Monday, June 8, 2009

The Miracle Budget and Recycled Crab

A couple of weeks ago, my husband performed a sort of miracle that only husband's seem able to perform. It followed the usual guidelines for this type of miracle starting with a cook who was stumped on the night's menu, necessitating a craving in my husband when asked what he wanted for dinner. The craving blossomed until my husband decided to go shopping himself. That's when the miracle occurred. The grocery budget suddenly stretched to amazing depths allowing the purchase of two Dungeness crabs! On other occasions, the miracle has taken the form of various cuts of beef...a T-bone here, a rib eye there.

Not that the cook is complaining, though! She loves these special treats for which she can never find the money in her budget. Nothing quite says "I love you" like a big steak ( sarcasm love languages are literally time alone and steak).

But back to the crab. A little trip to the Uwajimaya seafood counter and home comes my husband, crustaceans in hand. They squirmed around in the sink while the water was coming to a boil. I had to leave the kitchen for a couple of reasons. One, if someone else is cooking, it is just better that I leave so I don't make a nuisance of myself. And, two, I just hate watching creatures get boiled alive! Ugh...but they're tasty.

What a delicious treat for dinner. Sweet juicy crab meat is popular with everyone at Julie Jams' house. The only drawback is the labor intensive meat extraction for three hungry kids, not to mention snagging a bite here and there for ourselves. The baby went nuts on this meal, too!

After cleaning the grease and grime off our buttery fingers, my husband suggested boiling the crab shells and other crab, er, goodness in some water to make a crab stock. morning, all the strained crab stock went into the freezer awaiting it's final purpose...

...which turned out to be last night's seafood risotto! Risotto is another meal that my husband cooks (geez, do I do anything around here anymore??). I did all the veggie prep just because I love using my sharp knife, taking more than a little pleasure in finely chopping the celery and garlic and leeks (in place of an onion this time).

The veggie combo (mire poix, soffritto, what have you) sauteed away in some olive oil, then the arborio rice went in. Slowly, the crab stock was incorporated along with the wine (usually a dry white, but since it was seafood we used a chardonnay), stirring, stirring until the rice was no longer crunchy, but still "to the tooth" chewy. Then the butter and the Parmesan cheese.

He sauteed a few shrimp to adorn the risotto. Some leftover grilled bread and a few slices of watermelon completed the meal. By the way, did your parents or grandparents salt their watermelon? This is a very distinct memory for me which I shared with my kids last night. We all tried it and liked it. The salt really enhances the taste. My husband's parents also salted their melons. Wow, we found more culinary common ground last night!

After the meal was over, my husband made another suggestion. Why not boil the shrimp shells to make more seafood stock? But, as I gazed over the gigantor pile of dishes, I decided we'd recycled one meal enough. The shrimp shells went into the compost pile as I filled up the sink with soapy water.


Jenn said...

It's been a while since I've had some crab. It's totally worth digging through the shells for the meat.

I do the same with my watermelon. I got that from my mom. It really adds to the flavor.

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