Monthly Archives: July 2012

Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard Sauce

I’ve never been a shell-fish person but once I started eating meat again after being a vegetarian, I kept trying crab cakes thinking I would learn to like them.  But I always found them too fishy.  Then three summers ago, I attended War By The Shore, an annual boiled-crab-versus-steamed-crab battle held by two friends (one from Mississippi, one from Maryland – see more details about the battle here) where a side crab cake battle took place.  Plates of crab cakes ended up on every table at every corner and I tried cake after cake.  After that fun-filled day three Junes ago, I officially became a crab cake person and now it’s something that I order often when I’m at a restaurant.  I’ve been tucking away different crab cake recipe and tossed away any fear I had of making my own in order to make these Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard Sauce.

Crab meat is tossed with panko, red pepper, scallions, a little mayonnaise and eggs and shaped into patties before being dredged in a light layer of additional panko.  They are then fried in a pan with the teeniest bit of oil until golden brown and warmed through.  The sauce is both light and spicy and provides a nice creamy element to these crab cakes.  I used whole-wheat panko which worked out fine but I think regular would have turned out better.  I also think using two whole eggs instead of one egg and one egg white might have made the crab meat stay together better.  The pan gets really hot so I suggest keeping the heat closer to medium than medium-high.  Only about 2 or 3 of my finished crab cakes looked presentable because the rest either fell apart or I nearly burned them.  And I was so concerned about making sure my smoke alarm didn’t go off from all of the smoke from the pan that I didn’t get a picture of the cakes cooking.  Oh well, you get the gist.  Regardless, I ate every single one of these cakes for lunch and dinner over a couple of days.  I loved them.  They are light on the filler, just the way you want crab cakes to be.  I’m so glad I’m a crab cake fan now…but I’ve got a long way to go before I start handling crab legs!!

The ingredients:

Combine red pepper, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, scallions and eggs in a large bowl.

Add 1/3 cup panko and crab; toss gently.

Divide crab mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Place remaining panko in a shallow dish. Gently dredge patties in panko.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of the oil to the pan and add 4 crab cakes to pan.  Cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and crab cakes.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, Dijon, white wine vinegar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

Serve sauce with crab cakes.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat panko
  • Light mayonnaise

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

S’mores Sea Salt Martini

I’m a birthday girl.  Meaning I love my birthday.  Not only is it the one day of the year where I can truly do whatever I want without any outside influence from anyone else, but I also get to celebrate another year of my life.  I’ve never been one to moan and groan about my age.  It is what it is and I can’t do anything about it.  Rather than be sad or depressed that I’m yet another year older, instead I look at it as I’m a year younger than I’ll be next year!  Some people don’t like a big fuss about their birthdays and that’s fine.  And honestly, I don’t like a lot of fuss about mine either – I just like to celebrate it.  When my birthday falls on a weekday, I always take the day off.  Period.  My boss makes fun of me, saying he doesn’t know anyone who likes their birthday as much as I do but the reality is that I just know that working is the last thing on Earth that I want to do.  Even if I have no other plans, you won’t see me at work.  My birthday is this Sunday so since I’m already off, I’m taking a nice long weekend.  I’m heading to the beach today and then heading to Baltimore with my girl friends tomorrow just to get out of Dodge for a while and let off some steam.  And I’m planning on taking these S’mores Sea Salt Martinis with me.

S’mores flavored vodka is mixed with half-and-half and served in a chocolate-sea salt rimmed martini glass.  I’m a big fan of Three Olives Vodka so when I saw the S’more flavored bottle, I didn’t know whether to be excited or frightened.  But I went for it because if I were on a deserted island, I would want to have s’mores with me.  So why not a s’mores cocktail too?  This cocktail is good but I think I’m going to experiment with it a bit.  I’d probably omit the salt, mix chocolate syrup in with the half-and-half, and maybe add in some Baileys or chocolate liqueur.  There are all kinds of possibilites with this.

Anyway, having your birthday in the middle of the summer could be a real bummer as a kid.  For people whose birthdays fell during the school year, I got to watch as they had their lockers decorated, cookies were brought in, and people chimed “Happy Birthday!” as they passed in the hall between classes.  Not only that, but if they had a party planned for the weekend, it became all everyone talked about on Friday at school.  When your birthday is in the summer, you don’t get any of that (although a co-worker made me brownies and decorated my office with streamers yesterday).  On the bright side, I never had to go to school and I always got to go to the pool.  So there.  My mom always made my birthdays special so they are still special to me.  She doesn’t get anymore birthdays so I will celebrate each and every one of mine for as long as I can.  Now as an adult, around where I live, everyone disappears for the shore in the summer.  So it’s kind of like being a kid all over again.  But that’s ok, I’m used to it.  Later on today, I’ll be at the shore too.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

The ingredients:

Dip the rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with sea salt. Drizzle the chocolate syrup inside the martini glass.

Pour vodka and half and half into a martini shaker filled with ice.

Shake and strain into martini glasses.

Garnish with toasted marshmallows if you prefer.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Fat-free half and half

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Three Olives website

Green Beans with Honey-Mustard Glaze

I love the produce section at the store in the summer because seeing bin after bin of $0.25 summer fruit and vegetables gets me slightly giddy.  And even better, the produce is usually locally grown.  I live in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia, and in the summers, markets and farm stands go crazy with tons of locally grown produce that you just can’t beat.  Signs everywhere scream “Jersey Tomatoes!” or “Jersey Corn!”  I bypassed both of these this weekend and instead headed for some locally grown green beans which I scooped up by the handful.  I didn’t really have anything particular in mind when I bought these so I can home, scanned my recipes and made Green Beans with Honey-Mustard Glaze.

Fresh green beans are boiled until bright green, cooled, and tossed in a simple glaze of honey, rice vinegar and mustard seeds.  The result was perfectly cooked sweet and tangy green beans.  I have to admit though, as I was making this glaze, I thought Why in the world did I want to make this recipe?  Smothering a vegetable in sticky honey isn’t really the most healthy way to eat, right?  I ended up only using about a third (if not less) of the glaze on these beans (because either I didn’t make enough green beans or too much glaze was made) and actually, they were tasty.  But I was still disappointed, mostly in myself.  This is a typical case of me being too busy worrying about if I liked the ingredients in a recipe, rather than if I would like the end product.   I like honey in my tea and on my biscuits.  Not my vegetables.  And especially not my locally grown vegetables.  Consider my wrist slapped.

The ingredients:

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the green beans.  Cook uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender but still crisp. Drain.

Dry the saucepan and return it to the stove.  Toast the mustard seeds over low heat just until they pop, about 1 minute, stirring to prevent scorching.

Add the honey and vinegar and cook until the sauce boils and becomes syrupy.

Add the green beans and toss.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  So-So

Source:  Real Simple Magazine

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