of inexpensive, easy and flavorful meals.

Well crablings, I hear more screaming coming form the kitchen, so I need to go. Until next time, just remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sole with Lemon & Capers

"Busted flat in Baton Rouge..."

This past weekend the Earth had a close encounter with a heavenly body. No not Heidi Klum, this was an asteroid 70 feet by 150 feet wide, more Aretha Franklin than Gisele Bundchen. This galactic pebble came within 49,000 of the Earth; worse still was that it got perilously close to communication and television satellites orbiting the planet. I can cope with the end of civilization so long as I can watch The Simpsons and American Idol.

They say this rock was about the same size as the one that hit Siberia in 1908. That one leveled over 800 square miles of forest, or roughly the equivalent of Los Angeles and Chicago combined. Better still, we all had less than 3 days notice.
Kinda makes you want to put on a helmet doesn't it?

All this talk about being flattened got me to thinking about other flat things, flat heads, flat as a pancake, flat broke, flat feet, flat fish. Aha! Flat fish! Admit it, you were wondering how I was going to get this around to food. Today I'm going to work with the flattest of fish, sole.

Sole is thin, lean and cheap. It's perfect for the times we live in and is ridiculously easy to prepare. In fact, this may be the easiest way to prepare fish short of sushi. A hot pan, some butter, a bit of lemon juice and some capers and you're in business. This meal is frugal, sole is a very inexpensive fish; it's quick, less than 20 minutes beginning to end, but it's very tasty. So fear not, open up the wallet a crack and enjoy...

Sole with Lemon & Capers
from Rowley Leigh, Chef at Le Cafe Anglais via The Financial Times

1 1/2 pounds sole fillets
Juice of 2 lemons
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 TBSP cooking oil
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 TBSP capers, drained
Salt and White Pepper, to taste

Place 1/2 cup of flour on a dinner plate.

Season the fish fillets with salt and white pepper.

Dredge the fillets in the flour, gently shaking to remove any excess.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the cooking oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter is lightly foaming, place the fillets in the pan and allow them to brown, approximately 3 minutes.

Carefully turn the fillets and cook for an additional minute.

Remove the fish from the pan and pour off any excess cooking fat.

Add the remaining butter and allow it to foam and turn a golden brown color. Add the lemon juice, capers and chopped parsley.

Cook for 1 minute.

Transfer fillets to serving plates and spoon on the butter, lemon juice and caper sauce.

What did I tell ya; simple right? Fast right? Cheap right, (probably less than $15 for 4 diners)? Add a few steamed vegetables, maybe some boiled potatoes and you're set. It doesn't get much better.

OK crablings, we've lived to dine another day. Who knows what's lurking out there, but just remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cumberland Sauce & Groundhogs

Where's that damn groundhog? I knows he's out here somewhere. That little SOB sticks his head out of a hole, sees his shadow and we're stuck with 6 more years of winter. OK, maybe it's only six more weeks, but at this point, it feels like years.

Since when did we become a rodent based meteorological society?

Isn't it bad enough we have to watch talking heads tell us there's a 50-50 chance of rain in two weeks? Apparently not. Instead we resort to watching middle-aged, overweight men in Pennsylvania molest sleeping woodland creatures to get our long term weather updates.

The biggest problem is that it seems to have worked this year. Winter won't let go. As I type this, it's the beginning of March, there's six inches of fresh snow in New York, and possibly 12 inches falling in Boston. March, in like a lion, out like a lamb. More feral-infused forecasting. I blame Disney.

Well there's only one thing to do. Eat the little buggers.

A few weeks ago ButterBoyC called saying he had some smoked pheasant breasts that he wanted to serve as an appetizer, and did I have any ideas on how to present them? BBC had come to the right place. I don't know if pheasant have any particular proclivity for projecting blizzards or hurricanes, but I certainly have an aptitude for making meals out of them.

Strong flavored meat like venison, duck and lamb, work well with fruit based sauces. Furthermore, fruit sauces go exceptionally well with the fuller flavors of smoked meats. So today I'm going to show you how to make Cumberland Sauce. It's really easy and you can use it on chicken if you're squeamish about game meats. The only work in this recipe is chopping a shallot and grating the rind off a lemon and an orange. The rest is measuring, melting and stirring, so let's all enjoy...

Cumberland Sauce
from Sauces by James Peterson and tweaked by Crabby

1 cup red currant jelly
1 TBSP chopped shallots
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
1/3 cup red wine or port
1/3 cup orange juice
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients except the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Season with salt if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This sauce will keep, refrigerated, for at least two weeks.

Another easy recipe for my crablings. Sauces make the mundane interesting. They also give meals a back-to-nature twist.

Well, I'm off to find that lousy groundhog and kick his furry rear-end. Spring's got to be around here somewhere. Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.