Archive | 4:32 pm

How To Cook Chili Curacha Pasta?

5 Sep

Chili Curacha Pasta

  • 250-300 grams linguine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 400-gram can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 250 grams curacha meat (or any crab meat)
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Optional: greens for garnish – I used wild rocket but I think basil would work well too.

– Cook the linguine as per package instructions (don’t forget to salt the pasta water!). Save some of the pasta water.

– While the pasta is cooking, heat a couple of generous glugs of olive oil in a pan.

– When the oil is hot add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

– Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and chili flakes, and stir. Let this cook for about 10-15 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are thick and pulpy. Add a couple of swirls of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and let this cook a couple minutes more.

– Add the crab meat and stir. Cook this for another 5 minutes or so until the meat heats through and the flavors meld. Taste and adjust seasoning. If that sauce looks like it’s drying out add some pasta water.

– Add the cream and stir. Cook for a minute or so and adjust seasoning on final time.

– Toss with the cooked pasta noodles, adding the sauce a little at a time. You may have some sauce leftover. Alternately you can serve the noodles and sauce separately.

Unlike most crabs, whose best meat is in its claws, the curacha’s meat is concentrated in its body. I still remember the first time I tried one and it seemed like every time I hungrily poked my fingers into its body more and more meat came out. The meat itself is sweet and soft and absolutely delicious.

This is a simple crab pasta with chili, tomato, and cream…made just a little more special by using our beloved curacha. I threw in some wild rocket at the last minute to add a touch of green. Adjust the chili to suit your taste and feel free to experiment with the greens/herbs you use. I am thinking of making a version with fennel…what do you think?

How To Cook Mussels with Zucchini and Basil

5 Sep

4 lb mussels
3 small zucchini, diced
1 onion, diced
2 jalapeno, minced
2 cups stock or water
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt


Heat the oil and butter in a large pot with a lid. Saute the onion, zucchini and jalapeno until the zucchini is tender. Add the liquid ingredients and herbs/spices. Add the mussels then cover and steam, shaking occasionally, until they are all opened. Discard any mussels that remained closed. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I am in a bit of denial that summer might possibly be drawing to an end. I’ve been busy with a big project (and a few smaller ones and a handful of food-related trips) all summer and that, combined with the horrible weather we’ve had most of the season, makes me feel like summer never really started. Luckily, there is still some good, local, summery produce to be had. In this case, I used zucchini to give a light, fresh flavor to the deeply savory mussels. I ended up eating the leftover stock and vegetables with a spoon like soup after we finished all of the mussels, it was that good!

How To Cook Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

5 Sep

I’ve never been a great fan of Spring. Living in the South, I knew all too well that it would last a few weeks, and then we’d be mired in Summer for what seemed like years. Since our move last fall to New York, though, it seems I’ve had a change of heart. I am actually excited about Spring! I stop on the streets and in the parks to take pictures of flowers and blooming trees. I have happily put away my scarves and Ugg boots until cooler weather.

This Easter, as I was basking in the early Spring-ness of New York, I decided that our meal should include something befitting of this beautiful season. In an unusual turn of events, I went with a non-chocolate dessert. You’re shocked, I know.
This cake features strawberries, and it does so quite boldly, I might add. It is also perhaps the sweetest cake I’ve ever made. Small slices are your friend. It’s absolutely beautiful in all its pink glory. It’s also very sweet. Did I mention that? It was also just the right ending to our Easter meal.

While I do like baking from scratch, I’m not one to turn up my nose at a recipe that uses a cake mix. Some of my favorite cakes have started that way. You baking purists may want to move on to the archives and find something else like this or maybe this. The rest of you, hold your head high and add cake mix, Jell-O, and frozen strawberries to your shopping lists.

How To Cook Magic Sauce?

5 Sep

I call this magic sauce. In part, because it makes everything it touches shimmer with deliciousness. It’s magic like that. Technically, it’s a riff on a chimichurri sauce – one that veered off the rails in a big way. Much tweaking has rendered it a distant second cousin. If that. In fact, the hallmark of that sauce, parsley, I skip entirely. But I love this. Love love love. And I use it a hundred different ways.

Let’s just start by putting one thing out there. You’re best off making a double or triple batch. This is the sort of stuff you burn through in minutes. Not exaggerating. I cook eggs in it – scrambled, omelette, frittata, you name it. I drizzle it on soups. This time of year that means corn soups, brothy bean pots, or lunch time slurpy noodle bowls. I can attest it’s the sort of thing that makes baked potatoes even better than usual. And salads welcome it as well – particularly shaved salads, or ones made from spicy greens. You can use it to marinate or slather ingredients before grilling or roasting. And its the sort of dressing that turns a bowl full of farro or quinoa or soba noodles into something close to a full meal – just toss in another favorite seasonal ingredient or two.

It’s as versatile as a black dress. Although, it’s not really the little black dress of sauces. Think more bohemian that that – earthy, intricate and interesting. Completely approachable. The way the garlic-perfumed oil suspends flecks of rosemary, thyme, and oregano is really nice. And the rusty red tint of the paprika makes everything this sauce touches look just that much more special. If you do anything extra special with it, give a holler in the comments. I still have a half-full mason jar of it ready for business.