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.