Yes, I'm a native Seattle-ite, and it's exciting!

So something very exciting has developed in the world of Fork and the Cork! I was contacted via a collegue, by Janet Garraty, publisher of the website: www.gojanenews.com to write a column.
This is a fabulous site dedicated to enriching the lives of busy women. She just launched a food page, titled "It's all about the food", becuase with women, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD! I hope you enjoy what I have submitted:

When you think of Seattle natives, you probably think of: Granola-eating, sandal-wearing, long-haired, tree hugging freaks who drink fair trade coffee and eat organic foods while wearing flannel.

There may be some truth to this, but as a lifelong Seattle-ite, I have been able to buck the trend. Ok, so I drink a lot of coffee, I do like granola (but seriously, who doesn't?), and flannel comes in quite handy on those very few rainy days we get every year, or week....

But I prefer to think of myself as June Cleaver meets 2009 in a nice, seaside suburb, just north of Seattle. I realize that June Cleaver is a big name to live up to, but my dog is a lot like the "Beaver" (means well, but gets into quite a bit of curious trouble), and I also have a kitchen from 1959 with which to work my magic.

However,something that I do have in common with the tree hugging Seattle-ites around here, is my appreciation for the local bounty of food. There are farmers market's in almost every community, including the most famous of all, Pike's Place Market in Seattle. If you don't know what I'm talking about, all you need to do is watch Sleepless in Seattle.. again.

The point is, we are spoiled with the freshest produce and seafood around. Famed chef, Tom Douglas, has built an empire around these parts because of this. One of his favorite, and also my favorite local offerings to work with, is dungeness crab. It is highly celebrated, and a favorite of crab connoisseurs.

Understandibly, there is not an abundance of fresh dungeness crab available countrywide. If you are on the East Coast, I would imagine that blue crab would be the go-to crustacean.

Whatever your crab may be, I would like to share a delicous recipe that is forgiving to whatever available crab you do have. You can even use a premium quality canned crab if you don't have access to fresh. This dish is a nice transition into fall comfort foods. It would be great with lobster, shrimp, or just as plain old mac n' cheese, and also works if you have an upcoming potluck, or a small army to feed.

Macaroni and Cheese with Crab*

Serves 8

Ingredients

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne rigate pasta (or a pasta of your choice)
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup flour
2 Cups Nonfat Milk
1/2 Cup Half and Half
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound coarsely chopped crabmeat
4 cups (1 pound) grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta to al dente. Drain; rinse with cold water. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium in a large saucepan. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a medium bowl, and reserve. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add milk and half and half, whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Remove pan from heat. Fold in crab. macaroni, and cheese; transfer to a shallow 4-quart baking dish. To bowl with reserved melted butter, add breadcrumbs and Creole seasoning; toss, and scatter over macaroni mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

A great side dish to this would be steamed broccoli with a touch of salt.



*This recipe was loosley based on a recipe by chef Emeril Lagasse.

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