Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hello Heaven

I have been toying with making crab cakes for some time but was somewhat intimidated by the little critters. I have heard horror stories of people spending a lot of money on fresh lump crab only to have thier little cakes fall apart and quickly turn to hash! This recipe from Paula Deen came highly rated on the food network site and it turned out very good. The key was the making them ahead of time and then giving them some time to chill and get firm before pan frying. I did not have any trouble at all wtih them falling apart. They appear light but in reality they are pretty rich. We sampled some today after the Chiefs game (win!) and we had a hard time finishing one each!
The sauce is really good too. Its garlicy, lemony and the perfect freshness to go with the dense crab cake. I will definately making these again and I think they would be great in mini form for appetizers!

Lemon Dill Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Crab Cakes:
3 tablespoons butter
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
Cayenne pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound white or claw crabmeat, picked free of any bits of shell
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. The sauce will thicken as it chills.

To prepare the crab cakes, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the pepper is limp, approximately 3 minutes. Add the cream, mustard, 1 egg, parsley, cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup bread crumbs, to taste, and mix well. Gently fold in the crabmeat.

Form the mixture into 8 patties, about 1/2-inch thick. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs with the Parmesan. Pat this topping onto both sides of the patties. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Using a skillet, combine the oil and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the crab cakes in the hot oil-butter mixture for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. These crab cakes can also be baked for 7 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree F oven.

To serve, spoon a dollop of the lemon dill sauce along side each crab cake.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pasta Carbonara...and a plug

In an effort to try and take some pressure off of me this week, I focused on making easy meals this week. I am doing a romantic dinner for two for a client and its takes a lot of planning and list making to ensure I have everything covered and make it a great experience. I even set up my table today to play with the layout, so no we don't always eat with a formal table :) I am trying to plan our household menus better lately and make less trips to the store. I almost always have what I need to make carbonara so tonight was a perfect excuse! I guess I should technically call this rotini carbonara because thats the only type of pasta I had on had today but it worked out beautifully! I mixed a few recipes together to balance. The cooking light recipe was just a tad too..well, light. Tyler Florence had a wonderful recipe on but it was too...wonderful. This one tasted great and we didn't miss any of the indulgency that is carbonara.

Rotini Carbonara

8oz rotini pasta
4 slices of bacon
clove of garlic chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup of parmasan cheese plus more for serving
Fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, trim back with kitchen shears into large sauce pan and cook until crisp. Remove from heat and add garlic.
In a small bowl whisk eggs and cheese together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. When pasta is al dente, drain and put into pan with bacon and garlic. Mix to coat pasta. While pasta is still hot, pour egg and cheese mixture into pasta and stir for a minute to cook the egg. Serve immediately and garnish with extra cheese and parsley!