10 January 2010

Warm Company!

When the snow settles down on New England and the January cold creeps nearer the bones, Silent Bob and I tend to hunker down at home and sit tight. The 'after Christmas' time is traditionally the time for jigsaw puzzles by the fire, watching old movies in the evening, working on a sewing project or two, and puttering out in the wood shop with the shop stove burning fiercely to keep the chill off. Getting together with our friends is usually limited to a shopping and lunch rendezvous, lingering over coffee and a treat at Sunday church fellowship hour, or a chance meeting by the public library's 'return' desk.

When our friend Leah called and said she was having a dinner party, Silent Bob and I were excited at the prospect of seeing our circle of friends. Of course, everybody coming would contribute a little something to the fare.
Our brewmaster friend, Harold brought his GF beer - a pumpkin ale that he's been working on perfecting (and for whom we grew the hops last season!). Cathy brought wonderful GF carrot cake-y muffins that I swear to God tasted like heaven. Helen and Ian unwrapped a custard-y fruit tart that looked like summer on a plate. SB and I contributed a warm crabmeat dip with pumpernickel toasts. Leah and Suzanne went all out by cooking up a gorgeous pork loin roasted with prunes and apricots, citrus baked salmon fillets, winter vegetables, a roasted squash and cranberry spinach salad, and a warm spinach souffle.

Needless to say, the afternoon flew by and before we knew it, everyone was lolling around the dinner table yammering away about winter birds, health care reform, beer-making, Internet use, football playoffs, and various other conversation topics, while sipping our coffee, tea, wine, water, whatever! Warm company for a cold winter's day... the very best way to spend time! Thank-you, Leah! You are a wise woman to insist on gathering us together at this bleak time of year!

Warm Crabmeat Dip - printer friendly

Baked Crabmeat Dip

Preheat oven to 350º and butter a pretty baking dish.
Mix in a bowl:

12 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ c. sour cream
½ c. onion, minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. Halladay’s Harvest Barn Lobster Bisque Dip Seasoning
¼ tsp. salt

Fold in without breaking the crab up completely:

¾ lb. lump crabmeat, picked over

Place the dip in the buttered baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until it starts to bubble around the edges.

Run it under a broiler for a moment or two to get the top golden brown and crusty.

Serve with a plate of thinly sliced and toasted pumpernickel bread. The small square tea bread loaves that you can find in the supermarket bakery work well too. They are pre-sliced and can be spread on a broiler pan and toasted up fast.

If you wanted to make a very special little first course ‘starter’, you could mound the dip on baked puff pastry squares (cut into 4 inch squares) and warm it in the oven, then garnish with some chopped flat-leaf parsley, a lemon slice and serve with a citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc.

Halladay’s Harvest Barn Lobster Bisque Dip Seasoning can be had by ordering on the Internet or calling the business. It is also stocked at various stores in southern New Hampshire and Vermont. I scored mine at The Vermont Country Store.

Check out Halladay’s Harvest Barn at http://www.halladays.com/ or by calling (802) 463-3471.


  1. Lobster Bisque Dip seasoning? Here in Baltimore, we just go for Old Bay!

    I hope New Hampshire thaws out for you soon...we're going to make a run at 40 here before the end of the week!

  2. Ha, Beth! Good old Old Bay! Yup! A worthy spice! This Bisque Spice has a paprika, chives, and some added (ground lobster shell?) something that gives it a rosey tinge...plus its produced here in New England... my nod to using local product.

    I might be jealous about your warming trend! Lucky folks! Surely, it will head North too!


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