Sunday, July 15, 2012

Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard Sauce

I love eating crab cakes in summer and they are always such a treat! You can get creative with your dipping sauce and change the flavor of the meal each time you make them. We made larger cakes for our main dish, but you can also make them into smaller, bite sized cakes for an appetizer.

Crab Cakes
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Olive Oil Mayo)
1/4 cup minced onion
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Mustard Sauce
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs olive oil mayonnaise
2 Tbs reduced fat sour cream
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

  1. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onion, pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt and cayenne. Fold in the crabmeat and 1/4 cup of the panko crumbs. Shape the mixture into 6 cakes about 1 inch thick. Coat the crab cakes with the remaining panko crumbs and transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the foam subsides, add 2 of the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain the crab cakes on paper towels, then keep warm in a low oven. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the remaining crab cakes.
  3. Mix ingredients for the mustard sauce in a small bowl. Serve on the side and dip as desired.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Filets & Red Velvet Cupcakes for Dessert

The beginning of July always seems to fly by with celebration after celebration. Not only do we have the fourth of July at the beginning of the month, my birthday follows on the 6th and then Chris's is on the 9th. We continued to eat, drink and celebrate (probably for to long).  It was a week spent with good friends, hiking lake Dorothy and taking beautiful bike rides through the mountains.

For my birthday Chris decided to surprise me and make a delicious steak dinner.  He did it all on his own and I can't stop thinking about it!

Filet Mignon
8 oz filet from your local butcher shop (room temperature)
Olive oil
Montreal steak seasoning
Center cut dry aged bacon

1. Wrap strip of bacon (or strips depending on how thick the filet is) around the circumference of the filet

2. Glaze the top and bottom of the filet lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle Montreal steak seasoning over the oil to coat the faces of the filet

3. Heat a skillet with a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Place a long wooden spoon across the middle of the skillet, balancing the ends on the rim. Lay the filet on its side, browning the bacon around the filet. Place another wooden spoon on the other side of the filet so that it does not fall over. Let the bacon brown for 45-60 seconds and rotate 90 degrees around the filet axis to brown another section of the bacon. Keep rotating until the bacon is brown around the filet

4. Turn the grill on to max heat. You will know the grill is at the right temperature when you can't keep your hand 2 inches above the surface for more than 5 seconds. Leave the grill at max heat for the duration of cooking, do not turn the temperature down.

5. Place filet on grill and leave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, depending on size of filet (I recommend using a timer). Then rotate the filet 90 degrees to create the hatched grill lines that make the steak look just as good as it will taste. 2 minutes after rotating, flip the steak on the other side. Repeat this sequence to create the same appearance on the other side. You will only want to flip the steak once, so pay attention to your times.

6. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, serve with mashed potatoes and grilled veggies, and bon apetit!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
For Chris's birthday I asked him what kind of cupcakes he wanted and you would have think I asked him how earth was created. I gave him one of my favorite books Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and told him he had to let me know prior to the night of his party. The problem he had, which I have to admit I have as well when looking through this book is that every cupcake looks amazing. After some pressuring, he decided on Red Velvet - a good choice. 

2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa and salt. 

2. With mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time scraping down bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.

3. Reduce to low speed. Add flour in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam) ; add mixture to batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds. 

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake rotating tins halfway through and cake tester comes out clean - approximately 20 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. 

Cream cheese frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With mixer on medium-high, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce to low speed. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time and then vanilla mixing until smooth. If not using immediately frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight container. Before using bring to room temperature. 

Zucchini Bread with Greek Yogurt

Summer Farmers' Market Series

Despite the drought this summer, my Father in-law has been able to grow massive zucchini.  I feel so lucky that I am a direct benificiary of his gardening work and my family is loving this zucchini packed bread recipe. The addition of greek yogurt to this old favorite, keeps the bread moist without adding extra fat.

1 cup walnut halves (4 ounces)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cup coarsely grated zucchini (from about 1 large zucchini)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan or 3 mini loaf bread pans. Spread the walnut halves in a pie plate and toast them for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant. Transfer the toasted walnuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop them, then freeze for 5 minutes to cool.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the eggs, vegetable oil and fat-free yogurt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated zucchini and toasted walnuts and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the loaf is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool on a rack for 30 minutes before unmolding and serving.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with feta

I know what you may be thinking, but this salad is delicious  - a little taste of summer. A good friend of mine recently made this for a barbeque and I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is refreshing, tasty, low fat and pairs well with most summer meals! Taking bits and pieces from different recipes I found this to be quite the crowd pleaser:

1/2 cup Olive oil 
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar

3 cups cubed watermelon
2 cups grape tomatoes cut in half length wise
1 small cucumber, peeled
1/2 red onion diced
7 oz Feta cheese
Ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh Mint, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Basil, chopped

For the Salad:
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cut cucumber half cross wise into small half moons. Dice onion into small thin pieces. Mix together cucumber, watermelon, onion, tomatoes, feta, mint and basil. In a separate bowl mix together olive oil, vinegar and pepper. Pour dressing over salad with enough vinegar to coat. Serve immediately.

*If you are taking this to a party wait until it is about to be served to pour dressing over salad.