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Making 'Silver Linings Playbook' crabby snacks and homemades

Jacki Weaver, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and Robert De Niro play parents to Bradley Cooper in the movie. They love the Eagles — and crabby snacks and homemades.

The Weinstein Co.

Jacki Weaver, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and Robert De Niro play parents to Bradley Cooper in the movie. They love the Eagles — and crabby snacks and homemades.

Jacki Weaver, who plays the long-suffering mother and even longer-suffering wife in Silver Linings Playbook, delivered the film's most memorable line in impeccable Philadelphian: "I'm making crabby snacks and homemades!"

I'm 100 percent behind Weaver's nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Even if the role of the peacemaking matriarch was criminally underwritten, Weaver imbued it with humanity.

(We'll find out what the voting members of the motion picture academies think at 7 p.m. Sunday during the Oscars on ABC, WFTS-Ch. 28.)

Crabby snacks and homemades should be at the top of discerning Oscar fans' party menus this year. But those of us who were not raised in Philly must first make a determination: What are crabby snacks and homemades?

Crabby snacks are, to quote the Matthew Quick novel from which Silver Linings Playbook was adapted, "buttered crab meat and orange cheese on English muffins." Homemades are homemade egg pasta. The juxtaposition of these two recipes in Silver Linings Playbook's script echoes the tonal confusion of the film: Where crabby snacks are lowbrow, convenient and highly processed, homemades are old-world, labor intensive and made from scratch. Serving them together makes no sense. And yet here we are.

Crabby snacks sometimes go by other names, like crab bites, crabby bites, or simply crabbies. When I was growing up, they were a staple at my aunt and uncle's annual holiday party, where they were known as crab canapes. The core ingredients of crabby snacks — softened butter, mayonnaise, canned crab meat, and (crucially) Kraft Old English cheese spread — are rather unappetizing when mixed together.

Some recipes for crabby snacks call for parsley or garnishes like tomato and scallions, but such intruders spoil the unnatural purity of the appetizer.

Making pasta from scratch requires another kind of perseverance. First, you must break eggs into a well of flour and beat them without letting them erupt over the sides of the flour like an elementary-school baking-soda volcano. Then you must knead the pasta dough, which is quite a bit stiffer and less pliable than bread dough. It takes a lot of kneading to bring it together into a smooth ball. Don't despair; it will get there eventually.

Crab-coated English muffins should be frozen for at least half an hour to make them more manageable before you cut them into canapes, but you can keep them in the freezer for even longer than that before you broil them. The dough also needs about half an hour resting time before you roll it out. After cutting the pasta, you can spread the strands on baking sheets and let them dry at room temperature for up to a few hours. The longer you let them dry, the longer they'll need to cook — but you're looking at 10 minutes, tops. The flexibility of both recipes leave plenty of time to plan and execute the rest of your Oscar menu, including sauce for the homemades — if you don't go the straight butter-and-Parmesan route, may I suggest vodka sauce or pesto?

>>EASY

Crabby Snacks (Crab Canapes)

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 (6-ounce) can crab meat, drained

1 (5-ounce) jar Kraft Old English cheese spread

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

½ teaspoon garlic powder

6 English muffins, halved

Put the butter, crab meat, cheese spread, mayonnaise and garlic powder in a medium bowl; stir to combine. Spread the crab mixture on the English muffin halves. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Heat the broiler. Cut each English muffin half into quarters. Transfer the canapes to a baking sheet, and broil until browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 48.

Source: Slate

>>MODERATE

Homemades (Fresh Egg Pasta)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for boiling the pasta

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the flour and salt in a large, flat-bottomed bowl. Form the flour into a mound and form a well in the center of the mound. Crack the eggs into the well. Beat the eggs with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour and being careful not to break the walls of the well. After about ⅓ of the flour is incorporated into the eggs, add the olive oil and ¼ cup water. Continue beating the egg mixture until a dough forms. Knead until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more water if the dough is too stiff to knead or more flour if the dough is sticky, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Meanwhile, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a thin rectangle with a pasta machine or rolling pin. Cut each rectangle into thin strips with a pasta machine; or, starting from one of the short sides, roll each rectangle up and cut it into thin strips with a knife. Boil the pasta until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Slate

Making 'Silver Linings Playbook' crabby snacks and homemades 02/19/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 4:08pm]
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