Basic Crab Cake

Crab cakes are perfect for spreading holiday cheer, ringing in the New Year, as well as serving up a light dinner during summer heat waves.  It’s kind of an all-around great dish!

Making crab cakes is fairly simple and generates very little kitchen heat.  I like to pair this with my $30 salad.  For one, it kind of reminds me of living in Florida.  Andy loves both of these so I know I will not get an eye roll or some weird noise he makes signaling to me he doesn’t really want whatever it is I had planned for dinner.

Planning for weekly menus is hard enough to do when you ask what someone wants for dinner this week and you get “I don’t care” as a response, especially when you know the eye rolls and snorts are forthcoming.  OBVIOUSLY you do care!

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Midwest Quesadillas

This recipe was also inspired by a restaurant from back in my hometown.  It was the first place I experienced the goodness of quesadillas.  I have to call these Midwest Quesadillas because just plain ole quesadillas might cause folks to expect a recipe containing toasted tortillas with tomatoes, peppers and perhaps some chicken, beef, carnitas, or even barbacoa in them.  Although, all of those options are tasty and I even think Ron may have one he will share on the blog someday, this one has none of the common ingredients in it expect maybe cheese and onions.

Even the cheese is not a common sight in quesadillas, this one uses jack cheese.  I remember when I first started making these I had to shred my jack cheese by hand.  These are so much easier to make now that shredded jack is readily available at most markets. Continue reading “Midwest Quesadillas”

Sweet and Spicy Fried Pickles

If you’ve visited a restaurant while visiting the deep south, I’m sure you’ve seen fried pickles on the menu. Fried pickles are a southern favorite and a pretty easy to make. Most folks who’ve never had a fried pickles tend to think the combination of frying a pickles as a little weird. However, I can promise you that once you try a fried pickle, you’ll order them every time you see them on the menu.

I’m kind of a fried pickle snob. Fried pickles, while delicious, can be easily ruined by one ingredient. Salt… a fried pickle that is too salty is sometimes just too difficult to eat, no matter how much ranch you cover it in. Finding the right pickle is pretty critical to the final product, so you’ll have to do a little bit of experimentation with the pickles available at your grocery store.

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Even though you might experiment with pickle varieties, we have settled on our absolute favorite pickle. Pickles from Wickles are sweet, spicy, and just a little bit salty. Wickles are thicker than your average sliced pickle, so the pickle-to-crust ratio is great. However, some folks in the south prefer their pickles razor thin to maximize the amount of crust. I think this is just an excuse to eat more fried crust with ranch dressing. With Wickles, you can actually enjoy the great flavor of the pick itself. I find myself eating the pickles for a snack sometimes.

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Tomato Bread

Tomato Bread was only available at once restaurant back home and this was the place you named when asked where you wanted to go for dinner, your birthday, anniversary, or just for a get together. It was a hometown mainstay. The family that owned it, always made you feel like you were in their home as a guest. Perhaps we were, I believe one of the second generation owners lived upstairs. And we really were like old friends, the DH and I both grew up eating dinners there. Then we were older we started eating dinners there together.

There were some things that you just had to order with every meal, tomato bread and quesadilla. There was also their bread and cheeseballs that came out as soon as you sat down. I have not been able to recreate the cheeseball, nor the bread.

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Tomato Mozzarella Bruschetta

Sometimes, the best foods have few ingredients and are easy to put together. Tomato Mozzarella Bruschetta is one of those foods.

Served as an appetizer or light snack, this Tomato Mozzarella Bruschetta is a great way to use the bounty of ripe tomatoes available during the summer months. In my opinion, there is no winter tomato or canned tomato product that can beat the taste of tomatoes fresh from the garden or farmers’ markets.

However, if you are looking for something different to serve at gatherings, this will work with the “on the vine” tomatoes from the store, even through the winter.  They may be a little mealy, but the flavor is better than other year round tomatoes.  Whenever I am forced to use these kind of tomatoes, I tend to cut out the middle mealy portions and just use the outside portions with skin still attached.

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