Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Healthy Crab Cakes March 30, 2011

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 8:56 AM
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Ok, maybe ‘not terrible for you’ crab cakes would be more accurate, but who cares!

The other week I bought some lump crab meat at the HEB for a great price and immediately started brainstorming how I could use it. Perhaps I’ve seen too many Olive Garden and Red Lobster commercials lately because I convinced myself that crab stuffed shells was the best use for this fresh meat.

Well, unfortunately, that dish didn’t turn out so well. My fear of bland ricotta caused me to over-season the stuffing to the point that you couldn’t even tell that there was any crab meat. Ooops. I was so disappointed in the dish that no photographic evidence was taken. The dinner wasn’t as bad as the time I undercooked beans (I will never live that down) and thankfully my Jeffrey still wanted the leftovers. He did say that the dish improved upon sitting in the fridge for a few days and reheating.

So, my great deal on crab meat wasn’t turning out so well. However, I was determined to save it. The answer? Crab cakes. *Why didn’t I just start with that idea?* I was thrilled to find a delicious sounding crab cake recipe from my new The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011 that only needed a few adjustments (sour cream instead of mayo and panko over saltine crumbs). The only other time I made crab cakes I pan-fried them. Super tasty, but quite messy. For this recipe the cakes were broiled making them crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I served them with some sauteed greens and tomatoes to complete a light and flavorful Sunday night dinner.

Take a look.


Dining In: Shell Pasta with Crab, Pistou and Peas May 10, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 7:41 PM
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French food isn’t something I normally get excited about. But, when I saw this recipe with crab and sweet peas…I decided this might be the summer for starting to dabble in French cuisine. Paired with a recession-friendly white wine, this was the perfect Sunday dinner on a hot day.

dinner is served


1 pound whole wheat sea shell pasta
1 clove garlic
2 ounces basil, the leaves of which will equal about 1 cup packed
The leaves from 4 stems tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup thawed frozen petite peas
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it, and add in the pasta shells. Stir, and cook until al dente. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, make the pistou. Obliterate the garlic clove in the food processor, and then add the basil and tarragon leaves. Pulse to chop. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, and a good amount of salt. Run the machine and drizzle in the olive oil. Decant the pistou to a bowl, and stir in the cheese.

3. Once you’ve drained the pasta, put the pot back on the stove on low heat. Add in the cream, pistou, peas, and crab meat. Make sure you go through the crab meat to make sure there are no shells, and to break it up a bit. Toss and heat through.

4. Add the pasta back into the pot, and toss to combine. Serve immediately. *We ended up serving it at room temperature and it actually worked really well on that hot evening.

crabby pasta


Dining In: Cilantro-Lime Crab Pesto March 15, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 8:26 PM
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My mother never (well, rarely) uses recipes when she cooks dinner, but as a baker, I always find comfort with a little direction. After several months of making new meals from recipes, I decided I probably had enough research and practice under my belt to go off on my  own.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of food blogs talking pesto, the culinary world’s way to reign in spring. Since I still had some lump crab meat and cilantro from last week’s meal, I decided to make the best use of my fresh ingredients and create my own cilantro pesto for a light pasta dish. Below are the directions…as best I can remember.

Cilantro-Lime Crab Pesto

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • juice of 1.5 limes
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • 2-3 tbs. of shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1-2 tbs. pine nuts
  • 5 oz. crab meat
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes

Directions: In a food processor, blender, or in my case a mini chopper — puree cilantro, pine nuts, cheese and crab with olive oil until it looks like pesto. No chunks, very green. Cook some bow-tie pasta. Slice cherry tomatoes and place into the bottom of your serving dish. Once pasta is ready, strain and serve on top of tomatoes. Then add pesto and toss together. Serve and eat!

cilantro-lime crab pesto


Dining In: Crab Fried Rice March 9, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 6:34 PM
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One of the things I’ve loved most about doing this blog is discovering other great blogs. One such blog is Serious Eats. Everyday I get tons of great recipe ideas delivered straight to my Google Reader.

Last week I came across a recipe for crab fried rice. I’ve never made fried rice and I love crab,  so I decided it was time to give it a whirl. I made only a few tweaks to accommodate what I already had in the fridge. I was really surprised by how easy and tasty it was. Even the kid that came to the door to try and get me to sign a petition commented on the great smell of what I was cooking. Check out the recipe and photo below.

Crab Fried Rice, for 1


1 clove garlic
1.5 tablespoons canola oil
1.5 tbsp. egg whites
.5 cup cooked jasmine rice
Salt and pepper
Pinch brown sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 scallions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 ounces cooked crab meat
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


1. Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour egg whites into the skillet and let it cook for about a minute or so. Then scramble up the bits that haven’t cooked.

2. Dump in the rice, and stir until all the rice is coated in the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, soy sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another minute.

3. Add the chopped scallions and half of the crab meat. Cook for another minute, stirring occasionally.

4. Serve the rice on a large plate. Sprinkle with the remaining crab and chopped cilantro. You can add a little more salt, pepper, and soy sauce -but mine needed nothing.

crab fried rice