Friday, June 21, 2013

Wind Chime Café Recipe ~ Rockfish with Lemon and Thyme

Happy Summer Solstice! To celebrate the first day of summer, I'm sharing another Chesapeake Bay recipe from Wind Chime Café. One of my favorite things about living near the bay is being able to eat fresh fish--especially rockfish. Also known as striped bass or stripers, rockfish are indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay and are highly sought after by both sport and commercial fisherman. Rockfish are such a delicious and tender fish that you can get away with simply sprinkling the fillets with salt and pepper and sautéing them in butter, but we like to jazz them up a bit. :)

What you'll need:
1 lb. rockfish fillets
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon rind
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 t. chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Place the fillets, lemon rind, lemon juice, oil, thyme, and oregano in a plastic bag and let the fish marinate in the fridge for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Transfer the fillets and the marinade to a baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 13 minutes until the fish flakes apart with a fork. Serve with boiled baby red potatoes and asparagus sautéed in butter.

I hope you enjoy my Chesapeake Bay rockfish recipe. I'd love to hear what you think if you get a chance to try it. :) Are you doing anything special to celebrate the first day of summer?

**The top photo is by my friend Greta Corkran. Visit her website for more gorgeous Eastern Shore photographs:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wind Chime Café Recipe ~ Maryland Crab Cakes

As many of you know, I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and I'm working on a new trilogy set on the Chesapeake Bay. The first book, Wind Chime Café, centers around a quirky island café and explores the complex seafood culture of the region. Of course, after deciding to write a book that would include some of my favorite recipes, I realized I should probably learn how to cook them!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be taking you along on my journey to learn how to cook some authentic Chesapeake Bay recipes, including baked rockfish, oyster fritters, crab dip, and possibly a nine-layer Smith Island cake. But let's start off with everyone's favorite--the Maryland crab cake!

What you'll need:
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
1 slice of sourdough or plain white bread with the crust removed, pinched into tiny pieces
1 lb backfin crab meat
3/4 c. mayo
3/4 t dry mustard
2 t Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
Toss everything in a big bowl and mix together.
Form into balls using an ice cream scoop and drop heaping scoops onto a platter.
Sprinkle more Old Bay Seasoning on the top. Be generous!
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (This isn't crucial, but it helps keep the cakes together.)

When you're ready to cook, heat up about 1/4 inch of cooking oil in a large pan (until it sizzles when you throw a few drops of water in) and fry the crab cakes on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges, and fresh corn on the cob and a salad.
If you get a chance to try my family's crab cake recipe, I'd love to hear what you think! I'm really looking forward to incorporating some Chesapeake Bay recipes into Wind Chime Café. I've always loved reading books about food and cooking. Some of my favorites are Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel,  Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks, and Chocolat by Joanne Harris. What are some of your favorite novels that involve cooking and recipes?

*The top photo is of an original Chesapeake Bay working skipjack. There are only a few dozen of these boats left.