Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Coconut- Mango Crab Cakes

Oh dear readers, I first have to apologize for the long time I've been away. Nothing's changed with cooking and eating wonderful things, I'm still doing that. I've just been a little preoccupied with a new older computer. The story begins with my mother sweetly offering me her old iMac. I've always wanted a separate computer from my husband, who wouldn't want a his and hers? So, with the cute new computer came a lot of old software and through lots of trial and error I discovered that this little baby needed lots of updating. So for the last week I've been eagerly awaiting new software and it finally arrived today! Remember how I mentioned awhile back how when I get new magazines or have something else super fun to do like watch the latest episode of Lipstick Jungle, I have to have everything just so. Well, the same applied today when it came to installing Tiger. I just HAD to take the time to shower first. If I didn't shower first, I'd have to install Tiger feeling very yucky from a hard days work at the restaurant and we just can't have that. So, after tinkering around for awhile and playing with some of the bells and whistles, here I am, ready to report lots of new things when it comes to what's been in my belly and in my kitchen. I've missed this.

A couple weeks ago we had another Gourmet Group dinner, I don't think I've told you, we named the group Around the Table. It's nice to have to finally have a name. The theme of our last dinner was The Last Supper. We picked courses and had to bring something that we would want to eat if it was our last. We have a few new ladies in the group and it seemed like a perfect way to get to know them and see what some of their favourites were and a bit about their cooking style. Mallory hosted and we really had a lovely evening together. Speaking of lovely things, Ray Charles just started singing 'Georgia on My Mind' through my Valentine's Me playlist on Pandora.
All of this lovely talk brings me to my dinner offering. It seems lately that I go in food spurts. Something becomes a major theme and then it just keeps popping up in my food Rolodex until something new and shinier comes along. I'm onto Vanilla Beans now, but for a long time I was all about crab cakes. As I've said, I grew up eating only 'clean' meats and seafood, you know, those curious old Mosaic practices. This meant my family ate things like chicken, beef, and salmon. Trout and buffalo fit in the guidelines. So do Tuna and turkey. You know, creatures that have gills, split hooves, and cud-chewers. This meant didn't eat things like pork, lobster, or crab. It wasn't until I went to culinary school out in NYC that I tried many of these items. Foie Gras, prosciutto, and lobster. I have to say, at first, a lot of it was weird and my taste buds didn't know what to make of it. Over time, I've learned what I like and what I just don't care for. For instance, I LOVE crab but dislike lobster. And I'm not too crazy about prawns and some other shellfish. But crab had me at Hello.

In the last couple months I've had crab cakes more than I have in my entire life. I had crab cakes on Valentine's day at our favorite steakhouse here in town. They were served pretty classically, on a big piece of lettuce and accompanied by an aioli. Then I met a lovely girlfriend for brunch at the Little Cheerful and we had Crab Eggs Benedict, those cakes were highly flavoured with lots of garlic, onions, and mustard seeds. Topped with Hollandaise and a gorgeous, oozy poached egg- it was just fantastic. Then, a few weeks ago we were down in Seattle and had a nice dinner at Matador in Ballard and had a couple crab cakes as an appetizer. At Matador, we also shared the best carne asada I've ever and probably will ever have. It was outstanding. The thin little tears were so medium rare and tender, they were also very, very spicy which is the way we like it. It was served with garlic mashed potatoes and corn. We'll be going back again for that one. But back to the crab cakes, the cakes from Matador were the inspiration for my recent dinner party creation, they were served with on a pineapple coconut creme sauce and were hit with lots of garlic and habenero. I think they were served with a salsa of some kind, a pico de gallo. Wow, lots of crab cakes. I think I like it that way.

So, after I drew first course my thought was to either make a really rustic and delicious Chinese noodle soup (homemade rich stock, handmade noodles, and lots of flavorful meat) or crab cakes. Crab cakes won and I got to work. I tracked down the crab I wanted and then layed out the components I wanted to use. I knew there would be an element of heat, coconut sauce, and mango salsa. The co-op has been having some amazing honey mangos and they just had to go in. It was really a simple recipe and turned out pretty well. Here's the recipe, from what I remember of it, I didn't really follow one, I kind of threw stuff in. I'll do my best to remember.


1 pd. crab meat (I used frozen, thawed Chilean)
1 lg. egg yolk
1/4 C. good Mayonnaise
7 Saltines, crushed
1/2 C. red pepper, small dice
1/4 C. onion, small dice
1 M. Jalapeno, small dice
1 t. brown mustard seeds
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 T. soy sauce or tamari
vegetable oil for frying
garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Saute onions, peppers, and garlic powder until just softened. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, gently combine all but Panko and mentioned vegetable oil. Pat into approximately 10 cakes and place on a parchment-covered sheet pan. Carefully pat Panko bread crumbs onto tops and bottom sides of cakes. Refrigerate at least two hours before frying. Once cooled, pan fry crab cakes over medium-high heat, in plenty of oil for about four to five minutes per side. Have the other components ready to go so once you heat the crab cakes you can plate them up immediately to ensure enjoying them while they are still hot and crispy.
I garnished them with more basil chiffonade.

Coconut Sauce:
1 Can Coconut Milk
1/2 C. Pineapple juice
1/4 C. Pineapple pieces
1 Sm. pc. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2-3 m. garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
red pepper flakes and salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Let the sauce reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain out all of the pieces and let sauce cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator until needed. Bring to room temperature for serving. Season with S & P...

Mango and Pepper Salsa:
2 M. Honey Mangos, peeled, small dice
2/3 L. Red bell pepper, rib removed, small dice
2/3 L. Yellow bell pepper, rib removed, small dice
1 Lg. Lime, juiced
Thai basil, chiffonade, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients and toss gently. Store in refrigerator until needed. Bring to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!

1 comment:

missmallory said...

And, oh how your readers have missed you too!