Menu testing

Part of the fun in cooking comes from the experimentation, really. When you have people readily available to act as guinea pigs taste testers, it makes it much easier to perfect things in time for the big holiday. And when you yourself have taste-related issues like the main character in a movie you watched (again) in the wee hours of the morning because you couldn’t sleep, it’s quite beneficial to have those people around.

Today: crabcakes and baked corn. Both very simple dishes, really. The crabcakes should be more crab than cake, and the corn should be bubbly and creamy when it comes out of the oven. It would be a spectacular bonus to be able to do the latter dish with silver queen corn, but you can’t get that fresh in what technically is fall down here, and it’s hard to find it frozen.

My goal when making the menu was to make sure that everything was as healthy as it could be, without sacrificing the taste. Who wants a Thanksgiving full of nasty, dry, tasteless (or bad tasting) food? Making everything from scratch also allows us to avoid the preservative-laden stuff that comes out of a can or box. And it just tastes better.

The prep for the corn:

The prep for the crabcakes:

The corn dish is simple, and turned out well – but did not turn out the way I wanted. This particular recipe is a scratch, and I’m working on adjusting it. Still, what isn’t made better by the addition of bacon? Mmmm….bacon.

The crabcakes, on the other hand, turned out very well indeed. My mom declared them a bit too “crabby” for her, which means that most everyone else will be fine with them.

The pre-crab ingredients:

After mixing those ingredients and then gently folding in the crab meat, the cakes were laid out on a parchment-lined sheet pan. These were a bit larger than the size I’ll make for Thanksgiving.

A sprinkle of paprika on top, and they’re ready for their baking.

Baking, of course, is followed by eating – preferably with a side aioli prepared with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some Old Bay.

Quite good, and I don’t think any changes are necessary for this one.