Archive for November, 2008

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

Our neighbor is perhaps the greatest neighbor ever..okay, maybe not ever, but he’s pretty great. He brings fresh crab whenever he goes out crabbing. On this occassion he brought over about 6 blue crab (already steamed). I cleaned the crab and put the meat aside for crab cakes. It probably yielded about 2 cups of meat, maybe a bit less…it was enough to make 4 sizeable crab cake patties.

Mix Crab with an egg, and season with red pepper, salt, and old bay seasoning, add bread crumbs – just enough to hold it all together. Pan fry in a bit of olive oil until golden brown. I served mine with wilted spinach and a baked potato…very delicious. It is of course delectable with fresh crab, but would still be pretty darned tasty if you can only get your hands on the canned stuff. Luckily for me, my neighbor sees fit that I get the fresh stuff 🙂

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Veggie Lasagne

Veggie Lasagne

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

As per request from my Grandmother, I made fresh veggie lasagne. This is a great way to get rid of left over veggies, or plan ahead and use your favorites. This lasagne is spinach and mushroom. To start, I made the lasagne noodles. This is easier than it sounds and totally worth it.
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp of oil
mix together – it will be quite a dry mixture
I happen to have a pasta attachment for my kitchen aid mixture….
I put a bit of the dough through gradually smaller rollers on the pasta machine to get to desired thinness (I suggest a 4 or 5)

Preheat oven to 350

Lightly grease a baking pan
Add a bit of red sauce (whatever you like, I made a red wine marinara) add one layer of noodles
Add ricotta and feta (sprinkle over noodles)
add veggies (in my case spinach and mushrooms)
add a layer of mozarella cheese
cover with sauce
add another layer of noodles and repeat process
Top with final layer of noodles, and cover with mozarella.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until brown and bubbly.

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Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

The other day Mimi posted her Mac and Cheese and of course it made ME want mac and cheese. So…here is my version of this perfect comfort food. I use a really basic recipe.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Boil 2 Cups of Elbow Macaroni (or whatever you prefer)
For the Cheese sauce
In a sauce pan saute 1/2 chopped onion with 3 tbls of butter
Add 3 tbls of flour and make a roux
Add salt, pepper and dry mustard to taste
Add 2 cups of milk – bring to a boil and let thicken (about a minute)
Remove from heat – add 2 cups of shredded cheese (whatever you like) For this one I used a combination of sharp cheddar, goat cheese and fontina…yums.

In a greased baking dish add cooked pasta and cheese sauce – bake for 25 minutes until bubbling.

It doesn’t get much better or much easier than this for pure comfort food.

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Have I mentioned lately how much I love weekend breakfasts? I’m sure I have. Most of my posts seem to be about weekend breakfast.

Dev and I went to Sante Fe and Albequerque this weekend, so Sunday was the only day I cooked.

I had a ton of veggies left in the fridge from the harvest at the greenhouse last weekend, and I needed to use everything up fast (We are headed out again Tuesday to go to Montrose til Sunday).

I have posted about rostis before. I have found these to be a great way to clean out the refrigerator. Basically it’s a big potato pancake with whatever you want on the top, shoved under the broiler til it’s a big hunk of melty cheesy love. Here’s a link to my original rosti post.

This time around I used bacon, onion, swiss chard, mushrooms and tomatoes, topped with cheddar cheese. Because Dev doesn’t like fried eggs, I topped his with scrambled eggs when it came out from under the broiler. I, on the other hand, am a runny yolk person, so I topped mine with a couple of fried eggs. There’s something about the yolk that helps emulsify the whole dish.

Anyway, as usual, these were to die for. When Dev and I retire and have all the time in the world, I might just make these during the week, too. But right now, he’ll have to suffer through crappy weekday breakfasts to get to the decent weekend stuff.

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Good dinner on a Friday night. Grilled tuna lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese and then grilled about 4 minutes per side. Baby portabello mushrooms with garlic, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese – baked in the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes. The asparagus was lightly seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and just cooked through in a saute pan. Nothing hard about this dish at all – just a bit of planning so that everything gets done at the same time and it all comes out hot. Start the mushrooms first – then the tuna, when you turn the tuna over after the first 4 minutes -start the asparagus – the thinner the aspargus the quicker the cooking time, so be careful not over cook it. We enjoyed this with a pinot/shiraz blend.

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Mac and Cheese


Macaroni and cheese has to be the undisputed queen of the comfort food kingdom.

Today has been a pretty cold day, and when I got home from school, I was craving a great big bowl of gooey, cheesy macaroni.

I checked out a couple of Rachael Ray cookbooks from our library (I really try to hate her, but I get really good, quick dinner ideas from her books and magazine) and there are about a billion different variations on mac and cheese in both books.

I chose one that combined broccoli with mac and cheese. Of course, I didn’t have any broccoli, so mine was actually pea, mushroom and corn mac and cheese.

The recipe was pretty standard- boil the pasta, make a white sauce, add humungus amounts of shredded cheese of your choice and stir everything together with the veggies. If you want to see the recipe, check out “Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats.” But really- you can wing it and get the same results.

I will say that the resulting mac and cheese was really tasty- I think it’s the addition of dijon mustard and a bit of cayenne to the finished cheese sauce that gives it that push into delicious.

I will make it again, although next time I will add some sort of protein to beef up the nutritional value.

I also think a Spanish version with chorizo and maybe some green chili would also be really good.

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Potato Soup


When the weather around here starts getting bitterly cold (it was 6 degrees here this morning), I start thinking about soups and stews. Last weekend I had some chicken stock to use up- so I decided to make some potato soup.

This recipe is an old southern one from a book called (appropriately enough) “Southern Cooking.” The author of the cookbook, Lorine Olliff Hendricks, is from Metter, GA. The book is pretty entertaining, and includes recipes for possum and squirrel- I would say that’s pretty authentic.

I was looking for a potato soup recipe (cuz I didn’t have any possum or squirrel laying around) and found one on page 5.

Here’s the recipe:

3 slices bacon
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine
3 cups potatoes, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. water (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese for garnish
3 cups milk
1/2 c. cream

Cook bacon in heavy saucepan until crisp. Remove for later use (I garnished the soup with it). In the bacon drippings, saute onions and carrots. Add water (or stock) and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender (it took about 20 minutes for me). Add seasonings and milk. Heat to boiling point and add cream. When ready to serve, sprinkle crumbled bacon and shredded cheese on top. Yields 1 1/2 quarts.

If I make this again, I would dice the potatoes instead of slicing them. Sliced potatoes are hard to eat in soup. I also think it needed more flavor. It tasted more like milk soup than potato soup.

But it did the trick and warmed everyone up, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

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Historic Day!


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Roasted Chicken

roasted chicken

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

Oh man – I was sad I forgot to take a picture of this before I dismantled the chicken. It was AWESOME. I had about a 4lb chicken. I salted and peppered the inside and outside of the chicken – in the cavity I put 2 cloves of garlic, about 4 rosemary springs and 1 lemon (quartered) – cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. It was so juicy and delicious, there was not so much as a sliver of skin left after we were done. A lovely way to celebrate Day of the Dead..okay, again, not what the dinner was about, but whatever – it was delicious – I served it with champagne, asparagus risotto and Heidi brought over butternut squash – awesome good dinner. I served this alongside Dracula Zinfindel – even if the dinner wasn’t specifically for Day of the Dead – doesn’t mean we can’t have a litte fun with it!

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For All Saints Day, I made a dinner of sushi at home. It was all a combination of Tuna, Asparagus, Salmon, and Avacado. The only tricky thing about home made sushi is the rice. I made 7 pretty generous rolls and this is what I did.

2 cups of short grain rice (rinse until water runs clear and then let dry – about 15 minutes)
Place rice in a pot with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir gently – scrape down the sides and edge of the pan. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Turn heat to low and steam for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Turn off heat and let the covered pan sit for 10 minutes. While the rice is setting mix together

4 1/2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt

In a non-reactive bowl, dump rice and add vinegar mixture – gently fold into the rice and let the rice cool to room temperature.

To make the sushi place a sheet of nori (shiny side down) put about 1/2 cup of rice on the sheet and spread to cover the nori = add desired ingredients (for me it was a combination of the aforementioned bits of seafood and veggies) and roll to about a 1/2 inch thick….let roll stand for about a minute before slicing. Serve with wasabi, soy and pickled ginger…a perfect way to celebrate All Saints Day…okay, so this dinner had nothing to do with all Saints Day and just happened to be a Saturday, but whatever…its awesome good fun!

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