Archive for March, 2010

31st March
2010
written by Cleone

Crab cakes

Last Saturday night, I met up with my friends Dana and Michele at the Yard House in Waikiki.  We worked together at one point and have gotten along pretty well so we have been keeping in touch now that we don’t work together anymore.  We met up for dinner, drinks, and gossip.  I wasn’t too hungry that night so I just ordered the crab cake appetizer as my meal.  The crab cakes were a bit disappointing.  They were over-fried and there wasn’t a lot of big chunks of crab.  The mango salsa that the cakes came with was pretty good though and so was the pear cider that I had with my meal.

Ordering crab cakes in a restaurant is like shooting darts in the dark.  You really never know what you will get until the plate is presented in front of you.  It really is a crap shoot.  A lot of places put a lot of fillers in the cakes and very little crab.  Also the ones with small bits of crab should be avoided.  Since I was not thrilled with the ones at the Yard House, I was inspired to try making them myself.

Jumbo lump crab meat

The best crab cakes are the ones made with jumbo lump crab meat.  It actually takes quite a bit of crab to get enough for a few cakes.  I actually picked up a 16 ounce container of Super Jumbo Lump crab meat from Costco over the weekend.  The other method, if you so choose, is to purchase about 2 pounds of crab and take the meat out yourself.  Just thinking about it is tiring and it would be a whole day affair.  So I have been eye-ing that container that we bought for a few days now and had the opportunity to make it now that we’re taking a break from the kiawe smoked steak.  We still have half a bowl of steak left and we have been eating it for several meals.

Every time we go to Costco, I always look at the container of crab longingly.  AM doesn’t care for crab cakes but only because he hasn’t tried the good version.  I was out to change his mind!  My mom passed me a good recipe from Martha Stewart’s website that she used previously and that I really liked.  When the cakes were ready, AM made his plate with white rice and pickled onions.  He actually really enjoyed the crab cakes!  Victory is mine!  Yeah!

Few ingredients

Saltines before and after

Mixture

Mix in the crab

Pan frying the crab cakes

JUMBO LUMP CRAB CAKES
(Adapted from marthastewart.com)

Serving size: 4

Ingredients:
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
5 saltine crackers, crushed (I placed the crackers in a ziplock bag and whacked it with the back of a wooden spoon)
1 large egg
2 1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons oil

1. In a medium size bowl, combine crackers, mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and paprika.

2. Add the crab meat and gently combine with mixture. With your hands, take some crab meat and shape into a patty the size of your palm.

3. In a saute pan, heat oil on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the crab meat patties until golden brown, about 5 minutes, on each side.

4. Transfer the crab cakes to a plate covered in a paper towel to soak up the oil. Serve with tartar sauce (optional) and enjoy!

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30th March
2010
written by Cleone

Juicy steak

We were graciously invited for a grill-out last night.  (Where else can you have a barbecue in March?  Lucky live in Hawaii!)  The host is a poker buddy of AM’s and he made this mean dry rub that he generously coated each steak with before throwing them on the grill.  He also had a pile of Kiawe wood which he threw in the fire.  It has a unique smokey flavor that I have never tasted before outside Hawaii.  Kiawe is a tree species that was brought over from South America in the early 1800’s and is now considered native to Hawaii.

The meat was delicious, especially when it was medium rare.  It was so juicy and well-seasoned.  A few of us who arrived early crowded around the chef to snatch slices of the steak right off the grill.

Perfect medium rare steak

The special dry rub

Kiawe wood

On the grill

Pineapple

There was a garden on the side of the house full of pineapples!  How awesome!  One day I will have my own garden so I can grow all the fruits and vegetables I want.  But I guess for now, I’ll just be happy with my thriving basil plant.

AM's pickled onions

AM had brought over his homemade pickled onions and everyone loved it so much that it was gone before we knew it.  See here for the recipe.  The pickled onions were a great side for the steak with some white rice and a Bud Light.  That’s Hawaiian style right there!

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28th March
2010
written by Cleone

Stuffed french toast with Nutella

Plain french toast

As planned, I made french toast with the Challah bread I made a few days ago for brunch today.  Wow.  So delicious and because the Challah is a dense eggy bread, it was perfect.  I decided to make the french toast two ways today.  Plain for AM and stuffed with Nutella for myself.  AM doesn’t particularly care for Nutella, which means more for me!

Challah slices

I cut the slices in varying thickness.  The thicker slices are for AM’s plain version and the thinner slices are for my Nutella version.

The batter

I really like this batter because it has vanilla and cinnamon which gives the french toast a really good flavor so AM’s plain french toast was really no where near “plain”.

On the pan

One of the best parts of making french toast is how it smells!  I also love the way it looks nicely golden brown.  This was the perfect brunch.  Since we’re not huge eaters at home, I didn’t bother making any sides.  You can top the french toast with fresh strawberries and/or your favorite syrup.  There are some interesting syrups in Hawaii that I will have to pick up and try next time, like lilikoi syrup, coconut syrup, and guava syrup.  We used regular pancake syrup this time and it worked fine.  I didn’t need a lot for my stuffed version because the Nutella was sweet enough without being overly sweet.  I just used a little syrup to moisten the toast a bit.  AM really liked his plain version, especially with the Challah bread.  Success!

FRENCH TOAST
(My own recipe)

Serving size: 2

Ingredients:
4 slices of bread (I used Challah)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Nutella (optional)
Fresh berries (optional)

1. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon together.

2. In a saute pan or skillet on medium high heat, melt butter. For plain french toast, dip slices of bread (both sides) in the egg mixture and cook until golden brown on each side. For stuffed french toast, spread Nutella on two slices of bread and place one on top of each other like a sandwich with the Nutella sides facing each other. Dip both sides in the egg mixture and cook until golden brown on each side.

3. Serve with fresh berries and/or your favorite syrup.

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