Monday, October 6, 2008


Last Saturday, our friends had a crab party. The crabs were caught right off their dock -- talk about fresh local seafood! Tables were set on their beautiful porch with none other than the Crab Guy's crab boards.
Everyone enjoyed having a hard surface on which to crack open the blue claws and loved the mallets that accompany the crab boards.

We started off with delicious shrimp chowder that everyone devoured. The main event was steamed crabs, spiced with Chesapeake Bay seasoning and served with apple cider vinegar in cups for dipping. Although our hostess provided lots of side dishes, the crabs kind of stole everyone's attention.

I provided the dessert, a lovely Pear Frangipane Tart -- there were no leftovers. The evening ended all too soon, and we're all thinking about the next crab party.

Wouldn't you like to have a set of crab boards for your next crab party? They would make wonderful Christmas or birthday gifts, too. You can order them at

Friday, October 3, 2008


Guy's cousin raved about Red Pack recipe ready tomatoes, saying nothing else was needed for a fantastic crab-tomato sauce. I was skeptical, but Guy wanted to try it. We bought the tomatoes when we were in New Jersey recently (they're not available in little New Bern.) So Guy opened the can of tomatoes and put them in the pot, heated them up, let them cook for about 10 minutes, then put the cleaned crabs in the sauce and let them simmer for about 1/2 hour. He didn't like the strong oregano taste of the sauce, and the sauce was totally bland, needing something. (It needed onions and garlic sauteed in olive oil, and some salt.) Not to worry, he ate the crabs and did enjoy them. It's just that he's gotten so particular. This is one recipe he won't be making again.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Bon Appetit published this recipe in its August 2003 magazine. The ratings on were pretty high with nice compliments for the recipe. So I thought I would try it. The Crab Guy ate his bowl, but said it had a vinegar taste. I couldn't finish mine. I theorized it was the ketchup, and I was right. I made the soup a second time -- a half batch -- leaving the ketchup out. I also reduced the lemon juice and added a bit more chicken broth and half and half to further mellow out the soup. It was delicious with those changes. The half batch is enough for two large servings, or 4 small ones.   Another bonus: this is a fast one. You can have it on the table in a half hour or less.

Bon Appetit's Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque, Adapted Half Recipe
Rating: 9 out of 10

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 oz. crabmeat + 2 oz. for garnish
1/4 cup chopped tomato with juice (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup Clamato juice
1/2 cup fat-free half and half (or heavy cream if you prefer)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 scant teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
dash of hot pepper sauce
scant 1/2 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in 2-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 oz. crabmeat, tomato, basil and garlic. Saute` about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour; stir 2 minutes. Whisk in Clamato juice, half and half, broth, Old Bay and pepper sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Cool soup slightly. Puree soup with immersion blender until smooth.  Stir in water and lemon juice; bring to simmer. Taste to adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Divide soup among serving bowls (2 large or 4 small). Sprinkle with remaining crab and serve.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Always in search of a new recipe for crabs, I concocted this recipe and held my breath as the Crab Guy tasted it. He gave it a thumbs up, way up. He liked it as much as Gary's Seafood Salad. The shrimp that I used were really fresh. After the Crab Guy pulled up the crab traps and emptied them last week, he threw a net off the dock and pulled in 70 shrimp. He's been repeating this every time he checks the crab traps. We're loaded up with shrimp now, and boy are they good! Always use the best and freshest ingredients in cooking for superior results.

Judy's Crab-Shrimp Pasta Salad II
Rating: 9 out of 10

2 cups medium shell pasta, uncooked
2 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
3/4 cup lite mayonnaise (I used Smart Balance)
1/2 tsp. horseradish mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup fat-free half and half
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots (I grated them, then chopped them finer)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 green onions with green tops, chopped finely
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 cup cooked shrimp
1 cup cooked lump crabmeat

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions; drain; cool.
In large bowl, whisk the cheese, mayo, mustard, lemon juice, Half and Half, salt and pepper till everything is smooth and well combined. Add veggies, parsley and pasta and mix with spatula till well combined. Fold in shrimp and crabmeat. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Refrigerate.  Yield:  3-4 servings

Monday, September 22, 2008


Tyler Florence is one of my faves on the Food Network channel. But this recipe was a big disappointment. The vinegar in the mayo overpowers the delicate, sweet flavor of the crabmeat.
However, people differ in their tastes. The Crab Guy gave this a thumbs down, way down, but the recipe got mostly rave reviews on the Food Network's website. You'll have to judge for yourself. IMHO, with crabmeat, less is more -- meaning the less you add to crabs, the more the flavor of the crabmeat comes through.

Tyler Florence's Crab Dip, adapted
Rating: 1 out of 10
1/2 cup Neufchatel cheese
1/4 cup mayo (Smart Balance mayo)
1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste (1/8 tsp.)
Pepper to taste (pinch)
1 Tbsp. chopped chives or green onions
1 cup lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage and shells

In a food processor add the cream cheese, mayo, and Dijon and blend until smooth. Add lemon juice and oil and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as you go. Dump the mixture into a large mixing bowl and fold in the chopped chives and crabmeat. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate.

(Or you can combine the ingredients by hand. If the cheese is soft, it mixes easily.)

Friday, September 19, 2008


These are the new crab boards handmade by the Crab Guy. They're made from beautiful hard wood, etched with the crab design. They're practical as well as beautiful. Everyone who has used them has loved them, because it's the perfect vehicle for cracking open crabs.
The 3-piece set includes the board, mallet and cup (for melted butter or vinegar). $19.95 plus shipping
The red crab design (previous post) is no longer available.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We cooked a mess of crabs the other night, and then picked the leftovers. So now, I am creating crab recipes. This was the first creation, and it's my own recipe. The Wal-Mart Deli had Havarti-Dill cheese, and it's really delicious in this spread. I grated it on the large holes of my box grater, then mixed it with the other ingredients. This spread has a good flavor, but you can taste the crab. It's actually quite addictive. You'll find yourself going back again and again, for just one more taste.

Havarti-Crab Spread
Rating: 9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
3/4 cup grated Havarti-Dill cheese, or Swiss cheese
2-3 Tbsp. fat-free half and half
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/8 tsp. hot sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion
1-1/4 cup crabmeat, picked over for cartilage and shells

In a medium bowl, mash the cheeses and half and half together with a spatula. Add remaining ingredients and mash well until everything is well combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to blend flavors. Serve with crackers or veggies. Yield: about 1-1/2 cups spread

Monday, September 15, 2008


This is a really great crab soup recipe. Well, maybe I'm partial, because I love pumpkin soup. The recipe is simple, easy and quick.
This is one you must try!

Yummy Pumpkin-Crab Soup
Rating: 10 out of 10

3 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread (or butter)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. curry powder
2 cups roasted butternut squash (canned pumpkin may be substituted)1 tsp. sea salt
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup fat-free half and half (Land o'Lakes recommended)
2 cups crab meat, picked over for cartilage and shells
For Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

In a large heavy skillet or stock pot, heat the onion in the SB over medium heat till wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cover; reduce heat to low and cook about 15 minutes, till onions are soft. Sprinkle with curry powder; cook an additional minute, then add squash and salt and stir together. Puree in a blender; pour into a saucepan with the broth; cook over medium heat till almost boiling. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed. Add cream, half and half and crabmeat; reduce temperature and just heat through, about 5 more minutes. Garnish each serving with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sometimes less is more. At least, with this recipe. It's a copykat version of Red Lobster's Dungeness Crab Bisque. I used blue claw crabmeat, but this year is the best for crabs. Our blue claws are so flavorful and meaty this year, that even I am liking them, and I don't particularly care for crabs. This recipe is so easy and fast, it almost feels like cheating. And the Crab Guy gave it a thumbs up -- way up. He rated it 9 out of 10. Coming from someone as picky as he is, that's a high rating. Thanks to for this one.

Red Lobster's Dungeness Crab Bisque Recipe, adapted
Rating: 9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1 Tbsp. minced onion
2 Tbsp. butter (I used Smart Balance buttery spread)
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half (I used Land o'Lakes fat-free)
1 lb. crab meat, picked over for shells and cartilage
Sea salt, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley

Saute onion in butter. Add flour, cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in chicken broth and half and half; cook and stir 5 minutes. Break crab into chunks; add to broth. Salt to your taste. Heat thoroughly. Garnish with parsley. Yield: 4-6 servings

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Our local Harris Teeter has reward programs going on continually. Right now, the reward is a nice piece of luggage. One of the reward programs last year was a stainless-steel "steam-a-wok," a wok with a steamer insert and a see-through top. The wok fits on a smooth-top stove or and electric or gas burner. Since our freezer always seems to be full of crabs lately, I decided to pull out 2 bags (9 crabs) and cook them in the wok. Traditionally, in New Jersey, we've done the crabs in garlic and olive oil; but I decided to add some chopped onion. Guy didn't care for the addition of the onion; I didn't taste the crabs because I had scallops, so I can't comment. I do know that I like the onion added to the garlic when I make clams and spaghetti, which is why I thought they would be good with the crabs. But the Crab Guy says no. You will have to make up your own mind on this. It's an easy way to do crabs, and it's a little different.

Garlic (and Maybe Onion) Steamed Crabs
INGREDIENTS: 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
3 Tbsp. chopped or grated garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper, crushed or ground
1/2 cup water (or try 1/2 cup dry white wine, drinking quality, instead)
8-10 blue-claw crabs

In very large saute` pan or wok, heat the onion in the oil over medium heat till it begins to wilt. Add the garlic, salt and peppers and cook another minute. Remove from heat. Add the water; cool slightly. Rub the garlic mixture over each of the crabs, working it into the open centers.

Put the crabs back into the pan or wok; cover; turn heat to high and bring the garlic mixture to a boil, creating steam. Cook on high about 10-12 minutes, or till crabs turn red.
You'll see them bubble in the center,showing you that they're cooked on the inside. Remove from pan immediately and place on a platter or tray. Don't leave the crabs to soak in the liquid, because they'll turn soggy. And there's nothing worse than a
soggy crab.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Before we left for New Jersey, Guy emptied the crab traps and threw out the remaining bait. Was he surprised when he checked the traps 5 days later to find them full of crabs, including a soft shell, and an added bonus of a small flounder. We ate the flounder for dinner several nights ago.
And last night, Guy ate the soft shell, plus a lobster tail. Guy doesn't like heavy breading, so this was a very simple treatment -- All I did was put about 2 Tbsp. flour in a resealable sandwich bag and mixed in about 1 tsp. seafood seasoning. Ii patted the crab dry with paper towels and tossed it in the seasoned flour. Guy heated up our cast-iron skillet on the outside grill burner and poured in about a 1/2" of vegetable oil. When it was hot, he fried the crab, about 2 minutes on each side. He said it was delicious -- not crispy, crunchy, but nicely seasoned. The seafood seasoning did the trick. No need for salt, pepper, etc., because everything is in the seafood seasoning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We're heading north for our brother-in-law's funeral and will return by the weekend. I won't have any new recipes till we get back.


Last week, we ate King crab legs and had some left over -- enough to make Gary's salad again.
Since Gary makes his salad with crab legs, rather than blue claw crabs, we expected this to turn out better. Here's what I learned --

Gary most probably makes the salad in quantity and uses it up in one day. Therefore, the salad does not have time to "dry out." For home consumption, usually a salad is made and kept in the fridge for a couple of days. Salads have a tendency to "dry out" when held over, unless you saturate them with salad dressing. Also, Gary uses the large shell pasta, so the large pieces of crab legs can "hide" in the shells. Since I use the medium shells, the crab legs can't get inside the shells. Our preference is for blue claw crab meat and medium shells. The little pieces of blue claw crab meat can "hide" in the shells. My personal preference is for my very first recipe (not Gary's) where I marinated the salad in a lemon-olive oil dressing and tossed it in the mayo dressing before serving it. Guy enjoyed today's salad, but, in truth, it dried out in the fridge; and he prefers it made with the blue claws so the little pieces of crab can hide in the shells. If you're a crab lover, you're going to like any of the three, but you might want more dressing if you make Gary's recipe and hold it over in the fridge.
Gary's Seafood Salad -- Again
1 cup uncooked pasta (medium or large shells or penne, or your other fave)
2 Tbsp. chopped carrots
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup Duke's mayonnaise
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 cups chopped crab legs (Snow Crabs or King Crabs)
2 cups peeled, deveined, cooked shrimp
Cook pasta according to directions in salted water; drain; cool; set aside. In food processor or blender, combine vegetables, mayo, sugar, salt and pepper. Process till smooth. Pour dressing over cooled pasta. Add crabmeat and shrimp; toss to coat everything. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


When I made the first batch of seafood salad, trying to clone Gary's, I thought it was pretty good. So good, I didn't care any more about getting Gary's recipe. But then, I don't eat at Gary's and I've never really had this salad served to me. I've only seen and tasted the leftover salad that Guy brings home. Guy wanted to get Gary's recipe. So, last week, when he ate lunch at Gary's again, he asked the waitress for it, and she gave it to him. Problem is, there are no measurements for any of the ingredients. But at least we had something to start with. Frankly, I prefer my recipe. First off, my ingredients are more healthful, but secondly, I just liked mine better. Guy, however, likes this one, although he wanted more mayo. So I added a tad more mayo in the recipe below. You can play with amounts any way you want. This is a good recipe; and if you don't care that it's full-fat mayo and that there's added sugar, go for it. BTW, I made the mistake of cutting the shrimp up in this salad. Leave them whole and use half as a garnish.

Gary's Seafood Salad
Rating: 9 out of 10
1-1/2 cups medium or large shell pasta, uncooked (Gary uses large; I used medium)
1/2 cup Duke's mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
big pinch black pepper
3 Tbsp. finely grated carrots
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
1/4 cup minced celery
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped dill weed, no stems
1 heaping cup crabmeat of your choice (Gary uses Snow Crab legs; I used blue claws)
1 heaping cup cooked shrimp (local or wild caught)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain; cool.
Combine next 7 ingredients for sauce. (You can put these in a food processor to get the sauce smooth, if you want. Gently fold in dill weed, crabmeat and half the shrimp. Chill to blend flavors, at least 1 hour. Serve with remaining shrimp as garnish. Yield: 3-4 servings

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


With our bowl of picked crabmeat left from Friday's crab feast, I decided to make Paula Deen's crab cakes. I thought these were delicious, but the Crab Guy was very disappointed and said he didn't enjoy them at all. He feels the crabs should not be overpowered with spices and flavorings and he insisted he couldn't taste crab in these. I very much disagree, and this just further proves the point that eating is a very personal thing -- while I would gladly make these again, Guy won't have any part of it. So you will have to make up your own mind on whether you want to try this recipe. I heartily endorse it. And Paula Deen didn't get where she is by producing inferior recipes. Now you all know what I deal with here and how hard it is for me to cook in this kitchen with such a fussy, fussy hubby. I love him dearly, but he is a picky picky eater! I'd like to hear your comments if you try this recipe. Who got it right: Paula and me, or the Crab Guy?

Paula Deen's Crab Cakes with Lemon-Dill Sauce
Rating: 9 out of 10

Lemon Dill Sauce: 1 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke)
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used a mixture of lite sour cream and fat-free half & half)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or more. Sauce will thicken as it chills.

Crab Cakes: 3 Tbsp. butter
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red bell pepper (I used roasted red pepper)
1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
3 Tbsp. heavy cream (I used lite sour cream because I didn't have heavy cream)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 egg
1/2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. sea salt
dash black pepper
1 cup bread crumbs (1/2 for coating) (I used Peppridge Farm honey-flax whole wheat bread)
1 lb. white or claw crabmeat, picked free of any bits of shell
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (for coating)
2 Tbsp. or more vegetable oil (I used Smart Balance buttery spread)

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute` onion, pepper and garlic until pepper is limp, approximately 3 minutes. Add cream, mustard, egg, parsley, cayenne and only 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently fold in crabmeat.

Form mixture into 8 patties, about 1/2" thick. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs with the Parmesan. Pat this topping onto both sides of the patties. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

In a large, heavy skillet, using medium heat, combine the oil and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter (or use 1/4 cup Smart Balance buttery spread). When oil is hot, saute` crab cakes for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Only turn one time. These crab cakes can also be baked for 7-10 minutes in a 400F oven. Spoon a dollop of lemon dill sauce alongside each crab cake.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Last Friday, our friends from Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina came to visit. Guy set the table with his crab paper and we steamed about 3 dozen blue claws for a crab feast. All we needed to accompany the steamed crabs was fresh local corn on the cob and a simple tomato-cucumber-green pepper salad. Dessert was cheesecake that I had frozen.

Fortunately, this feast meant that our freezer was emptied of crabs. Unfortunately, we had about a dozen crabs left over. (I didn't eat any crabs.)

We took our friends to Pamlico County and we checked the crab
traps. Here's a photo of one of the crab traps. There were about 10 crabs in each trap. We threw a few back in. It's not that they were too small; it's just that most were so large, the standard-size crabs looked small. So, all in all, our friends had 2 dozen crabs to take home -- cleaned and iced. You can see in the bottom photo how Guy does it. He rips the back shell off and hoses out the mustard, then puts the crab on ice. This is how New Jerseyans do crabs -- we clean 'em before we eat 'em.

On Sunday, Guy and I picked the leftover steamed crabs and got 2 heaping cups of crabmeat, which means I need some recipes. While I'm searching for recipes, here's one to keep you busy:

Hot Crab Flake Sandwich
(Merchant's Club, Baltimore, Md.)
1 lb. backfin crabmeat
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 dashed liquid hot pepper sauce
1 pt. cream or half and half
8 slices toast
Sherry, if desired

Remove cartilage from crabmeat. Melt butter in 2-qt. saucepan; add crabmeat, and saute` until heated through. Add salt, Worcestershire, pepper and liquid hot pepper sauce. Add cream and allow mixture to come just to the boiling point, but do NOT boil.

Place 1 slice of toast on each of 4 plates. Using a slotted spoon, cover toast slices with crab flakes. Top with another slice of toast and cover with remaining crabmeat. Pour desired amount of sauce on each sandwich and serve. Sprinkle with sherry, if desired. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


My thanks to for this recipe.

Crab Melt Sandwiches
1 lb. fresh lump crabmeat, cartilage removed
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
4 (1") thick slices Italian bread, with crust removed
4 tsp. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
unsalted butter, softened

Put crabmeat in a bowl and add 1 Tbsp. lime juice; toss to combine. In small bowl, whisk together remaining Tbsp. lime juice, mayonnaise, and mustard until smooth. Pour sauce over crab and toss to coat. Season crab mixture with salt and pepper and chill, covered, for 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Lightly toast bread. Lightly butter toast. Spoon 1/4 crab mixture into 1/2 cup measure. Holding toast on top of mixture in measure, invert crab onto the toast and set on an ugreased baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining crab mixture and toast and sprinkle 1 Tbsp. Parmesan over each sandwich. Broil sandwiches about 3" from heat until cheese is melted and golden, 1-2 minutes. Serves 4.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


For those of you who like the idea of crabs and spaghetti but are intimidated by the thought of making a sauce and all it entails, here's an easy way to get your crabs and spaghetti.

Just buy the pasteurized crabmeat and mix it with your favorite marinara sauce. Presto. You have crabs and spaghetti.

Take it one step further: if you have steamed crabs on hand, pick the meat out of all but the claws. Mix the claws with your favorite marinara sauce and heat through. Remove the claws and add the picked crabmeat; heat and serve with pasta. Garnish with the claws.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The Crab Guy makes these adorable crab boards. They're not only cute, but also practical. There's no better surface on which to crack open crabs. If you are interested in purchasing crab boards, please leave a comment at the end of the post with info on how to reach you. Sets ($26.95 plus shipping) include one genuine hardwood board, mallet and cup for butter or vinegar. Knives are extra. There are no red boards left.  The new board has an etched crab. The crab is also etched onto the mallet.

The Crab Guy has been catching a lot of crabs in his Pamlico County crab trap. Sunday morning he caught 18 more beautiful blue crabs which he gave to a friend because we are so overloaded with crabs. We emptied our freezer of last week's crabs for Sunday's crab feast of crabs and spaghetti and steamed crabs. We rounded out the meal with Guy's Caesar salad and my Peach Cream Pie Glace. We were all happy campers Sunday night. (We were joined in our crab feast by our photographer friend and his wife. He is responsible for the great photos here. Thanks, Tom!)

This sauce is all about the tomatoes. Buy San Marzano tomatoes. Yes, they're expensive. But they are oh, so worth it. You will taste the difference, I promise. I only had one can of San Marzano tomatoes on hand, so I used a can of Cento also. They didn't ruin the dish, because Cento is a good brand of tomatoes. But tasting from the can, there was a pronounced difference. Cento was more acidic, while San Marzano was sweeter with no aftertaste. The Crab Guy was suspicious of the sauce. Being an Italian, he wanted his aunt's sauce which is smooth. He kept checking the sauce as it was cooking, taking little tastes here and there. "I hope this won't be too thick," he moaned. (He likes a thin sauce.) When it was served, he and everyone else at the table said it was magnificent! 10 out of 10 for this one. Depending on how many people you want to feed, and how many crabs you want to cook, you could get several batches of sauce. We decided we only wanted to cook 8 crabs in the sauce and the rest we wanted to steam. So I removed 2 quarts of sauce before I added the crabs. This way, I have 2 jars of marinara sauce that I can do whatever I want with -- I can add crabs or use the marinara sauce by itself on spaghetti. It freezes well, so that's where it's going. When we got all done eating, there was still sauce left. Our friends took home some steamed crabs and a pint of sauce, so they can have their own crabs and spaghetti, and we had a pint of sauce and steamed crabs left for ourselves. Not bad for a day's work.
Judy's Crabs and Spaghetti
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
1 heaping Tbsp. minced garlic
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded, membrane removed (or 1 dried hot pepper pod, seeds removed can be substituted, if desired)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. crushed anise seed
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. sea salt (or more, according to taste, but start out with 2, then taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (35-oz.) cans crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes
1 (6-oz) can Contadina plain tomato paste
About 24 - 28 oz. water
8-10 fresh or frozen blue claw crabs
1 pkg. (16 oz.) thin spaghetti (Barilla, de Cecco and Buitoni are all good brands)

In large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion; saute for 1 minute. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook the onion for about 5 minutes. Remove lid; add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients; turn heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cover pot; simmer for 45 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed. Remove 2 quarts of sauce that you can freeze.

Add crabs, doing your best to get them covered with sauce. Some of the crabs will be partially or completely above the sauce; be sure you rotate so that the ones above the sauce eventually get under the sauce, and vice versa. Cover pot; simmer crabs for 45 minutes, stirring and moving the crabs around as needed. When crabs are nearly done, bring a big pot (5-6 quart) of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp. sea salt and spaghetti. Bring water back to boil, reduce heat slightly and cook according to package directions, stirring frequently. Drain spaghetti through colander and return to pot.

To serve: With tongs, remove crabs from pot and place on a platter. Stir sauce; spoon some over the spaghetti and mix lightly. Now, you have lots of options:

1. Serve a big platter of spaghetti with sauce on top and crabs on another platter.
2. Serve a big platter of spaghetti with sauce and crabs on top.
3. Serve individual plates of spaghetti with sauce on top and crabs served separately.
4. Serve individual plates of spaghetti with sauce and crabs on top.

I opted for #4. This is a messy meal. Instead of napkins, you might want to use a roll of paper towels at the table. First you have to suck the sauce off the crabs, then crack them open and eat them. We covered the table with crab paper, but you can use newspaper. Everyone just puts the picked shells on the table paper. Let me know if you make these, and how they turn out.

Monday, July 28, 2008


This recipe is from the people who make Old Bay Seafood Seasoning. I think they know a thing or two about crabs and crabcakes. (Thanks to for publishing this.)

Old Bay Crab Cakes
2 slices bread, crusts removed
1 lb. special crabmeat
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
oil for frying

Break bread in small pieces and moisten with milk; combine with remaining ingredients. Shape into patties. Fry quickly in 3 or 4 Tbsp. hot oil until brown. Serves 6

When the Baltimore Spicy Company left the crab cake recipe off of the Old Bay Seafood Seasoning can, its switchboard lit up with callers wanting to know why.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Easy Crab Saute
1 lb. backfin crabmeat, shell & cartilage removed
juice of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread, or extra virgin olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
Pinch of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/2 cup of drinking-quality white wine

Toss the crabmeat with the lemon juice; set aside. Heat the SB or oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute about 1 minute; add the herbs, pepper and wine and let it bubble briefly, then just heat everything through, about 1 more minute. Serve this on toast rounds or parsley-butter pasta. Round out the meal with a tossed salad.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Easy Crab Dip
1 cup crabmeat, shell and cartilage removed
juice of 1 lemon
1 (3-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, finely cut
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Stir lemon juice with crabmeat and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Mix cream cheese with remaining ingredients and blend well. Gently fold in crabmeat and serve with your favorite crackers.

Friday, July 25, 2008


In Eastern North Carolina, there is a popular eating place,
Gary's Downeast Seafood Restaurant. Gary's is in Arapahoe, Pamlico County. They have delicious shrimpburgers and possibly the best seafood pasta salad I have ever tasted.
A few of us got together recently and were talking about what could possibly be in this salad to make it so good. Someone said he tasted olive oil. I tasted dill. Someone else tasted fresh parsley....fresh whole shrimp....lots of crabmeat....not too much mayonnaise.

If only we could duplicate this at home.....which is what I tried to do today. And I came close. Actually, this salad is so good, I forgot all about Gary.

Judy's Crab-Shrimp Pasta Salad
2/3 cup uncooked small shell pasta or penne
2 Tbsp. minced celery
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. sea salt
big pinch black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping cup cooked crab meat
1 heaping cup cooked shrimp
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance Lite mayonnaise
3/4 tsp. powdered ranch dressing mix
1 Tbsp. fat-free half and half
Cook pasta in boiling salted water as package directs. Drain. Cool thoroughly.
In medium bowl, combine celery, onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice, herbs, and oil. Add cooled pasta, crab meat and shrimp. Toss lightly to distribute ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight to develop flavors.
In the meantime, prepare dressing: In small cup or bowl, combine mayo, ranch dressing mix and half and half. Cover and refrigerate.
Before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss lightly to distribute evenly. Serve over lettuce. Yield: 2 servings.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


When you don't have a bushel of crabs to steam, here's an easy way to do them. You can use this method for blue claws, Snow crabs and King crabs. And, BTW, Snow crabs and King crabs are already cooked. They just need to be heated. We did a small batch of blue claws last night (5 crabs), and some Snow crabs (5 clusters). I thawed the Snow crabs in the fridge overnight. They were still partially frozen when we heated them. We treated the blue claws and the Snow crabs the same.
First, lay them in a large pan. I used 13x17 aluminum trays purchased from Wal-Mart, 2 in a pkg. for about $10.

Next, Sprinkle the crabs with some Old Bay or Chesapeake Bay seasoning. We prefer the Chesapeake Bay seasoning, and I believe it is slightly lower in salt. The Crab Guy tends to use more of the seasoning than I do. Next, pour about 1 cup of water into the pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Place on a hot, preheated grill (425F), with the lid down, for 10 minutes. Take a peak under the foil to be sure there's steam coming out. If so, take them off. The blue claws should have turned red and the Snow crabs should be steaming hot. In case they're not steaming, just recover and give them a few more minutes. These do not take long at all, and usually 10 minutes does it.
Serve the blue claws with apple cider vinegar cups and serve the Snow crabs with melted butter. We had corn on the cob and a nice cucumber-tomato salad to round out our meal.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Cheezy Crab Hors D'oeuvres
1 cup (8 oz.) crabmeat
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. instant minced onion
1/2 tsp. horseradish
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (2 oz.) package slivered almonds

Remove cartilage from crabmeat. Blend together cream cheese, milk, onion and horseradish. Gently mix in crabmeat. Add salt and pepper. Put in shallow baking dish (1 quart), sprinkle almonds over top. Bake at 350F until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot on crackers or as a dip. Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Bookbinder's Crab Cakes
1 Tbsp. green pepper
1 Tbsp. minced onions
1 Tbsp. minced celery
1 Tbsp. minced pimiento
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
2 eggs, beaten
bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Mix vegetables and seasonings. Cook in butter on low heat for 10 minutes. Add flour and stir to blend well. Add milk and crab and mix. Chill and form into cakes; dip into egg and then into bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil. Serves 6.

Recipe courtesy of

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Karson's Inn, Baltimore, Maryland, prepares their crab cakes this way:

Karson's Inn Crab Cakes
2 lb. backfin crabmeat
2/3 cups breadcrumbs
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
3 Tbsp. horseradish
2-1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped green pepper
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Fat or oil for frying

Remove cartilage from crabmeat. Place all ingredients in large bowl and toss lightly, but thoroughly. Do not break crab lumps. Form into 10 patties. Fry in deep fat at 360F until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Here's a basic crabmeat salad recipe that you can serve in a tomato or avocado. Or you can add some small shell pasta to it and have it as a crab-pasta salad. I updated the recipe with sea salt and Smart Balance Lite Mayo. From Maryland Seafood, Cookbook I, Maryland Dept. of Economic and Community Development.

Chesapeake Crabmeat Salad
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. Smart Balance Lite Mayonnaise
1 tsp. capers (optional)
1 lb. backfin crabmeat, cartilage removed

Combine everything but crabmeat in a medium bowl and mix well. Add crabmeat and mix gently but thoroughly. Refrigerate. Makes about 3 cups salad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This one is from The Crab Claw, Inc., St. Michaels, Maryland. It's their version of crab imperial. I've updated it with Smart Balance Lite Mayo and sea salt.

The Crab Claw's Imperial Crab, adapted
2 eggs
1/2 cup Smart Balance Lite mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. chopped pimiento
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
6-8 drops liquid hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. sea salt
2 lbs. backfin crabmeat
1-1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning
1 tsp. SB Lite mayo per shell
Paprika, for sprinkling

Mix eggs, mayo, pimiento, Worcestershire sauce, liquid hot pepper sauce and salt together with a fork until well blended. Remove cartilage from crabmeat. Put crabmeat in large bowl and sprinkle with seafood seasoning. Add egg mixture and mix gently. Spoon mixture into 8 individual shells (or ramekins). Spread 1 tsp. mayo over top of each shell and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake in 400F oven until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. 8 servings.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


As if our freezer were short of crabs, I couldn't believe that Guy came home with soft-shell crabs! We have king crabs, snow crabs and Blue Claws in the freezer now. See why we call him "the crab Guy"?

I decided to cook the soft-shells the way I do clams and spaghetti. The only real change I made was to add fresh basil from our garden. Guy really enjoyed this dish a lot. He hardly came up for air when he was eating. I told him not to bring home any more soft-shells until we empty the freezer of crabs. But he said he wanted fried soft-shells. So I guess I'll
be seeing more soft-shells soon.
The red strips you see in the photos are home-grown hot peppers. I left the seeds and membrane in, so they gave a nice heat to the dish, which Guy likes.
While I was making his soft-shells and pasta, I was also cooking something for me, since I just can't eat crabs as often as he can. I know, I know. I'm supposed to be the Crab Lady. But what that means is that I'm kind of forced into finding new recipes for the crabs because the crab Guy keeps bringing crabs home.

Judy's Soft-Shell Crabs & Pasta
1/2 lb. thin spaghetti
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread
1-1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 fresh or dried hot pepper, halved
6 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup drinking-quality white wine

Cook spaghetti in salted water according to manufacturer's directions. Drain; return to pot with the Smart Balance. Toss to melt butter. While spaghetti is cooking, start crab sauce. In large heavy skillet, over medium heat, melt the oil & butter. Add onion, garlic and hot pepper; saute for 4-6 minutes, or till onions are transparent, taking care not to burn the garlic. Pat crabs dry with paper towel; turn heat to high and add crabs to skillet. Cook 2 minutes; turn crabs over, breaking them up as you turn them, and add the herbs and wine. Let everything sizzle for a minute, then cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is done and ready. Place a serving of pasta in a bowl or on a plate and top with half the crab sauce. Serves 2

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This recipe is from Harrison's Chesapeake House, Tilghman Island, Maryland. Frying soft shell crabs is a pretty straightforward process with a minimum of ingredients. Soft shells are completely different from the crabs that most people are used to eating. There is no hard shell. The entire crab is edible, because it is a blue crab that has shed its hard shell and has not yet had the new shell formed. The Crab Guy is very finicky about his crabs -- he still cleans soft shells before cooking them.
Fried Soft Shell Crabs
1 cup flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. baking powder
12 soft shell crabs, cleaned
Fat or oil for frying
Mix together flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Dredge crabs in flour mixture to coat well. In large fry pan, heat about 1/2 inch fat to 375F. Add crabs and turn heat down to 350F. Cook crabs until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Serves 6, 2 crabs each.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Thanks to Anne MacKenzie, Food Editor, Aegis, Bel Air, Maryland, we can even make an omelet with crabmeat. Her recipe is fairly straightforward and sounds pretty good. It's certainly a great way to start off your day! You'll need two pans for this recipe: a medium saucepan and a 10" omelete pan or heavy skillet. That's because the crab mixture is sauteed separately from the egg, then the crabmeat is spooned down the center of the omelet with the two sides folded over it.
Crabmeat Omelet
1/2 cup backfin crabmeat, cartilage removed
1-1/2 tsp. + 1 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or extra virgin olive oil, divided use
1-1/2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
1 + 1/2 tsp. chopped parsley, divided use
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 + 1/4 tsp. sea salt, divided use
Dash + dash black pepper, divided use
2 drops + 3 drops Liquid hot pepper sauce, divided use
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. water
Melt 1-1/2 tsp. Smart Balance in medium saucepan, and saute' onions and 1 tsp. parsley over medium-low heat. Do not brown the SB. Add crabmeat, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, dash pepper and 2 drops liquid hot pepper sauce, tossing with care to keep from breaking crab lumps. Place on low heat, or cover and keep warm, while you prepare the omelet.
Whisk 2 eggs well in small bowl; mix in water, remaining salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Melt remaining SB in 10" heavy skillet over medium heat until it sizzles; add eggs. As eggs begin to set around sides of pan, gently lift edges with spatula, allowing uncooked egg to flow to sides. Continue this process until egg will no longer flow when edges are lifted and is of a jelly consistency. Spoon crabmeat mixture down the center of the omelet. Fold two sides of omelet toward center over crab filling. Slide onto warm plate. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.
Serves 1-2.

Friday, July 11, 2008


This recipe came from the Maryland Pavilion at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. I was at that fair, not once, but at least 4 times. I ran bus trips, and my brother-in-law got passes from General Motors (where he worked t the time) that put all of us at the head of the line for the GM pavilion. That was the fair that introduced Belgian Waffles (actually the hit of the fair); and I remember eating them with delight and marveling with each scrumptious bite at the huge strawberries and rich, cake-like waffles smothered with whipped cream. I missed the crab cakes, but am so glad I found this recipe on This ranks as my #1 crab cake recipe right now. These are really delicious, especially with the coating I used. The recipe calls for cracker crumbs, but I mixed crushed saltines with crushed crispy rice cereal and it worked really well to produce a crispy coating. The downside is you should fry these for the best texture; so just don't have them every week. I'm giving you the recipe as I adapted it and halved it; you can find the original at the crab place website. I highly recommend this recipe.

Maryland Pavilion Crab Cakes, half recipe, adapted
(Rating: 10 out of 10)
1 egg
1 Tbsp. Smart Balance Lite Mayonnaise
2 tsp. Grey Poupon spicy brown mustard
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. sea salt
dash black pepper
1/2 tsp. liquid hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 lb. jumbo lump crab meat, cartilage removed
1/3 cup saltines, finely crushed
1/3 cup crispy rice cereal, finely crushed

In a medium bowl, whisk first 7 ingredients till well combined. Gently fold in crab meat. Form into 4 cakes; set aside. In a small bowl or on waxed paper combine the crackers and cereal which have been finely crushed. Pat the crumbs lightly onto the crab cakes. At this point, you can put the cakes in a dish, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate them until ready to cook. When ready to cook, heat oil in a heavy skillet. When oil is hot, add crab cakes and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, til golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Makes 4 cakes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's amazing how many variations on crab cakes there are. This one is from the Harbour House Restaurant, Annapolis, Maryland. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure it's good. Let me know if you try it. Leave a comment at the end of any post.

Harbour House Maryland Crab Cakes
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
5 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 lb. crab meat, cartilage removed

Whisk all ingredients except crab meat in medium bowl, mixing well. Fold in crab meat lightly but thoroughly. Form into 6 cakes. Deep fry at 350F until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Or fry lightly in olive oil in heavy pan, 3-4 minutes each side.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


My husband, Guy, loves crabs. He dreams about crabs all year. We call him "the crab Guy." He has his own blogspot -- Guy set a crab trap at our friend's dock in Pamlico County. He checks it regularly and also crabs over there. Yesterday, he caught half a dozen crabs. We're from New Jersey, where you clean them before you eat them. He cleaned them right at the dock and iced them before he brought them home. Here's what they look like when they're cleaned, iced and ready to be cooked:
In order to cook crabs properly, you need a crab steamer. It's a big pot with a steamer insert.
The crabs are fresh but dead, so you can easily pick them up and put them in the pot. Be sure the water is boiling briskly before the crabs go in; you want lots of steam.
Sprinkle the crabs with Old Bay or Chesapeake Bay Seasoning. Not too much, or they'll be too salty. Cover the pot and let the crabs steam for about 10 minutes. Serve them with apple cider vinegar in little cups. You can sprinkle some more seasoning in the cups like the Maryland people do or just have the the vinegar plain like New Jersey people do. If you want to know how to clean the live crabs, surf over to and check it out. Guy has a You-Tube video on how to clean crabs. It's not his video, but the method is almost the same, except Guy doesn't cut the crabs in half. He's going to make his own video soon. Oh, and BTW, Guy is selling his adorable crab boards (see the top photo). They're not just adorable, they're also practical. Everyone who uses them loves them, because the board provides a hard surface on which to crack open the crabs. The mallet comes with the board and he may be packaging a set of board, mallet, knife and cup -- still working on it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This recipe is from Ginger Silvers, Food Editor-Sentinel Newspapers, who has authored several cookbooks and wrote a popular food column. I haven't tried it, but it sounds really good. Let us know if you try this one by leaving a comment at the end of any post.

Crabmeat Supreme
1 lb. backfin crabmeat
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup Lite mayonnaise (I like Smart Balance)
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. liquid hot pepper sauce
Sea salt, to taste
10 oz. pkg. frozen patty shells, thawed in package
Pimiento Sauce (see recipe below)

Remove cartilage from crabmeat. Combine crabmeat with next 6 ingredients; set aside. Roll out each patty shell into a circle. Spoon about 1/3 cup crab mixture into center of each shell; fold up ends to completely enclose crabmeat. Place patties, sealed ends down, on an ungreased baking sheet. At this point you may refrigerate puffs for 4-6 hours. Bake in 425F oven for
35-45 minutes, or til pastry is puffed and lightly browned. Serve with Pimiento Sauce.
Makes 6 puffs.

Pimiento Sauce
1/4 cup Smart Balance buttery spread (or butter if you prefer)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups milk (or fat-free half and half -- Land o'Lakes, only because it won't curdle)
1 tsp. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. lemon or orange zest
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup chopped pimientos

Melt Smart Balance in a 1-quart saucepan; blend in flour. Gradually stir in milk. Add onion, zest, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add pimientos. Serve with Crabmeat Supreme. Makes about 2-1/2 cups sauce
NOTE: This sauce may be prepared and refrigerated one day in advance. Reheat in double boiler (or microwave).

Saturday, July 5, 2008


This is a very easy, healthful and delicious recipe, great for a family lunch or dinner, or for company. Serve it with crusty French bread.

Avocados Stuffed with Crab & Shrimp
1/2 lb. cooked Blue Crab meat, cartilage removed
1/2 lb. cooked, peeled, cleaned shrimp
3 avocados, peeled, cut lengthwise in half, seeds removed
Romaine lettuce leaves
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Remoulade dressing

Lightly mix crab meat and shrimp together in small bowl. Place avocado halves on lettuce. Fill centers of avocados with crab meat and shrimp; sprinkle each serving of crab/shrimp with about 1-1/2 tsp. lime juice; drizzle remoulade dressing over top and serve with extra remoulade sauce on the side. Yield: 6 servings

Remoulade Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped pickle (or sweet relish)
1 cooked egg yolk, sieved
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. capers, chopped
1/2 tsp. Tabasco

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Chill. Makes 1-1/2 cups of dressing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


The legendary Tidewater Inn, Easton, Maryland, has graciously shared this recipe. Who doesn't love imperial crab? This is a great recipe for a family meal, or for company. And it's easy. (I've made a few changes to the recipe, removing the MSG, changing regular salt to sea salt, using fresh herbs, switching the green pepper to roasted red pepper and updating the mayo.) Remember to come back and leave a comment if you try this recipe.

Tidewater Inn's Crab Imperial, adapted
2 eggs
1/2 cup lite mayonnaise + 2 Tbsp. for topping
1-1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley + 3 Tbsp. for topping
1/8 tsp. dry mustard
2 lbs. backfin crabmeat, cartilage removed
few dashes liquid hot pepper sauce
2 tsp. paprika (approximate)
1/2 roasted red pepper, cut in thin strips

Preheat oven to 350F. In large bowl, mix together eggs, 1/2 cup mayo and next 6 ingredients. Gently mix in crabmeat. Coat a 2-quart casserole lightly with non-stick cooking spray and fill with crabmeat mixture. Spread a thin layer of mayo over top of crab mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Bake about 40 minutes or till mixture is hot and lightly browned. About 5 minutes before crab mixture is done cooking, remove from oven and place the roasted red pepper strips on top. Return to oven to finish cooking. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
(Note: This would also be nice served in individual ramekins or other baking dishes.)
Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Rod 'n' Reel Restaurant, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, gave us this non-cream soup recipe. This is more like New York style clam chowder, with a tomato-vegetable base and sounds delicious to me. Let us know if you try it -- leave a comment at the end of any blogpost.

Rod 'n' Reel's Crab Soup, adapted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped celery
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
16-oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed
1 Tbsp. seafood seasoning
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I would try 1 tsp. first and taste before adding more)
3 cups diced potatoes
16-oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed
1 lb. crabmeat, cartilage removed

In large heavy pot, saute carrots, onion and celery in the oil over medium heat till wilted. Turn up heat and add broth, tomatoes, seasoning and 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. When broth boils, cover pot, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and cook 20 minutes more, or till they are tender. Add crabmeat and just heat through, about 5 minutes. Yield: 3-1/2 quarts

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


This recipe is from Harbour House restaurant, Annapolis, Maryland. And we all know that Maryland is famous for its crabs, crab recipes and restaurants serving crabfood. I haven't tried this one yet -- if you do, please leave a comment and let us all know how it turned out.

Harbour House Cream of Crab Soup
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. pepper
5 cups milk (how about Land o'Lakes fat-free half and half?)
1 lb. backfin crabmeat, cartilage removed
Salt, to taste (Possibly consider adding some ground nutmeg & cayenne pepper)

Melt butter in 3-quart heavy pot. Blend in flour and stir until smooth. Slowly stir in chicken broth and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Add milk and cook slowly, stirring constantly until thickened. DO NOT BOIL. Add crabmeat and salt to taste; heat through. Yield: about 10 cups

Monday, June 30, 2008


Here's another variation of the hot crabmeat dip -- this time with shrimp and artichokes. It's a winner.

Hot Shrimp and Crabmeat Dip
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
15-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked, chopped
1/2 lb. backfin or lump crabmeat
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine first 3 ingredients in medium mixing bowl, mixing well. Fold in artichoke hearts and seafood. Place in 1-1/2 quart buttered casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Bake 20 minutes, or till bubbly and hot. Serve immediately with crackers.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


This is how Gordon's of Orleans Street Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, does their crabs.

Steamed Crabs Maryland Style
1/2 lb. seafood seasoning
1/2 lb. salt (mix with seasoning)
2 doz. live blue crabs
1 pt. water or beer
1 pt. vinegar

Put water and vinegar in a 10-gallon pot. Place a layer of crabs on an elevated platform in the pot. Sprinkle each layer generously with seasoning mix. Put lid on pot and steam about 25 minutes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Recently, we ate at Christoph's, a new restaurant in the Sheraton Grand in downtown New Bern. Someone in our party ordered the Butternut Squash Crab Soup, and I tasted it. It was beyond heavenly. So now I want to experiment with crab soups and work my way towards finding one that is as good as Christoph's. This recipe comes courtesy of Gail L. Harris and
Allrecipes, where it was rated 5 out of 5 by 24 members. With a rating that high, I thought I had to try it, especially since I had 6 red peppers sitting in my fridge (they were on sale, naturally).
I didn't have cayenne pepper, which the recipe called for, so I used my friend Sara's ground Thai peppers. When I tasted the soup, it was just a little bland, so I upped the salt and Thai peppers and added a little fresh grated nutmeg and paprika. We both liked this soup, but if Christoph's soup was a 10 out of 10, this was an 8 out of 10. 8 out of 10 is pretty good, but I'm still searching for the best crab bisque recipe.

Roasted Red Pepper and Crab Soup, adapted
2 red bell peppers
10-1/2 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
1 small potato, peeled, chopped
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne or other ground hot pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I used McCormick California style, with parsley)
About 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil + leaves for garnish
1/4 tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
1/8 tsp. paprika + extra for sprinkling on top
1/3 lb. fresh crabmeat, cartilage removed
1-1/3 cups fat-free half and half (Land o'Lakes, only, because it won't curdle.)

Roast red peppers: Wash them and place them on a hot (400-425F) charcoal grill, turning as they blacken. (Alternately, you can broil them in your oven, turning them as they blacken.) As soon as the peppers are blackened all around, place them in a paper bag, or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let them steam for approximately 10 minutes to loosen the skins. (You can also skip this step and substitute jarred roasted peppers.) Peel the skins and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers and place into a large saucepan along with the chicken broth and chopped potato. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the seasonings. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or till everything is quite tender and cooked through and flavors have blended.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. (Or, if you're lucky enough to own an immersion blender, puree the soup right in the pot.) Pour the soup back into the pot and stir in the crab and the half and half. Heat over medium heat to warm through, about 5-10 minutes.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of paprika and some basil leaves.
Yield: 2-3 servings
Note: The original recipe serves 6, and I made 1/3. Click on the Allrecipes link above to find the original recipe and the reviews.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Shrimp stuffed with crabmeat is a classic recipe that's been served in restaurants for decades. It's not hard to make, and I wish my photos had turned out better for you to see these. Guy did the cleaning, shucking and deveining and he forgot to leave the tails on. Yes, the tops got a little too brown, almost black, because the broiler unit was maybe too close; but they tasted great. Amazingly, these take almost no time to cook, so you do have to watch them closely once they get in the broiler. And if you have crabmeat left over, make one of the other recipes listed here, or freeze it for future use. (Don't freeze it too long -- a couple of weeks at best, because crab deteriorates in the freezer pretty quickly.)
Shrimp Stuffed with Crabmeat
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled (leave tails on for nice effect)
3 scallions, minced, with part of the green tops
1 stalk celery, minced
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or olive oil
1/2 lb. flaked crabmeat
1/2 cup fresh plain breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance lite mayonnaise
Split shrimp lengthwise from the underside, remove vein, and lay open so a small pocket is formed. Saute' scallions and celery in Smart Balance for about 5 minutes, or till tender. Cool. Add remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
Place about 2 Tbsp. crabmeat stuffing on each shrimp. Squeeze the mixture together with your fingers as you place it in the pocket of the shrimp.
Broil 4-6 minutes or until shrimp turns opaque.