A Year Older and a Touch Crabby

Today I entered into the last year of my twenties and I'm a little crabby about it. My twenties were great - don't get me wrong. I feel satisfied in my celebration of youth. I played hard and well - and it's not like the fun is over. I just think it's time my spirit caught up with my body, which is apparently aging in dog years. I throw my neck out with a sneeze, I already have arthritis, 'comfortable' has become a prerequisite for shoes, and my hangovers like to hang on for days. Most of these I can actually blame on 25 years of soccer. However, rather than sulk, I have decided to embrace my pending thirties and all the exciting things it will offer - like one piece bathing suits and great bottles of wine. I can also throw a proper dinner party and my guests will show up sober enough to eat - a very exciting prospect indeed. I threw my first official dinner party in San Fran this Friday and I'm happy to say it was quite a successful night -despite lacking one chair, one plate and one bowl (because apparently I only buy things in fours). But hey, I'm only 29.

I recently attended a spectacular dinner party, thrown by a friends' Mother, who was an obvious veteran in the kitchen. I never truly appreciated how much planning and thought goes into a dinner party. All those years of my Mother whipping together seemingly effortless parties - table set, hair done, food edible. It wasn't until I threw my own that I realized what a true talent it is. Needless to say, the spread my friend's Mother presented us was impressive and has fast become one of my favorite discoveries in San Francisco: dungeness crab. Dinner was simple and splendid: a steaming pile of lightly seasoned dungeness crab, a tray of gigantic Californian artichokes, and a curry spiked aioli for your dunking pleasures. While quite the labor intensive meal, I have always enjoyed picking crabs. First introduced to the ritual by the Maryland blue crab, I became enamored not only with the succulent meat, but with the methodic cracking, snapping and rummaging involved. Plus the slow pace allows for greater overall beer consumption, which is an obvious plus. I found dungeness crab similar in taste and presentation to blue, just on steroids. Blue crabs are typically covered in Old Bay and dunked in vinegar, while a traditional preparation of Dungeness crab in San Francisco is lighter in seasoning and therefore dunked in something serious like spiked mayo (or it's more delicately named cousin, aioli). Blue, dungeness, snow, or stone - all I ask is that you save me a seat.

I tried my hand at steamed crab and much to my delight, I found it fairly easy. I like this recipe from the original experts of steaming crabs. Here's an easy guide to steaming artichokes.

Now for the fun stuff:

Wild Curry Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayo (if you'd like to make your own mayo its easy.)
  • 2t. curry powder
  • 1T. Worchestshire sauce
  • 1T. Lemon juice
If curry isn't your thang, I suggest whipping up a similar meyer lemon aioli:

Meyer Lemon Aioli:
  • 1 cup mayo 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1T. fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2t. Dijion mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
For both recipes:
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Don't you just want to eat him up?! 

Not literally,
- The Heat