Sunday, December 15, 2013

RASPBERRY JAM-FILLED HEART COOKIES

I usually make these cookies at Christmas time using star cookie-cutters. Sometimes I add poppy seeds to the dough. These make great little treats for Valentine's Day.


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 t vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk and beat to incorporate. Mix in vanilla, flour and poppy seeds until well combined.
Divide dough into two equal pieces.  
Form each piece into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece at a time, roll dough to a ⅛-thickness.
Use a (2 ½ inch) heart or star cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
Transfer to baking sheets. 
Use a smaller cookie-cutter and cut out the center of half of the cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. 
Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
Place cookie tops on the baking sheets again and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Spread about ½ t of jam on all solid cookies and gently top with cut-out cookie.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

STEAMED CHESAPEAKE BAY BLUE CRABS


Catching crabs is part of the summer fun on the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia.  You can identify a male crab by blue tips on its claws and an image of the Washington DC Monument on its abdomen.  A female crab has red tips on its claws and an image of the US Capitol Building on its abdomen.  You should always throw the female and small crabs back in the water.  If you buy crabs, ask for number one Jimmies.  They are the largest male crabs available and measure about 6 to 6 ½ inches. 


3 dozen live blue crabs
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
¼ cup sea salt
3 cups beer
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water

Layer crabs in the top portion of a crab pot and sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning between layers. Place the lid on securely.
Combine the sea salt, beer and white vinegar in the bottom of a crab pot. 
Stir and bring to a low boil.
Put the top portion with the crabs on top. 
Let steam 20 to 30 minutes until they turn bright orange.

While crabs are steaming, cover your table with brown packaging paper or newspaper.

Place wooden mallets on table along with small paring knives, a roll of paper towels or large napkins.

Spread crabs on table and sprinkle with a little more Old Bay Seasoning before serving, if desired.

Serve with beer, corn on the cob and a tomato salad.

Serves 4