Friday, February 12, 2010

A unique recipe

Today there is no traditional recipe. I am just going to spend some words talking about my beloved Dad. Before I go further I must remind folks that the other half of the dynamic duo has previously been lauded in this blog so don't think I am ignoring Mimi. She remains and always will be the very best Mom ever.

So what prompted this outpouring of affection...a valentine gift from my Dad. The gift was a box of two dozen delicious Cheryl's frosted chocolate and sugar cut out cookies with pink frosting. YUM! I adore these cookies and they are a real fave. The scent of vanilla and chocolate the way the cookie feels when I bite through the frosting into the tender cookie. The taste is incredible and makes we think of all kinds of wonderful, homey things. Despite all of this wonderfulness the most endearing part of the gift was the sweet gift card from my Dad proclaiming love from my very first love - my Dad.

I have always adored my Mom and Dad for the great parents and wonderful people they have been and continue to be. As a child and a teenager and college student they and Dad in particular went to great effort to assure each of us would be "good people" and have a way to make a living and and an ongoing commitment to integrity and a purposeful life. I cannot judge their success with me. I always feel like a work in progress. My sisters are awesome and a real credit to our family.

As a parent of young adults Dad switched gears from being a parental unit to being more of a guide and supporter. He cautioned us about some decisions - some advice was taken and some was ignored much to my eventual chagrin. See Dad you are right a lot of the time! Well most if truth be told. He supported us through graduate school and early career moves.

When things went awry he wouldn't spend a lot of time feeling bad about your situation or commiserating with you. Dad is the person who got you up and moving and pushing forward no matter what. He is always interested in promoting planning for the future and making great financial decisions. As a person who chose a career path that was less financially rewarding I didn't know at first just how valuable Dad's teaching could be especially for those with less funds. But I learned they were probably even more important to someone in my position. I do know that it was a challenge for Dad to see the way of the not for profit in terms of retirement and benefits when they differed so much from the for profit world. Dad was a great businessman when he was working and in retirement he continues as a wise counselor and investor. Some of my happiest times have been talking to Dad and looking over my retirement. I often see how much people are missing who don't have a person like my Dad to go to to discuss financial concerns.

While Dad has had many great achievements I think the best lesson he and Mom taught all of us is the value of family and the importance of commitment to your family through thick or thin. It's easy to be a happy family when times are good but to be a strong family when things are rough takes some guts and compassion. I think one of the best tributes to my Mom and Dad and their commitment to family came when we were celebrating one of their milestone anniversaries. Dad had engaged a table at a very nice restaurant overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. There were flowers and champagne on the table and the meal was wonderful. After dinner the sisters and a granddaughter each wrote and read their tribute to my parents. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. After dinner several of the people at surrounding tables asked to be adopted into our family.

One of Dad's many contributions has always been his steadfast hand on the tiller of the family. Always keeping his eye focused on the end result of a strong family unit as he refers to it. If things weren't quite right he could always bring us back to what was good about the circumstances and never let us stumble over the missing piece. He intuitively showed us survival and moving forward while working never to alienate those who were not always in sync with the group. Having sometimes been a person out of sync I can attest to the warmth and love that was unending. I can also speak to the power of a voice that could firmly work to help you realign your stars.

My sisters and I feel such good fortune and gratitude having these parents. After all birth is your first piece of luck or not being lucky and we know how grateful we are. So I was one lucky girl to have such a wonderful person who was my very first love. He set a high bar of excellence and as a role model in the love and devotion area of relationships. So Dad here's to you on Valentine's Day. You were definitely our first love and that was your first most wonderful gift to each of us. We return that love to you on Valentine's Day and every other day.

Be Our Valentine!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This one's for Mimi

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. It is almost a national holiday for some given the parties and festivities attached to the game. Celebrities gather and party in preparation to watch the big game. At my house we have no celebrities. Just the average football fans looking for some fun. Part of the fun is the commercials. I still remember the donkey aspiring to be a Clydesdale. So if the commercials are as good as the game food needs to be hot and ready at the beginning of the game or warming for the half-time - whoops they have a show at half-time can't miss that! So this all comes together like a well oiled machine.

Lee as always wants chicken wings with blue cheese dressing. I will make carmelized onion dip and another dip. This dip is actually for Mimi. She is a huge fan of the Buckeyes and is passionate about their games. Dad says she can get pretty worked up. Yes she can about a number of things. One thing Mimi can get pretty worked up about in addition to football is the players. This year she has a sympathetic favorite in Drew Brees. She thinks he is a fine person who has done much for New Orleans. She would like New Orleans to win. She worked me over about my appreciation for Peyton Manning.

So I decided to bring something for the game to appease my mom. She would like nothing better than to savor crab cakes and I found a recipe to rock her socks - Crab Cake Dip. Kelly at Evil Shenanigans created this dip based on her own love of crab cakes. So Mama this one is just for you!

Kelly's Crab Cake Dip

3 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 mayonnaise
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 T. butter
1/2 C diced onion
1/4 C. red bell pepper diced
1 clove of garlic minced
salt and pepper
6 ounces lump crab meat
1/4 C. panko
2 T. parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a small casserole dish with PAM. In a small bowl stir together cream cheese, mayonnaise Old Bay Seasoning, mustard powder and lemon juice.

Melt 1 T. butter is a saute pan. Add onion and red pepper and saute until soft and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic. Cook 30 seconds.

Add the vegetable mixture to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Add the crab and stir gently. Put the mixture in the casserole. Mix together the panko and parmesan. Cover with the panko and parmesan.

Bake until brown and bubbly about 45 minutes.

Serve with baguette slices.