Ladies night and a Chicken Pot Pie

 

Now that Shenandoah Spice Co. has successfully made it to DC WholeFoods (yay), it means a lot more crafty overnights in the great city.  The favorite thing about that?  Getting to stay over night in Alexandria with my very favorite ladies, Erin and Becca.

Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)
Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)

We cook, we drink our wine, we have a lovely time.  Each week I’ll bring a bag of mystery produce from my share and we’ll make a meal from the secret ingredients and whatever’s left in their fridge.  THIS time we had a fantastic visitor from a farm in Pennsylvania who was on her way to Florida.  She, like I, tends to travel in a car filled with produce and tasty treats—the kitchen went from bare bones to fully stocked.  It went from ladies night to epic ladies night.

Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair
Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair

This weeks head chef: Becca.  From the rural mid-west, her index of recipes is the never ending joke of what to make—steak and potatoes, meatloaf, or chicken pot pie.  Gotta tell ya, the Heartland makes one heck of a chicken pot pie.

 

A hearty winter meal, great for 4-5 with a bottle of wine (or three) or a tasty microbrew.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

Epic pot pie with greens
Epic pot pie with greens

 

 Ingredients:

(serves 4-5)

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup frozen green peas

½ cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1/3 cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp celery seed

1 ¾ cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk (Trickling Springs)

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Optional Herbs:

Rosemary/Sage/Thyme/SSC Bread Dip

No more than a pinch of any.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a saucepot, add chicken, peas, carrots, celery, and cauliflower.  Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.  After 15 minutes, remove from heat, drain, and set aside in a bowl for later. DSC_0016
  3. Now for gravy makin’: In a saucepot, melt a tab of butter and cook onions until translucent.  Stir in salt, pepper, flour, celery seed, and any other preferred herbs.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk, leaving on medium heat until thick.  Set aside.
  4. Place chicken and veggie mixture into one of the two pie crusts.  Pour gravy over mixture.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.

    Take the other pie crust and lay over the top of bottom crust.  Pinch the edges of both crusts together, making a tight seal.  You can use a fork to pinch it closed.  Cut three slits at the top of the pie so the steam can release.

    Sarah removing the crust.
    Sarah removing the crust.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown.  Allow to cool, then slice up and serve!  We added a bed of greens as our side to keep it somewhat healthy in all the gravy goodness.

 

Enjoy!

 Side note:  we actually forgot to buy a second pie crust before the store closed so we made it from scratch.  It was like a puff pastry, so all you need is water, butter, salt, and flour.

Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.
Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: Cauliflower, carrots, greens, onion

Sarahs Magic Car: milk, butter

Everything else from the kitchen of Erin and Becca.

Oh Alaska: The Great Crab Off

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A trip to Alaska:

What a wonderful world.

The battle of best crabs was on after an Alaskan came to MY home town and told me yeah he guessed Blue Crabs were good, but his Alaskan crabs, King and Dungeness, are better. Clearly, I cannot stand for that so I went to Alaska for the freshest test possible.

 Away to Alaska I went:

Alaskan Crabs vs. Blue Crabs

I arrived in Alaska to the kindest family I could imagine, making our future fight over crabs harder than I thought it would be. Off to their house we went and I was delivered to a true Alaskan feast: Dungeness Crabs with garlic butter, fried Halibut with homemade tartar sauce, and homemade coleslaw. Where’s the paper?? I thought. How about the hammers? Nope. Each place was set with a small cut board and a rock. Yes, a rock. Are they otters or Alaskans….or both? Nah, they’re just mountain people who have found perfectly shaped rocks to their hands and keep them just for their local eats.

 

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So the difference? The Dungies, as they call ’em, have enough meat in half of their body as a whole Blue Crab and a half. Each leg matches the same amount found in a Blue Crab claw. The rock, quite frankly, makes you feel like a bad-A animal claiming ya meat. Now can I say which one is better? Can I, in my right mind, say that Dungeness Crabs are better than Blue Crabs?? No. Maryland would remove me from the state.

 

So here it is Conor Lendrum (the nice young fellow who challenged my crabs): Dungeness vs Blue Crab. They tie. I’d say Blue meat is a wee bit sweeter but there is just so much meat in one Dungie crab.

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I flew all the way to Alaska to prove to my Marylanders once and for all that our crabs are supreme….and we came out in a dag tie. THANKS ALASKA. But really, thank you, it was delicious.

 

PS- Why didn’t I mention the competition with King Crab? Because they fail. Seriously, not worth racing with the Dungies and the Blues.

 

Some tasty Blue Crab and Dungeness Crab recipes?

 

 

The not so traditional Crab Dip:

The ratio for this dip is a personal preference. I love the extra tomatoes and onions for the extra texture and flavor. It also makes the crab meat go farther, which, considering the price, is very helpful. The Tabasco adds a little heat without upsetting the clean flavors of the vinegar with the crab meat.

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 Ingredients:

8 oz crab meat

2/3 cup white onion (diced)

2/3 cup tomato (diced)

2 tbs vegenaise

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

5 shakes Tabasco hot sauce

fresh cracked pepper

fresh cut italian parsley (optional)

 

  1. Toss the above ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Be carful to fold and not mix too roughly so as to keep the meat, especially that tasty back fin, in tact.  Serve chilled.

 

Incredibly refreshing and delish with a beer on the back porch!

Best served with buttery crackers (Ritz or Whole Foods party packs) or topping a salad.

 

 

A crabby twist on the Lobster Roll

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Ingredients:

(serves 3)

1 lb crab meat

3 tbs tartar sauce (with cayenne)

½-1 tbs sweet pickles (diced)

2 splashes of hot sauce (of your choice)

fresh cracked pepper

Lemon zest

  1. In a bowl, combine the above ingredients. Be careful to mix, rather than fold. Mixing will break down the crab chucks, folding will give you a lumpier and more flavorful roll.
  2. For best serving, top each side of roll with the horse radish mixture listed below, then crab meat, onion and tomato. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to crisp the roll and warm the meat.

 

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Roll topping:

 2 tbs sour cream

1 ½ tsp horse radish

Additional toppings

Red onion slivers

Spinach/lettuce

Tomato slices