Apr 25, 2012
This week is definitely a redo. The only reason for this is that I attempted a substitution on an ingredient that I had no idea about. I've never gelled anything and there's like no information at the store on the differences between gelling agents. Needless to say, I bought the wrong one. So this week's post is not complete until I redo the balsamic pearls.
So Caprese Salad..... not really a salad...not really that good. I have to say it's kind of addicting though. I wasn't a fan of the basil at first, so I tried just tomato and mozzarella. Pretty good. So I tried it with basil again...and again and again. I ate alot of this stuff. Not my favorite. I'm sure that adding the balsamic pearls will be better for the redo.
Caprese Salad with Balsamic Pearls
Small tomatoes (cherry, grape, smaller than roma)
Mozzarella pearls (or fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces)
Balsamic Vinegar (not vinaigrette)
2oz Pack of Agar Agar (do not substitute)
1 cup Flavorless oil
Put the oil into a clear glass container and place into the freezer for 30 minutes. Combine balsamic vinegar and agar agar into a small pot and bring to a boil. Stir well and empty into a heat-safe bowl. Using a dropper/syringe/child's medicine dropper, slowly drip the vinegar into the cold oil and pearls will form. When about 1/8 - 1/4 inch of pearls have been made, spoon them out into a glass of cold water. Strain the pearls. Repeat until the balsamic mixture has been pearlized.
For the salad portion, halve the tomatoes, place a small piece of basil and 4-5 mozzarella pearls on the tomato. Top with the balsamic caviar pearls and enjoy. Or not enjoy...it's up to you.
Apr 20, 2012
Unbelievably spontaneous meal tonight. With less than an hour remaining at work, a co-worker asked if I've ever had the crab cakes from Whole Foods Market. I hadn't so I engaged in conversation. The way they were talked up was great. It got me craving crab cakes. I traveled to San Francisco last year and had some uber-fresh crab cakes. Those were the absolute best ones I've ever had. These below, come in at a very close second.
While easy to make, I became a little anxious and decided to pull the mixture out of the refrigerator early. Nothing wrong with that other than texture.
Basic recipe for Crab Cakes:
3 Tbsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)
3 Tbsp olive oil (or other high quality non-flavored oil)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Old Bay seafood seasoning
1 tsp ginger powder
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp hot sauce (Sriracha or Tabasco)
1 lb real crab meat (fresh=best, avoid imitation as it won't mix well)
flour for dusting the mixture
your favorite frying oil blend (2:1 vegetable:olive is my preference)
In a large bowl, mix the ingredients in order. Order actually doesn't matter other than crab being last. It was just easy to mix the liquids first. After mixing the ingredients, spread the mixture around the bowl and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. The reason for spreading the mixture is to increase surface area so it cools quicker. If it's in a lump in the bowl, you'll have to chill longer.
After it's chilled, use a large dinner spoon to scoop a glob of the mix and dust with the flour. Using your hands, form into a small patty and fry 2-3 minutes per side or until browned on each side. Serve on top of a fresh spring salad mix with some spicy mayonnaise although you won't even need dressing as this is not a dry crab cake.