I think potatoes have kind of gotten a bad rap. And, that makes me sad. Yes, while they are wonderful deep fried – they can be great when done with a more healthful approach as well. I’ve been making baked oven fries for as long as I can remember being active in the kitchen. They’re so simple, and make the perfect side to so many meals. You can be simple with the seasonings – going for just salt and pepper. Or, spice it up! I love adding oregano, Herbes de Provence, or Montreal Steak seasoning to switch things up a bit.

The key to the awesomeness of these fries, the uber-crispiness, is a result of a soak in the hot saltwater. The undisputed best place in the world for Boardwalk fries is Thrashers, in nearby Ocean City, MD. They do a soak in salt water, which I always knew was the key to their greatness. They also don’t serve ketchup, which most people might find kind of odd. Salt and vinegar only! Anyways, the original recipe calls for regular hot water. Which, is fine too. But, if you’re a sodium hound like I am, add a little salt to the water as well. Either way, make sure the water is good and hot. I’m no AB, but, I think the hot water starts to break down the starches or something. Helping the fries along in their quest for crispiness. I promise you’ll make these again and again!

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.

I can’t believe I’d never made egg salad prior to this. You think it’s something that your grandmother made, and it is, but for good reason! It’s a quick, inexpensive lunch or dinner. I’ve always been a huge fan of deviled eggs, but I never make them for just us. Egg salad is a wonderful way to get those flavors without all the work. Plus, it’s VERY open to adaptation. You could easily make it more healthy by using yogurt for some/all of the mayonnaise. I’m also really looking forward to playing around with the flavorings. I added a bit of curry powder for this batch – but tons of flavor combinations are possible. The sky is the limit! Next time I think I’ll be adding some chipotle peppers to the mix. Mmm, or some of my best friend’s mother’s pepper relish. I’m hoping to score another jar this year!

I served it on rye toast this go round. I wouldn’t suggest toasting the bread as much as I did. For something with a delicate texture ,like egg salad, you need a relatively soft bread. So, if you’re going to toast, heed my advice and tread lightly. It would probably be wonderful in a whole-wheat tortilla with some additional veggies – tomatoes and sprouts, perhaps? Or, there’s always the classic presentation on a bed of lettuce or greens. However you mix it up, or serve it – it’s sure to please. A definite classic that everyone needs in their recipe box!

How has this week flown by so quickly? It seems that now that cooler weather has arrived, and the days are getting shorter…there just aren’t enough hours in the day. On the day I made this dish, I was pooped (a preschooler and an infant have a tendency to do that to you). I was severely tempted to bag it, and call in take-out. But, I garnered the strength to make dinner. So glad I did!

Easy? Check. Quick? Check. And, delicious to boot! I love cooking Chinese take-out dishes at home. They come together pretty quickly, are (usually) relatively healthy, and pack a punch of flavor. This Kung Pao chicken definitely held up it’s end of the bargain. It’s not a dish I ordinarily order from the local Chinese joint, so I don’t have any base comparison, but everyone really enjoyed it. I changed a couple things around from Nikki’s recipe. I diddn’t have peanuts on hand, so I used cashews. Also, I added some Sriracha sauce instead of hot pepper flakes simply for the fact that I’m currently infatuated with the stuff. I think it added an extra depth of color to the stir-fry, which is always nice with simple dishes like this.  I had a couple of cans of water chestnuts lurking in the pantry, so I tossed some of those into the mix as well. A new favorite to add to the menu rotation for sure!