SOFT SHELL CRAB SEASON

Keith D, F&B Director

I live near the largest estuary in the US, the Chesapeake Bay, and when you think of the Chesapeake, you think crabs.  The month of May traditionally starts the Crab season around the Chesapeake for both hard shell and soft shell crabs. One of my favorite things to eat is soft shell crabs, which really are a delicacy in their own right.

Click here for a few facts

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The recipe and picture is by Sous Chef at the Christiana Hilton, Kara Ann Naimoli

Soft Shell crab as the catch of the day at the Hilton Christiana.

Pan seared soft shell crab with old bay wedges and Cajun slaw:

For the crab:
•  3/4 c. Flour
• 1 tsp. Garlic powder
• 1 tsp. Onion powder
• 1 1/2 tsp. Old bay
• 2 soft shell crabs (cleaned)
• 1 c. Oil (use your favorite)
●mix seasonings into flour
●toss crabs in flour and knock off excess
● in medium skillet heat oil
● add crab cook for a couple of minutes  and flip over and cook for 2 more minutes. Shells should be bright red and flour golden brown.
For the wedges:
• 1/2 of baked potato (cooked the day before and cut in quarters )
• handful of old bay
● cut half into 4 wedges.
● deep fry until golden brown and toss in old bay

For the slaw:
•  1 bag of shredded Cole slaw mix
• 1/2 c.red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup oil
• pinch sugar
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• salt and pepper
• pineapple
• blackening/Cajon season
• 1/4 red onion shaved

Garnish:
• 1/2 lemon (grilled till slightly charred )

ROLL, ROLL, AND AWAY WE GO!

Brian N. – Social Media Specialist

Every Tuesday the Pier 5 Hotel, located at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, offers a special twist on the already popular Crabby Hour with our Sushi Tuesdays.

Having been originated in Japan in the 8th century, sushi is a popular course all around the world.  A traditional sushi roll often consists of cooked vinegared rice, combined with a variety of ingredients catered to your liking. Sushi comes in all forms and sizes, cooked and uncooked, or even vegetarian. At the Pier 5 Hotel, you can expect to enjoy our Pier 5 Roll with jumbo lump crab meat or veggie roll, paired with local beer and private label wines.

Hanaya Yohei is believed to be the ‘Father of Sushi’ that we know and eat today. He developed a technique where he would assemble the dish so that both rice and fish could be consumed at the same time known as Haya-zushi, or rather – sushi. In the 19th century, street vendors became the latest trend and many sold various types of sushi based on the fundamental principles of Hanaya. In 1923, an earthquake occurred in the Kanto, displacing a lot of the sushi chefs throughout the country. Knowing what they learned from Hanaya Yohei, they shared their teachings and love for sushi throughout the country and later spread around the world.

The Pier 5 Hotel is very fortunate to be at the Inner Harbor surrounded by fresh ingredients and the seafood culture that is Baltimore! As you enter the lobby of the Pier 5 Hotel, you can see the night sky above, the lights are lit and laughter and smiles all around. Chef Christine prepares the sushi in front of everyone telling jokes and experiences to guests while suggesting places that they must try. If you’re up to the challenge, you may test your culinary skills and learn how to roll a sushi roll in front of everyone.

Click on the photo below to view a video of this fun and unique weekly event!

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COOKING WHAT WE FORAGE

Keith D – F&B Director (aka Forager Extraordinaire!!)

There are lots of benefits to foraging; walking outdoor and being with nature, getting exercise, bonding with my boys (when they go), and of course, getting to eat the things I find.  Not sure which is the top reason, but getting the chance to cook with freshly foraged ingredients is always a highlight of my week.  Morels , cream, and eggs are a marriage made in heaven, so when I had all of the ingredients below, I decided to make a wild morel quiche with wild ramps and garlic chives.

 

WILD MOREL, LEEK AND FONTINA QUICHE

Yield; Serves 8

Use 9 inch deep dish pie pan

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pie crust/ premade or make your own
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 10 wild ramps, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced morels
  • ½ Herb Boursin cheese
  • ¼ cup chives, chopped
  • 1 cup leeks sliced
  • 1 ½ cups Fontina cheese, shredded, about 7 oz.
  • ¾ cup heavy Cream
  • ½ cup light cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper to taste

PREPERATION:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place rack towards the bottom of the oven so the bottom of the crust will bake more. Unroll crust completely, roll out slightly so it fits your pie pan, and press firmly so the crust is covering it. You will want to precook the crust so it doesn’t get soggy. Place a round piece of parchment paper over the crust and fill with pie weights, and cook for 15-20 minutes, till light brown.  Remove parchment and pie weights. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add morels, leeks, and wild leeks and sauté lightly till translucent, about 3 minutes. (Photo below) Cool.

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In a bowl, add eggs, both heavy and light cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper, chives, Boursin cheese, and whisk with a hand burr mixer until all ingredients are incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Mix Fontina into cooled mushroom/leek filling and spoon into the pie shell. Ladle cream and egg mixture lastly into the pie shell, and place in oven. Bake quiche for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, then turn down oven to 300 degrees F and bake an additional 30 minutes, until center is just set.  Cool 30 minutes before serving.  Cut into wedges.
The end result is a luscious combination of foraged ingredients that few get the chance to experience.

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I actually make my own pie crust, so if you also would like to check out this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FROM THE KITCHEN OF CHEF TIM

Chef Tim – May 11, 2016

Miso Poached Salmon

 Intimidated just thinking about cooking salmon? What should the texture, flavor and cooking technique be? Here we go – hands down one of the most popular courses served at Chef Tim’s Table. What’s better than hearing from guests “ I never tasted salmon – but that was truly amazing”!  Forget the grilling, broiling, pan searing – although each cooking method is proper, poaching is my favorite way to prepare salmon.

Let’s start with the perfect poaching temperature of 180F

  • 1 Quart fish stock
  • 3 ounces of White Miso Paste
  • 3 ounces White Wine
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tea spoon Minced Fresh Ginger

 

Clean 6 ounce portion of salmon – remember to remove the blood line that runs down the center.

Add to poaching  liquid – a total of 6 minutes.

At the half way point add your favorite vegetables. Your vegetables should be cut small and uniform. 

I like to feature julienne yellow squash, zucchini, tomato and Bok Choy.

A nice square deep dish to place the salmon, topped  with the vegetables and  your fish broth covering half of the salmon.

Garnish with a touch of micro greens.

 

Enjoy!
~Chef Tim

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MOREL SEASON IS HERE!

Keith D. ~ Director of F&B AKA: Forager Extraordinaire!

Where I live, April was the driest April on record in the Baltimore area.  Not a good thing when looking for mushrooms.  As I have said, moisture, temperature, and time of year are the main factors when looking for mushrooms.  Of course there are others, but out of all of these, the single biggest factor is moisture. Yes, I did find a few morels two weekends ago at the beginning of the season, but not in the quantity that one can expect when conditions are optimum.  Last week, we were threatened by rain all week, but somehow it always managed to miss us. Then finally the rain came, and after a dry spell, it needs to be a soaker, and it was.  So when I went out for a walk at the beginning of the week, my anticipation was high.  I was rewarded within the first 2 minutes in the woods.  After a slow start to the season, the morels are finally sprouting, and in abundance. Now is the time! In a week, the season will be close to ending.

As with most plants, water is key to survival, and so it is with fungi. The plant is actually something that one doesn’t usually see, or know what it is. The plant, or mycelium, can grow underground or in wood, and can cover an acre or more.  When the mycelium fruits, you get a mushroom, much like an apple tree bears fruits as apples.  Under wet conditions, the root-like mycelium expands and grows.  The photo above shows the tread like mycelium of a type of fungus I saw this past week.

So we have all heard that too much of a good thing can be bad, and so it is with rain. The moisture helps mushrooms to sprout, but heavy rain can cause the sprouted mushrooms to start to rot in as little as a day.  So what I really wanted was two days of heavy rain to force the morels to sprout and then no rain and cool temperatures; so the mushroom would stay at peak quality. Yes, I know, things just don’t usually work out that way.  See, I told you being a forager can try your patience.  So many times I find the remnants of a mushroom that was prime a few days ago, but now is inedible.  Just a shame! But occasionally my timing is just right, and my efforts produce quality results.

This morel (image below) I spotted from 50 yards away. Unusual, but yes, they can and do grow this large under optimal conditions.

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I found this morel along with half a dozen more at the roots of a giant Tulip Poplar tree in 2014.

CULINARY CLASSROOM

Sheila C. ~ Director of Sales & Marketing

The first time I cooked for my then-boyfriend, now-husband, is one he continues to tell people about today.  You’d think with the transition from boyfriend to husband, I’m about to tell you a kitchen success story where I “wow’d” him with my secret culinary skill set.  One would think…  Fortunately for him at that time I lived by a local pizza place and after completely ruining our chicken dish, it was a quick drive down the street to go get a few slices and quiet our rumbling stomachs.

You are probably thinking to yourself, “Why am I reading a culinary blog from a self-acknowledged terrible cook?”  Valid question.  My response to that – because I am living, breathing, cooking proof there is hope for anyone looking to bring out their inner chef!

The turning point for me was a girl’s night out a few years ago.  My friends found a “Cook & Sip” class which brought us all into the kitchen to try our hands in a group cooking session – with a glass of wine of course.  I went into thinking it would be a fun way to spend a Friday with my girlfriends, and if nothing else I could enjoy a glass of wine while doing it.  And that all was true…I had a great time catching up with my girlfriends, I very much enjoyed the glass (or two) of Cabernet and overall it was a great way to spend a Friday.  But the really crazy part – I actually created a pretty amazing dish.

Creating the group setting broke down the walls for me.  It brought a fun, interactive element to the kitchen I hadn’t known before and was done in a laid back environment where I didn’t even realize everything I was taking away from the class until I was done.  We’ve seen these classes pop up here and there, and they offer a great and unique night out.  But what is really cool is the spin we’ve been able to put on this concept within the walls of a hotel.

The Crowne’s Cooking Class is a unique opportunity for groups of adults to cook, learn, eat and laugh their way through a full course dinner.  Maybe it’s a Girlfriends Getaway weekend, or you are looking to do a unique Staycation with your honey, or perhaps you are organizing a conference and are looking to put together a list of unique “To Do’s” in the area for your attendees – the Crowne’s cooking course is a great way to “spice up” your day and hone in on your potentially hidden cooking talents.

Classes take place in the heart of the Crowne Plaza, the kitchen, with the helpful expertise and guidance of Executive Chef Timothy Twiford.  Whether you have a “genre” of food in mind, want to play to a certain seasonal component or just want to trust the man with over 34 years of experience in the hotel kitchen – the Crowne is the place to let your inner chef come out and play!