About Laura

Crab PizzaOur summer is starting to come to a close. We’ve been making sure to get plenty of beach and boating time before it does, but…it’s coming, whether we like it or not.

That’s not to say that I don’t adore fall…really, it’s my favorite season! Chilly mornings with hot coffee, the leaves turning, and most importantly – cheap, fat crabs. They’re down to $50 a bushel here on the Eastern Shore, which makes a spontaneous crab feast on a Saturday afternoon totally doable. Which is precisely what we did last weekend…

We ate our fill, then had plenty leftover to pick the next day. Ended up with close to 3 lbs! Of course I had to make a batch of my creamy crab dip, and I’ll be making some crab cakes to freeze. But, I wanted to do something a little different this time around.

Last month we took a cruise up to Seacrets in Ocean City in our friend’s pontoon boat (thanks, Captain Luke!). A few cocktails were consumed, as well as this delicious pizza. They actually call it “crab toast”… to which, I call bullshit. It’s a crab pizza, and it’s absolutely delicious.

I kept it simple, the crab is the star ingredient here, and it should shine. A light covering of a simple garlicky white sauce, topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and the crown…jumbo lump crab. Now, let me just go ahead and put this out on the table – don’t use canned crab. Ever. For anything. The quality is absolutely critical for an application such as this. So, if you can’t get the good stuff , just don’t bother.

That’s why we have to get while the gettin’ is good here. Another bushel will probably be on the menu this weekend!

Source: inspired by Seacrets Crab Toast

Raspberry Mascarpone Tart

Is it just me, or have the berries this year been especially good? From the berries that I’ve picked myself, as well as my standards I pick up every week in the grocery store – they’ve all been exceptional. This simple tart really gives them an opportunity to shine as well!

I just used my standard pie crust for the tart base, and it turned out fine. I found that if I chilled the dough really well in the tart pan before blind baking – it reduced the shrinkage factor. I think those mini Phyllo shells would also work wonderfully,  and single serve would be great for get-togethers.

The filling is super simple – sweet and rich from the mascarpone, with a little tang from the addition of cream cheese. Then to top it off, a pile of gorgeous red ripe glazed raspberries. A drizzle of chocolate ganache would be a another nice addition, but I didn’t feel it was necessary. I wanted to really let the berries shine, and shine they did…

Fresh Raspberry Mascarpone Tart

1 pastry crust, rolled out
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the topping:
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup apple or strawberry jelly (not jam or preserves!)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll-out dough on well-floured work surface, to about a 13 to 14 inch circle or big enough to fit an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Ease dough gently into pan, pressing against the bottom and sides, folding remaining dough over the edge. Roll over with a rolling pin to cut off excess dough. Line with foil. Fill with raw beans or pie weights and bake 10-12 minutes. Remove beans and foil and return to the oven. Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, add cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute until creamy, reduce mixer to low and add the confectioner sugar and cream, as well as vanilla. Add in the mascarpone last, beating until just combined. Carefully add the mascarpone mixture to the cooled tart shell. Place into refrigerator to chill while you prepare topping.

Add the jelly to a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s completely melted. Let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully pour the syrup over the berries and toss gently to coat.

Gently pile berries on the top of the tart, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Driscoll’s Berries. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Blueberry Margaritas

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip “down the county” with my best friend early on a Saturday morning. Our destination was Mason Beach Fruit Farm, about 45 minutes south of Chincoteague. It was the first time visiting for both of us, but it most definitely won’t be the last.

Blueberry bushes 10 feet tall – acres and acres of them. All the bushes I’ve seen in the past have been scrawny little numbers. But these, they literally created shady groves – so the picking was rather pleasant! It’s situated right on the Chesapeake, so cool breezes were plentiful, which also helps.

I picked about 10 lbs in just under 2 hours. At $1 per pound, you can’t beat the price with a stick. They also had peaches, plums, and early apples available – all for $1/lb as well. At any rate, I had plenty of fresh blueberries I had to use. What better to do with them than make blueberry flavored booze?

blueberries

A couple of pounds went into a home brewed blueberry cream ale. And then, there were these margaritas…

A quick blueberry simple syrup is whipped up, then mixed with traditional margarita components to create this gorgeous cocktail. The flavor of the blueberries really shines through, not to mention the beautiful hue that it leaves the drink with. The syrup is also divine when mixed into lemonade or limeade. But it’s Friday, so tequila is kind of mandatory around here.

Enjoy these gorgeous berries while they are in season where you are. I think I’m going to take one more trip down the road to stock up on some berries for the freezer. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Crab AlfredoThings have been crazy around here. Pony Penning took place last week here on Chincoteague, second only to Christmas around these parts. Friends and family are in town, we were busy running around to one event or another, and good home-cooked meals (and blogging) kind of fell by the wayside.

Crab season is also in full swing here on the Eastern Shore. They’re cheap, plentiful, and heavy. I paid $50 for a bushel of #1’s the other day – that’s insanity! I’m very fortunate to be able to cut out the middle men, and go directly to the source.

On those nights when things are crazy, and you want something easy and delicious that doesn’t take forever – this crab alfredo always answers the call. Five minutes to make the creamy sauce while the pasta is cooking, a quick warm-up in the pan for some fresh crab meat… and you have an ahhhmazing pasta dish that took no time to prepare, but is impressive as all get out!

A side of steamed broccoli or a green salad, and a glass of white wine paired alongside makes for a perfect light summer meal.