Help, please ! What to serve with ...

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Help, please ! What to serve with ...

Postby Bill Spencer » Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:38 pm

%^)

... corn crab cakes with cilantro sauce ?

Kathleen usually serves this as an appetizer or makes them for crab cake sandwiches ... this time she wants to serve them as the entree but is having a hard time coming up with ideas for side dishes ... so far, she is thinking about a spinach salad but that's as far as she's gotten ...

Dinner for four is Thursday evening ... how 'bout throwing some ideas my way ?

Oh ... and what do you think about serving a chilled dry rose in the place of chardonnay which is what the recipe recommends ? Or any other varietal that comes to your mind ...

Thanks !

Clink !

%^)
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Re: Help, please ! What to serve with ...

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:53 pm

Please, do not mix crab with any foreign substance. The crab police will come to get you. A little egg and Old Bay and fry 'em up. I had a nice rose that I mentioned a few days ago in the wine forum. I don't know how to post links. Enjoy, but please eat your crabmeat responsibly.
Cheers!
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Re: Help, please ! What to serve with ...

Postby Jenise » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:02 pm

Bill, we're here to help! But we need more information. When you say "side dishes", are you talking about what to put on the plate with the crab cakes so they're not lonely? Or are you talking about a separate salad course that you'd serve first or concurrent with crab cakes? Or both?

And give us a direction. Are you thinking California cuisine, or would you want to go with an Asian or Southwest motif? Corn/cilantro would fit all of those.
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Please send the crab police ASAP !

Postby Bill Spencer » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:02 pm

%^)

The ONLY crab you can get in this part of the world is either in a can or some plastic envelope ! The crab police can arrest the store managers and hold them in the old Territorial Prison until they deliver the REAL thing ! Unfortunately, it's 112 today with a low of 88 tonight and they'd never live to see delivery !

If that's not possible, I have a choice between the crab police coming to my place or facing my lovely wife with an Oprah recipe in her hand and telling her no foreign substances in the canned lump crab meat ... I'm breaking out in a sweat weighing my choice as I type ...

Ahhhh ... to live in the land of REAL crab !

Clink !

%^)
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Re: Please send the crab police ASAP !

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:09 pm

Bill Spencer wrote:%^)

The ONLY crab you can get in this part of the world is either in a can or some plastic envelope ! The crab police can arrest the store managers and hold them in the old Territorial Prison until they deliver the REAL thing ! Unfortunately, it's 112 today with a low of 88 tonight and they'd never live to see delivery !

If that's not possible, I have a choice between the crab police coming to my place or facing my lovely wife with an Oprah recipe in her hand and telling her no foreign substances in the canned lump crab meat ... I'm breaking out in a sweat weighing my choice as I type ...

Ahhhh ... to live in the land of REAL crab !

Clink !

%^)


But you can laugh at me in January when it's 38 and raining or worse, 32 and freezing rain. Blech! The crab is a compensation and the winters are relatively short.

Your dish doesn't sound too bad actually.
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Ahhhh ... it's Jenise first to the rescue !

Postby Bill Spencer » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:10 pm

%^)

Hello Jenise !

Oh how I miss those kaffir lime leaves !

Kathleen wants a salad to either be served as a side with the meal or before the meal is served ... again - she's thinking spinach ... other/more suggestions appreciated ...

To the crab cakes - side dishes as in "lonely on the plate" ... a couple/three crab cakes sitting on a plate next to a salad plate just seems too blah ... also one attendee has a tender stomach so not thinking about Aisan re perhaps the spiciness ... Southwest or Californian would work I think as long as we sorta stay away from too spicy ...

Do I make sense ?

Thanks !

Clink !

%^)
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Well, don't put the life preserver in the boat just yet....

Postby Jenise » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:56 pm

Bill, Asian doesn't have to be spicy, but let's say southwest. Corn and cilantro in Arizona really works for southwest. Find out from Kathy what's in her cilantro sauce, would you?

If it's a vinaigrette kind of thing, I'd tend to say let's put the salad into the main course and serve up a starter course that has a whole different attitude. Salad greens of all kinds work beautifully with crab. Finely shredded green cabbage, for instance; Chinese nappa cabbage too. Nothing more than the crab cakes and the sauce needed there. Or here's an idea: why not make some little Chinese scallion pancakes? Add a pinch of cumin to the batter and you're in the Southwest. They're really just a crepe, and you an make them ahead in small discs. Arrange several on the plate--say three in a fan or five in an overlapping circle, and put the crab cakes on top. With their specks of green onion and golden edges, they look beautiful, the crab cakes wouldn't look lonely, and they're an excellent sauce mop. If the sauce is a vinaigrette, garnish with a few chunks of diced avocado. A lovely side salad with that would be a "stuffed relleno". No, not the fried thing, but a charred and seeded pasilla chile split open on top and stuffed with queso fresco and chopped chives. Serve it on a bed of dressed purple cabbage that has marinated just long enough to turn a bright beautiful magenta color. Or stuff the cabbage salad into the chile and sprinkle queso fresco or a pretty orange cheddar over it. Prepare the plate with crushed tortilla chips tossed with a little Gebhardt's chili powder, or pan fry your own strips and season with Gebhardts and garlic salt. You can do everything in the morning but assemble it. Beautiful colors, and very southwest.

React to those ideas and we'll go from here.
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Digesting ...

Postby Bill Spencer » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:14 pm

Jenise wrote:Find out from Kathy what's in her cilantro sauce, would you?

React to those ideas and we'll go from here.


%^)

First, the sauce ...

1 T Cumin seeds
1 1/2 C Sour cream
3 T Chopped cilantro
2 T Chopped scallions
1 t Salt

In a pan over low heat, toast cumin seeds until golden and fragrant ... remove from heat ... cool and grind in a spice grinder, in a mortar, or under a heavy pan on the counter ... combine rest of ingredients ... serve crab cakes immediately with sauce ...

Second, your ideas ...

ALL great, of course ! Let me discuss with "the chef" and reply Wednesday ...

And as always - THANKS !

Clink !

%^)
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Re: Digesting ...

Postby Jenise » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:23 pm

AHHH, so it's a condiment. A dabber or dipper, not a dowser. Got it. It would be very cool with the little pancakes. But since the sauce already has onion in it, you wouldn't want to repeat it. I wouldn't mind repeating the cilantro for color in the pancakes though, and adding lemon zest for attractive flavor contrast. I don't have to ask if you have any of those around.... Tiny, tiny dice of red pepper would be festive, too.
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One more thing ... what about ...

Postby Bill Spencer » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:38 pm

%^)

... the wine ?

Dry rose, chardonnay, or something else ?

Clink !

%^)
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Re: One more thing ... what about ...

Postby Jenise » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:06 pm

Dry rose would be perfect. Rose and crab have a bit of an affinity, and it would also be, not to overuse the word, but festive again. I like color, and you're serving essentially white food with the crab cakes and that sauce. You need to build out the color scheme a little. I have a recipe for the little pancakes.
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Re: One more thing ... what about ...

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:40 pm

Wine: Rose!!!!!

For a side -

For some reason, the first thing I thought of was a cheese crisp. Do you have those in your part of Arizona? Flour tortilla with some good cheddar shredded onto it and set in a hot skillet with a little oil until the cheddar melts and the tortilla gets crisp. I don't know why, but the idea of wedges of cheese crisp with ortega chiles in the cheese sounded really good to me with the crab cakes and spinach salad. Might be hard to make and keep hot until plating, though.


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Re: Help, please ! What to serve with ...

Postby TimMc » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:37 am

Pinot Grigio.

Dry and light...it won't get in the way of your taste buds :wink:
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Re: Help, please ! What to serve with ...

Postby Bernard Roth » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:42 am

Sauvignon blanc. NZ, Sancerre or neutral oak CA.
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Re: One more thing ... what about ...

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:26 pm

Nice idea on the cheese crisps, Mike. Kind of like an open-faced quesadilla, huh.

Bill, another nice and colorful possibility for plating the crab cakes would be asparagus. Five or six spears in the middle of the plate, trimmed to about 6" lengths, would make a lovely raft on which to present the crab cakes, and they'd be delicious with your dipping sauce, too.
Last edited by Jenise on Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Recipe ?

Postby Bill Spencer » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:42 pm

Jenise wrote:I have a recipe for the little pancakes.


%^)

Kathleen really liked the idea of the crepes/pancakes ... would you be so kind as to either post the recipe or e-mail/PM it to me ?

You were reading my mind on the color angle with the wine ... while Bernie's and Tim's suggestions are great, a Summer meal where it's as hot as it is here is sorta "uplifting" when you sit down to a table full of color ... Kathleen is going to use her lemon yellow plates, wide primary striped colored cloth napkins, and blue Mexican glassware with her red Swedish candlestick holders and red, white, blue, and yellow flower arrangement ... I think Bonny Doone's "Cigare" rose would apir well with the crab ...

Clink !

%^)
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went !" - Anonymous

Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

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Interesting

Postby Bill Spencer » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:45 pm

Mike Filigenzi (Sacto) wrote:Wine: Rose!!!!!

For a side -

For some reason, the first thing I thought of was a cheese crisp.


%^)

Hello Mike !

Another great idea ! Yep - one of our favorite appetizers here in this part of the Sonoran Desert and sometimes even as an entree ... and

"Think Summer - Think Pink !"

Clink !

%^)
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went !" - Anonymous

Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

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Now you're making it hard on me ...

Postby Bill Spencer » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:49 pm

Jenise wrote:Another nice and colorful possibility for plating the asparagus would be asparagus.


%^)

Yet another great idea ! A thought, though ... the flavor of asparagus, at least for me, is pretty strong ... while the picture in my mind of the presentation looks wonderful, I wonder whether the stronger flavor of the asparagus might mask/overwhelm the other parts of the meal ?

Clink !

%^)
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went !" - Anonymous

Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

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Re: Now you're making it hard on me ...

Postby James Roscoe » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:07 pm

If you are having asparagras (is it fresh?) you might drink an SB. I might actually go with a white Bordeaux as the more mellow flavors might blend in with the other dishes. You are spicing up the crab a bit so an SB might be the right way to go.
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Re: Now you're making it hard on me ...

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:06 pm

Bill, asparagus is assertive, but it's also sweet and that's why it works so well with crab (as does the corn you're putting in the cakes). It's a contrast, but a contrast with affinity. I often serve a cold crab salad with chilled asparagus spears as a summer lunch--usually with, as James observes, a grassy Sauv Blanc. But my crab salad in that case will have a lot of green onion in it, making everything on the plate a phone line to the wine. Your crab cakes with the corn component are going to be playing into the sweet flavors, and for that reason plus the festivity of the color, I think your choice of the Bonny Doon is spot on.

I'll post the crepe recipe separately.
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