7/31/11

St. Michaels, Maryland: Part 2

"If we don't offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don't lift to the horizon; our ears don't hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting." - Kent Nerburn on traveling from Letters to my Son

For someone who begins the first moments of every morning with a bowl of Barbara’s brand cereal with original-flavored almond milk followed by a cup of strong coffee, mildly diluted with half and half and sugar, I can speak candidly about finding comfort in routine. And while I love to travel, I am also shamefully famous for on-the-road food-related tantrums like the time I woke up at a bed and breakfast in Ojai to discover that no breakfast basket had arrived at the door like it had the previous morning at eight o’clock sharp. I thought perhaps the breakfast folks were running late, so while Matt tried to sleep, I anxiously waited for thirty minutes before finally calling the front desk, only to receive the information that they delivered complimentary breakfasts on the weekend, and since it was Monday, there would be no breakfast. What did that even mean—there would be no breakfast? At this, I took the next logical step. I ran and leapt into the air, throwing myself in what Matt describes as a sloppy, swan dive onto the bed and buried my face in the pillow in such dramatic fashion that the memory of it still makes him laugh. Needless to say, driving across the country with me was also difficult on him. A scene at the Hampton Inn in Flagstaff comes to mind. No skim milk? Excuse me while I go upstairs and destroy my hotel room. 
But despite securing my breakfast staples at the beginning of this week’s vacation on the Chesapeake—“I’ll go to the grocery store! I don’t mind!”—I couldn’t help but feel hyper aware of all the ways that my world in this giant city of Los Angeles has indeed become very small. Starting with the east coast humidity. I grew up on the east coast and go home at least once a year but how quickly do I forget about that thick, hot air that kind of just lands on your skin and stays there indefinitely?

Then there were all the conversations and catching up at the wedding with all of Matt’s and my distant relatives we rarely get to see and whose lives are so rich and so different from ours. Speaking of different than ours, there was a smattering of b-a-b-i-e-s. While in Philadelphia for the wedding, I met up with my best friend from college who I hadn’t seen in over a year and who had just had her second baby a mere ten days earlier. It was so wonderful to see how she hasn’t changed a bit yet has this entire beautiful family at the same time. And then, we spent the week with our adorable nephew (whose toe point is highlighted in Part 1 of this wrap-up) and super cute niece, Isabel, who, plain as the eye can see, took to her aunt quite naturally.
I did, however, feel instantly comfortable in the enormous kitchen with the Viking range, granite countertops and dishwasher. So much so that when Matt and I left for the grocery store on the last day of vacation to shop for ingredients for dinner that night, we had only a vague game plan as to what we would make. We’d had the most amazing grilled rockfish at a local restaurant the previous night so we thought we might attempt that. If they had oysters, we thought we could grill those. Basically, we were very into the idea of grilling something, but we were comfortable with not knowing what that would be exactly. But then we arrived at Captain’s Ketch and the fresh jumbo lump crabmeat and the idea of some classic Maryland crab cakes called to us. (We would’ve had to catch a lot of crab to have acquired enough crabmeat to make one crab cake let alone enough to feed the seven of us.)
And so we returned home very nourished and with the edge back on our experiences—at least for the time being. We got in really late last Saturday night without enough energy to pick up either cereal or almond milk. Fortunately for everyone though, we did have some oatmeal and somehow, I managed to keep it together.


Crab Cakes adapted from recipe by Paula Deen
serves 8

2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat
6 to 8 crackers, crushed
4 scallions (green and white parts), finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons of chives, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning (The house came equipped with this tub of seasoning, which we taste-tested and feel semi-confident in saying that it was probably a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.)
tartar sauce, for serving
olive oil

Directions
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except olive oil. Shape into patties. (We found that the smaller the patties, the more manageable they were to flip and keep from falling apart. I’d say to aim for a size slightly smaller than an English muffin.)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with tartar sauce.
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26 comments:

Matthew said...

I will never forget the epic, no-breakfast leap. Also, those crab cakes were insane!

tannaz said...

amelia, your writing gets better and better! love this.

Ms.Nožisková said...

I'm *so* happy to read this. I thought I was the only one prone to dramatic (usually breakfast-related) food temper tantrums.

I once nearly destroyed a shower on a stressful moving day when I realized my mom (who was in town to "help") had thrown out the soy milk *necessary* for a oatmeal-flaxseed oil-blueberries concoction I ritualistically ate.

I'm totally going to remember this post the next time I feel like wailing because I was set on eating say, fruit and *Wallaby* yogurt, and for some reason can't have it, and will feel a little bit consoled that another person is acquainted with whatever irrational demon it is that takes over in these moments!

Joy said...

Mmmmm crab cakes.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

Isabel is making precisely the face I would have made upon being told there would be no breakfast!

Andrea said...

To quote my own famous food-related tantrum: I just wanna eat!

Ana Degenaar said...

What an amazing post! so cute and yummy!

AnderBeth said...

I love, love, love youre blog! The pictures in this post are amazing (they all are)! I have a health blog that I recently starteted, it would mean so much if you checked it out :) http://eatsimplylivehealthy.blogspot.com

If you have any advice, it's more than welcomed! Keep up the awesome work!

Marisa said...

I love the "no skim milk?" part.

That is semi-reminiscent of my experience this weekend at a hotel. Exacty on which "continent" is this an acceptable breakfast?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can totally relate to freak out. What kind of salad is pictured, just curious! Looks like a wonderful vacation.

amelia said...

@tannaz merci!
@Ms.Nožisková & @Meister & @Marisa - soooo glad you can relate!

@anonymous: it is one of the best, most refreshing salads in the world. Arugula lettuce w/ dressing of salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. I like it pretty tart so begin with the juice of one lemon and just a little bit of olive oil, adding more to taste. Then, top with Parmesan. It's seriously the best salad there is.

Jessica said...

Thanks as always for the hilarious and thoughtful post. The crabcakes look amazeballs.
- Jess

Natalie@Deconstructing the Home said...

I can't wait to try these. They look delicious. Thanks for the post!

LD1 said...

Hi Amelia,

I'm a friend of Adam in Chicago, who knows Maryann. He introduced me to your blog. Your writing is so wonderful and "Bon Appetempt" has become a verb in my world too b/c of your blog. I just had to write to say hello and give you a cyberspace high five. Thanks for all your entries, full of wit, humor and honesty.

cheers, Bobbi

amelia said...

Bobbi! Thank you soooooo sooo much! That's so nice to hear. High five right back at you! And please tell Adam hello for me and maybe we can all get together in Chicago sometime!

Megan Taylor said...

OMG Amelia, this post is so epic and amazing! That pic of you and the tear-dropped little one - I love it! Speaking of messed up b-fast scenarios, have you ever been to a Super 8 Motel? That's a fun morning...

SG said...

Lady, I love reading your posts so much!

Jeanne said...

Oh, wow. I have been craving American summer food so badly. Those look so good!

jeana sohn said...

I WANT THE CRAB CAKE!

Colleen said...

The crab cakes look wonderful. We live in Charleston SC so going crabbing is a way of life. There is nothing better than fresh blue claws right out of the river.

http://thefrugalfoodieskitchen.blogspot.com

keepfeeling said...

so i checked out this blog post a few days ago but i had to peel myself away due the fact that i was starting a cleanse and photos of crab cakes make my mouth water instantly. but i'm on my last day and i am pretty sure that i am going to eat a crab cake sandwich or crab cake benedict once this nonsense is over.

your trip looks epic, as do your photos. xoxo

L.A. said...

These crab cakes seem so do-able and non threatening! Thanks so much for sharing. Check out some of my recipes at www.westcoastleslie.blogspot.com

Mary Anne said...

Oh em gee, I really need a crabcake. Damn. I am mad at myself for leaving the Georgia coast without having one! Major oversight!! Yours look like the best kind. Reminds me of our Baltimore days...

Jennifer Souza said...

I'm from Annapolis, Maryland and you are making me homesick for the food. Loved your video bonappétempt, too!

Kristin said...

I love crab cakes and Paula Dean so I can't wait to try these and share your recipe on my blog. THANKS

Vivier said...

yum i want the crab cakes and i want that house and i want the salad and also the corn on previous post.
little girl crying? didn't see it, but i saw some pretty hair down...:)