Monthly Archives: May 2018

DishingwithDiane Announcement

Good-News-Ifor site GOOD NEWS 2

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Hi Everyone, 

I am so happy to share the news that one of DishingwithDiane’s photos from the July 23, 2017 blog post, “Low Country Shrimp Boil” was chosen to be in the current Summer 2018 edition of the Newsday Funbook which came out today.

For those of you who subscribe to Newsday there are two different Fun Book covers.

My photo is on page 67 of the digital edition.

full NEWSDAY POOL RESIZE - USE LAST

My photo is on page 69 of the printed copy.

newsday beach RESIZE LAST

For those who don’t subscribe to Newsday, here is a copy of the page.

Newsday18 FUNBOOK 2018

 

Here is a close up of the caption…

Photo May 19, 11 45 33 PM WITH ARROW

 

 

I can’t believe I was fortunate to have this happen a second time. My photo of sunflowers from the Sound Shore Market & Farms from the “Good Bye to Summer 2016”  blog post was chosen for last year’s Newsday Funbook.dsc_0657-sunflowers-for-blog

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

 

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Soft Shell Crab Recipes…

live-soft-shell-crabs in bucket 2

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Hi everyone, 

Well, it’s that time again. The beginning of the season for soft shell crabs –  May through September. Outside of blue claw crab sauce over linguine, this is my favorite crab meal.

Soft shell crabs remind me of my Dad. He was always the first one to bring me a soft shell crab sandwich at the beginning of the season – never failed. It was piled high with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce and served with French fries and Cole slaw.

It was our tradition.

After our first soft shell crab sandwich of the season, there were many days that my Dad and I would go and have lunch at all the waterfront restaurants near my home and order soft shell crabs to see who prepared them the best. You would think we would get tired of them, but we never did.

Now you know just how much I love soft shell crabs. 

After all these years, I still can’t decide which way I like them better. I like a sandwich of fried soft shell crab with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce on a kaiser roll (traditionally served on toasted white bread), and I like sauteed soft shell crabs in garlic, white wine, lemon and butter sauce with steamed vegetables.

For those of you not familiar, a soft shell crab is the blue claw crab in its molted state, when they shed their hard shells to reveal a paper thin shell. This thin shell hardens within 2-3 hours so there is a brief period to harvest the soft shell crab .

bal-bs-disc-1-023-20130605-- soft shell crab shedding shell photo judy brunk

Eating a soft shell crab is a little difficult for some people to wrap their head around, because you eat the entire crab. That includes claws, head, legs and shell (minus the eyes and the lungs). Your fish monger will clean them for you. Buy live, fresh crabs and have them cleaned before you prepare them. If you see crabs wrapped in cellophane in a grocery or fish store, pass them by, they were frozen. 

If you prefer to clean the crabs yourself, here are some basic instructions:

  1. Remember you are starting with a live crab…
  2. Get a good sharp pair of kitchen shears and cut across the front of the crab, behind the eyes and mouth to remove them (approximately a 1/2 inch cut). This will kill the crab.
  3. Squeeze out the yellow contents of the sack located directly behind the cut you just made. This yellow sack is part of the digestive system and can be eaten – personal preference. ( I choose to remove it. Research shows that chemical contaminants, such as dioxin and mercury can accumulate in this area).
  4. Once you get over the trauma of killing the crab, lift one pointed corner of the top shell and remove the gills by pulling them out of the base. The gills are beige and feathery. Now repeat on the other side of the shell.
  5. Turn the crab over and there will be a flap called the apron. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body.
  6. Rinse the entire crab removing any more yellow “mustard” from the crab and pat dry.
  7. You are now ready to cook your crab. Enjoy!

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There are many different recipes for preparing soft shell crabs, but this is how I prepare them, both fried and sauteed. 

Start both recipes with cleaned and rinsed crabs patted dry…

Photo May 11, 3 24 55 PM - DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB

Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

¼ cup cornstarch

Salt and pepper

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. minced parsley

Grated cheese – to taste

To Serve:

Lettuce

Tomato

White toast or roll

Tartar sauce or mayonnaise

Cole Slaw

French Fries

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • Heat 1-inch oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • SET UP A BREADING STATION…
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, pepper, 1/2 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning – set aside
  • In another bowl, beat 2 eggs with ½ cup milk – set aside
  • In another bowl, combine 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade), 1 cup panko bread crumbs, grated cheese, minced parsley, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Pat crabs dry
  • Toss in seasoned flour
  • Dip in egg & milk
  • Toss in bread crumb mixture
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop and spatter
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side until golden
  • Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt
  • Ready to eat…

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 Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

Photo Jul 19, 7 15 18 PM.jpg SOFT SHELL CRAB

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 ¼ cup AP flour

3 cloves of minced garlic

4 tbsp butter – divided

½ cup white wine

Juice of 2-3 lemons

2 tbsp minced parsley 

½ tbsp. Drained capers

SEASONING FOR FLOUR

1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) with 2 tbsp. butter over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1 tsp of each: Old Bay Seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme- set aside
  • Pat crabs dry and season with salt and pepper
  • Toss in seasoned flour and shake off excess
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop, and spatter so stand back or use a splatter shield
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side
  • Remove crabs from skillet and set aside
  • DO NOT clean out the pan.
  • To the skillet, add 2 tbsp. butter. Let the butter melt and turn a little brown
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute
  • Add capers and white wine and cook for 1- 2 minutes until slightly reduced
  • Add lemon juice and parsley and cook for 2 minutes
  • Pour sauce over crabs

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I hope you try one of these recipes and enjoy Soft Shell Crab Season.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become members of DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments & emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Has Arrived…

 

Photo May 12, 12 28 05 AM BUFFET

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Hi Everyone,

I have been very, very busy the past few weeks so instead of sharing a tablescape today, I wanted to share some springtime recipes with all of you. 

 Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast and it is glorious to finally have some nice weather. Spring makes me want to open all the windows and welcome in the fresh air. What a pleasure!

I am waiting for all the farmers markets and road stands to open. I love going to farm stands and buying fresh produce straight from the fields. Fresh is best and I want to support the local farmers.

I also buy all my organic herb plants from the farms. This year I am growing a larger herb garden than last year because it seems that I am constantly buying herbs in the grocery store only to have them last a few short days.

Last year we planted basil and parsley but this year I am branching out to add rosemary, sage and thyme.

As we all know I have a brown thumb (I killed the bamboo), so Bob will have to take over the garden. I will still be the chef.

To welcome spring and this lovely weather for the past few days, I decided to make a quick weeknight “Springtime Buffet” for Bob and I with some fresh veggies. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary night.

(Once you read the recipes, you will notice that they are all fairly easy). 

I started with one of my favorite salads, an Italian caprese salad which is layers of alternating tomato slices with fresh mozzarella, basil, some olive oil and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I have this salad all spring and summer.

Photo May 12, 12 28 11 AM CAPRESE SALAD

I made two additional salads for the table, one is a very refreshing carrot salad with pineapples and raisins.

I have been making this four ingredient salad for years. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe from. When I visit my son, I have to remember to bring a container of carrot salad because it has always been a favorite of his. The secret is using fresh topped carrots and not the carrots pre-packaged in bags. Fresh carrots are so much sweeter.
Photo May 09, 7 59 24 CARROT SALAD ING.

Photo May 12, 12 34 03 AM CARROT SALAD

The second salad was a tossed salad of mixed greens with the addition of radishes, cucumbers, fruit, nuts and cheese. I make my own salad dressing with lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, garlic & oil and I will include that recipe at the end of the post.

It is officially spring when I start using one of my favorite pieces for spring and summer. A galvanized wheelbarrow that I use for salad. Purchased last year in my home away from home, Pier 1.

 It just puts me in the mood for gardening and springtime.

Photo May 12, 12 29 54 AM SALAD

The main entree for this buffet was a vegetable quiche.

The quiche was filled with yellow squash, green zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. You can add any combination of veggies you want as long as you use the basic recipe. I change the filling all the time depending on what I have in the veggie bin.

I did not have enough time to “attempt” to make my own pie crust ( making homemade pie crust is not my specialty), so I used a frozen organic pie crust.

Photo May 09, 3 18 14 PM VEGGIE QUICHE ING

I always sprinkle a layer of fine bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie crust just in case your filling is too wet  (the mushrooms give off liquid). The bread crumbs will prevent the crust from getting soggy.

Photo May 09, 6 50 53 PM BREADCRUMBS

I find the best bread crumbs for this job are the organic bread crumbs from Trader Joe’s because they are extra fine.

Photo May 12, 3 14 00 AM BREADCRUMBS

All the ingredients are mixed and now the quiche is ready for the oven…Photo May 09, 7 10 45 PM READY FOR THE OVEN

Once our springtime buffet was complete, we enjoyed eating this meal outside on the patio. I just love when we can dine al fresco.

(Although in Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail and not eating outside. Very shocked when I heard that bit of information, but we aren’t in Italy.)

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Photo May 12, 12 29 07 AM VEGGIE QUICHE

I hope that some of the recipes today inspired you to try something new.

Give them a try and find a new favorite, and enjoy the nice weather too!

I’ll be back soon with a new tablescape…

Photo May 12, 12 31 16 AM FLOWERS

HERE ARE THE RECIPES…

CARROT SALAD

2 bunches topped carrots

1-cup mayonnaise

1/2 pineapple peeled and chopped OR a 14oz can of pineapple tidbits, drained

1/2-cup raisins

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Peel the carrots and grate them in a food processor fitted with the large grating attachment. (if you lay the carrots on their sides in the feed tube, you will have nice long grated strands)

Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the mayonnaise, pineapple, raisins, salt & pepper. Toss well and season to taste. Serve chilled or at room temp.

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FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING

3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 TBSP cider vinegar

1 TBSP mayonnaise

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 tsp sugar 

1 very small garlic clove, chopped OR  1 TBSP minced garlic in a jar

1 cup olive oil

In a food processor, blend all ingredients EXCEPT the oil until smooth…..with the motor running add oil in a stream, blend until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a jar and keep it covered and chilled until serving, yields 1- 1/4 cup

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VEGETABLE QUICHE

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1- 1/4 cup half and half OR heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  •  1- 1/2 cups sharp or mild cheddar cheese OR Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups diced veggies
  • 1- 9-inch unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell OR 2 regular pie shells

COOKS NOTE: I sprinkle a layer of fine breadcrumbs on the bottom of the pie crust in case your filling is too wet, it will prevent the crust from getting soggy.

COOKS NOTE: if you add spinach, buy frozen it’s easier…thaw and squeeze out excess water. Break apart the spinach and add to the ingredients.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium-mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

6-8 servings

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Enjoy Spring!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become a member of DishingwithDiane.com

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your emails and comments, I LOVE hearing from you.