I have lost myself in Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, which I am loving *almost* as much as Freedom. This is probably just the English teacher in me, but there is nothing in the world quite like a good book...
Except for some killer crab and double-layer brownies! So without further ado, here is what we grubbed on to ring in the 2011. It might just become a tradition!
Serves two people, so just double or triple the recipe as needed!
1/4 c butter
1/4 c olive oil
2 T minced garlic
1 T minced shallot
1 1/2 t dried crushed red pepper
2 large Dungeness crabs, cooked, cleaned, and cracked (about 4 1/2 lbs)
2 T chopped fresh thyme, divided
2 T chopped fresh parsley, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
2 blood or regular oranges to yield:
1/2 c blood or regular orange juice
1 t finely grated blood or regular orange zest
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Melt butter with oil in a heavy large ovenproof dutch oven or roasting pan over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, shallot, and dried crushed red pepper. Add crabs and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle one tablespoon each chopped thyme and parsley over crabs. Stir to combine. Place in oven and roast crabs until heating through, stirring once, about 12 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer crabs to platter and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Add orange juice and zest to remaining sauce; boil until sauce is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over crabs. Sprinkle with remaining herbs and serve with a simple salad and some warm crusty sourdough bread.
Recipe and image courtesy of Epicurious
And now for some dessert!
Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars
1 stick plus 2 T unsalted butter, softened or melted
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1 T finely ground espresso beans
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 stick plus 6 T unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 c sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
- Make the shortbread crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine the butter with the flour, sugar, ground espresso, and salt; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Press the crumbs into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish to form a crust. Freeze for 5 minutes. Prick all over with a fork and bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and cooked through.
- Prep brownie topping: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder; set aside. In a double boiler, melt the butter with the chocolate over low heat. Remove the double boiler from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined, then stir in the eggs. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the brownie batter is smooth.
- Bake: Pour the brownie batter over the shortbread crust, smoothing the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brownie top is dry and lightly cracked around the edges and an inserted fork comes out clean; the center will still be a bit soft. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine, May 2010.
Serve warm with some vanilla bean ice cream! Perfection.
Happy cooking and eating! I'll be back tomorrow with my resolutions for 2011. Stay tuned!