Blue Crab Boil with Key Lime Tartare Dipping Sauce

As a child, I had an aversion to seafood, so this meant strange looking things like shrimp, lobster, and crab were most definitely not to be dealt with. Now that my taste has matured, it makes me think back to those family vacations to places like Ocean City, Maryland where crab was served by the bucketload as missed opportunities. So why not try to recreate it at home with a crab boil?

If you’ve ever been to a crab boil or eaten at a dive of a seafood shack in a place like Ocean City, you know the drill: a table covered in paper towels/newspaper, a pile of napkins, maybe some shell crackers, and a trash can. This is not fine dining and not a time for your finest evening wear…but the taste is well worth it. Basically, you’ve got a pile of freshly cooked, whole crabs and the tools to tear through those tough shells so you can… click to read more…

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Red Grouper with Tomato Braised Fennel

I love the produce of summer–for me, the challenge becomes enjoying as much of it as I can while its still in season. While my produce-lust is usually fruit-centric, one of my veggie favorites: fennel. This delicious vegetable has fronds kind of like dill and a bulb that is sweet, subtle, and anisey–the flavor is just quite unique and the perfect foil for fish. Today, we have a Red Grouper served over Fennel braised in a Citrus Tomato Sauce.

I originally went to the grocery store with sea bass in mind, but it seems red grouper was in the cards for me, so red grouper it is! The grouper worked wonderfully, but I still would lean towards a nice white fish next time around (like sea bass, halibut, mahi, etc).

This dish was simple and tasty–the kind of thing that is good for a hot summer day when spending a lot of time in a hot kitchen just isn’t… click to read more…

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Crab Quesadillas with Mango Avocado Salsa

Something about the oppressively hot and humid Florida weather has given me the urge to eat more seafood this summer. Maybe because its lighter fare? Maybe so I can pretend I’m on vacation somewhere tropical? Whatever the case, I had a craving for something pseudo-Mexican in flavors, so somehow, that resulted in quesadillas filled with king crab, a mango and avocado salsa, and some cheddar and monterey jack cheese.

This would have been a really quick meal to prepare if not for the one laborious, slow, somewhat aggravating process of harvesting every last bit of meat from the crab. If you can get help for this step, go for it–make those sharing dinner with you earn their keep! Its not like this step will take you hours, but for how quick the rest of the dinner goes, a little speed boost on this step (or a beer) will make you feel better. Everything else is very quick work: boiling… click to read more…

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Smoked Mustard Crusted Spare Ribs

We’re in the dead of summer and with July 4th right around the corner, barbecue should be on many a mind. Countless different images might come to mind when you hear “barbecue”–burgers, wings, pulled pork, etc–but if you had to pick any single one dish to represent this delicious style of cooking, what would it be? For me, it would have to be a smoked rack of ribs.

I used to be of the saucy ribs camp, but given everything I’ve heard about dry rubbed ribs, I thought it was time to give this a fair shot. I could never fathom it before–I mean after all, its just meat! Wouldn’t it be dry (“dry rub”–sounds dry!)? Wouldn’t it be bland? And so on. Ribs simply needed sauce.

Well now that I’ve finally tried dry rub, this is definitely the way to go. I love a good sauce, but keep it off of my ribs! You start with a light… click to read more…

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Smoked Chicken Thighs with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

While I’ve professed the wonders of brining turkey to ensure a moist bird, I’d never brined chicken before. However, after seeing what Jeff did with some chicken thighs, it seemed like it was time to give this a try. So I brined, smoked, and glazed some chicken thighs with a tangy pineapple barbecue sauce.

This was absolutely delicious and very well suited to July 4th weekend (or any summer weekend) kind of grilling/barbecuing occasion. The effort is pretty minimal and the results are very flavorful. If you were to taste the sauce alone without the chicken, it will taste a little unbalanced as far as a barbecue sauce goes (in my opinion–it leans most heavily towards sweet and spicy), but when combined with the chicken as a glaze after being flavored with… click to read more…

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Chicken Teriyaki Lo Mein

Asian cookery isn’t one of my strongest areas, so I have a tougher time dissecting flavors. Teriyaki sauce, one of those universal favorites, has always eluded me. The only way I could have it would either be by buying a bottle from the grocery store or having some haute cuisine on a toothpick at the mall. If this sounds familiar, I imagine you’ll be surprised by how simple Chicken Teriyaki can be.

I was originally inspired to try this after seeing some delicious looking Salmon Teriyaki over at Closet Cooking and I was almost shocked by how simple the basic teriyaki sauce was. It almost seemed too easy, but I figured why not just give it a shot. Tasting each component of the sauce individually, I dunno, I still had my doubts. But mixed all together, it was… click to read more…

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