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All posts for the month December, 2007

I worked out how to make yucca fries from my friend John.  It is really simple.

  • Yucca
  • Neutral oil for frying, canola is fine
  • Salt 
  1. Boil the yucca for 45 minutes or until starting to beccome fork tender
  2. Remove and slice the yucca into steak fry sized pieces, two inches by 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch.
  3. Deep fry in oil until golden brown
  4. Remove to a cooling rack and sprinkle with salt while warm.
  5. One the oil is drained away, enjoy!

I went to my friend John’s wife’s birthday party at a resturant in Strawberry Hill called El Rincon Columbian, which translates to The Columbian Corner.   We had a great time and the food was excellent.  My wife ordered chicken in a Columbian sauce of chopped onions, tomatoes, and saffron for which I am going to find a recipe.  The boy asked for rice and got a tangy, tomatoey chicken friend rice-esque dish that he did not eat (it was red after all) but that Tina snacked on.  I found a bit of the rice which was chicken free and had a taste.  It was very good, though I could not place the tang.  If I had to guess, I would have said red wine vinegar.

I ordered garlic shrimp which came with rice and tostones (mmm….tostones) which are pieces of plantain which have been friend, mashed, and then friend again.  The garlic shrimp lived up to its name.  It was served in a broth that was swimming with minced garlic.  Fantastic.

I liked my dish, but I think that the star of meal was not the protein.  The side dishes are what made the meal. 

 My wife and the boy’s meals came with this salad that was basically like Columbian cole slaw.  It had lettuce, tomoato, and I believe a little celery smothered in a white sauce that may have been creme fraiche because it was not strong enough for sour cream nor sweet enough for mayo.  My tostones were to die for as were the sweet friend plantains (cousins of the banana, though more starchy and less sweet.)  We also ordered a side of yucca, which is a South American root vegetable that was served deep fried.  Hands down, yucca makes some of the best french fries I have ever tasted.

It was a very pleasant experience.  The food was good, the company was better, and we found a new restaurant.  Tina wants to go back for more of her chicken and while I enjoyed the shrimp, I believe next time I will try to huevos (eggs) because they had some really good looking egg dishes.

If you want to go to El Rincon, the address is:
611 N 6th St
Kansas City, KS 66101

Game Dame sent me this recipe for stuffed mushrooms which is going into the cocktail party file, especially when I want to kill my guests by clogging their arteries! 🙂

  • About 1.5 pint size fresh mushroom caps (small mushrooms are better
    than large ones), stemmed
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 8oz of Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 lb of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 stick of margarine or butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
  2. Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.
  3. Add in parmesan cheese and bacon and mix
  4. Fill the mushroom caps with the cheeee/bacon mixture
  5. Melt the butter in a sauce plan
  6. Dip each mushroom cap in the butter and put on a oven capable vessel.  Alternatively, you can pour the butter over the mixture, though ths is less accurate.
  7. Bake 20-30 minutes until completely warmed through.
  8. Serve HOT (emphasis in original.)  Do not serve them all as they are only good when served hot.

I was also thinking that to  make this vegetarian, the bacon could be swapped for spinach.  For those who do not like bacon, crab meat would do nicely as well.

Over the weekend, I went to my local Whole Foods looking for new recipe ideas.  As I was passing by the seafood department, I noticed that whole dungeness crabs were on sale for $9/lb.  I had just watched an episode of Guy’s Big Bite on Food Network where host Guy Fieri had stir fried whole dungeness crabs.  It had me hungry.  I bought one of the monsters.

The funny thing about the dungeness crab…it sort of made me believe in aliens.  It’s an odd mushroom shaped critter with spindly little legs and two mean looking claws.  Not very earthly at all.

I still decided to eat it.  Here’s what I did to prepare it for cooking: 

Note: the crab I bought was preboiled.  If it had not of been, I would have dunked the little guy into a pot of boiling water for 12-20 minutes.  The one I had was almost two pounds, so I definitely would have gone over the 12 minute mark 

Step 1: Remove the top shell of the crab.  This is the large cranial shell on top of the crab which protects its body. 

  1. To do this, put the palm of your hand on top of the crab so that your fingers point away from the crab’s front.  You should be able to wrap your fingers around the back edge of the shell.
  2. Pull up on with your fingers so that your hand makes a 90 degree angle to your arm.  As you do this, the crab’s shell should pop off and fall away without too much effort.
  3. If the crab shell is still attached at the front, it can easily be pulled off using either hand.
  4. Save the shell and turn it into stock!

Step 2: Cleaning the crab.  If you did not think it looked like an alien before, surveying the innards of a crab should make you feel like you are in a science fiction movie.  You have three tasks: removing any cartilage, removing the gills, and determing what to do with the crab butter.

  1. Cartilage is long pieces of white, tough material.  There should be at least two resting on the gills, which are triangular greenish-yellow areas near the crab’s face.
  2. Using a knife, cut the cartilage and gills away from the body of the crab.  Use a finger to poke around.  Any other tough, stringy pieces of material will be extra cartilage.  Remove it.
  3. Now comes the fun part.  See that yellow lumpy stuff in the middle of the crab?  You have uncovered the little guy’s digestive tract.  That was his last meal.  In polite circles, this is called crab butter (because crab digestive innards has a distasteful ring) and for some, it  is delicacy.  I tend to avoid eating digestive tract materials whenever possible.  I used a spoon and the butcher’s paper that Whole Foods used to wrap my crab to get as much of it out as I could.
  4. Check for more cartilage and remove if found.

As a side note, there’s nothing poisonous or harmful about cartilage, it is just impossible to chew and might be a choking hazard for children.

Now for the Fun Part.

  1. Take a rolling pin and crack the shell on the legs and claws.  Work out some stress.  Make some noise.  Let the kids help.
  2. Now, optionally you can cut the crab into halves or quarters depending on your recipe and preference.  I cut mine into halves before cooking.

Next time I’ll talk sauces.  Anyone have a favorite Dungeness crab recipe?

My son Ethan helped me make eggs this morning and this is his recipe:

  • 6 eggs
  • A good 2 second pour of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat.  When the skillet is hot, coat the skillet with a small layer of non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Add 6 eggs to a bowl and stir to break the yokes
  3. Dump in salt to help Daddy cook
  4. Stand over sink and desperately flick salt from eggs into sink
  5. Add garlic powder and pepper.  Stir vigorously.
  6. Pour into skillet and cook until the bottom layer is mostly cooked and scramble
  7. Continue cooking until the eggs are no longer runny
  8. Serve in a bowl, not a plate with lots of orange juice

Mmmm… Salty…