Crabcakes and Football…

January 16, 2011 at 11:30 AM (Appetizer, Breakfast, Fish) (, , )

THAT’S WHAT STEPHANIE DOES!!!

At least this time of year I do… Well hello there, second hiatus over!  The election is over, I’ve moved and finally have a moment to breathe after a bit of family traveling over the holidays.  I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is having a lovely start to the new year!

Let’s get to the important stuff now…crabcakes.

Contrary to popular belief, crabcakes are very easy to make.  There are at least three well known food production companies that now make ready made crabcake mix, all you need to add is the crabmeat, mayonnaise, one egg and any other spices you might like to get adventurous with.

My favorite kind to use is Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Crabcake Mix.  You can find it at most grocery stores and is definitely the one worth trying first.  This one packs a punch that Philips or Old Bay do not.  The Cajun style spices add a delicious kick that makes these crabcakes second to none.  The box includes the recipe, but here’s how I make mine…

Ingredients:

– 16 oz (one pound) crab meat

– one box Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Crabcake Mix

– 1/4 cup mayonnaise

– 1/2 cup water

– lemon juice from a fresh lemon

– one egg

– butter or oil (for baking or frying)

Tartar Sauce Ingredients:

mayonnaise

– relish

– hot sauce

– lemon juice

– mix all ingredients together to taste and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together
Directions:

– mix crab meat, mayonnaise, water, egg (used as an adhesive) and crabcake mix in medium sized bowl

– refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

– make patties (size is up to you, you can make about 16 smaller ones for appetizers or 6-8 bigger ones for a main course)

Frying Directions:

In a deep pan, cover bottom with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil

– fry on each 2-3 minutes

Baking Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees

– add a small slice of butter to the top of each crabcake

– Bake for 8-10 minutes (if smaller), 10-12 if larger cakes

From there, just serve with the tartar sauce, or any other sauce you’d like to make with it!

Now that was just the starting point- I love crabcakes… to me, they should be in a food group all their own.  My favorite thing to do with them however?  Is the next day.

Make the crabcakes for a party, for dinner whatever, but make sure you have a couple from the next morning for this recipe…

I now present to you:

Crabolia’s Chesapeake: Poached egg over sharp Vermont cheddar cheese covered New Orleans style Crab Cake on an English Muffin

(I wouldn’t be doing this dishes name justice if I didn’t mention that when I was a baby, my dad used to call me Crabolia…hence, the name!)


– In a medium frying pan, melt butter to reheat the crabcakes

– fry until warm throughout (just about 3-4 minutes on each side)

– toast English Muffin

– poach eggs for about 4 minutes, you still want the yolk runny (bring water to a mild boil, stir water to create whirlpool effect, drop egg softly into the middle.  The motion of the water will keep the egg from dispersing when it hits the water)

– after you flip the crab cake place one slice of sharp Vermont cheddar cheese so it can melt

– after everything is cooked…start building!

English muffin on the bottom, crabcake with cheese, then poached egg on top.

To make it look fancy, feel free to sprinkle some fresh chives on top.

Most eggs Chesapeake and Benedict have a Hollandaise sauce on top, but the mix of the yolk, the sharpness of the cheese and the delicious spices in the crab cakes make this sauce unnecessary to the dish!

Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!**

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Oui, Oui, Sonsie

June 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

In the 25 and a half years of my life, I never thought there would be a day when food just sounded repulsive, a day when I had no appetite.  I have found such a day… about 10 days ago, I had to undergo the quarter-life ritual of wisdom tooth extraction.  It’s the first (and probably) only time I can say I had no appetite for a week and I am forever scarred from Strawberry Jell-O so the last thing I wanted to do was watching the Food Network or dream up delicious recipes to add to the blog knowing full well I couldn’t even chew them.

Woe-is-me…eeeh not so much.  I got to go to Providence for the rest of the Memorial Day weekend to cure me of the horrible case of cabin fever I was suffering from, and by Sunday, I could mush around enough to eat something other than yogurt and apple sauce.  I got to visit DePasquale Square on Federal Hill which is home to the best Italian food outside of your grandmother’s kitchen.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and sat outside at Caffe Dolce Vita which has a huge menu and delicious food!  I ordered the eggplant rollatini which for the first meal in a couple days was like Heaven on Earth.  It was just mushy enough that I didn’t have to chew, but outside of that, I love everything eggplant, especially when its SMOTHERED in cheese!  This puppy had ricotta and mozzarella inside as well as fresh mozzarella melted allll over the top.  It was finished off with their homemade tomato sauce and baked in the oven.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

If you ever get a chance to get to Providence, do us all a favor, get to Federal Hill, I promise, you’ve never had Italian food like this….I mean, Frankie Blue Eyes’ favorite restaurant of all time is there!!!

Now, Caffe Dolce Vita was note worthy, but that’s not why I’m writing.  Last night, I had to be in Boston for work (yes, yesterday was a Sunday…no, I don’t want to talk about it).  It actually turned out perfectly because staff was not allowed in the actual dinner of the event…so naturally, I took this opportunity to log into my Open Table account, something I haven’t done since my trip to DC in January, and found restaurants near the Sheraton on Dalton St.  After perusing a couple of menus, I came upon a little place called Sonsie, and their caption? Luck, Love Life.  It became the first draw.  The second was the menu.  It’s an American restaurant with a bit of everything on the menu, fish, steak, pasta.  It’s also pretty moderately priced, which is also always a plus!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a serial menu stalker, I always scope it out before I get there…and then pretend to not already know what I want when I get the menu…buuuuut who doesn’t? Am I right? No? Okay…dagger.  Anyways, I had stalked the menu and knew there was absolutely no question I was getting their Bronzino dish.

Bronzino is a European seabass, so a white fish, and with the grilled fish, they served soft polenta, ricotta spinach and artichoke…and dear LORD!  It was fantastic.  We all know I firmly believe that a great dish is one where each element on the plate is good alone, but also tastes fantastic when you build the elements together.  This was one of those dishes.   The fish was grilled perfectly, the polenta stayed warm which prevented the top from hardening, and I had never had ricotta spinach, and I’m glad that’s changed because if I see it on another menu, it’s mine.  If you do get to check out Sonsie, I highly recommend this dish.

The ambiance is great too, Sonsie is nestled on the famous Newbury Street in Boston.  The floor to ceiling windows/doors open to make the restaurant floor level with the sidewalk which makes for great people watching.  Even the bar area is great with comfortable high chairs and signature cocktails.

Well now that I am able to eat again and enjoy my food, I’m glad I could share with you another delicious spot, except this time in Beantown!  Next time you’re in the area, stop by Sonsie, you should be preeeetty pleased.  This week I should get back into some home cooking so I’ll be sure to include some recipes hopefully later this week.  As always, thanks for reading and until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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Swimming Upstream

September 30, 2009 at 11:07 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Alright, alright, you know I’m trying to get used to this blogging thing, so I apologize again for the delayed new post.  My association had its board meeting last week so there was no way I had time to cook for myself.  Anyway!  I am here now with a new post, new review and a new recipe that is easy, cheap and delicious!

As I said, last week was my board meeting which went well, but on our last day, a couple of my coworkers and I wanted to thank one of our colleagues for allowing us to make him our bitch all last week.  So instead of sticking around for the “make your own deli sandwich” looking display, we headed around the corner to Bistro Bis located at the Hotel George near Union Station.  Bistro Bis has (obviously) French/Belgian cuisine and is known for being a place to spot top legislators and lobbyists due to its close proximity to the Capitol building.  And for those of you who actually care about seeing that stuff on your lunch break, I still wouldn’t recommend this place.

I had been here once or twice before and the food is decent, but it doesn’t stand out as being a place that is unique or worth the money.  If you really want mussels, go to Granville Moore’s on H street, NE (and on Monday’s they are half off!).  And if you really want Belgian cuisine, I recommend Brasserie Beck on 12th.

The food not being memorable was one thing, but the service was entirely different.  I understand that you’ll catch a place on a bad day once, and maybe it’ll keep you from there for a while, but this was so bad, I’m never going back.  Not only did it take our food an hour and a half to get to the table, but our server was horrendous.  We didn’t see him through most of our wait time, and when we did, he blamed our wait on the kitchen.  Now, I don’t know how many of you have worked in the service industry, but here’s what your job entails… making sure the customer is all set.  No one cares whose fault it is that you brought me the wrong wine, or that my food is cold, or that I’ve now been sitting here for over an hour for a $13 cheeseburger.  Your job is to come over to the table, apologize, and make sure we have everything else we need, not blame someone else.  Another faux pas, we didn’t see a manager until the food had actually come out… and they forgot part of our order.  Yeah, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.  Sooo needless to say, I will not be frequenting Bistro Bis anytime soon, or basically ever again.  There are too many other places where the food stands out and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that I would rather waste my time and money thank you very much.

Phew, now that I have gotten that rant out of the way, I have a delicious and easy recipe that is good for anytime of year.  I got this from my brother who can cook with the best of them.  He made it while I was home in August and it was divine.  It’s Maple Baked Salmon with rice pilaf and asparagus.

Now as I was getting everything prepared and ready to cook, I switched on the TV to see what could entertain my ears while I watch my food cook…low and behold, my favorite movie Across the Universe was on.  I knew it was going to be a good night.  I am a HUGE Beatles fan, and this movie did a great job telling a story through some of their finest song writing.  It’s wicked trippy, so for those of you who would like to stay away from the psychedelic, I would not recommend this movie… I also suggest we stop begin friends.  So, now that I’ve got my Beatles tunes through the eyes of Julie Taymor, my food prepped and my wine poured, its time to cook!

So about this maple syrup, I’m not talking about your Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin maple “syrup” aka CRAP.  What you need is the REAL New England Maple Syrup.  It’s going to be the most expensive piece of this meal you buy, but use it, (especially the next time you have pancakes), I promise, you’ll never want to go back to the rubbery stuff.  Everything else for the meal will probably cost about $10-15 depending on where you get your fish.

I got just over a half a pound of Salmon because I was cooking for one.  The best part about that size, I could have definitely cooked for two (that means leftovers woo!).  Also, just grab a small batch of asparagus and a box of rice pilaf and you’re ready to go!

Utensils you will need includes a pastry brush, casserole dish, frying pan, and a pot.

To get started, preheat the oven to 350.  While the oven is heating up, paint the bottom of the casserole dish with the maple syrup, just enough to cover the space the fish will take up while you bake it.  Then place the fish over that area and paint more syrup to the top and sides of the salmon.  If you like things sweeter, you can add a couple coats.  Once you have put the salmon in the oven, bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the piece you have.

Once the fish is in the oven, begin cooking your rice pilaf, this will also take about 20-25 minutes.  The directions are right on the box, so I won’t get into those details for you.

When there’s about 10 minutes left, put your asparagus on the frying pan and fry until soft.  You’ll notice they will start turning a vibrant, beautiful green as they cook.  You can cook them by covering the frying pan with a top and letting the asparagus sweat itself, or do what I do, which is toss them in a little olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper and let them cook.

When you’re all done cooking, making a nice display out of this dish is just too easy.  Spread some rice pilaf on the bottom of the dish then some asparagus stalks, then place the piece of fish on top of it all.  If you’ve cooked the fish enough, the skin will part from the meat as you slide the spatula in between them.

salmon

It looks so fancy, but is so easy!  Like I said, I cooked for one, but had enough of everything for leftovers for tonight, so cooking this meal for two will not cost you anymore than it cost me.

Now to recommend some wine.  I frequented my favorite wine shop, Au Domaine, where they just so happened to be having an Italian wine tasting (man was Saturday my lucky day!).  There, I tried a Pinot Bianco from the Northern region of Italy.  I knew this would be a great compliment to this dish since it has beautiful flavors, but dries the more you drink it.  This compliments the sweet of the maple syrup on the salmon.

vino

The picture of the label below is a little fuzzy, but the wine comes from the di Leonardo vineyards and runs about $10.99.  It’s a great wine to drink the day you buy it, or a couple weeks down the road and is well within a reasonable price range.

Alright kids, well I hope you enjoy this dish, I know it’s one I will be making again (and again and again).  Watch out for another post up here this week/weekend since I need to start expanding my stomach for the Sicilian food fest that is my trip Providence, RI next weekend.  Anyway, until then sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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