Tuesday, January 23, 2007


We had our long-lost Brooklyn friends and their kids over Saturday night. I don't know why I was sweating the menu -- our friends are so laid-back and were just such a pleasure to spend time with. Crazy. I worried about all the dumb things no one who matters notices: a missed dust bunny rolling down the stairs; the grease spots on the backsplash that I've grown used to; the tornado of toys that is M's room, and for which no amount of cleaning ever seems to remedy. Our friends didn't notice; we were all too busy catching up and trying to get some food into our kids to do a white-glove test.

Menu-wise, I was pretty set on the portobello lasagne, but Amy softened me with her idea about crab cakes, and I decided that even though I hate frying things because I can never get them crisp but end up with limp greasy things, I thought I'd give the crab cakes a whirl. Amy and I didn't connect that day for me to get her recipe, so I picked a recipe from AllRecipes.com and embellished a bit. Turns out you can pre-shape crab cakes and then broil them when your guests arrive (who knew?). Easy peasy, and if you care, a lot less calorie-laden than the fried version. And our guests asked for the recipe, which I have to say was pretty tasty -- crab and mayo, what's not to love? So, if you're feeling crabby this week, here's the embarrassingly easy recipe we used.
Embarrasingly Easy Crab Cakes

1-1/4 cups crushed crackers (I used a bunch of different kinds like Carr's and Ritz -- whatever we had on hand left over from friends coming over recently -- and whirred them in a food processor)
1-1/8 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp. prepared brown mustard (I used some English mustard I'd made in a fit of pre-Christmas craftiness)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1-1/4 pounds crabmeat (I cheated and used 5 cans Trader Joe's canned crabmeat)

Preheat the oven on broiler setting. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or use a non-stick baking sheet and skip the greasing.

In a medium bowl, mix together everything but the crabmeat. Then gently stir in the crabmeat. I used a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop out the crab cake mixture, and then shaped each scoop into patties.

Lay the patties on a cookie sheet, and if you want to make them later, just cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for a while. (Be sure to use a cookie sheet with a ridge or you'll start a grease fire -- that mayo really lets loose with the grease when it heats up.)

When you're ready to cook them, broil for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side until they're a nice golden brown. That's it!


I'm stocking up on crab meat because I always thought crab cakes were a super-special restaurant treat, but these were cheaper than about any other entree we could have made, were super-crazy-easy to put together, and tasted delicious -- a product, I'm sure, of the more than one cup of mayonnaise.

In slowish food musings, I've been pretty down because our family hasn't made a marked switch to slow food and slow life like I'd hoped. I took an honest look of our life and schedules and demands, and think our failure might have a bit to do with the immovable time-space continuim, which provides a harried 11 minutes after work to get dinner into my boys' stomaches. This 11 minutes doesn't allow for the candle-lit, lemon-garnished dinners I'd envisioned. A friend told me she recently got a pressure cooker that has changed her life -- whole chickens in 20 minutes, brisket in 55. This frightens me, as I still think of pressure cookers as sporting the ticking, hissing time-bomb topper and periodically choosing to explode all over a kitchen and maybe take out an eye or arm in the process. I'm told modern pressure cookers aren't like this, but old perceptions die hard.

We just got rid of satellite, after realizing that we don't really watch or enjoy TV (The Flavor of Love, The E! True Hollywood Story, Armed & Famous -- need I go on?) and between our basic package and Phil's Major League package he never had the leisure to watch, we were spending $750 a year to watch The Daily Show. So I'm thinking some of that money might go to a pressure cooker. Or a pirate costume; I can't decide.



Anonymous Laura Kitchel said...

Actually, we're spending about $550/year on satellite TV for me to watch "The Daily Show" and for Dennis to watch hunting shows (YAWN!). Hmmm. . . perhaps we should rethink that investment. Crab cakes are definitely going to make an appearance on my dinner table soon. Sounds yummy!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, pressure cookers! That brings to mind an Uncle Joe story. Joe's former wife (who I still like very much) was the kind of cook who believed if medium hi cooks fast, super hi cooks faster and better. A year or so before she moved out in 1992, she did have a mini-volcano event in their kitchen using a pressure cooker. Beans all over the ceiling! Here's the kicker.... they're still there. But seriously, as if a mini-volcano isn't, I have a pressure cooker which I like very much. You can expect to cook meat in 1/3 the usual time, and it's good too.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did it say I'm anonymous? This is Leneta.

5:59 AM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

I'm afraid of the pressure cooker, too, C. It seems rife with "I Love Lucy"-ish hijinks -- like beans on a ceiling! :) But...cooking meat in a third of the time does sound mighty tempting. I've been really getting into my slow-cooker these days, just because I can put it on and leave it (and, back to the topic of venison -- I made a really great venison stew the other week, If I do say so myself -- lean meats obviously do very, very well cooked low and slow). But I'm going to think about this pressure cooker notion...

9:49 AM  
Blogger David said...

Um, I want a pressure cooker but beaufriend has put kitchen equipment buying on hiatus.

Also, he hates crabcakes.

I'm glad you four were able to reconnect. It was driving me crazy that you weren't.

btw, tonight I'm panfrying lambchops, then trashing them out with frozen peas and tater tots.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I love crab cakes. I have a similar recipe that I serve with a roasted red pepper sauce. In the blender-- 8 oz jar of RRP, 1 cup of mayo and 1/2 c. of chili sauce.

The recipe I use is 2 T of mayo and an egg in the cakes.

1:38 AM  
Blogger Cindy K said...

Teresa, I am going to try your roasted red pepper sauce the next time we have crab cakes, which will be soon.

David, I think you need to point out all the money a pressure cooker could save you. And really, is there such thing as *too* much kitchen equipment?

11:59 AM  

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