Baked Crab Cakes

Saturday mornings in the community are referred to as “Weekly Beehive” time. Every Community member young and old is assigned to some task where they busily work together with others on any number of projects that need doing that week.

This week I was assigned to tea preparation. Our Friday Harborside plated teas have been a tradition since the very beginning of the Community. Many people, especially vacationers, look forward to them in the summer months and at Advent. This week’s plate includes a mini crab cake which is always popular. My job was to make the filling for one hundred of these. When I did, it tasted so good I thought, “Why just for tea why not for a main meal?” So I made a larger version that was a big hit for lunch at the Convent!

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Baked Crab Cakes
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10-15minutes
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Finely chop crab meat, celery, scallions all to the same size and place in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, relish, and 1/3 cup saltines and toss together.
  2. In a separate bowl beat egg slightly and add lemon juice and zest. Add to bowl and combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Shape into patties and carefully press on both sides into remaining saltines.
  4. Rather than the usual method of frying the cakes, I chose to simply bake them on an un-greased pan or a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Less work, less mess and clean up. Less fat!

Hot Chicken Salad Sandwich

What is it about sandwiches that make so many people so happy? It seems to me that the very same food served on a plate often gets less positive response than it does in a bun, on a roll, or even on a loaf of bread, as it was last night at the convent.Chicken salad was on the menu for our dinner and the cook of the day chose to serve it as a hot open faced sandwich, which surprised everyone. She sliced loaves of Italian bread lengthwise, placed a layer of chicken salad on each, topped them with grated cheese and melted them under the broiler for a few minutes. When they came out they were met with exclamations of “WOW, FANTASTIC, WHAT FUN!”

Because the meal was an informal picnic type, the loaf was served whole, allowing each person to decide what size piece they wanted cut for them. For a more refined touch it can be sliced in diagonal pieces and plated, and still be a sandwich!

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Hot Chicken Salad Sandwich
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine chicken, onion, celery, almonds, grapes, water chestnuts.
  2. Mix mayonnaise, wine, salt and pepper; toss with chicken mixture.
  3. Spread chicken salad on bread, top with a layer of your favorite cheese and melt under a broiler.

Hot Chicken Salad Puffs

It seems we barely get cleaned up from one reception, and it’s time to prepare for another. We have many events happening on a regular basis and they almost always are accompanied by the serving of food or refreshments of one kind or another. At a recent reception we revised an old favorite that met with a great response. We served this hot chicken salad in little cream puffs and they disappeared so quickly we couldn’t keep the trays filled.

Hot Chicken Salad Puffs

 

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Hot Chicken Salad Puffs
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65 - 70mins.
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Ingredients

Instructions

Hot Chicken Salad Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl mix the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion salt, spices, onion and almonds.
  4. Transfer to the baking dish, and top with Cheddar cheese and crushed potato chips.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. Fill cream puffs, arrange on platter and serve.
Cream Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.
  3. Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than 30 seconds.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. It will still feel hot. Transfer the dough to a mixer.
  7. Beat in the eggs one at a time; the mixture will look curdled, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth.
  8. Beat for 1 minute after adding the last egg. You will have a stiff, smooth batter.
  9. Drop the dough by Tablespoonful’s onto the prepared sheets.
  10. Leave about 2″ between them.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes, till they have puffed, they are medium golden brown and they look dry.
  12. Remove baked puffs from the oven and use a sharp knife to cut a slit into the side of each puff, for steam to escape; this will help prevent them from becoming soggy.
  13. Return the puffs to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool.
  14. Slit each puff in half around the circumference and fill with a heaping Tablespoonful of chicken salad.
  15. Replace the top.

Spring Easter Salad

I wanted to come up with an interesting Easter salad. Something fresh and springy, yellow like sunshine and light green. Suddenly the idea came….an Easter egg salad!

A flavorful deviled egg nested in Boston Bibb lettuce with some tender spring asparagus and avocado, sprinkled with finely chopped chives and crumbled egg yolk…..that’s the look. Then, showered with a Fresh Lemon vinaigrette dressing …that’s the taste. I took a chance and gave it a try…It was a success!

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Spring Easter Salad
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Ingredients

Instructions

Deviled Eggs
  1. Peel the eggs.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice each egg in half, lengthwise.
  3. Gently remove the yolk halves and place in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Using a fork, mash up the yolks and add mustard, mayonnaise, onion, Tabasco, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves.
  6. Sprinkle with paprika, if you wish.
Dressing
  1. In a jar or a bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, onion salt to taste and pepper.
  2. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
  3. Serve at room temperature. Shake or stir before serving.
  4. Arrange on individual plates with other ingredients or on a large platter for a buffet table.

Improvised Broccoli Salad

As I write this, it is raining. I think not too long ago I was writing about all of the rain and cold we were having. (I will never complain about that again!) It’s finally been so dry that the garden could be tilled, and the tomatoes are being planted. I feel like having a party! Its the time of year that I try and think of what I can cook with the least amount of stove or oven usage.
I was recently cooking for a group, and not in the kitchen I am used to, which did not have a fully stocked pantry. I wanted to make a broccoli salad, so found a couple of recipes that looked promising, but of course did not have exactly what was called for, especially in the vinegar department. So, of course I would have to improvise.  It was a no cook broccoli salad with a mayonnaise, vinegar sugar dressing. I remembered that there was a bottle of white balsamic vinegar in the cupboard – ah sweet! I also wanted to cut down on the amount of mayonnaise, and use it more like the oil in the dressing, and I must say that balsamic can cover a multitude of sins. So, here is my version of fresh broccoli salad, improv style.

Improvised Broccoli Salad

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Improvised Broccoli Salad
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7servings
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem.
  2. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head well.
  3. Cut the head into bite-size flowerets and the stem into bite size pieces.
  4. Place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bacon, onion, raisins, and carrot.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, stirring well.
  7. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.
  8. Last of all add in the tomatoes and toss again gently.
  9. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

My Mom’s Potato Salad

Memorial Day is supposed to be the kick off for summer, but it was a little questionable with the cold temperatures and constant rain. The vegetables in the garden seemed happy enough  — potatoes, beans, leeks all were thriving with the extra moisture they were getting. I was a little concerned that steaks on the grill weren’t going to do all that well in the pouring rain. Monday dawned clear and warmer, and we were able to have our picnic as planned. It was delightful and almost sparkling in the sunshine. I made my favorite potato salad. My sister has always made it this way, and I recently realized that this is also the way my mother always made it. The secret is in the salad dressing going on the potatoes while they are still warm  and making it a day ahead so the flavors have a chance to develop.

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My Mom’s Potato Salad
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water until tender.
  2. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Pour on the vinaigrette.
  3. Let sit for a few minutes.
  4. Then combine the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until cold.