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Crab Cakes and Raspberry Pudding

April 12, 2011

THE CRAB CAKES: While this recipe is not for vegetarians, crab cakes can make a good spring or summer meal.  The fried taste and smell create a special atmosphere perhaps reminiscent of those summers you used to spend at the seashore or an old-fashion seafood vendor you’d go to on your vacations as a child.  Compared to other fried food, this meal is actually not as bad as it is not overwhelming at all and I dare say, there is even something “refreshing” about it.  The hardest part about crab cakes though is making the patties.  My hands get all sticky which leads to progressively more stickiness and a less smooth surface of every patty that follows.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cans of crabmeat (each 170g netto/212 ml)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 green onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 red pepper (finely chopped)
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • dash of curry powder, cumin (optional)

Alternatively, you can use fresh crab meat, if you’re fortunate to find such.  If you don’t have breadcrumbs, soak 4 slices of old hardened bread in water but make sure to drain the water out after the bread has softened.  Then mash it up.  In this case, use 1 egg instead of 2.  If you don’t have fresh parsley, you can use dried one or omit it.  For the red pepper, I recommend you use the small cone-shaped ones that are sometimes called Italian peppers instead of the bell peppers.  If in the US, that might be more difficult to find, however, so use whatever you can find.  Add some exotic spices, for more pizzaz, but skip them all together if you want the regular taste of crab cakes.

Start by draining the crabmeat from the brine in the can, add all other ingredients, stir preferably with a wooden spoon until you’ve obtained a nice mixture and start making your patties by hand.  Some recipes will ask you to use special shapes to make your patties but why clutter your kitchen with extra utensils and waste counter space, water and energy when you can touch your food-in-progress with your bare-naked hands and get messy with it like a real artist;)?!  There are two extra things that you can do only if you have time – first, refrigerate the patties after you’ve made them for 1-2h before frying them to allow them to firm up, and two, to coat them with regular flour before frying them.  You can skip both steps if in a rush.  I do coat mine in flour as they get crispier and the flour holds them together.

Do I even need to say this?  Fry the patties in a pan in some oil on medium heat, 4-5 mins on each side, and serve with kalamata olives, lemon wedges or a twig of fresh parsley. (Please do me a favor: Do not google ‘twig of parsley’ by any means!)

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THE RASPBERRY PUDDING: You thought I’d forget coming back to the dessert?! Well, here it is simple and easy. While this would make the vegetarians happy (obviously, how many meat desserts have you seen?), it is not for the skim-milk aficionados.  At first glance, this is nothing more than a simple pudding made over the stove with a few (thawed) raspberries thrown on top!  However, here’s my little secret to making these industrial pudding pectin-filled packages taste like anything worth concluding your meal with:  HEAVY CREAM!  That’s right, you’ve got it!  Simply follow the instructions on the package of your regular vanilla pudding from your nearby supermarket but instead of using the milk they ask you to boil and put your diluted powder mixture in, use the liquid cream.  Fine, alright, alright, it’s 30% fat but so what?  Your guests will have no clue you substituted heavy cream for (skim, God forbid!) milk because I reassure you, the dessert is not that heavy at all.  But if you use the milk, as instructed on the package, your guests will definitely notice that the taste is nothing worth eating let alone spectacular and may take a bite only to excuse themselves, thank you very much, it was really good but we’re so full.  Yeah, right!  Please trust me, it’s the milk vs. the cream trick. It’s about time we and other diet-conscious crowds learn from the French.  Instead, what I see is that the French are starting to use light or reduced-fat products judging by the fact that their largest grocery chain is carrying them…  Please.

And don’t forget your raspberries on top or whatever fresh fruit you have.  Strawberries or peach will do equally.  If you’re in the mood for that final touch, caress your finale of a dessert with a mint leaf or two and a drop of honey.  I will not advise you to overdo it, but I also gently sprinkle a few dashes of granulated sugar for that crunch in the teeth.

Yum-yum, happy dessert!  Happy guests.. !

            
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