Spicy Maryland Crab Cakes


In Maryland, steamed crabs are a big deal.  They are steamed up with a spicy local seasoning called Old Bay, and eaten in large quantities with big crowds around a picnic table covered in brown paper.  They are washed down with sometimes copious quantities of cold beer.

It’s a rare day when I can’t finish eating whatever crabs are in front of me.

On this occasion it was necessary to make some crab cakes out of leftover crab meat.   Maryland crab cakes are made with maryland crab.. or at least with some old bay in them.  These crab cakes were spicy with a little hot pepper, bell pepper, and sweet basil in them.


  • 1 lb (??) of fresh picked crab meat

    IMG 3208 300x225   Spicy Maryland Crab Cakes

    Crab meat!

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

    IMG 3205 300x225   Spicy Maryland Crab Cakes

    Peppers and basil

  • 1-2 tsp old bay (to taste)
  • 1 egg

    IMG 3206 300x225   Spicy Maryland Crab Cakes

    Eggs and Old Bay

  • 1 tsp spicy peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Basil, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl

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Crab cake mixture

Form patties out of the crab cake mixture and place on a lightly greased pan

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Crab cakes baking

Bake until golden brown on the outside.. about 15-20  minutes
These were a little spicy, so I ate them with a little greek yogurt.  Yum!!!

IMG 3217 300x225   Spicy Maryland Crab Cakes

Spicy Maryland crab cakes!


September 11, 2011
Food, Recipe


Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers


In my garden, the tomatoes just started coming in like crazy! 
I don’t eat tomatoes on everything, so I needed to come up with a way to use the ripe ones so they wouldn’t go to waste.

IMG 2733 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

cherry tomatoes

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More garden tomatoes

It just so happened that this weekend at the Catonsville Farmer’s Market, my favorite vendor, the White Rose Farm folks, had a huge bag of mixed peppers (purple bell, cowhorn, jalapeno, mild/spicy varieties, etc) at a ridiculously good price.  I’m growing jalapenos, chilli peppers, and bell peppers, but I don’t have that many of any of those yet.
They also had tomatillos for sale, which I got to taste for the first time thanks to the friendly man at the farm stand.  They are really good raw! Crunchy and buttery!

This was also the first time I’ve purchased garlic from the farmer’s market.  At $1 a bunch, it’s not the most economical, but wow was it good! Crisp, so fresh, flavorful, and much more potent.  I only used 2 cloves where I might normally use 4 or more!

With all this in tow, and a bunch of cilantro, I set to work.

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Blended peppers, cilantro and garlic , frozen for future use

Many of the peppers wouldn’t have lasted a full week in the fridge before going off, so I decided to food process all of them at once.   It’s a pain in the moment, but I am so excited for all the leftover pepper/garlic/cilantro mixture I have frozen and waiting for my next culinary usage of them.  At the very least, I can keep this frozen until I get my next batch of ripe tomatoes for more salsa :).

Here’s the general recipe for a delicious, fresh, garden salsa made from tomatillo, peppers, and tomatoes:


  • 1 part tomatillos
  • 1 part diced tomatoes
  • 1 part mixed peppers (bell, cowhorn, jalapeno, mild/spicy varieties, etc..)
  • garlic (2 cloves of farmer’s market garlic goes a long way!)

    IMG 2854 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

    Mixed peppers, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and Garlic

  • leek (1/4 cup chopped or to taste, or onion if you prefer, but leek is milder, and I didn’t use much)
  • cilantro (handful–to taste!)
IMG 2860 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers



Add garlic, leek, cilantro, peppers and tomatillos to the food processor and blend into very small pieces (but not entirely pureed).

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peppers in the food processor

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Food processing ingredients

Dice tomatoes and combine in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust amount of jalapenos and hot peppers for spiciness.


IMG 2865 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Fresh Garden Salsa with Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and mixed Peppers

After devouring our first batch with chips, we added more on top of some homemade shrimp burritos! YUM!!
This salsa had just the right amount of spiciness (adjust pepper ratio to taste)!

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Garden Salsa on a shrimp burrito

August 6, 2011
Food, Recipe


Hum: The strangest liqueur I’ve ever had


I’ve been nagging the liquor store down the street to stock some ginger liqueur or ginger-infused vodka.    I walked in today and the woman who knows me (don’t judge..) was excited to point out “hum”.  “This one has ginger IN it!” she proudly exclaimed.  I checked it out.

IMG 0986 144x300   Hum: The strangest liqueur Ive ever had

Hum-a botanical liqueur

This liqueur had an ingredient list I couldn’t pass up:

Inspired by the great amaros of Italy, celebrated mixologists, Adam Seger of Chicago and London’s Joe McCanta infuse organic rum with fair trade hibiscus, organic ginger, green cardamom and kaffir lime to create the beautifully balanced spirit called hum. At a bold 70 proof, hum is best enjoyed on the rocks with lime and a splash of soda. Enjoy it tall with tonic, ginger ale or cola. Or, add it to your favorite beer or sparkling wine. Don’t stop there….replace sweet vermouth or orange liqueur with hum to kick up the classic negroni, manhattan or margarita. Finally, end your evening with your favorite ice cream drizzled with hum. Mmmmmm. The applications are only limited by your imagination.

**update: here is a list of recipes on their official website!  Worth a try? http://www.humspirits.com/recipes/ **

I first tasted this liqueur over ice to ascertain the flavor.  WOW.  Spicy, exotic, not like any liqueur I’ve had before.  The cardamom and hibiscus come through very strong, while the spiciness of the ginger permeates the flavor.  I’m sure the lime is in there somewhere.  I felt like I was eating some kind of Thai/indian dish that had somehow been mutated into a cocktail.   Where to go from here.. I wasn’t going to drink it straight (not at $39 a bottle.. ) so I decided to try and mix it with white wine (I also bought a bottle of sparkling wine to try with it later).

I mixed it with a pinot grigio (not my first choice), in a glass with ice.  It tasted pretty good yet still very spicy! I only added maybe a teaspoon or so of the liqueur because a little goes a long way here with “hum”.  After a few sips I drizzled a couple drops of a sweeter black currant liqueur in the glass and found that worked nicely too.

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Hum mixed with wine

If you’re looking to expand your liqueur list and like exotic flavorings, check out hum.  I’m looking forward to finding new ways to mix this one!

April 15, 2011


Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

This spicy rub followed by a sweet honey and apple glaze is the perfect combination. The skin was just the right level of crispness and the chicken thigh was juicy and moist.  The sweetness of the honey/cider vinegar glaze hits your tounge first, followed by the spicy rub. It is an easy recipe to throw together with ingredients that are almost guaranteed to be in your pantry. It requires no marinating so it took all of 20 minutes from start to finish. Just the type of recipe I need for a last minute meal. I served it with a small side salad, as well as a lentil and kale sautee.

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

Servings: 4 chicken thighs

Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh

Nutrients per Serving: 110.9 calories; 3.3g fat; 57.3mg cholesterol; 657.0mg sodium; 251.3mg potassium; 7.6g carbohydrates; 14.3g protein

  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken thighs
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  1. Prepare a small cookie sheet by covering it with foil and spraying it lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Add chicken thighs to bowl and toss to coat them thoroughly.
  3. Turn broiler on.
  4. Place chicken on pan and broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Careful not to let cook any longer or dry rub will burn.
  5. Combine honey and cider vinegar in a bowl. Whisk together.
  6. Remove chicken from oven and brush honey/cider mixture on chicken.
  7. Broil 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush honey/cider mixture on the second side.
  8. Broil 2-3 minutes.
  9. Make a mini-slice in the under side of one piece of chicken to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked.


March 31, 2011
Food, Recipe