Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Corn and Crab Chowder

When I made citrus crab last night, I thought about making this soup. I've never made it before, but had it several times. I looked up several recipes and decided to try it out.

I wanted to make a lighter dairy free soup, so I used potatoes ans mashed them in the pot with the corn to thicken it up. I'm not even sure it is technically considered a chowder, but it's fantastic. I know I may be a little bacon crazy these days, but I think bacon would make this one even more amazing.

White Corn and Crab Chowder

1/2 stick of butter, diced
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 cups diced Celery
2 tbsp minced Garlic
6-8 Small Red Potatoes, Diced
4-5 cups of water
1- 16 oz package of Frozen White Corn
1 cup or more of crab meat

Heat a deep pot over moderate heat. Add butter and garlic. As you chop your veggies, add them to the pot: potatoes, celery, onion, and red bell pepper. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, cayenne and Italian Seasonings. Saute veggies 5 minutes, then sprinkle in flour. Cook flour 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and combine. Add corn and let boil down, mash soup with a potato masher to thicken.

It's really tasty and non-creamy. it's hearty but still has that sweet corn flavor with bits of crab. It's one of my new favorite soups and I'm glad I made enough to go around.

Citrus Crab

I tend to mold my recipes after what I have in my fridge. This is how my Grandma taught me to cook and the basis for a lot of my ideas and experimentation with food. You make what you have and try not to waste your resources. I also get inspiration from fresh, local produce from farmers markets or backyards when available.

I came up with this crab dish last night. I purchased a live crab, which I had quartered and cleaned. I usually use white wine as a base, it helps cook the crab and gives it a great flavor. But I was out of wine, so I made Citrus Crab.

1 whole crab, quartered and cleaned
2 lemons - juiced and thrown in
2 oranges - juiced and thrown in
1/3 cup water
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup of butter, cut into small pieces
Lemon Pepper, Cayenne, Italian Seasons

Mix all ingredients and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping once 3/4 of the way through. Dungeness Crabs turn from a dark blueish purple to a bright pink. The juices are usually boiling and once cooled, delicious for dipping the crab in.

Christmas Crab

Christmas Crab - Easy Garlic Lemon Butter Crab

For the Christmas Potluck, I stopped by my family's dinner before so I grabbed the following items and assembled them at the party. It was incredibly easy and really great.

- 2 Dungeness Crabs, purchased live but quartered and cleaned
- 1/2 a bottle of white wine
- 1 small sweet Onion, diced
- 1 small scallion, diced
- 2 tbsp garlic
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 2 lemons, juiced and placed in pan
- Lemon pepper, salt, cayenne, bay leaf, Italian blend of spices

Mix all ingredients in a medium roasting pan. Pop the whole thing in the oven, at about 350 for like 30 minutes or until done.

And there you go, easy.

Yellow Split Pea with Black Forest Bacon

One of my favorite soups has always been Split Pea. It's cold out, the holiday season and I've been home nursing a cough and making soups. I had some leftover Black Forest Bacon and decided to experiment with the traditional recipe for Split Pea.

Yellow Split Pea with Black Forest Bacon

2 pats of butter
3 slices of Black Forest Bacon, chopped into smaller pieces
1 Medium Onion, diced
2 tbsp. of chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups of diced carrots
2 cups of diced celery
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 package of yellow split peas
4-5 cups of water
2 bay leaves
Italian Season, Salt Pepper, Cayenne to taste

Place bacon in a large pot, sautee with butter. Stir in onion, garlic, carrots, and celery; cook until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Stir in split peas, bay leaves, water, cayenne and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover, and simmer until peas are cooked, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

It makes quite a lot of soup and is filling. Despite the bacon and butter, it's pretty low fat overall. I made a pot and had a few jars left over.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bekah's Black Forest Bacon & Beef Vegetable Stew

Oh baby it’s cold outside. This past weekend, I didn’t want to leave my house and didn’t except for a few errands to run. I was talking about the soups I like to make and was reminded of a nice hot beef stew.

Shopping around Whole foods, I came up with a spin on a traditional beef stew recipe because they had this smokey black forest ham. It came out really good and somewhat healthy, so I thought I would share it.

Bekah's Black Forest Bacon & Beef Vegetable Stew

Here’s my recipe:

3 slices of Black Forest Bacon

1/4 cup of butter (4-6 pats, ½ a stick)

1 small yellow onion

1 ½ Tablespoon chopped garlic

3 shallot cloves

4 stalks of celery

1 ½ cups of chopped carrots

6 red potatoes sliced into small cubes

2 cups of broth (I used vegetable broth, but you can use beef)

2 Bay leaves

1 tablespoon of Italian Spices

5 cups of water (adjust as needed)

1 small can of tomato sauce

2 small tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped white mushrooms

1 ½ pounds of good quality beef stew meat, cut in chunks.

2-3 tablespoons of flour to thicken it up (adjust as needed)

Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Lemon Pepper to taste.

I purchased a few slices of Black Forest Bacon from the butcher, cut them in small pieces and sauteed them in the butter. This adds in a smokey flavor while the fats cook the veggies. Add onion, garlic, shallots, celery, potatoes and carrots. Let the veggies cook up and then add the broth to mix, add bay leaves and Italian spices. Once that has mixed together well, I add in water to allow everything to cook through, add less water for a thicker stew. Add in the can of tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes.

Meanwhile on the next burner, I am sauteing chopped mushrooms in a little olive oil and Italian spices. Once those are nice and browned, I add them to the pot and throw the steak stew meat onto the same pot. I brown the meat on the outside, but keep the temperature low since it will be added to the hot pot of stew already cooking.

You want to make sure the vegetables are cooking well, once they are getting soft, reduce the heat overall and add in the stew meat. Timing is everything, if the heat is too high – you can overcook your meat which will get tough. Slow cook the stew the rest of the time.

Add in the flour to thicken it up, stir thoroughly and cool some for tasting. This is where I add in the Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Lemon Pepper to taste. All can be added or none at all, depends on your preference.

Overall took me less than an hour to make this stew. It tastes best when removed from heat and cooled a bit. The flavors settle and give it a savory smokey flavor. Perfect for the Holidays.

I ended up with a whole pot, which filled 5 Mason jars, my tummy and another container. I’m going to freeze a couple, share with family and have soup to keep me warm through the cold winter holiday.