Story last updated at 11/6/2013 - 1:53 pm
September was a month of traveling and then October was a month of change. Now that my husband and I are empty nesters, we are able to be more flexible in our decisions and live in the moment. For example, we have been offered the option to boat sit a large tug boat for the winter. “Why not?” we decided. We have been discussing the idea of purchasing our own live-aboard boat, so this seem like the perfect opportunity to determine whether or not boat living is conducive to my 4-inch high heel lifestyle. So far I’d say absolutely!
Naturally there are some things to get used to; like walking down a steep ramp in the cold rain and then on the docks in the wind. I’m starting to think it’s always low tide. There are no real stairs going up or down on the boat; just a lot of ladders and very tight corners. And the bathroom is TINY. The other morning I was a bit discombobulated when I woke up and looked out the window. I thought to myself “Whoa! The yard has flooded!” Then I realized I’m living on a boat. All in all though, it’s been wonderful. There is nothing more relaxing than reading a book while the wind and rain rage outside and your home gently sways. The hardest part is waking up on time in the mornings because I’m sleeping so well.
We spent most of October living on the boat and trying to move out of our rented home in the valley area of Juneau. This of course is between working full-time and teaching my cooking classes, as well as leading skating events. Needless to say it’s been hectic. I’ve had very little time to cook a real meal.
One of the nicest things on this boat is that it’s big enough to have a full-sized galley. A decent cooking area is important to me. I’m sure you can imagine why. Cooking on a boat is a bit different than in a home. Take the storage areas. Everything is so compact. I no longer have a large pantry to store my Costco sized items, so I’m limiting myself to what I buy. I’ve enjoyed this because I’m wasting less food and utilizing my resources much better. The owners graciously offered me the use of their spices and such, but I opted to use my own. I’m weird like that. I want to use my spices; they’re my precciousss (insert Gollum voice).
This week I finally got to cook a real meal on the boat. I was so excited. It’s only been four weeks. I’ve made a couple of heat and serve type things, but not a full meal. My husband had brought home some wonderful Dungeness crab, which meant I had a great ingredient as the base of the recipe. I wanted to do something simple and light, but flavorful. I still hear that voice “Oh do you cook healthy recipes?” I am forever haunted.
I confess that I did use butter, but I abhor cooking with margarine. I combined a tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil with some lemon juice and a splash of chicken broth to create a simple sauce that enhanced the crab and kept the pasta from feeling too heavy. I’ve made this recipe before, but I wanted to make it somehow different. Adding a little zip seemed like the thing to do. I reached for my favorite Cajun spice blend and tossed in a couple of teaspoons and viola! I had a whole new flavor combination from a previous recipe
By adding a little zip to an old standby recipe, I made a delicious meal for two in about 30 minutes. Shelling the crab took the longest. If you don’t have fresh crab, no worries. You can purchase shelled crab at most grocery stores, or substitute shrimp. Another great substitution is chicken if you don’t enjoy shellfish.
This week I present my first culinary creation from my new winter home: Spicy crab pasta with lemon butter sauce. I am sure there will be many more to come.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
SPICY CRAB PASTA WITH LEMON BUTTER SAUCE
2 cups cooked spaghetti
1 cup cooked and shelled crab meat
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon diced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon capers drained (optional)
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook spaghetti according to package. Be sure to add lots of salt to the water. This is the only time you will get to season the pasta. Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter and add olive oil. Mix until well incorporated. Add shallot and garlic. Simmer until shallots are softened.
In a separate bowl, sprinkle Cajun spices on the crab and stir to coat evenly. This will make the crab zesty and the sauce will compliment.
Add lemon zest and crab. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add chicken broth, stir and then add spaghetti. Toss in capers, parsley and cheese. Add cooked pasta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Squeeze juice of ½ lemon on top just before serving.