Book Dinner Blog

Covid Crab Fridays

It's going on 5 months since Covid started and Friday's just aren't the same. Whether you are working from home or commute to work, the Friday's we used to look forward to are quite different. No happy hours, unless you want to count virtual ones, which can be kind of cool, but definitely not the same. No more walking through the city, bar hopping, or have dinner at one of your favorite restaurants with your favorite glass of wine to help you relax. No more movies, clubbing, taking kids to a game, having friends over, and the list goes on. Basically to sum it up, no more of what we used to look forward to on Friday's. So Friday's now feel like another day at home with nothing to really look forward to but Saturday and Sunday at home. So rather than accept that as the norm, I think we have to find ways to make Friday's what they used mean. So come quitting time on Friday we should be looking foward to turning up or turning down, whatever you prefer, but we should be looking forward to something. For me, I found meaning this past Friday with what I call "Covid Crab Friday's."

So my love for crabs goes back to around 1999 when my best friend from college had me over during the summer to hang out at his childhood home in Bowie MD. He got some crabs from a local crab spot and I've been a crab lover ever since. Through the years I've tried different spots and found the best place to get them around me are from Oregon Avenue. There are two places in particular. Flying Fish and Phils crabs. Unfortunately, due to Covid, Phils has been closed. I'm hoping the will reopen very soon. So the batch I got this Friday was from Flying Fish. I imagine due to everything with Covid supplies are down and demand is up. So the crabs are not as big and they are more expensive. I ended getting a dozen #1's. Again, they were not as big as usual but they would do.

When I got home my 2 and 3 year old boys asked if I could put the crabs on the ground so they could see them walk around. Every once in a while I do that and enjoy watching their reactions. I got out my favorite crab pot and filled it with about a 1cm of water. I wait till the water is boiling and them throw the crabs in. I know it cruel, but I figure it's a quick death. So typicall you would season and steam them for about 20 minutes and then you are good to go. But a few years ago my brother showed me something that changed the game. After steaming them, you break of the shells and remove some of the scally stuff you don't eat. You then season and use just a little bit of oil to fry the crabs. Even though a takes a little extra time its well worth it. It definitely gave me something to look forward too this past Friday. I enjoyed the crabs with my 11 year old twin girls and my 2 and 3 year old boys. Really great family time and the crabs were delicious. The only thing is they ran out too fast! Next time i'll get 2 dozen. So this was my way to bring meaning and look forward to something on a Friday. For you it doesn't have to be crabs, but I'm sure there is that special meal you don't have all the time that can make your Friday's a bit more meaningful. Hope you enjoyed.

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Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Pudding Pops Recipe

Theres a very popular ice cream shop here in town that I felt never really lived up to the hype. There would be lines out the door, but the one time I tried something, it was icy and bland. After that I swore, never again. But then, they opened up a second location and Mike and I would walk by almost everyday. One sunny day, when there was magically no line, we popped in to take a look at the flavors. Carrot cake immediately called out to me. I mean,I love carrot cake. I had a taste, was sold, and was the happy new owner of a very addictivewaffle cone full of creamy ice cream with fluffy chunks of carrot cake and cream cheese icing. It was so good that I was sad when it was over.

Because, the truth is, it was over for good. Ive been back so many times looking for carrot cake, but they never have it! Mike and I would peek through the windows, not see it on the flavor boards, and just go on with our walk. Finally, we went in to ask when they were going to bring it back.

Me:Do you know when youre going to bring back carrot cake
Ice Cream Girl:Oh. Um, unknown.
Me(with obvious dismay):UNKNOWN!
Ice Cream Girl:It was a trial flavor so we dont know if theyll every bring it back
Me:silent tears

Anyway, long story short, this is why I made these carrot cakecream cheese pudding pops. Because I needed to drown my sorrows. And also because its popsicle week! The week where the internet explodes with frozen treats, thanks to Billy, over at Wit and Vinegar.Click onover to see who else is participating.

And, if youre looking for more pudding pops, check these guys out, because we had a little pudding pop party:

frozen treats for everyone!
xoxo steph

PS As I was writing this, I just checked their Insta geotag and it looks like they have carrot cake right now! Unless someone did a latergram The suspense is killing me. Gotta go, gotta get ice cream!!! Update: they didnt have the ice cream.TEARS.
PPS If you wanna see past popsicle week posts, check them outhere,here, andhere.
PPPS Shout out toMandy from Lady and Pupsfor sourcing these popsicle molds for me :) Thanks Mandy! You can find similar oneshere!

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Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe

Have I said it yet have I said Happy New Year! I cant believe its 2016 insane! If I havent, let me take this chance to wish you a happy and healthy new year; I hope it brings you everything your heart desires. So far 2016 has seemed extra busy and just a little bit chilly. Weve had a little bit of snow, which is super exciting around these parts. Mike and I have been making an effort to walk around our little neighborhood because it looks like a winter wonderland with frozen tree branches and dripping icicles.

Whenever we go on a walk, we inevitably pass by people and I have this instinctual urge towave at random people. I do it all the time when I see someone waving in my direction. Its an automatic gesture for me. Wave at me and Ill wave back, if I know you or not. Its led to some comic situations, whereupon after waving, the person will give me a confused look. Ill look around, realize that theyre waving at someone behind or beside me and my face will turn a colorful shade of beet-red.

The reason I do it is because Ive waved at people before (people I know) only to have them not wave back. I always feel like an idiot. I suspect that these people that dont wave back at me are a little too cool for school. Or maybe they have bad eyesight Maybe theyd wave if they knew that waving could lead to an invite to eat these chashu pork buns

I used the slow-braised chashu fromthis postand tucked them into fluffy white buns made fromthis recipe. Im kind of sort of obsessed with folded over Chinese steamed buns. Actually, Im kind of sort of obsessed with all steamed buns. There are so many delicious ones out there, but the fold over guys are perfect I think because theyre kind of a like a steamed bun taco and you can basically stuff them with anything and they taste delicious.

The recipe for the steamed buns is pretty straight forward. Like most bread recipes, its time consuming because of the rise time, but if youre patient, youll be rewarded with light and fluffy buns that are perfect for filling. And if you have leftoverchashuin the fridge, youre golden. Or you could stuffthem withbacon and eggs,fried chicken, orbanh mi fillings Really, the possibilities are endless. In fact, Im wishing I doubled the recipeso I could have hadextra frozen buns in case of a bun-mergency. Next time for sure!

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