Each summer, the Kiker Family of 5 usually found our feet in the warm and sandy beach of the Texas Coast…
…Dad sporting his silver anti-reflective hat, Mom wearing her hand-painted denim shirt and a straw hat wrapped with a brown burlap ribbon. Me? I was reluctantly wearing zinc oxide on my nose and face… and a sunburn on the rest of me.
Here in Port Aransas, you’d find Dad, Tim and Roger fishing in the Gulf. And Mom? You’d find her (and alternating family members and friends) at the South Jetty with nets in hand.
We Were Crabbin’
There on the jetties, I spent many a day darting amongst the giant rocks looking for floating treasure… yet our favorite treasured time was checking the traps to see if we might have caught gold; crabs. Female crabs went back in the water, but males, we would keep. Mom would boil them rosy red later in the day back at our hotel (usually Executive Keys) and transform them into seafood spectacular.
In the meantime, grab a couple of fresh crabs (or canned ones if you’re celebrating the simplicity of the 70s) and give props to the kissin’ cousin of la quiche… Crab Supper Pie!
Even though I don’t love seafood without a disclaimer, there are a few dishes I love (fried shrimp, grilled salmon creamy nutty tuna)… and now creamy, crunchy crab supper pie.
Let’s Go Crabbin’
1 cup | natural Swiss cheese, shredded
9-inch | pastry shell, unbaked
7½ ounce can | crab meat, drained and flaked
2 | green onions, sliced with tops
3 | eggs, beaten
1 cup | light cream*
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon | dry mustard
dash | mace
¼ cup | sliced almonds
ii. what to do
1. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell.
2. Top with crab meat and sprinkle with green onion.
3. Combine eggs, cream, salt, lemon peel, dry mustard and mace. Pour over crab meat.
4. Top with sliced almonds.
5. Bake in a slow-oven (at 325°F), for about 45 minutes or until set.
6. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Great For Breakfast Or Dinner
♥ Despite the fact I’m not a Sea Foodie at heart, I added more canned crab because it was sold in 6 ounce cans (not 7½ ounce cans). The result? Uber meaty crab pie!
♥ Mace? I had never heard of this as a seasoning but turns out that mace is not something you spray in someone’s eyes… it’s a warm spice that’s a milder cousin to nutmeg. Think pepper + cinnamon. It’s about $9.00/bottle, so get ready for this nutmeg substitute!
Family Fun Fact ~
♥ A “Port A” ritual was for mom to get her chicken gizzard fixin’ and for us… a bean burger on Mustang Isle.
While most folks cringe when hearing me speak of a “bean burger,” relax… it’s a beef burger topped with refried beans, cheddar cheese and fritos… something we enjoyed back home in S.A. at Sills Snack Snack on Austin Highway. Later on at college I found a replica at College Station’s Deluxe Burger bar (now closed).
One my most favorite dishes is any meal that includes pasta. I’m a sucker for carbs and savory, so this dish hits the spot. Toss-in eggs, butter, cream, cheese and bacon and I get weak in the knees.
What’s interesting is that as I looked closer at mom’s original recipe clipping (below,) I noticed it was from the March 1976 issue of “Apartment Life” magazine.
A few clicks online and I found a picture of the magazine (below) on eBay that was selling at $12.99 ($12.04 above it’s original cover price of $.95). Since we lived in a house at the time, I thought it was odd that mom subscribed to an apartment themed magazine but then I remembered that when I was a baby, our house at 2927 Trailend suffered from an electrical fire and burned to the ground.
I don’t remember the fiery ordeal since I was still living in a crib, but we Kikers put up a fight… we all survived and my parents moved to the 1965 built El Chaparral apartments while our house was rebuilt. I suppose mom kept the subscription when we moved back home because of the lifestyle content (that and how to make life better, like with a “sausage bolster,” shown below). Hah!
There on the pic of the original cover I spotted the headline “The Short-Order Gourmet: Quick and classy dinners for a pair or a party.” I was able to confirm the cover’s ’70s-esque couple on another recipe that mom clipped along with the spaghetti carbonara recipe.
Just call me online digital sleuth (a.k.a. cyber stalker). I can usually research and find anything online.
Carbonara hails from Italy around the 1950s, although the exact story about its creation varies widely, according to this wiki post. Regardless, this is a tasty Italian home-cooked dish (the first I can remember), and you’ll love it, too!
Mangia! Mangia! (Italian for let’s eat!)
½ pound | vermicelli spaghetti
2 | cage free egg yolks
¼ cup | parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons | romano cheese (or more parmesan), grated
to taste | ground black pepper
¼ pound | lean bacon, diced (or ¼ pound prosciutto)
1 tablespoon | soft unsalted falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
¼ cup | heavy cream
garnish | romano cheese, grated
ii. what to do
1. Start the spaghetti by bringing water to a boil in a medium-large stock pot. Drop spaghetti into the boiling water and cook according to directions.
2. Lightly beat the eggs, cheesees and pepper. Set aside.
3. In a large frying pan, saute the bacon (or prosciutto) just short of crisp. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Keep warm in pan.
4. When the spaghetti is just firm, drain it and ross with bacon in the frying pan or a large serving bowl.
5. Quickly add the butter, cream and the egg and cheese mixture, tossing constantly.
6. Garnish with some of the romano cheese and serve immediately; it’s best enjoyed when it’s very hot (“molto caldo” in Italian).
Serves: Due (2)
Foodie Tip ~
♥ My favorite long cut dried pasta is a traditional Italian spaghetti named “Pastificio Lucio Garofalo.” It’s made in Napoli (Naples) and is crafted 2 feet long and cooks in just 11 minutes. This pasta means business; it’s birthed with an expiration date and comes in a set of two wrapped in a purpled-colored eco-friendly paper, perfect for gift-giving. I found my pasta at my local Dallas Italian Market… Jimmy’s Food Store.
♥ Serve with a Texas toast side kick… or go totally Italian and whip up a batch of garlic and herb bread from Giada.
♥ I really like a lot of creamy sauce on my pasta, so if you agree, double-up on all ingredients (except the pasta).
Being a native Texan guarantees you certain inalienable rights; using “crutch words” like y’all and “fixin’, wearing jeans and boots for any occasion… and the insatiable love of the praline.
For me, Christmastime was trimmed with midnight mass, tamales, the yearning for snow and the sweet, sweet treats that mom would make. It was a season of indulgence for the tummy.
This recipe is from Elouise and Frank Kallina’s kitchen. Mr. Kallina was one of dad’s great friends in the oil and gas biz. I remember visiting their house on Oak Park Drive more than once. Good people.
3 cups | light brown sugar
1 cup | heavy cream
¼ cup | butter
2 tablespoons | light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon | salt
1 teaspoon | vanilla
1 1/2 cups | toasted texas pecan halves
1. In a large, heavy saucepan, mix sugar cream, butter corn syrup and salt.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally ’till the mixture reaches a soft ball stage (about 234 F on a candy thermometer).
3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
4. Add vanilla and pecans.
5. Beat until the praline mixture looses its gloss.
6. Spoon onto wax paper to form patties. Let cool.
Foodie Tip ~
♥ Make sure and heat the mixture to the soft ball stage. I was in a rush to eat these and the sugar was a bit gritty because I didn’t heat it up all the way.