We went strawberry picking this weekend! The pick-your-own orchard down the street from us didn’t have strawberries available this year. Their beds aren’t covered, so the frost got to all the blossoms. Total bummer! As it worked out though, here on the Eastern Shore, there is never a strawberry patch too far in the horizon.

We went to the homebrew shop on Saturday, and on the way there was a farm that had pick-your-own berries available. You take a tractor ride to get to the patch, and Andrew has been talking it ever since. Took virtually no time to fill up 2 boxes of berries, totaling about 17 lbs. Andrew was a great helper this year too! He did a great job only picking the ripest and reddest of berries.

I’ve got some great stuff in the pipeline with these beauties! First off, this delicious strawberry yogurt cake. I whipped this up on Saturday night to enjoy as a light breakfast on Mother’s Day morning. So fresh, light (yet dense!), and incredibly moist – it was the perfect treat with my cup of coffee on Sunday. Came together really easily with ingredients you more than likely already have in your fridge and pantry. As an extra bonus, I got to use my Bundt pan, which I often feel gets neglected. Berry season is in full swing here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and is heading north. Get while the gettins’ good, folks! Enjoy!

This weekend we went over to my parent’s house for dinner. My dad had gone fishing earlier in the day, and came home with a nice sized “rock” as we call them around here, striped bass to the rest of the world. He cleaned it when we were finished with dinner (a gorgeous bushel of steamed #1 blue crabs) and sent us home with a nice sized filet, that I portioned into 4 smaller sized filets.

We get so much gorgeous, fresh seafood around here, I really take it for granted. I already had a menu set for the week, so I decided to make the fish for lunch on Sunday. Usually, I’d fry it an call it a day –  but the filets were so gorgeous, I wanted to do something special. I came up with this dish with what I had on hand, and it really knocked our socks off. I was afraid the salsa would be overpowering, but it wasn’t. The smokey sweetness just played up the flavor of the fish, and it was a nice change of pace from our standard fish fry! Plus, I got to use the pea shoots I’d bought on a whim at Trader Joe’s the week before. They soaked up all the juices from the dish, made for a surprisingly good salad.

If you’re looking for something to do with that abundance of rockfish we’re so lucky to have in our waters right now (or any other substantial white fish – mahi, halibut, etc.) bookmark this recipe! I’m hoping Dad shares some more with us this spring. I’m more than happy to send out a First and Second mate with him!

Frankly, I’m embarrassed that crab cakes haven’t made it onto the site yet. Any Maryland blogger worth their grain in salt NEEDS to have a good crab cake recipe to share. The world doesn’t turn to us for much in the way of famous foods. We’re notorious for our fried chicken, pit beef, our Smith Island cakes, and of course…crab cakes. Let me start off my saying, I’m not a big fan of crab cakes. My mom always made great ones, but they were just never “my thing”. When I see recipes online, or in cookbooks, often I am disparaged by the amount of filler that people put in their cakes. Bell peppers, bread crumbs, eggs, herbs, avocado, cheese – the list goes on. It’s a travesty, people! A GOOD crab cake only needs crab meat, and a little bit of a binder. I had a recipe that I used forever, and it was great. But, I would use a good amount of breadcrumbs to get them to hold their shape. That always kind of bothered me. Then, one of my best girlfriend’s aunt shared this recipe on a local recipe swapping group that I’m a member of on Facebook. It had virtually no binding agents! Flour, a bit of mayo and mustard, an egg, and a bit of seasoning. I should also mention the fact that this said Aunt is a purveyor of crab meat. As a side-job she picks crabs and sells the meat in the summertime. The woman knows her crab, ya’ll. I knew I had to try it…

Talk about blown away! Like I mentioned above, I don’t even like crab cakes, and I ended up scarfing one down. These cakes are solid packed full of meat. It is definitely my go-to recipe for crab cakes now. They formed in your hands beautifully, fried up beautifully, and as you can see from the picture – were gorgeous inside too. I realize that not everyone can get their hands on blue crab meat. I’ve not tried myself, but I’m fairly certain this recipe would work with Dungeness crab meat, or even snow crab meat. Whatever is good, and fresh in your neck of the woods! I served with baked oven fries, as well as a green salad. They make a delightful sandwich too. Oooh, or over a bed of fettuccine Alfredo. Hea-ven!

This recipe makes about 5 crab cakes. If your budget allows, I’d highly recommend doubling the recipe, and then freezing half of the cakes. They freeze great! And, frozen crab cakes are one of my favorite “go to” easy meals on those nights when I’m just too tired to cook. Simply form and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze on the cookie sheet for about 2 hours, until frozen. Then vacuum seal or wrap securely in freezer paper. Cook the frozen cakes just as you would if they were fresh, adding a few minutes of cooking time to each side of the cake.

We always plant a garden in our backyard in the summertime. The tomato and pepper harvests seem to vary from year to year, but the one vegetable I can always count on to have an over abundance all season long is green beans. They’re easy to grow, easy to take care of, and they just keep giving and giving. Will enjoyed plenty of them in his baby food this summer, and we love to enjoy them simple steamed or sautéed with a bit of olive oil and garlic. Even with eating them two or three times a week with dinner, I STILL always have more than I know what to do with. Enter the dilly bean. I started canning them 2 or 3 years ago now, and they’re always a favorite around our house. While we’re fans of pretty much anything pickled in this house – dilly beans really stand apart from your “standards”. They are packed with wonderful dill flavor. So crispy and delicious. You can also pig out on the whole jar, and don’t have to feel that guilty about it. Try them as a garnish for your next Bloody Mary, instead of a boring stalk of celery!

Pickled items are a great introduction to canning because you don’t need a ton of special equipment, and due to the high acidity of the brine – it’s virtually impossible for any bacteria to survive. Things like botulism, I hear they are not so good. At any rate, feel free to play around with the spice combinations. The only thing you want to adhere to for certain would be the water/vinegar/salt ratio.