Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Meet Mary M!

"Fascinated by cooking since before I was born!"

I come from a line of frontier cooks who, from their homestead kitchens in the Pacific Northwest, cooked mostly what grew in the pastures, orchards and gardens. Growing,
harvesting and cooking was a full-time occupation, and what they did not eat, they sold. I treasure memories of watching this daily work by loving hands who put beautiful, fresh and nutritious food on the table.

I have to say though, my own life has been a much more urban experience. Growing up in oil-rich parts of the world introduced me to new and exotic foods, and my curiosity grew as I sought out increasingly “different” tastes. By the time I was 12, I was enjoying such delicacies as octopus, turtle soup, pan dulce, yucca and wheat germ for breakfast. Well, as to the last one, it WAS the 1970s! I tasted the chocolate sandwiches brought to school by the English kids, the salty licorice the Dutch kids brought and the fried plantains from the local kids. We had whole goat roasts, and neighborhood food festivals which included much sought after foods like curries with all manner of chopped toppings, fried rice and parilla meats. I fried white cheeses in the kitchen and boiled little tiny shellfish called “chippy chippies” that we scooped off the beaches.

But it is only since I have recently emerged from the child raising bubble myself, that I have taken my kitchen by storm and learned to cook food that I would rather stay home for than go out to eat. Raising kids is a blessing and a life altering experience. It is also a focused responsibility which, at least in my house, was fueled by nutritious but simply and quickly made foods.

Seafood is my thing. Crab foremost. Here’s my mother’s recipe for Crab Louis that I have been eating for just as long as I can remember. By the way, the origins of Crab Louis are in dispute, but I subscribe to the assertion by the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA, that their version was created and named for the hotel founder, Louis Davenport. If you are ever in Spokane, go to the Palm Court Grill in that amazingly beautiful and historic hotel and order the Davenport Crab Louis.

Crab Louis

For the salad:
lettuces of your choice
Roma tomatoes, diced
green onions, chopped
hard boiled eggs, cut into quarters
black olives, left whole
lump crab meat, as much as you wish

For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chili sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all dressing ingredients well and refrigerate. Toss with the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and half the crab. Arrange on a lettuce leaf or salad plate. Arrange olives and hard-boiled egg wedges around the edges. Nest the rest of the crab on the top of the salad. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Happy Cooking!


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