Dazzle Holiday Guests with a Chesapeake Favorite

It's the most wonderful time of the year - especially for les gourmands. Not only is this cold weather allowing us to indulge in comfort foods, but during the holidays we are being impeccably served. Prime rib with horseradish and Yorkshire pudding, homemade chocolate bark dusted with crushed candy canes. I could go on.

Richmond Chef Tammy Brawley knows her way around a holiday party. As the owner of The Green Kitchen, it's a busy time of year! She hosts private chef dinners, works as a personal chef, does catering and even hosts cooking classes at her Church Hill location. 

When I asked what one of her favorite recipes was, she didn't hesitate. Crab cakes with lemon dill sauce is a mix of comfort food and sophistication. As we are all Chesapeake Bay-adjacent, owning a covetable recipe is practically our birthright. Below, she will walk you through how to take your holiday party up a notch. 

Crabcakes

2 lbs crab, lump works best, but claw meat is fine as well, as long as it’s picked thoroughly for shells

1 Tablespoon mustard

1 teaspoon= 25 mini crab cakes

dry mustard

1 Tablespoon dried parsley, or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine

zest and juice of 1 lemon

½ cup ground crackers or dry bread crumbs, more might be needed

2½ ounces parmesan cheese

2 eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise, more might be needed

butter and olive oil

Directions

The amounts are approximate. It’s best to “feel” as you go.

Put crab into a large bowl. Add mustards, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Mix thoroughly by hand.

Add ¼ cup ground crackers or dry bread crumbs, to start. Add parmesan cheese. Squeeze a small handful together to see how well it holds. Reserve remaining ¼ cup.

Add 1 egg to start, mixing again thoroughly. Squeeze a small handful together to see how well it holds.

Add 2 tablespoons mayo to start, mixing thoroughly. Again, check for how well it holds together.

Here you can add more crackers or dry bread crumbs, the 2nd egg and the remaining mayonnaise if you find it necessary.

Place plastic or parchment on a sheet tray. Form crab cakes evenly, either in mini 1 ½ ounce size or larger if desired. Place crab cakes on lined sheet tray.

Have burner on medium low and warm enough butter and olive oil to cover bottom of pan. Once butter and oil are thoroughly combined, raise heat to medium, for about 2 minutes. Add crabcakes and pan-fry until golden, flipping once. Serve with Lemon-Dill Sauce

Lemon-Dill Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. grated lemon rind

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3/4 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. hot sauce (optional)

Stir together.  Chill.

 

Happy Halloween, from Ladles and Linens!

Anyone with an Instagram account could tell you that last weekend was Halloween party central. While I enjoyed the photos, I opted out. Ladles and Linens' own Sarah Nicholas had invited us out to a house on the bay for a little R&R, and we were in dire need of it.

Turns out I didn't miss the festivities after all, because Sarah brought the Halloween spirit to the bay house! The Ladles and Linens tagline is, "It's always a kitchen party, & everyone's invited!" This weekend, it could not be more evident that Sarah practices what she preaches. I've known good chefs and wonderful hosts, but Sarah makes me wonder if she doesn't skip sleep altogether. I don't know how she does it. 

Where to start? A chocolate skull cake with decadent peanut butter and cream cheese filling? Green mac & cheese and mummy hot dogs? How about the glow-in-the-dark skeleton PJs she bought for the children, including mine?

There was hot coffee every morning. A fully-stocked bar. Keeping with the fall theme, we filled up on her hearty pumpkin soup, with a Thai curry kick.

On a private beach, you can drink to your heart's content. And we did just that, with refreshing vodka cocktails. We kept the spooky theme, with flavors like Monster Mango and Poison Apple

We played Halloween Twister (below) and somehow, she found the time to make "dirt pudding" - chocolate pudding topped with chocolate cake crumbles (to resemble both mud and dirt) with gummy worms as earthworms. Disgustingly delectable!

There were scary movies to watch and spooky books to read. And during the day, there was salt air and warm sun. Readers, I wish you a very happy Halloween! And stay tuned, because next week, I'll share some great ideas on what you can do with your Halloween candy leftovers!