Lemony Crab Dip

lemony crab dip

For everyday dining, I don’t usually serve an appetizer.  But for guests and parties and special occasions, I’ll trot out a few to keep everybody happy.  They are nice to nibble on while the main attraction finishes cooking, with a cocktail or a glass of bubbly in hand, and no one goes hungry before the meal is served.

This crab dip is versatile and great any time of the year, although in winter, the light, citrusy note is particularly welcome as a contrast to heartier cold-weather dishes.  A light hand with the mayonnaise ensures that the flavor of the crab shines through.  You can heap the dip in a bowl and surround it with a platter of accompaniments, or serve it in small individual bowls, with baskets of crackers, bread and raw vegetables on the side.

This dip travels really well – you can make it up to a few days before, it packs up quickly to take on the road, and no cutlery is necessary (although a knife for spreading is nice). For a fun twist, pre-cut your bread into shapes, add a few leaves of watercress, and turn the dip into crab sandwiches.  With the addition of a few other small bites, these little nibbles make the perfect picnic.

lemony crab dip picnic pack

Lemony Crab Dip
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.  Adapted from Coastal Living, here.

2 1/2 cups fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and gently flaked
1 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
kosher salt, to taste
scant 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large bowl, combine first eight ingredients and toss well.  Add in mayonnaise and stir until fully incorporated.  Top with chopped parsley and refrigerate in a covered container for at least two hours.  Dip will keep for up to three days, refrigerated.

Serve with baguette slices, crackers and assorted raw vegetables.

Snickerdoodles

snickerdoodles

Hello, 2013.  So pleased to meet you.

While I made my list of New Year’s resolutions, I realized they were really more like New Year’s aspirations – stuff I really, really want to make/see/do but just haven’t quite gotten around to yet.  Some of the things on my list are repeats from previous years that are still pending, while some are debuting as the result of new inspiration.  So it appears that this will be the year I spend some time in Venice (the California one), learn some basic embroidery, and desperately try not to kill the succulents, herbs or lime tree I’ll be planting in containers in the courtyard.

Building on last year’s chandelier success, the Fun with Electricity theme will continue, and more lighting fixtures will be produced – hopefully a big kitchen overhead number made with recycled glass.  I’m going to swim more, fly a kite, go camping, visit at least one observatory, and sample all the outlandish ice cream flavors I can (starting with cap’n crunch).  I’m going to use as many different modes of transportation as possible this year, from aeriel tram to zip-line, and attend an Outstanding in the Field farm dinner.  I’m planning on making chinese potstickers for the first time, as well as brioche, giardiniera and a charlotte.  I’m going to try my hand at candy making, using the addictive Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook as a guide.  

And finally, I’m going to make more cookies.  Lots.  Starting with these practically perfect snickerdoodles, which I munched on while making my list.

Whatever you are doing in 2013, make it marvelous!

snickerdoodles cooling

Snickerdoodles
Makes about 30 cookies.  Adapted from Martha Stewart, here.

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350℉.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Line baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low and add in one half of reserved flour mixture, mix until incorporated. Scrape down bowl and add in remaining flour mixture and mix again.

In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons sanding sugar.  Shape dough into about 30 (one inch in diameter) balls and roll in thoroughly in cinnamon sugar.  Place dough balls on prepared cookie sheets about three inches apart.  Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, approximately 12 -15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week.

2013