Wolfgang Puck's Crab Cakes

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

I always make the same crab cakes recipe, which is pretty good, but I wanted to try something new for variety. These weren't any more difficult than other crab cake recipes and they were really delicious. I loved the ground almonds in the breading, which helped make them nice and crispy. Of course, these aren't very healthy but they're worth it when you want to have a caloric splurge! Wolfgang Puck has a sweet red bell pepper sauce to accompany them but I found spicy remoulade sauce at Central Market and used it instead. Don't judge - I have a nine month old to take care of in addition to cooking dinner every night! (I halved the recipe and it still made seven large crab cakes. Also, to save some money, I substituted dried herbs for fresh.)
Crab Cakes
Adapted from Live, Love, Eat! The Best of Wolfgang Puck
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 c heavy cream
1/2 t jalapeno, finely chopped
2 t chopped fresh chives
2 t chopped fresh dill
2 t chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c fresh bread crumbs
1 c finely ground almonds
1 1/4 lb fresh crabmeat
2 T unsalted butter
2 T vegetable oil
In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the red and yellow peppers and onion until onion is translucent and peppers are tender, about 8-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer veggies to a large bowl. Let cool.
To the skillet, add cream and jalapeno and simmer until 1/2 c cream remains. Transfer cream mixture to veggie bowl to cool. Stir in the herbs and spices. Stir in the egg and 1/2 c each of breadcrumbs and almonds. Gently fold in crabmeat. On a plate, stir together remaining breadcrumbs and almonds.
With your hands, shape crab mixture into cakes. Dip both sides into crumb mixture to coat it well. Place cakes on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a large skillet, heat butter and oil together over medium heat. Place half the crab cakes in the skillet and cook them until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then to a covered baking dish in oven to keep warm.


Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

>> Saturday, April 17, 2010

I love The Barefoot Contessa! I wanted to serve a really simple green salad with the crab cakes so I went to one of my BC cookbooks and found this recipe. The dressing was perfect - just enough tang to be interesting but not enought to be overpowering. It was a great accompaniment for the crab cakes! I served the dressing with a mix of baby spinach and arugula and I sprinkled a little parmesan cheese and pine nuts on top.
Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette
Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
3 T champagne vinegar
1/2 t dijon mustard
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
1 egg yolk, at room temperature (or you can substitute 1 T mayonnaise)
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c good olive oil
Salad greens
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk (or mayo), salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Toss the greens with enough dressing to moisten and serve immediately.


Chile Rellenos

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I had a chile rellenos at Z Tejas last week and it left me wanting more. I went about recreating it - but also making a few changes along the way - and I think it turned out really well! It was a bit tedious to make so it's definitely a meal you want to make when you have about an hour and a half of free time. I made it earlier in the afternoon (during Finley's long nap) and then threw it in the oven when Andrew was on his way home.

Chile Rellenos
for the pork
3/4 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t Mexican oregano
1 1/2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Brush mixture onto pork. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through but still pink. Let cool. Shred meat with two forks. Set aside.

for the peppers
4 poblano peppers

There are two easy options for roasting peppers. The first way is to rub the pepper with olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning over every 5 minutes, until the skin is blisters. If you have a gas stovetop, you can turn on a burner to medium-high heat and using tongs, hold pepper over flame, turning often until the skin blisters.

for the stuffing
1 T olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c white wine
3 T dried apricots, finely diced
2 T raisins, finely diced
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced (these are spicy so vary the amount depending on
the level of spiciness that you prefer)
1/2 c sour cream
1 c Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
shredded pork from above

Add olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute, stirring often, until onions are translucent. Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, wine, apricots and raisins. Simmer for about 7-8 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off. Pour into a mixing bowl and let cool. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Slit cooled peppers from stem end to tip. Gently remove ribs and seeds. Stuff with filling. Place in greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or 30 minutes if you make the chile rellenos earlier and refrigerate it until its time to cook).

for the sauce
2 T cilantro, minced
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c tomatillo salsa

Mix ingredients. Refrigerate until needed.

To serve, spoon sauce onto plate and place a chile on top. Sprinkle with extra cilantro, if desired.


Sweet Potato, Bacon and Apple Hash

>> Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yummy! My husband, who does not like sweet and savory dishes, loved this and asked to take the leftovers for lunch today. The apples weren't very sweet - they just added a nice tartness to the bacon and sweet potatoes. And I thought the crunch from the pumpkin seeds really made the dish. I think the most important part of this dish is to try to dice all the ingredients to about the same size.


Breaded Chicken

I needed a simple baked chicken dish to go with the sweet potato recipe above and I came up with this little diddy. And it was good! Even better, I didn't have to go to the store because I had all the ingredients on hand. Gotta love that! My husband even said it was excellent!
Breaded Chicken - serves 2
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 c parmesan or romano cheese, shredded or grated
1/4 c panko bread crumbs
1/4 c walnuts
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with dijon mustard, using more if necessary. In a food processor or blender, finely chop cheese, bread crumbs, walnuts and seasonings. Dredge chicken in crumb mixture and bake for about 30-35 minutes.


Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Oh how I love this cake! This is one of the few recipes that I make time and time again. I love it for its versatility - it's great for breakfast with a cup of coffee, I've made it for a brunch wedding shower and I often make it for dessert. I just love this recipe! Every time I make it, people compliment it and ask for the recipe. Love it!



Savory Tomato Bread Puddings with Herbed Cream Cheese

I've had this recipe in my recipe binder for a couple of years and just got around to testing it out this Easter. I vaguely remember watching Top Chef (no idea which season or which competitor though) and this recipe did really well in one of the episodes. I printed it off of Bravo's website when I realized it was one of the only Top Chef recipes that didn't involve at least one ingredient I'd never heard of.

It was really good and I love how gourmet it ended up looking! Fancy schmancy! It was a little time-consuming, but it really wasn't difficult to do. I'll definitely make it again for a dinner party. Plus I just like saying that I made a Top Chef recipe :)

Tomato Bread Pudding
adapted from Top Chef

1/3 large red onion, finely diced (or brunoise as Top Chef would say)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 t Italian seasoning

1 T olive oil

1/2 c heavy cream

2 oz tomato paste

3/4 c milk

2 eggs

1/3 loaf sourdough bread, diced

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 bunch fresh basil

1/4 bunch fresh thyme

balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

In a saute pan over medium-low heat, saute onion and garlic until translucent. Mix in whipping cream and Italian seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a blender or food processor, blend milk and tomato paste. In a large bowl, add tomato mixture to onion-garlic cream. Add eggs, mix well and then add diced sourdough. Combine and let stand for 45 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, blend cream cheese, basil and thyme. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread pudding in mini muffin pan for 15 minutes. Top with herbed cream cheese when ready to serve. Drizzle the plate with balsamic vinegar.


Arroz con Pollo

This Spanish recipe is a fancy chicken and rice. While it was good, it had a lot of steps and was a little more time-consuming than necessary. Overall I enjoyed it but probably not enough to make it again - at least not without trying to simplify the recipe a bit and trim down the ingredients list.


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