Crabs at Cantler’s in Annapolis, Maryland

Forget springtime in Paris… A perfect spring evening is spent at a table with a view of the South River, a brown paper table cloth, a dozen Maryland blue crabs, margaritas (don’t forget those!) and your favorite girlfriends.

We waited for a table at Cantler’s for close to two hours, but it was totally worth it. At Cantler’s you can “tailgate” in the parking lot with drinks and appetizers while you wait.

 

Ariana and I ordered “Jimmy’s Crab Feast.” For $25.00 you get three large crabs, clams, mussels, shrimp, and corn on the cob.

Marisa got crab-cakes and Jenny and Allison stuck with the classic dozen blue crabs ($65.00) covered in Old Bay Seasoning.

Don’t forget the melted butter… smash that crab with a mallet and drown it in butter.

Before moving to DC I had never experienced the joy of cracking open your own crabs and removing the lungs, guts and poop. Yes….  poop. But there is something about the process that makes it taste better. You worked for it!

And, this $7.00 margarita was 10 times better than the one I ordered here. Though many might argue that crabs are served best with a bottle of cold beer.

And here is what I was left with…

P.S. We spent the afternoon kayaking around Annapolis with a guided historical tour. Our guides were very cool. They actually used to live in Hawaii where they met on a kayaking tour, fell in love and eventually ended up in Annapolis. Take their tour, it’s the perfect way to get some sun, workout your arms and then have an excuse to eat crabs at Cantler’s later!

Kayaking photos here on Jenny’s blog Savory Style

Grilled Ruben Hot Dog

“What do you want for dinner tonight?”

“I really want a hot dog…”

“How can you possibly want another hot dog?”

“I don’t know, I just need one!” 

This is a reoccurring conversation in my little kitchen lately. And while some people are all “hot-dogged out” I just can’t seem to get enough.

So in order to fulfill this craving once and for all, I am hereby declaring this Summer, The Summer of the Hot Dog!  For the rest of the summer (which officially starts next week) I will blog a new hot dog recipe every Friday.

And not just any old ketchup and mustard hot dog, these hot dogs will be special. This week is the Grilled Ruben Hot Dog.

Shopping List  (recipe adapted from RedBook)

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup sauerkraut
1/2 cup diced grape tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2/3 cup dry white wine
4  top-split hot dog buns
1/3 cup Thousand Island dressing
Light Shredded Swiss cheese
4  all-beef hot dogs
2  kosher dill pickle quarters cut in half

Directions

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; add onion and sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Add sauerkraut, tomatoes, salt, and pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Pour in wine and bring to boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes or until wine is absorbed.

Toast insides of buns on in the oven or on a grill. Spread insides of buns with half of the dressing, then sprinkle your swiss cheese on top.

Butterfly your all beef hot dogs and grill outside or on a grill pan, each side for about 3 minutes. Place in buns and spread tops of hot dogs with remaining dressing, then spoon warmed sauerkraut mixture down the middle. Lay pickle halves along each side.

Coconut Lemon Breakfast Bars

I candied lemon slices the other day and put them on top of breakfast bars. (They were almost as good as these)  While the breakfast bars  came out perfectly, I was anything but perfect in the kitchen.  I was a disorganized,  clumsy mess.  It took me way to long to do everything, and I broke a knife and a chair…  yes a chair.



The knife was chipped while idiotically trying to open a coconut. Those things are hard! But the fresh coconut water inside is to die for, a delicious treat on a hot summer day.

I used the flesh of the coconut in the breakfast bars, the flavor was not as strong as I would have liked but it  helped to keep them moist. Next time I will double the coconut. You could also use shredded coconut flakes instead

I broke the chair while trying to take a photo from our deck of a gorgeous pink and purple sunset. I couldn’t see over the trees (little 5’3 me) and thought if I stood on a chair, I could just get a little higher.. and then…

I guess you can’t stand on patio furniture… who knew?

The Oatmeal Lemon Breakfast Bar recipe is super simple and adapted from www.epicurious.com.

Shopping List
2 Sweet young coconuts (optional)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup Lemon Chutney or Curd
1 lemon


Candied Lemon recipe from Martha

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Blend together flour, sugars, inside flesh of the coconut (it will be wet and soft, unlike store bought shredded coconut) and salt in a food processor, then add butter and blend until a dough begins to form. Transfer to a bowl and knead in oats until combined well.

Press the dough evenly into bottom of a buttered 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan and spread the lemon chutney over it. Sprinkle more oats evenly over chutney then top with candied lemon slices.

Bake in middle of oven until golden, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack. Loosen from sides of pan with a sharp knife, then lift out in 1 piece and transfer to a cutting board.

Cut into bars.

Maybe tonight Ill post a photo of the tree covered sunset, just for the hell of it.

Greek Quinoa Salad in a Lettuce Wrap with Tzatziki

Beautiful bowls of this flavorful grain have been popping up all over the blogosphere lately. I jumped on the Quinoa bandwagon last night and I’m so glad I did.

 

Initially I wanted to make Greek quesadillas, but then I thought of all the carbs in tortillas —  and how I would want to melt cheese inside — and how guilty I would feel after.

That’s when I thought of the giant bag of quinoa my Grandpa gave me when I went home last weekend and how the texture of the grain with some Greek flavors would be just as hearty.


Shopping list for Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa (white or black)
2 cups beef stock (you can sub with vegetable stock as well)
1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons Hungarian pepper diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons diced green onion
heavy lettuce for wraps, Romain or Iceberg

Shopping list for Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill
1 cucumber
1/2 of a lemon
salt

 

1. Mis en place: Chop and set aside your veggies, olives, and green onion for the Quinio salad.

2. Bring your 2 cups of stock and 1 cup Quinoa to a boil at high heat, once boiling reduce to a simmer and put a lid on it. Let it cook for about 15 minutes or until your stock has boiled off /absorbed. Strain and let cool.

3. Peel the skin off your cucumber for the tzatsiki sauce. Cut cucumber into smaller pieces that fit in your food processor and pulse until the cucumber is like mush.  Pour the cucumber puree into a strainer to reduce the water content, adding a pinch of salt will help draw out even more water.

4. In a large bowl add your cup of Greek yogurt, dill, cucumber puree and the juice of half of a lemon, a dash more salt and pepper, then mix thoroughly. The longer it sits the better the flavor will be! You can use more or less lemon juice, but I really love how it brightens up the sauce.

I use tzatziki for everything… sandwiches, meats, or even just as dip for veggies.

5. Add your veggies, olives, onions and feta to the quinoa and stir gently, folding in the ingredients.

6. Serve with lettuce wraps and a side dish of tzatziki.

Honestly this was almost as good as those cheesy, carb filled quesadillas I wanted. I love it when healthy tastes good! No wonder my favorite blogger ladies are all about quinoa recipes.

Adventures in Hot Dogs

I’m back! We just returned from a weekend with family in Connecticut, which means mani-pedi’s with my mom, morning runs on the beach  and catching up with old friends.

But this post isn’t about my trip (more about that later)… it’s about the best hot dog I’ve ever had.

I’ve been seriously craving hot dogs lately, (no really, all the time, all I want are hot dogs?!) unfortunately, the DC area doesn’t offer much other than your typical run of the mill hot dog stand outside Union Station.

But in Connecticut they have Super Duper Weenie.

Super Duper Weenie initially started as a food truck but did so well that they had to expand into a permanent location. Their dogs are so good that Guy Fieri  featured them on his hit show “Diners, Drive ins and Dives.”

Chicagoan photo via www.lunchoclock.blogspot.com

My Grandpa had the “Chicagoan” that’s topped with crazy green lettuce, tomato, mustard, celery salt, hot relish and a pickle (classic Chicago style).  We also had the “Dixie Dog” and the “New Englander.” 

Menu photo from www.seriouseats.com

Who has your favorite hot dogs? Does anyone have any suggestions as to where this New England girl can find a good hot dog in DC? I can’t seem to shake this craving!