Crab En Croute

What a hot pocket should be

The dungeness crab season is way too short. Blink and you miss it and all the tasty, meaty goodness that it entails. So we were stoked to see some fresh crabs at our fish monger when we picked up oysters for our dressing before Thanksgiving. We served this as an appetizer, but it’d make a nice dinner for two or three paired with a salad.

Crab En Croute

  • 2 1/2 cups dungeness crab meat
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp horseradish sauce
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup drained and chopped artichoke hearts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small bunch of spinach, torn in bite-size leaves
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with about a teaspoon of cream

Mix crab meat, olive oil, horseradish sauce, lemon juice and artichoke hearts together. Season to taste. In a large saute pan, melt butter and saute onions until tender. Wilt spinach, stirring often. Turn off heat and stir in crab mix, stirring to incorporate. Roll out two sheets of puff pastry together in a 12- to 15-inch rectangle. Pour crab mix on top and smooth out. Leave about an inch border all around. Roll up, tucking ends in as you go. Place seam side down on a baking pan. Brush the egg mixture over the pastry using a pastry brush. Bake at 400 until golden, about 25 minutes.

Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Seafood | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Oyster Dressing

The oysters really change the flavor

Here is an east coast twist on the southern staple.

Sausage and Oyster Cornbread Dressing

  • 1 batch cornbread crumbled
  • 1 loaf sourdough french bread cut into small cubes
  • 14-18 large oysters
  • 2 Italian sausage casing removed
  • 1 large onion diced fine
  • 2-3 large ribs celery chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • Chicken stock

4 days before make breads and dry out in oven stirring once a day. Saute onion until golden in butter. Add sausage and brown, then add celery and garlic and saute until softened. Add cooked items to bowl of bread and mix well. Add eggs and spices and mix well again. In a bowl cut oysters into small bits with scissors. Pour into bread mixture including all juice and mix well again. Add enough chicken stock to form a solid loaf and press into a greased 9×12 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until done, about 45 minutes.


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Pumpkin Cheesecake #2

Still a slice left

Here is a steamed version for those of you who like making things more involved.

Pumpkin Cheesecake #2

For crust

  • 1 1/2 cups ground ginger snaps
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp melted butter

For filling

  • 24 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 eggs

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Invert bottom of a spring form pan, grease inside and wrap exterior in two layers of tin foil to keep water bath from getting into mold. Mix crust ingredients and press into bottom of pan until even. Bake until browned about 10 minutes then remove and let cool. Place pan in a roasting dish deep enough to hold water up to 1/2 way on side. Whip sugar, spice and cream cheese on medium high until smooth. Add pumpkin and blend well. Add cream and blend well again. Add eggs and mix until incorporated. Pour into spring form pan and smooth top. Pour warm water into roasting pan until halfway up sides of spring form pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours without opening oven. Turn off heat and leave in oven for 2 hours. Do not open door until over. Remove from oven and let cool for 3 hours, then refrigerate overnight. Serve with whipped cream on top.

Posted in Dessert, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


Guaranteed shenanigans for the holidays

This recipe is originally from here.

The trick to this is using ripe, firm, perfect plums. Inspect everyone for bruises and bad spots before using. This recipe will roughly fill one large 1/2 gallon mason jar double or triple.

Slivovitz (Plum Brandy or Schnapps)

  • 2 1/2 pounds perfect plums
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 1-inch pieces lemon peel
  • 4 + cups grain alcohol

Use a sharp  knife to pierce the fruit through to the pit, cutting each plum 3 or 4 times. Pack the fruit into a glass jar(s) and add the sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon peel. If in more than one container try to divide equally. Pour enough grain alcohol to cover the plums, and cap the jar securely. Every day for 2 weeks invert the jar or until sugar has completely dissolved. Place the jar in a closet or other dark space for 90 days. Strain contents through cheesecloth and store in a glass container.

Posted in Italian, Spirits, Things in Jars | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

Don’t be afraid to really cover them in sauce

This is another example of Italian vegetarian. If you do not have pumpkin, squash or sweet potato will work.

Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

  • 2 lb pumpkin cleaned, skinned and chopped into small dice
  • 1 lb whole milk ricotta
  • 2 batches bechamel sauce
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup grated romano
  • 1/2 lb grated mozzarella
  • 1 package large pasta shells
  • 1 egg

Toss pumpkin with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and half sage. Season with salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees stirring half way until crispy and slightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cook pasta in boiling slated water until done. In a large bowl mix ricotta, roasted pumpkin, remaining sage, romano and egg. Stuff into shells. In a large baking dish pour half the bechamel and then place shells on top. Drizzle remaining bechamel over shells and bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover, top with mozzarella and continue to bake until cheese begins to brown on top. Serve hot.


Posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Steak with Heirloom Tomato Salad

Make sure the tomatoes taste as good as the steak

This requires ripe yellow, red and green tomatoes. A really good cut of steak is also a good idea.

Steak with Heirloom Sliced Tomato Salad

  • 1/2 lb steak per person
  • Assortment of heirloom tomatoes sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 6-12 basil leaves
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/4 cup plus much more olive oil
  • Sweet vermouth
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot minced

Rub steaks with salt pepper and olive oil. Marinade in sweet vermouth mixed with beef stock for 4-8 hours. Layer tomatoes with salt, pepper, olive oil and torn basil leaves. Marinade salad for 2 hours before serving. Toast seeds in a dry frying pan until they begin to brown. Remove from heat and grind roughly in a mortar. Mix spice, mustard, shallot and 1/4 cup oil together. Thin with enough vinegar to create a vinaigrette. Let stand 1 hour before serving. Grill steaks to medium rare at most and serve over sliced tomatoes drizzled with vinaigrette.


Posted in Beef, Dinner, Food, Garden, Grilling/Smoking, Italian, Recipes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Zucchini Cornbread

It is like a cross between zucchini and corn bread

Here is a way to use up some fresh zucchini or summer squash.

Zucchini Corn Bread

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until butter solids at bottom of pan turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape butter into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk. Trim zucchini ends. Thinly slice five 1/8″ rounds from 1 end of zucchini and reserve for garnish. Coarsely grate remaining zucchini Salt and let stand 30 minutes then squeeze as much water out as possible. Add to bowl with butter mixture and stir until well blended. Sift both flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in cornmeal. Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Place reserved zucchini slices atop batter down center in a single layer. Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Then invert on wire rack and cool completely.




Posted in Food, Garden, Recipes, Sides, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 3 Comments