Monday, 30 April 2012

ROTW, Week 16: Crab Cakes with Spicy Black Bean and Corn Relish

I feel like this project is starting to look sad.  The truth is that every week, I am excited to make a new recipe, and then get swamped before I can post it.  Some weeks, I have multiple new recipes to choose from..... and I still don't post.

So!  Here is this week's recipe:  Crab Cakes (WITHOUT MAYO.) and a spicy black bean, corn, and tomato relish to go with. We served it with grilled asparagus too, for extra-fancy.

For the Crab Cakes:

~1 cup crab meat, carefully picked through for shells/cartilage.  We use the Bumblebee tinned fancy crab from Costco, because it's good stuff.
1 shallot, minced
1/2cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
salt and pepper, pinch each
1 teaspoon parsley, dried (or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh)
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
juice and zest of half a lemon
1/2 cup flour, for dusting
2 tablespoons butter, for cooking

For the relish
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup roasted corn kernels
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon habenero/Tabasco type sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

To make the crab cakes, combine the ingredients except flour and butter into a bowl, and let mingle for 30 minutes while the bread crumbs soak up the liquid.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Form the mixture into balls, then roll in the flour.  Place the balls in the saucepan, then flatten with a spatula, keeping the crab mixture as contained and cohesive as possible.  Flip after about 4 minutes, when the cake should be nicely held together, and cook each side until golden brown.

For the relish: stir the ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly - if you are nervous about spicy, only add half the hot sauce and see how you like the flavor.

To serve, spoon some relish out onto your plate and place the crab cake on top.  Garnish with additional lemon for extra deliciousness. Serve with a side salad or some grilled veggies.

Ezio says Happy Monday.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Chicago Trip: Part 1

This weekend, I was lucky enough to head back to Chicago for a visit.  I planned the trip around attending a photography workshop from the talented and super-nice Christy Tyler (and it definitely did not disappoint.)  More about the workshop soon, because I am still trying to come up with a good way to convey how awesome it was, what it really meant to me, and where I go from here.

A couple of snapshots from the evening of my arrival, and my first morning:

1. Nice sunset on the plane, on my way in.  When am I going to figure out that shots from the window of an airplane never end up looking all that awesome?

2.  The "L" stop where my friend was nice enough to pick me up.  Loved the signage, and wanted to try out the new superfast lens (and test the limits of my ISO on the new body.  I was impressed.)

3.  Mr Wiggles does indeed still travel with me.  Also, look at this beautiful rimlight!  From before I had even been taught about rimlight!

4.  My trusty companion the Starbucks cup.

5.  These awnings were interesting, and kept spinning like pinwheels, each hitting the others and forcing them into motion.

6.  This big guy was just waiting for his owner to come back with a latte....

7. While this guy made me laugh watching his totally indifferent expressions.

8.  Went to a great little place with Kiley for lunch, to meet up with Danielle, Brian, Carrie, and baby Ginny!  Photos of cute-as-a-button Ginny-bug ( as her adoring dad calls her) tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

ROTW, Week 15: Potato Gratin with Fresh Herbs

Ok guys.  Officially a failure on this one.  However, big changes are on the horizon for this space, and I am excited.  If all goes well, I'll be back tomorrow to tell you more about it.

This week (technically  last week now?), you get no photo, because the photo I took was gross and looked like potato salad.  Just trust me on this one, it was good.

Potato Gratin with Fresh Herbs

1 lb red baby potatoes
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2.5 cups milk (if this seems like a weird amount...I will admit I didn't measure.  I'm guessing.)
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (or cheddar works well too.  Gruyere is more subtle.)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Carefully slice the potatoes thinly using a mandolin or a good sharp knife.  Arrange in an oven-proof casserole.

On the stove in a medium saucepan, make the roux by melting butter over medium heat, and stirring in the flour.  Cook until the roux is golden, then stir in the milk and whisk to remove any lumps.  Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened.  At this point, remove from the heat stir in your chopped herbs and grated cheese until the cheese is well blended into the sauce.  Pour over the sliced potatoes, stirring the slices to coat if necessary, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is beautifully golden brown, and the potatoes are tender.

Perfect as a side dish with grilled or roasted meat, or fish.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

ROTW, Week 14: Scallops Provencal

Yeah yeah, I am aware that this is going up at 10:45 on a Sunday.  Still counts as this week.

Scallops Provencal
Recipe from Ina Garten

MADE THIS EXACTLY FOLLOWING THE RECIPE.  For once.  And it was delish.  I mean come on, scallops, butter, shallots, white wine, lemon...what is not to love here?

  • 1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, cut in 1/2

If you're using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you're using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

ROTW, Week 13: Pregnancy (OK Fine, Cobb) Salad

I've got some big news for you guys.

I had a salad the other day that I actually enjoyed, AND it was lettuce based.  No I'm not pregnant, don't be ridiculous (but I thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone had suspicions after reading this ingredients list.)

Makes two salads:
Arugula or other lettuce as salad base
2 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into slices
2-3 inches bacon cut from frozen bacon package
2 cups brussel sprouts, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 avocado, cut into cubes
1 juice of one lemon
olive oil

Cook the bacon in a saute pan, rendering the fat and getting the bacon nice and crunchy.  Remove the bacon from the pan, and cook your brussel sprouts, cut-face down, in the remaining bacon fat for about 15 minutes with the lid on, or until beautifully browned and steamed through.

Assemble your salad with as many of the above ingredients as you would like.  My only regret is not serving this with toast.

Happy birthday Mom!!  29 years young again today :)

**Completely forgot about the asparagus.  Always top a salad with grilled asparagus, is pretty much my rule of thumb. Grill it up with the chicken, and slice it into bitesize pieces on the bias (diagonally) for some extra fancy appearance.**

*** I have gotten a lot of familial nagging, saying that this salad is a classic California Cobb salad and I am a little crazy for thinking it is at all unusual.  In rebuttal: BRUSSEL SPROUTS.  Also, I voluntarily ate something made primarily of leaves.  I thought it was unusual.  Oh well - you don't like the name, call it something else.  Just make it, because its delicious.***

Sunday, 1 April 2012

ROTW, Week 12: Schnitzel with Mushroom and Arugula Noodles

A tasty meal that actually doesn't involve quite as much crazy prep as the rest of my recipes.  Granted this is not the first time I've made schnitzel, but the pasta is new, and I thought I'd share both recipes.

Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom and Arugula Noodles

for the schnitzel
4 thin cut pork chops, pounded very thin (to 1/8" thickness is preferable.)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
Pinch each salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter

for the noodles
2 cups ish egg noodles
1 cup chopped mushrooms
large handful of arugula
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine
4 tbsp chevre
salt and pepper to taste

To make the schnitzel:  Coat the chops by first dredging them in flour with salt and pepper, then in egg, then finally with the breadcrumbs.  Melt butter in a frying pan and cook the chops over high heat.  Try not to burn the breadcrumbs as much as I did above.  The thin chops will cook in the same amount of time it takes to brown the crust, about 2 minutes each side.  When the chops are cooked, set aside on a plate covered with paper towel to drain, and keep warm while you make the pasta.

Boil water for the egg noodles and cook according to directions on package (7-9 minutes).  In your schnitzel pan, add garlic and mushrooms and cook over medium high heat until the mushrooms have started to brown nicely. If you happen to be making the noodles on their own, or the butter was completely absorbed in cooking the schnitzel, melt about 1tbsp butter for the garlic and mushrooms.  Once the mushrooms are browned, add the white wine and goats cheese, stirring to incorporate the cheese as it melts.  Add the arugula and allow it to wilt, then toss with the cooked egg noodles.

Serve together nice and hot.

*camera battery found!  My life can now return to its normal level of documentation.*