Archives for July 2006

Lime in the Coconut and the Crab

There’s something very beautiful about watching your own flesh, blood and breathing progeny asleep. Asleep on the sofa while a Disney DVD plays a canned lullaby at 6-freaking-o’clock on a Saturday night. Thank you Jesus!

This never, ever happens on any of our chairs, sofas, loveseats or carpeted floor areas. We always offer a silent prayer that the kids will approach us at cocktail hour with the announcement that having awoken at the ass-crack of dawn, they will very kindly put themselves to bed. Without our assistance. And happily.

Oh, come on. What kind of parent do you think I am?

J fell asleep tonight in this very fashion, however, an hour after screaming that he HATES crab cakes and will not be eating them for dinner.

A, on the other hand, was surprised at how much crab cake she’d consumed (all of it), after agreeing to at least try one bite. They were yummy – Coconut Milk Crab Cakes with Lime Zest, taken from Tom Douglas’s book I Love Crabcakes.

I added an indulgent garnish of creme fraiche mixed with lime juice and sriracha, but I still think the cakes needed an extra shot of something; maybe more salt or a touch of spice. But now that I’ve discovered that Costco sells Phillips lump crabmeat, I might be cooking my way through this cute little book. Especially when my 5 year old tyrant is fast asleep.

Crabby Patties ready for the frying pan

Coconut Milk Crab Cakes with Lime Zest

1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1 pound crabmeat, drained
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups panko
2 egg whites
Peanut or canola oil for frying
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 teaspoon sriracha (Asian hot sauce)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Combine coconut milk and lime zest in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the milk is reduced to 3/4 cup, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
Add the crab, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper and 1 cup panko, stirring to combine.
Whip the egg whites (by hand if you’re so inclined, or with an electric mixer), until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the crab mixture.
Add the remaining 2 cups panko to a shallow container. Form the crab mixture into approximately 8 patties – I made a few mini kid-friendly ones- and dredge in the panko. You can cover these and chill up to 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to fry, heat 2 large nonstick pans over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat pans about 1/8-inch deep. When the oil is just starting to smoke, add the cakes. Fry until deep golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper-towel lined platter.
Mix together the creme fraiche, sriracha and lime juice and serve with the crab cakes.

About Karen

I’m a full time mom and foodie, for lack of a better word, living in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.

Before I had kids, I wanted to own a restaurant and cook like Alice Waters – straight out of the garden, preferably one in Provence or Italy (so far that plan is still in the Dream Phase).

I talked myself into my first restaurant job working with chef Melissa Kelly, whom I consider my cooking mentor. Her restaurant Primo, in Rockland, Maine serves rustic, Mediterranean-influenced food, my kind of soul food, with many of the ingredients grown or harvested very nearby.

Over the years, I’ve worked as a wine consultant and cheesemonger, catered dinner parties, entered cooking contests , and these days I also teach cooking classes.

As of November, 2007 I am in business! I’ve launched DinnerStyle, my personal chef service. I’d love to come and cook for you in the St. Louis area.

My FamilyStyle Food blog is about sharing what I love – cooking, eating and entertaining – with a fresh, seasonal sensibility and simple recipes.

I hope you visit often and find something that makes you hungry or inspires you to gather around the table – there’s nothing better.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

How to eat a fresh fig

Get Figgy

There are a few things about fresh figs that I find irresistible.
Their brief appearance in the produce section during late June and July brings out a certain greed in me; I need to make the most of their perfect, summer moment, or it will be gone.

Also, and this really does need to be said, they are the most, um, sexy fruit that I can think of. I mean, cut into a ripe fig and examine the dewy, rosy-red flesh hidden inside like a gift from Victoria’s Secret, and tell me if that doesn’t define the term food porn for you.

The other thing about figs is that, like many things, they don’t ship well. So, unless you happen to live on a Mediterranean island or some other, more local paradise such as California, you probably won’t get your hands on a truly ripe fig.

Living in the Midwest means that I frequently encounter unripe, mealy and totally unremarkable figs. To rock your world, a great fig should be plump, heavy for its size, and have a small drop of sticky juice clinging to its bottom. ( I told you it was sexy). The fruit inside should be a pretty pinkish-brownish color, and it will taste delicately sweet, sweet, sweet.

The figs I found the other day weren’t perfect; but that was okay. I sliced each of them open like a flower, stuffed them with a little fresh goat cheese and chopped hazelnuts, and drizzled them with honey. Very grown up, and very delicious.