Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Barbeque

Memorial Day Barbeque doesn't have to be the same old hot-dog and hamburguer everybody makes every year. This year I made a delicious crab dip and served with toast made of an italian bread. This recipe is from Clyde's Restaurant. It's one of my favorite places to eat seafood specially their crab cakes and crab soup. They have this recipe and others on their website (under food and wine).

Crab And Artichoke Dip

1 tblsp butter
1/2 cup finely minced onion
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp horseradish sauce
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
5 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts
1/2 lb. Crab meat, cartilage removed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a sauce pot saute the onions in the butter until they are soft but not brown.
Add the cream cheese and stir it over low heat until it is soft. Add the Worcestershire, horseradish, Old Bay, and Tabasco. Stir until well blended. Fold in the artichokes and crab meat.
Put the mixture in a shallow baking dish, one that is only about 1-1/2 inches deep. This is similar to the size of a 10-inch pie plate. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. This cheese should be brown on top and the sides should be bubbling.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Asparagus wrapped in Phyllo Dough

I had this appetizer last year at a Christmas Party and I absolutely loved it. I waited until Asparagus were in season to make it. It wasn't a special occasion, I just had it for dinner last week and it tasted great. The prosciutto is a huge part of this recipe so the better prosciutto you buy the better the appetizer will taste.

Asparagus wrapped in phyllo dough

18 asparagus spears, woody ends removed
18 thin slices prosciutto
Phyllo dough
Melted butter
Beaten egg
Grated parmesan cheese

Blanch the asparagus, refresh in cold water and dry thoroughly.
Roll a thin slice of prosciutto around each asparagus stalk.
Preheat oven to 400°C.
Spread a sheet of phyllo pastry on a flat surface and brush with melted butter.
Place one spear of asparagus on the pastry with the tips slightly overlapping the pastry. Roll the asparagus up in the pastry and cut off any excess pastry. Repeat with the rest of the asparagus.
Place the asparagus phyllo on a greased baking tray, brush with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 400°C for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Retail Therapy

I haven't cooked much lately. Since I got pregnant - it seems like a long time ago - my stomach has been very picky with tastes and smells. My diet now consists of ice-cream, cereal, and chocolate. Sometimes it's very frustrating, if I go to parties or restaurants my choices are limited to sweets. Not to mention the weight I have put on. Anyway, since I am due soon and I hope to start cooking again I decided to give my kitchen a makeover. I went to Macy's last weekend and walked straight to the Kitchen Department. I found a casual dinnerware set that's lightweight, dishwasher and microwave safe, and the design is just right for the day to day use. No more mismatched plates, cups, and bowls. I have formal dinnerware sets for special occasions but never really bought a complete set (service for 12) of casual dinnerware. I am very happy with my purchase. When I was walking to the check out line I saw a cast iron skillet. I have been thinking of buying one for a long time. They only had a set of three, so I thought, why not?! I also bought a cast iron griddle. I am running out of storage space in the kitchen, I am already storing things in the hallway closet. Next item on the kitchen makeover list: a new cutlery set.
Now, back to the cast iron skillets and griddle. I knew I had to season them before using but nobody told me how smelly it can be. I rubbed them inside and out with oil and heated for 60 minutes in a 300 degree oven. A few minutes later they started smoking and the entire house had a burned smell. I turned the oven off after 60 minutes but I think they needed to stay longer, the oil didn't dry out. I might have to do another round of 60 minutes in the oven but I am procrastinating because I don't want to have my house smelling like that again. Next day I baked muffins and they came out with a cast iron smoky flavor, yikes...