Crab Salad w Spring Leeks

From the sustainable seafood section; here’s a salad that works well by itself, or as a filling for a picnic sandwich. It uses those wonderfully sweet spring leeks that seen so plentiful at H-Mart, the local Asian market, and the crab meat on sale at Western Beef. So, grab some crab and a lime and lets get cracking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 spring leeks
  • two tablespoons mayo
  • sea salt and pepper

Start by cutting the crab meat into modest chunks. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the crab meat. Combine this thoroughly. Then cut the leeks lengthwise and chiffonade. Add the shreds to the crab. cut the red onion into fine shreds and add this too. Now, add the mayo and mix thoroughly.

A simple salad that stands on its own, or nestled inside a kaiser roll. Take it along on your next picnic.

 

Post Memorial Day Waldorf Salad Variant

I know it’s a day after Memorial Day, but I’m still not done. Another great summer treat is Waldorf salad. We are working on a variation on a theme and I think the theme is picnic food. I like light, easy, pack-n-go salads for picnics. This particular salad is vegan friendly, but I will check with my vegan friends and confirm this. I do know that no animals were present in the making of this treat.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 3  tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayo
  • Sea salt and Pepper
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ of a small red onion shredded
  • Boston lettuce

Chop three apples granny smith, cause I like granny smith apples, into small chunks. Then wash them in 3 tablespoons cider vinegar. This prevents browning. Then fold these into one cup of good quality mayo, add a pinch of seal salt and a grind or two of pepper. This is the basis, a well balanced basis of the salad.

Now, for the variation, add to this base; 1 cup raisins, 2 tea spoons of curry powder, 2 ribs of celery, and ½ of a red onion shredded. Fold each item into the salad till its well mixed. Finish with a garnish of chiffonaded mint leaves and you are certainly good to go.

The waldorf salad is traditionally served on lettuce leaves, and for this I have a personal preference for Boston lettuce leaves as they are particularly ‘bowl-like’ in shape.

Memorial Day Party Sangria

The past two days have had pleasant enough weather for trips out to Long Island’s north fork. The north fork is home to several of Long Island’s best vineyards. One of my favorites is the Osprey Dominion Vineyard out on route 25a. Osprey is one of the last vineyards on the fork so it isn’t often crowed as the vineyards on the west part of the fork. I often prefer to avoid loud crowds of out-of-town yahoos. So, why not avoid loud crowds of people you don’t know by hosting a crowd of people whose company you do enjoy. I have a good sangria recipe to help coax them out.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 bottles Osprey Dominion Regina Maris Chardonnay
  • 3  peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2  oranges, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 2  lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 liter sparkling water
  • Ice

Place all fruit in a large pitcher or bowl, add wine, and allow to sit at room temperature 4 to 24 hours. When ready to serve, add sparkling water and ice. Serve in a bowl with a ladle (make sure there’s fruit in every serving).

Memorial Day Grilled Trout

Western Beef; that place with the great meat room, has a special on whole trouts. Memorial Day – Trout, hmmm GRILLING! The great advantage of grilling whole trout is that you don’t have to worry too much about it falling apart and you can stuff the fish with all kinds of flavors. Pack whole trout with lemon and lime slices, whole sprigs of rosemary, and cloves of garlic or anything else you like. Once the fish is cooked the skin comes off easily and you can quickly pull the bones right out of the fish.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  1 whole trout cleaned
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Foil

Rinse the trout, making sure the cavity is clean. Pat it dry. Slice the lemon and lime. Now I use the central 1/3 of the lemon and the line to make the slices, saving the outer 2 thrids for squeezing later.

Place the slices inside the trout’s cavity with a sprig of thyme, fresh thyme. Now wrap this in foil and place on a medium heat grill… about 300 degrees or so. Place two ears of unhusked corn on the grill with the fish.

In twenty minutes, when the beers are sufficiently cooled, take the fish off the grill and unwrap. Lets eat.

Hushed Baked Whiting Fillets

Although chowder goes well with hush puppies, fish goes well with them also. Here’s a way of getting your hush puppies ingredients to pull double duty, while at the same time incorporating some sustainable fish fillets. Let’s make some baked whiting fillets to go with those puppies.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of whiting fillets
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp old bay seasoning

Combine the cornmeal, cheese, seasoning in a bowl. Soak the fillets in the milk then dip in the egg wash and dredge through the cornmeal mixture.

Lay the fillets in a shallow baking pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Old Bay Hushpuppies

As we have talked about, biscuits go well with chowder. Now, from our early New England history, hush puppies make a nice side to chowder, and other seafood offerings. There are many different ways to make hush puppies from the simple to the complex. I like to keep things simple most of the time but I like to add seasoning, in this case old bay seasoning to the dry mix to flavor them up. They are a quick and simple fried corn batter ball originally attributed to the Indians of the Carolinas these were quickly adopted by the colonists of America and early New England fishing communities. They are a staple of southern cooking and popular in ‘fried foods’ restaurants today.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning
  • Frying oil, select something with a high or medium high smoke point

Using a deep pot, preheat oil for frying to 350 degrees F.

Using a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and seasoning. Stir in the onion. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and egg. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until blended.

Drop the batter, 1 teaspoon at a time, into the oil. Dip the spoon in a glass of water after each hush puppy is dropped in the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning the hush puppies during the cooking process.

Transfer the finished pup to a paper towel for draining.

Navy Bean Soup w/ Bacon and Leeks

Well, I enjoy onions in my navy bean soup, but a couple of my friends don’t like onions at all. So, since I’m making this soup for all of us to enjoy. So, at these times I usually substitute scallions for onions, but this week there was a sale on leeks at Cross Island Fruits and Vegetables. So… compromises being compromises…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag of navy beans
  • 4 rashers of thick cut bacon diced
  • 3 ribs of celery diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 large leeks
  • salt

Soak the beans overnight in slightly salted water.

The following day, drain the beans. In a large stock pot brown the bacon. Once well browned, deglaze the pot with water. Now add the beans and cover with water, sprinkling a bit of salt. Bring the beans to a boil and cook an hour or so. Then add the diced vegetables and cook another half hour till tender.

Now, here’s where te previous posts about biscuits comes in. Take a biscuit, day old preferred, and put it in a bowl, then ladle the soup over the biscuit. Yum-o to steal a phrase.

Basic Biscuits

Well, I’m starting to think more and more about making some nice thick rib-sticking, healthy soups and chowders. I have a real craving for some New England clam chowder. I’ll report that recipe, but in order for me to really enjoy that particular treat, I need to do some prep work. I gotta have some biscuits to got with it. Biscuits, and with most things, go from simple basic biscuits, to elaborate almost main course cheese herb biscuits of seasoned bounty. But for now, a good chowder needs only nice fresh basic biscuits. So, here is my ‘basic’ perhaps a bit old-fashioned biscuits.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups basic white self-rising flour ( the lighter the better)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (the real stuff… I use Crisco)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. No its important to use the lightest, finest grained,  self-rising four for lighter, taller biscuits. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Remold the scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy these with or without the bowl of chowder.

Braised Red Cabbage w Bacon

This side goes well with the crock-pot pulled pork. A nice head of red cabbage and good thick cut bacon are the real stars of this dish. As always, I highly recommend the thick cut bacon from Western Beef (now where’s my check for product placement!). This is also one of the sides that’s great a room temperature, even if that room is outside. The weather is fantastic way are you not picnicking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium red cabbage shredded
  • 6 rashers of bacon chopped
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp caraway or rye seeds

In your cast iron pot, brown the bacon  then saute the onion. Te crispiness of the bacon is up to you, i tend to prefer mine non-crispy more chewy. Add the cabbage and the caraway, or rye, seeds and season with a little salt and pepper ‘to taste’.

Toss this until the cabbage wilts down, about four minutes or so. Then add the water and wine, cover and turn the heat to low. Let this simmer about 15 minutes.

Add the vinegar, cover and cook until the cabbage is tender. As this is a personal test for done-ness, I prefer firmer, crunchier cabbage so I only cook this for an additional five minutes or so.

Extract the cabbage with a slotted spoon and pack it for your picnic.

 

Crock – Pot Pulled Pork Carolina Style

While traveling through the Carolina, I must stop and enjoy the savory, vinegar pulled pork bar-b-que shacks that litter the region. In Santee, South Carolina they make a pulled pork seasoned with mustard. Although I usually make this using a slow-roast method, in a 220 degree oven for 6 hours or so, I’m taking a different track for this experiment. While consulting some pulled pork aficionados, there is an alternative to the ‘dry’ slow-roast, ad that’s the  ‘wet’ crock-pot method. So, since the Bet Yet market had pork shoulders on sale… I’m going to try the ‘wet’ method.

Here’s what I’ll need:

  • 1 (3 pound) pork shoulder
  • 4 cups water, or as needed
  • 4 cups cider vinegar, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Place the pork shoulder into the ceramic bowl of a slow cooker. Pour enough water and white vinegar into the slow cooker to assure the pork is completely covered, maintaining a 1-to-1 ratio of vinegar to water. Add the salt. Put the ceramic bowl in the refrigerator and allow the pork to marinate at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Drain enough of the liquid from the ceramic bowl until about 1/2-inch of pork is left exposed. Add the onion to the remaining liquid. Season the exposed surface of the pork with the cumin, mustard, chili powder, and brown sugar. Place the bowl into the base of the slow cooker and cook on High until the pork is tender and falls apart easily, 8 to 10 hours.

Carefully remove the pork to a cutting board; shred the meat into strands using a pair of forks. Remove and discard any excess fat.

Serve this with some Cajun spiced rice and veggies…