Sunday, September 27, 2009

1st (Annual?) Crabcake Throwdown

Saturday night we hosted a Crabcake Throwdown. This past month, on another blog that I will not name, people began discussing which restaurants in town made the best crabcakes. This is very important here because Maryland is the home of the blue crab and the finest crabcakes in the world. I grew up elsewhere in the world and always hated crabcakes. They were these nasty, fishy tasting, blocks of unknown breading and fillers. They were truly disgusting. So when I moved to Maryland, I had no interest in trying their crabcakes. Thankfully, M had tasted the real deal and told me they were nothing like what I grew up eating. She was right. A true Maryland crabcake is mostly crab and very little filling, maybe a little bread, mayo, worchestershire sauce, butter and don't forget the Old Bay seasoning. The crabcakes should barely hold together because they're so full of crab. The first thing you should taste is the crab, then the other flavors for support. This is what a crab cake was meant to be. So, anyway, back to the other blog. The talk quickly moved from which restaurants had the best crabcakes to which bloggers made the best crabcakes. M is all into that Bobby Flay show where he does "throwdowns" with the best cooks of certain foods. So M challenged everyone to a crabcake throwdown. They foolishly took up her challenge.

Pretty soon it moved beyond the blog and we had neighbors, friends, local politicians, former restaurant owners and everybody's uncle wanting to either cook or taste the competition. M, being brilliant as she is, decided to make this count for more than just egos and eating good food. Each judge would pay $10 for the privilege of judging the crabcakes and any funds raised would be donated to Habitat for Humanity. We had a lady donate two amazingly large cheesecakes for a silent auction to up the ante of funds raised for Habitat so this is a picture of her Key Lime cheesecake, and

this is a picture of her Mango Citrus cheesecake. I got out bid so I didn't get to taste either. M says we're going to order one of her pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving, so I'll let you know how tasty they are then. Oh and we raised $400 for Habitat for Humanity.

So we had seven cooks competing for the "Best of Show" title, this particular submission was from a former restaurant owner and they were amazingly good, ranking very close to M's in overall crab content. He also provided dipping saunces for them. I didn't try the sauces, I believe a crabcake should be able to stand on it's own.

One cook was determined to "melt everyone's faces" and cause some serious personal injury with his spicy crabcakes. The first bite I had was spicy, but not too bad. My second taste nearly choked me as the heat poured down my throat. It continued with a long, slow burn afterward. This particular submission "won" last place as "Worst Crabcake Ever."

Crabcakes were judged on presentation, originality, traditional quality, and overall tastiness to name just a few of the categories. We had some crabcakes that were stuffed with veggies and spices,

others were more traditional in their fillers and presentation

and this particular submission was topped with a mango salsa that was amazing!

As you can see, we had a table full of crabcakes and other tasty food to occupy our time, but in the end, "there can be only one" best of show. Now who do you think won the Golden Mallet for Best Crabcakes?

M of course, the best cook I know. Here are her beauties in all their glory as they are pulled from the oven. Her secret? First and foremost, they should be 90% crab and 10% filler and right at the end, you drizzle Old Bay infused butter over the top. MAN!!! I can't begin to tell you how tasty these cakes are. And what's coming up next week??? The 5th or 6th Annual Baconfest, I've lost count. We're expecting gorgeous weather for the event and a cool enough evening so that the skeeters won't bother us and we can cozy up to the bonfire. I'm planning on making a potato skin pie filled with twice baked potatoes with a latticed top to the pie made out of strips of crispy bacon. Mmmmm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Babies, Births and, not necessarily in that order

Here are some of the news stories that caught my eye today:

Woman discovers she's pregnant again. She conceived about 2 1/2- 3 weeks after the first conception.
Pregnant Woman Pregnant Again

Male Birth Control Pill. I say if they can't remember to take out the trash or where common items are always kept in the house, I'm not holding out much hope that they'll remember to take the pill. Male Pill

Males - being conceived less often and still not thriving as well as females. Male Reproduction

Wow! Youngest sex change ever. Sex Change

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are you insured?

You couldn't be in this country and miss all the arguing over health care reform. Health insurance for me is one of my biggest expenses each month. My experience with health insurance companies has mostly been good, although I think they charge too much for what I receive. I did have an experience way back when an insurance company refused to cover a surgical and hospital stay for me because they said it was based on a pre-existing condition. It wasn't according to the definition in their policy, but still, it cost me $10,000.

Also, I don't like that you can pay in regularly to your insurance company and do everything right and they can walk away and refuse to cover a legitimate medical expense. All those receipts you sign with your doctors specifically state that they will seek reimbursement from your insurance company first, but if they don't pay, you are unltimately responsible. That doesn't seem fair. Your only option is to sue your insurance company to make them honor your contract with them. That will take years and thousands of dollars making it a cost prohibitive option. I do think we need healthcare reform and we need to even the playing field between insurance companies and the insured through laws or regulations. Where do you stand on this debate? I saw an article today that said 45,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health insurance. CNN Story I wonder how many die each year because insurance companies deny their claims or coverage and so they don't get the needed treatment before it's too late. Also, because insurance costs and co-pays can be so high, there are people who avoid going to the doctor because they can't afford the co-pays. The system is broken and desperately needs to be fixed.

After putting this post together and continuing on to other news sources I discovered an interesting map at the NPR website that showed where most uninsured people live: Uninsured Map. Look at the options on the right of the map, you can break the uninsured down by Democrat, Republican, Swing State and Blue Dog Democrat. It's interesting to note where the most uninsured people are, in the Deep South and West. The Northeast and Midwest have the highest rates of insured people. Why do you think that is?

OMG!! I was just looking at Swerve Left's blog and he also has a post up about health care. Did you know the Iraqi people have universal healthcare? WTF! As SL says, "I guess we'll have to wait to be conquered by the U.S. Army to get our own universal healthcare."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baseball in Heaven

Here's a humorous story for you courtesy of Comedy Central:

Two old men, Abe and Sol, sit on a park bench feeding pigeons and talking about baseball. Abe turns to Sol and asks, "Do you think there's baseball in Heaven?"

Sol thinks about it for a minute and replies, "I dunno. But let's make a deal -- if I die first, I'll come back and tell you if there's baseball in Heaven, and if you die first, you do the same."

They shake on it and sadly, a few months later, poor Abe passes on. Soon afterward, Sol sits in the park feeding the pigeons by himself and hears a voice whisper, "Sol... Sol...."

Sol responds, "Abe! Is that you?"

"Yes it is, Sol," whispers Abe's ghost.

Sol, still amazed, asks, "So, is there baseball in Heaven?"

"Well," says Abe, "I've got good news and bad news."

"Gimme the good news first," says Sol.

Abe says, "Well, there is baseball in Heaven."

Sol says, "That's great! What news could be bad enough to ruin that?"

Abe sighs and whispers, "You're pitching on Friday."

Friday, September 18, 2009


This is Pat on the far right, looking really happy about mom dressing her just like Diane. Happy Birthday Pat!

Curb Your Impulses

I hadn't had my haircut in a long time. It was getting dry and ratty from coloring and blowdrying. I went in thinking of getting a trim and saw a woman with the haircut I wanted. I said to the beautician, "can you give me that cut?" She said sure. When she finished the first time, it wasn't right, so I had her cut some more. She still didn't get it right. Oh well, it will grow out and maybe into a nicer style than it is now. Maybe I can put some volume in it. I don't know. *sigh*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rest In Peace

Ms. Travers passed after a long battle with leukemia. We have her songs to remember her by.


Henry Gibson passed away at age 73.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cheer Up

Okay, so Swayze has died, it's dark and rainy here and I really need to laugh and cheer up. Funny how weather and random events can affect your mood. So I went looking for funnies and found the following. Enjoy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze has died.

CNN Story

I don't know about you, but I just liked the guy. He was tough (fighting cancer without the pain meds), he was sensitive (Ghost), he had no problem with his masculinity (To Wong Foo), and warts and all (stint in rehab), he seemed like the kind of guy who would always let you know where you stood with him. I'm saddened that the cancer took him down.

Ban on Divorce

You said, "'Til death do us part."

You're not dead yet." Group's Website

Okay, it's bad enough that people, based on their own religious beliefs, can say who can and cannot marry, now one guy has started a campaign to ban divorce. 2010 California Marriage Protection Act

Where do people get off thinking everyone should live according to their beliefs? Interview with John Marcotte

I still think we should start a campaign to rescind all state and government benefits from the religious institution of marriage. That way it would continue to be a religious institution, there would be no interference or benefits derived from the government and likely fewer people would want to get married. If they can create laws based on their religious beliefs that affect my personal life, I should be able to create a law that protects my tax dollars from benefiting a religious institution that I cannot be a part of. I don't like divorce either, but sometimes it is necessary.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rainy Friday

For some reason whenever it gets dark and rains for days, I hear Karen Carpenter singing in the background. Her deep voice has been just on the periphery for me lately. What a talent, what a loss. Her voice had a way of caressing each note in a song. I've never heard any other singer who's voice does that. Anyway, here are a couple of her songs. Enjoy and happy weekend.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fat Chick Yoga

I started taking a yoga class a few weeks back in an effort to improve my flexibility, or so I thought. I've always been freakishly flexible and when that started to disappear, I thought I should try yoga to get it back. What I didn't realize was that all these years while I was losing flexibility, I was losing even more in strength. I discovered this with the first and all the following yoga classes.

I was able to get into just about every pose, two still elude me, one because of belly fat and the other because I just can't seem to lie on my belly, grab my feet from behind and rock like a boat. Oh, I can get the position and rock like a boat, I just can't reach my feet from behind while doing it.

Anyway, back to the strength. So I'm in my first yoga class and we're going into fairly simple positions, then holding that position, and holding it, and holding it, and now my muscles are starting to tremble, and holding it, and my arms are shaking like I'm about to collapse, and holding it, and I think, "holy crap, I can't hold myself up any longer," and holding it and "remember to breathe," and holding it, and holding it, and I'm now sweating like a pig, and holding it, and about to erupt in hysterical laughter because my whole body is shimmying and shaking like an old jalopy out of alignment on a washboard road, and holding it, and holding it, and "now relax and transition from downward dog to the table position." I crash to the floor in laughter and embarrassment. OMG!! Luckily there were other older and overweight people there and they fell before me. Who knew yoga could be this hard?

Well, I've continued to go back. I'm getting better at holding the poses. She's now introduced that ostrich pose where you stand on one leg with the other leg jacked up against the first one. I distinctly remember my sister, D doing that pose while she did dishes, and I remember being able to do this when I was younger, but that pose now eludes me as well. I keep trying and I keep going "timber" on the way over. Getting older and out of shape is a humbling experience. Oh, and for those who were curious, fat chicks do not bounce when they fall.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beauty of the Rain

After hot, sunny and humid weather, we finally got some rain today. I love rainy days.

Here's Dar Williams' "Beauty of the Rain," enjoy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I baked a cake today.

It's a coconut cake with blueberries on top that I picked myself. I put coconut milk in the batter instead of water and made the small extra effort to use egg whites instead of the whole egg. We'll have it tonight when all our company arrives. Good friends from out of town will be here through tomorrow morning. Since the father of the family is a former bandmate of M's and misses jam sessions, M invited a bunch of musicians over to have a jam session tonight. Maybe for a change the college kids will call the cops on us for making too much noise. *smirk* Hope your holiday weekend is going well.

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...