Category Archives: Recipes

Thanksgiving: Cooking Live Crab with Fennel and Celery Salad

Stack of Steamed Fresh Live Crabs

We had planned to visit Captain Barry’s Fresh to pick up some crab on Thanksgiving morning as a project and tasty dinner, but also to have a bit of Thanksgiving fare with the crew; there had been an accident the night before and while Thanksgiving was cancelled, we hope all will be well soon. They were still selling crab this morning, so we decided it would be a great, light departure from the gut-stuffing realities of turkey day. We loaded up the dog and headed down to the dock.

butter cubes

Red Dutch Cast Iron Enamel Sautee Pan with Melting Butter

We brought home three lively critters, about 2 lbs each, and got our pots boiling. Being a total sissy, I didn’t want to kill and clean them raw, so we dunked them right into the boiling water for 15 minutes each (since they were so large). Afterwards, I cleaned them using this method, and stacked them up on our table with some melted butter, a fresh fennel-celery salad, and a bottle of champagne.

Fennel and Celery Salad

Fresh Fennel and Celery Salad Recipe

Serves 2-4

1 small or 1/2 large head fennel, sliced thinly on a mandolin
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thinly on a mandolin
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together and serve. This holds up very well over night, but is best dressed freshly for maximum crunch.

 

Stack of Fresh Cleaned Dungeness Crab Legs

How to Cook Live Crab

Prepare large pots of boiling water; when boiling, add the live crab. Cover most of the way and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the crab and let it cool a bit, then use this crab cleaning method to prepare for the table. Serve with drawn butter; use a cast iron based pan (in my case, a vintage dutch enameled pan) to keep the butter warm for longer, tableside.

A Whole Roasted Trout Recipe

 

Whole Roasted Trout from McFarland Farms

A few weeks ago, Peter served up a delicious, and, to my shock, farmed whole trout. He stuffed it with prosciutto and vegetables, preceded it with a baby beet salad with seasoned ricotta, and a great meal was had by all. This afternoon I braved the Thanksgiving crowds and visited Bi-Rite to get myself a trout and try it out myself.

McFarland Farms Whole Roasted Trout Meat

Whole Roasted Trout Stuffed with Prosciutto & Fennel Recipe

Serves 3-4

1 whole trout, 1.5-2 lbs (this is a rainbow trout)
4 pieces freshly sliced prosciutto di parma
1/2 head fennel, sliced thinly and sauteed until nearly caramelized in butter
zest of 1/2 lemon
salt

Ensure the trout is gutted fully and clean; season with salt inside and line the cavity with the prosciutto slices. Toss the cooked fennel with the lemon zest; between the sides of flesh, stuff the fennel into the fish. If you have twine or something edible to tie the fish together, do so now. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes depending on the weight of your fish, on a foil lined pan, without cover.

When serving, gently remove the skin from the top half of the fish and push the meat off the bones. When the spine is exposed, lift it up or turn the fish over to remove the rest of the meat. Remove the prosciutto sack and cut it into slices to serve along the fish.

Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce

A new favorite, this can be prepared ahead and cooked on a weeknight, it’s healthy and chock-full of vegetables and lean protein. I clearly was lazy in peeling my peppers, but we didn’t mind a bit of charred skin here and there.

Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce Recipe
Serves two for main course

The Peppers & Filling
4 poblano peppers, charred over a flame and peeled or cooked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and peeled
3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, minced finely or mashed
2 T fresh cilantro and/or basil, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp sea salt

Combine all but the peppers in a bowl, and stuff the peppers with the mixture, closing them again as best you can. Bake in oven at 350 for 8-11 minutes, depending on size of the peppers. Shrimp will be completely white and pink when done.

For the Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce
1 large red bell pepper, roasted at 400 degrees, peeled, seeds removed and tossed into a blender
2 ripe, never refrigerated roma tomatoes or one small can peeled roma tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chili flakes or equivilent
4 small-medium shallots, chopped finely
2 tsp coconut oil or other cooking oil

In a sauce pan, warm the coconut oil and add the shallots and chili flakes, cooking until shallots begin to go limp. Add the garlic and chili flakes, followed immediately by the tomatoes–slice thinly the tomatoes and add to the pan, cooking at medium heat until they are falling apart, about 20 minutes. Add it all to the blender with the roasted pepper and puree. It will likely be thicker than soup; you can thin it with vegetable or chicken stock, or serve it thick under the cooked peppers.

Lamb & Pork Albondigas in Sherry Cream Sauce

My new favorite party food! I whipped up a small batch of these a week ago as a cozy dinner for two, and last night I served them as host to a St.Louisan reunion over the Cardinals-Giants game at my home; they were a bit hit, and I know they will be for you too.

Sherry Cream Sauce Recipe
Makes about 3 cups of sauce

3 fresh, ripe, never refrigerated roma tomatoes sliced thinly or 1 small can roma tomatoes, peeled
4 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp chili flakes or chopped dried chili
5 medium-large shallots, diced roughly
1 cup good Spanish sherry (olarosa, etc)
1 cup homemade chicken stock, or whatever the next best thing you can find is
2 bay leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan or small coquette, warm about 1-2 T olive oil at medium heat. Add the diced shallots, dry chili,  and garlic. Cook until color is changing and shallots are becoming limp, about 5-8 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 15-45 minutes, depending your hurry. Remove the bay leaves and puree at least 1/2 of the mixture (or all of it) in a blender or with a blending stick.  Return to the pan and continue to keep heated on low if not serving immediately, or store for later at this point.

Lamb & Pork Albondigas (meatballs) Recipe
Makes about 30 1-inch meatballs

1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
4 T (1/4 Cup) buttermilk, almond milk, or milk
4 T (1/4 Cup) thinly diced white bread or other bread (I used a completely grain free cashew based bread that I make myself)

Combine bread, milk, and spices, stirring gently. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, then forming the mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and placing on foil, parchment, or whatever item can hold the raw meatballs. In a large skillet (such as a 12″ cast iron), warm coconut oil or another high-heat oil at medium high heat. Cook the meatballs without moving them for the first few minutes as to form a caramelized crust on one side, then flip them over to ensure they cook through without burning. You may need to do this in batches.

Serve the sauce over the meatballs family style or in individual bowls. It is ok to store the meatballs in the sauce for later use, however, they will lose any crispy coating they have developed from the cooking process.

Fennel & Stone Fruit Salad, Tri-tip on Coconut Corn Salad, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais Whipped Cream

Stone Fruit Salad with Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Peaches and Plums

tritip on coconut corn salad

quick flourless chocolate cake with creme anglaise whipped cream

For seven weeks, we’ve had family staying with us. They’re really nice people, interesting, appreciative, but man.. It was rough. I wasn’t conditioned for this. Never in my life did I think I’d have people living effectively in my house for seven weeks in a go. I’ve barely cooked for two months because of it, but the eve before their (very recent) departure (which was followed by 24 hours of blissful retreat in Calistoga), I made a seasonal and tasty multi-course dinner for us all to enjoy. Then, I made it again, a little modified, in Calistoga for our hosts.

Fennel & Stone Fruit Salad Recipe
Serves 4-5 as a starter
Very fast if you have a mandolin! See the mango version here.

1 small head fennel, sliced very thin, with a mandolin
1 white peach, sliced with a mandolin
1 red plum, sliced with a mandolin
1 black plum, sliced with a mandolin
1 large cucumber, cut in half, seeds removed, sliced with a mandolin
1 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, diced
1 T seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
raw sesame seeds to top

Mix it all together, and serve in beautiful messy lumps, like bedhead, with sesame on top.

 

Tri-tip on Coconut Corn Salad with Chard Recipe
Coconut Corn adapted from Heidi Swanson
Serves 4-5

1.5-2lb tri-tip or flank steak*
5 ears corn, kernels sliced off
2 T butter
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 C raw, soaked almonds, chopped
1 very small red onion (1/2 large)
1 C raw, dried flaked coconut (The bigger the better), toasted freshly
4 C torn chard

Sautee on the corn in the butter at high heat, giving it color but retaining crisp texture. Add chard, thyme and some salt to taste. Turn heat off, mix in onion, almonds, and coconut.

Season tri-tip with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat in a closed top grill for about 10 minutes each side. It will be medium.

*You could also choose to make a roast (5 lbs=4 hrs in oven at 250=rare, delicious roast beef) and serve that on top instead, or use flank steak, which you may want to marinade in garlic, whiskey, sesame oil and soy sauce for at least an hour or no more than overnight.

 

Quick Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais Whipped Cream
Serves 5-6

No-Bake Chocolate Cake From Heidi Swanson

I made creme anglais the evening before with Gran Marnier Souffle (which photographs terribly!), and had some leftover. I mixed it into whipped cream; it was divine.