Monday, April 20, 2009

Crab Cakes for Appetizers or Brunch!

Crab Cakes for Appetizers or Brunch!

Story and photos (C) 2009 by Christopher J Davies

I noticed that Costco is now selling Chicken of The Sea, Super Lump Crab in their deli section. The cost for a 1 LB container is only $14.99, which is enough to make 12 decent size crab cakes. Having lived on the East Coast for most of my life, I have encountered too many crab cakes that contain excessive filers such as onions, celery and peppers. It is my opinion that these fillers overpower the the wonderful natural taste of the crab.

In the store, I discovered the manufacturers recipe was not full of filer type ingredients. So I decided to test out their suggested recipe. Both Darcy and I have added this to our list of favorites!

Delicious Crab Cakes

1- 16 oz (1 LB) cup of Crab Meat
1 beaten Egg
2 tbs. Mayonnaise
1 tbs. mustard prepared( we used Grey Poupon)
1 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs. dry mustard (we used Oriental Hot Mustard)
1 tbs., seafood season (we substitute with Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Hot Sauce ( 2 shakes of Tobacco)
3/4 cup bread crumbs (we used Progresso Italian)

Combine all ingredients except crab and breadcrumbs. Add crab to mixture. Fold breadcrumbs in gently. Form into crab cakes by hand.

To keep consistent size we used an ice cream scoop to measure. Result was 12 identical sized cakes.

Pan fry in canola oil for 4 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Hollandaise Sauce Finish

If you are looking for a great sauce to finish the crab cakes, make a basic Hollandaise Sauce.

Note: While this an easy to make sauce, but it will require your full attention at the stove. You need low heat and constant stirring by hand.

6 egg yolks
2 tbs. lemon juice
1-cup of butter( 2-sticks)

Stir egg yolks vigorously in a 3 quart saucepan over very low heat. Stir with wire whisk until butter is melted. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Brunch Menu Idea:
After creating the above, poach two eggs per person to serve crabs benedict.
Add salt and 2 tbs of vinegar to water. Once the water boils add two eggs, cook for 2 minutes. Use a strainer spoon to remove. Place on plate on top off toasted English Muffin slices. Garnish with Hollandaise sauce, paprika and parsley.

Storage of cooked crab cakes:
Crab cakes are rich. So we do not always finish them. You can store for 24 hours in the refrigerator. To reheat, do not microwave. Instead warm on a sheet bake pan in the oven at 300 F at 20 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Capital Grille's Exceptional Tuscan Wine and Food Feast

The Capital Grille's Exceptional Tuscan Wine and Food Feast

By Christopher J. Davies
Photos (C) The Capital Grille

Darcy and I just had the pleasure of visiting the Capital Grille Restaurant in Denver's historic and trendy LoDo neighborhood. The restaurant is located in the heart of Larimer Square.

While the Capital Grille has been on my short list for amazing steaks, seafood and service, this meal was a very special occasion as we were set to try the Capital Grille's five course, Italian-fare dinner, a promotion that goes on at all of the 35 Capital Grille's restaurants across the US, until April 5, 2009. The five-course dinner is offered at the recession buster price of $49 per person, which is definitely well-worth the cost!

George Miliotes

Best of all, the dinner offers an exclusive opportunity for diners at The Capital Grille to preview the premier vintage of Banfi Vintners 2005 BelnerO Sangiovese di Montalcino, a delicious Sangiovese made from unfiltered cuvée of specific clones that have been selected after 30 years of research. The Capital Grille's Corporate Wine Sommelier, George Miliotes scored a home run by securing an exclusive on this Tuscan wine release. The wine is deep ruby in color with rich fruit flavors. It is aged for 2 years in classic barriques. Bottle's are offered at $69.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were warmly welcomed by the host and personally escorted to a table in the middle of the restaurant. The décor was rich deep mahogany with massive paintings and pleasant subdued lighting. The place reminds me of a stately country club in the country side, with patrons deep in conversation. The place was bustling with activity and a little loud. But the tone of the room was celebratory.

Within in a minute of being seated, servers had swarmed our table offering the menu, water selection and advice on cocktails. When I received the special printed Italian Fare menu, I was impressed with the generous amount of food that would be served. But the biggest surprise was that the wine pairing would all be done with just one wine for all five courses...the 2005 BelnerO Sangiovese di Montalcino!

I must admit, that in all my years of attending wine pairings I have never seen this done before. This would be a very interesting meal indeed!

Our waiter explained the restaurant's extensive wine list, which was loaded with more than 5000 bottles. And while you can find exceptional values in the $40 to $75 range, the listed is weighted with Rock Star friendly bottles that will reach the peaks of even Mick Jagger's wallet with cult wine lover's Harlan Estate, Napa Valley Cabernet offered at $1,900 per bottle.

Since the pairings with the food would be all with the red wine, I asked the waiter to suggest a glass of Champagne to wet our taste buds. Our waiter suggested that he also open a bottle of Banfi Vintners 2005 BelnerO to allow it to breath.

After 25 minutes of savoring the Champagne we got to have our first sip of the rich and powerful BelnerO. Magnifico!

Swordfish Roasted inside Parchment Paper


Black Truffle Mac ‘N’ Cheese


Creamy Porcini Mushroom Soup Garnished with Chive Oil

Field greens, shaved fennel, goat cheese, 12-year balsamic; Tuscan extra virgin olive oil

Choice of

Herb-Marinated, Dry-Aged Tenderloin with Garlic, Roasted Tomatoes, Red Peppers and Cipollini Onions


Swordfish Roasted inside Parchment Paper with White Wine, Roasted Tomatoes, Oil-Cured Olives and Capers

Black Truffle Mac ‘N’ Cheese

House made Carmel gelato with chocolate sauce and home baked biscotti


The wine paired amazingly well with the dishes. Darcy ordered the steak and I ordered the fish, so we experience the full menu selection.

The creamy porcini soup was rich and creamy with an earthy finish. The pairing with the wine was fantastic and we tasted an increased earthiness with the mushrooms.

The salad was huge and tasty. The balsamic classed a little with the wine but when tasted together with the goat cheese it was heavenly.

The filet was cooked perfectly "black and blue" as Darcy ordered it. The pairing with the wine was a good match.

My Swordfish was delivered in a sealed parchment paper. Our waiter sliced the parchment slowly to allow the steam to escape. The fish was smothered in a rich tomato sauce. The pairing was surprisingly spot on with the wine.

I am a big fan fan of Mac and Cheese, the Black Truffle Mac ‘N’ Cheese hit home just like Grandma's comfort food! The truffle oil gave it a nice sophisticated touch. And the wine paired very well.

The dessert was impressive as when I think of a chain restaurant, I do not associate homemade desserts. The House made Carmel gelato with chocolate sauce and home baked biscotti were delicious. Darcy and I enjoyed our final sip of wine with the dessert.

If you can, make a reservation at your local Capital Grille to enjoy their exceptional five course, Italian-Fare Dinner before Sunday April 5, 2009. This is dinner is bound to tantalize your taste buds!

The Capital Grille states" our partnership with Castello Banfi exemplifies the restaurant’s commitment to offering our guests an exceptional dining experience. The unique, five-course Italian-fare dinner was inspired by an exclusive opportunity for The Capital Grille to debut in the U.S. Banfi’s 2005 BelnerO Sangiovese di Montalcino. The Capital Grille will continue to explore distinctive partnerships."

For more information on the latest on The Capital Grille’s current and upcoming offers visit