Monthly Archives: June 2016

Crab Cakes with Old Bay Aioli

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aa1This recipe comes to us from the Sur La Table kitchens. We made this dish in our second class with them, and it came out beautifully. Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and then carefully fold in the crab. Take care not to overmix so that the crab maintains its flakey consistency. Form the mixture into 6 crab cakes and chill the mixture in the fridge for an hour or so. It is a good idea to use a form to create them so that they are all about the same size and thickness. This will be very helpful during the cooking process. Take this time to make the aioli while they are chilling. Follow the recipe shown below to make a homemade mayonnaise. Then, take it to the next level to create an Old Bay aioli.  Season the crab cakes with salt & pepper and carefully add them to the pan. Fry them for about 3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and serve them with a dab or two of the aioli. And dive in — crisp, tasty and beautifully seasoned.

Kitchen Hint: Try using a Mason jar lid as a form for the crab cakes. They also work well as egg rings.


CRAB CAKES WITH OLD BAY AIOLI (Yield: 6 Crab Cakes)

Ingredients (Crab Cakes):

  • 1 lb. lump crab meat
  • 8 saltine crackers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. Worcestershire
  • 1 t. Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 T. Chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T. vegetable oil, for pan-frying

Ingredients (Aioli):

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 t. Old Bay seasoning, plus more to taste
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Carefully pick through the crab meat and remove any shell fragments and cartilage. Transfer the crab meat to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Crush the saltines crackers very finely and mix with remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Gently fold in the crab, being careful to only mix enough to combine the ingredients. (You don’t want to break the crab into fine shreds.) Shape the mixture into 6 crab cakes and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. To a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Season crab cakes generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, carefully slide crab cakes into the pan using a fish spatula. Space cakes about 2 inches apart. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. To prepare the aioli: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oils to form a thick sauce. (Be careful not to add the oil too fast or the aioli will break.) Once all the oil is incorporated, add the Old Bay. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, additional lemon juice and Old Bay as needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

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~ from Sur la Table ~

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Croatian Radish Salad (Salata od Rotkvica)

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20160602_163706Fresh radishes — bright red on the outside, snow white on the inside — are so crisp and refreshing. They are diuretic in nature and are powerful detoxifiers. “They are also low in digestible carbohydrates, high in roughage and contain a lot of water, making radishes a very good dietary option for those who are determined to lose weight.” This recipe requires nothing but thinly sliced radishes tossed with a beautiful herbed aioli. It takes just minutes to prepare and keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge. I don’t know a lot about Slavic food, but I have to say that this dish is ukusno (delicious!).


CROATIAN RADISH SALAD – SALATA OD ROTKVICA (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. minced parsley
  • 1 tsp. minced thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 bunches small radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Whisk mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl; stir in radishes. Chill salad 15 minutes before serving.

~ from Saveur.com ~

Perfect Baked Chicken Breasts

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20160603_141959I was putting together one our family’s favorite casseroles (Chicken Broccoli Divan) recently and decided to try this method to prepare the chicken for it. The author of this recipe has five tried and true steps to achieve perfectly baked chicken breasts — Brine – Baste – Rub – Roast – Rest. The chicken breasts are brined in salt water for a short time, rinsed and then basted with melted butter before they are rubbed with a simple spice blend. This recipe calls for you to roast the chicken at a high temperature (450 F.) for just 15 to 18 minutes. Once the chicken reaches 170F., the chicken is removed from the oven and allowed to rest for a bit before serving. Well seasoned and juicy, these are perfectly baked chicken breasts indeed.


PERFECT BAKED CHICKEN BREASTS (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, that have been pounded to even thickness and brined in saltwater
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Directions

  1. To brine your chicken breasts, simply fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt.  Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed.  Add the chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutes.  Or you can also also cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with some paper towels.
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large baking dish.  Brush on both sides (turning once) evenly with the melted butter or olive oil.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika until combined.  Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.
  5. Bake for 15-18* minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.  If you use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature thickest part of the breast, it should be between 160-170 degrees F.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes.  Then serve immediately.

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~ from GimmeSomeOven.com ~

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onion, and Garlic

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cabbageIt is amazing how beautiful cooked cabbage is! I still had a bit of cabbage left over from the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, and this was the perfect recipe to pair with some Italian sausage. The seasoning combined with the caramelized onion and garlic is just wonderful. The only variation from the recipe for me was to shorten the cooking time since the cabbage had already been parboiled. This dish is a great savory side dish — an especially good accompaniment for any pork offering.


FRIED CABBAGE WITH BACON, ONION, AND GARLIC (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. Place the bacon in a large stockpot and cook over medium-high heat until crispy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion caramelizes; about 10 minutes.
  3. Immediately stir in the cabbage and continue to cook and stir another 10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes more.

~ from AllRecipes.com ~

Pizza Three Ways + Quick & Easy Tomato Sauce

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This sauce is so simple that you might think that you are missing something. Absolutely not — it is so full of rich tomato flavor and just enough garlic to make you take notice. Of course, we added a little extra garlic — my husband believes that you can never have too much. The sauce is used in only one of the following recipes. The other two use crème fraiche or olive oil as the base. I won’t go into great detail about these pizzas because this entry is really full of a lot of information. I will tell you though that each one is spectacular in its own right. Plan a pizza party at home soon, and enjoy putting these wonderful recipes together with your friends and family!!

Note:  To serve — brush the edges of the pizza with extra-virgin olive oil when it comes out of the oven, and sprinkle with sea salt or parmesan cheese.


PIZZA THREE WAYS + QUICK & EASY TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients (Sauce)

  • 1 (14 ounce) can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes and transfer tomatoes to a small bowl. Using an immersion blender, pulse 3 or 4 times until the tomatoes are pureed. Stir in garlic and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Ingredients (Classic Margherita Pizza)

  • 1/2 recipe Perfect Pizza Dough (for one 12″ pizza)
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour, as needed
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite size pieces
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for garnishing and brushing crust
  • 7-10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. Place pizza stone or steel in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 500 F.
  2. Once your stone is preheated, start rolling out your dough. Dust work surface with flour. Flatten one dough ball to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and roll to desired diameter. If you are making more than one, transfer to a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment and proceed with the remaining dough.
  3. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour and place a dough round on the peel. Give the peel a little shake to make sure that the dough moves freely and is not sticking. Lightly coat dough with tomato sauce, leaving 1/2 inch exposed around the edge.
  4. Top with torn cheese and sliced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, open the oven and slide the pizza off the peel onto the pizza stone/steel.
  5. Allow your pizza to cook until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let pizza rest for 1-2 minutes before you cut it. Repeat process with remaining dough and sauce.

Ingredients (Smoked Salmon, Arugula & Crème Fraiche Pizza)

  • 1/2 recipe Perfect Pizza Dough (for one 12″ pizza)
  • corn meal or semolina flour, as needed
  • 4 oz. crème fraiche
  • 1/2 T. minced dill
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 T. capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 3 ounces cold smoked salmon, sliced on a bias in thin strips

Directions

  1. Place pizza stone or steel in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 500 F.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together crème fraiche, dill and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Once your stone is preheated, start rolling out your dough. Dust work surface with flour. Flatten one dough ball to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and roll to desired diameter. If you are making more than one, transfer to a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment and proceed with the remaining dough.
  4. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour and place a dough round on the peel. Give the peel a little shake to make sure that the dough moves freely and is not sticking. Pierce the surface all over with a fork and lightly coat with olive oil using a silicone brush. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool before topping.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine onion, capers, arugula and drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat. Taste and  adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Coat the cooled pizza crust with the crème fraiche mixture. Top crème fraiche with sliced salmon and top with arugula mix. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper, cut and serve.

Ingredients (Shaved Asparagus, Burrata & Prosciutto Pizza)

  • 1/2 recipe Perfect Pizza Dough (for one 12″ pizza)
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour, as needed
  • 1/4 lb. medium asparagus, shaved end to end with a sharp vegetable peeler or cut into thin diagonal piece
  • 1/2 cup torn burrata cheese
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, torn into 1″ pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs cracked into separate small bowls, optional

Directions

  1. Place pizza stone or steel in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 500 F.
  2. Once your stone is preheated, start rolling out your dough. Dust work surface with flour. Flatten one dough ball to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and roll to desired diameter. If you are making more than one, transfer to a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment and proceed with the remaining dough.
  3. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour and place a dough round on the peel. Give the peel a little shake to make sure that the dough moves freely and is not sticking. Lightly brush dough with olive oil, leaving 1/2 inch exposed around the edge.
  4. Top with shaved asparagus, burrata and prosciutto; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Allow your pizza to cook until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let pizza rest for 1-2 minutes before you cut it.
  6. Transfer pizza to oven and cook until crust is crispy and the asparagus is lightly charred, about 8 minutes for an individual pizza. If topping your pizza with an egg, cook the pizza for 5 minutes or until 75% done. Quickly open the oven and pour the cracked egg right in the center of the pizza. Bake for 3 more minutes until egg white is opaque bu the yolk is very soft to the touch. Remove the pizza from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let pizza rest 1-2 minutes before cutting.

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~ from Sur la table ~

Perfect Pizza Dough

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Incredible Homemade Pizza was the first cooking class that we signed up for at Sur la Table. This recipe for pizza dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours or frozen for up to a month (great for making ahead). If you like a lot of toppings, roll the crust a bit thicker so it can support their weight and moisture. If you like a thin crust, keep your toppings spare and packed with flavor. However, the secret to making a great pizza is not so much in the recipe but in the technique.  You begin by adding yeast to warm water (110F-115F). The temperature of the water is very important, so I suggest that you use an instant thermometer to measure the temperature of the water before you add the yeast. The ingredients are combined and kneaded until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Cover the dough and allow the yeast to do its work — it should double in size in just about two hours. Once the dough is ready it is separated into either two or four smooth balls. Work on a floured surface, and try not to overwork the dough. Less is more in this case — if you overwork the gluten the crust will become flat, heavy and tough. Form a fist and turn and stretch dough over it. It helps if you start from the middle and move out toward the edges. A pizza stone or steel is used as a cooking surface to distribute the heat evenly and to extract moisture from the dough to yield a crispier crust. It should be placed in a cold oven and heated for at least 3o minutes so that it can fully absorb the heat. Use a pizza peel or paddle to move the pizza in and out of the oven. Be creative — choose your favorite toppings and enjoy making your own special individualized pizza pies.


PERFECT PIZZA DOUGH (Yield: 2 [12 inch] or 4 [8 inch])

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) warm water (110-115 F.)
  • 2-1/4 tsp. Saf-Instant yeast
  • 3-1/4 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 T. for brushing

Directions

  1. Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir to dissolve, if necessary.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt and mix briefly to combine. Turn the mixer on low speed, and the yeast mixture and mix to combine. Add the water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place it on a flour surface and cover with an inverted bowl, plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
  4. About 30 minutes before baking the pizza, place a pizza stone or steel in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 F.
  5. When the dough is ready, use a large knife or bench scraper to divide it into 4 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, press out any bubbles that might have formed in the dough and form each piece into a small smooth ball. Place about 4 inches apart on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Once the stone is pre-heated, start rolling out your dough. Dust work surface with flour. Flatten one dough ball to a thickness of 1/2″, and roll to desired diameter. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment and proceed with remaining dough.
  7. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour and place a dough round on the peel. Give the peel a little shake to make sure that the dough moves freely and is not sticking. Lightly coat dough with tomato sauce, leaving 1/2″ exposed around the edge. Top with tomato sauce and/or other selected items. Working quickly, open the oven and slide the pizza off the peel onto the pizza stone. Allow your pizza to cook until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let pizza rest 1 to 2 minutes before you cut it. Repeat process with remaining dough and sauce.

~ from Sur la table ~

Japanese Cucumber Salad

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I loved the way that this salad looked — thin ribbons of cucumber tossed with rice vinegar and sesame seeds. However, my husband felt that the delicate cucumbers were completely overpowered. He suggested that the cucumbers be halved, seeded, and cut into half-rounds before they are dressed with the vinegar. I have to give him credit, he is really starting to think about the technique used when cooking and the balance of flavors and textures. This is an easy recipe that is quickly made and can be done ahead if necessary. It will soon be cucumber season — try to use them in new and creative ways.


JAPANESE CUCUMBER SALAD (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, or 1 large English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see Tip)

Directions

  1. Peel cucumbers to leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Using a food processor or sharp knife, cut into very thin slices. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture.
  2. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

Tip:  To toast sesame seeds, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add sesame seeds and stir constantly until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

~ from EatingWell.com ~