grandpa’s crab sauce

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

 What did you do last Sunday?

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

We had crab sauce. Grandpa’s crab sauce.

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

It’s an epic event that takes place once a year.

So you better be there…

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

We start them young…

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

Go through a lot of napkins…

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

And it’s worth every last stain.

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

Grandpa's Crab Sauce / The Clever Carrot

* Grandpa’s crab sauce dinner is an annual event you don’t want to miss. It has been a traditional family favorite for over 30 years. At one point, he used to catch the crabs himself but has since retired his crabbing gear and position as head cook. He now likes when someone else makes it so he can boss them around.  The best time to make crab sauce is June- August when blue crabs are in season.

grandpa's crab sauce
 
Make friends with your fish guy. If you ask nicely, he will clean and gut the crabs for you.
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2x 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes
  • 12 blue claw crabs, or 24 small ones (cleaned & gutted)
  • 1 lb. linguine or tagliatelle pasta, fresh or dried
  • salt & pepper
  • crusty bread for dunking
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, warm the butter and olive oil over moderate heat.
  2. Dice the onion into ¼ inch pieces and add to the pot.
  3. Saute until lightly golden but not brown, about 10-15 minutes (over browning the onions will make the flavor too strong).
  4. While you are sauteing the onions, puree the tomatoes and their juice in a blender. Doing this gives the sauce an extra silky texture.
  5. Strain the sauce to remove the seeds, which tend to be bitter. Set aside.
  6. Add the crabs to the pot. Saute until they turn red.
  7. Using tongs, remove to a bowl.
  8. Pour the pureed tomatoes into the pot and bring to a simmer.
  9. Meanwhile, gently twist the claws off of the crabs, adding everything back to the pot as you go. Don't forget to add any crab juice from the bowl as well. The idea is to have the claws and bodies separate so everyone can get a little bit of each.
  10. Simmer the crab sauce for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 6. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor will be. Be patient!
  11. When you are ready to eat, cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
  12. Serve each dish with pasta, crabs and a generous amount of sauce. Don't forget the bread.
Notes
* When blue crabs are is season, you can freeze them (uncooked) to make this sauce anytime of year. They will keep for about 3 months. * The tomato sauce (without the crabs) can be made ahead of time refrigerated or frozen.

warm squash salad with apricot and manchego

Warm Squash Salad with Apricot and Manchego | The Clever Carrot

I’m a big seasonal eater.

Now that it’s fall, one might think it’s time to gorge yourself on pumpkin muffins and gingerbread lattes (although that does sound tempting…) But for me, seasonal eating means to save your berries for summer and eat your root veggies now! Eating this ways is one of the best things you can do. Not only is it good for the environment, but your health (and wallet) will benefit too.

Warm Squash Salad with Apricot and Manchego | The Clever CarrotWarm Squash Salad with Apricot and Manchego | The Clever Carrot

So let’s talk squash salad.

My lovely farm share sent us a ton of squash, so I decided to roast them. I recently learned that you can actually eat the skin on roasted squash. Cool, right? It goes soft and sticky and more importantly, you don’t have to peel the darn thing first!

I roasted the squash (skin and everything) in a sweet and tangy apricot glaze, and then tossed it with mixed greens and a lemon vinaigrette. Oh, how I love a warm, wilted salad… The lemon enhanced the apricot flavor and helped to cut through the richness of the squash. I finished it off with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and some fat manchego shavings. It felt like fall in a bowl.

 Warm Squash Salad with Apricot and Manchego | The Clever Carrot

Warm Squash Salad with Apricot and Manchego | The Clever Carrot

So the next time you’re at the market, check out what seasonal veggies they have to offer. And if you’re feeling uninspired, email me. We’ll make dinner together!

warm squash salad with apricot and manchego
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Glaze
  • 2 heaped tbsp. apricot jam or quince paste
  • 2 heaped tbsp. whole grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
Salad
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 c. pomegranate seeds
  • ¾ c. manchego shavings
Lemon Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ c. good quality olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Slice the squash, un peeled, into wedges discarding the seeds. You should be able to get 16 wedges total.
  4. Mix together the apricot jam, mustard, and olive oil and coat the squash with the glaze.
  5. Spread evenly onto the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  7. While the squash is roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk the lemon juice and the olive oil together until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. When the squash is done, wait 5 minutes for it to cool slightly.
  9. In a large bowl toss the squash, mixed greens and some of the vinaigrette together. Give it a taste and adjust with more vinaigrette, salt and/or pepper.
  10. Add the pomegranate seeds.
  11. With a vegetable peeler, shave some fat strips of manchego over the top.
  12. Enjoy with a nice glass of white wine.

raw beet and apple salad

Up until now, you couldn’t pay me to eat a raw beet.

Cooked beets, I love. But to me, raw beets smell like the earth. The earth smells like dirt. So I’ve only assumed that raw beets taste awful, yet I’ve never actually tried them.

Meet Chioggia beet; the hypnotizing, mesmerizing, candy cane beet. It’s an heirloom variety from Chioggia, Italy. Apparently, when you cook them the swirls will blur together. So if you want to maintain its natural beauty, you should try them raw.

Here’s what I did- I made a salad of thinly sliced beets and apples. I added some fresh basil, a handful of mixed salad leaves, and topped it off with a goat cheese dressing.

The verdict? Delicious. Raw Chioggia beets do not taste like dirt. Believe it or not, they actually taste very mild. Almost milder than cooked beets if that’s even possible. The flavor and texture is so unique I can’t compare it to anything, not even itself.

The key to this dish is to slice everything as thin as possible and let it marinate in the bowl for a bit. Using a mandolin is perfect for this. The acidity from the dressing softens the beets, kind of like coleslaw. If it’s too clunky, it’s going to be too crunchy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this raw beet and apple salad (and so did my herbivore mom). It’s nice to eat something satisfying yet different for a change. Hope you’re inspired to take the plunge!

raw beet and apple salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Salad:
  • 1 bunch of Chioggia beets
  • 2 medium size apples
  • 1 handful of mixed salad leaves
  • ⅓ c. fresh basil
  • zest of 1 lime
For the Dressing:
  • ½ c. goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: Zest your lime and reserve it for the salad.
  2. Blitz all of the salad dressing ingredients in a mini food processor (you can also do this by hand with a whisk and room temperature goat cheese).
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The flavor should be tangy with a hint of sweetness.
  4. For the salad: Get yourself a large bowl.
  5. Trim and peel your beets with a vegetable peeler. If the tops look good, wash them and save for stir frys and salads. Thinly slice with a mandolin.
  6. Thinly slice your apples and keep them stacked. Cut vertically into matchsticks.
  7. Add the beets and apples to the bowl. Add a little dressing and season with salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so to soften.
  8. Tear up the basil leaves.
  9. Add the basil and salad leaves to the bowl. Give it a good toss and taste to see if it needs more seasoning or dressing.
  10. Evenly sprinkle the lime zest on top.
  11. Serve straight away.
Notes
* Refrigerate any extra goat cheese dressing in an airtight container. It will keep for about a week.