Monday, June 13, 2011

Maryland Crab Cakes

It's been a long time since I've cooked something American (or actually, photographed something while cooking American, because I had Jambalaya this week and BYOB recently too), so I finally decided to make crab cakes. I've been wanting to make these for ages, but thought I couldn't get crab meat here in Holland. But then it occured to me, that while they don't sell fresh crab meat at the supermarket, I could probably get it in can! So I did :)

I found an interesting recipe of Maryland crab cakes on Epicurious, which is a great foodie-website. They have a series of 80 dishes from all around the world, including 8 in the USA. One of them is crab cakes from Maryland. Traditionally, blue crabs are used, as they can be found in the Chesapeake Bay, but of course I couldn't get hold of those.

I also learned the difference between 'boardwalk' crab cakes and 'restaurant' crab cakes, the former being deep fried and often stuffed with various fillings. The latter is a more sophisticated, gourmet version and is generally served on a platter or open faced sandwich.

Now I don't know how traditional the crab cakes I made are, but here is the recipe (copied from Epicurious):

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over
  • 2 cups fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a bowl whisk together the butter, the eggs, the sour cream, the parsley, the lemon juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the paprika, the salt, and the cayenne and stir in the crab meat and the bread crumbs gently. Form 1/2-cup measures of the mixture into twelve 3/4-inch-thick cakes and transfer the crab cakes as they are formed to a baking sheet sprinkled with half the cornmeal. Sprinkle the crab cakes with the remaining cornmeal and chill them, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
In a large heavy skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it sauté the crab cakes in batches, turning them once, for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, transferring them as they are cooked to paper towels to drain. Keep the crab cakes warm on another baking sheet in a 200°F. oven. Serve the crab cakes with the tarragon tartar sauce and the lemon wedges.

I apologize for being lazy and copying the article, but I thought I'd rather show you some photos of my preparations (and there's a great video on the website too, check it out!). I halved the recipe, by the way, and still got eight crab cakes out of it.

The mixture

Fried in my special America frying pan (gift from Larissa, of course, IKEA!)

Frying the crab cakes

Eight crab cakes, and homemade Roseval potato fries

Served with lemon wedges (but missing the tartar sauce)

I did like this recipe, however, the crab cakes tasted a bit bland. I would therefore recommend additional seasoning or maybe a chopped spring onion as a filler. 

And lastly, I hope to be tasting the 'real thing' in Maryland some time soon, hopefully next year! I would love to visit Maryland, it's on top of my wanting-to-visit states!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bar Harbor Mix Cookies (Cranberry & Chocolate)

Long time, no cookin'!

Haven't gotten around to do much cooking lately, but since I have the time now, I figured I start again with some cookies. I was craving cookies earlier today, but didn't have any butter at home. After a bit of googling, I found several recipes using vegetable oil instead of butter, so I figured I'd give it a try. And..I've also used a secret ingredient of mine, yoghurt! It adds a little bit of a tangy flavor without making it sour.

For these cookies I've used Back to Nature Bar Harbor Mix, which I bought in New York a few weeks ago.

It's a great mix of cranberries, vanilla almonds and dark chocolate coated almonds. I actually wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, but didn't have those at home, so this seemed like a good alternative. Even better maybe!

Here's the recipe:


2 eggs
2,5 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons yoghurt
Few tablespoons of oatmeal
1 1/2 cups of Bar Harbor mix, or a mixture of cranberries, almonds and chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius (375 F)

Beat the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl and mix with a fork or electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla and mix in thoroughly. Add the flour, baking powder, oatmeal and salt and mix at low speed.

Stir in the Bar Harbor mix, drip the yoghurt over the dough and mix.

Make little drops of dough using a spoon on a baking tray lined with foil. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

The cookies will be a lot bigger than before and are crispy on the outside, but really fluffy on the inside.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Savory Southern Snack: Hush Puppies

I've made them before but that was before this blog existed. So last weekend on 31st December 2010, when all of Holland was frying our traditional 'oil balls', I was in for a more savory Souther snack: Hush Puppies.

Now as you may know, I don't really use traditional recipes or measure anything. I just cook by my gut-feeling. But if I were to give measurements, I would say this is the recipe to stick to:

1 cup white flour
1 cup cornmeal (or polenta)
2 eggs, beaten
1 onion, diced
Some salt, pepper, paprika (powder), onion powder and garlic powder
A bottle of sunflower oil for frying

Heat the sunflower oil in a small pot. Be careful if you are not using a deep frying pan. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Once oil is hot enough (you can test this by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil; if the oil starts bubbling it is ready) spoon little drops of the batter into the oil. You can use a tablespoon for larger hush puppies or a teaspoon for smaller drops.

When the hush puppies are golden brown, remove them from the pot with a spoon and let rest on a plate with kitchen towel to absorb the grease. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper.

Best served when hot.

A Very Yummy Thanksgiving

I know, I know. Thanksgiving was in November, not January. On Thanksgiving I cooked myself a lovely meal, but I just never got around to writing it down in this blog. Hence, I hereby present: The belated very yummy Thanksgiving meal and blog!

In anticipation of Thanksgiving I assigned my students (the cute 12 year olds) the task to write a report on the American celebration. As their English is still insufficient, most of them had directly copied the information from Wikipedia (which I was fine with, by the way, I did not expect them to be able to write a full report after three months of English), but some reports were very interesting (bits about pilgrims, turkey and even Black Friday) and full of nice imagery of the holiday.

For my own Thanksgiving dinner I prepared turkey breast with cranberry sauce, caramelised onions, chestnut and orange stuffing and mashed potatoes.

It was very yummy indeed!

Happy Thanksgiving!