Tired of constantly cooking? This site offers recipes, laughs and survival tips for all us Crabby Cooks!

The Crabby Cook - by Jessica harper Need a little retail therapy? Check out my store! - Shop Now!

Beside Myself

November 17th, 2015

cranberrysauceI’m cooking on Thanksgiving, and my mom says she is bored with turkey as it is too often served in the dining room of the senior community where she lives. For her, it’s all about the sides. So I’m beside myself researching side dishes.

For starters, here are a couple of Crabby go-to cranberry sauces. These are especially good if you are going to a pot luck and are a lazy-ass cook looking for the easiest way to acquit yourself of your cooking responsibility.

These Brussels sprouts are so good, everyone will think you are Ina Garten. Or at least they will if they have had a Holiday Crantini or two before dinner.

Ok,  I’ll be back with more from my T-G menu when I figure out what the hell it’s gonna be.



Delicata Who?

October 28th, 2015

DelicataSquashThere’s this pile on my desk which is composed of stuff I have to either a) deliver to its proper storage place or b) send out for treatment of some kind, as in dry cleaning or c) ponder its usefulness until I am certain it has none and then throw it away.

My general policy is to ignore this pile altogether until it threatens to swap my work station. This happened yesterday—I had to address the pile. Right on top was an oblong object that I had placed there a few days ago and proceeded to ignore.

The object, according to its label, is a Delicata squash. I bought it because every so often I resolve to cook something I have never cooked (or seen) before. Often this means some random vegetable, which sometimes actually ends up cooked and sometimes ends up rotting on the kitchen window sill.

Last night, since my husband (who is violently anti-squash) was out of town, I resolved to reduce my desk pile by one item and cook the damn thing.

I roasted it, just adding oil, salt and pepper, my theory being I’d get to know this Delicata in its purest form, rather than gussy it up. (Plus I was too lazy to gussy.) Result: Loved it.  I will buy it again. My husband will never eat it, or any other food that looks like it, but, hey, all the more for me.

My pile is diminished some. I think that entitles me to ignore it again.


Roasted Delcata Squash

Yield: two servings

1 Delicata squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 425º F. 

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash crosswise into pieces about 1/2″ thick.  Rub the squash pieces with oil to coat all over. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet, put it in the oven and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Eat. 




Hip Jam In Silver Lake

August 10th, 2015

Ricotta toast_2If you should find yourself visiting a much-more-hip-than-you relative in the much-more-hip-than-where-you-live section of L.A. called Silver Lake, stop in at a wee restaurant called Sqirl. It’s worth the humiliation of being the least hip person in the neighborhood on a Friday afternoon.

Sqirl is famous for their jams (like Santa Rosa Plum and Flowering Thyme, or Shady Lady Tomato) but the menu rocks with lots of other treats, some vegan, some decidedly not, like the Famed Ricotta Toast, which was my pick. (I loaded it with Snow Queen Nectarine jam.)

I told my daughter I could eat it every day for breakfast. She pointed out that if I did so I would end up the size of a house.

So, no, I won’t be having this every day for breakfast. But I will have it again next time I cross the hipness border into Silver Lake.

P.S. You can also by Sqirl jams at The Cheese Store in Beverly Hills.

P.S.S. If you are more ambitious than I you can make this at home. After you have made your own brioche and made your own ricotta, toast a massive slice of the brioche, schemer it with your lovely homemade cheese and then with jam. Invite me over to share it with you or you will end up the size of a you-know-what.





How To Stuff A Wild Zucchini

August 4th, 2015

zucchiniMy younger daughter recently outed herself as the culprit in the zucchini mystery of 2007.

One evening while poking around the linen closet I found a mummified slice of zucchini under a stack of beach towels. I believe the unusual disposal of an unwanted vegetable was originally blamed on my older daughter Elizabeth But last week, her younger sister owned up as the perpetrator. Apparently she found the poor zucchini unpalatable and was too young to have developed the more sophisticated system of flushing it down the toilet, so she hid it.

No disciplinary measures will be taken as I believe there is a statute of limitations on these things.

Now they are grown and live in apartments with lots of closet space in which to deposit unsatisfactory vegetables. But if they do drop by for dinner, I like to dress up the zucchini just a little to preempt further misdemeanors. This recipe is very easy and adds instant appeal to what some consider an otherwise boring vegetable.

If I ever find this amongst my linens I will be very surprised.


2 medium zucchini

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigian0-Reggiano, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

½ cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Trim the ends off the zucchini. Cut each in half lengthwise. Score the center pulp of the zucchini and then scoop it out with a teaspoon, leaving a shell about ¼ inch thick. Place the pulp in a bowl. Add half the cheese, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper, the walnuts and thyme leaves and mix well.

Fill the cavities of the zucchini with the filling. Sprinkle each with an equal amount of read crumbs. Sprinkle again with a little salt and pepper and drizzle a half teaspoon of oil over each. Sprinkle each piece with some of the remaining cheese.

Place the zucchini pieces on a baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the topping is crispy.

Let cool briefly and serve.



Kleen Queen (Green)

July 27th, 2015

KleenQueen2After the flood of 2015, I had some serious kleening up to do. Unwilling to spend a week inhaling Lysol fumes, I knew I would have to consult with  the Great Counselor Of All Things for advice on a kleening product that would not kill me due to overdose of some noxious chemical.

The G. C. O. A. T. (okay, Google) pointed me in the direction of a recipe from Real Simple magazine for an all-purpose spray cleaner that you could almost drink (if you happened to have a taste for rubbing alcohol and vinegar.) It left my surfaces smelling like something much lovelier than backed up plumbing and clean as a whistle. (I have never understood that expression. Since when is a whistle clean? All those people blowing on it all the time? Please. P.S. Am I turning into Howard Hughes?)

Anyway, try this in your flooded or not-so-flooded living quarters and I guarantee you will be pleased with the result and will not keel over from chemical fumes. I actually would not drink it unless you are on a desert island and choices are limited.

Kleen Queen (Green) All-Purpose Cleaner

4 cups water

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

10 drops peppermint essential oil


Combine the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Kleen everything, then drink a martini and take a load off.



EVO And Yogurt Cake (Comfort Food)

July 21st, 2015


EVOCake2After the Great Flood of ’15—well, it was considered Great in my house, when a veritable toilet tsunami decimated a sizeable area of my once gracious living quarters—I felt the need for comfort food. After some dreary exchanges with insurance types and remediation contactors, my thoughts turned to Dorie Greenspan’s EVO And Yogurt Cake. It seemed like a must.

Not only is it comforting in a way that only something densely vanilla can be, but it happens to be stunningly easy to make, which gives it singular appeal right at this moment when I feel I can only address small tasks, having addressed too many big ones already today.

Whether or not you ever have a Great Flood in your house—you can read more about mine here—keep this recipe on hand for other current or future comfort needs. It works.

You can find it here, but roughly, it goes like this:



Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a loaf pan.

Combine 1 ½ cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt.

In another bowl, place 1 cup sugar and the zest of one lime (although I used orange.) Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant. Then mix in ½ cup plain whole ilk yogurt, 3 eggs and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla until smooth. Then fold in ½ cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

Pour batter into the pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Eat your troubles away.


Sunday Hash

June 6th, 2015

I am currently in a cooking rut.

This happens occasionally. I cook something new that accommodates the tastes of my diners, decide I like it very much, and then, too lazy to come up with a fresh idea that caters to everybody’s extreme pickiness, I repeat the recipe until I feel like I am in the movie, Groundhog day and change is essential. I just completed such a cycle with Sunday Hash. Read More


PTSD (Peas Trigger Scott’s Distemper)

May 31st, 2015

Birdseye2A few weeks ago I got an email from my bother-in-law Scott who was in a highly agitated state. He told me he had been the victim of fraud perpetrated by the Bird’s Eye Company. Read More


Mom’s Short Ribs (aka Stringy Meat)

May 7th, 2015

MOM at 95 3_4 When my siblings and I were growing up, my mother was a miraculous cook—every night she procured dinner for eight people. Among our favorite meals was what we called “stringy meat,” which was any kind of meat that was cooked long and slow until it was a fork-tender, pull-apart, deliciously stringy thing. Read More


Spicy Chicken Tacos

April 28th, 2015

photoThe good thing about this recipe is you can make most of the components in advance and then just throw your tacos together in fifteen minutes, which allows you time to relax and watch the PBS News Hour while you dine. Read More

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...