Category Archives: Dinner

lump crab cakes

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.

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. low fat mayo or miracle whip (you can use full fat mayo, but the three of us are going to need to be in bathing suits in a little over a month)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • a healthy squeeze of lemon juice (around 1 tsp)
  • 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, drained of liquids
  • olive oil cooking spray

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.

Wait, I have a blog?

Hi readers. Yes it’s true. I am actually suppose to contribute to this blog, and it has been over a month since my last post. Shame. Starring Michael Fassbender. A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks. I tried Burmese food, Jersey Mike’s and Bobby’s Burger Palace for the first time. I organized a holiday sweets exchange at the office. Four couples I know got engaged, and I accepted the role of groomsman. I ran more than 1 mile straight for the first time on my own free will since high school. I got my wisdom teeth pulled out. I poured boiling hot pasta water on my right index and middle fingers. I found out I would be moving onto a new client early this year. I made lemon chess pie, lobster rolls and rack of lamb for the first time. And lastly, I went to a tasting of new menu items at a friend’s restaurant.


Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Catfish Soup from Yoma


Coconut Chicken Soup


New Years Eve Hot Pot at my Sister’s


Hot Pot Protein Spread


Omni Parker House Boston Cream Pie


Homemade Lobster Rolls


Rack of Lamb with Pale Dinner Roll (from scratch) and Steamed Green Beans


Pan Seared Scallops with a White Wine Sauce and Penne with Pepperjack Cream Sauce

Food wise I still find myself day dreaming about dropping everything and going to culinary school or start planning a restaurant/food venture and getting in way over my head. I took a look at my post with last year’s food resolutions and got somewhat depressed about things I didn’t get to accomplish. So with that, here are food resolutions for 2012.

1. Make noodles and pasta from scratch (rolled over from 2011)
2. Make dumplings and spring rolls from scratch
3. Make Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Ad Hoc at Home (also rolled over from 2011)
4. New ethnic food to try: Russian
5. Meat to try: alligator
6. Fruit to try: durian
7. Dish to eat that I surprisingly never had: eggs benedict
8. Dish to make: souffle
9. Restaurants to try: Neptune Oyster, B&G Oysters
10. Additional skills to learn: properly eating a crab, scaling and breaking down a whole fish, making legit bbq ribs on a charcoal grill

What are your food resolutions for 2012?

unwrap health and happiness

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

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, julienned
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb of halibut (or other white fish) portioned into 4 filets
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 pats of butter
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Cup of dry white wine (I use Sauvignon blanc because that’s what I have in my fridge for drinking)
  • S&P to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Julienne your vegetables! If you’re lucky and have the best sister in the world, you can use your new beautiful ceramic knife that cuts anything like butter — BUTTER people!
  3. In a small bowl, combine the julienned veggies, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Salt and pepper the filet of fish.
  5. Place the fish, 1/4 of your veggie mixture, two slices of lemon, two sprigs of thyme, a pat of butter, and 1 Tbsp of wine on a large piece of square parchment. (*I wish I could artfully photograph how to properly fold a papillote, but I’ll leave that to Cook Think.  I’m no pro.  I mean, I cheated and stapled at the end of my crimping.  I can practically hear the French culinary masters cringing.)
  6. Place the four packages on a baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.
  7. Unwrap and serve over brown rice, including all of the wonderful juices left behind!


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.

NJ & NY Columbus Day Weekend

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

Wonton Soup

Soup Dumplings

Wonton Soup

Scallion Pancakes

Beef Sandwiches

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

For dinner, we had Yakitori at Village Okocho in the East Village. Much more affordable than Kushi for you folks down in DC, but ambiance suffers.


Japanese Sausage

Fried Calamari

Mushrooms in Butter Sauce

Tofu

Fried Skewers

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

Seafood Pancake

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.

slow it down at the kebob shop

With recommendations from friends, Yelp, TV shows and food blogs, our eating itinerary began to fill itself with fried chicken, hot dogs, tacos and burgers. After eating said foods in LA Saturday through Monday, we decided we had to slow down for the sake of our health and well being. We arrived in San Diego Monday night and proceeded to skip dinner, giving ourselves some time to rest and cleanse a bit. The following day, the original plan for BBQ was set aside for something close to the hotel, cheap and somewhat “healthier”. Normally, this leads to a shitty salad or mediocre sandwich with a side greens, but The Kebob Shop had other plans.

The Kebob Shop received glowing reviews on Yelp and was only a block away from our hotel. The store was clean, brightly lit and had friendly employees. Katie ordered the falafel and I ordered the lamb döner kebab.  After hearing our names called, we headed to the counter and our eyes met the best falafel and lamb wraps we’ve ever had.

Both were neatly wrapped in warm, thin flatbreads.  The feeling of unwrapping presents near the holidays came to mind.  Meat and fixings (greens, garlicky yogurt, and a side of hot sauce) were evenly distributed and conveniently wrapped, enabling us to enjoy the first half of the meal without having to unravel the wax paper and foil. The shaved lamb meat was tender and juicy, well seasoned with some crunchy lettuce, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes to complement.


Lamb döner kebab in yo face!

Alternating each bite with a little kebob, I was quickly dreading the moment when I would finish the meal.  “I think I’ll be sad when this is over,” I admitted to Katie.  The meal consisted of sighs and disbelief of how delicious and consistent each bite was able to deliver. As I took my last bite, I felt as if I had lost a dear friend.

So far, of the meals I’ve had on this trip, The Kebab Shop would be the one I would have the hardest time passing up for a second visit when there is still so much to eat.