Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ringing in Autumn with a crab boil

I live in Los Angeles, a city that does not experience four distinct seasons. There are, maybe, two: "hot/smoggy" and "cool enough for a sweater at night". Before Los Angeles, I lived for eight years in Austin, so it's been a good thirteen years since I've needed to own an ice scraper or an engine heater. (For my Austin and LA friends, those are, respectively, gadgets used to scrape ice off of one's car windshield, and little heaters that keep one's car engine warm so that it starts up easily in the morning).

My internal rhythms still turn with the seasons, however, and my urge to start drinking warm liquids, go to bed earlier, and have cozy meals indoors with friends kicks in, regardless of the blazing and persistent sunny weather. In the absence of colorful Fall leaves and much cooler weather, I think it's important to mark the passing of seasons with food. From a locavoric, slow food movement viewpoint, it makes sense, sure, but I'm talking from a more atavistic place. It feels good to change (our schedules, our activities, our meals) with the season, because our ancestors' survival depended upon being able to do just that.

This Autumn Equinox I was treated to something I've never had before: a crab boil!

I don't have much (ok, I don't have any) experience cooking with crab, so this was fascinating to me. It was so easy, and so delicious, and even inexpensive.

one pound of crab legs (we used snow crab)
one lemon cut up in quarters
one box of Zatarain's Crab Boil

Boil a big pot of water with the bag of Zatarain's Crab Boil spices, when it boils, toss in crab legs and lemon wedges. Let boil for five minutes, but then let stew for another 25. Delicious! st. and I enjoyed this with Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, from Blue Moon Brewery's Seasonal collection.

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