Monday, November 11, 2019

Crunchy Crab Cakes

Are you a crab cake lover?  If you are, this crab cake recipe will float your boat!

Crab cakes are one of those things I have typically reserved for a treat when I eat out.  When I go to a restaurant I like to order something I don't make for myself at home.  Crab cakes aren't hard to make at home but finding the lump crab meat to use in the recipe has been more of a challenge than I like when cooking at home.

Crunchy Crab Cakes

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Delicious Crunchy Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes
I found a local grocery store that is stocking the canned lump crab meat on a regular basis.  I was also able to get a can at my local BJ's last week.  That means I can now make these delicious crab cakes at home and have them any time I desire.

I like to make a batch of these crab cakes for the freezer.  That way they become a quick, easy, delicious dinner any day of the week. Stocking your freezer with crab cakes is easy.  You'll find the directions I follow in the recipe below.

Crunchy Cakes
You can make larger crab cakes for dinner-sized portions or smaller crab cakes for appetizers.  Wouldn't these wow your guests for the holidays? I divide the mixture into eight potions when making dinner-sized crab cakes and twelve portions for appetizer crab cakes.

I also like to serve my crab cakes with spicy sriracha mayo.   Just add as much sriracha sauce to your favorite mayonnaise as you like to get the level of heat you prefer.  Yummy!


Crab Cakes Recipe


Printer Friendly Recipe
For the Crab Cakes
Easy Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes Before Baking

  • 1 tbsp. butter and a touch of olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay crab boil seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 lb. lump crab meat (I use canned lump crab meat)


Topping:

  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter


Directions
Saute vegetables in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the Old Bay seasoning, half and half, and mustard to the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Set aside to cool.

Add the egg, parsley and bread crumbs, mixing well. Gently fold in the crab. Divide the mixture into eight or twelve equal amounts. I make eight crab cakes when I am making dinner-sized portions. Form into patties with the palms of your hands.

Stir together the bread crumbs, oil, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Pat topping onto both sides of the crabcakes and place them onto a greased cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

You can freeze your crab cakes at this point.  Just wrap each crab cake in plastic wrap and then place the wrapped cakes in a zipper closure plastic bag for freezing. There is no need to thaw your crab cakes before baking them.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven and bake at 425ยบ for 10 - 13 minutes. Frozen crab cakes will take about twenty minutes to bake. Serve with sriracha mayo.

Kitchen Essentials for This Recipe



Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Butternut Squash Soup with a Little Heat

Butternut squash soup is usually the first soup I make as the weather turns chilly here in New England. I love it.  I love the color of butternut squash soup.  It screams fall to me.  I love the texture of butternut squash soup because it is perfect for dipping a slice of warm crusty bread.  Most of all, I love that this soup is easy to make.

Today's recipe makes a butternut squash soup with a little heat.  The heat comes from the addition of jalapeno peppers as one of the vegetables in the soup.  I use two jalapeno peppers when I make this soup.  Use only one if you want just a hint of heat.  Yes, you can leave the jalapeno peppers out of the soup altogether and still have a yummy soup.

Butternut Squash Soup with Jalapeno Peppers

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Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash is one of the easiest soups you'll ever make.  The hardest part is cutting up the butternut squash but you can get around that by buying the squash already cut into cubes. If you do buy a whole butternut squash be sure to have a good knife on hand.  I prefer to use a santoku knife. I'm including an Amazon link to the one I like below.


Butternut Squash Soup with Jalapeno Peppers
This soup has three steps.  First, you'll cut the vegetables and place them on a pan for roasting. Second, the vegetables will roast in your oven for thirty to forty minutes while you go about your busy life.  Third, you'll puree the vegetables and mix them with chicken stock. Voila! You have a yummy soup.

You will need a kitchen tool for pureeing the vegetables.  I prefer to use a food processor or an immersion blender.  Choose the tool you like best. Just be sure to cool the vegetables a bit before pureeing.



Butternut Squash Soup with Heat


Vegetables for Butternut Squash Soup


2 pounds butternut squash, cubed
1 medium onion, chunked
2 seeded jalapeno peppers, red ones work best
1 rib of celery, chunks
2 large cloves of garlic
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
honey, to taste




Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the vegetables and place them in a bowl.  Toss the vegetables with the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Place the vegetables on a sheet pan.  Roast the vegetables for thirty to 40 minutes, until they are soft but not browned.

Cool the vegetables for about fifteen minutes.  Place half of the vegetables in the bowl of a food processor with about one cup of chicken stock.  Puree the vegetables with the stock until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to your soup pot.  Repeat with the remaining vegetables and another cup of stock.  Add the pureed mixture and the rest of the chicken stock to the soup pot.

Heat the soup over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon or two of honey to get the level of sweetness you desire.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

I love to serve my soup with some crusty bread for dipping in the soup.  So yummy!


Kitchen Essentials
Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Killer Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Ginger

This cranberry sauce recipe is just in time for your Thanksgiving meal planning. With just four simple ingredients you'll have a festive and delicious side to add to your holiday dinner.

Cranberry sauce is a funny thing.  Do you prefer chunky or jellied? Ask folks and they will have a definite preference.  The response seems to be related to whichever is served at their family's traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  In my family it was always jellied cranberry sauce, sliced perfectly.  It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.  As a matter of fact, I always refused to eat chunky cranberry sauce, not being able to fathom how I could possibly enjoy chunks in my cranberry sauce.

A Delicious Fresh Cranberry Sauce


Killer Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Ginger
Killer Cranberry Sauce

I'm evidence that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  Yes, sirree.  Several years ago, I decided to step out of my comfort zone by making a chunky cranberry sauce.

Chunky Cranberry Sauce
One bite of this cranberry sauce and I became a lover of chunky cranberry sauce.  The orange and ginger will hook you.  Oh, we still serve the jellied kind at my house, but now there is a choice of either or both.  It's the best of both worlds.

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
Four Simple Ingredients

Killer Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 navel orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, optional

Directions
Grate the zest of the orange and add to a pot with the sugar and the ginger.  Juice the orange and add the juice to the pot with the sugar.

Simmer the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the cranberries and cook until the cranberries pop.  That usually takes about five minutes.  Add the pecans, if desired, and cool.   I chose not to add nuts to this batch of cranberry sauce.

Cooking Cranberries
Cook until the Cranberries Pop
Of course, this makes the perfect accompaniment for your Thanksgiving dinner, but it can also be enjoyed beyond your Thanksgiving dinner.

Some ideas for using your cranberry sauce:
  • Spoon warm sauce over vanilla ice cream, or mix in with plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt for a tasty dessert. 
  • Jazz up your deli turkey.  Make a sandwich using the cranberry sauce as your sandwich spread.   
  • Mix 1/4 cup in with your morning oatmeal to put some zip in your morning.
Go ahead and make some of this yummy cranberry sauce today.  You will love it!

It's time to stock up on some kitchen essentials for holiday food preparation,




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Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Apple Crisp-A Classic Fall Dessert

Apple crisp is a homey, comfort food that has always been a family favorite recipe.  It may very well be my favorite fall dessert of all.  There is no better dessert to serve when the crisp, fragrant apples of fall are abundantly available.

My apple crisp is a bit different from the apple crisp you may know because the crumble topping is not made with oatmeal.  Instead of oatmeal, I make a topping mixture of butter, sugar, and flour. 

My All-Time Favorite Apple Crisp Recipe

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A classic apple crisp
Classic Apple Crisp
Pin this Apple Crisp recipe for later.

So, how do I make my apple crisp's crumble topping?  It is a simple mixture of flour, sugar, and butter mixed together with my fingers to make the crumbles.  As the crisp bakes, the topping becomes golden brown, crunchy and in my opinion, perfect.  Serve this apple crisp warm with vanilla ice cream and you'll have a classic family dessert.

Apple crisp is perfect this time of year.  Whether you have been apple picking or are just selecting from the abundant supply of fresh apples you find in the grocery store, fresh apples make this dessert a family favorite.  Any favorite apple will be perfect in this apple crisp.  I prefer Courtland apples because they have just the right mix of sweet and tart flavor I love.

Do you think it will be too much trouble to peel the apples?  Do you think you need a special machine to get it done?  No, you don't need a special machine.  All you need is a vegetable peeler or a paring knife.  Peeling apples is very easy.  I show you just how easy it is to peel apples in this video about making apple sauce.

Classic Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

Printer Friendly Recipe
Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp
Serves six-eight
  • 6-8 apples, a mixture of crisp, fragrant varieties
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter


Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a deep-dish pie pan.  Pare and slice the apples into the pan.  You'll want the apples to create a high mound in the pan.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples.  Combine the cinnamon, salt, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Pour the water over the mixture.

To make the crumble topping, combine one cup of granulated sugar, flour, and butter together in a medium bowl.  Using your fingers, squeeze the ingredients together and toss them to create a well combined, crumbly mixture.

Spread the topping over the apples.  Bake on the center rack of your oven for 45-50 minutes until the topping is browned and crunchy.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Kitchen Essentials for This Recipe

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Enjoy!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

How to Make Food Processor Pie Crust


Today I'm making an asparagus quiche for dinner.  I often hear people debating whether to make or buy their pie dough. Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat with this post.   You don't have to be an expert to make pie crust.  I know from talking with friends, family, and co-workers year after year, that making pie crust fills more people than not with dread and fear.  The same used to be true with me.

Four Easy Steps to Making Pie Dough with a Food Processor

Making Pie Crust with a Food Processor.
Making Food Processor Pie Dough


Making pie dough is not rocket science.  A simple combination of flour, fat, salt, sugar, and water magically comes together to create the foundation for a delectable filling.  What's so hard about that? Well, it seems that far too many of us overwork our dough.  Too much handling of the dough makes it tough.  Others of us add either too much water or too little water.  Still others of us don't keep our ingredients chilled. Wow, there sure is a lot we can do wrong with so few ingredients!
How to Make Food Processor Pie Dough

Enter the food processor.  Before using the food processor,  I cut the shortening and butter into my flour mixture with a pastry cutter.  Do you have one of these?

A Pastry Cutter
My Trusty Pastry Cutter
I know, the pastry cutter itself is enough reason to run screaming from the kitchen!  Luckily, I discovered the food processor for making pie dough and with it, fear gave way to confidence.  I still have this pastry cutter, but it has been relegated to a box with seldom-used kitchen tools in the back of a kitchen cabinet.

Making pie dough with a food processor is a quick and easy four-step process:
  • Step 1:  Mix the dry ingredients with the fat
  • Step 2:  Add the water
  • Step 3:  Chill the dough
  • Step 4:   Roll the dough
Simple, right?  Let's make some pie crust!

A few simple ingredients are used to make pie dough.
Make Pie Dough with Few Simple Ingredients

Food Processor Pie Crust

Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes 2, 9-inch pie crusts

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar (leave out for savory pies like quiche)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • Ice water

Directions

Mix (pulse) the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor.  Cut the cold butter and shortening into small chunks and add them to the flour mixture.

Keep butter and shortening cold.
Keep Your Butter, Shortening, and Water Ice Cold


Pulse about seven or eight times, until the butter and shortening are well distributed and in small pieces.

The butter and shortening will make pieces resembling peas.
The Butter and Flour Combined

Continue to pulse, adding 1/3 cup of the ice water.  The dough will begin to clump together.  If still too dry, add more ice water one teaspoon at a time.  Once the mixture holds together you are done. 

Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap.  Divide the dough into two pieces.  Don't handle the dough too much or you'll be sorry.  Flatten the dough into disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate them to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

Disks of Pie Dough
Disks of Pie Dough Wrapped in Plastic Wrap

When ready to roll out your dough, begin by generously flouring your workspace, using at least 1/4 cup of flour.  Unwrap your disk of dough and place it onto the flour.  Turn the dough over being sure both sides of the dough are floured.  Rub flour onto your rolling pin and begin rolling away from you and turning the dough clockwise, after every few rolls of the pin.  Keep rolling until your dough is about an inch larger than your pie plate.

Rolling out the Pie Dough
The Dough is Larger than the Pie Plate

Fold the dough in half and lift it over the pie plate.

How to place the dough into the pie plate.
Placing the Dough into the Pie Plate

Fit the dough into position in the pie plate and crimp the edges.  If making a single crust pie, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before filling or prebaking.  If making a double-crust pie, roll out the top crust, fill the bottom crust, cover the pie with the top crust and chill for 30 minutes.  Bake according to your recipe directions.

A pie dough ready for baking.
A Single Crust Ready for Baking
If you own a food processor go ahead and use it to make your pie dough.  It helps take the fear away and the debate you have with yourself about whether to buy or make yourself will be over.  No need to buy pie dough again.

Here's my recipe for Asparagus Quiche.

Apple Pie with Food Processor Pie Crust
Apple Pie with Easy Food Processor Pie Crust


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Enjoy!