It’s been a trying week in my kitchen, and it’s only Wednesday. To start out the weekend, I discovered the door to our stand up freezer in the basement was left ajar for a couple of days. It needed a good cleaning out anyways, but still, talk about a waste. Then, to make matters worse, when cooking dinner on Friday evening – the propane tank that fuels the cook top ran out. We only have to have it filled once a year, and I guess it just slipped my mind. That meant going until Monday without a propane delivery. Thankfully, we have a beast of a grill with a handy side burner. It’s saved our butts more times than I can count when we’ve been without electricity for an extended period of time.

However, one thing that I couldn’t do on my trusty grill was preserve the 15 lbs of strawberries we picked on Saturday afternoon. So, we went over to my Mom’s house yesterday to can, and it was a great afternoon. Mom always enjoys spending time with the boys, and it was nice not to have them pulling on my apron strings when I was in the process of canning. Hot jars + boiling water + toddlers just makes me nervous!

I couldn’t be happier with how this jam turned out. At first taste, it’s pure delicious strawberry.  But, comin’ up from behind is a lovely smokey, slow burn from the chipotles. I intended to do one batch of this, and one batch of a traditional strawberry jam. But, I loved this so much that I went ahead and did a double batch. I can’t wait to try it mixed into BBQ sauce, brushed onto grilled pork, or making a fun dipping sauce for coconut shrimp. Definitely plan on entering this one into my local fair come August!

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.