Crab Stuffed Mushrooms and Chandeliers

What do crab stuffed mushrooms and chandeliers have to do with each other? Well, nothing really. They’re just what have kept me busy for the past 24 hours.

My husband, Jeff, and I love crab or seafood stuffed mushrooms, so when we go out to eat, we try them at various restaurants that have them on their menu. We know what we like and we rate them on how they compare to what we’ve had in the past and to what we think they should taste like.

Our favorites are the mushrooms from Top Water Grill in San Leon, Texas, a seafood restaurant. Theirs are served sitting in a small oval dish covered with cheese and floating in a thick cream sauce that is to die for. I gain five pounds just looking at them. Jeff has been after me to try and recreate those and yesterday, I felt up to the task.

For the past few weeks, I have been looking for a good recipe that I could use as a starting point. I looked in several of my cookbooks and then I began perusing my recipe book, and lo and behold, I found one. It was given to me at least twenty years ago, from my mom, who would cut out tasty looking recipes from the Houston Chronicle and pass them to me to try out. With two small boys, I rarely tried any of them. However, I held onto the ones that looked promising, and this one has moved with me from house to house over the past couple of decades.

While the recipe calls for crabmeat in a stuffing mixture, it does not call for a cheese topping or cream sauce. But it was a good starting point. I made the stuffing as the recipe called for adding in a whole cup of lump crab meat instead of a ½ cup. I figure a little more lump crab meat can’t hurt anything….at least that’s my attitude.

Jeff came in as I was making the stuffing and offered to cut the stems off and clean out the mushroom caps for me.
With that done, I stuffed each one full, like we get them when we go out to eat.

I wasn’t sure what type of cheese they typically use, but I thought either a Monterey Jack or a Gruyère might be good. I opted for the Gruyère as it is rich and awesome and I wanted these mushrooms to be the same. So I grated the cheese and topped each mushroom cap nicely.

For the cream sauce, I decided to use a recipe I had made and put over some fish a few years ago. I melted about a tablespoon of butter, added a little freshly minced garlic, and then some white wine. Next, I boiled and reduced the wine for about 10 minutes, and then added in some heavy cream and lemon juice. I simmered it for another 3 to 5 minutes. Absolutely delicious!

Finally, I poured the cream sauce over the mushrooms and baked them for about 15 minutes, and then turned on the broiler to brown the cheese and get them all bubbly and hot.

OH MY GOODNESS! Those stuffed mushrooms were fabulous, and as good as the ones we get at Top Water. Rarely do I make anything that I think is restaurant worthy, but these were.

Task one, done. Crab stuffed mushrooms conquered!

That left the chandeliers.

For some reason, I guess it’s because I host Thanksgiving at my house every year, this seems like the perfect month to clean chandeliers. Our house has several, with an exceptionally beautiful one in the dining room and another that used to hang in the Warwick Hotel in the Museum District of Houston. It looks like an antique, but I’m not sure how old it is.

This is kind of a neat story. I was told by the wife of the couple that built our home, that she and her husband were married at the Warwick Hotel in Houston. In 2005, when she heard that the hotel had been purchased by new owners and was scheduled for a major renovation, she went down there and was able to get this one from the hotel. I was surprised she didn’t take it with her when they sold the house. It’s quite stunning.

So, I decided today was chandelier cleaning day.

The two in the kitchen and the breakfast room are fairly new, we installed them when we bought the house and they are easier to clean. Since they don’t have as many crystals as the older ones, I cleaned them first so I would feel some sense of accomplishment.

Next I moved to the dining room. The large one in there is definitely the hardest to clean. When we bought the house, it was extremely dirty and didn’t look like it had ever been cleaned since the house was built in 1994. I summoned my mom one Sunday to help me and it took the both of us five hours to clean it. I took every crystal down and brought them to her in the kitchen. She washed them, we dried them and I reassembled it. Wow, what a job. I swore I would never let it get that dirty again. My mom swore she would not be home the next time I called for help. Luckily, today, it was not very dirty. The lady that cleans for me, Maria (who has also followed me from house to house the past twenty years) has kept up with it pretty well, and it only needed a light cleaning today. Mind you, a light cleaning for that fixture took me an hour.

But the dirtiest one and the one that I have never taken completely apart is the one from the Warwick. Mostly because of its history, but also because it has so many strands of crystals, I’m afraid I won’t be able to put it back correctly. I started cleaning it today by rubbing each crystal with a cloth sprayed with Windex. I was about half way finished when I decided to call it a day. I will have to finish it tomorrow.

If you’re still reading this, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. You have probably cleaned a chandelier or two in your lifetime and you can relate, or maybe there’s nothing to watch on television. Otherwise, I’m sure I am boring you to death.

I don’t typically write about such mundane tasks but I have been out of the writing habit for the past several months and I am trying to get back in the swing of things. I will try to spare you the details from the day I clean out my closet. I do enjoy cooking though and I may write more on that topic, especially at this time of year.

Since this week is all about being thankful, I would like you to know how thankful I am for you. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! God’s blessings to you all!

Connie

P.S. I took the pictures of the chandeliers after dark and they didn’t turn out well. I will retake them tomorrow during the day so you can see them better.

The Warwick chandelier. Warwick ChandelierThe dining room chandelier.  It looks smaller in this picture than it actually is.
dining room

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