Bringing Back Childhood Memories with Maryland Crab Cakes

One of my fondest memories as a child is going down to Ocean City, Maryland for vacation. We’d go there every summer and stay down there for a week playing in the surf, sun, and sand. It meant something a little different to my Dad and Grandmother though. It meant that they would get to go to Phillips Crab House for All-You-Can-Eat Crabs. My Mom would take my sister and I to the boardwalk for some fun & games. She wasn’t a fan of crabs, and my sister and I were too young to go with my Dad and Grandmother to sit there for hours on end to clean and eat crabs. You know how kids are – they get ants in their pants! I wouldn’t have been able to sit still for that long! However, we grew up to love crabs just like my Dad. It used to be a summer ritual to get a bushel of crabs and a case of beer and sit there for hours and clean/eat the crabs. My Mom was happy with some steamed shrimp (which we had with this meal too!)

I love anything with crab meat in it – dip, fried rice, pasta, macaroni & cheese, etc. One of my favorite things has to be Maryland Crab Cakes. I just can’t get enough of them. I love the large pieces of lump crab meat in that little cake that packs so much flavor.  I’ve been making a simple recipe for years and it never disappoints.

{Adapted from this Chicken of the Sea recipe}

  • 1 16 oz can Lump Pasteurized Crab Meat
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (although I’ve been known to use Penzeys Shrimp & Crab Boil Spices)
  • 1/3 cup scallions
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter

Before we start, you have to take a look at this beautiful crab meat. I mean seriously. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Okay, fine. We’ll get started! In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except crab meat, panko bread crumbs, butter and oil; blend well.


Gently fold in crab meat.

Add in panko bread crumbs, and if necessary, add more if the mixture seems too wet.

 

Using a 1/4 measuring cup, divide mixture into 8 portions. Shape cakes into 2 1/2 x 1/2-inch cakes. I usually always end up with a different number than they say I should have. It’s the same way when I’m making cupcakes. I never end up with 24. Never.  So I think I got about 11 crab cakes when I made them this time. It all depends on how full you fill the measuring cup.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add in the butter and gently add the crab cakes; fry each side until deep golden brown (about 4 to 5 minutes per side).

Drain on paper towels.

Serve!

Skinnytaste’s Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon

Since we live in apartment in the city, we don’t have a grill. This kind of makes me sad because I loved grilling when we owned a house in the suburbs. I had this awesome grill and I used it all of the time.  Now I have to rely on my Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler when I want to “grill” something. And I gotta tell ya; as much as I love that thing, it’s just not the same. But I got that sucker out when I wanted to make Skinnytaste’s Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon. Now I’m not much of a Salmon person, but I gotta tell you that when I saw her post on it she made me want to try it.

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Tilapia with Soy Sauce and Mandarin Orange Scallion Rice

One of my favorite healthy meals is one that I got out of a Clean Eating Magazine years ago. I don’t recall which issue it was in, but it’s definitely a favorite in our house.  It’s Tilapia with Soy Sauce and Pineapple Scallion Rice. I love love love it. So I wanted to try a different variation – Tilapia with Soy Sauce and Mandarin Orange Scallion Rice. And let me tell you – it came out so good!  I was very happy with it. I’m going to post the recipe for the dish with the Mandarin Oranges, but if you want to make the Pineapple version, just use Pineapples in place of the Oranges.

(Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine)

INGREDIENTS

  • Steamed Jasmine Rice (or Brown Rice)
  • 4  Tilapia fillets (I’ve used fresh and frozen – either works!)
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium Soy sauce
  • 1 8 oz can no sugar added Mandarin Oranges; drained and juice reserved
  • 1 Tablespoon packed Brown Sugar
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Place Tilapia fillets in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  In a small bowl combine soy sauce with three tablespoons Mandarin Orange juice, pour over tilapia.  (Note: I like to double the sauce because I love the sauce drizzled on top of the rice!)  Season with pepper, to taste. Bake 15 minutes, until cooked through. It should flake easily with a fork.

While the Tilapia is cooking, coat a skillet with cooking spray (or a tiny bit of olive oil) and heat on medium low. Add the scallions to the skillet (reserving 2 tablespoons of scallions for garnish) and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the Mandarin Oranges and cook for a few minutes.    Fold the Scallion Mandarin Orange mixture into your steamed rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mound one cup rice onto each plate. Place a tilapia fillet off  over each mound of rice. Drizzle pan juices over fillets and garnish with reserved scallions.

 

The original recipe didn’t call for the brown sugar; I added that in myself and I loved the little bit of sweetness that it brought to the dish.  So you can feel free to add it in or leave it out.

Souper Bowl Sunday [’11] ~ Week Two ~ Shrimp Bisque

This weekend actually felt like Fall, which is always a bonus in my book! I loved being able to have the air conditioning turned off, and the windows open. This week’s Souper Bowl Sunday recipe is a Shrimp Bisque recipe from Tyler Florence.  I love seafood, and a nice creamy soup, so I thought this was the perfect recipe to try!

 

  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into big chunks
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated orange zest, for garnish
  • Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish

 

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter into it.

Add Olive Oil and then Butter

Then add the shrimp shells, the leeks, celery, carrots, 3 sprigs thyme, the bay leaf, orange zest, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir it all together

Take the pot off the heat and carefully pour in the brandy. Ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match and let burn until the flame subsides.

Add Brandy

Return the pot to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, give it a stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add water to cover and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

Add Water (or Seafood Stock)

Add the cream and bring to a boil.

Bring Cream to a boil

Immediately turn the heat down to low and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened

Strain into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper.

Strain the Bisque – nice & smooth!

Chop the shrimp. Return the bisque to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes just to cook the shrimp through. Give the bisque a final taste for seasoning, pour it into warmed soup bowls and serve garnished with the orange zest and chives.

 

I usually make some sort of change to the recipe, and this was no exception. Except that this time I only made two changes! I usually change up a bunch of things, but I really like the way this recipe was written. One change that I made had to do with the cream. It calls for 4 cups of heavy cream. I decided to use 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of light cream. I’ve had luck in the past with making this change, so I figured I’d try it out here. The second thing I did differently had to do with the water that you add. I added some seafood stock (made with Penzeys Seafood Soup Base)  in place of the water because I figured it would give that extra depth. I ended up adding in 1 1/2 cups, and that seemed to work out well.

I really loved the flavor that the orange zest gave it. It was very subtle, but it added a lot of flavor, if that makes any sense. I definitely wouldn’t skip that part. At first I thought it sounded kind of odd, but I wanted to try it. And I’m so glad that I did. I loved it. This Shrimp Bisque really was delicious. I loved how creamy and flavorful it was. I would say the biggest pain in the butt was straining the soup, but it’s something that really has to be done. It’s not difficult to do, it’s just a little time consuming. But it’s definitely worth it in the end.

I want to try this recipe but doing a Lobster Bisque. I’ll definitely share it with you all when I do.

Souper Bowl Sunday – Week 9

Yesterday’s soup was based off of a recipe called Christmas Chowder that I saw on the Food Network’s web site.  For some reason I’ve been on a huge seafood kick (I blame Cooking Light for publishing that Lobster Risotto recipe, lol) so we have another seafood recipe to enter into the books. I made a number of changes to it so I am just going to post my recipe. You can see the recipe I based it off of by clicking the link above.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lobster tail, approximately 1 pound
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, shells still on
  • 1/2 pound (or more if you desire) king crab legs
  • 1/2 pound of lump crab meat
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces high-quality smoked slab bacon, diced
  • 3 medium leeks, white part only, rinsed and diced
  • 5 cups of seafood stock (recipe below)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt, for seasoning
  • Old Bay seasoning (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives

DIRECTIONS:

Seafood Stock:

Peel the shrimp and put the shells in a large stock pot. Set the shrimp aside. Pick all of the meat out of the king crab legs and place the shells in the stock pot. Set the crab meat aside. If you haven’t cooked the Lobster yet, cook the lobster, let it cool, and then take all of the meat out of the shell; set aside. Break the lobster shell into smaller pieces and throw into the stock pot. Add in about a cup of dry white wine, a few chopped carrots, onions, peppercorns, salt and 5-6 cups of water.  I simmered this for about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Strain the stock through a cheese cloth. If you don’t have a cheese cloth, use the finest strainer you have. Once you are done straining, there may be some sediment in the bottom of the stock. I just used a ladle to transfer it in a measuring glass so that the sediment would stay at the bottom.

Seafood Chowder:

In a large dutch oven, cook the diced bacon over moderate heat until golden and nearly crisp.  Add the diced leeks to the bacon fat, stir, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add in the 5 cups of seafood stock and continue cooking over moderate heat for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir, cover the pot, and continue cooking, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending upon the potato variety and the thickness of the slices. Keep the chowder base hot as you prepare the lobster meat and cream mixture.

Heat the butter in a wide skillet. Add the lobster meat, crab meat and shrimp. Season with black pepper, and saute over moderate heat 3 or 4 minutes until the meat is firm, opaque, and pink. Pour in the heavy cream, and rapidly bring it to a simmer. Pour the lobster and cream mixture into the chowder base, and stir gently to combine. Taste for seasonings, and adjust with  sea salt,  black pepper, and old bay seasoning. Garnish with chives.

If the soup isn’t thick enough, you may want to add a corn starch + water mixture to the soup so that it thickens up.

I thought this soup was good. I wish it was a bit creamier, but it was still very good. Next time I’ll probably play around with it some more to make it more creamier. I loved the flavor that the smoked bacon gave it.  There was so much seafood in this chowder that each bite was loaded with crab, lobster and shrimp. Perfect for seafood lovers!