What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Crabby

No, I am not crabby. For the most part, I rarely am crabby; however, I do love crab and I DO mean Blue crabs. I HAVE tried the others, and I still think the Blue Crabs are the best. Way better than any lobster I have ever eaten. I'll take crab any day of the week.

I love food. As I started typing to discuss our latest dinner, I started to write I love crab. Then I thought that I love Broccoli rabe and pasta and garlic. I love food, almost all of it. I love to cook. I love to entertain. I love to find new recipes. I love to try new food. I love to feed other people. I love to grow
my own food and buy local. How lucky am I?

Which leads me to crab. Growing up in Virginia with wonderful parents that have the most perfect garden in the world, was and is a blessing. We have been part of the slow food movement before there was a slow food movement. Although we lived in central Virginia, my father had the number one slip at the Lynhaven marina at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay until the day he retired. I was on a fishing boat before I could walk. Although he doesn't fish much anymore, he is still an avid hunter, and we get loads of venison, which we love. And the garden is beyond belief, after putting manure on it for close to 60 years. It sits on a bluff in perfect soil which dries so you can walk through it an hour after a driving rain. Yes, we have a garden, in clay soil and it will never be as weed free and rich as my parents.

What does this have to do with where I started? Well, it has to do with crab. I remember the first time I ever ate crab, after crabbing in the Rappanhanock River with chicken necks. I was appalled at the sound of them clawing for their life after being dropped in the steamer. But after the first taste, I have spent many years on tables outside, covered with newspaper picking out crabs, dipping them in butter. I could and would do it for hours, ending with a huge pile of crab mung in the middle of the table. Oh, are the wonderful; and now EXTREMELY pricey. I didn't even have any last year, maybe the first year ever. There is nothing like it. #1 jimmies! Yum. Needless to say, I was a crab snob and would have never, never bought pasteurized crab. Then I went to assist a chef at a party that was making crab cakes for 300 (or was it 500). We made a lot of crab cakes using the canned, pasteurized crab from Costco. I couldn't believe it. It had big pieces of crab and in at least 20 pounds of crab, I didn't see one piece of shell and everyone raved over the crab cakes. I was hooked; and trust me, it beats shelling all that crab, although I will never pass up the opportunity. If you've never had it, go to a crab house sometime and try it. Get someone to show you the technique and be prepared for a feast as well as little cuts all over your hands.



Back to crab. We made crab cakes with Costco crab and they were yummy. We had it with broccoli rabe and pasta. The crab cake recipe is on the website.




Broccoli Rabe and Pasta

4 slices pancetta, minced

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 T fresh thyme, minced

1 14 oz can low fat low sodium chicken stock

3/4 lb pasta (I like the shape and size of Campanelle to go with the broccoli)

Parmesan

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté pancetta in olive oil until very crisp. Remove. Add garlic to pan and sauté for about 1 minute. Add thyme. Stir. Add chicken stock and cook until it cooks down, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and cook until done, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Serve with pasta topped with pancetta and shaved parmesan. Serves 4 healthy servings.

Enjoy and until next time, Cheers!

Be sure to check out Entree Vous if there's one in your neighborhood!

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