Sunday, January 6, 2013

5th Annual Pairing NYE Part 2

On to course three.  I decide to try a different prep for seafood since I was pairing shrimp and crab into one cake.  I found this one on the LA Times'  web site.  Excellent, and can be prepped in advance. 

Crab and Shrimp Cakes (serves 4 as an entree or up to 10 as an appetizer.) Adapted from The Oceanaire Seafood Room's recipe.
About 40 minutes

2 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 Tbsp grated onion
1/4 pound (scant 2 cups) crustless cubed white bread (about 1/4 loaf), cut into small cubes
1/2 pound jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, three-fourths teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, and onion to make a dressing.
3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.
4. Gently mix in the crab and shrimp, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.
5. Divide the mixture and form into 8 large or 20 small crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.
6. In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining one-half teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.
7. Bake the cakes until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Mustard Mayonnaise Sauce: (From Morton's)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp  Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp horseradish

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Next course is a riff on last year's salt block prep.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5th Annual Beer Pairing NYE

Once again we did a beer pairing dinner for New Year's Eve.  I can't believe it's been 5 years already since the first one, created in a fit of frustration with what the local restaurants were doing.  This year we invited a few more friends to join in the fun, and TheTooth did a great job making sure I had some great brews to pair with food.

First, I decided to have some fun with the menu.  While I adore the menus TheTooth got for me a few Christmases ago, I thought it was time to do something a bit different.  What could be better than a coaster for your beer glass, right?

 Mod Podge is great stuff.  ToddlerTooth made her own coaster sans-menu with quite a bit of the leftover gold paint.

Before the meal we started with a French Sandwich, based on a dish at The Hobbit in Orange.  Puff pastry, Dijon mustard, shredded pepper jack cheese, and salami are all you need.  Layer the last three between two sheets of puff pastry and bake it off.  I let the pastry thaw a bit too much so my top layer was a bit dense, but it worked pretty well anyway.  There wasn't a real pairing with it, just whatever people wanted to pour.

The first course was based heavily on a Giada de Laurentis recipe.  My tweak is to use Quark, a German cheese instead of the sour cream the recipe calls for.  A bit thicker, and we just like the flavor better.  The crisps are beyond simple to make.  Heat your oven to 300.  Place foil on a cookie sheet, and lay out slices of your favorite salami.  Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, just until the edges turn a bit brown.  Cool and drain on paper towels.  Top  with a dollop of the Quark and some torn basil.

 Course two was fried ricotta balls with herbs over tomato sauce.  I used 1.5 tubs of ricotta, drained overnight.  Mix in one egg and some fresh chopped herbs.  The batter was a simple flour and soda water mix, and I used peanut oil for frying.  Whatever simple marinara style sauce you have on hand works well.

More to come...