A Winter Escape on the Plate – Alaskan Snow Crab Legs with Drawn Butter

wpid-IMG_20140108_200724.jpgIt’s a rare day in Statesboro when the weather requires scarves and gloves. This week when the temperatures dropped to 16 degrees, I used the Some Kinda Good™ Facebook page to ask, “What’s your favorite thing to eat on freezing days like this?” Many of you responded with exactly what most would–soups, chili, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolate, hot tea–anything comforting and warm. I certainly agree, but the truth is, I’m a warm weather creature. I don’t do well in the cold. Once Christmas is over, I’m ready to go to the beach. If hibernating were an option, you wouldn’t see hide nor hair of me until April when the flowers bloom and the sunny, bright days return. My cold weather comfort isn’t soup. Ironically, it’s beach food. Food that allows me to envision myself on the Georgia coast after a day of basking in the summer sun. So, I cope by cranking up my summer playlist, with songs like Joe Nichols’ Sunny and 75 or Luke Bryan’s Suntan City. I make meals at home that take me to coast and count down the days when I can cruise with the windows down and smile as my 11-pound Shih Tzu cools his belly on the tile floor of the kitchen following an afternoon walk. 

wpid-20140108_191241.jpgIf any meal helps me escape the winter, it’s Alaskan Snow Crab Legs with drawn butter. They’re the easiest thing to make. You’ll need salt, Old Bay, Shrimp & Crab Boil, butter and a few pieces of equipment…

wpid-20140108_191320.jpgA large stock pot fitted with a steamer basket and a lid are essential. Fill the pot about a quarter of the way full. Just be sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer basket. You want to steam the crab legs, not boil them. Then season it with salt and add about a teaspoon of the Shrimp & Crab Boil. Stir.

wpid-20140108_191334.jpgBring the water to a boil. If your crab legs are frozen, rinse them good under cold water or thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Place the crab legs in the steamer basket and set the basket inside the pot.

wpid-20140108_192409.jpgSeason the crab legs with several dashes of Old Bay.


Then, cover them with the lid. Let the crab legs steam over medium-high heat for at least 8-10 minutes. If frozen, you may want to steam them longer, but no more than 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter. I like using unsalted butter. To create drawn butter or clarified butter, use a spoon to skim the fat off the top. Once melted, the fat and solids separate (pictured above on the right). Melted butter takes steamed seafood from good to gourmet.

wpid-20140108_194948.jpgThe result is beautiful, tender, succulent crab meat fit for a king. I served the crab legs with rosemary roasted potatoes and a fresh green salad, but another complimentary side dish is good ol’ Southern grits. 

wpid-20140108_195359.jpgNothing makes me happier than a whole, intact piece of crab meat fresh from its shell. Thank you, Jesus. The art of cracking crab legs takes some time, but oh, is it worth it. Boy, is it ever. Dunk the meat in the butter for optimum food nirvana.

wpid-20140108_204011.jpgThe aftermath.
wpid-20140108_195010.jpgIt may not be summertime yet, but a girl can dream.

A Holiday Menu Featuring Pastured Pork Tenderloin

wpid-20131030_222638.jpgIt’s officially holiday season. Let the menu and party planning begin! I’ve put together a holiday inspired meal including a classic combination of flavors, along with some of my family’s traditional recipes that are impressive on the table but simple to execute. These dishes are special enough for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but delicious year ’round. Here’s what’s cookin’: Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sautéed Cinnamon Apples, Mama’s Sweet Potato Casserole, Farm-Raised Green Beans and Grandma’s Made-from-Scratch Buttermilk Biscuits. We couldn’t celebrate the holidays without incorporating pumpkin, so for dessert, the Pumpkin Spice Trifle will make its debut appearance.
wpid-20131030_222643.jpgThe star of this show is the Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin. This time of year, I think folks get ham and turkey’d out. So, now is a great time to allow pork to step into the limelight. To accomplish that gorgeous golden brown exterior and moist meat, I use a combination of dried and fresh herbs and Georgia olive oil. Season the meat liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle it with olive oil, then massage in a healthy amount of fresh basil, fresh rosemary and about a two teaspoons of dried oregano. Here’s a tip: Cook the tenderloin in a 9 x 13 dish, and just before putting it in the oven, add about an inch of water to the pan. Roast the meat at 425 degrees for 25 minutes per pound. Another reason this tenderloin tastes amazing, is because it’s pasture-raised. This little piggie wasn’t given any antibiotics or steroids, and was free to roam and eat Georgia grass. The result is a much more nutritious animal that’s healthier to eat and healthier for our environment. Thanks to my friends at Hunter Cattle Company for raising it.

wpid-20131030_222647.jpgNothing compliments pork like a side of delicious cinnamon apples sautéed in butter. This is as simple as it gets. Slice 5 to 6 medium apples about a 1/4 inch thick and saute in four tablespoons of unsalted butter. Allow them to cook down, then season with cinnamon and keep them warm. You don’t even have to peel them!

wpid-20131030_222657.jpgGreen beans may be a popular side item, but served this way you can’t go wrong. My Farm-raised Green Beans also feature Hunter Cattle’s smoked bacon and sweet Vidalia onions and homegrown tomatoes from the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market. Cook the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels. Saute diced onion and tomato in the remaining bacon fat, season with salt & pepper and add to cooked green beans with a pat or two of butter. Top with crumbled bacon. On the left above, Mama’s Sweet Potato Casserole is a regular at every family function. It adds a wonderful pop of color to the plate. The topping, made of chopped pecans, brown sugar, flour and butter–is like candy.

wpid-20131030_222650.jpgFinally, no meal would be complete without Southern, made-from-scratch Buttermilk Biscuits. With a dollop of blackberry jam, bread never tasted so good.

wpid-IMG_20131101_110403.jpgAfter a mouth-watering meal, a 14-layer cake or heavy pie is overwhelming. My Pumpkin Spice Trifle hits the spot. Complimented by soft spice cake and crunchy gingersnap cookies, it’s like a pillow-y cloud of light fresh whipped cream and vanilla pudding bursting with fall flavors. Plus, it makes a stunning presentation.


For the complete recipes to these dishes and to watch me cook them in action, tune in to my next episode of Statesboro Cooks, premiering in mid-November on local cable Channel 99. Be sure to watch the show to discover my secret to the best buttermilk biscuits you ever tasted! For those outside of the area, I’ll be sure to post the episode right here on Some Kinda Good, so you can watch too. Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday season. Eat well!

Farmers’ Market Summer Bruschetta

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Farmers’ Market Bruschetta

Grape tomatoes are abundant at farmers’ markets this time of year, and I’ve got the perfect way to use them up! My recipe for Summer Bruschetta is a scrumptious starter course and makes one fine appetizer with drinks. Fun fact for ya: The Italian word Bruschetta translates to, “slice of toasted bread seasoned with oil and garlic.” If you’ve never cooked slices of bread in melted butter on the stove top, start living. There’s no time like the present!

I’m a firm believer in supporting Georgia farmers and shopping local whenever possible. All of the ingredients in my recipe are locally sourced, but can certainly be substituted wherever you live. I encourage you to visit a farmers’ market near you for fresh, local and nutritious ingredients! This recipe is simple, sweet and satisfying.

Learn more about the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market and Tuesday Market in the Park.


Farmers’ Market Summer Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of Georgia Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Half of 1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pints red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved
  • Balsamic Vinegar to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, separated into leaves, rolled up tightly and sliced (chiffonade)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Sugar Magnolia Bakery & Café Baguette
  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 stick of butter

Directions
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and onion and stir for about one minute. Pour into a mixing bowl and let cool slightly.

Add tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, sugar and basil. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Toss to coat. If time permits, refrigerate for one hour.  If not, it is fine to use immediately.

Cut the baguette into diagonal slices. Melt half the butter in the same skillet you used for the garlic. Cook the baguette on both sides until golden brown. Rub toast with one whole garlic clove while hot. Repeat with remaining butter and bread.

To serve, stir the tomato mixture and spoon generously over toasted baguette slices.

Special Event
You’re also invited to join me at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market this Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. I hope you’ll stop by the Celebrity Chef tent to say hi and get a taste of my Summer Bruschetta! Be sure to listen out for my radio commercial (below) on air this week promoting the market.

Sweet Vidalia Onions On the Grill

I never thought I’d enjoy eating a stand alone onion. That was before I met the Vidalia Onion wrapped in bacon and grilled.

Vidalia Georgia, The Sweet Onion City located in the Southeastern part of the state, hosts the annual Vidalia Onion Festival each year. This spring, I met a few friends there and picked up a five-pound bag of the famous onions.

The following weekend while watching Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on Food Network, I discovered Uncle Wilson’s Grilled Onions featuring, you guessed it: Sweet Vidalia Onions. I knew then just how I’d use mine.

Peel the onions, then cut a small hole in the tops of them large enough to hold about a tablespoon of butter. Then cut small slits in the onion along the top in a complete circle.

Place your onion in a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover it. Add a tablespoon of butter to the tops of the onion and season with salt & pepper. I also drizzled mine with a little olive oil.

This is the best part! Bacon absolutely makes everything better. Am I right? I took a cue from Trisha’s Uncle Wilson here and added two slices of bacon to each onion. Secure the bacon with toothpicks.

The onions are ready for the grill! Close your tin foil up around the onion leaving a small hole at the top for venting. I was low on foil, but I made do. Watch my video below to see how they turned out!

The pictures below tell you how long to let them cook and how to serve them up.

I grilled the onions with the lid closed over medium heat for one hour.

When the onions have cooked, the butter melts and the bacon gets crispy. The onions get that charred look and the flavor is out of this world! When I tasted the grilled onion, the first thing out of my mouth was, “It’s like eating dessert!” The flavor doesn’t taste like an onion at all—it’s very sweet and mild, and the bacon really compliments it nicely.

Serve the grilled onions in the aluminum foil. It’s like getting your own little package and unwrapping a present right on your plate (plus, the foil helps keep the heat in). Be sure to eat the onions while they’re hot.

Have you ever eaten a Vidalia Onion? If so, what did you think and how was it prepared?


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Food Enthusiast
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser

Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” she is the Statesboro Herald food columnist and host of SKG-TV on YouTube. She appears regularly as Celebrity Chef at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market and has written as a guest blogger for Visit Savannah, Savannah Taste Experience and The Local Palate. A public relations graduate of Georgia Southern University, Rebekah also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. To learn more, connect with Some Kinda Good on social media, or visit RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.