Baltimore Style Crab Cakes

When I am in the mood for crab but don’t want the mess & hassle of cracking shells and digging the meat out, nothing fits the bill like a crab cake.  I’m not talking about a crab cake that’s mostly crappy breadcrumbs and other cheap fillers, I’m talking a cake filled with lush, sweet crab meat and little more.

FandW092018The September 2018 Food & Wine Magazine features their 40 “Best Ever Recipes,” which lured me in with a luscious chocolate cake on the cover, but they hooked me with this recipe for crab cakes, nine pages from the back of the magazine on page 95!

Andrew Zimmern’s Baltimore Style Crab Cakes

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (See note below)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
  • 20 saltine crackers, finely crushed (See note below)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (See note below)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crab meat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture.   In Andrew Zimmern’s words, if you don’t over mix, and don’t pack your mounds too tightly, you will experience “pure, unadulterated crab cake heaven.”  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1+1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

  • Tip 1:  If you prefer, you can substitute 1 1/2 tsp yellow or spicy mustard and omit the Dijon mustard and hot sauce
  • Tip 2:  You can substitute 1/2 cup Panko crumbs for the saltine crackers
  • Tip 3:  You can substitute any lightweight oil for the canola oil.  I prefer olive oil.
  • Tip 4:   If you plan to serve these as appetizers you can scoop them with a small cookie scoop, a soup spoon or melon baller – depending on whether you want them to be a 1 or 2 bite app.
  • MAKE AHEAD Crab cakes can be prepared thru Step 2 & refrigerated overnight

The recipe as written serves 4 people 2 patties each alongside a peppery arugula salad topped with diced mango, pineapple & cucumbers with a squeeze of lemon juice & a tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

This recipe was originally published in 2012, and also appears on Andrew Zimmern’s website.  Food & Wine Magazine recommends pairing these crab cakes with a Muscadet#GirlsGoneWine  I’m not familiar with Muscadet, so I looked to my go to wine reference site, Wine Enthusiast, for an education on this brisk, lemony wine from the Loire Valley region of France.  Wine enthusiast says the flavor profile of Muscadet wine can vary from very neutral to tangy and saline.  Basic Muscadet wine is light in body and light in flavor, and may have a little spritz. Higher quality examples lean more towards a tangy saltiness and notes of flinty minerality, with a smooth texture and friendly, approachable nature.   As for specific recommendation, here’s a very affordable option:BougrierLesMartinieres

  • Bougrier Les Martinieres – This crisp, fruity white is an enjoyable accompaniment to shellfish and light appetizers. Its light sweetness adds richness to the light lemon, mineral and peach notes.  Total Wine $10.99

Ultimate Shrimp & Grits

I’ll never be able to do enough cardio to exercise off the deep love I have for the food of my Daddy’s Alabama family.  Shrimp & Grits are, by far, the one dish I can never say no to, as my jeans will attest…

This Food Network recipe from Tyler Florence tabs itself the “Ultimate” and I have to say, he’s not just tooting his own horn.  This dish is pretty damn good & it satisfies my 3 recipe musts:

  • Must be quick
  • Must have ingredients that are easy to find
  • Must not require culinary school skills to make!


Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Shrimp & Grits

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the milk and cream. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, thin it out with a little extra cream. Season with salt and pepper.

  • 2 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped (1 tsp pre-chopped in the jar)
  • 1 pound Andouille, or spicy Italian sausage, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  • pinch cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBLS finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Place a deep skillet over medium heat and coat with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until there is a fair amount of fat in the pan and the sausage is brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to create a roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and continue to stir to avoid lumps. Toss in the bay leaves. When the liquid comes to a simmer, add the shrimp. Poach the shrimp in the stock for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are firm and pink and the gravy is smooth and thick. Add the cayenne pepper, Tabasco and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the parsley and green onion. Spoon the grits into a serving bowl. Add the shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately with crusty bread and ice cold beer. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Makers 46 & Snickerdoodles

TYSnickerdoodlesWhen I was young it seemed that there wasn’t a cookie that I didn’t love.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat 😉   Snickerdoodles were a particular favorite of mine!  I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong, but somehow I’ve never managed to bake one that I absolutely loved.

Some were too crisp, some too soft, some too sweet and some have been strangely tasteless.  I was ready to throw in the towel and commit to buying my Snickerdoodles only from the bakery, when finally I found a recipe that satisfies my picky Snickerdoodle palate.

On Season 2, Episode 9 of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on The Food Network, Trisha was doing holiday cookie baking.  One of the things I like about Trisha’s Southern Kitchen is that she cooks the same foods that everyday moms and wives have been cooking forever.  It’s salt of the earth fare that doesn’t involve a lot of fancy cookware or ingredients that are expensive and hard to find.  She makes the same mistakes in the kitchen that everyday cooks make and she laughs and has workarounds like we all do.

Trisha’s Snickerdoodle recipe was straightforward and was different than the others I had tried, so I decided to give it one more try.  The recipe was a hit with the family and not a single cookie lasted the weekend!  The ultimate sign of success in my kitchen!  To get Trisha’s insights and see her method, click on the episode link above to watch the video (about 2 minutes).

Trisha Yearwood’s Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1+1/2 Cups +2 TBLS Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (Trisha uses medium)
  • 2+3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and stir into the shortening mixture.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.

Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar.

Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake two sheets at a time until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.

Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooling.

Store in an airtight container.   Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008

I just broke the red wax seal on a new bottle of Makers 46.  The warm vanilla undertones of the smooth bourbon should go perfectly with the cinnamon sweetness of the snickerdoodles!  Looks like my evening is set!

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