Wednesdays in a Southern Kitchen – Crab Cakes

Okay – it’s not Wednesday, but this week has been quite busy and I couldn’t get the post ready on time.

photo 1My highly anticipated and waited for Crab Cake Recipe. Trawling season opened here in Southern Louisiana a couple of weeks ago and fresh shrimp have been abundant at our home – the same with fresh crab. I’ve made this recipe with fresh crabmeat and with fresh chopped boiled shrimp. Both are scrumptous. I hope you enjoy.

This is a simple recipe that I tweaked and if you are adventurous, add additional seasonings such as bell pepper or onions. I like to keep it simple in order to “savor the flavor” of the seafood.

Whisk together in a medium size bowl:

1/2 cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 large egg

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Gently fold in 1 pound of lump crab meat (or 1 pound of boiled shrimp, coarsely chopped)

Fold in 1 cup of crushed crackers (I use Townhouse because us of the flavor – use Townhouse, Saltines, Ritz – your preference)

I use a large cookie scoop to form the crab cakes the same size. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and place the scooped balls on it, flattening slightly. If necessary, use a second sheet of wax paper for another layer. Place the covered cookie sheet in the freezer for about a half an hour to an hour.

Heat approximately 1/4 to 1/3 inch of oil in the bottom of a skillet (I do not deep fry my crab cakes). Place the crab cakes in the hot oil and cook 4-5 minutes on either side until lightly browned and crispy. It doesn’t take long as the ingredients are mostly cooked to begin with.

Serve as entre’ with a salad or on a bun.

I have never baked them, although I’m sure they would be good that way.

I’ve also been enjoying fresh shrimp salads for the past two weeks. I’m not very adventurous when it comes to veggies and to be honest – I’m being blamed for the deluge of rain we’ve been experiencing as of late – it must be because I’m actually eating veggies!

My salads are very simple to assemble and are quite delicious.

photo 1 (1)Chopped Hearts of Romaine lettuce

Fresh boiled and peeled shrimp

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cucumber

Craisens (wonderful sweet and chewy – adds texture)

Shredded cheese

Chopped boiled egg

Salad dressing of your choice

I have picked up Hubby’s habit of chopping salad ingredients into bite-sized pieces and eating my salad with a spoon. I know – sounds weird, but I assure you, much more enjoyable! And, besides being a picky eater, I also have a texture thing going on; this allows me to eat a salad, and that’s a good thing (especially when we need rain).

I couldn’t leave you without just a few pictures of Ryka and Calypso, so without further adieu, here they are this week.

photo 5
Ryka enjoying the sun. Calypso chasing her tail.
photo 4
Calypso after the chase. Ryka grateful she wasn’t trampled during the chase as no one is safe when Calypso winds up.
photo 4 (1)
Calypso likes to put her ball in her bowl like my last shepherd (Sentry). Just doesn’t want anyone else to get it. (Like that’s gonna happen.)
photo 3 (1)
Ryka likes to lay down to eat. She’s getting very lazy, especially with the Southern Louisiana heat.
photo 3
Ryka decided she liked dryer balls. And, then I couldn’t find them. After seeking help on Facebook, we found more on Amazon.
photo 2
Porch time. Safe from Calypso’s tail-chasing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you not in a fishing state, this is a trawl boat on opening day off of Grand Island, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.
For those of you not in a fishing state, this is a trawl boat on opening day off of Grand Island, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the recipe and if you decide to fix it, please let me know what you thought.

 

 

 

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Wednesdays – A Little Down-home Southern Cooking

Jambalaya, Crawfish PieGumbo file‘ Son-of-gun we’re gonna have great fun, down on the bayou …(you can find the lyrics here: http://www.lyrics.com/jambalaya-on-the-bayou-lyrics-hank-williams.html ) 

         Goodness! I’ve had an exhausting week and I think my house is going to permanently harbor the stench of cooking onions.

          I cooked a huge batch of jambalaya mix to freeze. While the idea of sitting down to a wonderful plate of “instant” jambalaya sounds enticing, getting it to that point isn’t so great.

          One day I am going to learn to chop and cook the onions in the outside kitchen, then move the process indoors to my kitchen. Seems I have this revelation every time I cook onions. It has obviously yet to stick. I spent the better part of a day chopping many (lots and lots) onions in preparation for cooking. Once I finished up with the onions, I cubed two slabs of honey ham, chopped two packages each of Hillshire Little Smokies and Smoked Sausage. With this huge pile of chopped ingredients taking up residence on my counter, I was ready to begin cooking.

          I tossed the onions into a huge pot and cranked up the fire (I think faster is always better – not so). So, with the candles burning and the windows opened to allow fresh air to penetrate the onion odor infested kitchen, I stirred and stirred and then stared at those onions willing them to brown and caramelize (oh me of little patience). Well, needless to say, no onion will caramelize before its time; and believe when I say – that onion had its own time table!

          The onions finally caramelized and it was time to toss in the chopped meats. Gosh! Once the meat starts browning and blending with the onions, it is slap yo’ mama good let’s have a party time. Oh! My Goodness! You want to just grab a bowl and start dishing it up to eat! After the meat and onions were cooked and a little gravy was forming, I threw in the peeled shrimp. A little more cooking and stirring and then it was “grab a bowl” time.

         I put the rice to cook and sat down to enjoy my bowl of jambalaya mix thinking all is right with the world (and it sure is great to be from the South!)

 Ingredients:

 10 onions, chopped; 2 packages of Little Smokies and Smoked Sausage, chopped; 2-1/2” slabs of honey ham, 4 cups peeled small shrimp, ½-teaspoon Zatarain’s Liquid Crab Boil

 How To:

From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a heavy pan, add onions and cook until brown and caramelized. (I always sprinkle a little sugar over onions to help in the caramelization.)


Add chopped meat and stir. (See picture – sausage is sliced down center and down center again forming four links – slice – this will give you quarter pieces) Cook down. Drain any grease that has accumulated (sausage has lots of grease.)

From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!Add peeled shrimp and ½ teaspoon liquid crab boil. Stir. Lower fire and let simmer. Add a little water if necessary.

I do not normally add any additional seasoning because the meat helps to season the dish as well as the liquid crab boil.

From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!

From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!

From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!To Do:

 At this point, you can either cool mixture and freeze or mix in cooked rice and enjoy. The mixture is also great on French bread as a sandwich mix. Enjoy!

From the Heart - A Southern Staple - Jambalaya!*If you have any questions about the recipe, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to clarify.

From the Heart – A Southern Staple – Jambalaya!


Goodness! I’ve had an exhausting week and I think my house is going to permanently harbor the stench of cooking onions.

         I cooked a huge batch of jambalaya mix to freeze. While the idea of sitting down to a wonderful plate of “instant” jambalaya sounds enticing, getting it to that point isn’t so great.

         One day I am going to learn to chop and cook the onions in the outside kitchen, then move the process indoors to my kitchen. Seems I have this revelation every time I cook onions. It has obviously yet to stick. I spent the better part of a day chopping many (lots and lots) onions in preparation for cooking. Once I finished up with the onions, I cubed two slabs of honey ham, chopped two packages each of Hillshire Little Smokies and Smoked Sausage. With this huge pile of chopped ingredients taking up residence on my counter, I was ready to begin cooking.

         I tossed the onions into a huge pot and cranked up the fire (I think faster is always better – not so). So, with the candles burning and the windows opened to allow fresh air to penetrate the onion odor infested kitchen, I stirred and stirred and then stared at those onions willing them to brown and caramelize (oh me of little patience). Well, needless to say, no onion will caramelize before its time; and believe when I say – that onion had its own time table!

         The onions finally caramelized and it was time to toss in the chopped meats. Gosh! Once the meat starts browning and blending with the onions, it is slap yo’ mama good let’s have a party time. Oh! My Goodness! You want to just grab a bowl and start dishing it up to eat! After the meat and onions were cooked and a little gravy was forming, I threw in the peeled shrimp. A little more cooking and stirring and then it was “grab a bowl” time.

         I put the rice to cook and sat down to enjoy my bowl of jambalaya mix thinking all is right with the world (and it sure is great to be from the South!)

Ingredients:

10 onions, chopped; 2 packages of Little Smokies and Smoked Sausage, chopped; 2-1/2” slabs of honey ham, 4 cups peeled small shrimp, ½-teaspoon Zatarain’s Liquid Crab Boil

How To:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a heavy pan, add onions and cook until brown and caramelized. (I always sprinkle a little sugar over onions to help in the caramelization.)


Add chopped meat and stir. (See picture – sausage is sliced down center and down center again forming four links – slice – this will give you quarter pieces) Cook down. Drain any grease that has accumulated (sausage has lots of grease.)



Add peeled shrimp and ½ teaspoon liquid crab boil. Stir. Lower fire and let simmer. Add a little water if necessary.

 I do not normally add any additional seasoning because the meat helps to season the dish as well as the liquid crab boil.

To Do:


At this point, you can either cool mixture and freeze or mix in cooked rice and enjoy. The mixture is also great on French bread as a sandwich mix. Enjoy!

*If you have any questions about the recipe, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to clarify.

 

You might also enjoy Hubby’s Southern Pecan Pralines! Nielsen-Massey Madagasgar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

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Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste

Darn good stuff!

I can’t tell you how long I have had my eye on Vanilla Bean Paste. That’s why when I came across an advertisement from Nielsen-Massey looking for someone to try the product and review it, I was on it like sticky on candy. And, I knew I had to call in my favorite cousin, Kelly, to help in the taste testing. I love to bake, but I normally stick to the basics. Kelly, on the other hand, is a gourmet cook. Together, I felt we could we could give this bottle of vanilla bean paste a run it would not soon forget.

Being a baker and a firm believer of making everything from scratch, I have been making my own vanilla extract for years (have I ever mentioned the standing joke around my house – If you eat my desserts, we’ll call you a cab.)  What Kelly and I did was put the two to a taste test, and that began with an old fashion “stick your finger and lick it” test. The Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste (check out the picture) is very thick, almost like molasses, and true to its claim, has a lot of vanilla beans. It also has an extraordinary flavor that had it not been for Kelly, I would have stood there all day and continued to “dip and lick”. That sounds sort of dirty, but this vanilla paste is sinfully good – all-by-itself.

You can see how thick and full of vanilla pods the paste is.

Did I mention Hubby wanted to get in on the act? Before Kelly and I could gather the ingredients needed to make our pate’ a choux, Hubby was already stirring in a pot. Hubby is famous for his Southern Pecan Pralines and Peanut Butter Fudge. He decided that his taste tasting would involve Coconut Pralines and he was determined to use the vanilla paste first. There was definitely a little competition going on in that kitchen!

This is the recipe for Hubby’s Pralines.

Southern Pralines (The best in all the world)

Ingredients

5 cups sugar

1 can condensed milk

1 can (large) pet milk

1 stick butter (the real thing)

3 cups chopped pecans (or coconut)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (NOT imitation extract)

Directions:

Will take approximately one hour of stirring and makes approximately 60 pralines (if you don’t taste test before they’re done)

Start with a high fire, then lower to a med/low flame. Stir constantly. Melt butter and add sugar, condensed milk and pet milk.

After approximately one hour, mixture will begin to thicken and turn to a caramel color. Once it forms a ball with a slightly crusty coating in a bowl of cool water, mixture is ready for the pecans and vanilla (or substitute same amount of grated coconut in place of pecans). Add these, stirring constantly. Cook a short time longer.

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper that has been placed on top of newspaper. Stir every so often to keep mixture from hardening as you are dropping it onto the wax paper.

Pate a choux with vanilla cream filling and chocolate ganache topping

The following recipe is the one we used for the profiteroles and cream filling. We made a simple ganache’ of cream and melted chocolate for the topping.

Vanilla pastry cream recipe

Prep Time: — | Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes |

Servings: Fills 1 standard pastry recipe | Difficulty: —

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.

Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk, continue stirring, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170F on a digital thermometer and is very thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and chill before filling pastry.
Source: http://frenchfood.about.com/od/pastrycream/r/vanilla.htm

Pate a Choux basic recipe ( puff pastry )

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup eggs (4 large eggs)

Directions:

1. Bring the water and butter to a simmer over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour and stir rapidly.  The flour will absorb the water quickly and a dough will form and pull away from the sides. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.  Transfer the paste to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a bowl if you’re using a hand mixer.  (If you want to mix the eggs directly into the dough in the pot, let it cool slightly, 4 or 5 minutes, or cool off the pan itself by running cold water over its base if you will be mixing the eggs in that pot.  You don’t want to cook the eggs too quickly.)

2. Add the eggs one at a time mixing rapidly until each is combined into the paste.  The paste will go from shiny to furry, slippery to sticky as the egg is incorporated.  The pâte a choux can be cooked immediately at this point or refrigerated for up to a day until ready to use.

Pipe or spoon choux paste into hot oil for doughnuts and cook for 5 minutes or until done.  Spoon or pipe it  onto a baking sheet (see above, remember to press the peaks down with a moistened finger, they can burn) and bake in a hot oven (425 for 10 minutes, 350 for another half hour or so, is ideal) for cream puffs, profiteroles and gougeres.  Or pipe into simmering water for parisienne gnocchi (remove when they float, then saute in brown butter with additional garnish of your choice, excellent recipes in Bouchon for all of these preparations).

 

Now – someone had to the taste testing!

Now, I am the chocoholic in the family, so this is what my profiteroles looked like (and I enjoyed every bit of them.) To stem the objections to my “globs of chocolate”, I also “drizzled” the chocolate on top of some of the profiteroles. I’ve started thinking as of late, that I may want to be permanently laid to rest in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I’ve heard the air quality is sublime and the aroma simply cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. I think that would be a happy resting place for a chocoholic such as myself.

In conclusion, I have to highly recommend hunting down Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste. It has a rich intense flavor that cannot be duplicated with an extract. It has a heavy dose of vanilla pods within the dark syrup that will add a richness to any dish you use it in. It is worth whatever it costs and the trouble it takes to find it. It is THAT good.

You can play the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a bottle!

You can view many more pictures of the process on my other blog. Just head over to: My Life. One Story at a Time.: Nielsen-Massey Madagasgar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

Source: http://ruhlman.com/2009/01/pate-a-choux/

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