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eG Foodblog: C. sapidus - Crabs, Borscht, and Fish Sauce


C. sapidus
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Hi, sorry I'm late--life has been hectic recently, but now I'm all caught up with your delightful blog.

Everything looks great, but I have to give a special shout-out to your greens, which looked gorgeous. I got hooked on greens at some point, and wound up teaching myself how to cook them out of this terrific Kwanzaa book which features a whole bunch of festive recipes from all over the African diaspora. The recipe I use from this book has an interesting twist: it specifies using three types of greens. The types can vary according to availability and taste, but you have to use three of 'em. And it says to throw 'em all in at the same time, so you wind up with a variety of textures all mixed together, which I kind of dig.

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:biggrin: As I looked at the spent plate of ribs, I couldn't help but think of how my Mom was never happy with how we ate our bone-in meat, and always finished our bones clean!  Unfortunately, I just heard from my sis that she's in the the ER for testing tonight (she's a young 70), so the memory was timely.  Let's hope it's just something minor and has many years of bone nibbling in her future! :wub:

Great blog thus far, and I went back and looked at your kitchen remodel and must say it's wonderful!  Love the sliding trash bin too.

Cheers,

Thank you, and best wishes to your mother. Mrs. Crab is normally the bone-nibbler in our family, but she is on her best behavior these days. :wub: OK, now I'm really going to bed.

Merci, and Mom is doing okay. I think the Nibblers are the Best!

Carolyn

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

J.R.R. Tolkien

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When we want really good Russian food, we whine until our friends from Russia invite us to dinner. They make amazing quantities of delicious Russian food, enjoyed around a crowded table while simultaneous conversations bounce back and forth in multiple languages.

If there's one culture that really knows how to do dinner, it's Russians. I studied in Moscow in college and I loved being a guest in Russian homes. Fancy dishes didn't matter, nor did fancy manners, nor the did the fact that my Russian (even after 3 years of study) sucked. What mattered was having a great big crowd around the table, tons of amazing food, even more vodka, and lots of conversation--language barrier or no. I miss those days and miss my friend Anton's father's borscht.

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How many WW points are one of those, since you broiled them?

After some calculations this morning ("How many Saltines are in a cup of crushed Saltines?"), Mrs. C determined that the crabcakes were 5 points apiece.

Thank you so much! I love your doggies. Your yellow one looks very much like my yellow dog ( not the one in the picture), and she's four years old and loves to stalk us when we eat pizza or pretty much anything else.

Edited by lucylou95816 (log)
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c.s, they look delicious to me -- i usually slice them thinner so they're easier to eat, but that's just a matter of preference.  i'm getting hungry just looking at them.  and those people that don't like pot liquor, just because it's grayish green and cloudy and looks like dishwater?  those people are wrong.

Cool - I wondered about slicing up the greens. Do you slice them before or after cooking? Mrs. C and I liked the greens, so there will be a next time.

before. the lady that taught me how to make greens said to roll them up together in five or six leaf bunches and slice them across--kind of like a giant chiffonade.

although of course she'd never have said chiffonade.

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I love cornbread, but it isn’t on the very short list of things that I know how to bake. Instead, I made biscuits. Ingredients:

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Out of the freezer, on the parchment paper, and ready to bake:

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Finished biscuits. Even elder son liked them, and he doesn’t normally like biscuits.

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Holy crap, those biscuits are a thing of beauty! I live in Northern Virginia - send me some???? It looks like you rolled them out nice and thick - was the butter frozen? Is that how they came out so flaky?

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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I'm enjoying the cooking, the kids, the dogs... but a shout out for the Slice of Life dinnerware.  I hog the surgery plate, myself.

Ding ding ding - we have a winner! I wondered who would notice the plates first. Mrs. Crab is a nurse, so she gets the surgery plate. I had the "grilling on the moon" plate, for obvious reasons.

Love the dinner ware! Thanks for naming it, Maggie. Wondrous stuff, that, for eating off.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Bruce! Great to see you blogging. It's a great glimpse past the one plate we see in the 'Dinner!' thread...

You got really lucky with your boys. I hope they continue to appreciate what a great life you're able to give them (and I'm sure that they give you as well). The effort you and your wife make to have a great dinner on the table every night is amazing.

I lived in Arlington as a child (Army dad) and I remember my mom getting like a bushel of crabs at the Chesapeake Bay market (I was very young, so I'm not sure about this). She covered the kitchen floor with newspaper and we just sat there cracking crab and eating the meat! Crazy Chinese lady :wub: ! At any rate, she is also a nibbler, so when I saw the picture of your son's pile of ribs I immediately thought of her as well :laugh: .

Really enjoying the blog! And I'll ask for MarketStEl as he may have forgotten...what about the fridge and pantry shots?

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Everything looks great, but I have to give a special shout-out to your greens, which looked gorgeous. I got hooked on greens at some point, and wound up teaching myself how to cook them out of this terrific Kwanzaa book which features a whole bunch of festive recipes from all over the African diaspora. The recipe I use from this book has an interesting twist: it specifies using three types of greens. The types can vary according to availability and taste, but you have to use three of 'em. And it says to throw 'em all in at the same time, so you wind up with a variety of textures all mixed together, which I kind of dig.

I usually combine collards with either mustard or turnip greens when I fix greens, but I also either simmer mine for about 2-3 hours or cook them in a Crock-Pot, so they're all very soft by the time I serve them. Maybe I should try cooking them less and see what happens.

BTW, C. -- those biscuits really do look fabulous! Maybe I should refrigerate my shortening before cutting it into the flour and baking powder? I've never been able to produce a flaky biscuit, ever. I do make decent drop biscuits, though.

Oh, and thanks, alanamoana.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Bruce,

This is really great. I just relocated to Walkersville this past summer, and have been searching hard for the local food secrets. Already you have given me two I was unaware of between The Common Market and the Flying Barrel. I'm looking forward to seeing what else crops up. Thank you for sharing!

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Good evening, and thanks for your collective patience. I’ll post today’s pictures first, and then answer questions after. We decided to start the day with breakfast. Mrs. Crab gets up at oh-dark-thirty and eats first:

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I had a banana and leftover sweet potatoes with walnuts, cinnamon, and allspice. I like some protein in the morning – it helps avoid a mid-morning vending machine raid.

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Elder son’s breakfast - he likes his omelets firm.

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Younger son’s bowl of fluorescent sugary joy.

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Ah, I was remiss – I also meant to thank everyone for their kind comments and excellent questions.

Until recently, we had a 12-cup coffee maker. Mrs. Crab leaves early for work, so she heats up my stainless steel thermos, makes the coffee, and grabs a cup on her way out the door. Yeah, she’s pretty wonderful. :wub::wub::wub: This routine left me four steaming mugs of half-decaf joy: one to drink before work; and three to administer as necessary during the workday.

The 12-cup coffee maker expired a few months ago. After extensive research, we bought a 10-cup Technivorm Moccamaster. With one less mug of coffee in the thermos, I had no antidote for mid-afternoon slumps or particularly long meetings. To restore caffeine equilibrium, I started using our 20-year old Melitta pour-over filter in the morning. This reminded me how good coffee tastes from a Melitta filter, and left me with three full mugs for the thermos.

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Bruce, I am a big fan of the melitta pour-over (and at the cabin, with no electricity, it is the best option). Have you considered getting a gold filter so you can quit worrying about running out of disposable filters?

I also own one of the one-cup melitta gold filters, which I still treasure. I don't know that they are available any more...

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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We had lunch at Hagan's Tavery (clickety), normally a special-occasion place for us.

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The building dates to the late 1700s.

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Located on the old National Road, this is the kind of place that could plausibly claim that “George Washington slept here.” As I recall, Washington accompanied General Braddock when he cut a road past Frederick and Braddock Heights during the French and Indian Wars. Alternate Route 40 generally follows that same roadway today (I’m going from memory here, but I think at least some of this history is true).

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Braddock Heights, just west of Frederick on Route 40, has beautiful views in four directions. Hand-painted murals on the dining room walls represent the view from Hagan’s Tavern in the 1790s.

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Stenciled wall coverings and thick stone walls.

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The bar is way cool. Mrs. Crab and I ate in the bar during one of our earlier dates – back then the bar was illuminated with candles rather than electricity.

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But enough about cool buildings and on to the food. My beautiful and delightful dining companion :wub::wub::wub:

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The menu changes with the seasons:

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The sauteed crab appetizer was delicious – that is what jumbo lump crab meat is supposed to look like. Note also what Mrs. Crab described as the "lemon condom" - her comment made me not want to squeeze the lemon. :biggrin:

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Mrs. Crab had the portabella mushroom sandwich (sorry about the blurry picture). It was another winner, even with the cheese removed (less WW points). We were trying to figure out the marinade – the flavor was meaty and delicious.

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I had a crab cake sandwich. This was also very good, but I prefer the ones we made at home. :raz: Hagan's does amazing things with sherry cream sauce and mushrooms - as good as their other offerings are, I always kick myself if I don't order something with at least one of the two.

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Ben, our incredibly helpful server, brought the dessert tray so we could take a picture. The servers dress in period costume. It took a lot of willpower not to order dessert, but we had to get back to work.

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Next: Dinner!

Edit: splelnig

Edited by C. sapidus (log)
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I picked up younger son after work. He had a little “snack” before dinner:

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Mrs. Crab worked late, picked up elder son from basketball practice, dropped off one of elder son’s teammates, and arrived home around 7:00. Atypically, I had dinner on the table shortly thereafter. We also ate the salad greens from yesterday. Mrs. Crab made a dressing of Key lime vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar.

Dinner: chicken stir-fried with lemongrass and chile (ga xao xa ot), from Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, served with jasmine rice, and cucumbers. The recipe was simple, the directions very clear, and the flavors were rich with coconut milk, fragrant with lemongrass and curry spices, and gently spicy with Thai chilies. I like this cookbook so far.

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I started the rice first – a cup and a half of jasmine rice, 1.25 cups of water per cup of rice, bring to a boil for a few seconds, cover and steam for 15 minutes, and rest covered for at least 10 minutes.

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Ingredients for the chicken:

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Marinate cut-up chicken thighs in fish sauce, curry powder, salt, and sugar:

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Finely mince lemongrass, Thai chilies, and shallots, stir-fry briefly, add marinated chicken and bell peppers, and sear in the wok:

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Add coconut milk, bring to a boil . . .

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. . . and simmer until the liquid reduces and the chicken is done:

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Eternal cucumbers :biggrin: – the boys went through two bowls full.

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[dog]”Hey, are you gonna eat that? Will you give me some if I do my meerkat impression?"[/dog]

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Younger son had another “snack” before bedtime. That kid sure can pack away the ribs.

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Bruce, if you have the opportunity, and they permit, do take pics at the local Latino and Asian markets.  Do either (or both) have meat counters?

Last time I was at my Asian market, I got a jar of a pretty neat condiment -- ithe brand is Por Kwan -- Chilli (sic) Paste with Sweet Basil Leaves.  It's in a glass jar, with a nice oil slick on top.  It's very nice and zingy, and makes a great addition to eggs.  Ingredients listed are red chili (32%), sweet basil leaves (27%), soya bean oil (22.99%), garlic (14%), salt (4%), paprika natural color (.01%).  They suggest cooking with it, which I haven't done.

And, another Choula lover!  It's that, sirichi, chipotle Tabasco, or the green Cajun Chef stuff.

Susan, the Latino market has a meat counter, but the local Asian market does not. There is an Asian market in Wheaton (~45 minutes away) that has an amazing meat counter - all of the pig parts that you don't see in the regular grocery stores. I'm not sure when we will get to the Asian and Latino markets - perhaps on Wednesday, when Mrs. Crab is making dinner.

Chile-basil paste sounds like fun - I have seen something like that, but haven't tried it yet.

I used to make a hot sauce from one of Diane Kennedy's cookbooks. It was packed with aromatic spices and De Arbol chiles, really delicious, I once gave it away as Christmas presents. I haven't made it for a while, though.

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Bruce,

This is really great.  I just relocated to Walkersville this past summer, and have been searching hard for the local food secrets.  Already you have given me two I was unaware of between The Common Market and the Flying Barrel.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else crops up.  Thank you for sharing!

Hi donk, great to "meet" another local. Are you looking for any particular kind of food? Saturday mornings in the summer, definitely check out the farmer's market behind the discount movie theater on Baughman's Lane, near the intersection with Route 40 West (in Frederick). Stone Hearth Bakery in downtown Frederick (Shab Row, if you know it) has some incredible breads and rugelach.

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Bruce, I am a big fan of the melitta pour-over (and at the cabin, with no electricity, it is the best option).  Have you considered getting a gold filter so you can quit worrying about running out of disposable filters?

I've thought about a gold filter, but haven't gone beyond thinking yet. I just use the large paper filters that fit the drip coffee maker - we better not run out of those!

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Actually, with the name of the recipe (Faidley's World Famous Crab Cakes), I found the recipe online!

Excellent!

Will have to check & see what kind of crabmeat I can get -- we usually buy our crab as whole legs/claws in shells, but I know Costco sells crabmeat packs. What's your trick to keeping the crab cakes from falling apart?

Hmm, that is a difficult question to answer. I have only made crab cakes twice - they held together both times, but I don't know why. :hmmm: I wonder if the type of crab meat makes a difference - does lower quality meat (smaller pieces) hold together better than the good stuff (larger pieces)?

I know that there are some very experienced crabcake makers out there - does anyone have a suggestion?

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Hi, sorry I'm late--life has been hectic recently, but now I'm all caught up with your delightful blog.

Everything looks great, but I have to give a special shout-out to your greens, which looked gorgeous. I got hooked on greens at some point, and wound up teaching myself how to cook them out of this terrific Kwanzaa book which features a whole bunch of festive recipes from all over the African diaspora. The recipe I use from this book has an interesting twist: it specifies using three types of greens. The types can vary according to availability and taste, but you have to use three of 'em. And it says to throw 'em all in at the same time, so you wind up with a variety of textures all mixed together, which I kind of dig.

Thank you, and what a neat idea for cooking greens. Mrs. Crab would love the variety of textures.

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I accept the expert title by age, experience and default and tell you, "MANNN, that's a FINE mess a greens!!!" :wub:

Thank you kindly, ma'am! Your previous posts on the subject of greens in general, and collard greens in particular, were motivational and informational. :smile:

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the lady that taught me how to make greens said to roll them up together in five or six leaf bunches and slice them across--kind of like a giant chiffonade.

Excellent - I will try that next time.

although of course she'd never have said chiffonade.

:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

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Holy crap, those biscuits are a thing of beauty! I live in Northern Virginia - send me some???? It looks like you rolled them out nice and thick - was the butter frozen? Is that how they came out so flaky?

Thank you, Basilgirl! The butter and shortening were refrigerator temperature before mixing with the dry ingredients. I also used heavy cream, on the theory that the more detrimental an ingredient is to your health, the better it will be when baked. :laugh:

Beginner's luck, methinks.

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You got really lucky with your boys.

Alana:You are absolutely right - the boys have enriched our lives immeasurably.

The effort you and your wife make to have a great dinner on the table every night is amazing.

Great fun, though, and, when we have time, a perfect way to relax after work.

I lived in Arlington as a child (Army dad) and I remember my mom getting like a bushel of crabs at the Chesapeake Bay market (I was very young, so I'm not sure about this).  She covered the kitchen floor with newspaper and we just sat there cracking crab and eating the meat!  Crazy Chinese lady  :wub: !

I'm assuming that you did not have dogs. :biggrin: Didn't Sazji say that they often eat/prepare food on or near the floor in Turkey?

Really enjoying the blog!  And I'll ask for MarketStEl as he may have forgotten...what about the fridge and pantry shots?

Rats - I was hoping Sandy forgot about the fridge shot. Perhaps after tomorrow, when we clear out the stock pot of borscht in the fridge.

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      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
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