Friday, October 2, 2009

Chalk it up to experience...



It has been an unusually cold week this week, which does not impress me very much. My kitchen, however, is always warm these days as the oven turns out breads and the stove top belly warming meals. I could eat soups and stews with fresh out-of-the-oven bread each and every day this time of year. Perhaps it's my way of comforting the dread of winter approaching! As I had left-over basil from the pizza a few days ago and a box of crab legs in the freezer (since late spring), I made a chowder that happened to need both of these. The girls and I were out shopping for runners after school, so there was little time left for dinner preparations. Chowders don't normally require long simmering times, just enough to soften the potatoes and throw the rest of it together. I love soups that simmer for a long period of time, and how the flavours of individual ingredients come together and create something entirely new. But with chowders I think the opposite is true, as all the flavours are individually intact, and enhance each other, rather than creating a new one. I love that I can taste the sweetness of the corn, the earthiness of the potato and the freshness of the basil. It's the crab along with the cream that pulls it all together to create a harmonious dish.
But there has to be a catch, right?! A couple of years ago, my family and I visited some relatives in California, and the last day there, we shared a meal at a Chinese restaurant. As my kids picked on angel hair pasta and a few familiar vegetables, their 5 year old cousin chowed down one crab leg after the other. She made cracking the legs look like such a simple task, but I am guessing she must have had a lot of practice because when I tried it yesterday it was a disaster! It took me over half an hour for two pounds of legs - which produced just half a pound of meat. At first I attempted cracking them by hand, peeling back the shell and then picking out the meat inside. But since I only had 5 grams peeled after about 10 minutes, I thought there just has to be a better way! I searched my kitchen for tools that somewhat resembled the ones I had seen on Red Lobster commercials. My kitchen came up empty, so I headed for the garage! Luckily I found something, see the photo above! (And yes, it was clean.) Soon I came up with a system of cracking either side of a leg section, then, if the meat didn't come out on it's own, I would jab a chop stick into it. My older daughter is watching me in horror - or perhaps disbelief of what she is witnessing - and absolute disgust at the thought of this ending up in her mouth. Daughter number 2 was delighted to score a pincher of the crab's leg and play with it. I really didn't care what the crab looked like, or how it was extracted, I admit I was stressed and quite hungry! The sun had set and my dog ate two or three crayons (and to his delight, got away with it) by the time all that crab was done! There has got to be a better way to do this, and I will most certainly find it.
Unfortunetly we were out of wine, except for a bottle of sparkling chardonnay, which is not one I would have thought to pair with Corn and Crab Chowder. But at this point who cares, I deserved a little grape juice to go with my dinner! I have had red wine with chicken before, and that was a bad pairing, but somehow the champagne was really nice with chowder. Stranger things have happened...

2 comments:

BDrost said...

LOL...girl that is funny. Is the dog ok? I guess crayons are nontoxic...lol

Moni said...

Puppy is fine :) He's done it before, and the next day it's out of his system......