Jiggety Jig

We’re home again from the northeast. We swept through Niagara Falls (I tried waving to Bri on the other side, but I’m not sure she could see me 😉 ) and the Adirondacks and then spent a few days in Acadia National Park before descending like locusts on the BIL and SIL in Boston and finally coming home. I’m sure their house seems much larger now that we’ve gone! 😀

No major food experiences to report. I had a lobster roll in Maine which was nothing like what I was expecting . . . somehow I was picturing a bread/pastry wrapped around a lobster filling, not a New England hot dog bun (and yes, they ARE different there) filled with seasoned lumps of lobster. It was tasty, just not what I was expecting for $10.95. If you go to a Lobster Pound, just go with the lobster dinner. The SIL made some lovely salads — greens with orange flavored dried cranberries, green onions, pistachios, walnuts, and feta cheese. Very tasty and pretty.

The Husband now has the oven fixed again and I made a batch of muffins this morning, but they were repeats, so no recipe there either. Instead, I’m going to share an old favorite. Back when I was a grad student in the Northwest, a college buddy came to visit for a weekend. She was of the more adventurous and high class type so she took me to a local winery, something I probably never would have done in my three years there. I am forever grateful for that little afternoon excursion.

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We went to Camas Winery in Moscow, ID. It’s not the stereotypical winery out on a lush hillside; it’s in the downtown of a rather small college town. There I was introduced to mead. I bought a couple bottles of their ‘Palouse Gold’ and drank them in the evenings with some crisp Granny Smith apples — a decadent treat for a grad student! On my most recent trip to the Northwest, I came home with a half case of bottles — some were Palouse Gold and others were Huckleberry mead. Tonight I opened our last bottle of the huckleberry mead. There is one bottle of Palouse Gold remaining for another day.

Shameless unpaid advertising: If you happen to live near Moscow, ID drive over and try out their wines (they have lots of things other than mead) and take home a bottle of mead. If you live where you can get it shipped to you, order a few bottles.

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You Are My Sunshine

A few weeks ago, for the last Student Lunch of the year, someone brought some cookies from Sam’s Club but, because she couldn’t eat them herself, she left the extras here. Actually, there were several kinds — we had a boatload of desserts that day and somehow all the extras got left with us. One of the cookies, a coconut and pecan cookie, was particularly good, especially for a Sam’s Club cookie. It was at the beginning of my recent coconut and lime obsession and after eating one of those cookies I thought, you know what? This would make a great base for a key lime tart.

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So tonight when we had a guest for dinner, I gave life to the mental experiment. For the crust, I used, approximately:

1 c. flour

1/3-1/2 c. coconut

1/3-1/2 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. margarine

1/2-3/4 c. coarsely chopped pecans

Mix butter/margarine into the dry ingredients to resemble a coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Press into the base of a greased and floured tart pan. Bake at 400 F for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

I used the same filling I mentioned before. This time I made a little sauce from some seedless blackberry jam and spread it on top of the tart and garnished with Cool Whip (again, due to lactose intolerance issues) and fresh blackberries. I think it’s better than the original recipe due to the dynamic depth of flavors. The only thing better would be to have huckleberries instead!

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I’m so glad Coconut and Lime’s birthday celebration spurred this recent coconut and lime interest!

Hazelnut Encrusted Crab Cakes with Berry Sauce

If you read yesterday’s post on stuffed mushrooms, you may have wondered why I talked about *cans* of crab meat (as in multiple) but used only half a can for the mushrooms. Here is the reason. The rest were used to make crab cakes.

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This is probably one of my top three favorite recipes ever. It came from my Grandmother, who loved to putter in the kitchen and try new things, not Grandma Smith.

I was out of celery and white pepper so they were left out but it’s still good. I wish there were leftovers for lunch today but it only made 14 small ones and people were fighting over the last one at dinner. Also, huckleberries are particularly difficult to get in the Midwest and I used all the huckleberry jam I got for Christmas in 2005 (side note of praise — this company was so great that when I called them to cry that one jar had arrived broken, they sent me another right away, no poking through the glass slivers to salvage the huckleberries!!) 😛 So, I used some seedless Marionberry jam (not to be confused with Marion Barry who was in a jam) 😉 I had a bottle of wine that was given to us as a gift and I knew nothing about it but I was a surprised to find it a fizzy sweet wine. Sauce still tasted good.

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Crab Cakes with Huckleberry Sauce

2 cups or 1 lb Dungeness crab, flaked
1 egg
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 Tablespoons finely chopped celery
4 Tablespoons bread crumbs
1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay Spice
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Huckleberry Sauce (recipe below)

Whip the egg and add all other ingredients, except the nuts. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 15 minutes to one hour. Form into 1 inch balls, flatten and roll in hazelnuts. Saute in virgin olive oil about 2 minutes on each side.

Serve with Huckleberry Sauce.

If you wish, you may refrigerate overnight and reheat to eat or serve cold. After sauteeing, drain on paper towels.

Huckleberry Sauce:
½ cup huckleberry jam or syrup
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons dry or semi-dry white wine

Heat jam over low heat, add lemon juice and blend. Add wine just before serving.

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I like to use the same basic recipe to make salmon cakes from leftover baked or grilled salmon.