Happily, I got 95 percent of my lights working last night and they now adorn my tree. Laurie, Dee and Mary are all coming over for lunch to help finish the decorating today. I’ve decided to make them a simple meal of crab cakes with a chipotle mayo sauce and a salad. For starters, I’ve made a smoked salmon mousse spread – my sister-in-law Vicki’s recipe.
Costco is carrying really cute miniature romaine heads right now. I trim them, slice them in half long ways (wash them carefully!) and sprinkle with some toasted pecans and my favorite salad cheese, Blue Castello (available at Trader Joe’s). My vinaigrette will be a simple one with macadamia nut oil, white balsamic vinegar and a bit of the Hop Kiln Zinfandel Orange mustard to emulsify it all together.
My crab cake recipe is a good one; it started out as part of the recipe on a plastic tub of crab but I’ve added to it a bit.
1-pound tub of lump crab meat (please, do yourself a favor and use real crab)
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1-2 tablespoons red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/4 cup mayo
Toss all of the ingredients except the panko and one egg together.
Heat your favorite cast iron skillet with a thin layer of olive oil (about 1/16 inch) until it shimmers.
Scoop spoonfuls of the crab mixture into the whisked egg and then into a dish of panko crumbs. Toss the panko over the crab balls and then place them in the hot oil. Pat them slightly flat and cook till golden. Turn and cook till golden on the other side. Remove, place on a paper-towel covered plate and continue cooking until you’ve made enough crab cakes for your party. If your recipe is too big for your group, assemble the crab cakes as far as the panko crumbs and place the crab balls on a plastic wrap- covered dish that will fit in your freezer. Squish them slightly, as if they were in the pan, cover with another layer of plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, place them all in a baggie and they’ll be ready to sauté up the next time you have an impromptu party.
1 1/2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
Chipotle puree to taste (only about 1 tbls)
Juice of half a lime
The chipotle mayo is so simple, I’m kind of embarrassed to describe it. I buy a can of chipotles in adobo and puree it in the food processor, pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge. Then just mix as much of it as you want into as much mayo as you want. Keep in mind, the spice of the chipotle gets stronger as it rests. Your choice.
Serve your crab cakes with a nice chardonnay. (Toasted Head goes fabulously with this meal!)
I didn’t really get enough of last week’s trifle, so I’m making it again with a couple changes, and I’ve got some of TJ’s Christmas truffles for those who must have chocolate.
Quick, easy, festive and delish. That’s our specialty at Party Know-It-Alls.