Chesapeake Bloody Mary

Happy Birthday to me! Today I turn 32, so I thought it would be appropriate to share a cocktail with you guys in celebration. Especially one that incorporates so many of the things I love!

I’d never been a fan of Bloody Marys for the most part. Probably because they’d always been made with pre-fabricated mixes that just aren’t very good to start with. But once I mixed my own at home, I understood how awesome they could be.

Simple ingredients – tomato juice, fresh lemon, vodka or gin. But the garnishes, that’s where you can go crazy and have fun! A celery stalk is essential, and also some sort of pickled vegetable – I went with dilly beans. But, where I really go overboard is by topping with a handful of jumbo lump crab meat.

Some might find it strange, but certainly not here on the Shore. The sweet crab meat sits perfectly perched on top of the savory Bloody Mary. It can be enjoyed before the cocktail, or let to steep in the tomato juice and absorb the delicious tomato flavor. With the addition of the crab, it’s really almost a meal as well.

This would be perfect for an evening (or morning!) in the hectic Holiday future – Christmas or New Years Eve, perhaps? Something decadent and really special to celebrate this special time of year. Totes worth the splurge on the crab meat!

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Living on this joyous little island on the wonderful Eastern Shore you’re sure to eat your fair share of clam chowder. For me, there’s nothing more fun than strapping on a  pair of old canvas sneakers, finding a muddy sandbar at low tide, and digging your toes around in the mud until you run into you fill up your bucket with fresh quahogs. Or as well call them, “chowders”.

The big guys aren’t good for much besides soups and clam strips. So, I’ll usually make a batch of chowder when we come across some. About 2 dozen will be more than enough to make a large pot of chowder.

There are a couple ways you can go when it comes to clam chowder. The most well-known is your New England variety, which is cream based. That’s the husband’s favorite, and I plan on sharing that recipe with you soon. But today I’m sharing my recipe for Manhattan, which is tomato based, and my personal favorite…

Bacon, potatoes, celery, onions, tomatoes, and clams. Basic, but oh so delicious.  Now, I realize some of you may not be able to come across fresh clams as easily as I am. In that case, a couple cans of clams and a some bottled clam juice works just fine.

But, if you have a great seafood counter or shop in your neighborhood I’d highly encourage you to try to find some fresh. They’re cheap as far as it goes on the seafood spectrum, and the flavor is unparalleled.

A perfect dinner for these chilly fall evenings, that holds onto one last taste of summer. Make sure to make some homemade oyster crackers to go along with it, they’re the perfect topping and only take a few minutes to throw together. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Source: adapted from Simply Recipes

Citrus-Apple Butter Glazed Shrimp

As I’ve mentioned before, in the summertime here on the Eastern Shore shrimp are often cheaper than chicken or pork. So, we like to make the most of them in the months that we can get them fresh. Needless to say I’m always looking for a new spin on them to try out in my kitchen.

So when I came across this recipe from Musselman’s for a citrusy spin on an almost-barbecue sauce, I couldn’t wait to try it. Super simple…apple butter, along with some freshly squeezed juice. I used lemon and orange, but lime would also be a great addition. I also added a little bit of garlic and red pepper flakes for a little extra kick.

Shrimp are skewered, then a quick cook and basting with the sauce on the grill – and dinner is done! The flavor of the sauce is great, and it has just enough sugar to lightly caramelize the edges of the shrimp – without drying it out, which is key. I’m thinking that bacon wrapped around the shrimp might also be a nice addition…

Definitely a keeper for those days I come home from the beach or boat super tired, and need something easy. Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: adapted from Musselman’s

Disclaimer: I received a grilling package from Musselman’s for my review. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

Hush Puppies

Now that summer is here seafood season is in full swing here on the Eastern Shore. We had our first taste of crabs Memorial Day weekend. People have been catching black drum, rockfish, and flounder right and left. And, thanks to new breeding practices our salty Chincoteague oysters are available all year round now.

Naturally, there’s nothing that we love more than a good old-fashioned seafood boil or fish fry. And, no seafood feast is complete without a good hush puppies. The little seafood spot (Ray’s Shanty if you’re curious – great food too!) where I go to buy my seafood makes the best in the world. They have a ton of flavor with the addition of onion, yet are dense and light at the same time. I always end up eating too many of those, and then never any room for my meal…

This was my first attempt at making them at home, and they turned out great. I used a recipe from Saveur that looked promising. They were super easy to make, and quickly fried up to perfection once the “rise” was complete. It’s almost a proofing process – you mix up the batter, then let it sit for an hour to leaven. This made a light and airy hush puppies that had a wonderful texture on the inside, and a perfectly golden crunchy exterior.

It makes a lot of hush puppies though – like around thirty. I think next time I’ll probably cut the recipe in half for our family.

Hush Puppies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 large yellow onion, grated
Canola oil, for frying
Tartar sauce, for serving

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir together buttermilk, eggs, and grated onion with their juice in a medium bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Set aside to rest for 1 hour.

Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Using a tablespoon, drop small rounds of batter into the oil, making sure to not crowd the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through, until golden on the outside and crisp, about 3–4 minutes.

Remove hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce on the side for dipping.

Source: Saveur