Thursday, April 15, 2010

Orzo With Sausage, Peppers & Tomatoes

I'm back from vacation. Well, I think I'm back from vacation, it took Delta Airlines so long to get me home I can't really recall what I was doing in Arizona.

Does it really take 15 hours to fly from Phoenix to Michigan? I know we had to stop and change planes in Minneapolis, or maybe it was Osaka, but more than half a day? Really?

We were traveling on MONDAY! That's right, not the Sunday at the end of Spring Break, but Monday. SSSal travelled on Sunday and was bumped along with 14 other people. Fifteen ticket holders refused a seat and mollified with a $400 travel voucher, $10 meal ticket and a hotel room for the night. That's an airline giving away $6,150+ to not fly!

When CrabCake 2 and I got to the airport Monday things were no better. The airport was already packed with bumped-grumpy travelers stuffing themselves with indifferent burritos and tepid hamburgers. When exactly did the airport turn into the bus station?

The thing is, we actually had it pretty good; some poor saps trying to get to Salt Lake City had been bumped twice and had no real prospect of getting home before Tuesday. Folks, you can drive from Salt Lake City to Phoenix and back in 24 hours!! "Delta, we love to fly and it shows."

The high point came when the gate agent announced that the latest SLC flight was full and the 20 people waiting standby wouldn't be making this plane and that the next flight had an "equipment change" to a smaller plane so they wouldn't be making that flight either.

Delta, their slogan should be "Delta Air Lines. We love to fly, just not with you on-board."

Ah well, vacation was nice, I think. I'll try and remember some stories for the next post. Since Delta had packed the planes like a cases of sausages I searched for an appropriate recipe. Orzo with Sausage. Peppers & Tomatoes is a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe that fits the bill. Alright, the food will be served in sections, please wait for your plate to be called, enjoy...

Orzo with Sausage, Peppers & Tomatoes
from Giada DeLaurentiis

3 roasted red peppers, rinsed, seeded and chopped
1 pound orzo pasta
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 TBSP olive oil
7 ounces (about 2 links) mild Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 TBSP chopped fresh leaf parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

In a medium saucepan bring the chicken stock, water and kosher salt to a boil over high heat.

Add the orzo and cook until firm-tender, approximately 8-10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute.

Add the bell peppers, red pepper flakes and chopped tomatoes. Saute an additional 2 minutes.

Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the drained orzo to a large bowl. Add the sausage and vegetable mixture along with the parsley. Adjust the seasoning. Toss all the ingredients adding as much of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to loosen the pasta.

Top with the crumbled ricotta and serve.

OK, this meal is much better than the stuff you'll get on any plane at at any airport. I think you need to double the amount of sausage for this recipe to really work, but it's a great bring along to your next pot luck or picnic.

Until next time crablings, remember, you can do it, you can cook; just make sure your armrests, seat back and tray tables are in their full upright and locked positions.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quick Update

Hi Crablings,

Some of you are wondering if I've abandoned you, but never fear, Crabby is still here. I'll be posting again early next week, currently I am skittering about the countryside taking a little break. See you next week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oatmeal Scones

CC2 and I are locked in mortal combat over the brackets. My first round three game lead has dwindled to a tie. If that weren't bad enough, I can't win. That's right, no matter what happens in the basketball tournament from here on, I can't win.

But I can lose.

Everything hinges on a single game, and it's not even the final. By the time they play the final on April 5th, it'll be all over. Fame and glory or bitterness and recrimination hang on the outcome of West Virginia vs. Duke. Here's the problem; I can't stand Duke. Normally I lump them in with the likes of Notre Dame and the NY Junkees - just one group of pompous, self-aggrandizing, preening schmo athletes. Duke is the jerk quarterback with cheerleader captain girlfriend. Duke is the too-slick-by-half frat boy driving his new convertible around campus. I hate Duke.

Duke has to beat West Virginia for me to hold onto my tie in the pool.

So here I sit on the horns of a dilemma, enjoy a favorite hobby and cheer against Duke and lose, or swallow my bile and root for Duke in order to preserve a tie. My own personal Scylla & Charybdis of basketball; either way I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. Which brings me to today's recipe, oatmeal scones. Scones are dry crumbly pucks of packed sawdust. Scones are one of those things you're supposed to like. They're the "perfect little nibble" with a cup of tea. Well Crabby don't do tea and he don't nibble. SSSal loves scones. Sometimes you can't win for losing, enjoy...

Oatmeal Scones
by Benji, M-Hoffmeister and adapted by SSSal







7 cups

3 ½ cups

1 ¾ cups


2 cups

1 cup

½ cup

Baking Powder

2 T

1 T

½ T

Baking Soda

1 T

½ T

¼ T


1 t

½ t

¼ t


1 ½ pounds

3 sticks

1 ½ stick


5 ½ cups

2 ¾ cups

1 3/8 cups

Dried Fruit

3 cups

1 ½ cups

¾ cups


2 1/8 cups

1 cup + 1 T

Generous ½ cup

Heavy Cream

1/2 cup

¼ cup

2 T


Lemon Juice

½ cup

¼ cup

1/8 cup

Powdered Sugar

3 cups

1 ½ cups

¾ cup

Lemon zest

1 lemon

½ lemon

¼ lemon


2 T

1 T

½ T


56 scones

28 scones

14 scones

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl of standing mixer. Blend together with blade attachment.

Cut the butter into small cubes.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats and dried fruit. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend just until the dough is moistened.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into rounds using a 3” cookie cutter. Brush the tops of the scones lightly with cream. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or so, until light brown.

While scones are baking, prepare the glaze. Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar in a glass measuring cup and microwave to completely dissolve sugar. Whisk in lemon zest and butter and nuke for 30 seconds more. Drizzle glaze over the scones 5 minutes after they come out of the oven.

· Use currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or whatever dried fruit you have on hand.

· The number of scones will vary depending on the thickness of your dough and the size you cut them. Be sure to vary the cooking time as well.

· Baked scones freeze well.

There you go crablings. They're saved by all the butter in them, so I can choke 'em down.

Watch the game, and remember you can do it, you can cook. GO......

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spicy Tangerine Beef

Sorry for the delay on the post this week, things have been a little hectic around here. Some might even say there was madness in the air.

Of course I'm referring to "March Madness" and the attendant basketball. For the last 7 years CrabCake2 and I have had our own bracket wars. Before the start of the tournament we both fill out our picks for all 63 games. This started when he was in grade school and it continues to this day.

It always ends up pretty close. In seven years we've had four outright winners, by a slim margin of one game, one winner with a two game "drubbing" and 2 ties that came down to the outcome of the championship game. We don't actually bet anything, no money changes hands, there's no increase or decrease in the amount of household chores. Nope, all that's at stake is bragging rights. That uniquely male prize that allows you to gloat and pontificate about your prowess at "mastering" something truly trivial and insignificant.

The battle follows a regular pattern. One of us goes out on a limb in the early rounds and either builds up a big lead or falls way behind. The next two weeks is spent analyzing which games have to be won in order to close the gap. You'd be surprised how hard you'll cheer for a Murray State or an Eastern Washington when the outcome can bring you back to within a game. It's a blast.

Of course planting yourself in front of the TV to watch meaningless basketball games severely restricts your cooking time. So it's only quick and fast meals this weekend. Spicy Tangerine Beef fits the bill. It combines easy prep with fast cooking so you don't waste valuable watching time. Prep everything before the game and cook the dinner during halftime. Enjoy...

Spicy Tangerine Beef
from Guy Fieri and The Food Network with a couple Crabby adjustments

3 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP cornstarch
1 pound flank steak cut in thin strips across the grain
2 TBSP grated fresh ginger

2 TBSP dry sherry
2 TBSP hoisin sauce
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP hot chili sauce
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (orange juice is OK if you have no tangerines)
3 TBSP canola oil

3 scallions, chopped
Zest of 2 tangerines or 1 orange
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

In a large resealable plastic bag combine the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of grated ginger. Seal and shake well to combine. Add the sliced beef, reseal and let marinade for 20 - 30 minutes.

Whisk together the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, soy sauce and tangerine or orange juice until well combined. Set aside.

Heat a large pan or wok over high heat. When the pan is hot add the oil and swirl carefully to evenly distribute.

Add the beef and cook for 3 minutes, turning often. After three minutes add the sauce mixture and cook an additional 2 minutes until it thickens.

Serve over rice on a warm platter garnished with the chopped scallions, tangerine zest and sesame seeds.

NOTE: The tangerine/orange zest makes a huge difference in this recipe, don't skip this part. The recipe can be easily doubled but cook the meat in two batches.

There ya go crablings. At the end of the first round I had a three game lead over CC2 so cheer for California and Pitt and I'll be able to end this year's bracket wars early. Until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

Took the Boonsta to Costco yesterday. Many of you know of my undying admiration and love for Costco, but like any good love affair, eventually you end up seeing the seamier side of your consort.

It was Friday, an always busy day down to the Costco. They've got the recently-thawed-shellfish stand ready, and of course there are samples galore. You can try everything from fresh fruit and little white cups of chicken pot pie to 1-ounce samples of Vitamin Water and lo-fat chocolate mousse desserts.

Of course these free samples mean that the crowds are up as well, especially the seniors. I've seen grandmas pushing industrial sized shopping carts, practically run over their own grandkids to get a free sample of Irish butter on Italian bread. I've watched stooped shouldered elders turn into Schwarzeneggers elbowing their way up to get the free Mandarin Oranges after they finished off the single bite of Polish Ham.

Of course Costco wins. These same seniors, after having grazed their way through the store, approach the cashiers, carts brimming with 5 pound jars of cashews, 2 pound sacks of dried cherries, a half-gallon of ketchup and the 128-ounce "Economy Size" tub of Metamucil. The place is like catnip for old people.

Yesterday was St.Patrick's promotion day at Costco - Corned Beef, Irish Whiskey, Genuine Authentic Irish Butter and just about anything you could think of that would accept green food coloring and be portioned into convenient 10 pound bags. I don't have many Irish recipes so I've turned to our friend MacSully for inspiration. She offered up her latest favorite Irish Soda Bread recipe along with a photo by MoMacSully. Please enjoy...

Irish Soda Bread
by Margaret Johnson from Cooking Light, March 2010

Cooking Spray
11.25 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) whole-wheat flour
2.25 ounces (about 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Steel Cut Oats
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt). Combine buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 65 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Invert bread onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Remove parchment and serve.

There you go O'Crablings. I haven't made this recipe but all of MacSully's other Irish inspired recipes have worked out very well.

Until next time, have some green beer and remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Smokey Quinoa Chili

Last week SSSal's laptop got sick.

Really sick.

She started getting warning messages about the XPAntivirus2010 virus. The warning about the virus was actually the virus itself. This particular virus is something called scare-ware; it's designed to scare you into buying the alleged Microsoft anti-virus fix. The software has nothing to do with Microsoft and buying it only shuts off the virus that they just gave you. In it's own way it's an elegant scam.

Of course we didn't buy the "fix" but set out trying to purge it ourselves. I gave it a shot, no luck; CrabCake2 gave it a try to no avail. We tried calling Geek Squad, their answer: "Bring it in; it'll be at least 7 days and at least $200."

Really, 7 days and $200 from the supposed leaders of on-demand computer help.

"Look, we're really busy, maybe I can look at in 5 days."

No thanks.

The next place we called said 3 days and $300 or 7 days and $200. Ah, pay extra for faster service, what a concept! We live in Ann Arbor Michigan, home to the University of Michigan; there are kids roaming the streets who can build a nuclear reactor out of 2 burritos, 6 Gummi Bears and a case of Red Bull and we had to wait 5 - 10 days to fix a computer?!? It didn't make any sense.

And then light dawned on Marblehead.

"Call the University Computer Store" said I.

"But you need to be a student or an employee to use them" said she.

"No, no, we're not going to use them per se. We're going to ask them if they know someone who might be able to help us" said he, "and make sure you act a little frantic and close to tears when you talk to them".

A five minute phone call, a few conspiratorially whispers and a brusque, "Call Beagle Brain in Nickels", CLICK, and we were saved. Seven hours and $90 later the machine is running like never before; after they were done I swear we were picking up a live feed from a secret Russian Cabinet meeting.

Nickels Arcade
Ann Arbor, MI
Ask for Joel

Well when you're sick you need something hearty to bring you back to life. Chili I say. Smokey Quinoa Chili is a vegetarian recipe that can be easily saved by introducing some sauteed ground beef. Today I'm going to present the recipe as is and then let you folks adjust. Quinoa (pronounced: what the hell is that), is a seed that looks like a cereal that is packed with fiber and protein; it makes for a great base to this chili. So, take a risk and enjoy...

Smokey Quinoa Chili
from Peggy Lampman, adjusted by Crabby & SSSal

2 TBSP olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 3 cloves
2 celery stalks, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 TBSP chili powder, smoked if available
1 teaspoon cumin
1 15-ounce can kidney beans*
1 15-ounce can pinto or black beans*
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans*
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup quinoa, (red, black or white) rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable, beef or chicken stock (have more available to thin the chili if necessary)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

Sour cream, avocado slices and lime wedges for garnish

Heat the oil in a large heavy-duty pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, garlic, jalapeno, celery, chili powder, cumin and a pinch of salt for 7-8 minutes or until the vegetables are limp and slightly browned.

Add all the beans, tomatoes, stock and quinoa; bring to a boil. Stir.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35-45 minutes. Have additional stock available if the chili becomes too thick.

Stir in the corn and simmer until heated.

Serve with sour cream, avocado slices and lime wedge garnish.

*Note that Peggy touted Eden Foods organic beans from Michigan which are fabulous. If you use organic beans, you don't need to drain or rinse the canned beans.

There. Pretty hearty if you remember to throw in some sauteed ground beef. The best part about this recipe is that no beagles were harmed during its preparation.

OK crablings, I'm outta here. Always use protection with your computer and remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mustard-Roasted Fish

SSSal and the CrabCakes love to ski. All three learned how at a very young age and all three have been racers. For them, Olympic scenes of skiers flying down mountains at 70 - 80 miles per hour is a tourist board advertisement. To me it's video evidence of dementia.

I don't ski.

I tried to learn as an adult, but at a certain age you don't see sylvan glades of untouched powder, you only have visions of orthopedic wreckage. Making matters worse, as crabs go, I'm closer to the king-size variety. My center of gravity has a lot further to fall and that means gravity has a lot more time to build momentum. When I think of skiing I see the railroad yard scene in "Gone With The Wind", plaintive moans of crushed, broken bodies, surrounded by the shattered detritus of a futile battle.

All that and $75 a day for a "cheap" lift ticket. I think I'll pass.

I'm pretty plain when it comes to my sports participation. I'll watch you trying to break your neck and I'll marvel at your success, but I'll do it from the lodge, watching a TV. Curling, that's the ticket.

Well, sometimes I like my food mild as well. Today's recipe is for Mustard-Roasted Fish. This is a recipe from Ina Garten and is so ridiculously simple I will foster no complaints about how hard cooking is. The sauce is very delicate, though you can punch it up by adding extra mustard; so turn on the Olympics, watch the youngsters crash and enjoy...

Mustard-Roasted Fish
by Ina Garten

(4) 8 ounce fish fillets, such as red snapper or tilapia
Salt & Pepper
8 ounces Creme Fraiche
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
2 Tablespoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons drained capers

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the fish fillets in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle with a healthy amount of kosher salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the creme fraiche, dijon and whole grain mustards, shallots, capers 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix Well.

Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets, making sure to completely cover each piece of fish with sauce.

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. A good rule of thumb is 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Serve hot with the sauce spooned over the fillets.

Very, VERY easy recipe. It will take longer for your oven to preheat than it will to do the prep work on this meal. I also suspect that you could make this recipe with a pounded thin boneless skinless chicken breast.

I'm outta here crablings; remember you can do it, you can cook.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rose Red Velvet Cake

So I've been watching the Olympics.

A lot of the Winter Games are based on actual activities in the day to day lives of cold weather dwelling humans...

"Hey Sven?"

"Ja, What is it Bjorn?"

"See that dead elk down dere? I just killed it with my spear."

"Ayup, good shot."

"Ah, tanks. Wanna race down to it?"

"Sure, last one there is a rotten herring."

Thus was born downhill skiing.

Or how about modern biathlon? Cross-country skiing and shooting? In Minnesota we called that going out for groceries.

The one I don't get is curling. Sliding rocks on the ice. Back and forth. Back and forth. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this was a pivotal survival activity. Then it stuck me...

Curling isn't a survival activity, it's deck games on the great ship Iceberg. Folks, curling is Eskimo shuffleboard. Inuit!!! When good old Grampa He-Who-Has-Constant-Polar-Bear-Breath needs to take some time off, he hopes onto the local canoe cruise lines and plays a little curling; maybe even hooks up with a She-Who-Wears-Seal-Skins-In-A-Provocative-Manner. It's all so obvious now; L'amour, survival of the species.

Which very quickly brings me to today's recipe, Red Velvet Cake. SSSal whipped up this dessert for Valentines Day, as you can see the colors are pretty intense, tasted pretty good too. In order to keep CC2 happy she had to compromise on the frosting, in the future I would suggest only frosting the sides; either way it still beats the heck out of sliding frozen rocks. Enjoy...

Rose Red Velvet Cake
from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

3 large egg whites
2 TBSP red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 cup superfine sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil at room temperature
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

Special Equipment: (2) 9x 2 inch heart-shaped cake pans (or a 9" round)

Set up a baking rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to the shapes of the cake pans and spray with flour infused baking spray. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of the cake pans with shortening, then place the parchment cutouts atop the shortening, floured side up.

Mix together the wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl combining. Whisk together the egg whites, red food color and vanilla. CAUTION: Mix carefully, the red food coloring stains tremendously well.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, mix the oil and butter on medium speed for 1 minute. It will not be completely smooth.

Turn the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Mix until the dry ingredients are moistened then increase speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape own the sides.

Starting at medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition. Turn off the mixer and scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the top.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until a knife blade inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean.

Run a small metal spatula along the edge of the cake pans, then invert and place the cakes onto a wire rack for cooling.

SSSal Frosting

½ stick unsalted butter (4 TBSP) – room temp

4 oz. mascarpone cheese

2 Cups powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon almond extract

Blend together the butter and cheese with the electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar. Add flavorings and mix to combine. Frost cake.

Now you see why I don't bake. Way too many steps, way too much precision. Well crablings I'm off to find a local bonspiel, until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ginger Udon Noodles with Mushrooms, Snow Peas & Beef

Well "The Big Game" is over. Saints fans are happy, Colts fans not so much. Of course most us us are just wondering how long it's going to take to work off consuming a quart of guacamole, 6 beers and 2 half-pound pulled pork sandwiches. "The Big Game"? More like "The Big Gain".

Now enter the vast wasteland that is winter sports on TV. Yeah, yeah, I know the Olympics are coming up, but I just don't get that excited about people going sledding. And please don't talk to me about the Opening Ceremonies.

"Wow Matt, look at that flag!"

"Oooh, you're right Anne, and check out the hats on the Tagalog Curling Team! What a particularly festive use of straw."

Face it, the Opening Ceremonies are about watching people in weird clothes walking.

For 3 1/2 hours.

Where I come from we call that golf.

How can anyone possibly suffer from insomnia?

Ah well, I know I'm outnumbered on this so I'll just float along. Best thing to do is make some soup, hop onto the couch and hope I finish it before falling asleep watching the Parade of Nations. Ginger Udon with Mushrooms, Snow Peas & Beef is my jazzed up version of a "healthy" recipe that SSSal found. Quick, easy and filling. So crank up the TV and enjoy...

Ginger Udon with Mushrooms, Snow Peas & Beef
from with adjustments and additions by Crabby

6 cups chicken broth
8 ounces uncooked buckwheat (udon) Japanese noodles
2 TBSP cooking oil, separated
1 TBSP dark sesame oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 cups (approx. 4 ounces) fresh snow peas
8 ounces portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Pepper to taste

1 strip steak (approx 12 ounces) trimmed of fat and sliced thinly across the grain

Have all the vegetables and beef cleaned and prepped.

In a large soup pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook per package instructions.

While the udon are cooking, heat a saute pan or wok over high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and the sesame oil. Add the mushrooms, snow peas, ginger and soy sauce, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the snow peas become crisp tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the pot containing the udon.

Reheat the wok and add the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil. When hot add the sliced steak and saute for 90 seconds, tossing occasionally.

Add the beef to the soup pot.

Ladle the beef and noodles into bowls making sure to add some broth. Garnish with the sliced scallions. Serve.

There you go, a souper bowl, great for a cold winter's night or an interminable parade. Until next time crablings, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Monday, February 1, 2010

White Bean Soup

Now that wasn't so hard was it?

I post. You say something. Everybody's happy. It's a snap!

There was a range of comments, from the satisfyingly obsequious "we're so sorry for not commenting" types, to those with some helpful suggestions. Let me take some time to respond.

Mags, you're right, I do need to make a better effort to post on other sites and any story about farting nuns is sure to increase your traffic.

To YesicanCook, I'm glad you enjoy the writing. While I was quite pleased with myself over the usage of hirsute and messianic, I have to admit I thought the linguistic-obtuse high point came with suzerain.

Of course not all the comments were sweetness and light. Anonymous (you know who you are) took a bit of a professorial tone with yours truly. Anony suggested that part of the issue was that I don't post often enough and that perhaps my claw-like persona gives commenters pause. Well crablings, you have nothing to fear from me. I am both patient and beneficent when it comes to my flock. I admit that immediately after reading Anony's comments my thoughts turned to the best way of remorselessly eviscerating him/her, but then SSSal pointed out that such an approach might be counter-productive to my goal of increased commentary.


But let me address one of Anony's points. Posting more often presents problems. Five paragraphs five days a week with five recipes projects out to very bloated writing and a very, very bloated Crabby. I could just post something short but Hi-Can't Haiku. So, for now, two posts a week it will remain.

Alright, enough of that. It's cold out and there's a limited prospect for warmth anytime soon. This recipe is from a Williams-Sonoma Catalog page. I always wondered what a recipe from a catalog would taste like. As it turns out, pretty good. Easy and warming, enjoy...

White Bean Soup
from some random Williams-Sonoma catalog

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (15 ounces each) cannelini beans, drained & rinsed
5 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

12 baguette slices
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers
2 TBSP finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon sherru vinegar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon honey

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy duty pot or Dutch Oven. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion, carrot and celery. stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.

Add the cannelini beans, broth and thyme. Bring to a rolling simmer.

Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired level of smoothness. Stir in the cheese, adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.

Heat a cast iron grill pan or broiler to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil. Season with salt. Toast the bread turning once; about 2 minutes per side.

Roughly chop the jarred red peppers. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, parsley, red pepper flakes and honey. Top each baguette slice with red pepper tapenade.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with 1 or 2 baguette slices.

Tada. Warm again. Really a very easy recipe, perfect for those nights when you know you need to eat but don't want the hassle of a full-blown meat-and-two-veg extravaganza. Don't skip the baguettes though, they really make the meal and are easy using jarred peppers.

OK crablings, keep the comments coming. Until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Onion & Leek Relish

Your long nutritional nightmare is over, I have returned.

Now, I could tell you that I have come back from roaming the desert, hirsute and messianic, but that wouldn't be exactly accurate. I could tell you that I've been on a sabbatical, contemplating ways to redesign and improve this page, but that would be a lie as well.

The truth is that for the last few weeks I've been throwing the internet equivalent of a hissy fit. That's right, I've been sitting in the corner with my pot and pan and pouting. For over 200 hundred posts, I've given you stories and recipes, trivial entertainment and food. What have I gotten in return?

That's right - Nothing.

No love. No hate. Barely a word. Ever!

I'm not doing this for the spare change that traffic generates. I'm obviously not doing it for the fame or else I'd let you know who I am. No, I do this because I like to write and I like to cook. But here's the catch - I can do all that without coming here! I don't have to post, I'll still have stories, I'll still eat. Without some feedback from CrabNation it feels like I'm just shouting at the ocean.

Well that changes today! I may be your Doyen of the Dinner Table, your King of the Cuisinart, but I am not simply some Pretty Pooh-Bah of Pot Roast. I need feedback. I don't care if you love the recipes or hate them. I don't care if you find my stories humorous, touching or offensive. I do care if you are breathing.

I am all things Crabby! I am Lord and Master of all I survey. I am your Suzerain of The Saute Pan. I am a benevolent tyrant but I still expect fealty. My initial idea was to demand annual tribute in the form of a jewel encrusted bird, a falcon, but SSSal felt that excessive. So instead I have deigned to give you one more chance. I will write, you will comment. That's the deal. Google accounts are free and anonymous. If you possess the computer expertise to visit this site then you possess the technical ability necessary to leave a note.

In an effort to show that I am merciful, today I give you a recipe that is easy and comes with a touch of sweetness. Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Onion & Leek Relish was a huge hit with CC2. Please enjoy...

Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Onion & Leek Relish
adapted and adjusted by Crabby from Cooking Light

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 leek, white & some light green parts, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
1 pound sweet onion such as Vidalia, diced
4 ( 6 ounce ) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar, divided
Chopped parsley, for garnish

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

When hot, saute the onions until they are soft and golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and seasonings to the pan and sprinkle with 4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.

Uncover, increase heat to high and cook until liquid is nearly evaporated.

Remove from heat, sprinkle with the last teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and serve over steamed Jasmati or Texmati rice.

There, that wasn't so bad was it.

Alright, now it's your turn. Even after all this time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.