August 5, 2008

Busy Cooking/Baking Weekend - But No TWD

This past weekend was the best we've had in a long time. Friday night we went to Wolftrap to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform Rogers and Hammerstein music from the movies. They had huge screens set up and played the movie clips that featured the song the orchestra was playing. After the sun set, the weather was perfect. We had lawn seats and brought along a picnic.

I had been wanting to try this recipe. Instead of the puff pastry called for I made my own pie crust. I forgot to take a picture of the full tart - here is one slice:

You've got to try this! It's great at room temperature and uses the fresh ingredients that are at the farmer's markets this time of year.

Another first time recipe was for this wonder Beet-Peach salad

I adapted this recipe from one I had cut out of Prevention Magazine. This was so good, I made it again Sunday night with beets and peaches we bought Sunday morning at the West End Farmer's Market.

Beet-Peach Salad
4 medium beets
2 medium peaches
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 oz feta cheese (I used fat-free)

Clean and peel beets. Cut each beet into 1/2 inch slices, then cut each slice into 6 pieces (like a pie slice.) Cook in microwave with a little water until easily pierced with a fork. Remove pit from peaches and cut fruit into cubes (about the same size as the beet pieces.) Mix beets and peaches. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Once the beets are cooled, add the feta cheese.

Supposedly this would make 4 side dish servings - we polished it off between the two of us with no problem!

For dessert I made chocolate mousse.

Saturday I made crab cakes. These are the ingredients. My wonderful neighbor lent me two lemons, since I was completely out and was too lazy to run to the store.

I think the secret to this incredible recipe is sauteing bay leaves with the onions. Look at my new saute pan! It's my first "'grown up" professional pan! Isn't it beautiful - These are environmentally friendly and don't have the supposedly dangerous chemicals that other non-stick pans have. I got a great deal here. This is the 12 1/2" pan; I also ordered the 8 1/2" pan. They each come with their own handle cover that works like an oven mitt.

Take a gander at this gorgeous crab:

I formed each crabcake in 1/2 cup portions - they were HUGE. They have to sit in the fridge for several hours before cooking. I forgot to get a pic after they were brown and crispy and delicious.

I found this recipe a few years ago on Chowhound. I don't know the creator's real name but he goes by Curmudgeon. Everytime I make these people practically swoon - every person has said these are the BEST crab cakes they've ever had. I have to agree!

Curmudgeon Crab Cakes

Serving Size: 8

-= Ingredients =-
4 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaf
1 pound Crab
1/4 cup Lemon juice ; of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Grey Poupon or Dijon mustard
1/4 pound Saltines ; crushed into fine crumbs
salt ; and pepper to taste
2 eggs

-= Instructions =-
1. Sauté the onion, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper in two tablespoons of the butter until soft.
2. In a bowl, combine the onion mixture and the crab. Mix in the lemon juice, mustard, and ½ cup of the cracker crumbs. Taste and add salt and pepper.
3. Add the two eggs and mix until incorporated.
4. Form the crab mixture into 8 patties. Coat with the remaining cracker crumbs. Place on a plate and allow to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
5. Heat the remaining butter in a large sauté pan. Fry the cakes in the butter until golden, then turn and fry the other side. Serve immediately.
Note: These are too good to mask with tartar or cock-tail sauce. If you insist, maybe you just don?t like crab.

I wanted to make Strawberry Shortcake for dessert. I pulled out my Dorie Greenspan cookbook and found a recipe for Devilish Shortcakes aka chocolate short cakes!!!

All I can see is OH.....MY.......GOSH!! They were moist, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and a perfect compliment to the strawberries and freshly whipped cream.

After all this cooking and baking - the most I've done in a long, long time, I'm going to opt out of this week's TWD. This week's recipe was chosen by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen. Check out the other TWD members results.

Have a wonderful week!


Liliana said...

Your meal looks delicious, especially the chocolate short cakes!

Mary said...

I am going to try that beet salad recipe myself! Thanks for the idea. I used to live in the DC area and loved Wolf Trap too! Mary