Crabby patties.

Francine brought over a humongous bowl of dungeness crabmeat from their haul over the weekend – ginormous hunks of claw meat already cleaned and ready to eat. So, I made crab cakes tonight for the first time, and I think they turned out excellent.
Spongebob would be proud. :)

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Here is the recipe I used:

- 2 cups dungeness crabmeat, flaked
– 1/3 c crushed cracker crumbs
– 2 Tblspoons mayo
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp mustard powder
– 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 2 green onions sliced and diced thinly
– 1/2 green pepper diced finely
– Black pepper to taste

1) Mix all of the above together well in a bowl.

2) Form into cakes (6 or so) and dust each with:

-Flour

3) Heat in large skillet on med high:

- 1/4 c olive oil

4) add crab cakes to pan and cook 4-5 mins, then flip and cook another 3-4 mins.

5) remove and place on paper towel.

Plate with lemon and Dijon mustard remoulade.

Wine me, Marge!

Happy National Drink Wine Day!!! Of course, I obliged:

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For dinner, I made a side dish I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

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Roasted Curried Cauliflower
- 1 cauliflower head, cut into bite size pieces
– 1 tsp lemon zest
– 1 T curry powder
– 1 t garlic powder
– 1/2 t tumeric
– 1/4 t sumac
– 3 T olive oil
– 1 T coconut oil
– kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 F. Combine spices and oil in large bowl. Toss cauliflower florets in spice mixture. Turn out onto jelly roll pan. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring and turning at halfway point.

There’s nothing better than homemade pasta.

Tonight Monte made pasta. I “helped” by hovering over the stove while he was making a light white wine sage cream sauce repeating how hungry I was.
Homemade pasta is nothing short of amazingly delicious. We have pasta roller and pasta cutter attachments for our KitchenAid mixer that make the prep pretty easy.

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He used Mario Batali’s recipe for basic pasta dough. You can find a version of the recipe here. He made a smaller batch (3 eggs and 2.5c flour) and kneaded it for 10 mins, letting it rest for 30 mins before rolling & cutting. Here’s the finished product. We cut it fettuccine size. Yummmmmmmm

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Applebuttery goodness.

I have had a hankering for apple butter lately.   My HEB has a poor selection.   The only one they stock was full of multi-syllable chemical ingredients, and high fructose corn syrup.  I couldn’t bring myself to put it in my cart.    When I was a kid, apple butter was one of the many delicious things my mom would make and I would help her with the cooking and canning.   So, i decided to make my own apple butter.

There were many different recipes online.   I wasn’t looking to go the whole canning route, as I just wanted to make a small batch.    Some recipes started with apple sauce.   But I wanted to go as close to the good old fashioned way as possible.   I found a recipe that sounded minimalistic and simple.   I halved the original recipe, and it yielded 2 pint jars (i recycled some Bonne Maman 13 oz jam jars) of applebutter, which have a fridge life of about 2 weeks.  Or could be frozen up to a month.

I’ll start with a picture of the result, to get your mouth watering, and follow with the recipe:

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You’ll need a crock-pot and an immersion blender.   Here’s the before:

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You may want to use a variety of apples.   I used mostly gala, which are on the sweet side, and mixed in a few red delicious which are less sweet.   I also have one of these awesome contraptions, which makes peeling/coring/slicing the apples a breeze:

applemagic

Crock-pot Applebutter    (yields 2 pints)

3 1/4 lbs apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 T ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 T vanilla extract

Place apple slices in crock pot.   In medium bowl, mix sugars, and spices.  Sprinkle dry mix over the apples and stir gently to coat apples and combine.

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Cook on low, covered, for 12 hours.

Stir in vanilla extract and puree with immersion blender until smooth.  For thicker applebutter, can cook on low another hour with lid ajar.

Cool and place in jars.  Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Imitation is the finest form of flattery.

We love to make homemade pizza at the house.  Monte has longed to have a wood-fired pizza oven of our own.  We opted out of one when we remodeled the kitchen a few years back.  For Christmas this year I got him a Kettle Pizza kit for making pizza outdoors, on the grill.  It had great reviews and seemed to be worth checking out.

We also love the pizza from our local Brick Oven pizza restaurant.  We like to call it the second best pizza in town – next to ours. :)

There is one pizza they make that is fantastic and we have always wanted to try making it ourselves: the Tuscan Truffle.

So…tonight we fired up the kettle and gave it a go.  And…. We NAILED IT!
Here is a shot if our first try in the kettle:

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Tuscan Truffle pizza

The “sauce” is a mushroom pesto – made out of sautéed mushrooms, parmesan cheese and truffle oil puréed in a food processor. The toppings are prosciutto and mozzarella cheese (just a little, not much of either).  It only took about 5 minutes in the kettle pizza oven.  After removing,  add arugula and grated asiago cheese on top to wilt / melt from the heat of the pizza.  Drizzle a little more truffle oil on top and VOILA!  Delicious.

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Hump day.

Colleen arrived today for a visit. Tonight we cooked a delicious dinner at the house. Julie joined us. On the menu: prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe appetizer, grilled chicken, risotto Milanese, sautéed brussels sprouts and homemade lime sorbet for dessert. Oh. My.

We add wet applewood chips to the charcoal briquettes while the chicken’s on the grill, which adds a mouthwatering smoky note. Colleen called it “bacon flavored chicken.”
High praise from a bacon-o-phile. :)

Prosciutto & Cantaloupe Appies

These aren’t pretty, but they’re delicious.

1 ripe cantaloupe
8 oz prosciutto di Parma, sliced thin
Melon baller tool
Toothpicks

Halve and remove seeds from cantaloupe. Scoop out melon balls. Wrap with prosciutto, Skewer with toothpick.

Tada!

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Let the baking begin.

Fall means baking!   I made a loaf of banana bread this morning.  Yumm!

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I used a variation on a recipe from Monte’s America’s Test Kitchen cookbook.

Banana Bread

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1/4 c plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c pecans, chopped coarse and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toast pecans on baking sheet in oven while preheating, 5-10 mins.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

In separate bowl, mash bananas with hand masher, then add yogurt, eggs, melted butter and vanilla and stir by hand to mix.

Fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with spatula until just combined.   Fold in pecans.  Turn into greased and floured 9 1/2″ loaf pan and smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.  Then test for doneness with toothpick.  If still too moist inside, put back in for 5 minutes and try again.   When done, cool in pan for 5 mins and then turn out onto wire rack.

Saturday nom noms.

Dinner time rolled around tonight and risotto and grilled salmon were on the menu. The before shot of the risotto:

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And the before shot of the salmon fillet, rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and ground pepper, sitting skin-down on a cedar plank that has been soaking in water for about 4 hours:

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We cook it on a weber charcoal grill over direct heat for about 30 mins (this fillet was 2 pounds). The plank burns on the bottom, but infuses the salmon with a delicious smoked flavor. Be careful taking the plank off, it will burn anything you set it on. I use a cookie sheet. It’s not pretty, but it does the trick.
And after:

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We watched the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup final, but it was disappointing as both boats had problems and they postponed the second race. Later, the Seahawks preseason game 2 was on the NFL Network, and i got to watch them cream the broncos, so that made up for it.
Have I mentioned that I love weekends?!

Nailed it.

My risotto-eer has been at it again.  Tonight he made Basil Risotto, with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden.  Delicious!IMG_1733

The recipe book is  Risotto, by Clive Tring.   Lots of good risotto recipes, with lovely photos of the dishes.

 

Pasta night.

Rob & Jen came over for dinner tonight. It was great to see them, it’s been a long time.
On the menu tonight: Homemade ravioli with ricotta & cheese filling.

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Recipe for the pasta:

  • 3.5 c all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • Mound flour on a hard flat surface. Squish in the middle like a volcano- shape and add the eggs in the top of the volcano. :)
    Using a fork, beat the eggs and grab a little flour on each stir. Keep doing this while trying not to let the eggs run out of the volcano until flour is incorporated.
    Now it’s time to knead the pasta dough. Scrape the surface clean and lightly flour and knead for 10 minutes.
    Wrap dough ball in plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins.
    You’ll need a pasta roller, like this one to roll the pasta to the right thickness. We have a pasta roller attachment for our kitchen aid mixer (like this one) so we use that.

    Roll the dough into rectangular strips about 5″ wide.

    Recipe for the filling:

  • 15 oz ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 T minced parsley
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Place a row of tablespoonfuls of filling on dough about 2 inches apart on the lower half of the strip of dough. Leave room to fold dough over to cover the row of filling blobs, and room to seal each side of each ravioli square. Before folding dough over, lightly brush water along edges that you want to seal to form each ravioli (on all four sides of each ravioli). Then fold and press edges of each ravioli square to seal, while trying to get as much air out of the pocket before sealing.
    Then cut each ravioli free.

    Place in salted boiling water for 4 minutes. Scoop them out and serve with whatever sauce you crave.

    I realize now that I should have taken pictures of how we made these bad boys. But I didn’t. Next time.

    Dinner time.

    Ok. This post is not for vegetarians. Look away. Now!
    Tonight Julie brought home a couple of magnificent ribeye steaks. From now on, Julie is the official steak shopper. ;)
    These babies were an inch and a half thick!

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    They turned out perfect. We also whipped up some delicious sides: sauted zucchini and yellow squash, roasted mushrooms, and corn casserole. A Thursday feast!

    On another topic… Monte just made this great tray / carry-all out of some cypress that he recently acquired. Tonight it carried in herbs for the feast.
    Yummy!!!

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    Garbage-pail pasta.

    We had a storm blow through this afternoon. Had to jockey cars to put them all under cover. There were reports of baseball-sized hail. But none made it here. For dinner tonight we dug through the fridge and made pasta with whatever looked like it would be good: onions, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, leftover grilled chicken, some white wine, broth and parmesan cheese. We used Buitoni fresh linguini for the noodles.
    Delicious!

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    Sweet red peppers.

    Oh man, I love roasted red peppers. I made up a batch for dinner tonight.
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    I blacken them whole right on top of the gas burner.

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    Sweat them in a ziploc bag to allow the skin to separate while they cool to the touch.

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    Cut them open to remove the stem and seeds.  Then scrape off the burnt skin leaving the sweet roasted meat.

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    I warmed them again in a 200 degree oven before filling them

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    For the filling I stirred up about an ounce of soft goat cheese per pepper, one minced clove of garlic and about a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt and spread it on the insides of the peppers. Then folded them back up.

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    The presentation here isn’t great, but they were delicious!!