Tuesday, January 12, 2010

my famous crab cake recipe

in the harrisburg area, every restaurant, caterer, deli, whatever---say they make the BEST crabcakes......
that said, i will tell you that we always made the best!

here is my recipe:

1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
2 t. finely, finely diced red bell pepper, trimmed of pith (i call this "confetti" dice)
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
dash of salt and pepper
1 egg
1/2 c. hellman's mayonnaise (this is the only mayonnaise i ever use unless i prepare it myself)
dash of cayenne
juice of 1/2 lemon (fresh only, not from a bottle)

method:  beat the egg in small bowl and then add mayonnaise and mix well.  add dash of cayenne and the juice of the lemon.  in a large bowl, put the jumbo lump crabmeat.  (**always smell the crabmeat before you use it or add it to anything--it should smell like the seashore in a pleasant way, no ammonia smell whatsoever!) 

sprinkle the crabmeat with the tiny dice of red pepper, a dash of salt and pepper and the breadcrumbs.  with a soft spatula, toss lightly to mix.  then pour the egg mixture over and, again, using a soft spatula, toss to mix taking care not to break up the lumps of crab too much.

melt 3 T. butter on a baking sheet.  form the crabmeat mixture into large mounds and place on the baking sheet.  you should yeild 5 or 6  crabcakes per 1 lb. of crabmeat.  bake in preheated 350* oven for 8 - 10 minutes.  the crabcakes should be lightly browned on top and butter sizzling.

tips:  these crabcakes can be formed small for hors d'oeuvres or just a bit larger as a wonderful addition to a composed salad.  since ovens vary in temperature and "hot spots",  a few additional minutes may be required for the baking time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

smelling the roses

veering way off my usual thoughts on foods......my dear, dear pat hickey called me from philly new year's day to tell me
her brother-in-law, craig, had a brain aneurysm while skiing with his son in vermont.  they rushed him to a hospital only to have to transport him to another hospital one hour away.  he is in a coma and will be there a minimum of 3 months.....the doctors keep telling the family, "if he survives".  this is a man with so much joy for life.....absolutely worships the ground his wife walks on and one of those people you always have a wonderful time with....always!
the ski trip was a christmas gift to their youngest son, matthew, who is only 14 years old.

with me just about to retire and  knowing i have an enormous amount of work ahead of me dismantling the shop, equipment and getting my house in order, i must admit that i have been operating under the feeling that, "what i don't get done today, i can do tomorrow".....there it is, taking my precious gift of days for granted!

and, when i am at the store and there aren't enough cashiers to handle the customers, i gripe and grumble and get myself in a foul mood.....when a driver cuts me off or is discourteous, when i call a company and get someone i cannot understand or can't even get through the menu to talk to that someone i can't understand!....all of these small gripes that i allow to affect my mood.....to what purpose?.....as my pat hickey always says, "life is too short!".....

i think for this new year i am going to resolve to absolutely smell the roses along the way, enjoy everyone and everything
to the fullest and live each day as though another gift of a day may not come my way.....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

cooking for two

how in the world does one cook for only two people?
when i was catering, i would always prepare a bit more and bring dinner home for bob and me.
now, since i am no longer catering, i have to have meals that will be interesting, fun and tasty for just the two of us without a load of leftovers!.....this will be my new mission now----learning how to cut down on amounts of foods!....for two, not fifty!.....
it's funny how things come full cycle.....back in the 70's when we were all starting out with small children and no money, we would entertain our friends in our homes over dinners we prepared....there weren't all the many restaurants like we have now back then and, of course, none of us had any money to spare!....we used to pick interesting recipes, set our tables with the good china, get some fresh flowers and our friends would be so delighted and we'd have wonderful evenings!.....in fact, that's how my catering business began!...my friends would love my twist on foods and would say that i should provide foods for people who didn't cook....they even suggested a name---trish's dishes!.....this was back when there were very few caterers---it
wasn't the huge industry then that it is now.....
i was always big on presentation.....the lovely table settings, flowers, etc......my feeling was that if the meal looked really pretty, it didn't always matter what the menu was!.....
i started out with a stand at the local farmers' market selling prepared foods.....however, i was just a bit ahead of my time----the blackboard would have "shrimp quiche today" and people would say, "what is shrimp qwish?".....or i would have strawberry with port soup when we could get local berries from york county and
people would question serving cold soup!......
that was a wonderful learning experience for me and i did that for a little more than a year and then found a little building where i could install a kitchen and started the catering business.....i was so scared and really didn't know how to operate and promote a business!.....i could probably teach a course on what NOT to do!....
i labored over a name for my business......and finally came up with creative catering----oh, i thought i was so clever!......little did i know til i got a computer years later and went to get a domain name for the website that everybody and their brother all over the country had the same name!.....
when i opened my little shop (i was planning to do take-out also at that time) and had a grand opening party,
my aunt gave me a beautiful book, entertaining by martha stewart.....i felt i had found my soul mate!...she had been doing what i was now doing and her style was right up my alley the way i was doing things!....of course, she was so far ahead of me.....i adapted her recipes and absolutely copied many of her presentations---it would be interesting to find out how many caterers were influenced by martha!....
now with the economy being so hard on all of us in some way or another, we are going to get back to the basics and start entertaining at home again....it makes no sense to go to a restaurant, spend a lot of money and not
be pleased with the food or service or both----who needs that aggravation?.....now that i am not working 24/7 it will be fun to gather our friends and do like we did so many years ago!....
however, that still doesn't solve my immediate problem of what to serve for dinner tonight for just the two of us!.....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

my first blog

it's 1:45 a.m. and i am just setting up this blog....have no idea what i am doing, of course!
i'm sure once i get started and get the hang of this, it will be much easier....this is sort of
like just meeting someone for the first time and not knowing what to say.....i am closing my
catering business after almost 30 years!....we have always strived for perfection and would
use only the finest ingredients and, i guess, were considered upscale....these times are sure
tough now....everyone is being careful and not being extravagant....our style is more for the
very special occasions now....if and when the economy comes back, i still don't think we all
will be quick to spend our money and will continue to be frugal....so, it's time for me to retire
rather than re-invent our business or settle for anything less than what we do.....

having made that decision, it is both a sad time and an exhilarating one....i will have so much
to do in the coming weeks (months) dismantling our shop and selling equipment, vans, etc.....

then i think i would like to do some volunteer work....because i could never commit to anything
on a specific night or day (we had either events or food prep), i would like to perhaps get involved
with meals on wheels or perhaps help at one of the soup kitchens.....

and then of course there is the house which needs so much attention.....when always working, the house
seemed to be the last item on my daily list!.....and it rarely got crossed off!....

i have so many recipes!....some of course are from others but then we would put our own twist on them...
i remember years ago, martha stewart was accused of publishing recipes that were not her own.....well,
what recipe is truly, truly your own?.....we all start somewhere with a basic recipe and then put something
in we think would enhance it.....so, perhaps my recipes are really not "mine" but i think they are!.....

i have so many to weed through from our various binders and thought i might post some of them as i
am going through them.....