First I have to apologize to all my friends and readers for not posting on Monday, but what a busy week it has been for me!!! It was my wife’s birthday week and to help celebrate it we took an impromptu trip to New York on Sunday, two and half hours each way to get there, to spend 4 hours walking through central park and having lunch in an old church turned pizzeria. The park was beautiful, the day was breezy and not humid and we had a wonderful walk through the park, with a stop at The Plaza Hotel in New York. We do have to stay there one day! The pizza at the “famous John’s” in New York was average at best……..great crust, so-so cheese, and so very little sauce it was almost non existent. But we still had a great day and a nice train ride.
Monday was her birthday and I spent 3 hours driving to Baltimore for a two hour meeting…..sigh…..then 2 hours to get home (traffic was better). I am in the minority but 5 hours of driving for a 2 hour meeting, no matter how good the meeting is, is just counter productive to my overall happiness. I spent 2 days in Baltimore last week to finish up a class I had been taking (it was the best class I have ever taken!), so as much as I love Baltimore, I do not want to go there again soon, 7 times in the past two months is enough for a while!
On the way home though I did bring something back, 2 dozen of the most beautiful Maryland Blue Claw Crabs I have seen in many years. You see my wife’s favorite meal is steamed crabs, I have even done those for valentines day, so to celebrate her day we had more crabs than we could possibly eat, in fact eating more of them over pasta on Tuesday. Now you might think I got them in Baltimore, but I will not lie to you I got them in Camden. I know what your thinking, but let me tell you, there is a guy who sells crabs from an old shack all year long, we don’t always see Maryland Crabs but they seem to be running well this year. He always throws a few extra in too, a really nice guy and definitely are go to guy for crabs!!
There is no real secret to how I cook crabs, just a recipe I learned from a friend, it seems to work for us.
I have a pretty big crab pot ( with an insert ) and it gets filled about a ⅓ of the way with water, 2 bottles of a hearty beer, ¼ cup of pickling spice and 1 cup of Old Bay. Now the important thing is not to overfill the pot, I never put more than a dozen in at a time, they boil some and they steam , I rotate them a few times during a 20 minute cooking process. When they come out of the pot, I hit them with a little more old bay and that’s about it. I don’t claim to be the authority on crabs, but hey it works for me.
We also took a tour of the Morris Arboretum Saturday, which is a place I pass everyday I go to work, it’s right across from our school. So after 5 years of driving by it we finally stopped in. What a beautiful estate, it was the summer home of John and Lydia Morris and what a splendid estate it must have been in its day. WE had a great time walking through the gardens, seeing all the different trees they so diligently planted and the sculptures in the gardens. I am glad I finally went…….so see it was a busy, busy week.
I even had to work a few days….lol…..I actually planned on working all week, but our school is still in the middle of two major projects, replacing the boilers, and enlarging the parking area. So I couldn’t do anything in my kitchen or storerooms…..just no room to work and everything was so dusty! I was promised it would be clean and ready for me on Monday. I did manage to do some work at home, my menu is still in process, and I will share it with you when it’s completed, and I also had a Webinar for our new school website to post pictures, menu’s and general information for my school, its a great new tool we have this year!! It’s hard to believe I will be back feeding my girls very soon, I do miss them!
We ate out a couple of nights, you know Birthday week, so I really didn’t make much to eat at home, but I did manage to make a Raspberry Clafoutis (aka Birthday Cake), I had gotten some great Raspberries at the Market and they were perfect for this creation! My wife loves Creme Brulee so I naturally thought Clafoutis! I made a pistachio digestive biscuit crust for it, I just wanted a little something different and it certainly was.
The Tart turned out great the crust barely sweet, the custard rich and creamy and the raspberries tart and juicy adding a nice contrast to it all.
Before we get to the recipe I would like to mention that Brian @ A Thought for food and
Louanne @ Louanne’s Kitchen were two of my Girard Dressing winners and have posted their first recipe’s using the Girard’s Dressings! I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what they made, but I promise you won’t be disappointed!! So as soon as your done here head on over to see their newest creations!
½ cup Salted Pistachio’s
1 ½ cups digestive biscuit crumbs (or graham cracker)
¾ stick of butter (melted)
In a food processor grind the pistachios to a fine crumb, and then do the same with the Digestive Biscuits.
Melt the butter and add to the crumb mixture. I did not add any sugar, I wasn’t looking for a super sweet crust, and the digestives were just sweet enough for this crust. Your mix should be wet enough to mold in your tart pan, adjust if necessary. You want to mold the sides of the tart pan first, you want it to be ¼ of an inch thick, then add in the bottom. Bake the shell for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then add your cream mixture.
Raspberry Clafoutis adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets
1 container of Raspberries
1 cup Heavy Cream
3 Large Eggs
6 Tablespoon’s Sugar
1 Plump Vanilla Bean Scraped
Lightly beat the eggs, then beat in the sugar. Add in your heavy cream, and vanilla bean scrapings, mix well.
place the raspberries in your tart shell, then add in enough of your custard to cover the raspberries and bake it for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, then add the remainder of the custard and continue baking for about 35 minutes more. At some point you may want to cover your tart with foil to keep it from over browning. A little colour is good but you don’t want it to look burnt. Bake until the custard is firm in the center of the tart.