food recipes

Loaves and Dishes: Bring on the comfort food for 2021


			
				                                This crab cake recipe is one of the more popular on the Loaves and Dishes website.

This crab cake recipe is one of the more popular on the Loaves and Dishes website.

As 2021 sets sail, I’m sitting here in the plush executive office suite at the Worldwide Headquarters of Loaves and Dishes (also known as the guest bedroom) trying to divine the tea leaves for all 2021 food trends. This is calling into question how the future contents of my website are going to jive with my 2021 health and personal safety goals.

I mean, come on, Real Simple magazine says that the new year shall be full of comfort food classics (hooray!), mescal (instead of tequila), immune boosting foods and tacos! We aren’t just talking about the ol’ stand by of ground beef mixed with a packet and topped with cheese and lettuce either! Oh no! We are mouthing down on luscious tortillas filled to the brim with every concoction you can imagine and loaded with exquisite sauces, veggies and other delights.

What’s that you say? You love tacos, too? Then it appears that our diet isn’t being ruined by the tacos, instead the tacos are being ruined by our diet!

While we are discussing the tacos, I’ve got more good news. Apparently diets that restrict a single element (like carbs or ketos or whatever) are on the way out for the new year. “Balanced” and “taste the rainbow,” so to speak, are the diet goals for the next 365. I knew I was going to love the future.

Here are some of the other trends that “they” are identifying: New twists on old drinks (non-alcoholic cocktails are trendy as well as creating previously non-alcoholic drinks with alcohol), think Kombucha with a kick. Then, thank heavens, rather than focusing on every new nut, seed and green that comes down the pike, restaurants will be focusing on super clean prep and dining areas, down home comfort foods that we all know and love and fantastic service in order to win us back to their doors. I’m loving that idea, right?

Bring on the mac and cheese, pot roast and roasted veggies. I am ready. Here’s a little extra pro tip for dining out in 2021: the extra fork at the place setting is for stabbing anyone who tries to grab one of your fries. You can thank me later.

With that, I thought I might share one of the more popular recipes on my website, because we are what we eat and we all want to be the best thing ever, right? These Easy Crab Cakes, which truly are easy and get rave reviews every single time certainly fit that bill. Look for the crab in the refrigerated case with other seafood. It comes in a container that is about the size of a single serving yogurt container.

Easy Crab Cakes

1 lb. crab claw meat, drained

20 saltine crackers, crushed

½ tsp. hot sauce

½ tsp fresh ground pepper

½ tsp kosher salt

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning

1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1 egg

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. lemon juice

3 Tbs. parsley, chopped fine (optional)

4 Tbs. butter, melted

Drain the crab meat well and then evenly spread it across the bottom of a large bowl using care not to break up the crab meat pieces. Sprinkle the crushed saltines over the top (do not mix together yet). In a small bowl, mix together the hot sauce, pepper, salt, Dijon, old bay, Worcestershire, onion powder, garlic powder, egg, mayo, lemon juice and parsley (optional). Pour the wet ingredients over the crab meat and saltines and then very gently, using your hands, fold together the ingredients until well mixed. Do your best not to break up the crab meat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove the bowl from the fridge and pat into patties. (This recipe makes about 6 patties). Place the patties back into the fridge for at least an hour. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to Broil-High. Allow the oven to come to full temp (it will take about 10 minutes or maybe a little more).

Brush the tops of the crab cakes with the melted butter and broil on high for 8 minutes on the first side.

Carefully turn the crab cakes over and brush with butter on the other side. Broil for another 6 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes:

* Crab meat is expensive, so you’ll want to follow the directions exactly to have these come out perfectly.

* You can make these half size and use them as an appetizer, you’ll need to watch them carefully in the oven, when they are browned and sizzly, it’s time to turn them.

* You’ll want to use a good mayo such as Hellman’s, Duke’s, Blue Plate or Aldi brand.

* The mustard gives a ton of flavor, use a quality Dijon mustard not a yellow mustard and not a seedy mustard. The hot sauce adds flavor, so don’t worry about the heat. Use a quality hot sauce like Cholulas.

PRO TIP: The egg and mayo act as binders. One without the other doesn’t work (I’ve tried it). The cracker is a little bit of a filler, but not so that you can use less crab. Instead it fills in the spaces between the chunks of meat and you need it as well. Do not try to use panko or some other filler, it doesn’t work as well.

SUBSTITUTIONS: This is super important: Don’t make any substitutions. Everything in this recipe is important to the outcome. The one substitution that I’ve been able to make without a decline in the performance of the recipe is to use a pinch of cayenne instead of the hot sauce. But the hot sauce was better.

Wendi Spraker is CEO, Food Writer, Recipe Developer and Dish Washer at www.loavesanddishes.net/ and one of the Dorks with Sporks duo, a mother-daughter “adventure in take-out” podcast. Find them at https://dorkswithsporks.com/.