Sunday, October 10, 2010

Crab Cakes and Broccoli Soup

The other night, I was watching one of the cooking channels and watched Emeril make some crab cakes. I notice later that he has made many version over the years, but this one really looked good and simple. Here is the recipe. I didn't bother with making the sauce. I ate my crab cake like a sandwich in a big romaine lettuce leaf. It is important to note that it's a loose crab cake, meaning when you flip it over it's a bit on the loose side and that is how it was done when I watched him make it on TV. He even mentioned how it doesn't always have to be neat and they ate the crab cakes with a fork. Here is the crab cake recipe:

I served that with my new favorite VERY EASY to make creamy brocolli soup. I actually got that recipe from Gordan Ramsay. I was bored one night and was watching different cooking videos he has out there. Plus, It was really interesting watching how he cooks and how he trys to teach people to cook. He is really good at making simple dishes taste really good. I heard he entered this into a competition where the other person had like 20 ingredients in there broccoli soup and his was better.

You would NOT believe that the soup is pretty much only 2 ingredients. Brocolli and the water the brocolli was cooked in. However, if you really want to spiff it up - take some goat cheese or cream cheese and put on the bottom of a bowl. Pour hot brocolli soup over it and it will melt into it giving it a yummy creamy texture. Little salt and pepper and even a few drizzles of some olive oil. Recipe is below:

Gordan Ramsay's Broccoli Soup
Black pepper
2-3 heads of Broccoli very fresh
Olive oil optional, for garnish


Cut the florets off the heads of broccoli. Cut the stems into similarly sized pieces. Add all of the broccoli -- florets and stems -- into a pot of rapidly-boiling, salted water (2 tablespoons salt in 5 quarts of water). Cover. Cook 3.5 to 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, put the cooked broccoli pieces into a blender. Fill blender about halfway with the cooking liquid. Make sure you use the water the brocolli cooked in. Blend carefully since it's hot. Add more cooking liquid as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Add some salt and pepper.

Extra Note* Be double careful because when you blend hot liquid and the cover is not on tight - it can make a mess. You could also pulse a few times to get it going first too.

If desired, add cheese (goat cheese or cheddar cheese) to the bottom of the bowl before pouring the soup in. Serve, drizzled with olive oil if desired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gravy - A Proud Moment

I've made decent gravy's in the past. Sometimes it seems like I have good luck and other times, I don't. I haven't been good about taking notes. What really urks me is when I have a decent gravy and than I swear I do the same thing a few months later and it isn't good anymore. Hmmmm. In addition, I'm always inquiring about how people make there gravy and at times, I've watched some videos online watching people make gravy. As with a lot of things, there are many ways to making gravy and it seems everyone has there own way of making it.

Recently I saw one video that really caught my attention. I thought it was good at highlighting some important aspects of making gravy. I had VERY GOOD luck with it today. Here are the basic steps outlined.

1. Cook chicken in oven. In this case, I only cooked 2 chicken legs and I used a very small shallow pan - there wasn't much room in the pan for anything else other than the legs. I just baked them in the oven until done. Prior to putting them in the oven, I used salt, pepper, olive oil and some fresh thyme. There were actually some juices on the bottom of the pan from cooking the chicken. I'm going to try this method when roasting a whole chicken and post the results. Obviously the pan will be bigger and some of the amounts may change.

2. Pour off any grease and juices from pan and take everything out of the pan.
3. Put pan on the stove and turn heat on. Remember my pan was really small and fit on one burner.
4. Put a tablespoon of butter into the pan along with a small spoonful of tomato paste. Mix and let cook a little. It should be a slight orange color. I did sneak in a little of the pan juices back in. I didn't bother trying to separate any fat, since it was such a small amount of pan juices.
5. Add some flour. Enough to suck up the grease. In my case, I added 2 small spoonfuls.
6. Add water or chicken broth. I added homemade chicken broth. I only ended up added a cup. This helps release the drippings on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
7. I let cook on low for a good 5 minutes. I happen to be using my high heat burner so when it's on low - it's definetely higher than a simmer. I didn't mix it constantly, but did keep an eye on it and I mixed often. Usually when I checked on it, it would be at a fair boil.
8. Add a little cream, a tiny butter, salt, pepper, and some thyme. The cream helps smooth it out. The butter will add a nice shean to the gravy and give it more flavor.
9. I also personally added a few drops of gravy master.

I didn't quite fill the entire gravy bowl, but it came close to filling it up.

Here is the video that gave me the inspiration to try this.
My gravy didn't come out that dark, but it came out VERY GOOD and finally thick enough for my likings. Yeah Me!!!!

Video that inspired me.

It's a 3 part series, so you just go to the one before it and the one after it to see the whole thing. I linked to the 2nd part, which was the main part.