Sunday, December 16, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

2012 was a good year for cooking for me with the introduction of some new favourites (Melissa Clark's Cook This Now and Ottolenghi's Ottolenghi) and opportunities to delve deeper into existing favourites (660 Curries).

It was hard narrowing down the list to favourites with so many good ones out there. I know I'm leaving off some good ones, but without further ado, these would be my top 12 (in chronological order more or less).

  1. Beef with cumin - Dunlop's Land of Plenty is a fantastic Chinese cookbook and I was excited to get my hands on Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook to try Hunan cuisine. The book has been fantastic and this quick and easy recipe was a great introduction to it. Cumin deliciousness with a bit of heat.
  2. Chocolate nemesis - August finally shared the recipe with me of this amazing dessert. Mine doesn't taste exactly like his, but I think that's a good thing.
  3. Warm sesame noodles with ginger and snow peas - This recipes has been one of my go-to meals for a quick and easy lunch. Throw in whatever vegetables work for you and save a grocery trip.
  4. Garlic and thyme roasted chicken parts with mustard croutons - I wasn't expecting much given how easy this recipe is, but the bread in this recipes makes the dish. There's not even much handling of raw chicken required for this recipe (I know how raw chicken-averse some of you are!).
  5. Quick braised chicken with Morrocan spices, lemon, and olives - A surprisingly quick and rich braised dish. I think this might be the perfect dish for a large rehearsal dinner.
  6. Chorizo empanadas - A simply perfect snack.
  7. Beef and lamb meatballs baked in tahini - In a year filled with meatballs, I think this one is my favourite. I'm a sucker for tahini sauces though.
  8. Watermelon salsa - Nothing says summer like watermelon. With a bit of a kick, this salsa is a great change of pace from the standard tomato.
  9. Ricotta-filled zucchini blossoms - Light, cheesy, and delicious.
  10. Rabbit with tomato and green olives - The simplicity of this dish makes it a clear winner. It also has happy memories attached to it as it was our first meal back at home post-vacation and proposal.
  11. Yogurt-marinated lamb with ginger and garlic - During a month filled with delicious Indian food, this was the standout as the winner of the month. Bold spices paired with tender lamb.
  12. Pumpkin stuffed with everything good - This is Thanksgiving rolled into a single dish with an elegant, rustic presentation.

Galveston Crab Cakes

I've been holding out on you, skipping on Chinese dumpling recipes and Burmese delights. While those recipes have been good, I already have quite a few dumpling recipes posted and to be honest, it's quite a bit of work to make. I enjoy it, but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. As for the Burmese? I think I'll wait to post until I try a recipe that's a better introduction to the cuisine.

This recipe, however, is a delicious dish that's quick and easy to make. We've been enjoying the fresh crab here this December and I can only hope that the new year is just as kind to us.

One year ago: Quick and Easy Chinese Greens
Two years ago: Goat Cheese and Asparagus Risotto
Three years ago: Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Galveston Crab Cakes (from Stop and Smell the Rosemary)

1 lb fresh lump crab meat
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Place crabmeat in large bowl. Add breadcrumbs and mix.
2. In separate bowl, combine egg, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, pepper, parsley, cayenne, horseradish, and lemon juice.
3. Blend egg mixture into crab mixture. Form mixture into 6 crab cakes.
4. Heat butter and oil in large skillet. Add crab cakes and saute until golden brown.
5. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve with tartar sauce if desired.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Black Pepper Crab

Our seafood CSA gave us two cooked Dungeness crabs while I was in Montreal for work. I was a bit at a loss on how best to highlight it until I found this delightful recipe. The spice paste seemed like it would be too much, but it worked great. This is a bit messy to eat, so I wouldn't necessarily serve this for company. It does taste good enough for company though!

One year ago: Bobotie
Two years ago: Peppermint Meringues
Three years ago: Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

Black Pepper Crab (from Cradle of Flavor)

Flavoring Paste
4 tbsp black peppercorns
8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp peanut oil
3/4 cup water
3 lbs cooked king crab or snow crab legs and claws or cooked Dungeness crabs, cleaned and quartered

1. Place peppercorns in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add garlic, turmeric, and ginger and pulse until a smooth paste.
2. Heat oil in a wok over medium-low heat. Add paste and saute, stirring, until paste begins to separate from oil, 5 - 7 minutes.
3. Add water and crab and raise heat to medium-high. Stir-fry until crab pieces are hot and coated with flavoring paste, about 5 minutes.
4. Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

I realize I'm more than a little behind on posting recipes when I haven't even posted what I made for Thanksgiving! This was a resounding success for a simple Thanksgiving for two. The presentation is so elegantly rustic as well.

One year ago: Pickled Cabbage
Two years ago: Spicy Red Beef Curry
Three years ago: Egg Drop

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good (from Around My French Table)

1 pumpkin, ~3 lbs
1/4 lb stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4" chunks
1/4 lb cheese (Gruyere, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combo), cut into 1/2" chunks
2 - 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
1/4 cup snipped chives or sliced scallions
1 tbsp minced thyme
1/2 - 2/3 cup heavy cream
pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Using a sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the pumpkin. Remove seeds and strings from inside of pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper. Place pumpkin in a Dutch oven.
3. Toss bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Pack mix into the pumpkin.
4. Mix cream with nutmeg and a bit of salt and pepper. Pour into pumpkin.
5. Put cap on pumpkin and bake for 2 hours, removing the cap in the last 20 minutes so the stuffing can brown.
6. Slice pumpkin in half or into quarters and serve.