I am finding it extremely difficult to start writing about the birthday meal we shared last night. The MSG truly outdid himself by creating this dish pictured at right, incorporating three of my favorite foods: Tom Kha Braised Crab With Morels. We drove down to Half Moon Bay to buy three live crabs and when we returned I played sous-chef, which involved such interesting things as pulling open the crabs (after they were cooked, thanks) and yanking off their legs and rinsing out all the “crab butter” which is not butter at all but rather guts. I was a bit squeamish but I did not cry like last time.
Sitting down to eat was more than thrilling: this meal was one gift in a series of beautiful, thoughtful gifts from him, which quickly became THE gift as I cracked open the first claw and sucked out the meat imbued with coconut milk, morels, garlic, lemongrass, dried limes, fresh lime juice, and peppers. We soaked up and savored the tasty broth with baguette pieces from Arizmendi. It was, quite simply, the best thing he has ever cooked for me, and that is saying quite a bit with past meals such as roasted butternut squash soup, risotto, roast chicken, Singapore chili crab, osso bucco, daube d’avignon, hanger steak, duck confit cassoulet … I could go on.
When the last morsels had been devoured, all I could do was sit back in my chair and smile dreamily, newly inspired to write a poem that tasted as good as that crab. I’m still all aglow.
Happy birthday to me in just one more day, and happy leftovers too.