Rabu, 27 April 2011

Crab Cakes

Little Crab Cakes are one of the most delicious appetizer, but they have to be made the right way.
I like them juicy and full of chunky crabmeat. They should not contain to much mayonnaise and I don't like it if you can taste the egg... it's not an omelette after all. These crab cakes are binded with mashed potatoes and breaded with Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs), which are lighter and less dense than traditional bread crumbs. I served my crab cakes with tartare sauce instead of the recommended Pistachio Aioli (just because I was lazy and love tartar sauce).

Crab Cakes with Spiced Corn and Pistachio Aioli 
(Marcus Samuelsson "New American Table")
makes 2 crab cakes

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (about one pound)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
6 tablespoons olive oil
Spiced corn
Pistachio Aioli
3 limes, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 400F

To make the crab cakes, place the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil. Add the garlic, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash the potatoes and garlic with a fork. Set aside to cool. (
I didn't use the whole amount  of the potatoes- it seemed too much) Mix in the crabmeat, chili powder, mustard, mayonnaise, cilantro and mint, breaking up any large clumps with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 24 crab cakes, each about 1 inch in diameter and ½-inch thick.

Combine the cornstarch and panko in a shallow bowl. Dredge each crab cake in panko, pressing to make sure the crumbs stick and coat the crab cakes.

Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in two batches to prevent overcrowding the pan, add the crab cakes and sauté until the crust is crisp and golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil and continue with the second batch. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Serve with the spiced corn, pistachio aioli and lime wedges.

Spiced Corn

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup corn kernels, preferably cut from 2 ears fresh corn
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the corn and garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, soy sauce, and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook until heated through.
Remove from the heat and fold in scallions and cilantro. Set aside to cool.

Pistachio Aioli

3 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons natural pistachios
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pistachio oil (see tip)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool and peel.
In a separate pot, combine the vinegar, lemon juice and garlic and simmer until 2 Tbsp of liquid remain.

Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pistachios and toast until they start to color, about 2 minutes.
Combine the pistachios and the potatoes in a blender. Add the egg yolks, vinegar mixture, olive oil, pistachio oil, mustard and 2 Tbsp water and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
Stir in the cream and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: pistachio oil has a stronger flavor than most nut oils, making it a wonderful addition to vinaigrettes. It's also a great way to dress up a simple grilled meat or fish - for instance elegance, just drizzle a bit of oil over the meat or fish when you remove it from the grill. Look for pistachio oil un upscale food markets, or order it online. 

Minggu, 17 April 2011

Crab Salad

If a recipe calls for only a few (of my favorite) ingredients it will for sure make it on my "to do" list. Mangos and Crab meat in it I thought it has to be good. For all these special recipes, you have to buy the best quality ingredients that you can afford and find. The mango should be ripe to the point and the crab meat chunky and flavorful.
This is a crab salad that has been served at JG Vongerichtens restaurants for years. I added a splash of Tabasco to get some heat in this otherwise very mild salad and it tasted wonderful.

Crab Salad
(Jean-Georges Vongerichten)

1 garlic clove
1 shallot
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
about 5 large basil leaves
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound picked-over crab meat
1 mango, peeled and cubed

1. Combine the garlic, shallot, tomato, basil, oil and vinegar in a blender and puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may set this dressing aside for 2 or 3 says before using it.

2. Add enough of the dressing to the crab to moisten it (you will probably not need all of it, use the rest within a day or two as a salad dressing). Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary. (You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point, refrigerate in a covered container for up to a day.)

3. Serve the crab with the mango, and with Cumin Crisps and Mustard Butter or bread and butter (I used regular crackers instead of the Cumin Crisps)

Jumat, 15 April 2011

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel

It is not that easy to find the right recipe for a good coffee cake. This cake is the 3rd recipe I tried out so far and it is definetly a keeper. It promises that the cake will keep fresh for 5 days. I can't tell you if that is true however, because our cake was devoured within two days. (But on the second day the cake was still very moist.) The filling adds a nice sweet crunch on the inside and the crumbly cinnamon crust on the top enhances the flavor of the cake. 

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
(from Cooks Illustrated)
Refer to the illustrations below when layering the batter and streusel in the pan. A fixed-bottom, 10-inch tube pan (with 10-cup capacity) is best for this recipe. Note that the streusel is divided into two parts—one for the inner swirls, one for the topping.

3/4cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
3/4cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1/2cup packed dark brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
2tablespoons ground cinnamon
2tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 2 pieces
1cup pecans , chopped
12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons softened butter for greasing pan
4large eggs
1 1/2cups sour cream
1tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
1tablespoon baking powder
3/4teaspoon baking soda
3/4teaspoon table salt


  1. 1. For the streusel: In food processor, process flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer 1 1/4 cups of flour/sugar mixture to small bowl; stir in remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and set aside to use for streusel filling. Add butter and pecans to mixture in food processor; pulse until nuts and butter resemble small pebbly pieces, about ten 1-second pulses. Set aside to use as streusel topping.
  2. 2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch tube pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Whisk eggs, 1 cup sour cream, and vanilla in medium bowl until combined.
  3. 3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining 1/2 cup sour cream; mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture resembles wet sand, with few large butter pieces remaining, about 1 1/2 minutes. Increase to medium speed and beat until batter comes together, about 10 seconds; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each and scraping down sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. 4. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Repeat with another 2 cups batter and remaining 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping (with butter and nuts).
  5. 5. Bake until cake feels firm to touch and long toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean (bits of sugar from streusel may cling to tester), 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be streusel-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and reinvert cake streusel-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve. (Cake can be wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

1. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface.

2. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling without butter or nuts.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with 2 cups batter and remaining streusel without butter or nuts.

4. Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping with butter and nuts.

Selasa, 12 April 2011

Indian Fish Curry

I love Indian Curries, but sometimes they seem a little bit time consuming to prepare, also it is not always easy to find the right spices. This is, why I think it is best to always have a recipe on hand that you can whip up last minute.
Nigella's recipe is really easy, fast and super tasty. It has a very hot and sour flavor (depending on your chili's) and makes a perfect fast meal together with the lemon rice. 
You can prepare the sauce a couple of hours ahead of time and when you are ready to serve it just heat the fish gently in the prepared curry. I used Mahi Mahi for this curry but I am sure you can use any firm fish.

(Nigella Lawson)
serves 4 - 6

  • 2¾ pounds firm white fish, such as sole, cod, haddock, or halibut
  • salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved and cut into thin half-moons
  • 2 long red chillies
  • 1½-inch piece fresh ginger
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 13¾ ounces (about 1 2/3 cups) canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1–2 tablespoons concentrated tamarind
  • 1 tablespoon liquid fish stock


Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks, put them into a large bowl, and rub with a little salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and peel and tip in your fine half-moons of onion; sprinkle them with a little salt to stop them browning and then cook, stirring, until they’ve softened; this should take scarcely 5 minutes.
Cut the whole, unseeded chillies into thin slices across (although if you really don’t want this at all hot, you can seed and then just chop them) and then toss them into the pan of softened onions. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them, too, along with the remaining teaspoon of turmeric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions for a few minutes.
Pour the can of coconut milk into a large glass measuring cup and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste and the fish stock, using boiling water from the kettle to bring the liquid up to the 4-cup mark. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you want to. And actually you can do all this hours in advance if it helps.
When you are absolutely ready to eat, add the fish to the hot sauce and heat for a couple of minutes until it’s cooked through, but still tender.

Kamis, 07 April 2011

Chocolate Cake

When it comes to chocolate cake, everybody has his personal favorite recipe. This recipe is my favorite. Whenever a birthday is coming up it has to be this cake. It is incredibly moist and aromatic. Can you see how moist it is in the picture? Almost like a brownie. In addition it is easy to make, comes together in a couple of minutes, and stays fresh for at least 3 days. Who can resist a cake like that?

About This Recipe

"I love this cake. As Nigella says: "the essence of all that is desirable in chocolate - dark intensity isn't toyed with nor upstaged by any culinary elaboration. The plainest of plain loaf cakes - damp, heady, aromatic!" What can I say? Be sure to line the tin well."


    • 225 g / 1 cup salt soft unsalted butter
    • 375 g / 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar (I use only 200 g)
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 100 g / 4oz best dark chocolate, melted
    • 200 g / 1 1/3 cup plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda250 ml / 1cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas5. Grease and line a 23x13x7cm cm (9x5x3in) loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well.
  2. Next fold in the melted and cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but do not overbeat.
  3. You want the ingredients combined: you don't want a light airy mass. Gently add the flour, to which you've added the bicarb, alternately spoon by spoon, with 250 ml of boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  4. Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170C/gas mark 3 and cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won't come out completely clean.
  5. Plaace the loaf tin on a rack and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. It improves if left for a day or so before eating. This cake will probably sink in the middle because of its denseness.

Minggu, 03 April 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

My Family loves to go to PF Changs. PF Changs is a Chinese restaurant or Bistro here in the US, nothing fancy, but good food and it happens to be right around the corner from our house. One of our favorit dishes there is Kung Pao Chicken. Kung Pao Chicken is an exemplary example of Szechwan cuisine due to its combination of sweet, sour, salty and hot tastes.
I decided to look for a recipe to make this dish on my own since we don't always feel like going out to eat and was very satisfied how this recipe from Cooks Illustrated turned out. Serve with rice and a hearty dark beer.

Kung Pao Chicken
(from Cooks Illustrated)
Serves 4.     
While we prefer this dish made with chicken thighs rather than breasts because the dark meat has richer flavor and is less prone to drying out, if you prefer, you can replace the thighs with chicken breasts. You can substitute plain rice vinegar for the black rice vinegar (available in Asian markets), but we prefer the latter for its fruity, salty complexity. If you prefer roasted unsalted cashews over peanuts, substitute an equal amount. Do not eat the whole chiles in the finished dish.


1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs , trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine
2teaspoons soy sauce
3medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2inch piece fresh ginger , peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1/2cup roasted unsalted peanuts
6small whole dried red chiles (each about 1 3/4 to 2 inches long), 3 chiles roughly crumbled, or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
3/4cup low-sodium chicken broth 
2teaspoons black rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar
2teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1tablespoon oyster sauce
1tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 1/2teaspoons cornstarch
1medium red bell pepper , cut into 1/2-inch dice
3medium scallions , sliced thin


  1. 1. Toss chicken with sherry and soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until thighs have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chiles in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, oyster-flavored sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.
  2. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add chicken and cook without stirring for 2 minutes, allowing chicken to brown on one side; stir and cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more, until no longer pink; stir peanuts and chiles into chicken and continue cooking until peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer chicken, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside.
  3. 3. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 45 seconds. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet along with reserved chicken, peanuts, and chiles; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened to syrupy consistency, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions and serve.