Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Two of my fellow food loving girlfriends and I decided that girls night should involve some effort on our parts. A month or so ago, we did Sunday brunch/lunch on Newbury at Joe’s American Bar & Grill, inspired by Marcia’s new found love of crab cakes. The crab cakes had large meaty lumps of crab, a little spicy kick, and were served over a fresh bed of mixed greens. Moral of the story, they were delicious, particularly when paired with a nice crisp white wine. Since then, I’ve played around with some crab cake recipes and realized how easy and quick crab cakes are to make, considering how fancy they can be.
It made a lot of sense to kick off our first girls night dinner with lump crab cakes and a nice bottle of vino.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, lemon juice, Old Bay, S&P. Fold in the crab meat and parsley, taking care not to break up the lumps of crab. Add the cracker crumbs 1/4 cup at a time and combine. Continue to add the crumbs until the mixture begins to just stay packed together.
With wet hands, start making small crab cake patties. Do not pack too firmly, but just enough for the cakes to hold their shape.
Place the cakes on a large baking sheet, lightly covered with the olive oil spray. Refrigerate for at least a half an hour before cooking.
Set oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven. After 4 minutes of cooking, flip the cakes gently with a spatula and your hands taking care not to break apart the cakes. Cook another 3 minutes or until golden. Serve with lemon and some spicy mayo (Sriracha and mayo).
Kate and Marcia did most of the hard work, lucky for me. All I had to do was flip the crab cakes and eat them… not that I’m complaining. At the end of our meal, Marcia claimed these crab cakes were in fact BETTER than the ones we had on Newbury Street. How about them apples, Joe? I just love how easy they are to make and the fact that leftovers are delicious in a no fuss sandwich.
After the whirlwind I like to call the Holiday season, it’s wonderful to be nestled in and take the time to plan out a home cooked meal. For those of us still in the spirit of gift giving (like me), why not give the gift of delicious food, particularly food that’s wrapped in parchment. Some recipients might not realize, but for me the best gift I can give is food. Food is a source of nourishment for everyone, so why not make something that’s a necessity something special?
With the usual New Year resolutions of losing weight, especially now that I have a bathing suit deadline for March, I’m making every effort to eat healthier and treat my body right. One very late night, my creativity stirred me from my sleep and I drew out the following recipe for a delicate white fish in papillote.
Halibut en Papillote
The pat of butter snuck its way into my first healthy eating post! Forgive me!
One thing to note about this recipe is that the vegetables still have some bite to them after their time in the oven. If you’re interested in baby food, I’d throw them onto a sauté pan for a few minutes before placing them in your parchment parcel.
Also, I’ve recently discovered Sous Style, brought to you by the ever talented Pippa Lord (Photo Director for Elle magazine). The blog covers fashion and food, two of my biggest interests. Plus, the Male Mondays posts (like this one) are a fun way to start your week. You can thank me later.
Last weekend I enjoyed a 5 day weekend visiting NJ and NYC. In 6 of the last 8 years I’ve made the pilgrimage back to the Tri-state and got to enjoy suburban NJ Chinese food and the company of some New Yorkers to take me around town. On Thursday, I took the bus and got home in time for dinner at Shanghai Bun, which is a family favorite. The interior has gotten a huge face lift over the years, but the food is still great as always. I actually had dinner here both Thursday and Friday nights. That is how much I love this place.
Fish and Mushrooms with Wine Sauce
Fried Tofu with Fish
On Friday after working up an appetite at the gym, I finally got to try a burger place that opened up two or so years ago that a friend recommended. Frankly Burgers & More is now the burger to beat within a 30 minute drive from my house.
Frankly Burgers and More
Since it was probably the last warm weekend of the year, why not enjoy the last of the heat with some ice cream from Applegate Farms?
Pistachio and Cow Tracks
On Saturday, I woke up in Lower Manhattan and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time to eat at Grimaldi’s, which is among the most visited pizza spots in NYC by both tourists and locals. So much so that we barely made it on the first seating because a tour bus got priority seating.
Grimaldi’s Large Pizza with Sausage, Mushrooms and Ricotta
Mushrooms in Butter Sauce
Yakitori and Smoked Fish
The next day we trekked out to Queens to have Korean at Sik Gaek Chun Ha, which was featured on No Reservations. Anthony Bourdain visited with David Chang to down a huge platter of seafood and fresh octopus. Sadly, they were out of fresh octopus so we dined on a spicy seafood stir fry, seafood pancakes and pork skin. Poor us.
Pork Skin Crisping on the Grill
After this meal, we headed back to Lower Manhattan to have dinner in Chinatown to eat some Chinese fast food at Big Wong King. Think roast pork/duck over rice with some greens at those places with meat hanging from the windows. No pictures here as this type of food tends to be dumped on a plate.
Here are some pictures that capture the great weather, the great state of NJ, and the deliciousness of the weekend.
The Undirty Jerz
Thanks for the Delicous Trip NYC
In case you were wondering- 3 pounds gained over 5 days. Class.
If you’ve ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant and splurged on the pricier seafood dishes, you might have been lucky enough to have lobster with ginger and scallion. I distinctly remember that my sister never liked lobster until she had this dish. The lobster shells would always have the delicious sauce absorbed into the corn flour/cornstarch and made the dish great with white rice. Since I had a lot of scallions and ginger I decided to give this dish a try. Shaw’s also had lobster on sale for $6.99/lbs, which further convinced me that this was destiny calling.
This dish sadly also required you to chop up lobster prior to cooking. This would be my first experience cutting up fresh lobsters. I usually steam lobsters so that they’ll go without a fuss. According to multiple sites, you are suppose to put the lobster in the freezer before dismantling. I put Maude and Sue in for about 30 minutes and when I went to check them out, no movement. The next step is to stick a knife just behind the eyes, and essentially splitting their face in half. Mmmmm didn’t work. Sue definitely woke up to a knife in her head. I started to freak out and tried to put her out of her misery, but there was still movement. I felt like I was going to hell in a few minutes so once the movement stopped, I quickly moved onto Maude. I repeated process, but only faster. Maude didn’t put in much of a fight, but she still gave a little tail flapping (probably the lobster equivalent of the finger. FML.
Maude and Sue Hate Me
2, 1.25 lbs. lobsters cut into pieces
2 tbsp. cornstarch
4-5 scallion greens, cut two inches long
10 pieces of fresh ginger cut into 1 inch match sticks
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
After taking the claws off and separating the knuckles, use the back of your knife and made a couple of hacks at the claw and knuckle shells so that it’ll be easier to eat after it’s cooked. Split the tail down the middle and clean the tail of any roe or stuff from the digestive tract. Toss lobster pieces with about 2 tbsp. of cornstarch and set aside. Heat a generous amount of oil in wok and fry up lobster pieces. If you are using a smaller wok like me, fry them up in batches so that the meat doesn’t get crowded. Once shells just start turning red and meat begins turning white (about 2 minutes), drain oil from lobster and set aside. In the wok, add ginger and toss for 30 seconds. Add scallions and garlic and toss another 15-30 seconds. Add lobster back into wok and toss another 15 seconds. Add chicken stock, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, white pepper and sesame oil. Stir for another minute or so until the lobster is completely cooked. Serve with white rice or with plain noodles.
Lobster with Ginger and Scallions
Tossed with Some Udon