Monday, October 3, 2005

Politics, then food

One quick political comment. Harriet Miers is a Christian. A Southern Baptist Christian. That means Bible-thumper. Maybe she won’t be hard enough on abortion, but still a strict constructionist who will not expand civil liberties from the bench. That means reluctance to find rights hidden in the penumbra clauses of deny and disparage in the 9th. That is my litmus test.

And don’t forget, W is a card player. Everyone out there is saying his first pick was cautious – had to be, he knew a second one was coming. Then they said his second pick would be a hard-line conservative – had to be, it’s his last chance. Well, folks, have you looked at the age of John Paul Stevens? 85 years, 5 months, 13 days and counting!! The dirt in my back yard is younger. Pick 3 will happen. W’s nominee won’t get shelved until the primaries are well under way for 2008; then the dems will scream about letting the next POTUS pick the nominee. Stevens may not have 2-1/2 years left in him. And – here’s the card playing – he may be a lot less concerned now that he sees the temperament that W selects in nominees.

So perhaps Miers is a prelude to getting Stevens to go out to pasture. I suggest that three strict-constructionist justices are better than one moderate (Roberts) and one hard-line conservative. Let the pubs scream all they want for now.

Onward …

Whenever I have crab, I think of Ocean City, NJ. I’ve only been there a couple of times as an adult (maybe just once, I don’t recall). I think I was there as a kid – if not, I know I was very close. I remember the name “Diamondhead Beach” from a trip in the 1960s.

During that early trip I remember digging for clams as my dad sat on the beach. I would dig with my toes until I felt one and would then hurriedly dig with my hand to get him before he could run away. I must have been very quick, because not many got away.

One time when I brought my arm back up, a crab was attached to my hand!!!! I had this wart thing my dad called a “carbuncle” in my palm. It was massive. Was there for months (or so it seemed). The crab had a good hold on it. I screamed and shook my hand. No one could hear me over the waves.

The crab eventually dropped off. And took my carbuncle with him.

I told my dad the whole story. Apparently he wasn’t watching. He smiled and gently chastised me for not bringing back the crab.

As an adult, I had a different reality there. But just as memorable. I remember cooking with crab for the first time. Just crab cakes, but they were so good for a lot of reasons.

I found the recipe below a few months ago. It claimed to be “very similar to the San Remo Seafood Dip at the Olive Garden.” Never had the OG dip.

I liked the mix of flavors and it tasted very good. I made one change so far. The breadcrumbs were originally a half cup. Way too much. I cut it below to a quarter cup. My advice is that you want a thin coating perhaps a quarter inch thick at best. Too much tastes grainy and takes away from the crab. Just watch it the first time – don’t let the topping brown before the dip is bubbly hot; cover it with tin foil for a bit it you need – you can always use the broiler to brown the top if you need to in a hurry.

Crabmeat Dip Extraordinaire

1 8 oz. package cream cheese
6 Tablespoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons chili sauce
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 5 oz can crab meat (more crabmeat would be even better)
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and add cream cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, chili sauce and parsley; heat at medium temperature until the cream cheese is softened and stir together. Remove from the heat and add drained crabmeat.

Place in a casserole dish. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and dry breadcrumbs. Scatter on top of the crabmeat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until breadcrumbs are toasted and mixture is bubbly.

Serve with your favorite crackers, or even better: get a loaf of thinly sliced French bread and lay several slices on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and broil until golden brown.

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