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Crab, like I never had crab before

So, the heat kind of sapped my strength and I didn’t want to fire up the stovetop. Chris and I, without any argument whatsoever, settled upon Conrad’s. I had softshelled crab on the brain, and wanted to get one last fling in before the season ended. There were slab crabs there, incredible in size. I’ve never seen such huge softies. They made the “hotel” crabs look meek in comparison.

But.. I got distracted by the menu. I’ve heard about deep fried hard crab, and thought I’d have to hunt down a spot on the Eastern shore to try it. To my surprise, like the clue in a poorly written sci-fi novel, it had been under my nose the entire time. Hello, deep fried hard crab!

It’s a hard crab, top shell removed, stuffed with crabcake, dipped in a cornmeal-based batter, and then, as you might glean from the name, deep fried. It was like having seafood hushpuppies, a crab cake, and hard crab in one ridiculous package.

The crab itself wasn’t my favorite. I think steamed brings out a much better flavor. And it was entirely too much for me to eat. I also got sides, which made it ridiculously overwhelming, considering it had built-in sides. It was worth it, though, because the coleslaw was some of my favorite ever.

Oh, and I discovered that Conrad’s is running a Foursquare promotion. 5 check-ins and you get $5 dollars off orders over $35.


Korean queries

So, when I went to H-Mart, I picked up a few things on impulse. I was looking through the pantry today, and decided that it’s time to figure out what I can do with them, or if I need to go back for more ingredients first.

The first thing that caught my eye was fermented soy bean flour. The back of the bag indicates that I could make soy  bean paste, provided I have 40 days to wait. I’m guessing that this is similar to miso? I could also make hot bean paste, if I got back for malt flour and wheat flour. My favorite part of the recipe is the note at the end: “For soup use (Chigae), you’d better add more soy bean flour.”

I’m tempted to try to make some doenjang jjigae. Bean paste vegetable stew. We’ll see.

I also got some hot red pepper paste. It lead me to a korean fried chicken recipe. Intriguing. I seem to remember that it can be used in making kimchi, too, but I could be way off base.

I also got some pickle vegetable hot pot seasoning… that one seems easy enough to follow.

I think I need to go to the store with more of an idea what I want to make.. Maybe next time. Or does anyone know a good English-language source for Korean recipes?

Smooth sailing

So, I made the cranberry meyer lemon scones that I mentioned in a previous post, and they’ve been a nice semi-tart breakfast, but have been really digging on a smoothie accompaniment in the morning. We’ve been having fresh strawberries, a dollop of vanilla yogurt, powdered green tea, orange juice and bananas compounded and then blitzed with ice. It adds some pep in the morn!

I guess I’m craving more green, because I’ve also found those smoothies served with a green salad, or a Cobb salad variation, is incredibly satisfying. It’s not a homemade salad dressing, but Newman’s Own Lite Ginger Sesame dressing brings it together nicely.

Lastly, there’s no recipe, but last night I used this spice rub that came with the W&S dinner party package on some salmon (“grilled” using the prize pan) and served them with incredibly fresh peas. I was about to flash boil them, but I’m glad I tried them first. Pure candy, as they were raw! I read recently that there’s a recipe for fresh green pea ice cream, and… I admit it, I’m intrigued.  It’s by David Lebovitz, but in his ice cream cookbook, which, sadly, I do not own.

Now to put together a menu for the dinner party.. without going overboard. I need restraint, but I love the excuse to try something fun. I’m finding inspiration in some new cookbooks… Ad Hoc, Lee Bros. and Michael Symon’s books. Think I might be making the strawberry wine coolers from the Lee Bros. cookbook. Everything else is unsettled, though.

Slacking! — an update

Let’s see. . .

Seth made lamb burgers on the salt block, topped with watercress and red pepper.  His asparagus with meyer lemon, also cooked on the salt, was delectable! I made a rhubarb bread pudding, but I wasn’t too happy with it, so no sense sharing the recipe.

Finally settled on brunch — Smitten Kitchen’s boozy baked french toast (sans booze).

Chris made a yummy turkey chorizo sauce and pasta. Made for great leftovers, too. He was in a trance, so I can’t really report on what went in there.

Later that week, we made a shaved asparagus salad with avocado and lime. It was an interesting technique, and I’m not sure what I’d do to improve it, yet — but I would repeat the experiment.

Last night we made a margarita cod and red quinoa. Well, it was supposed to be agave and kiwi salsa cod, but I substituted lime for kiwi… so it became margarita cod. Turned into a great, balanced meal.

Tonight was another Chris classic — a stir fry of edamame and asparagus on brown rice. Again, balanced. It was nice to have healthy food again.

I’m away from the kitchen for the next few days, but I’m not giving up on this online recipe log!

Weekend Planning

I’m trying to plan what to make this weekend. The family is coming over on Saturday to cook on the salt block I got as a birthday present. The menu is really up to Seth, but I’ve been tempted by this recipe for Rhubarb Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce for dessert.

Brunch on Sunday is a little more difficult, and I’m torn between my various options. I love making brioche, so I’m thinking of baked brioche french toast (possibly a non-boozy version of this) with strawberries. I already have the blood orange juice and bacon. I should make some herbal iced tea or something non-caffeinated, but I’m not sure what that should be. I’d like to keep it light in order to balance the sinfulness of the french toast.

Then again, Frisee aux Lardons also sound good.

Or Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones.

Or Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms.

Or something with latkes.

Or.. I love it all.

Slightly drunk noodles

With a few variations, we made drunken noodles following the recipe on epicurious. At first it appeared that the copious amounts of chilis that went into it underwhelmed, but it produced a heat that sort of built. It didn’t quite recreate the Thai dish, but it was tasty.

If I make it again, I’d perhaps find a way to lower the salt that goes into this. The salt from the soy sauce was a bit overbearing.

Dandy Salad

Had delicious delicious no-knead bread, rolled in sesame and black onion seed with dandelion greens, fennel, and celery salad. Had a hard boiled egg with it for a smidge of protein on the side. The salad was good, but, my oh my. Every iteration of that bread recipe seems to get better and better.

Not much to either recipe, but it was a nice detox after all of the Boccalone Seth brought back with him from San Francisco. Last night, Chris made a pizza with fresh mozzarella, nduja and pepato. I sauteed some clams in garlic, white wine, shallots and parsley and made a white pizza. Cravings solved.

No-recipe Saturday

Pasta and broccoli was on the menu, but we wanted a little more. So, we searched the fridge and made an interesting sauteed honeyed radish and mustard greens dish to accompany some egg noodles with a lemony-peppery sauce. Delish!

After reading about some dark cocoa and sea salt brownies, I wanted brownies. Alas, we didn’t have enough butter to make anything. Dug up some puff pastry from the freezer. Combined some dark chocolate with orange zest and a few cherries from the freezer. Remarkably, it turned out decent enough to stand up to my craving! The leftovers might make faux-chocolate croissants in the morning. Not exactly healthy, but… I have farro on the menu for breakfast next week. Should even out, right?

Oh, cilantro

Read this today, and might try to give the journal article a read. For now, this summary will haunt me and my love of cilantro.

“In the column I don’t mention the recent study from Reyes et al (last reference below), which reports that cilantro leaf extracts damage DNA, and therefore that cilantro could be a long-term health hazard. These are very preliminary findings and no reason for fans to give up cilantro, but it’s a subject worth following as more information comes in.”