King Crab with Beurre Blanc and Corn-Spinach Orzotto

I absolutely love crab. So much so that I wasn’t willing to give it up when P. had an allergic reaction right after eating. Two weeks, one allergist, a multitude of tests and one anaphylactic shock later, we discovered it wasn’t the seafood that set him off – it was the high levels of grass pollen floating around. He’s so allergic that he can’t even mow the lawn anymore or go outside when someone in the neighborhood is mowing. So, fortunately, P. got clearance from his doctor to eat shellfish again. I tortured him enough with this dish that he’s demanding I make it again. Soon. Or else. I definitely see why. The buerre blanc is what makes this dish worthwhile. It takes the sweetness of crab and makes it incredibly rich.

Crab with a Beurre Blanc and Corn-Spinach Orzotto

Wine-Steamed King Crab with Herb Buerre Blanc
recipe courtesy Cuisine at Home Magazine

For the Crab:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. shallots, minced
2 lbs. king crab legs, cut into sections
3/4 c. sauvignon blanc
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 lemon wedges

For the Buerre Blanc:
Steaming liquid
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp. minced fresh chives
Salt and fresh lemon juice to taste

Heat oil and 1 tbsp. butter for the crab in a large saute pan over medium. Saute garlic and shallots until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes.

Add crab, wine, pepper flakes, lemons, and bay leaf. Increase heat to high, cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Transfer crab, lemons and bay leaf to a bowl using a slotted spoon; cover and keep warm. Leave liquid in the pan.

Simmer remaining juices until reduced to 3-4 tablespoons. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk butter a few pieces at a time until melted.

Off heat, add cream, herbs, and seasonings. Serve crab with sauce for dipping.

The orzotto was a recipe that was listed on the same page of the magazine as a complimentary side. I agree – it went well with everything else. And never would have thought of this on my own.

Creamy Orzotto with Fresh Corn and Greens
recipe modified from Cuisine at Home

3/4 c. dry orzo pasta
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 c. spinach, stemmed and chopped
2 c. fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2/3 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. Parmesan, grated
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Cooked orzo
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain and set aside. Saute garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, about 1 minute. Add greens and corn and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer until heated through, 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. If orzo mixture is too thick, thin with a few tablespoons of hot water.

Asian Ramen Slaw

Some dishes are perennial potluck foods just because they taste good, carry well, and are popular with the masses. This one has appeared in countless church cookbooks for those very reasons, and only takes minutes to throw together.

Asian Ramen Slaw

Ramen Noodle Coleslaw
recipe courtesy GAGirl’s Recipes

Slaw:
2 – 1 pound bags of cole slaw or broccoli slaw (or similar amount of cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, broccoli, etc. that you process yourself)
1 bunch of green onions (optional)

Dressing:
2 packages of Ramen noodle seasoning
1/3 cup cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
½ cup sugar (more or less to taste)
½ cup oil

Crunchies:
2 packages Ramen noodles, broken up (Oriental flavor – or 1 oriental, 1 chicken)
4 oz. package of almond slivers
4 oz. package of sunflower seeds (shelled)

Combine salad ingredients and dressing ingredients separately. Toss salad with dressing and crunchies right before serving.

Do not add dressing until just before ready to serve. If taking this dish away from home, transport the dressing and the noodles/seeds/nuts in a separate container. 

Event: Goodale Park Music Series 8/8/2010

I think of all the weeks that the Goodale Park Music Series has gone on this summer, my favorite theme had to be on August 8th, when Bethia of Hungry Woolf hosted a “Grown in Ohio” potluck that celebrated local foods. The fact that it went down during the best part of the growing season meant that people were inspired by the farmers markets, and we saw tons of dishes made with super-fresh produce.

Bethia

The Spikedrivers were the music act for the week, and people were up and dancing like crazy!

The Spikedrivers

Feeling super inspired by the farmers market, I couldn’t settle on one dish to make, so I ended up making three. The first was a nice Italian pasta salad that used tomatoes from my backyard, local onions, bell peppers and zucchini.

Italian Pasta Salad

For the vegans, I made Roasted Potatoes and Garlic, using potatoes from the farmers market, garlic from my backyard, tossed with a little olive oil and seasoning from local Aimee’s Blue Ribbon Spices.

Roasted Potatoes and Garlic

The roasted beets with feta and raspberry vinaigrette is another favorite of ours, and we used a combination of farmers market and backyard beets, Blue Jacket Dairy feta, and local raspberry vinegar.

Beet Salad

Some of the dishes others made were downright beautiful to look at, like this ratatouille.

Ratatouille

Others just brought local Ohio produce to share in their natural state.

Ohio Apples

Bethia went all out and made a salad with a plethora of local veggies and chive blossom vinegar.

Green Bean Salad

And perfectly ripe Ohio peaches needed nothing more than being sliced up.

Sliced Peaches

Others made things to use the bounty from their CSAs, like this summer squash strata.

Squash Strata

And this cucumber salad that used a plethora of veggies.

Cucumber Salad

I never had watermelon salsa before, but I can guarantee this won’t be the last time. Yum!

Watermelon Salsa

Wow, check out the colors in this pepper salad!

Pepper Salad

And P. absolutely loved this Chicken Pelau dish.

Chicken Pelau

Cucumber and tomato salad is one of my favorite summer salads.

Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Give me a bowl of tortilla chips and some of this corn and black bean salsa and I’ll disappear in a state of snacky bliss.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Just a reminder: Tomorrow is the last show of the season, with the eclectic stylings of Flypaper. I’m hosting this week’s potluck, which starts at noon at the gazebo at Goodale Park. Music will start at 12:30. The potluck theme is eclectic, so bring whatever you’d like, whether it’s your favorite dish, something that’s inspired you at the farmers market – no need to be constrained by themes or labels. :) I’ll be bringing Puerto Rican roast pork, and rice with pigeon peas. And maybe a couple other things, too. Make sure to bring your own plates or utensils and something to keep yourself hydrated. See you there!

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

I don’t usually get excited about Rice Krispie treats, but this version of them is an exception – using twice as much butter as usual and browning that butter turns a run-of-the-mill recipe into something craveworthy.

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
recipe courtesy Smitten Kitchen

Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.

Let cool, cut into squares and get ready to make new friends.

Event: Goodale Park Music Series 8/1/2010

After a week off for the Jazz and Rib Fest, the Goodale Park Music Series returned in fine form on August 1st, with Yumbambe providing music and the fine folks at Taco Trucks Columbus hosting the potluck portion of the event.

Taco Trucks Columbus crew

We got there a little bit late because the dish I made took a little longer to grill than I estimated – we ended up not getting there until around 12:30 or so – but the primary dish I brought – Yucatan-Marinated Chicken and Shrimp with Grilled Peach Salsa – disappeared in like 5 minutes flat.

Yucatan-Marinated Chicken and Shrimp with Grilled Peach Salsa

Yucatan-Marinated Chicken and Shrimp
recipe modified from Bobby Flay

18 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 lbs. peeled and deveined 16/20 shrimp

Marinade:
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil

To make marinade, in a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except the olive oil and process for 30 seconds. With motor running, add the oil through the feed tube and process until emulsified. Divide the marinade between two zip-lock plastic bags, and place shrimp in one bag, chicken in the other and toss to make sure marinade is evenly covering chicken and shrimp. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Prepare your grill or broiler. Rub grill grates with oil. Thread 2 shrimp on a wooden skewer (that has been soaked in water while shrimp was marinating). Do not skewer chicken. Grill chicken and shrimp until done. Serve atop peach salsa (recipe below).

Grilled Peach Salsa

4 peaches, cut in half, pit removed (skin left on)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno, seed removed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare a grill or preheat the broiler.

Brush the side of the peaches w/ 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place cut side down on the grill and grill peaches until they caramelize, but still hold their shape, 3-4 minutes.

Remove the peaches and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place the peaches in a medium bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients and the remaining 1 tbl. of olive oil – season w/ salt and pepper.

Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Yumbambe performing

There were some interesting variations on the theme – my husband was especially fond of this Tex Mex Tabouli.

Tex Mex Tabouli

And of course, someone made the requisite taco salad.

Taco Salad

Nothing says summer quite like a sweet corn salad, and with Latin influences, it was quite delicious.

Corn Salad

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try these beans, but they looked great…

Beans

There were some chicken tamales there, which was even better topped with some of this tomatillo avocado salsa.

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Taco Nazo donated a couple of delicious cakes in the shape of their taco truck.

Cakke from Taco Nazo

This Sunday is the last show of the season, with the eclectic stylings of Flypaper. I’m hosting this week’s potluck, which starts at noon at the gazebo at Goodale Park. Music will start at 12:30. The potluck theme is eclectic, so bring whatever you’d like, whether it’s your favorite dish, something that’s inspired you at the farmers market – no need to be constrained by themes or labels. :) I’ll be bringing Puerto Rican roast pork, and rice with pigeon peas. And maybe a couple other things, too. Make sure to bring your own plates or utensils and something to keep yourself hydrated. See you there!

Sausage, Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Growing up in predominately Italian South Jersey, I’m no stranger to stuffed shells – it’s an old favorite, even in it’s traditional fairly plain pasta, cheese and red sauce form. However, after making stuffed shells this way, there’s no turning back. These are easily the most flavorful stuffed shells I’ve had. Give it a try, and let me know…which way do you prefer?

Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe
recipe courtesy Simply Recipes

1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large egg
16-ounces ricotta cheese
10-ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, chopped further (or 10 ounces chopped fresh spinach)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid, tomatoes broken up (or your favorite tomato or pasta sauce)

2 9×13 shallow baking dishes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water). Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.

Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.

Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.

At this point you can make ahead, to freeze (up to four months) or refrigerate before cooking. (If freezing, cover with foil, then wrap with plastic wrap.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

Serves 8.

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 7/10/2010

You know I’ve been feeling under the weather when I start missing farmers markets. So unfortunately, during July I missed like 2 weekend markets in a row. It really bummed me out because it’s something I look forward to all week. But it was made clear to me that I needed to not push myself and let myself heal. Thankfully, I’m back to almost 100% (or 100% of what I was before the shoulder injury – which means I have good days and bad days with my back). I’ve returned to my weekly trips, and hopefully can get caught up on my reports by next weekend. The good thing is, most of what was available in July is still available in August, so the information is still timely.

I think this was the only weekend I saw golden raspberries at the Rhoads farm stand at the North Market – they have plenty of red raspberries these days, though. I love the look of the golden raspberries, especially in salads.

Golden Raspberries

I’ve been trying to acclimate myself to hotter peppers this year. Banana peppers are one of those ones that can be either hot or sweet. I need to dig up that recipe for pickled banana peppers that Mrs. Rhoads gave me last year, because I really want to make a batch before summer is over.

Banana Peppers

If there were tomatoes last month, we’re in tomato heaven this month. There weren’t that many varieties back then, but every single one I tried was delicious. The flavor of fresh tomatoes is one of the things I miss most in winter.

Tomatoes

I have really come to love beets over the last couple of years. My favorite variety of beet is Chioggia, which are also called “candy cane” because they have alternating concentric circles of red and white and have quite a mild flavor to them. This is the variety I recommend that beet haters try first – it just may change your mind about beets like it did mine.

Chioggia Beets

Blueberries were especially expensive this year, although I saw the prices go down in later weeks. I think it’s a matter of supply in demand, at least in the beginning of blueberry season.

Blueberries

Red and blue potatoes are just the right thing for a recipe of patriotic potato salad.

Red and Blue Potatoes

For me, early July is the turning point for farmers markets, where the stands just explode with multiple varieties. What part of the farmers market season is your favorite? If you had to narrow it down to one weekend that you could go to the markets, which would it be and why?

Event: Goodale Park Music Series 7/18/2010

Every Sunday this summer (barring the weekend of the Jazz & Rib Fest) has been occupied with what has quickly become my favorite summer event – the Goodale Park Music Series. Live music every week. Sitting in the shade on the lawn near the gazebo at Goodale Park just taking it all in. A different food blogger hosting a community potluck every week. For the grand ‘ole price of…free!

The host of this particular week was Lisa the Waitress, from the blog Restaurant Widow. The theme was Southern food, and everyone definitely came through with some awesome Southern-inspired dishes. Excuse the blurriness of the pictures, the lens got smudged and I didn’t notice until I got home and looked at the pictures.

Lisa the Waitress

Lisa made a huge pan of shrimp and grits – one of my favorite Low Country dishes…

Shrimp in Tomato Gravy

Grits

We made a big old container of Sweet Tea, made the traditional way with Luzianne jumbo tea bags.

Sweet Tea

Luzianne Authentic Sweet Tea

1 gallon of cold water
4 Family-Size Luzianne Tea Bags
2 cups granulated sugar
Lemon slices and mint sprigs for garnish

In a large pot bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Remove from heat and insert tea bags. Cover and allow tea to steep 3–5 minutes.

Remove tea bags. Pour tea into heat-proof container. Add sugar. Stir till dissolved. Add remaining 3 quarts of water and stir.

Serve over ice; garnish with lemon slices and mint sprig.

We also made a batch of collard greens with smoked pork neck bones from Thurn’s….

Collard Greens

Greens (Soul Food Style)

Several bunches of greens (collards, mustard, turnip, kale, whatever), stems removed, cleaned, and sliced
2 ham hocks or shanks
1 onions, sliced
Splash of vinegar
Hot sauce, to taste

In a large pot of water, cook hocks for several hours, or until the meat starts falling off the bones. Throw in greens, onions, vinegar and hot sauce, and simmer until tender. Serve with additional hot sauce if desired.

Feeling inspired by the theme, we also made a peach cobbler, one of our favorite Southern desserts…

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler
recipe courtesy PickYourOwn.org

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar or Splenda (sucralose)
1 cup all purpose flour (white, mixed grain or whole wheat works fine)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
¾ cup milk (low-fat or non-fat are fine)
3 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled or skins left on
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven and prepare the peaches

Preheat oven to 350°F (175 C). Wash, peel and slice the peaches. You can slice them thin or thick as you prefer! Note: you can dunk the peaches in boiling water for 45 seconds, then into ice water, and the skins will usually slide right off.

Melt the stick of butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat until it bubbles and turns golden-brown. Be careful: it will burn quickly and easily!

Pour the butter into an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together the 1 cup sugar (or Splenda, or blend), the 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 3/4 cup milk.
Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. Do not stir.

Without mixing, arrange the peaches evenly on top of the batter. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the cobbler.

Bake the cobbler for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 F (175 C), until the top turns golden brown. The batter will migrate from the bottom of the pan to cover the peach slices partially.

Serve warm or at room temperature; preferably with peach ice cream. Yield 6 to 8 servings.

While filling ourselves up on tasty food, we enjoyed the sounds of the Mooncussers. If memory serves right, they split their time with another act, which I unfortunately didn’t get the name of…

Goodale Park Music Series - Week 2

Check out the spread of goodies.

Biscuits

Vegan Pasta Salad

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers

Corn Salad

Hush Puppies

Southwest Pasta Salad

Squash Casserole

Pecan Pie

I think the series gets better and better every week. Stay tuned for updates on the other shows we’ve been to.

Event: 2010 Ohio State Fair

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the fair is one of my guilty pleasures. Knowing that the day at the fair is an “anything goes” proposition as far as food, I eat healthy for the week before and the week after – and it’s so totally worth it in order to have a day (or two) where you can be a complete and utter glutton. When I’m at the fair I eat things I wouldn’t dream of eating otherwise.

I was lucky enough this year to be asked by the Ohio Pork Producers Council to be a judge for the Rib-Off. I felt honored to be counted among the other judges who are the faces and voices of mainstream media.

The verdict on the ribs? There were some that were mindblowingly good, and others that were just plain bad. I wish that the ones I really liked were closer to Columbus. I ate what seemed like an unending stream of ribs and pulled pork, and loved every second of it.

Ribs

After the Rib-Off, I wandered off and headed to the petting zoo tank, and fed carrots to all kinds of animals – goats, sheep, and this camel – isn’t she cute?

Camel in the Petting Zoo

It isn’t very often that I drink anything except water. And most of the stuff at the fair is full of sugar. This is too, I’m sure, but so worth it. This strawberry-banana smoothie is one of the best I’ve had in ages.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

I wasn’t so crazy about the Muddy Pigs (Chocolate Covered Bacon). It really does sound much better than it actually was. The bacon was cold and rubbery instead of crispy, and the chocolate wasn’t very good, and flaked off immediately.

Muddy Pig (Chocolate Covered Bacon)

I didn’t take any chances with any rides, although there are a ton at the fair, but hopefully by this time next year I’ll have lost enough weight where my size won’t be an issue.

Rides

I love, love, love fair fries, especially when doused with malt vinegar, but I had to get a small this year – my capacity is greatly reduced this year for some reason. Probably because I was still full from all those ribs and pulled pork!

Fair Fries

I wasn’t a fan of the pig wings, something that is new this year. I was thinking it would be something like riblets, but it was ham on a bone – kind of dry and not very appetizing.

Pig Wings

Now, a roasted hog like this is more my style – from what I gathered last year, this hog will be roasted for serving as pulled pork the next day.

Hog on a Spit

And oh my goodness, the meat aroma in the area around all the grills was amazing. Tons of different cuts of meat roasting on the grill.

Grill Full of Yum

But truthfully, the roasted corn is where it’s at for me – already lightly buttered, with a little bit of salt it just screams summer.

Roasted Corn on the Cob

Didn’t get a caramel apple, personally – but they looked amazing and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture.

Caramel Apples

The fair isn’t the fair for me without a bag of Inky Dinky Donuts – cinnamon sugar hot donut goodness.

Inky Dinky Donuts

I came back to the fair for a second time on Saturday, with Paul. He loved the petting zoo as much as I do. And we stuck around for the pig races. Cheesy as hell, but oh so fun to watch. Here’s a short video clip of one of the races. Those little buggers are fast!

I think one of the best things I ate this year was the Nitro Ice Cream from Blue Sky Creamery. The chocolate, in particular, was fanfriggintastic. It’s made using a nitrogen tank so the texture is ultra smooth.

Nitro Ice Cream

Speaking of ice cream, there was another concession stand that was churning ice cream using a John Deere motor. So cool…

John Deere Ice Cream Churn

P. absolutely loved these delicate, crispy French waffles, and devoured a whole bag by himself.

French Waffles

And we both wolfed down these Wisconsin Cheese Curds, our favorite incarnation of the whole deep fried cheese dishes.

Wisconsin Cheese Curds

I couldn’t leave the fair without a funnel cake – once a year, I just can’t help myself. Can’t finish the darn thing by myself, but can’t resist it at all.

Funnel Cake

Another one of my favorites at the fair is the Orange Shakeup – there’s only one stand that sells the orange in addition to the lemon, and it truly hit the spot on a super-hot day.

Orange Shake Up

P.’s guilty pleasure is Deep Fried Snickers, minus the addition powdered sugar they usually dump on top. It’s so not my thing – way, way, too rich for my tastes.

Deep Fried Snickers

So did any of you head to the fair last week? What did you eat? Where did you go? What did you do? Would love to hear all your fair memories…