Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce

When people would ask if I had a favorite recipe at my business, I always answered "Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce"!  This dish was probably our most famous and it was the recipe that my family and I most enjoyed testing.  Use the best quality jumbo lump crab meat you can get.  If you make jumbo size crab cakes, they make a great summer dinner-- just add fresh local corn on the cob and some coleslaw and you are done.  You can also make these crab cakes appetizer size and serve them at your summer parties or for events through out the year.  These freeze fine, so you can make them ahead of time.  Just thaw them in the fridge for a day or two before cooking. 

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce

2 large eggs (or approximately 1/3 cup of liquid eggs)
2 Tablespoons regular mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper *USE LESS IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPICY FOODS*
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 can Jumbo Lump Crab Meat (one pound can)
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1.  Add the eggs, mayo, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl.  Whisk or stir to combine.

2.  Add the crab to the bowl of egg mixture and gently stir, so the crab is well coated.  Add the bread crumbs and cracker crumbs to the bowl and gently stir until the mixture is combined.  I always try to be careful not to break up the crab meat too much.

3.  Form the mixture into either 6 jumbo size crab cakes or 12 appetizer size crab cakes.

4.  There are two ways to cook these crab cakes.  Method A:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Place crab cakes on baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, or until crab cakes are golden brown and cooked through.  Method B:  Heat approximately 1/2 cup of olive oil or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.  Add crab cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked through, turning once.  Serve with Lemon Dill Sauce (recipe below).  ENJOY!

Lemon Dill Sauce

1/4 cup Buttermilk
2 Tablespoons chopped Fresh Dill
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup Light or Regular Mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir.  (If you are making this to freeze, this portion of the sauce can be frozen.  Wait to add the mayo until you are serving the crab cakes because the mayo will not freeze well).  Add 1 cup of mayo to the mixture and stir.  Ideally, you should refrigerate for an hour or two before serving to let herb mixture fully flavor the mayo.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Local Treasure: Bolton Farm Market - Silverdale, PA

Many of my former customers have mentioned they miss the meats and poultry that I used at my business, and have asked if they can purchase these products anywhere else.  I do not believe the vendors sell to retail establishments, but I mentioned that if I found any good local sources I would pass them on.  I happen to live close to Bolton Farm Market in Silverdale, PA, and I highly recommend them!

Bolton Farm Market is known for their Thanksgiving turkeys, which are excellent, but they carry so much more than that.  It is worth a stop if you are in the area!  Bolton's also carries other turkey products such as:  turkey breast cutlets, ground turkey, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, and turkey hot dogs.  They now also carry their own whole chickens and whole chicken breasts, and Black Angus beef (various cuts of steaks as well as ground beef).  All of their poultry and beef are raised there on the farm, and are not fed any anti-biotics or growth hormones.  Bolton's also carries in-season local produce and Penn View Dairy bottled milk (also no anti-biotics or growth hormones).  I have personally tried almost all of these items and found them to be of excellent quality.  It also feels good to be supporting a local family business.

I have noticed that they seem to have more of a selection on Fridays (many choices of fresh Black Angus steaks as well as frozen, for example) and there has also been a Mennonite baker there on Fridays this summer, selling many kinds of delicious pies, cookies, whoopie pies, etc.  Visit for more information and hours of operation.

Check back later this month for a Pick Your Own Blueberries account and for the recipe for my favorite Crab Cakes!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sour Cherries are Here... Yummm!

If you live in Bucks County, PA and you like sour cherries, get to a farmers market right away!  The season is really short, and you don't want to miss it.  Buy extra and freeze them - you can use the frozen berries later in the summer.  Sour cherries are usually too tart to eat raw, but they make excellent pies, preserves, and crisps.

I found sour cherries at a really small road-side stand in Hilltown Township (on Creamery Road between Rickert and Callowhill Roads).  If you live close, it's worth checking.  They were $4 for an overflowing quart-size container- bring exact change because there is just a lock box type of thing to leave your money.  They also had black raspberries and blueberries.  If you don't live close, you can check
to find a farm or market near you.  Call first to see if they have sour cherries.
Yes, you will need to pit the cherries before using them.  I will admit, it is a pain, but I figure I only have do it once a year during sour cherry season.  I just use an unfolded large paperclip to take the pits out.  Remove the stem from the cherry, insert the paperclip in the stem end of the cherry, give it a little bit of a turn around the pit, then pop the pit out!
My favorite thing to make with sour cherries is pie.  The almond extract is optional, but I really think it "makes" this pie - almonds and cherries go so well together!

Sour Cherry Pie

Pastry dough for 8 in. 2 crust pie (recipe below)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1 Tbs. butter

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line pie pan with 1/2 of the pastry dough.

2.  Mix together the pitted cherries, flour, and sugar until the cherries are well-coated.  Pour mixture into pie shells.  Sprinkle almond extract over the cherry mixture.  Cut butter into small pieces and dot over the cherry mixture.  Use second half of pastry dough to make lattice top for the pie.  Crimp edges.
Optional:  Brush top crust with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar for a nice presentation.

3.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 30-40 minutes more until crust is browned and pie is done.  Tip:  Bake on the 2nd lowest rack position in the oven.  Set pie on cookie sheet if it starts to spill over in the oven.

Pastry for Double Crust 8 in. Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur brand)
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening (I like to use organic, trans-fat free, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening)
1/3 cup cold water

1.  Mix flour and salt.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives.  Combine until mixture forms small peas-sized clumps.  Use a tablespoon to sprinkle the cold water over the flour mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Mix lightly with a fork as you add the water; do not overmix.  The mixture should be just moist enough that it will hold together when pressed gently into a ball.  It will still be slightly crumbly.

2.  Divide the dough into two balls.  Roll bottom crust out in a circle two inches larger than the pie pan.  Gently lift the crust into the pie pan and fit it to the pan.  Roll out second ball of pastry.  Cut into lattice strips with pizza cutter or knife.  Fill pie according to recipe.  Cover pie with lattice crust strips.  Bake as indicated in recipe.