Monday, July 16, 2007

Mom's Leftover Crab Dip

When my parents come to visit, they always leave my freezer full to the brim with seafood from home. This visit I was left with crab meat, flounder, and spadefish. Everything is freshly caught and then immediately frozen using my dad's secret technique that involves a plastic straw. Sometimes the long drive from Virginia to Florida takes a toll on the freshness of some of the items despite the dry ice, but this time my freezer didn't stay full very long.

I've never had spadefish but wow, is it good. I thawed some nice thick fillets, dipped them in milk, and dredged them lightly in panko I had seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin. I topped the fish with some of mom's leftover crab dip and served it atop some caramelized onions and wilted spinach. Let's just say I'm really sad that I'm out of spadefish.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Mom's Crab Dip

I'm used to spending my summers with blue crabs on the dinner table at least twice a week. After awhile, there's only so many crabs you can eat before the sight (and smell) make you want to throw up. After years of an over abundance of crab, I now find it entirely too rich. However, I can handle crabs in small doses -- when prepared the right way.

My mom's not-so-secret crab dip recipe is infamous. People invite themselves to parties if they know the crab dip will be there. Many have the recipe and make it on their own but never does it taste the same. I think there's a secret ingredient she's not including on the recipe card. This is my first attempt at that crab dip but I spruced my version up a bit with some fresh herbs and Parmesan. Its rich, very rich.

Mom's Famous Hot Crab Dip

2 cups fresh cooked blue crab meat
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1 tblsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp Worcestershire
dash of cayenne pepper (I was heavy-handed with this because I'm convinced cayenne pepper isn't hot)
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
fresh thyme leaves (optional)
handful grated Parmesan (optional)

My mom always takes her hands and runs them through the meat looking for shells. Then she softens the cream cheese in the microwave and combines it with the crab meat. She then adds the mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire, cayenne pepper, and flour. Granted, she doesn't measure after all these years of making it but this is what she wrote down for me. She didn't even include salt and pepper and maybe she doesn't add it but I thought it needed it. The dip bakes in an oven safe dish at 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly. I added some cheese on top and thyme so there would be a nice browned top. Breadcrumbs might also be a nice addition to curb the richness somewhat. Serve warm on your favorite cracker or on a slice of garlic buttered toast.

Friday, July 6, 2007

My first steps into the cupcake craze

I've been out of town. I've been in town with loads of visitors. Then there was my birthday and the 4th of July. I made cupcakes with chambord icing and sprinkles. I've gotten myself hooked on all those wonderful trendy cupcake food blogs -- this is just the beginning of my cupcake escapades.

To be patriotic, I roasted these red, white and blue (purple) potatoes with chives and red onion.

I'll share birthday presents later...