January 21, 2015 § 1 Comment
Hello friends – I won’t apologize for my long silence, because I know you understand the predicament of desire vs. time when you’re a grown up. But today my desire to write and my free time have happily collided. So, let talk about Dungeness crab, quickly, before this precious window closes…
Winter in the Pacific Northwest has many well-documented downsides but the silver lining is pristine seafood. It took me a few years to catch on to this, but now I travel with an oyster knife in my Subaru’s dashboard – toujours prête. Local oysters are spectacular in the winter, and they can be bought for a song at quick marts in tidal communities, as long as you know how to spot a fresh oyster. Or, if you’re not a risk-taker, head to Mutual Fish on Rainier Avenue. They’ll sell you delicious oysters for half of what you’ll pay in a restaurant and happily give you a shucking lesson, I’m sure. Oysters are a treat, but Dungeness crab is a winter dinner staple at our house. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to catch our own in Puget Sound, but Mutual or the grocery store is always stocked with cooked crab, and they’ll clean the suckers for you. This means you can walk out the store with your fully prepared dinner in a bag – serve the crab cold with a few simple sides and it’s faster than picking up a pizza.
It’s still dark terribly, terribly early in the evening (afternoon, really) here in Seattle. That calls for a hot dinner – something in the oven that will fill the house with rich smells and drive the children into the kitchen asking what’s for dinner, when’s it ready, what’s for dinner again and again and again. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 24, 2012 § 3 Comments
For my family, the surest sign of Spring is mangoes. Heaps of perfectly ripe mangoes, delivered with love by my mother-in-law each week. So many mangoes. My children love them, which is why their Lola (grandma) brings mangoes by the dozen. But, like all precious things that suddenly arrive in immense quantities, mangoes become a bit less desirable as time passes. Consumption slows and I am faced with a fridge full of fruit that is on the brink. It’s the saddest thing in the world to toss them out, and this year I won’t let it happen. Each time I cook I will ask myself: where do mangoes fit into this meal? Can I add cubed mango? Pureed mango? Dried mango? Because we have 17 of them, and they’re not getting any younger. Last night I came up with a delicious idea, a meal where mango was perfectly at home, I think. My daughter felt otherwise and asked for salad without mango. I didn’t serve her mango at dinner, but she had to eat three for breakfast. We all need to contribute in this household, young lady. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 19, 2010 § 2 Comments
A couple of weeks ago Sam Sifton wrote a wonderful article in the New York Times Magazine about crab, and summer, and the ritual that surrounds this marvelous shellfish. He wrote from an east-coast point of view, and as a native Virginian I was appreciative. Though there will always be a place in my heart for Old Bay, wooden mallets and paper-covered tables, since moving to Seattle I have a new routine.
This version of a crab feast was first introduced to my husband and me by our friend Jasmine, and it’s become a staple for those nights when you don’t want to cook but pizza just won’t do (and there’s no leftover Panacea dinner in the fridge). We pair cold Dungeness crab with rice, seaweed salad, and spiced sukang maasim – a Filipino vinegar with peppers – for dipping. It is a totally fresh, light, and satisfying meal. You buy the crab cooked and have the store clean it. If you go to Uwajimaya you’ll be able to pick up all ingredients in one trip. E-Z!