Karl is away in California, and I have forgotten how challenging it is to cook for just one person. I am like a bird – small and can eat twice my weight in food. But still, to avoid eating the same thing for days, I have to halve, sometimes even quarter, recipes. I have also resorted to eating out and heating up frozen dumplings until he’s back. Yes – frozen dumplings are my bachelorette meal. And let me clarify by saying I’m referring to Chinese dumplings, and I think southern dumplings are confusing. When I first saw dumplings on the menu of a southern kitchen, I thought, “how awesome is this – I love dumplings”. “What kind of dipping sauce do they use”, I wondered…
When my food was brought out, I looked as if someone had just asked me to divide 1343.4567 by 2720784.5^3. My so-called dumplings looked like a cross between chicken pot pie and chicken noodle soup. It was a very delicious culture shock. So in case you’re wondering, southern dumplings are a bit of a misnomer…or maybe it’s the Chinese who have got it wrong.
Let me rewind a bit, Karl is in California, packing up the rest of his belongings and driving Saaby (his car) all the way to Boston. Alone (for the most part). It makes me so sad that I cannot join him for his entire trip across the country, but unfortunately this girl has to work and ration her vacation time. Also my family will be in town this week (yay!!). Karl and I will be meeting in St. Louis (I know right?) at the end of my family’s stay – I’ll be flying to STL and he’s going to immediately scoop me up on his way eastward.
It’s going to be an exciting two weeks filled with lots of PG-rated touristy fun with my family and hundreds of miles of driving on the interstates that will ultimately take Karl and me back to our little apartment in Boston.
The fun for me started a bit early. Over the weekend, my friend Arim, her hubs Tyler, and I made it out to Belle Isle Marsh to play with our cameras and enjoy the scenery. As we walked along the trail, surrounded by tall wetland plants, we snapped pictures of wildflowers, birds, and each other. You can see some of my shots at the end of the post.
To kick off this exciting time, I made crab cakes benedict with wasabi dill sauce, a dish that was inspired by my favorite brunch place in San Jose – Bill’s Cafe. My first attempt at crab cakes benedict was a failure. I scrambled the hollandaise, and the crab cakes were more closely related to meatloaf. cringe. The best part of it was the english muffins which were store-bought. Needless to say, I was discouraged and bummed that I wasted such beautiful ingredients.
Something came over me – a burst of inspiration and courage, probably from watching too many episodes of Chef’s Table on Netflix. I did more research on crispy, meaty crab cakes and scrapped the idea of using hollandaise entirely. Instead, I topped these eggs benedict with a cool, creamy wasabi dill sauce which I made previously for this pan-fried salmon post. The crab cakes were adapted from Brian Boitano’s crispy crab cakes recipe. And the english muffins, well, they were still store-bought. Together, with a perfectly poached egg, the flavors and textures gave eggs benedict a tasty facelift and a new identity.
- 1 pound cooked lump crab meat
- 1 cup + 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 + 2 eggs
- ½ all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup canola oil for frying
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ - 1 tablespoon wasabi paste
- ¾ - 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
- 4 english muffins, split in half
- 8 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
- In a medium size bowl, mix together the crab meat, 1 cup breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, cayenne, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape into 8 patties and place onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- In a pie dish or rimmed plate, mix together the flour, salt and pepper. In another pie dish or rimmed plate, whisk together the remaining two eggs and water. In a third pie dish or rimmed plate, mix together 1 cup breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
- Dredge the patties in the flour, followed by the egg mixture, and then the breadcrumbs. Arrange onto another baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- In a medium size skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Fry the crab cakes on each side for 3 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature of the oil, and adjust as needed. Place on paper towels to drain some of the oil.
- In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Toast the english muffin slices toaster or oven until slightly brown. Place a crab cake on each slice.
- Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a medium sauce pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crack one egg into a small ramekin. Use a spoon to quickly stir the water in one direction until it's all smoothly spinning around to create a whirlpool. Carefully drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place over a crab cake. Repeat this step until each crab cake has an egg.
- Top the crab cakes benedict with the wasabi dill sauce, then serve immediately.
The photo credit for this last picture of Arim and me goes to Tyler! You can see more of his awesome shots on Flickr.