Sunday, August 24, 2014

Seafood Stuffed Cannelloni in Spinach Béchamel Sauce

Hubby and I are both big seafood lovers, and we were both very interested in this recipe. It was one from chef Giada De Laurentiis. I added my own touches to come up with the versions below.
1 (8 ounce) box Cannelloni or Manicotti Pasta (about 12 shells)
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 cup Fresh Mozzarella, diced
3/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 Large Egg Yolk
1/2 cup Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
1/8 cup Chopped Fresh Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 pound Lump Crabmeat
1/2 pound Steamed Shrimp, Deveined, Peeled and Minced, recipe below
1 dozen Sun-Dried Tomato Roasted Scallops, diced, recipe below
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground White Pepper
Spinach Béchamel Sauce, recipe follows

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally,
about 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain pasta.
In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup spinach béchamel sauce, egg yolk, basil, crab, shrimp, old bay, and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Fill the cannelloni with the crab mixture and place in a buttered PYREX baking dish.
Top the filled cannelloni with the Spinach Béchamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses.
Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Spinach Béchamel Sauce aka Creamed Spinach
I came up with this creamed spinach while trying to duplicate Boston Markets. I was extremely happy with the outcome. I normally add two boxes of spinach when not using the recipe as a sauce.
5 Tablespoons Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter - divided
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black  Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1 cup Half and Half cream
4 ounces Cream Cheese - softened
1/2 teaspoon White Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Vidalia  Sweet Onion - minced
1 Tablespoon Roasted Garlic
1 (10 ounce) box Frozen Chopped Spinach - thawed and drained
1/4 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock or Broth
1/8 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/8 cup Freshly Grated Romano cheese
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter 3 Tablespoons butter;
Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; cook 1 full minute 
Then slowly whisk in warm cream; stir in cream cheese and sugar.
Increase heat to medium; whisking mixture constantly, until sauce is thick and smooth
Remove from heat, cover to keep warm and set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onions in remaining 2 Tablespoons butter until transparent; stir garlic, spinach and chicken broth into pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cover; simmer, stirring occasionally.
Using a wooden spoon, stir spinach mixture into creamy mixture; return to medium-low heat;
Simmer, stirring often, until warmed throughout.
-Remove from heat; fold in parmesan and Romano.

Reserve 1/2 cup to add to the cheese filling mixture.

Sun-Dried Tomato Roasted Scallops
If you prefer not to use the oven, you may pan sear the scallops
They're delicious either way.
1/4 cup chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes (in oil), roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons Pitted Black Olives (about 10 olives), chopped
1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 dozen Sea Scallops, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor, add the tomatoes, basil, olives, and olive oil and process until finely chopped.
Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.
Rub each scallop with the tomato mixture.
Place scallops in a buttered baking dish.
Bake until scallops are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Cut into chunks, then add to the cheese filling mixture.

So glad you have stopped by
I love to read comments from folks visiting me in blogland.

I look forward to new ideas, suggestions, requests
and even any alterations you may have made to one of my recipe posts.

So please leave me a comment and I will buzz by your blog and do the same for you.

Come Back Soon
*&* Often
You're Welcome Anytime!
Aim ♥ 
Have The Best Day Ever

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hearty Maryland Blue Crab Soup

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and a comfy seat, this is a long post.
I started writing this week's ago.

GORGEOUS Views, even on land.

This is Baby, No not the same Baby from Dirty Dancing.
Baby was reenacting the scene from Titanic.
There is nothing quite like a day on the Wye River,


IMO There's no better tasting crab than Blue Crabs from the Wye River.

OMGoodness Are They Huge
Filled with Lumps of Sweet White Meat

Meat from half a crab
And No one steams crabs like my hubby.
He really is the best at steaming crabs.
He taught me his recipe and techniques, but swore me to secrecy.
I've kept his recipe secret for close to 20 years now.
I recently convinced him to share it.
Why not let everyone enjoy the best blue crabs possible, right?
I'm sure most spouse's brag that theirs makes the best of this or that.
Honestly, between his recipe, and the Wye Rivers Blue Crabs...
they truly are the most delicious steamed crabs ever.

Blue Channel's Maryland Steamed Crabs
Wye River Maryland Crab Cakes - will add soon
Hearty Maryland Crab Soup
Check out this site! for how to clean a Blue Crab

Making Crab Stock
Rather than using plain water...
I start my Hearty Maryland Blue Crab Soup by making a Crab Stock.
In a large stock pot, I add the shells / bodies, claws and legs from at least 12 freshly steamed blue crabs that have already been picked fairly clean, and 1.5 gallons of water.
I boil the shells on high heat for 1.5 hours
Then I strain the broth, and pour it in a 24 quart aluminum stock pot.
Do not use the last of stock in the bottom of the pot
It will be full of debris.
Discard the shells, etc.
I only use the shells and water because I add lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices to the crab soup, besides the shells are loaded with seasonings from being steamed, plus they also have their own natural seasoning... "the mustard".
Rich Flavorful Crab Stock
If you want to get more depth of flavors you can add...
Carrots, roughly chopped
Celery stalks, split
Onion, peeled and diced
Fresh Garlic
Turnip, split
Fresh parsley
Fresh thyme
Bay Leaves
Lemon juice
White Wine
Shrimp and Lobster Shells
I do not recommend additional salt or pepper, there's a lot on the shells already.
Look at all that flavor
Honestly, it doesn't need it, and I prefer just the steamed crab flavor.
Let's start with steaming the crabs
Steam ingredients
16 to 18 Blue Crabs
12 ounces Beer
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups Water
5 Tablespoons Old Bay, J.O. Spice, or Costas Inn Seafood Seasoning
1/2 Tablespoon Dry Mustard
6 Tablespoons Sea Salt
Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Hubby's Special Steam Sauce
In the bottom *sauce* pot add beer, vinegar, water, 5 old bay, 6 tablespoons course salt and a pinch of pepper.

Place the top steamer pot on then add a single layer of live crabs
Time to start layering.
Sorry, there are no exact measurements for this step
Reference photos
Working on the third layer
Best I can say is to go heavy on the seafood seasoning and mustard
Be very generous with the Old Bay *&* Dry Mustard
Season with a 50/50 mixture of Costas Inn & Old Bay or J.O. Spice & Old Bay
then sprinkle on dry mustard
Sea salt
Course salt
Mixing the seafood seasonings makes the perfect blend of spicy sweet
Keep repeating the layers until the crabs are a few inches from the top.
Time To Steam
Place over medium-high heat
Steam for 30 minutes.
Cut heat back to medium, steam an additional 10 to 15 minutes
or until the shells turn orange / red, and the belly is white.
Costas Inn is a delicious milder than Old Bay seafood seasoning

I started this pot of crab soup at 11:30 am...
I finished 12 hours later.
It cooked all day and it developed so nicely
Hearty Maryland Blue Crab Soup

3 1/2 pound Boneless beef chuck roast, seared
Soup Base:
1 gallon Crab stock
4 quarts V8 100% Vegetable Juice
2 cups (16 oz) Swanson low-sodium beef broth
2 (14.5 oz) Del Monte Original Stewed Tomatoes, pureed
3 cups (24 oz) Hunt's petite diced tomatoes
2+ tablespoons Old Bay
1/8 cup French's Worcestershire sauce
3 fresh bay leaves
Pot Roast
1+ dozen steamed crabs, cleaned and cracked in half
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked free of any broken shells
1 dozen steamed crab claws
1 bundle fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves, 6 to 8 tied together
2 pound bag baby carrots, sliced
1 bunch celery, diced (leaves and bottom trimmed off)
8 ears of corn on the cob, sliced into circular disks
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and chopped
2 boxes frozen lima beans
2 bags shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
3 pounds baby red potatoes, rinsed, diced and boiled
Shrimp would be great in this soup also
I love the flavor of shrimp
I'm going to add shrimp next time

Crab Soup Directions:
In a 24 quart stock pot over medium-high heat...
Place the seared pot roast in first
When I shredded the roast I made hubby a sandwich
Then add...
Crab Stock
V8 Juice
Beef Broth
Pureed Stewed Tomatoes
Diced Tomatoes,
Season with...
Old Bay seasoning, if desired
Worcestershire Sauce
Bay Leaves
Parsley Bundle
Pureed Stewed Tomatoes
Tossing in whole herbs makes it easier
Stir to combine.
Add all the vegetables, by this point it should be just slightly bubbling.
Add the crabmeat, crab halves and claws.
Reduce heat to low, simmer for 8 to 10 hours.
Season with more Old Bay, if desired.

Serve garnished with oyster crackers, 1 Tablespoon cooked crabmeat, a
pinch of Old Bay and finely chopped parsley.

With the exception of the boiled potatoes
I pretty much just dump everything in at the beginning
Once the soup is done, I add the boiled potatoes and let them soak in the crab soup for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
Once the roast is nice and tender, remove from pot, shred with a fork, then place back in to the crab soup.
Most of this batch (about 2 gallons) went to the firehouse with hubby.
I was honored that a fellow firefighter of my husbands liked this so much that
he wanted his wife to try it as well.
He took her to Seaside Restaurant for Maryland Crab Soup
Unfortunately, they ended up with cream of crab, and didn't like it as much.
Personally, I prefer Mo's Seafood Factory to Seaside.

Seaside is outdated inside, and has a musty smell, I just can't eat there.
And the food isn't nearly as good as Mo's.
Plus Mo's is very clean, and their portions are double or better.
I wish the firefighters had some leftover for Mr. Chang to take home to his wife.
I was told placing a wooden spoon over a boiling pot prevents it from boiling over
Using a coleslaw mix shortcut
Baby Carrots
Chopped Celery
Cutting the corn takes some muscle
Rough diced onion, cooks down to almost nothing
Fresh Green Beans, only way to go.
Small Red Potatoes
Turned out great.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Elegant Vintage Crystal

Hi There, today I am sharing my collections of...
Candlewick made by Imperial Glass Company
Orchard Crystal Party Sets made by Hazel Atlas
Both patterns have a very elegant glass bead design.

1 Deep Round Divided Dish
2 Round divided 2-part relish dishes with S-shaped divider.
8-1/2 inches in length
5-1/2 inches in width
1-1/2 inches in height
7-1/2 inches including handles
8 1/4 inches from edge of handles

I recently added these lovely additions
An oval S-style divided dish
with Rogers utensils in their original box
& dish with original Imperial Glass Company sticker.

Mayonnaise set
Set includes a bowl, an underplate, and a beaded crystal scoop-style spoon.
5-1/2 inches in diameter
2 inches in height.
7-1/2 inches in diameter with handles

I have two glass spoon
One with three beads
6-inches long
3/4 inch deep
Mouth opening is 1-1/4 inches
One without Beads
5 inches long
Scoop is 3/4 inches deep
Mouth opening is 1-1/2 inches in diameter
Open Footed Sugar, pictured in center.
3-1/2 inches in height.
2 Boopie Sherbets
3 1/2" tall
3 5/8" wide across the top.
Vintage Hazel Atlas Orchard Crystal Snack / Luncheon Set
They were very popular during the 1940's and early 50's... *&* Still are today.
10.75 inches with handles
6 inches across
1 inch deep.
They really thought of every detail when designing this set.
There are three segments for food, drink cup and condiment.
Perfect for Sushi.
One of the smaller segments doubles as an ashtray.
I would much rather fill that section with a dessert
And use the built-in groove area for chopsticks, spoon or fork rest. ;)

I have to add a quick note about shipping these plates.
They do not ship well, especially stacked on top one another.
Or you will probably receive this...
They need 3 layers of good quality bubble wrap, plus cardboard in between each plate
*&* stack them on their sides.
Do not lay them flat.

I recently purchased a set of 8 on eBay to add to my collection
They were shipped in two boxes, every plate was broken during shipment
Yet all the cups and other items arrived intact.
One layer of bubble wrap and a few packing peanuts is not enough.

Luncheon Tea / Coffee Cups have angular bases (square off at the bottom) and beaded handles.
Cups Measure
2-3/4 inches in height and 3-1/8 inches in diameter not including handle.
Luncheon Plates
10 inches in length
6-1/4 inches in width.

There are manufacturing marks to the pieces
as well as some general surface ware due to age and use
but nothing that takes away from their beauty or function of use.
Anchor Hocking was started in 1937.
The design has been called Berwick, Burple, Boopie and Inspiration.
It has also been confused with Candlewick.

What is the difference between Boopie and Candlewick?
Boopie has the joined glass balls, where Candlewick balls are separated.

This Sherbet Dish is a Boopie - Its made by Anchor Hocking.
The small underplate / saucer is Candlewick,
it was made by Imperial Glass Company.
Look how the balls are separated.
It has a much more delicate look.

I have read Boopie glass came in three colors in addition to the clear crystal...
Amber, Green and Ruby.
Imperial Glass Company was started in 1901 by a former riverboat captain named Edward Muhleman, who also had many years experience in the glass industry.
He decided to build his new glass factory in Bellaire, Ohio
(also known as "Glass City") close to the river.
It took three years of planning and building before they were ready to start production, and just a few months into 1904, they were a major force in the glass industry.
Imperial started with all of the usual pressed glass household items and ventured into carnival glass in 1909.
The first series of Candlewick were put into production in 1920, and were formally introduced at the Wheeling Centennial Celebration in 1936.
This is a Gorgeous Covered Dish

The Candlewick design quickly became one of their strongest selling glassware patterns.
Production of Candlewick ran until the mid 50's.

Anchor Hocking was started in 1937 when Anchor Cap, the Closure Corporation and Hocking Glass Company all merged together.
They are still in operation today and are primarily located in Lancaster, Ohio
with one plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania.
The first glassware produced under the new Anchor Hocking name
was Royal Ruby in 1939.
The original name was Berwick and was created around 1950
but most people are only familiar with the name Boopie
(which was coined by Hazel Marie Weatherman, who in the 1970’s published several books on depression era glassware).
The best way to tell the difference between Candlewick and Boopie (Berwick) is to take a good look at the balls of glass.
The Candlewick pattern has balls that do not touch each other.
They are fully circlular balls that have a space between them.
They tend to look more fragile that way.

The Boopie or Berwick design has connected balls without any space in between.
They almost look welded together.
Subtle differences in the two designs have confused novice collectors, myself included.

If you look on eBay, you will see several listings where the seller's have listed their items and included both names, Candlewick and Boopie in their descriptions.

Their reason for doing so may be because they themselves are not sure, rather than trying to pass off Boopie as Candlewick.

Its easy to purchase Boopie thinking its Candlewick when you don't know the difference.
Take a look below...
I purchased a couple purple divided candy / relish dishes.
They have the balls around the edges like Candlewick.
Well these gorgeous smokey purple beaded divided relish dishes are not Candlewick
but rather Czechoslovakian glass.

I purchased them because I LOVE purple.
Its been my favorite color since I was a little girl.
Plus they add a nice splash of color.

This is not Candlewick either, its Orchard Crystal made by Hazel Atlas.
Did you notice the little ash tray in the corner?

The groove makes a nice resting space for silverware and chopsticks.

Cups are accented with beaded handles
The cup area of the plates also have a groove
it keeps the handle from hitting the plate.

There are Four Beads that form each Handle.

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about these beautiful vintage pieces.
Below is a good reference

So glad you have stopped by
I love to read comments from folks visiting me in blogland.
I look forward to new ideas, suggestions, requests
and even any alterations you may have made to one of my recipe posts.
So please leave me a comment and I will buzz by your blog and do the same for you.
Come Back Soon
*&* Often
You're Welcome Anytime!
Aim ♥ 
Have The Best Day Ever