Game Day Snacks Part 2: Crab Bites w/ Easy Cocktail sauce. In homage to the Seafood culture of this year’s two Superbowl cities, here’s another easy recipe sure to be a game day hit.
I’m lucky- I’ve lived in Seattle twice. Once as a kid, and again as an undergrad (go Dawgs!!) Every time I get back to the PNW there are a few musts on my list: A ferry ride across Puget Sound (this used to be preceded by a stop at Ivar’s for clams and chips, but not since my celiac status), a meander through Pike Market, Oysters at Elliott’s on the bay (temporarily closed until 6/30/15 due to seawall construction), a stroll across the UW Quad through Central Plaza and left to Drumheller Fountain to gaze out at Lake Washington and hopefully catch a glimpse of Mt. Ranier. And if it’s Dungeness Crab season, finagling an invite to a crab boil.
The first time I ever experienced a crab boil I was 19 or 20. Some friends had been out crab fishing all day- which in reality means dropping anchor, then a crab pot, and then drinking beers (and in their case, I am sure getting high) for several hours. Once the crabs were hauled in, a big backyard bonfire was lit and a huge pot of water set in the fire to heat. In went the crabs, and the rest they say is history- or dinner.
There is really nothing quite like sitting out under the stars with friends on a chilly night, next to a roaring fire, tearing apart crab that 4 hours earlier was swimming at the bottom of Puget Sound.
Short of magic bonfire experiences, these cute little crab bites or mini crab cakes are perfect with a homemade cocktail sauce that’s liberally seasoned with fresh horseradish.
And on a sauce note, I’ve quit buying condiments like cocktail sauce and horseradish mustard. Most of them are filled with funky ingredients like cottonseed oil – yuk, cotton is the most heavily sprayed/fertilized crop in the US- maybe the world, averaging 5 lbs of petrochemicals for every 1 lb of yield…Why on earth would you put those seeds in your body? Or it’s soybean oil which isn’t much better… No thanks…not when fresh cocktail sauce takes about 6 seconds and 5 easily pronounceable ingredients to make…
Don’t have time to roll the mixture in bread crumbs? Leave out the egg and breadcrumbs and you have a delicious, nutritious crab salad- perfect for your next luncheon or brunch.
Game Day Recipes should be more than nachos and beer. Not that there’s anything wrong with nachos and beer, but they’re predictable and who wants to be that? This year, in homage to Boston & Seattle (two of my fave cities in the US, and whose food cultures often center around seafood) we’ve created some tasty finger food accompanied by sauces that will tackle your tastebuds like a defensive lineman.
Today’s recipe can be considered a tribute to Boston- while I would have preferred to call these Lobster Puffs- and if you have the funds, that would taste *amazing*, shrimp is a much more budget conscious alternative.
If you’re planning on visiting Boston, make sure you plan to eat a meal or at least a bite at Legal Seafoods on the Harbor. If you love anything that swims or scoots on the ocean floor, this is the best place to get it in Boston. Plus, you have the added benefit of being able to watch all the waterfront activity.
Now, chimichurri sauce may not seem like a typical New England accompaniment, but we like the garlicky, vinegary kick that chimichurri provides, and the balance it creates in contrast to the richness of seafood. There’s a reason fish ‘n chips always come to the table with vinegar!
If you’ve never heard of chimichurri, it’s basically the South American version of pesto. Made with a combination of Parsley, Oregano, Cilantro, Garlic, and Olive Oil, it’s great on everything from fried eggs to steak, to seafood. We’ve given you the recipe to make a few cups- perfect for game day dipping.
Oh, and for the junior chefs out there- this is a recipe you can easily make on your own. The tiniest Kitchen Diva in Training told me rolling the mixture into balls was just like playing with play-dough!
For those of you who are working right up until the Holidays- I sympathize. For those of you who work retail, hospital shifts, night jobs, or more than one job- I really sympathize.
If you’re a working foodie- this time of year can be really tough to channel your inner Kitchen Diva, work, be attentive to family and friends, and take care of yourself… I know. I’m right there in the trenches with you this year… Happily, sales of my GF Pie Crust are out of control…I’m excited…but that also leaves little time for much else..blogging? Recipe development? Photography? Housecleaning??!!!?? Thankfully (or not-so-thankfully, depending on how you look at it) a malfunctioning mixer and a delay in an ingredient order left me with time to catch up on some much needed kitchen activity.
I am not hosting dinner this year..But, I still intend to eat well with a few friends and play in someone else’s kitchen. What’s on our menu? Easy stuff. Stuff I’m making tomorrow with the Kitchen Divas in Training so I can sleep in on Turkey Day and loll about in my pajamas taking in the Macy’s Parade with the girls while sipping a mimosa and enjoying a gluten-free scone! So what’s on the dinner menu??
Duck Confit (already made, you can check out the pics on our Facebook Page)
Roast Duck or Goose (we’re channeling our Pilgrim roots and dispensing with the Turkey (but I’m not making that!!)
Gluten Free Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie (Easy, No Bake, and all the Pumpkin Pie Flavors you love- Recipe Below)
Now that might seem pretty ambitious to some of you- but here’s the deal: With the exception of the baguettes which are a little more involved, everything else listed above is 10-15 minutes of prep and into the oven, or can be completely made in 20 minutes or less… My kind of food these days.. All of it can be made now or on Thanksgiving and still taste great. My point? Even if you’re crazy busy this year and the thought of cooking makes you want to take a nap…pick one or two fast, easy recipes and eat well. Your tastebuds will be the first to Thank you!!
In addition to dealing with the ups and downs of being Celiac, I am also allergic to peanuts (there are other things I’m allergic to, but those two are the worst offenders and the ones I have to avoid completely). I am extremely grateful that my peanut allergy was diagnosed long before I ever had an anaphylactic reaction. While the smell of peanuts makes me feel yucky, the worst I get upon accidental consumption is a bad case of indigestion.
I count myself among the lucky.
The only place I find myself really wishing peanuts weren’t so evil for me as at the Thai restaurants we like to frequent around town. Most Thai food is naturally gluten-free, and I find that I prefer the fresh flavors and lack of soy sauce over Chinese food. How can you not fall in love with a bowl of Pho with its cilantro, basil, chile, and lime? And the spring rolls! Mr. Kitchen Diva informs me that spring rolls are even better dipped in the peanut sauce….sigh…That left me with only one choice- make my own substitute.
Cashews seemed like the obvious choice, especially becuase they are so prevalent in Asian cooking. You could easily use ready made cashew butter for this, I didn’t have any on hand, and found it just as easy to grind my own cashews. In addition to using the sauce for dipping home made spring rolls, we discovered it tasted great on gently sauteed kale. I’m ready to schmear it on a piece of toast next!
Below you’ll find the recipe for the Thai Cashew Sauce, and a few basic instructions for making your own spring rolls. Spring rolls, like pizza and pasta, are a great canvas for whatever you like. We filled ours with rice noodles, fresh basil, and a shredded salad (recipe to come in the future) the Kitchen Divas in Training invented. While we call can use more practice in the act of rolling, the end result was delicious and we’ll be happy to attempt them again in the near future. In fact, the next time I go out for Thai food, I’ll be packing this along in a mini to-go container!
Remember, this month’s GF Baking Challenge is to tackle Le Macaron! Join me and feel free to post your comments or questions. Better yet- send me a photo of your baking experience and I’ll post it on the final month’s round-up!
Thai Cashew Sauce- makes about 3 cups
1 1/4 cups cashews (we used roasted & unsalted, but you could use any kind)
1 can of coconut milk (do NOT use lite coconut milk!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 tbs Thai red chile paste (we used Thai Kitchen- use more for more heat)
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbs fresh ginger (1 tsp ginger powder would also work)
juice from 1/4 of a lime
1/2 tsp salt (omit if you are using salted cashews)
3-10 drops of fish sauce
If you are grinding your own cashews: Place cashews in a food processor and grind. In order to get a smooth paste you may need to add a bit of oil. We used toasted sesame oil, but you could use grapeseed, canola, or another unflavored oil. I do not recommend using olive oil.
In a medium saucepan, place all of the ingredients- including the cashew paste. Stir over medium heat until well combined and slightly soupy. Mixture will firm up in the refrigerator. You can soften it by adding a bit more liquid, or rewarming. Will keep at least a week in the refrigerator.
For making Spring Rolls
Making spring rolls is easy. Before you assemble them, make sure you have all of your ingredients laid out and ready to go. You can fill spring rolls with pretty much anything you like, fresh vegetables, tropical fruits, tofu, meats..the possibilities are unlimited.
Spring rolls are made from rice paper, which is naturally gluten-free. You can find them in both small and large sizes in the asian section of your market, or at an asian specialty store.
Soften the rice paper round in a bit of warm water. We find a large dinner plate works perfectly for this. When the paper has fully softened, lift it up, gently shake to remove extra water and lay flat on your prep surface.
Place your ingredients in a mount slightly off of center. To wrap, fold the shortest end of the paper over the filling and pull tight. Next, fold over the sides so that the filling doesn’t fall out. Then roll tightly on itself. Et Voilá!
“Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it.” says Miss Stacey from Anne of Green Gables. I always feel that way at the beginning of a new year. The New Year is fresh, stretching out before us with hopes, dreams, and goals- just waiting for us to dive in.
We all have New Year’s rituals. For some it may be writing resolutions, staying up until midnight to watch the New York City ball drop, or having a champagne toast New Year’s morning. For me- it involves cleaning like a madwoman. For years now, I have spent the final days of the year cleaning out, organizing, and decluttering. It’s been my way of making room for whatever might come to me in the new year. I firmly believe you have to make space for the things you want in your life. And for me, New Year’s cleaning is an act of creating space for new opportunities, new relationships, and new outlooks (not to mention, I really do enjoy a clean house!)
There will be some changes coming to The Adventuresome Kitchen this year; changes that I’m very excited about. For starters- this month I’ve created a specific challenge around the GF baking that intimidates me the most.
January’s challenge? Le Macaron!
I’ve had pretty good beginner’s luck with Macarons, but always shy away from them when it comes to baking. Why? Basically, I’m a big chicken. No Longer! 2013 is the year of facing down fears in the name of Adventuresome Cooking!
I invite you to join me in this month’s challenge. Let this be a forum for ideas and help to your fellow GF bakers. At the end of this month, I will post about the experience. Send me your photos and input, and I’ll post those too!
There will be other changes as well- more restaurant and product reviews, an update to Gluten-Free Paris (!), and a few other surprises you’ll just have to wait for.
In the meantime- if you’re looking for something quick and elegant to bring to a New Year’s dinner or bowl-watching party- look no further. This red onion confit is the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and a lovely addition to a baked brie. Instead of spending twelve dollars or more on snobby jelly, why not spend a dollar or two at the most for a red onion, a little sugar and red wine, a few figs and some fresh rosemary?
Happy New Year fellow GF Foodies! I wish you all the best in this fresh, unblemished New Year. May your wildest dreams- in the kitchen and beyond- come true in 2013!
Red Onion Confit
1 med-large red onion, diced
1 cup diced figs (I like the mission or turkish ones)
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbs salted butter (unsalted is okay, but add a dash of salt)
2 tsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary + a sprig for garnish
a few twists of fresh cracked pepper
Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Remember to always heat the pan first, then add the fat when the pan is hot. Add the onions and stir occasionally.
In a separate bowl, combine figs, sugar, and wine. A word about red wine– I believe you should use wine you would actually drink- i.e. a decent bottle. Others say two-buck chuck is fine since you’re boiling it. While the subtleties of a nicer bottle may be erased with the heat, the overall character of the wine will remain. If you start with vinegar, you will end with vinegar. Otherwise, why cook with red wine at all, and just use cheap vinegar?
When the onions are soft- in about 10 minutes- add the bowl of figs/sugar/wine. Stir until the liquid has reduced by half, and has thickened- about 10 more minutes.
To serve: Place several spoonfuls over a warmed brie wheel and garnish with chopped rosemary, a few twists of the pepper mill and a fresh rosemary sprig. OR: Place in a decorative bowl and garnish with the herbs/pepper.
Once cooled, you may place in a jar or tupperware. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week- if it lasts that long. We polished ours off in two days!