Tag Archives: Recipes

Cilantro for days…

Outside of work stuff, summer is a really busy season for me so I’m always looking for quick and creative food ideas.  Last year I came across a recipe on Pinterest that I really liked.  It looked really easy and seemed flavorful based on the ingredients, but it took forever to find some reasonably priced crabmeat.  I mean the one good thing about living in Baltimore is that crab and oysters are always at your beck and call, but sometimes they get a little pricey.  Anyhoo, fast forward, I made the dish…it was amazing and easy and quick.  I decided it would now be one of my summer staples.

I hope you’re good at following a storyline here, because I’m always all over the place.  Maybe a month or so ago Whole Foods had their “One Day Deal” on jumbo lump crabmeat.  At $15/lb it was a steal and I got like 5 things.  So I made some crab cakes and added some crab to my vodka sauce and then it was 85 degrees and I didnt feel like cutting my stove on.  Re-enter the cilantro lime crab salad recipe.  I got home late, had to mow the lawn and before I knew it, it was 9pm.  I whipped this up in less than 10 minutes.  Check out the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup (8 oz.) lump crab meat
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 tsp jalapeño, diced finely (optional)
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Dash of cumin
  • 1 avocado, cut in half, pit removed

Here’s where the story changes pace again…I went to the market on Tuesday and they had a sale on cilantro.  2 bunches for $1…another steal!  I swear I bought all the cilantro.  So now I have like 5 more bunches at home and nothing to do with them.  I was sitting at my desk thinking, “I wonder what else I could make with cilantro…” and I came across a recipe for Coconut Shrimp Salad With Spicy Mango & Cilantro Salsa at Food Republic.  Its an oven recipe, but its baked and healthy and has that fresh mango salsa.  Its going to go great with the white sangria I’m making this weekend and you guys got a twofer today.  Have a great weekend!

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2013 in review

So Lindsey and I have been out of commission due to major life changes…moving, new jobs, graduating from grad school, etc. You name it, its kinda kept us from posting. We didn’t stop cooking though…or home-brewing beer…or curing bacon. We’ll be back soon and would like to hear from you. What things would you like to see us post about? In the meantime, I’ll leave this here…

Thanks for being loyal!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 720 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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“Oyster Crackers” is Just Another Way to Say “Magic”

I grew up in the ridiculously tiny town of Lusby, in Southern Maryland. It’s an hour south of D.C., and a complete world away from civilization. (And called “Southern Maryland” just for its geographic location.) Growing up, I was never more than 20 minutes away from anyone in my mom’s family. My sister and I spent most of our time at Grannie’s house, which was literally across the field my great-aunt Verna’s house. Like literally, across the field. Grannie would send me over to Aunt Verna’s for random cooking ingredients, and once I got older, I got to go change out the crab pots–because Aunt Verna lived on the creek side of Olivet Road, which meant that she had a dock and we got to eat steamed hard crabs all summer.

My Aunt Verna was a tiny little lady who told dirty jokes and didn’t take shit from anybody. Whenever I went to Aunt Verna’s, she’d be watching some sort of random sporting event on TV (bull riding, golf, bowling, you name it), and she’d always offer me the same snack: a glass of Pepsi and a giant bowl of oyster crackers. And I’m not just talking about plain old crackers shaped like oysters. No, I’m talking about tasty little crackers seasoned with dill, garlic, and Hidden Valley ranch dressing, that just happen to be shaped like oysters. This is one of my favorite, and most addicting snacks, ever. Aunt Verna knew this, so she used to send me back to college with giant gallon-sized freezer bags full of oyster crackers.

In 2004, just before Aunt Verna died, she wrote out the oyster cracker recipe for me. I don’t make them too often, but when I do, I’m always sure to have a giant glass of Pepsi to drink. Just like when I was a kid.

So I decided to make a batch of oyster crackers last weekend.
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Second Place is First Place Loser…

Well not necessarily in this case, but with my competitive nature, anything less than perfect is unacceptable.  So we just had this meatless cookoff competition at work.  I believe it was called “Meatless Mondays Cookoff” to be precise.  Anyhow, that’s not the point…the point is that after much pestering by my friend Allison (who would by the way sell her mother for a free meal) I decided to enter the contest.  I would like to add a little in her defense though that she actually did think I could win and that was a minor factor in her pushing me to enter.

Strangely, the week came and went and the weekend was on the brink of being over.  Somehow I managed to forget that I signed up for this thing, so after playing two long softball games and getting caught in a torrential downpour, I managed to make it to Safeway to get the goods.  My delightful lack of memory left me in a bit of a time crunch, so I decided to make a slight change in my recipe and use fresh spinach instead of frozen.  I think that’s why I didn’t get first, but I’m not gonna harp on it.  Moving along, I picked up this organic, fresh spinach only became it was on sale and I figured I could use the rest in a spinach salad I planned to make for my brunch that upcoming Saturday.

I eats me spinach!

Once I rinsed my spinach and patted it dry, I set out to create the contest winning meal.

Just a few tidbits:

  2. You may just want to use thawed spinach instead of fresh and reach out to me if you have questions.
  3. Please do not lick the screen.

You want to start boiling your lasagna noodles and creating your buttery, creamy béchamel sauce at the same time.  For each tablespoon of butter, you will want flour and once less cup of milk…I use cream for an extra rich sauce.  My formula typically is 5-5-4.  Many recipes will encourage you to heat the flour and butter mixture until is a golden sandy color.  I tend to cook mine til its close to a caramel color, then add the milk cup by cup and it will lighten up.  Cook the milk until its right before boiling (you’ll have to eyeball this).  In between stages and to ward off vampires, I love to add garlic to everything along with a pinch of salt and nutmeg!  Smash some garlic and add it to the melting butter, also to the near boiling milk.  And this is something that you can choose to do, add to or change, but I muddle some basil and add it to the cooking béchamel.

The bitchin' béchamel sauce

Moving along…you should have all of the ingredients together, ready to layer.  Start out by pouring some marinara in the pan.  I kicked it up a notch by adding a sundried tomato paste of sorts.  I just ran some tomatoes, oil, a pinch of salt and some garlic through a processor.

Spread it like so...

Then continue to layer until you complete the last set of noodles and cover thoroughly with sauce so the top layer does not dry out.

Tuck it in...

Bake your masterpiece for about 40 minutes at 415°F.  As I sat in the house smelling the cheese bubble and sauce spill over, yes I said “smell” instead of “watch”, I had to go out for a drive to keep from snatching the oven door off and devouring the pan before it made it to work in the morning.

The dish managed to make it to the office and onto the judging table in one solid piece.  After taking out a few pieces to share with my team,

The Tasty Goodness of My Bitchin' Béchamel Lasagna

I left the pan and my reputation upstairs…after all, the email of the top three was going out to the entire office.  A few satisfied/no longer skeptical teammates and a day later, I was awarded 2ndplace in the Meatless Cookoff.

The could have at least spelled it right...but isn't my manicure nice!

Was I upset that I didn’t bring home 1st, kinda.  But the prize was a $75 Apple.com giftcard…SCORE!  I’m well on my way to that iPad2!!!

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Why I don’t eat everyone’s…

…cooking.  Duh!  What were you thinking?!?!  Anyhow, during the normal “I’m going to avoid work and surf foodie websites” dance, I came across a recommendation for a somewhat local Filipino restaurant.   So I chatted up my friend, who by the way IS  Filipino and the author of The Filipino Foodie blog, to see if he had heard of the place or even eaten there.  He hadn’t eaten there, nor had he heard of the place.

What was our customary Facebook repartee became a conversation about not trying a place just out of curiosity without having a legitimate source to confirm its quality.   This is when we added a tick mark in the “What makes you Black…” column.  Lol!  To quote him, “Case… problem is… I’m kinda ‘black’ like that. I don’t eat everyone’s Filipino food. Just like you probably don’t eat everyone’s potato salad, greens, mac and cheese…”  What I long held to be family and moreover culture prudence appeared to cross over into another ethnic pool.  If you are confused about what I’m speaking of, you’re probably not a person of color.  We grew up (with no explanation really) being told to not eat everyone’s food.  And in our community it could range from not eating everyone’s potato salad to their greens to their chicken…  Stereotypical…probably.  True…definitely!

Now I have certain things that I won’t eat, but mainly I’ve modified this family rule to “Don’t eat food from places that you can’t sue!”  Yes that means I don’t get to drive down the dirt road to buy fish dinners from the little man in the woods…but its fresh fish and the sides that his wife makes are so damned good.  Right, so I’m off topic…  This whole thought process comes full circle when the Filipino Foodie puts out an APB for anyone who has ever heard of this spot.  Success!  He found fellow a Filipino to give this place the stamp of approval…That’s actually the double stamp!  Not only do we get someone to say that the restaurant is good, but its someone who knows what the food is supposed to taste like that gave us the go ahead.

This practice used to and sometimes still does seem strange to me, but that leaves me to wonder if anyone else subscribes to this way of thought.  I’d love to hear it!

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