Tag Archives: kel’s cafe pescatarian recipes

Rockin’ Oyster “Rockefeller” Stew

“He was a bold man who first ate an oyster”  ~ Johnathan Swift

My ex mother-in-law is a wonderful country cook. Her fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had, period. Geraldine also makes what she calls Oyster Stew. I never understood why she deemed this stuff “stew” — it was more of a soup to me, with milk, fresh oysters in their liquor, butter (lots and lots of it, Paula Deen would be so proud) and salt and pepper. That’s it. So simple to make, so wonderful to eat (especially paired with her fried chicken!)

I made Geraldine’s “stew” for years after my ex and I parted ways, until I found Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for Oyster Rockefeller Soup Garnished with Crispy Bacon and Fried Oysters. Wow! This is a “kicked-up” version of Geraldine’s stew that I absolutely adore, with heavy cream, bacon, spinach and fried oysters. Not as easy to make as hers, but oh, so worth the effort. Of course adding bacon makes everything better!

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Food of the Month, September 2012: Crabmeat Newburg

When is the last time you enjoyed a great Crabmeat Newburg? Well, now’s the time to do so if you want to celebrate National Crabmeat Newburg Day, which is Sept. 25th. When I was selecting my food of the month, I wanted to go with something I’ve never made before. The fact that I love crabmeat was also a deciding factor. What I like about this easy recipe is that it works well as an appetizer served with toast or crackers or as a main meal over rice or noodles. It also reminds me of my Dad, who occasionally made a wonderful Seafood Newburg on New Year’s Eve. I think he would approve of my version, but I will probably add some shrimp next time to make mine more like his.

This dish is rich, creamy and oh, so, so satisfying. It’s great to serve at a party or potluck dinner since it’s so easy to put together. Try to find your crabmeat on sale if possible – this can definitely be a budget-stretcher otherwise, and you may want to save it for special occasions.

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Restaurant Review: Crave – Minneapolis, Minn.

I wound out up at Crave after an adjustment to my original plan to go to 112 Eatery to check out Isaac Becker’s cuisine (I recently mentioned him in my Top Tips from Food Network Magazine blog). Luckily, the walk to 112 Eatery from my hotel room was only about 15 minutes. Unluckily, when I arrived there was a flyer on the door that it was closed for kitchen renovations and would reopen the next day. Sigh, major sigh.  Especially walking with plantar fasciitis. However, a cool looking place, Crave, was right across the street from my hotel. Thank you, renovation gods, what a great experience I had at Crave!

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Shrimp Salad Pitas

Years ago, Clawson’s Restaurant and Pub in beautiful Beaufort, N.C., served a delicious shrimp salad in a pita pocket. Beaufort is on North Carolina’s crystal coast, right outside of Atlantic Beach and Morehead City, and has a great collection of wonderful restaurants and bars for such a small area.

For some insane reason, this dish disappeared from Clawson’s  menu quite a while back. However, ever since the first time I had it, I’ve tried to replicate the recipe at home and love my latest low-calorie, low-fat version. I hope you will, too!

Ingredients (this will yield 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your pita bread)

  • 12 oz. bag of frozen, cooked small shrimp, 71-90 count (the smaller salad shrimp works well, too)
  • ¼ of a fresh lemon
  • ½ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small  (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced small (remove the fleshy membrane and seeds)
  • ½ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small
  • 2/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons white wine (I used Hess Chardonnay this time)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed (double this amount if you have fresh dill)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Pita bread
  • Tomato and avocado, diced (optional)


Thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator, rinse, dry and add to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice. Add the onion, celery, red bell pepper and cucumber and mix well.

Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, white wine,  mustard, dill weed, salt and pepper.

Add the dressing to the shrimp mixture in small  batches – you don’t want to over-saturate the shrimp. Many times I have just a little bit of dressing left over. Refrigerate the shrimp salad for at least an hour so that the flavors meld together well.

Cut the pita bread in half to make two pockets. Lightly toast. Fill with the shrimp salad.

I usually add some diced tomato and avocado to the pockets at this point (rather than adding these ingredients to the salad itself, as they tend to get soggy.)

I especially love how the shrimp and avocado taste so good together. By the way, if you are watching your carbs and want to ditch the bread, just serve this salad on some lettuce or spring mix.

Pair this with some cut-up fruit and a glass of white wine for a light, refreshing and oooh, sooo good meal!

Bon appétit, and eat, drink and be merry!

Kel’s Crabilicious Crab Cakes

“You cannot teach a crab to walk straight” – Aristophanes

Aaaaah, crabs. I love the sweetness of the meat, whether it’s  Maryland blue, Dungeness, rock, Alaskan King or soft shell. I have to admit  that sometimes I’m lazy and just buy the fresh crabmeat that comes in the plastic containers. I usually buy it only when it goes on sale –it’s just too expensive otherwise. Then comes the hard decision – do I just sauté it in butter, or do I make crab cakes? Either way is fine with me because both are a treat!

I recently bought Casey’s backfin/blended lump crab to make cakes.  I do not like using a lot of filler in the mix, and this recipe is so easy, and oh, so tasty!


  • 16 oz. fresh crabmeat, picked over with any shells, etc.
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • ½ cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet onion (Vidalia is my favorite)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/8 cup mayo (I use Duke’s Light)
  • 2 tablespoons oil for sautéing (I use Canola oil)
  • Breadcrumbs or flour
  • Garlic salt (to taste)
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce (to taste)
  • Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)


In a large mixing bowl, flake the crab meat with a fork, and  sprinkle it with the fresh lemon juice. Add the red pepper, celery and onion. Mix together.

Add the egg and mayo to the crab mixture, and blend  thoroughly.  Season the mixture with the garlic salt, pepper, hot  sauce and Old Bay– start slowly because you can always add more. I usually add at least a teaspoon of each and then go from there.

Form into 4 large patties, or 8 smaller ones. Refrigerate for at least an hour. This step is so important because it makes the cakes hold together better, especially since I leave out filler such as breadcrumbs, crackers, etc. in the mix.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dredge each cake in  flour or breadcrumbs (I used panko crumbs for this batch, and really loved the texture!)

Sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side, until  golden brown. Take care when you flip them over so they don’t break apart.

These are great without any sauce, but feel free to serve them with your favorite cocktail sauce or fresh lemon. My favorite pairings  include a tossed mixed green salad and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or other white wine.

Bon appétit

Eat, drink, and be merry!

Sockeye Salmon Two Ways

The great thing about wild Alaska sockeye salmon is not only is it delicious, but it is also full of natural minerals and vitamins that are good for you. High in protein, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, it contains no detectable mercury. Salmon are different from most fish, which either live in fresh or salt water. This is not the case for salmon. During the course of their life they will live in both salt and fresh water. Make sure you always buy the wild salmon – don’t even get me started about the farm raised stuff.

“The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater,” Obama said. “I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

Well Mr. President, I don’t know what kind of salmon you’re talking about, but here are two recipes just might cure the munchies – cedar plank grilled sockeye and sockeye salmon cakes. When the sockeye is on sale, I buy extra to grill to make the cakes a few days later.

Cedar Plank Grilled Sockeye Salmon (Serves 2)

Grilled salmon on cedar is sinfully good! Cedar planks can be found at any hardware store where they sell the grilling stuff. You must soak the plank in water before grilling, usually for at least an hour; preferably more if you have time – just follow the directions on the package. You need to weight the plank with a heavy can or a brick so it stays totally immersed. This is so easy to prepare – 2 ingredients not counting the cedar planks!



Marinate the salmon in enough Drew’s dressing to coat the fish completely for an hour or so. Place the cedar plank on the grill until it is hot, then put the fish on the plank. Grill about 10 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon, until you can flake it with a fork.

Serve with a starch (baked potato as shown, roasted red potatoes or risotto are also great choices) and a vegetable such as steamed green beans, broccoli or asparagus.

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir or a nice white Burgundy

Sockeye salmon cakes

These things rock – the smokiness of the cedar plank salmon and the coolness of the dill sauce go great together!


  • 1 ½ cups of cooked cedar plank grilled salmon, flaked
  • 2 thick onion slices, diced small
  • 1 celery stalk, diced small
  • ½ fresh red pepper, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ slices of fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 extra large egg, beaten
  • Tabasco/hot sauce to taste (I usually use several shakes)
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon slices to garnish


Mix together all of the ingredients except the olive oil and lemons (I usually do this with my hands.) Divide into 4 large patties, or 8 small ones. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors meld and to firm up the cakes.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Sautee the cakes until golden brown on both sides, approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Serve with low-fat dill sauce (see recipe below), smoked mozzarella pasta salad from Whole Foods and a tossed salad with your choice of dressing (I like Good Seasons Italian with this.)

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir or a nice white Burgundy

Low-fat Dill Sauce


  • ¼ cup low-fat mayo (I use Duke’s)
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (use both the green and white parts)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed, finely chopped (use 1 teaspoon of dry dill if you don’t have fresh)
  • Few dashes of Tabasco/hot sauce, to taste
  • Seasoned salt and ground pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients, and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. Bring to room temperature before drizzling over the salmon patties.

Bon appétit!