Crab Cakes

Hello everyone! Long time no see!!!! I’m so happy to be back, and I’m really hoping to be back on here regularly from now on. I have many excuses for my absense… sickness, bridal shower planning… but I really do miss this space here. I have been cooking of course- despite how busy I’ve been I would never be able to stay away from my kitchen (except during my horrible flu/cold that I had). I still haven’t finished sharing my vacation recipes. Shame on me!!! This was probably the best thing i cooked on vacation. Blue crabs are in abundance down in the Chincoteague area, and while we didn’t catch our own this year, we did buy a bunch of local crabs. The first night we just ate them as is- steamed, and then we made crab cakes and a crab frittata with the leftovers. I love that we had an abundance of crab… this is the only place I’ve ever been able to say that. At first I was going to just make veggie-filled crab cakes. My aunt Annmarie and I made the best crab and veggie cakes one year when we were vacationing on Cape Cod, and these were my attempt to make something similar. I REALLY need to get that recipe! My dad however, likes the simple crab-only crab cakes. So I decided to make both…. and then I threw some jalapenos and Old Bay into a few too. I have to say my favorite were the veggie-filled crab cakes with the inclusion of the jalapeno and Old Bay seasoning. So much flavor!!!!

Simple Crab Cakes

Makes about 8-10 small crab cakes


1 lb lump crab

1/2 cup cracker crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s Mulitgrain crackers- you could use those, ritz, or a similar type of crackers)

1 egg

2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 Jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced (optional)

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp canola oil, more if needed (or other higher heat oil)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise(start with the smaller amount) and Dijon. Add the crab meat, cracker crumbs, jalapeno and Old Bay (if using) and season with salt and pepper, and gently mix together.

2. Carefully form your crab cakes. If they are having a hard time staying together you can add more mayo as needed. It helps if you wet your hands slightly. Place on a plate, and refrigerate for at least half an hour (this will help them firm up).

3. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil. When hot, add your crab cakes, making sure not to crowd the pan. You will have to fry them in 2 or 3 batches. Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until browned. Add additional oil to pan as needed between batches.

Source: Original recipe, but inspired by many recipes around the web

Vegetable Filled Crab Cakes

Makes about 10-12 small crab cakes


1/4 red pepper, finely diced

1/4 green pepper, finely diced

1/4 summer squash, grated

1/4 red onion, finely diced)

1 Tbsp olive oil or butter

1 lb lump crab meat

1/2 cup cracker crumbs, crushed (I used Trader Joe’s Mulitgrain crackers- you could use those, ritz, or a similar type of crackers)

1 egg

2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 Jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced (optional)

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp canola oil, more if needed (or other higher heat oil)


1. Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil or butter. When hot, add the bell peppers, summer squash and red onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until softened, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise(start with the smaller amount) and Dijon. Add the crab meat, cracker crumbs, jalapeno and Old Bay (if using), sauteed vegetables and season with salt and pepper, and gently mix together.

3. Carefully form your crab cakes. If they are having a hard time staying together you can add more mayo as needed. It helps if you wet your hands slightly. Place on a plate, and refrigerate for at least half an hour (this will help them firm up).

4. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil. When hot, add your crab cakes, making sure not to crowd the pan. You will have to fry them in 2 or 3 batches. Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until browned. Add additional oil to pan as needed between batches.

Source: Original recipe, but inspired by many recipes around the web, and my Aunt Annmarie’s Crab Cakes


Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

The tacos strike once again! Seriously, I think I could eat tacos every day for the rest of my life and never tire of them. There are just so many ways to make them, and so many wonderful combinations to explore. Did I ever tell you how my brother used to hate tacos, thinking they were not enough for a meal?! Taco night was one of my favorite family dinners growing up. I would get so excited, and be thinking about dinner all day long. My brother, on the other hand, would endlessly moan and groan about it, saying they were basically just sandwiches, and thus, boring…. ummm.. okay?! Obviously, he was crazy. Luckily he has changed his tune, and now understands the wonderfulness that is the taco. When Ron told me he had never had fish tacos, it became my mission in life to make some. This gave me an excuse to put tacos on the menu again, and also gave me a use for some of the tilapia in my freezer. I also had half a head of cabbage in my refrigerator begging to be made into a slaw, so it was definitely meant to be. These tacos were awesome! A little spicy from the Cajun seasoning and the chipotle aioli, and balanced out by the refreshing and light cilantro lime slaw. So so good!

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

Blackened Fish Tacos 

Serves 4


1 lb flaky white fish (I used tilapia)

3 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (store-bought or homemade- I used this recipe)

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 corn tortillas

Cilantro lime slaw (recipe follows)

Chipotle Aioli (recipe follows)


1. Brush fish with melted butter, and sprinkle on both sides with seasoning.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add fish and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until fish is cooked through. Remove from pan, and flake with a fork.

3. To assemble tacos- warm corn tortillas in a a skillet, or in the microwave. Put some fish in the tortilla, add some slaw, and top with chipotle aioli.

Source: Tide and Thyme

Cilantro Lime Slaw


4 cups cabbage, finely shredded

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

4 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Salt, to taste


1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl, and toss to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow flavors to meld.

Source: Muy Bueno Cookbook

Chipotle Aioli


1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 Tbsp sour cream

3 Tbsp chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Juice from 1/2 a lime


1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and mix together to combine. If you’d like the aioli to be a smoother consistency, you can blend all the ingredients together in a food processor.

Source: Tide and Thyme

Good Stuff Melts

Last winter, Ron and I visited my brother and his fiancee (Jeremy and Michelle) down in the Washington, D.C. area. We were able to fit in a lot in the two days we were there, including seeing a lot of the amazing monuments around the city, visiting the National Cathedral, and visiting the Museum of American History. We also were able to eat at some great restaurants, including Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery. Despite being extremely crowded, and having to eat standing up at a small counter, it was well worth the visit. Our burgers were awesome, the toasted marshmallow shake was incredible, and the village fries (fries tossed with rosemary, thyme and sea salt) sold there were some of the best I’ve ever had.

Several months later I received The Good Stuff Cookbook from Jeremy and Michelle. It is one of those cookbooks where I seriously want to make pretty much every recipe in the cookbook. There are recipes for the amazing salads, burgers, fries, and shakes sold at the restaurant, among other things. I really want to make the village fries at some point, but I have to gear myself up for actually frying something in my kitchen. The burgers seemed a little more approachable, and while there are some additional steps for the burgers, such as making homemade sauce, toppings, and then the technique of wrapping the burger is wax paper before eating, they really are not hard to make at all. These are definitely the best burgers I’ve made myself, in my kitchen, and I can’t wait to try the other recipes as well.

Good Stuff Melts

Good Stuff Melts

Makes 4 burgers


20 oz. (1.25 lbs) ground sirloin

4 potato buns

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups Spanish onions, thinly sliced

4 slices Muenster cheese

4 slices Cheddar cheese

Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms (recipe follows)

About 1/2 cup Good Stuff Sauce (recipe follows)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Make patties by rolling 5 oz. ground sirloin into a ball, and then flattening it into a patty. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

2. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add oil. Add the onions, and stir around so that they are coated with the oil. Cook about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have browned and caramelized. Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a bowl.

3. Season the patties with salt and pepper, and place the patties in the now empty skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes* on one side, and then flip and cook for 3 minutes. Then place a slice of each cheese, some mushrooms, and some caramelized onions on each patty, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Cover with the lid, and cook for 30 seconds more, until the cheese melts.

4. While the burgers are cooking, toast your potato buns. Heat the broiler, butter the buns, and place them face up on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for just a few seconds. Check every few seconds as they go from perfect to burnt quickly.

5. To assemble the patty melts, place a patty on a bun bottom, put on some of the good stuff sauce, place the top on the bun on, and wrap in a square of wax paper. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the bun to absorb some flavor from the patty and the toppings. Eat and enjoy!

*The amount of time you cook it depends on how well-done you like your burger.

Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms


1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

12 oz mixed wild mushrooms (i.e. shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle)

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

1 garlic clove, sliced


1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes, until the liquid is released. Add 3/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned.

2. Add the butter, thyme, and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more. Add remaining salt and pepper.

*The directions here are a bit different than what the cookbook says to do as it has you cook the mushrooms over high heat the entire time. I did that, and my mushrooms burned, even cutting down the cooking time. That said, maybe it was my stove misbehaving and not the directions. In either case, I don’t think cooking the mushrooms on a lower temperature will do any damage, it might just take a little longer.

Good Stuff Sauce

Makes about 1 cup


1 large egg*

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup grapeseed oil

1 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp molasses

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp salt


1. Add the egg, mustard, vinegar, and salt to a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds in a food processor, or 10 seconds in a blender.  With the motor running, slowly add the oil, in a thin, steady stream, until the mixture is smooth. Stop to taste and adjust thickness if needed. If too thick, add a little hot water, and blend. If too thin, blend for a bit longer. Stop here and you have a basic mayonnaise!!

2. Now add the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, and salt. Blend until combined. You can refrigerate this in an airtight container up to a week.

*This does contain raw egg. If you are skeeved out by this, or have a weak immune system, you can skip making the homemade mayonnaise portion and just use pre-made (I recommend Hellman’s). To do this, just mix 1 cup mayonnaise with the ketchup, molasses, rice vinegar and salt until combined.

Source: barely adapted from The Good Stuff Cookbook

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Buffalo chicken has to be one of my favorite foods ever…. and of course it’s one of my boyfriend’s favorites! I love it in pretty much any incarnation, whether it be the classic buffalo chicken wings, or a twist on the classic, such as a topping on a pizza, inside egg rolls, in potato skins, etc. If it has buffalo chicken in the title, it can pretty much be guaranteed that I’ll try it.  When this recipe popped up on Smells Like Home a month ago, I immediately put it at the top of my “make after this detox” list. Ron was all for it because even though it’s a healthy salad, buffalo chicken makes everything exciting!

The buffalo chicken in this recipe is baked, which cuts the guilt down even further. It’s breaded in a toasted panko breadcrumb coating, and baked on a wire rack, which ensures that the chicken will stay crispy, rather than soggy.  The creamy avocado ranch dressing is a perfect accompaniment to the salad, although if you wanted, you could certainly serve it with a regular ranch or blue cheese dressing. I will most definitely be making this regularly. Ron has already requested a repeat of this meal, and I will be fulfilling that request soon.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Serves 2-4 (Depending on how hungry you are!)

1 recipe buffalo chicken (recipe follows)
Avocado ranch dressing (recipe follows)
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Blue, feta or cheddar cheese
Crumbled bacon(optional)
Scallions or red onions (optional)
Celery (optional)

1. Assemble individual salads. Place buffalo chicken on top. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Buffalo Chicken
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
Cooking spray
1 lb chicken tenderloins ( or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips
1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
3 Tbsp salted butter

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on the sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add canola oil and breadcrumbs. Toss together and stir until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a shallow dish or pie plate when toasted.
3. In a second dish or pie plate, stir together the flour, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.
4. To prepare chicken, dredge each piece in the flour mixture, then the egg whites, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet. When all the chicken is coated, spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. (I highly recommend getting an oil mister- that way you can use your own oil, without all the other ingredients that the cooking spray usually contains.)
5. Place the chicken in the oven and make for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the coating is golden brown.
6. While the chicken cooks, place the butter and the wing sauce in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted. Whisk together to combine.
7. When chicken is cooked, dredge each piece carefully in the buffalo sauce to coat.

Avocado Ranch Dressing

1/2 avocado, removed from skin and diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Up to 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch of chives, or 1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place avocado, mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup buttermilk, chives (or scallions), parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, in a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds. Scrape down side, add more buttermilk if desired to change consistency, and blend until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Smells Like Home

Buffalo Chicken Previously: Buffalo Chicken Melts

Here are some other buffalo chicken recipes from around the web that I’d love to try!
Buffalo Chicken Monkey Bread (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Buffalo Chicken Bites (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls (Smells Like Home)
Buffalo Chicken Sliders (Country Cleaver)
30-Minute Buffalo Chicken French Breads (How Sweet It Is)

Chipotle Turkey Burgers

I know, I know, another burger recipe… but hey, it’s summer!  … and today’s the 4th of July, and burgers are one of those quintessentially American things, along with hot dogs, and apple pie, and fried chicken…. I actually did not make these to celebrate the holiday, but I think they’d be a great thing to make today.  So they are not traditional burgers, but a really delicious riff … chipotle peppers and abobo sauce mixed into the meat, topped with avocado, tomatillo, and cilantro.  Awesome!
Happy Independence Day!!

Chipotle Turkey Burgers

Serves 4
1 lb ground turkey, preferably dark meat
2 tsp minced chipotle in adobo plus 1 tsp adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves, pressed
4 slices Muenster cheese
4 hamburger buns, toasted
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large tomatillo, husked and rinsed, then sliced
1/2 small avocado, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.  
  2. Gently mix ground turkey with the chopped chipotles, adobo sauce, garlic, and a scant tsp of salt.  Make 4 3/4-inch thick patties.
  3. Oil the grill grates, and place the burgers on the grill.  Grill 5 minutes on one side, flip, and grill 4 minutes on the other.  Top each with a slice of cheese and grill 1 minute more.
  4. Assemble the burgers by spreading the buns with mayonnaise, placing the burger on top, and then topping with tomatillos, avocado, and cilantro.

  • The original recipe calls for ground pork, which you can certainly use as well!
  • The chipotle flavor in this is fairly subtle.  To amp it up a bit, next time I’ll be adding some chopped chipotles and adobo sauce to the mayonnaise.  Yum!

BLTs with Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise

There are many cooking-related things that I have never done before- for example, I’ve never baked bread, made hollandaise sauce, made a crepe, or made homemade mayonnaise.  All of these things intimidate me for one reason or another, and so many of these things made it onto my resolutions list for the new year.

After perusing Joy the Baker one day (if you haven’t visited her website, do so, it’s awesome!), I came upon a post on the best BLTs, complete with roasted red pepper mayonnaise.  BLTs are such a great thing to make in the summer when the tomatoes are fresh, and you don’t want to use your oven.  The only cooking involved is cooking the bacon (which you can cook in the oven, but I do on the stovetop for the most part).  I figured her roasted red pepper mayonnaise was just the thing to kick these already delicious sandwiches up a notch, and give me the drive to make my own mayonnaise.  I was so surprised at how easy it was- if you have a food processor that is (someday I’ll try making it by hand).  That’s one resolution I can now check off my list!

Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise
from Joy the Baker, originally adapted from Fat

Makes about 1 cup
1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped (jarred, or homemade)
3/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1. Combine the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and roasted red pepper in a food processor.  Mix about 30 seconds.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and blend again for a couple seconds.
2. With the food processor running, slowly add the oil.  It’ll start to emulsify fairly quickly, and it will take about 1-2 minutes to thicken to mayonnaise consistency.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • The leftover mayonnaise can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will last for 3-4 days.
  • The recipe makes a good amount, so you’ll probably will have a good amount leftover, depending on how many BLTs you are making. You could use the mayo on any type of sandwich or burger, as a dipping sauce for potato wedges, in egg or potato or chicken salad, as a dipping sauce for artichoke leaves….. whatever you want!!

Good bread, toasted
Bacon, cooked
Tomato, sliced thinly or thickly
Lettuce (romaine, iceberg, butter, Boston….)  I used some lettuce from my garden!
Cheese (optional)
Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise
1.  Ummm… so you don’t really need instructions to make this sandwich!  Just take your toasted bread, slather it with mayo, and top it with bacon, lettuce and tomato (and cheese if you want).  Eat and enjoy!

Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli

Now that it’s unofficially summer, and I have a working outside grill, it seems the perfect time to start exploring the wonderful world of burgers.  Growing up, I admit that burgers were not my favorite meal in the world…. sorry mom and dad.  I have changed my opinion though now that I’m older, and have realized the burgers don’t just have to mean a ground beef patty on a bun with ketchup and mustard.  I like the kicked up burgers with interesting toppings and lots of cheese far more than the plain burgers, and nowadays they are actually something I crave.  I am personally more a fan of turkey burgers, rather than beef, and so I decided that my first burger of the season would be one made with ground turkey.  After doing a little searching, I came upon a recipe for a grilled turkey burger with cheddar cheese and smoky aioli that originally appeared in the August 2009 issue of Bon Appetit.  This burger is seriously one of the best I’ve ever made- the toppings are awesome- cheddar cheese, grilled peppers and onions, and to top it off a delicious cumin and coriander spiced aioli. Really awesome!

Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smokey Aioli
Serves 4

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing veggies
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
4 red onion slices, 1/3-inch thick
1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, quartered
4 slices cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
4 hamburger buns

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and toast cumin and coriander seeds about 1 1/2 minutes, or until aromatic and slightly darker in color.  Shake skillet often to move seeds around while toasting.  Once toasted, grind spices in a spice grinder, or crush in a mortar with pestle.  In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and spices.  Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
2. In a medium bowl gently mix turkey with 2 tbsp of the aioli (mayo mixture).  Make 4 3/4-inch patties with the turkey, and make a shallow indentation in the middle of each burger with your thumb.
3. Prepare your grill (should be about medium-high heat).  Sprinkle your burgers with salt and pepper on each side.  Brush the onions and peppers with olive oil.
4. Grill onions and peppers for about 4 minutes per side, until soft and charred.
5. Grill burgers 5 minutes on one side, then flip and grill 4 minutes.  Place cheese on burgers, and grill a minute more.
6. Assemble burgers with desired toppings- onions, peppers, arugula, and a nice dollop of aioli.

Source:, originally from Bon Appetit, August 2009


  • I highly recommend using a grill basket for the veggies in this recipe.  I unfortunately do not have one yet, and about 1/2 my onions ended up falling into the hot coals- luckily I had sliced more that the recipe calls for, and so the survivors were enough.
  • I grilled the burger buns on the grill as well, so if you like toasted buns, place them on the grill while the burgers are cooking, checking them frequently.  Move them around a little too, if some are on a hot or less hot part of the grill, so that they are toasted evenly.
  • I used white meat ground turkey for my burgers and they turned out perfectly fine, and not too dry, but the darker meat will turn out a juicier burger.  Dark meat is harder to find though- it’s not carried at the Shop and Stop I go to, but is carried at Whole Foods.
  • The aioli this makes was the best part in my opinion, and you’ll probably have some left over after you put it on your burgers.  It makes a great dipping sauce for fries, so I’d say that’s a good way to use any extra.