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Cooking with Rebecca Bent

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Maryland tradition brings delicious crab to the holidays

I grew up feasting on delicious crab for the holidays. In fact, I didn't know there was much of a difference in our Maryland Family traditions from the rest until I was older and brought home friends for the holidays. It still makes me smile when I think about their expression as the hard crabs and crab cakes were brought to the table. All the pomp and circumstance went right out the window as we covered ourselves in napkins and rolled up our sleeves to dig in.

I think all things crab are especially delicious around the holidays. Hard crabs require time to pick through allowing people to catch up on the year. And crab cakes essentially require no time at all giving the host a much needed break to sit down and enjoy the company.

This year we also launched two new tasty and economically friendly products: Maryland crab salsa and Maryland crab marinara. If you are watching your budget, but don't want to give up the crab, these are perfect. And since they are shelf stable, they are also great gift giving treats!

We wish you a delicious holiday season!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Warm Crab Claw Soup: a comforting meal that lasts the week

Warm Crab Claw Soup satisfies on many levels. It's comforting, delicious, and affordable. I like my crab claw soup to last me the week, as each day passes, the flavor becomes that much deeper, richer so by the end of the soup, I am sad to see it go. And as I reflect on being well fed throughout the week, I simply decide to make up another batch. And this is how I get through the winter! I highly recommend you give it a try.

I like to create a little variety to my crab claw soup. Sometimes I break up a whole crab and cook it in the soup, as the recipe outlines below, and other times, I omit this. Crab Claw Soup should and can be whatever you want it to be. Add potatoes, celery, corn, green string beans or not: the choice is totally yours.

Be careful not to overcook this soup and you'll note we use the freshest—though not the most expensive—crabmeat: crab claw meat. If you feel like splurging however, use a little backfin crabmeat as garnish when you serve the soup.

Warm Crab Claw Soup
makes 8 servings

optional: 6 steamed hard blue crabs, top shell and claws removed, cleaned and broken into halves
1 large beef soup bone
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes
¼ small head cabbage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh or frozen white corn kernels
2 large potatoes, scrubbed, boiled until nearly tender (20 to 30 minutes), and chopped into ¼-inch cubes
1 pound claw crabmeat
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pour 5 quarts of cold water into a large stockpot and place it over medium-high heat. Add the crab halves and claws, the soup bone, celery, onion, bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, cabbage, seafood seasoning, and pepper. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the soup simmer lazily for 1 hour. Remove the soup bone and bay leaf and add the corn, potatoes, crab claw meat, and salt. Cook for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately in a deep bowl. Be sure each serving includes a crab half and claw for picking.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Crabmeat with Pasta: an easy meal

Adding little flecks of crabmeat can enhance just about anything, like pasta, rice, veggies. And if you only dole out a little bit at a time, it also helps stretch the crabmeat for multiple meals. How do you do this? When your crabmeat arrives, immediately open it up and divide it up into the portions you want and then freeze it in freezer ziplock bags. When it's time to make a meal, thaw out the crabmeat portions. Crabmeat is a great add to your favorite dishes: I like combining it with pasta, because it is inexpensive and very easy to cook.

Crabmeat and Pasta

Pasta
olive oil or butter
crabmeat
your favorite herbs and spices

Prepare the pasta according to the manufacturing instructions and then cook up the crabmeat in a little olive oil or butter in a saute pan with your favorite herbs and spices. Toss the prepared pasta and crabmeat together and you've got yourself a really delicious, easy, highly flavorful meal. The costs of the prepared dish is up to you depending how much crabmeat you want to use per portion.

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