It’s HOT out there!
The month of July is a great one in America. There’s an abundance of red, white, and blue spirit, baseball, and laid back Saturdays at the park along with grilling burgers and hot dogs with your family.
While growing up in Philly, we had a lot of block parties. Kids would play in the fire hydrants (local Fire Department approved) and Independence Day would mean sparklers, late nights, and fireworks.
July was amazing!
And in my family, July was filled with TONS of seafood, so much that I started a fish market about a decade ago. It’s the perfect summer meal option. It’s healthy and you can cook a lot at one time, invite family and friends over, turn the radio up loud, and a party will ensue.
And there are so many wonderful family owned small businesses making great seafood seasonings. One of our favorites is JO Spice. If you’ve ever had steamed blue crabs at a restaurant in the Maryland area more than likely they use JO Spice.
Great shellfish is messy and social. So this month, we’re encouraging you to lay out the newspapers, roll up your sleeves, and chow down on some amazing local seafood. #unlockhomemade.
I remember first meeting my husband and discussing food and he mentioned how he only ate macaroni and cheese out of a box. Because that is what his grandmother served. My grandmother always made baked macaroni and cheese from scratch.
And since I’m the cook in the family he didn’t eat macaroni and cheese for a while.
I also grew up with macaroni and cheese being a side dish. I didn’t realize people ate it as a meal till I moved to the south. And they put extra things in it. Things like bacon, broccoli, tomatoes, ham, chicken etc. The only addition I will eat is lobster!
My original mistake with making lobster macaroni and cheese is that I thought I could just add lobster meat to my grandmother’s recipe.
After trying several lobster mac & cheese dishes at restaurants and some regular mac & cheese dishes (I only try them if they are baked). I began to pinpoint the differences I would need to do in order to create a recipe that worked for me.
This last time, I used langostinos because I had some in my freezer and they work well as a substitute for lobster in a pinch.
But use whatever you have.
Like I mentioned before, what’s important are the type of cheeses used and the liquid to solid ratio.
And just as with any recipe, play around with the ingredients. There are so many types of cheeses out there. Start with your favorites and go from there.
Remember it’s basically pasta, cheese and lobster. You really can’t go wrong with it.
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese
A decadent and rich comfort food for any occasion
- 1 lb pasta (such as elbow, rigatoni, penne, ziti etc)
- 4 tbsp of butter, plus extra for baking pan
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp course ground pepper
- 3 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
- 1 cup each of 2-3 cheeses of your choice (I use gruyere, gouda and parmesan)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp of thyme (optional)
- 1 lb of lobster meat, thawed if frozen
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- whisk together, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp of thyme if using. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put in a bowl with lobster meat and 1 cup of cheese (1/3 of each cheese). Set aside
- In a medium sauce pan, melt butter gently and whisk in flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Add in salt, pepper, dry mustard. Combine well.
- Add milk in 1/2 cup at a time while whisking constantly to remove any lumps that form. This is sometimes known as a white sauce or béchamel sauce.
- Once fully incorporated, let the sauce cook to thicken for 3-5 minutes.
- Slowly add in 2 cups of cheese (2/3 of each cheese). Whisk again to combine.
- Mix cheese sauce with pasta and lobster.
- Butter a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Gently pour macaroni and cheese into your baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let stand for 5 minutes
- Bon Apetit
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/
It’s beginning to smell a lot like the holidays!
I won’t try and pretend this isn’t of my favorite times of the year. Lots of family, friends, fun and most importantly food. It’s the only time of the year I eat turkey, cranberry sauce and leftovers.
And while the ham, macaroni & cheese, candied yams, stuffing and all the other wonderful dishes that fill our Thanksgiving tables are enjoyed, we need a break.
Our palates need a break.
So I try cook right after Turkey day something that is completely different from the traditional meal. Light meal options are great to cleanse the palate and refresh the stomach. So here is one of my many pasta salad recipes. It’s quick, easy and good. The cooking the orzo and letting it chill allows for the vinaigrette to coat all the ingredients days after it’s made. I use shrimp because in my family they love it and I keep them on hand at all times. But I will substitute salmon, crabmeat (snow, blue or king) and scallops when I can get them. Or go vegetarian and don’t add any meat at all. It’s so versatile everyone can find a way to incorporate it into their lives.
Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad
A light and refreshing pasta salad for any day of the week
- 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice and the zest from the lemons
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and ground pepper
- 1 lb 16-20ct shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 lb orzo, cooked
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 english cucumber, seeds removed and chopped
- 1 cup fresh corn, approximately 3 ears
- 1 small red onion, sliced (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, sliced (optional)
- 4 oz feta cheese, cubed
- In a small bowl, add lemon juice, zest, honey and shallots. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the shallots to mellow a bit. Whisk in oil to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to marry.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Drain and coat with a light layer of olive oil.
- Place in fridge to cool.
- While pasta cooks season shrimp with salt and pepper, or any blend of seasoning you like on seafood.
- Place on baking sheet in 1 layer.
- Roast in oven for 4-10 minutes*.
- Remove pasta from fridge, add cucumbers, corn, onions and peppers. Add shrimp once cooled.
- Combine dressing with salad
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Gently mix in feta cheese.
- Serve at room temperature.
- *the larger the shrimp the more time they take. 16-20 ct take about 7-8 minutes, 21-25ct take about 5-6 etc.
- Over cooked shrimp are rubbery so watch them in the oven.
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/
It’s officially Summer! And in my world that means two things grilling and crabs.
Some of my first memories of food are waking up early on a Saturday morning with my dad and going to get some live blue crabs from the crab guy on the corner with his truck. We’d buy a bushel and stop to get some malt liquor (my dad bought it not me…I was like 4).
Then we’d get home and start cooking them. (And we’ve been cooking them the same way for the last 30 years, why fix what ain’t broken?). After lining the table with lots and lots of newspaper we would get down to business.
We would literally eat crabs all day. Just hours and hours of eating steamed blue crabs.
That will always be my most favorite memory with my dad, with food, about summer you name it nothing has surpassed that yet (and I got married during the summer…but my husband knows where he falls on my list of all time loves 🙂 ).
Now that I have my own house and I buy the food, we get blue crabs A LOT more often than we did when I was a kid but those memories will always be the best for me….
Steamed Blue Crabs
The easiest and best steamed blue crabs!
- 2 dozen live blue crabs
- 1 40oz malt liquor (such as Colt 45, Schlitz, Old English)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup seafood boil (not old bay it tends to burn)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp hot sauce
- 1/4 cup of your favorite seafood seasoning (we use J.O. Spice)
- In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, bring malt liquor, vinegar, water, seafood boil, salt and hot sauce to a rolling boil.
- Let steam accumulate in the pot.
- When ready add a layer of crabs then seafood seasoning. Repeat until the pot is full.
- Let it come back to a rolling boil and steam for 25 minutes.
- Crabs are done with they are bright orange/red with no blue spots.
- Only cook very active crabs unless you are comfortable with deciphering when the crab died.
- You can use regular beer if you can't find malt liquor.
- Or if you don't want to use alcohol (which takes away a lot of the flavor) use equal parts water and vinegar in place of the alcohol.
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/