Tag Archives: arugula

Just A Little Crabby!

When it comes to seafood, one of my absolute favorites is crab cakes. I do have a caveat however, and that is they can’t be bready. I want just enough binder to hold them together. I want to taste crab, not bread. I also like them generous in size. I remember my first time in San Francisco, having lunch at the Ferry Building on a perfect fall day. We were able to eat outside and watch the ferry boats come in and out. I ordered crab cakes and they were crazy good. Perfectly seared on both sides and literally 2 inches thick! I was swooning with every mouthful. Hardly any filler, loads of lump crab meat, and a glass of chilled white wine nearby.

This recipe uses panko breadcrumbs, which adds a binder that does not get mushy. I measure each crab cake into a 1/2 cup measuring vessel, and gently press the contents in, then I simply tap them out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. I refrigerate them for about 2 hours, which firms them up before I sear them. I find that this step prevents overcooking the crab meat as well; giving you a perfect crust and moist interior.

I don’t use many processed products, but rather than tartar sauce, I enjoy a simple sauce made up of guacamole salsa and sour cream (you could also use yogurt). I like to place it under each crab cake. It’s slightly spicy and compliments the crab cakes perfectly. For visual appeal, I mince sweet peppers to sprinkle around the plate, and top with arugula.

CRAB CAKES WITH AVOCADO SALSA SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use Hellmans’)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup guacamole salsa
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 cup minced sweet pepper for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups arugula for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Combine the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, celery, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard cartilage) and panko; using a rubber spatula, gently fold the mixture together until just combined, being careful not to break up the crabmeat. Gently press mixture into a 1/2 cup measuring vessel, then tap it out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat using all of the crab mixture. You should have 5-6 cakes. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. This helps them firm up and hold together.
  2. Preheat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons avocado oil. Once the oil is hot, place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes per side. Place on paper towels for a few minutes to make sure they aren’t greasy.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the avocado salsa and sour cream or yogurt. To plate spoon a small amount of sauce on each plate, place 2 crab cakes on top of sauce. Sprinkle plate with minced sweet pepper and sprinkle arugula on top. Serve warm with additional sauce on the side.

What can I eat and not get tired of? Without a doubt, seafood!

Beyond Lettuce

When we elect to stay home as much as possible and self-shelter during this pandemic, how we have prepared can really make a difference. I really notice this during the winter as well. When it comes to salads, we need to think outside the box and get creative. For example, when Val and I were walking the dogs the other day on our farm, we came across a row of overgrown arugula. Rather than going to flower, it was still sending up small new leaves. They weren’t as tender as during the summer months, but they were still quite viable; more like field spinach. We picked about 12 cups of the stuff, and it’s working rather well in all sorts of dishes. Add this to dry cooked or canned beans and shredded carrots and you’ve got yourself a delicious healthy salad. No arugula, try spinach or kale. Both chickpeas and cannellini beans work, and most of us have olives, lemon juice and olive oil.

Having sturdy root vegetables on hand is also another way to get some ‘fresh’ in during winter. I go to the store about every 6 weeks, and when it comes to fresh vegetables it is as follows: potatoes, beets, peppers, carrots, cabbage, oranges and cherry tomatoes. Root vegetables are excellent, and the peppers and cherry tomatoes are throw in all sorts of recipes until their gone. I never buy lettuce in the winter! Most times it has been traumatized during transit and goes south in a matter of days. This is the seasonal time for citrus, so that can be a welcome addition.

BEAN SALAD WITH CARROTS, ARUGULA AND OLIVES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of chickpeas or cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded on large holes of box grater
  • 1 small red onion, vertically sliced
  • 2 cup arugula, chopped coarse
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place beans in a microwave safe bowl. Mix together your olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Heat beans on high for 2 minutes; then pour dressing over warm beans. This will allow them to absorb the dressing and make them more flavorful. Let sit for 20-30 minutes
  2. Add carrots, arugula and olives; toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper.

“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.” —Tim Allen

We Eat With Our Eyes

It is often said that we eat with our eyes.  I believe this is true.  When a dish looks appetizing and beautiful we want to savor it; we might eat a little slower so we can stretch out the experience.  I have made many quiches; some with, some without a crust, but this technique makes the final product a feast for the eyes.  We are fortunate to raise chickens that lay eggs with extremely dark yolks.  This made the color of this quiche a bright yellow, which only added to its appeal.  It is made in a spring-form pan instead of a pie plate.  This allows for a nice deep well for the filling, which I appreciate; but the real joy comes from using hash browns as the crust.  It literally comes out looking like a work of art.

Feel free to change up the ingredients in the filling to suit what you have or your taste preferences.  You can use arugula instead of spinach or a combination of the two.  You can also use Swiss chard.  Vegetarians can leave out the bacon, and you can use Comte instead of Gruyere.  You decide. It will all taste delicious.

SPINACH & GRUYERE QUICHE WITH A HASH BROWN CRUST

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INGREDIENTS:

FOR HASH BROWN CRUST:

  • 1 package frozen hash browns, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 farm-fresh egg, light beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

FOR THE QUICHE:

  • 1/2 cup red (or any color you have) seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 farm-fresh egg whites, and 3 additional farm-fresh eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or Comte cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups lightly packed spinach and/or arugula mixed
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CRUST:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Brush the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with olive oil, then line both bottom and sides with parchment paper; brush with oil again.
  2. Combine the hash browns, melted butter, garlic salt and egg.  Mix thoroughly and press into spring form pan, pushing them up the sides.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hash browns start to crisp up.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR QUICHE:

  1. Fry bacon in skillet, drain and crumble.
  2. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute onions, red pepper and garlic for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent.  Add spinach and saute for another 1-2 minutes or until spinach has wilted.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a bowl, combine the egg whites, whole eggs, 1/2 and 1/2, shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.  Add the cooled onions and red pepper and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into hash brown crust in spring form pan.
  4. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 40-45 minutes or until eggs are set.

Serves 6

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Note:  This recipe is from my new cookbook Twisted Basics: Laugh, Cook, Eat.  You can purchase it at our website

“The kitchen is seasoned with love.”

We Should All Roast Garlic

Ok….I put up a lot of food during the farm year.  After my post yesterday I did another round of roasted garlic.  With a portion of that garlic I made a pasta sauce that my wife Val said, “F…ing rocks!”  This is a brief but savory post of that creation.

ROASTED GARLIC PASTA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup roasted garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces linguine pasta
  • 3 cups baby arugula or spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Pecorino, grated

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DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Heat 8 cups of salted water in a large sauce pan on high until boiling.  Cook linguine according to package directions.  Drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, put 1 cup of roasted garlic, with 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock and the salt in a quart Mason jar, and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
  3. Return the pasta to the pot and add the blended sauce.  Add the arugula and toss until wilted.  Place pasta in bowls and top with Pecorino and breadcrumbs.. then top with halved cherry tomatoes.  Serve.

Serves 2-4

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“You can never have enough garlic.  With enough garlic you can eat the New York Times. 

—Morley Safer