Danger Ahead

The convenience of having soft spreadable butter within arm’s reach is a wonderful thing, especially when warm bread is around.  But, it can be hazardous to ones health.  I only say that as a friendly reminder to those of us who received butter crocks for Christmas.

For anyone unfamiliar with this cleaver amenity, the butter is suspended in water as a way of preserving it at room temperature for up to 30 days.  This is not a new idea.  For centuries folks have known this to be a welcome safety method when refrigeration was not an option.

According to the Butter Bell website, this is their explanation:

The French have benefited by this practice, and I say, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.  To a degree.  Perhaps they are able to show more restraint than I.  It’s important to regularly sample my butter, I reason, to make certain of its creamy texture and delicate flavor, and that is it is soft, spreadable, and safe.

Now, I am looking for French and imported butters, purely for comparison purposes, you understand.

It’s my job to know these things.  I am completely smitten by my new butter crock and reason this is all purely educational. 

Which also means that the butter is bypassing my hips and waist at this time. No matter, I tell myself.  It’s the holidays.

Fresh Dungeness Crab: A Reason to Celebrate!

fresh crabDue to a late harvest, Dungeness crab season this year was delayed until mid-December. Of course, this gave us even more reason to rejoice because it meant a holiday crabfest!   For commercial purposes, this meant crab must meet a 25% meat threshold, or deliver at least ½ pound of meat per 2-pound crab.

Crab stoveThere’s no way of being dainty when it comes to thoroughly enjoying all that this delicacy has to offer.  Armed with a good set of crackers to split the shells open, stray bits of shell and crab morsels will fly off in unpredictable directions.  But that’s just part of the fun, so we tend to either dress down or don aprons and/tuck in big napkins for extra protection.

Jan crab table Here’s a handy way for everyone to gather around the crab and help themselves to both fabulous garlic dipping butter and portions of crab all in the same pot.  Have plenty of fresh bread for mopping up the pan juices!

 Dungeness Crab in Garlic Butter


  • ½ cup butter
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 or more Dungeness crab, pre-cooked
  • ½ cup parsley


  1. Break the crab into portions and set aside.
  2. In a wide pan over moderate heat, melt the butter and add the garlic; allow it to simmer a few minutes to develop flavor then carefully add the lemon juice.
  3. Increase the heat slightly and place the crab into the pan.  Turn as needed to coat all with the garlic butter.  Let cook on the stove top for 5 to 10 minutes; place in 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve with plenty of warm bread.  Yield:  4.