Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Peach Confetti Salsa, and a Shake, Rattle and Roll!

     An earthquake? Seriously? C'mon now, we're on the east coast! Thankfully, there was not much damage here- some broken china and ceramic chickies- but it was kinda scary while it was happening. Earthquake veterans might be rolling their eyes about now, but I'm new to this. The last significant earthquake in Virginia was back in 1897, before my time, so I haven't had any experience with this sort of thing. I sure hope everyone else is okay!

     And this salsa? This salsa is definitely okay. It's made by my sister's recipe, with a rainbow of veggies and fruit from my brother's vegetable stand. The sweet peaches and spicy peppers blend together to make a mouthwatering combination, and make the perfect healthful dip for your chips. (This would also be wonderful on grilled chicken, or even on a hotdog!) I love a snack I can eat without feeling pangs of guilt and regret, don't you?

Peach Confetti Salsa- from my sister's recipe
2 sweet, ripe peaches, diced
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 medium sized Roma tomatoes, diced (I used one red and one yellow)
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (very small dice)
1/4 cup sweet pepper, diced (I used a mixture of red and banana pepper.)
1 Tablespoon of sweet onion, diced (I used a little more than this.)
1 teaspoon diced basil (or cilantro if you prefer) (I used a little more of this, too)
2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste (I use less salt than most people would, so I hesitate to put an amount.)
Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl. Taste for seasoning. If you like your salsa hotter, add a little more jalapeno. (This is a mildly spicy salsa the way it is written.) If you like your salsa sweeter, add more sugar. I found that the addition of the sugar brought out the flavor of the peaches more. If you have really ripe, sweet peaches you might not need as much. Let the salsa sit for at least an hour before serving, to give the flavors a chance to mingle. Store leftovers (if there are any) in the refrigerator.

This post is linked to These Chicks Cooked link party ,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Crab Cakes- a Family Recipe

    I am a crab cake snob. There, I said it. As much as I love crab cakes, I seldom order them in restaurants.  You see, I don't like a bunch of "stuff" in my crab cake that's not crab. No green peppers. No onions. No parsley. I love the taste of the crab itself, and that's what I like my crab cakes to taste like. I want them to taste like the ones my mom makes. Like the ones that my grandma made when I was a little girl visiting her and my granddaddy in the little fishing village by the "crickshore."

    My grandpa was a waterman, and blue crabs (callinectes sapidus) were plentiful in the summertime. He'd send a bushel basket of them home with us, their claws scrabbling against the wooden slats. We had to be careful because those claws would pinch! We had to cook the crabs alive- that's the part I never liked. Crabs that were blue when they went into the pot came out of the pot a gorgeous orangy-red color, and were ceremoniously placed in the middle of our newspaper-covered table to cool enough to be devoured.

    While everyone else was picking and eating crabs, my mom was usually picking out crabmeat and setting it aside to make crab cakes or deviled crab, another favorite. The following recipe for crab cakes is the one I grew up eating. I made some last week from crabs my brother shared with me, and we enjoyed them with cole slaw, sweet corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes. Summer eating doesn't get much better than that, does it?

1 lb. fresh crabmeat
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 egg
3-4 Tablespoons  mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
dash of Worcestershire sauce
pinch of sugar
cayenne pepper to taste (I use about 1/4 teaspoon)
salt to taste- Depending on how they're cooked, some crabs may need more salt than others.We don't eat much salt, so I find that the salt the crabs are cooked with is sufficient and I don't add any extra.
To prepare:
Pick through crab meat to remove any bits of shell.
Hold slices of bread under running water to wet. (Careful- they get mushy quickly!) Gently squeeze slices to remove most of the water. You don't want them dripping with water, but you also don't want to squeeze them into a hard lump.
Put moistened bread into a bowl with the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, baking soda, Worcestershire, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until mushy.
Add crab meat and gently mix until combined. (I like to leave my crab in bigger pieces so I mix it as little as possible.)
Form the crab mixture into cakes. (I use about 1/3 cup per cake.)
Cover the bottom of a frying pan with vegetable oil. Heat oil until hot. Place crab cakes in hot oil, reduce heat to medium and cook until golden brown, turning once.
Remove to paper towel to drain.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

"How I Spent My Summer Vacation"

Isn't that the requisite "back to school" essay? I went back to school today, and instead of dwelling of things I didn't accomplish this summer (blogging? cleaning the basement?) I'm determined to look back instead on what I have done. So here goes.

Hubby and I replaced our quiet evenings at home in the recliners (laptops included) with quiet evenings on our bikes exploring nearby neighborhoods. We've found some lovely places to ride, and go for miles and miles.

I think I finally picked enough blackberries. I wish you could have joined me! Some went into jam right away, and the rest went into the freezer for later.

My grandson (and his parents) came for a wonderful visit. We played in the sand, saw dinosaur bones and had a Happy Un-birthday party complete with strawberry cupcakes with whipped cream frosting.

I've been frequenting my brother's vegetable stand and enjoying all the bounty of the season. He grows Argent sweet corn, which is the BEST!

When it got too hot, we headed for the hills, hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park. We sat at an overlook at dusk, enjoying this glorious sunset.

But I haven't had my fill of these yet. There's still enough room in summer to squeeze in a few more of these and make some crab cakes from my grandma's recipe! (Coming soon, I promise!)

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