Condos and Crabmeat

Have I mentioned I live in a condominium? It was the first one built in the U.S. That's right: the first. We have the plaque to prove it. Not a co-op, those were around way earlier, but the first condo. And this is not one of those ghastly high rises which came later, worse luck, but a city block of several smallish, pastel-colored buildings on A1A, which means the ocean is right across the street. I've lived here a while and condo living (or any apartment living for that matter) is often dicey. My father's advice: don't make waves.

Normally, I don't. But..... it's all about a new fire alarm system the city says we have to install. I have no objections to complying with code but with who will do the installing. The Board chose an expensive company...costing nearly $60,000...and did not bother to look further. Appalled, we got another bid from a well-regarded company, $20,000 less for the same work. The Board refused to meet with them, discuss their references or consider their bid and informed us they had signed a contract with the other firm and that was that. Go away.

I really do hate arrogance.

So, the upstarts in Building A (that's us) made waves. We wrote letters; we asked for arbitration; we ignored the invoice; and we finally refused access to our apartments. Our entire building was on the same page. Which is nothing short of amazing. The end result? Threatening letters from Board attorneys (which we pay for) and finally a notice that the city would start fining us $500 for each day the work was not in progress. Request for arbitration is law but the Board informed us by registered letter we would have to pay all attorney fees and any fines while waiting for arbitration and ditto if we lost. Dicey indeed. It may well end up costing more than the savings we hoped for. It. Just. Ain't. Fair.

Most of us caved. Some did not, but they haven't a hope in hell of beating the system. It's gonna happen. Work has begun on the willing (I use the word loosely) apartments. There'll be stobe lights, klaxons, speaker systems telling you to get out! get out! and if this ever goes off in the night, just dial 911- forget the fire- because I will have had a heart attack. The equipment is 5 feet from the head of my bed.

Are you ready? I now have 4 fire alarm systems:

1. Was here when I moved in and will eventually be disconnected (I assume), though the detectors will not be removed.
2. Was installed by my home alarm company. More detectors, active.
3. Was added when the fire department came by and told us we needed to install some extra battery operated ones a few years ago. Still more active detectors.
4. The brand new one. Detectors galore.

What d'ya think? Overkill?
I need a drink.

And just what has this to do with Crabmeat? Not much, except I had company coming for dinner and had to work around installers, ladders, boxes of tools and coils of wire in the kitchen. It was a near thing, but I pulled it off.

My Deviled Crab was on the menu and it's a really old recipe; so old, I have no idea where I found it. Do you remember the funky clam shells we used to serve our crab dishes in? When I first started making this recipe, I used them. That's how old. Mine turned yellow and cracked so I finally got rid of them. It's an interesting combination of ingredients but the most important tip is to use really fresh crabmeat. And then haul out your old clamshells!

Stuffed Deviled Crab


1 pound fresh crab, flaked
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons onion pulp (I grate mine)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 or 3 dashes Tobasco
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1 small tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Pinch dry mustard
Pinch mace
Pinch dried basil
2 tablespoons light rum
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
Cracker crumbs

Grated Parmesan cheese


In a bowl mix the flaked crabmeat, the lime juice, onion pulp, black pepper, Tobasco and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

In a skillet melt the butter and add the chopped onions, green pepper, tomato, the garlic and the parsley. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the dry mustard, mace, basil, rum and breadcrumbs. Stir over low heat for a couple minutes.

Add the crab mixture to the stuffing and heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pack into cleaned crab shells or individual ramekins. Sprinkle with a mixture of cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dot with butter and bake in a 350° oven until the top is browned and everything is heated through, 5-10 minutes.
Serves 6.


  1. That sounds like a alarming disaster.

    I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. :)

    The crab looks delish, even if I'm allergic!

  2. I thought you were going to say the relevance of the crab dish is you were 'crabbing' about the condo board - LOL! Don't you wonder if the costly job went to a friend of someone on the board?

    Your crab meal sounds wonderful and a nice respite from the stress and frustration of the construction.

  3. *Raising hand*...my Mama has those clam shell thingy's!! I used to feel so fancy, eating out of them.

    Sorry about the alarm debacle--sounds very irritating!

  4. My best fire alarm would be my dog!
    Crab anything is fine with me! The seafood in the Keys is the best....

  5. Wow. This sounds incredibly obnoxious.

    It reminds of how, I few weeks ago, I was instructed to remove everything from all of my kitchen cabinets so that maintenance could come in and screw in two screws. I'm not joking. I have about 8 cabinets. It was a pain.

    The crab looks delicious! I'm so glad you managed to pull it off.

  6. Duck: Oh my. I'd hate to be allergic to seafood- I eat so much of it. Sorry!

    Susan: We thought of that one. You have to be careful about accusations though.

    TKW: That's OK. I have a really good sense of the ridiculous. And this is.

    BD: I agree. You can't beat the seafood we get here.

    Joanne: Life's little annoyances, right? I've never written something like this. Will be interesting to see the comments.

  7. I know I have those shells around here somewhere...
    Great story... at least you tried but god almighty people that are that obstinate and waste other people's money... you could just blow them up! I hope you never let them taste this crab... deviled crab is the best... so long since I had it. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. U know whats funny daaaaaahling? You may have all the bells and whistles for your alarm, but you've already been robbed LOL. Sorry, I had to say it ;).
    HOpe that delicious looking crab dish made you feel more at ease.
    *kisses* HH

  9. I've yet to find a deviled crab recipe to call my "go-to" one, but that may be about it change.

    As for fire alarms... There is such a thing as overkill. Sigh...

  10. I would be sooo annoyed if that happened to me. It really isn't fair! But anyway, I was angry at them for a bit but your delicious crab recipe calmed me down. :)

  11. Haven't had crab in absolute ages...this sounds delish!

  12. Oh my that is overkill and such a waste of money. It seems like an inside job/kickbacks, no??? I hear so many outrageous stories from my husband's real estate company. The town problems etc.... I know my mother in law was just asked to pay out of pocket a ridiculous amount of money and when it was looked into it was so corrupt and fixed that thankfully she checked it out first. Well at least you will be very very safe if your heart can withstand that noise, I don't think mine could. On a happier note, your crab recipe looks fabulous. I could live on seafood, fruits, vegetables, chocolate and champagne :)
    Have a nice day Barbara

  13. Oh Barbara...this is one reason I hate associations and the mindless control they have. I wish everyone would stand firm and not allow them to get away with this nonsense.

    Your Stuffed Deviled Crab recipe looks and sounds divine. I would make a variation and pour a bottle of eye drops in the mix...they'll be busy in the bathroom for quite some time and keep their hands out of your wallet! I'm terrible!!

  14. Love Crab, this sounds great, I used to have a set of those dishes too. I picked them up at a flea market. I think my ex ran off with them

  15. Long Past: If only more people would run for the Board. Nobody want the horrible job.

    HH: That's the truth.

    Channon: It's an oldie, but good. If I remove the useless detectors, there will be a hole in the wall to deal with, along with the need for some kind of plate with matching wallpaper on it. Just can't face all that right now.

    Trissa: Yes, the company, a drink and the good crab made a world of difference. Everyone made me laugh, which was good.

    Kitchen: We tend to forget the oldies.

    Bunny: Yes to the chocolate and champagne! No to fire alarm systems.

    Karyn: We who caved in were in disfavor for a while. (And perhaps still are- not everyone has given in) But I thought about my wallet first and taking a stand took second place!

    Bryan: And good riddance to both?

  16. I absolutely love crab and this looks fabulous. I'm glad you have such fabulous recipes to take your mind off such annoying and ridiculous situations - what a headache!

  17. Well, at least you tried to fight the system. Sometimes though you just have to know when to throw in the towel.

  18. First condominium? This is very interesting in spite of the troubles...the like crabs and what you made looks delicious!

  19. I hate it when those things happen. Many places tend to pass on work to friends without looking around for a good price. This dish looks very nice.

  20. It's time for a new condo board! It would be worth checking out this company to see if they have ties to your board members. The crab looks delicious.

  21. oh my goodness, what a hassle! i this gets behind you soon, i hate dealing with stuff like this!

    the crab on the other hand i'd be happy dealing with day after day...

  22. That's really annoying, I'm sorry! My husband is a president of the board in our housing community and he would never do anything like this.

    Your crab looks wonderful!

  23. Vanessa: I agree- cooking tends to take your mind off annoying things, thank heaven.

    Pam: I know. You sound like my dad. We tried, but there's no point in costing myself more money in the end.

    Juliana: I was surprised too when I first heard about it..but sure enough, we were given a plaque for the property and it was in the paper.

    Anita: We suspect, but cannot prove. No point in opening ourselves up to lawsuits. They already have attorneys (which we pay for) and after the trouble we caused, I can't believe they did not look into this.

    Mimi: I agree, but who wants the job? Not me. Nothing but trouble and it's very time-consuming all-volunteer work. What with foreclosures (a big problem everywhere) and lawsuits, we have a difficult time finding people to run for the Board at all. It's a small association.

    Teresa: It's done as far as I'm concerned. Now I can sit back and see what happens with the rest of the owners.

  24. Barbara,
    So sorry to hear about the alarming debacle! How fabulous you pulled off the delicious stuffed deviled crab for your guests anyway:) Do you have a wine you like to pair with this dish? Just curious - thanks so much!

  25. This is the first time I am seeing rum with crab...and I have to say that I feel cheated. I cannot wait to try this! :)

  26. That's disgusting how you were treated. I'd bet that company has ties to your board.

    Your crab looks fantastic!

  27. I always assumed things went smooth and simple in the US (except when the immigration department is concerned, I could write a book on that). Fire alarms my country are something that you see signs for in hospitals, schools and cinemas ... Our house is stone and tiles, but we do have a closed fireplace, and I've been wanting to buy an extinguisher for years: they don't seem to sell them anywhere around here. Good luck, hope the drink helped:)

  28. This sounds de-lish. I love all things crab!!

  29. That crab dish looks absolutely stunning!! Lovelyyyyyy,.....!!!!

  30. Stephanie: I had a couple bottles of La Crema left from the holidays, so we had that.

    Chef Aimee: Yes, an interesting addition, especially in such an old recipe.

    Dishes: Well, something was up, but one has to be really careful about things like this without proof.

    Francesca: Your comment made me smile. Things probably do NOT go anymore smoothly in the U.S. than anyplace else. Rules and regulations abound when you live in a community like I do. What happens in my apartment affects everyone in the building. In a private home, things are different.

    Kathleen: It's a nice recipe.

    Sophie: Thanks! Did you know you gave me the first comment I ever had?

  31. Ouch Barbara! Poor you. We live in apartments too and have had a few minor headaches but nothing as major. Hope it resolves itself and it's not too painful in the end.

    At least you had crabmeat to console you. This looks so more-ish, the addition of rum sounds great.

  32. YUM! I've never bought crabmeat before -this looks amazing!

  33. Barbara, my parents just went through something like this at their condo in Venice, FL. When all was said and done ~ They fired the old board and installed a new one. It saved them approximately $12,000.

    I have not had a good Deviled Crab in years and yours looks & sounds delicious. I am definitely going to put this on my "must-make" list. Many thanks and hang there...

  34. Oh, "The System"! Sounds worse than corporate America!

    The crab sounds divine...I still have some of those shells. Are they out of fashion...mercy!


  35. Shaz: The rum is unusual, but you can barely taste it. (Which is a shame!)

    Simply Life: You'll love crabmeat. So many things to do with it!

    George: The biggest problem we have is finding enough good people to serve on the Board. It's a small community and what with all the foreclosures, lawsuits and complaints that the volunteer Board deals with, nobody wants to run.

    2 Stews: Miniature corporate! Those old shells are perfect for this dish!

  36. What a frustration. Does make you wonder what the real "back story" is, doesn't it? But - your recipe makes for a sweet ending (at least for today)- thanks for sharing.

  37. Ugh, good luck with the fire alarm situation! Offer the board some of this deviled crab to calm them down. Sounds delicious!

  38. Sorry about the alarm situation. Maybe you should become a BOD member and work that way at making change??? It might cost you less.
    Anyway, the crab looks great and amazing that you still cooked even with all you had going on.

  39. I'm quite certain your amazing cooking more than made up for any workers or equipment your guests had to maneuver around!

    Just ain't fair indeed...quite shocking actually! It's ridiculous to think they wouldn't shop around a bit before signing a contract with anyone!!

    :) T

  40. How frustrating!
    I hate it when people think they can bully you like that. I bet the company was a friend or relative of someone on the board.
    We had that when my father died. His son's (my half brother) wife (who hated him anyway..) hired her friend to take care of the details at about triple what anyone else was charging - and tried to bill me for it!

  41. I remember my mother serving Coquilles St. Jacques in those clam shells!!! That crab would be good served in a napkin! I left you a message about the radishes.

  42. Ugh, this is one of the only reasons why I am very wary of home associations and condo boards - one group of people, making decisions for everyone.

    Thanks, but no thanks. How frustrating!

  43. I hear you on the condo, oh yes... Good thing there's crabmeat to enjoy and not think much about it ;)

  44. Wow, sounds ridiculous. But the stuffed deviled crab sounds awesome! I'd like to eat some of that right now, which is no small thing considering I just ate a gigantic lunch.

  45. Sorry you were treated unfairly! I am a bit jealous of your condo on the beach! Do you have a guest room?

  46. Hi Barbara,

    That sounds so unfair and expensive.
    if you already had the alarms, what was wrong with them?
    It must be beautiful living across the road from the beach and to be able to hear the waves.
    The crab recipe looks great and thanks for sharing.


  47. Susan: We both know there is one!

    Lisa: Don't think it would have helped!

    Foodie: I took my turn already!

    Tracey: Each and every guest was a super good sport about it!

    Natashya: I bet you're right.

    Catherine: Am amazed the radishes tasted like potatoes! I'm going to try the recipe this week!

    Phoenix: No doubt that's why my father warned me. I'd always lived in my own home- never a community.

    Rita: The installers are gone and it's someone else's problem now. Nothing I can do but wait and see if anything more happens.

    Hungry Dog: It IS ridiculous.

    Barbara: Ah yes, I do! Anytime. Unfortunately, I am across the street from the beach and there is one of those horrible high rises between it and me. However, I can see it and there is a pavillion we use to get to it.

  48. What a frustrating situation! I wish I could offer some words of comfort, but I hopefully that delicious deviled crab did the trick! :)

  49. Have you ever watched that show on the travel channel chowdown countdown? They had a ton of crab places!

  50. Wow. I think that might make me want to move!!!

    But the crab looks good! :)


  51. I am so sorry!

    I love crab and your deviled crab sounds delicious!

    As for my brownies, I believe adding mascarpone makes them "fudgey" and denser :). I don't know if fudgey is a world: it may happen I created that word.

  52. Wow that does sound like crazy overkill Barbara! :o I wonder if someone is related to or friends with the company that they chose. otherwise why would they not want to meet with the other company as that's a significant saving!

    Gorgeous looking dish though-the best revenge is eating well and not inviting them! :P

  53. I live in a condominium too, and it's the worst sometimes, especially when fees like that are imposed when there's clearly a way around it. Oh, and neighbour's who's pipes leak! Anyway, the crabmeat looks so delicious. Im a real sucker for crab dishes sans shells!

  54. I think I need a drink too after reading hearing about all you are going through. It doesn't sound fair.

    Your stuffed deviled crab is outstanding! I'm imagining the wonderful flavors and textures.

  55. Gosh, do you need so many alarms in a home? Headache...headache.... yeap, I need a drink too. haha.... However, I'll enjoy the crab meal and forget about it.

  56. Faith: Food always calms a frazzled mind!

    Duck: Never have seen it, I'll watch for it!

    Amanda: I wish I could. The market is do bad right now I don't dare.

    Karine: I looked it up, it's not a word. Congratulations! It's a perfect adjective!

    Lorraine: I know. Their "job" is to portect us from this sort of thing.

    Vicky: There is a lawsuit in our building over leaking sliding glass doors! Glad it wasn't my apt.

    Fresh: We all had one and I calmed down considerably!

    Kristy: A headache for sure! Especially if it goes off.

  57. Can you believe I never tried crab? This dish looks appetizing.

  58. So sorry, but co-ops are even worse, at least in NYC. People are willing to pay 30% more for condos to avoid all the shi*, so I'm moving from co-op to condo in a few months. Thanks for the heads up though. I'm going to keep a tight eye on things. In times of crisis, crab is definitely the way to go!

  59. Hmm...I'm not much of a crab eater but I really do love the sounds of this recipe. I think it's the breadcrumbs and cheese that do it for me (how can anything taste bad with those ingredients?).

  60. First of all - this recipe sounds delightful. I love crab, and have actually never made anything with it before, so this is the perfect introduction to it.

    Secondly, I hate how unfair this all is! What a pain in the butt, and the fact that it costs so much to stand up for yourself is such a shame. I'm sorry, hun!

  61. Talita: Try it! There are so many ways to serve it.

    Jessica: My parents lived in a co-op in Ft. Lauderdale for many years. (No such thing as condos back then) Perhaps that's why he gave me that advice!

    Jan: Agree about cheese and breadcrumbs. I always dump more on than is called for!

    Dionne: Life's annoyances, which I usually don't write about!

  62. Are you kidding??? That is crazy! I would need more than just ONE drink!

  63. I hope your board is elected and you all can toss them out come elections!

    Your Deviled Crab is nothing short of amazing especially knowing all the obstacles in your way while you were preparing this.

    How I would love some fresh crab!

  64. I need a drink from just reading about this nightmare. Good grief,

    The crab looks wonderful. I've never tried to make deviled crab. Thanks for the recipe.

  65. Leslie: I did!

    Katherine: We're lucky to have so much really fresh seafood here.

    Lea Ann: The comments have reflected my feeling exactly! Funny.

  66. I love this recipe.... with the abundance of crab meat in the local market I could turn this classic recipe into a must-have on my dining table... thanks for sharing..

    Btw, a very tempting picture that makes me salivate on the first look!!

    Sawadee from Bangkok,



Related Posts with Thumbnails