Crabs (and Steak!)

As a middle class child of the flyover, the only experience I had with crab came from our occasional “It’s Friday. It’s Lent. And we’re Catholic.” trips to Red Lobster.  Luckily, crab is one of those things that hard to fuck up so I remember my crab experiences fondly. (I always ordered just a side of snow crab legs. My parents loved this because they were only like $3.50 or something insane with the order of a full-priced entrée. My reputation as a cheap date started young.)

Since Tuesday was my birthday, I decided that I wanted to prepare a special dinner for myself in honor of the day. This last year has been a runaway roller coaster ride to hell, so instead of thinking about:

  • The fumes in my “Peak Reproductive Age” tank and how, according to every single woman’s magazine article ever written, I’m going be completely infertile by this time next year and have as much chance of having a baby as a giraffe does of walking through a standard-sized door
  • My husband currently enduring his 5th cycle of chemotherapy
  • How the fuck we owe the IRS money
  • The Supreme Court is gearing up to take a huge shit all over 51% of this country
  • How Ann Nocenti still has a writing job

 I focused on preparing myself a lovely surf & turf feast.  Who doesn’t love surf & turf? It’s the staple meal of retired people from Milwaukee and mid-priced restaurant’s holiday menus! OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!

As I tend to do, I figure I need to cook something I’ve never cooked before and base my worth as a human being on the results of my half-assed efforts. 

At the Regular People Grocery Store, I purchased some steak and some “fresh” crab legs. Did you know that most crab that’s sold in the U.S. is cooked and frozen right after it’s caught? I didn’t. So even though they were in the seafood case, they were pre-cooked. ‘Kay. Whatevs, bro. As long as I can still shove it in my face hole and not die, we’re good. 

I also purchased some asparagus, sweet potatoes, and a bottle of wine. 

Step 1:

My mom came to visit me recently, which I’ve very grateful for. It’s nice to have someone around while dealing with Shawn’s illness. Even though there was nothing to be done and I didn’t need any help doing things around the house, it was good to have her here. While she was here, she recommended a way to cook asparagus that is, no lie, THE BEST WAY TO COOK ASPARAGUS THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN. Never cook asparagus any other way. Put it in a pasta dish? Nope. Boil it? FUCK YOU! There is only one way to Chomp Town. All other roads lead to mediocrity with a side of weird-smelling pee. 

Here’s something I didn’t know about asparagus: It breaks. Easily. There’s no guess work as to where the weird woody end is. You just bend it and it’ll break at the proper spot. Considering I have served full-stalk asparagus before and wondered why the fuck they were so damn inedible, this was a revelation. Apparently this is common knowledge. Sometimes, I am so dumb I wonder how I can walk in a straight line let alone cook food. 

Wash & snap off the ends of the asparagus. Lay them on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add some salt and pepper and then “toss” them with your hands (like you would if you were tossing a salad [heh] with salad forks). After ensuring that the asparagus is coated, spread them out on the cookie sheet so they are flat – no spears on top of other spears! Be the high school dance chaperone you always wanted to be by keeping these spears apart! Then pop them in the over at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

photo7

Step 2:

Put some water in a big pot. I read online that one should season the water for the crab, so I put some salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice in my water. Didn’t do shit. If I were a better chef/person, I would have used whole garlic cloves and real lemon wedges. Since I am me, I said fuck that. 

Once the water boils, put the crab legs in the pot. Make sure they are fully submerged and allow the water to come back to a boil and/or allow them to cook for like 8 minutes. Timing isn’t my strong suit. I figure they’re already cooked, I’m just warming them up. 

photo2

Step 3:

Stab the sweet potatoes with a fork. This is rather satisfying. I got to stab things and no one got hurt. YAY, channeling my anger into healthy vegetable stabbing! Go me! 

Pop those suckers in the microwave for like 10* minutes. That’s it. That’s how you make a fucking sweet potato. 

*Your cook time may be shorter – I’ve discovered that my microwave is starting to crap out on me and takes longer than normal to cook things. DAMN YOU SCIENCE OVEN! :Shakes fist:  

Step 4: 

STEAK. During my mother’s visit she was appalled at the state of my frying pans. They were old and scratched up so she marched me to Home Goods so we could buy shiny new pans that did not carry the terrifying specter of teflon ingestion. On her recommendation, I now have an Emril Lagassi pan. It is in this pan that I cooked my steak.

photo8 

I didn’t do anything special to these steaks. I dumped salt, pepper, and garlic powder on them and put them in the pan. Then I left them there for, like, ever. 

I feel the one job I have when it comes to steak preparation is not to overcook the fucking thing. If you’ve read my previous posts, I have a tendency to overcook shit. So. Steak may not be the best thing for me to try to cook. But I managed to come away with medium to medium well steaks. At this point I’ll take anything. 

After melting some butter in the Science Oven, dinner was served. 

TA DA! 

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I served this with a glass of red wine because I am an uncultured heathen. The Interwebz says white wine goes with seafood but I’m not a huge white wine fan. Since it’s my house and my birthday, Imma gonna drink red wine. Possibly out of a Batman pint glass because I only have one wine glass (all the others broke). #PURECLASS

It was good. I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming smell of fish emanating from the crab water but that’s just because I am an idiot who does not put two (seafood) and two (smells like fish) together. 

(Oh, by the way, I know Fox News has a rage hard on when it comes to poor people using food stamps to buy seafood. I’m not on food stamps, but the crab legs I bought cost a whopping $4. $4! That’s a dollar a person for a family of 4! You motherfuckers are bitching about a few people on food stamps occasionally buying something worth $4??????? But corporate welfare totaling hundreds of billions of dollars taken year after year after year is ok? COOL STORY, BRO.)

The one thing I forgot about when buying the crab was how damned messy it is. You have to crack it and it squirts juice everywhere and your fingers get gross and the crab comes out in tiny little pieces that get stuck to every god damned thing they come into contact with. That would have been bad enough. However, it was worse. Shawn is the messiest eater I know. And he doesn’t have much experience with crab. The mess on my table was like something out of an Argento fever dream if he didn’t have a lot of imagination and lived on a fishing boat all his life. 

Thus ends the story of my 34th birthday dinner. I’m going to go watch Chopped now and drink the rest of my birthday wine. #ImOUT 

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