Chille Blue Crabs

Hands down, blue crabs are one of my favorite things to eat. Well, maybe not as they compete with pizza, tacos, and nachos, but you know what I mean. There is something about the blue crab that I truly love. Granted there is not a whole lot of crab meat on these little suckers, but it’s finger food, and to me finger food is not only fun, but it’s somewhat sexy. As I noted in the past, it’s hard to find blue crabs in Milwaukee. As I dissed an Asian market I used to go to, Anh Chau, only due to their crappy customer service, I have been frequenting a local market known as Mei Hua. I’ve been there enough where I chat with the owner, and as I always do I ask a lot of questions about produce, and seafood. I recently asked if they were going to get any crawfish, or better yet blue crab, and she sparked up, like what the heck did I know about blue crab! She stated she orders once a week, and that’s when I was sold.

Chinese Chilli Blue Crab Recipe

I pulled in the day she ordered, I think it was a Tuesday, or Thursday, and knew actually where to go. The box with what looked like to be stagnant crabs, that is until you poke them with the tongs.

One of the workers looked at me like I had no idea what the heck I was doing, and funny enough she was trying to help me (I am experienced at this, trust me, but I let her help only for my own entertainment), and we began using the tongs to toss them in a double paper bag. She insisted.

The kids were not home from school yet, and my wife was still at work, and that’s when I decided to clean these live crabs. When you do this, depending on how you feel, it’s something that you may or may not want your family around for, as basically as you are using a knife to take out the crab, ripping it apart, and tearing out it’s lungs, etc. I figured I would move quickly, and just have what I needed for the chilli crabs.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 10-15 live blue crabs, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Sambal Oelek 
  • 1 large shallot, medium slice
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, torn (optional)
  • napkins
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by using tongs to grab your live crab. This is always fun as they like to attack your tongs. Flip the crab over onto it’s back, and puncture it with a sharp knife, right in the middle. Yes, this is often painful to watch, but it has got to be done. Now with your knife, split the crab in half, lengthwise. The important thing here is to remove the gills, up near the face, as well as removing the apron, near the bottom. Once those are removed, rinse the crab in cold water, and set aside, repeating the process.

Keep the crabs cold, covering with a bit of ice cubes. During this time, make the sauce.

To a small mixing bowl, add the ketchup, rice wine vinegar, water, and sambal oelek. Give a good stir.

Heat a large wok, or skillet on medium heat, and let this heat up for a few minutes.

Toss in the oil, and then toss in the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry that for a couple of minutes. Now add in the crabs.

How to make Chilli Blue Crabs

Toss those crabs in the garlic mixture, then add in the sauce mixture. Carefully stir, and toss until the crabs are coated.

Cook for about 15 minutes, if that, and then pour out onto a large serving dish.

Shower with the fried garlic and fresh cilantro, and dig in. Pull off the legs, split the body, pull and crack the claws, and go for it. Suck, splurp, and suck your fingers.

My wife and kids are not a big fan of the blue crabs, and as much of that is a bit of a disappointment,   I’m not going to point fingers and blame. That just means there is more for me!

Get a bib. Get some napkins. Dig in. This is a shell sucking, shell pulling, and little fork poker feat. Sweet, spicey, garlicky, and delicious. I felt bad when my wife came home, and I probably looked like a total mess as she was trying to have a conversation with me. Yes, it was that good.

If you are looking for a fun crab dish to eat, and a fun experience (cleaning crabs), go for it. You will not be disappointed, and by the way, I have yet to go back to Anh Chau, but they do still order blue crabs from what I understand, and with hope, they have picked up their service game.

Another one to try is my blue crab curry. Whoa.

 

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Indian Coconut Soup

Not too long ago, I had asked my wife if she was interested in going out to lunch. Obviously she was ecstatic (I think), and then I gave her a couple of choices. I was leaning very heavily on Indian food, and while I never thought my wife to be all that interested in Indian cuisine, she happily agreed. We checked out this local place called India Garden in Milwaukee. The restaurant was hidden back in a strange area just off a busy street, but the exterior looked nice, and there were plenty of cars in the lot which is most likely a good sign. Upon entering, the interior was super clean and nice, and the service from the start was awesome. Good signs.

This place was packed with natives, which to me, is always a great sign. We took a look at their buffet, and it looked really, really good.

Indian Coconut Soup Recipe

After we devoured pretty much everything they had to offer (and what they offered was probably the best I have had in Milwaukee), my wife said she wanted to try to the coconut soup. Coconut soup? She was in heaven, and insisted I had to try it. So, as a good husband would, I did, and only did because I knew that I would be making this for her in the very near future. That’s when I did, and she was, again, back in love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt

I know… It’s a bit sweet, and strange (in a good way) to say the least, and that’s what makes this one pretty exciting. Think of it as a soup dessert, and a perfect way to end a meal. I also thought that this would be great served chilled (and it was), and blended up with some ice, almost like a Mexican horchata.

This is super easy to make and can be served immediately.

Start by heating a sauce pan on medium heat. Add in the butter, and let it melt.

Once melted, add in the shredded coconut, and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring it around for about 4 minutes or so.

How to make Indian coconut soup

 

Next add in the cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and give another good stir. Lightly toast all of this for about a minute, then pour in the coconut milk, and regular milk. Throw in the pinch of salt, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for about 20 minutes.

Now you are ready to serve.

Ladle in the Indian coconut soup into a small soup bowl, and dig in.

Sweet and delicious, this Indian coconut soup is a total surprise and is a perfect finish to practically any meal. Did I mention how awesome cardamon was? If you have never tried it, just let me tell you it goes very, very well with cinnamon and nutmeg, and has this perfect citrus and floral note that will definitely get your taste buds moving. Hope you enjoy!

Indian Coconut Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of milk
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. know… It’s a bit sweet, and strange (in a good way) to say the least, and that’s what makes this one pretty exciting. Think of it as a soup dessert, and a perfect way to end a meal. I also thought that this would be great served chilled (and it was), and blended up with some ice, almost like a Mexican horchata.
  2. This is super easy to make and can be served immediately.
  3. Start by heating a sauce pan on medium heat. Add in the butter, and let it melt.
  4. Once melted, add in the shredded coconut, and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring it around for about 4 minutes or so.
  5. Next add in the cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and give another good stir. Lightly toast all of this for about a minute, then pour in the coconut milk, and regular milk. Throw in the pinch of salt, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for about 20 minutes.
  6. Now you are ready to serve.
  7. Ladle in the Indian coconut soup into a small soup bowl, and dig in.

 

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Beer Battered Fish

Fish fries are a big deal for us in Wisconsin. Literally, every Friday people are pretty much in search of a good fish fry. I’ve posted in the past regarding the matter, and as much as we love a good fish fry, we pretty much make our own at home. I’m always tinkering with the batter, whether it is adding different seasonings, or different ratios, or even different types of flour, but recently I have been using my go to beer batter.

This beer batter is a huge hit with my wife and kids, and it has that perfect texture that pretty much goes well with any type of fish.

Beer Battered Fish Recipe

This batter has that great beer flavor, and it has the perfect crunch that allows for the awesome flakiness of the fish.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Tilapia fillets, or your favorite fish
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 12 oz your favorite Pilsner, very cold
  • 4 cups canola oil

Heat your oil in a pot on medium-high heat until it registers 350 degrees.

Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir to combine everything. Once everything is combined, mix in the cold beer, and lightly whisk until you have a smooth batter.

Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes.

How to make beer battered fish

 

Once the oil is heated, submerge your fish fillet into the batter to lightly coat, and raise it out to let any excess batter drip back into the bowl.

Carefully place this fish fillet into the oil, and cook until you have a nice golden brown, roughly 4-6 minutes. Remove with your kitchen spider, or large slotted spoon, and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil.

Season with a pinch of salt, and repeat.

The end result is a crisp batter that is just a perfect pairing with your fish. Feel free to use on cod or halibut as well.

There you have it Milwaukee, that’s my batter that I have been using now for a few years, and it’s one that I’m sticking with.

Beer Battered Fish
Author: 
Recipe type: Fish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Tilapia fillets, or your favorite fish
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 12 oz your favorite Pilsner, very cold
  • 4 cups canola oil
Instructions
  1. Heat your oil in a pot on medium-high heat until it registers 350 degrees.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir to combine everything. Once everything is combined, mix in the cold beer, and lightly whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the oil is heated, submerge your fish fillet into the batter to lightly coat, and raise it out to let any excess batter drip back into the bowl.
  5. Carefully place this fish fillet into the oil, and cook until you have a nice golden brown, roughly 4-6 minutes. Remove with your kitchen spider, or large slotted spoon, and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil.
  6. Season with a pinch of salt, and repeat.
  7. The end result is a crisp batter that is just a perfect pairing with your fish. Feel free to use on cod or halibut as well.

 

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Crispy Waffle Nachos

It was taco Thursday the other night. I know, I know. Typically you have that whole taco Tuesday thing going on, but let’s be honest, sometimes we never hit that mark due to schedules, etc, and who could not eat nachos any day of the week, right? As my kids typically would yell out their go to dinner idea (bacon burger, hot dogs, steak), my wife always leans towards nachos. So nachos it was. I’m the one who loads those nachos up. My kids are typically meat and cheese, and I force them to go for the lettuce or avocado, and my wife is pretty good at loading her’s up with the exception of things like olives and jalapeños. With that said, I had some nacho ingredients left over, and the following day my expectation was to use those up for breakfast.

Waffle Nachos Recipe

As I had set out the leftovers in the morning, my initial thought was to scramble everything up into some sort of nacho omelette, but that’s when the idea sparked, and hence came the crispy waffle nachos!

Talk about the best breakfast, possibly ever. You get the sweetness from the crips waffle, and the savoriness from all of the leftover nacho ingredients. Did I mention bacon?

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Waffle:

  • 1 cup of Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete pancake mix
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Now I am going to let you decide on how you want to load up your nachos, as this becomes a personal preference by many. Regardless, here is what I used to give you some sort of roadmap in building your own.

Ingredients for the Nachos:

  • 1 cup of shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked ground seasoned ground beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (reserve some of the bacon grease and keep the skillet)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 whole Jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • your favorite hot sauce, to your liking
  • waffle iron

Now if you want to take the easy route and use up frozen Eggo brand waffles, so be it, but if you have a waffle iron, then make your own. They are better, and better is good.

Start by mixing your waffle ingredients, and mix until everything is incorporated. Add in half of the cooked and crumbled bacon, and all of the minced garlic, and give another mix. Let this rest for about 5 minutes.

Next, heat your waffle iron, on high heat. Spray just a bit of cooking spray onto eat of the griddles.

Prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Ladle in the waffle batter, close and let the waffle cook. The addition of the melted butter will get these waffle nice and golden crisp.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

How to make waffle nachos

 

Once the waffle is fully cooked, and crisp, remove it from the waffle iron, and place into the skillet with some of the reserved bacon grease. We are going to finish this in the oven to get the cheese, and other ingredients nice and warmed through.

Start building your waffle nachos.

Add most of the the cheese to the top of the waffle, along with the ground beef, red onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, corn, and remaining bacon. Top with any remaining cheese to hold everything together, and place into the preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.

Remember, use your hot mit to remove the skillet from the oven. Mentally it’s easy to just think you can grab the handle of the skillet, but do not do that!

Once removed, slide the waffle onto your serving plate, and finish with the green onions, fresh cilantro, and the hot sauce.

Crispy Waffle Nachos

 

Time to dig in! Talk about a masterpiece in nacho town, this thing was awesome. I’m kind of glad no one was around at the time because I tore into this thing. You get the crispy waffle and everything you love about the nacho, but the sweetness of the waffle itself really set this one apart from the others. This would be a perfect brunch idea as well. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Crispy Waffle Nachos
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers, Brunch
Cuisine: Nachos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Waffle:
  • 1 cup of Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete pancake mix
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • Ingredients for the Nachos:
  • 1 cup of shredded colby jack cheese
  • ¼ cup of cooked corn kernels
  • ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cooked ground seasoned ground beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (reserve some of the bacon grease and keep the skillet)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ whole Jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • your favorite hot sauce, to your liking
  • waffle iron
Instructions
  1. Now if you want to take the easy route and use up frozen Eggo brand waffles, so be it, but if you have a waffle iron, then make your own. They are better, and better is good.
  2. Start by mixing your waffle ingredients, and mix until everything is incorporated. Add in half of the cooked and crumbled bacon, and all of the minced garlic, and give another mix. Let this rest for about 5 minutes.
  3. Next, heat your waffle iron, on high heat. Spray just a bit of cooking spray onto eat of the griddles.
  4. Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  5. Ladle in the waffle batter, close and let the waffle cook. The addition of the melted butter will get these waffles nice and golden crisp.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Once the waffle is fully cooked, and crisp, remove it from the waffle iron, and place into the skillet with some of the reserved bacon grease. We are going to finish this in the oven to get the cheese, and other ingredients nice and warmed through.
  8. Start building your waffle nachos.
  9. Add most of the the cheese to the top of the waffle, along with the ground beef, red onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, corn, and remaining bacon. Top with any remaining cheese to hold everything together, and place into the preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.
  10. Remember, use your hot mit to remove the skillet from the oven. Mentally it’s easy to just think you can grab the handle of the skillet, but do not do that!
  11. Once removed, slide the waffle onto your serving plate, and finish with the green onions, fresh cilantro, and the hot sauce.

 

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