Archive | November, 2012

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

19 Nov

The “Game of Thrones” series (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin is a rare find. Where many writers leave us wanting more at “soup”, Martin often tells us in elaborate detail exactly what goes into a particular soup; including the spices. Martin is clearly a man who loves his food and drink, and God bless him for that. There is a lot of eye candy in his novels, and I’ll do my best over here to do him justice.

“This evening they had supped on oxtail soup, summer greens tossed with pecans, grapes, red fennel and crumbled cheese, hot crab pie, spiced squash, and quails drowned in butter. Lord Janos allowed that he had never eaten half so well.”

– A Game of Thrones

So, hot crab pie. Close your eyes – what do you see? I’m torn; at first I see cutting into a browned, flakey crust to reveal a crabby version of a pot pie. Big chunks of crab meat, a gravy of sorts (and boy do I love gravy), maybe a few simple veggies. Hot, hearty and filling. Reminds us all that winter is indeed coming.

On the other hand, Martin clearly has set the scene with “summer greens” and grape salad; the description of which takes the chill of winter away…for a time. What does a summer hot crab pie look like then?

My grandfather (on my mother’s side) was a Colonel in the US Army through World War II and Korea – a career military man. One of his posts was to Alaska, and my mom, uncle and grandparents lived there for several years in the 1960’s. Astoundingly enough, or disappointingly enough, they could not see Russia from their backyard.

My grandfather loved to fish and would often trade fish and crabs for moose meat with other men stationed there. One of my grandmother’s most famous dishes is her recipe for “crab casserole”, which is baked in a pie pan and served in pie shaped wedges. It’s lip-smacking good either hot or cold. (Do you see where I’m going with this?) It’s a fantastic light summer supper or hearty lunch, especially when paired with a salad.

I can’t be sure what Martin saw when he wrote “hot crab pie”, but I think he would approve of this version nonetheless.

Grandmother Moore’s Crab Casserole

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup mayo (Hellman’s low fat is great for those of us counting our calories)
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 6 oz. or more fresh crab
  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crushed
  • thyme, salt and pepper
  • 1 egg

What you’ll do:

  1. Sautee onion and celery in a little butter or olive oil.
  2. Mix everything together and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and cooked through.

 

Summer greens salad:

Get inventive….grapes, crumbled cheese, pecans and summer greens….

I used a mix of greens and goat cheese from our farmers market, some pecans and a simple balsamic/olive oil dressing.

 

Spiced squash:

Summer squash sliced and sauteed up in a little butter and spiced to your liking.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to get creative with these meals…in this Game, there are few rules

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

9 Nov

“Just as the frying-pan was nicely hissing Peter and Mr. Beaver came in with the fish which Mr. Beaver had already opened with his knife and cleaned out in the open air. . . Susan drained the potatoes and then put them all back in the empty pot to dry on the side of the range while Lucy was helping Mrs. Beaver to dish up the trout. . . There was a jug of creamy milk for the children (Mr. Beaver stuck to beer) and a great big lump of deep yellow butter in the middle of the table from which everyone took as much a he wanted to go with his potatoes.”

                                                       Chapter 7: A Day with the Beavers

 

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Or; that time I didn’t make Turkish Delight.

If you ask a room full of people about what they remember about food in TLTWTW (why would you ever do that?), you’ll hear a lot about Turkish Delight. I was read this series when I was just a wee glutton, and yes, I remember the Turkish Delight all these years later.

Guess what, though? These is A LOT of other delicious food in TLTWTW! Like, Turkish Delight is only a twice-mentioned blip on the fresh-caught trout, toast, sardines, onions and hams hanging from ceilings, butter and high tea filled radar!

Santa Claus even whips a full tea service out of thin air for Christ’s sake, because apparently that’s exactly what all good little British boys and girls want for Christmas.

It’s funny; when the movies came out several years ago and there was all this blah blah blah about religion, I was all “lol wut?” because I remembered the novels being just a super cool fantasy land with an evil witch, good and not-so-good woodland creatures, a dude who was half deer, and a fabulous lion. Yeah…rereading them as an adult was a trip. How did I miss how overtly religious, and sexist these novels are?!?! They hold up though, and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was an immensely fun read.

What you’ll need:

  • Bacon ends to make drippings
  • Trout (1-2 per person depending on size, cleaned)
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • Potatoes
  • Good butter
  • All-Purpose flour

What you’ll do:

  1. Chop potatoes into large chunks. Boil water, add potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes; or until just tender but not falling apart.
  2.  While you cook the taters….
  3.  Cook bacon in large skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble bacon. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from skillet.
  4.  Add chopped leeks to pan.
  5.  Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Coat flesh side of fish with flour; shake off excess. Add fish, flesh side down, to skillet. Cook 2 minutes. Turn fish over. Cook until just opaque in center, about 2-3 more minutes. Transfer cooked fish to two plates; dizzle with leeks and a bit of the bacon grease.
  6.  Drain the potatoes, add to the plates and garnish liberally with butter, salt and pepper.