Friday, June 28, 2013

Crab Salad Stack with Green Gazpacho

We are big crab fans around here, BIG crab fans. There is nothing better than sitting around the picnic table on a warm summer day cracking Old Bay laden Blue Crabs, eating corn on the cob, sipping a cold beer to quell the heat (from spice and sun), all the while chatting with family and friends.

But sometimes, steamed crabs get messy and you want something a bit more genteel (and less work for the eater) -- like a crab cake or some sort of crab salad. That was exactly my thought when I was looking for "the perfect thing" to serve for Father's Day lunch. My in-laws were coming over and I wanted to do something tasty with a touch of summer, and I had crab on my mind -- but something other than my usual crab cake (delicious, but done). And then, I remembered a recipe torn from the pages of a shelter magazine about a year ago. A simple Crab Salad topped with creamy, sliced avocado and cooling mango set in a pool of White Gazpacho made with cucumber, grapes and Marcona almonds. A spicy Mango Salsa added a colorful compliment. Inspired,  I dug through my pile of  "I want to make this one day" pages (admit it you have one of those too) where it, thankfully, lay near the top:

Crab Salad Stack with Green Gazpacho - serves 6

(adapted from


1 English Cucumber, peeled, chopped, seeded
2 C seedless Green Grapes
1 C Marcona Almonds
2 T chopped Fresh Dill
1 T minced Garlic
1/2 small minced Shallot
1 C Vegetable Broth
1/4 C plain Non-Fat Yogurt (regular or Greek)
1/4 C Sour Cream
1/2 C Olive Oil
3 T Sherry Vinegar
2 T Spanish Sherry

  • Place first 6 ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth.
  • Add vegetable broth, yogurt and sour cream. Blend thoroughly
  • Add olive oil in a thin stream as motor runs on medium. Puree 1 minute.
  • Add sherry and sherry vinegar, if using.
  • Season with S&P, to taste
  • Store in fridge until ready to use (up to 3 days)

Crab Salad

1 lb lump Crab Meat
1/4 C diced Celery or Carrot, or a combination
2 T minced fresh Chives
1/4 t S& P (each)
1 T fresh Lemon Juice
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Hot Sauce
1 t Horseradish
1 t Dijon Mustard
1/4 C Mayo (reg or low- or fat- free)

  • Combine mayo, mustard, horseradish, worcestershire, hot sauce, lemon juice.
  • Add chives, celery/carrot, S&P.
  • Gently fold in crab meat.
  • Store in fridge until needed.

Mango Salsa

1 C diced Mango
1 T diced Red Onion
1 T diced Red Pepper
1T chopped Cilantro
1 t minced & seeded jalapeno
2 T Lime Juice
1  Olive Oil

  • Combine all ingredients. Chill.

Additional Ingredients/Supplies

2 Mangos, peeled & sliced
2 Avocados, peeled and sliced
6 3"x2" ring molds or ramekins 


If Using Ring Molds:

  • Place ring molds in center of soup plate or other shallow bowl
  • Fill mold with 1/2 C Crab Salad
  • Top salad with 4 slices Mango
  • Top mango with 4 slices Avocado
  • Cover ring mold with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour

If Using Ramekins:

  • Line Ramekins with plastic wrap, allowing at least 2" overhang
  • Place 4 slices Avocado in dish
  • Top avocado with 4 slices Mango
  • Cover mango with 1/2 C Crab Salad
  • Cover salad with Plastic Wrap, and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour

Time to Eat:

Ring Molds:
  • Pour 1/2 C Gazpacho around ring mold.
  • With plastic wrap in place, and while softly pressing avocado, slowing remove ring.
  • Remove plastic wrap.
  • Top stack with Mango Salsa
  • Peel back plastic wrap
  • Invert bowl over ramekin.
  • With one hand on bottom of  bowl and one hand on bottom of ramekin, flip bowl over
  • Keeping plastic wrap in place, gently remove ramekin.
  • Remove plastic wrap
  • Pour 1/2 C Gazpacho around Stack
  • Top stack with Mango Salsa
Serve with extra mango, avocado and salsa, and a loaf of warm crusty bread.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Blueberry Muffins (just like my mother used to make)

It was my turn to host Book Group last week. Okay the group volunteered me for our June session when I was out of town. They are always thinking of me! No problem -- I was going to offer anyway.

Our June meeting marks the end of another year of good books and friendship, so we try to make it a special  night.  Instead of holding a book discussion we all bring reading suggestions for the summer and coming year. For the past two years we have expanded on our typical wine and snacks to enjoy a pot luck dinner. 

After looking over the list of who was bringing what I decided we needed some sort of starch alongside the grilled chicken breasts and assorted salads. Blueberry muffins were the first thing I thought of -- in fact, I think of them often when planning summer menus The yellow dough bursting with purple hued berries always makes a colorful addition to the table and palate.

Over the past few years I have tried a variety of "from scratch" muffin recipes. It seems the mother of every food blogger, cookbook author and radio host has a signature Blueberry Muffin recipe. I tried them all, and you what, I still like my mother's the best.  It is easy and foolproof -- all you need are an egg, vegetable oil, milk, blueberries, and this:

That's right, people, Bisquick!  Don't be a hater. The current healthy  food mantra is "Don't eat anything your Grandmother would not recognize as food."  I think most American grandmothers would recognize this box, don't you?  And it really does make terrific muffins (and pancakes, and biscuits, and  pigs in a blanket wrappers, etc)

Try them, you'll see......

Blueberry Muffins

2 cups Bisquick (reduced fat is fine, too)1/3 cup sugar2/3 cup milk (skim milk is fine)2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 egg3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease muffin pan well, or place muffin wrappers in each cup

Stir all ingredients except blueberries in medium bowl, just until moistened.

Fold in berries.

Divide batter evenly in 12 muffin cups - (or 9 cups for larger muffins

Optional: Top with grated lemon zest and a bit of granulated sugar. 

Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool slightly and remove from pan to wire rack.

Yield: 12muffins.