Crabby Cakes for Crabby People
(Click to watch my latest Culinary Confession as I seek the best crab cake in Baltimore.)
This week, I want to share an article I wrote for the Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Paper, The Catholic Review, with our Grace Before Meals “fam.” As you know, the Maryland scene is quite proud of its seafood specialties but, in particular, the Maryland Blue Crab. This mean-looking crustacean packs a sweet flavor when boiled or steamed and, of course, seasoned with a Chesapeake Bay favorite – Old Bay.
(Steak and cakes – the best of both worlds.)
In this Culinary Confession, I sample some of Maryland’s best crab cakes. You can try to determine which is the best for your taste buds. I would think determining the best would be an impossible task, which is why I picked places that are close to locations where people can pray for divine inspiration.
(My jalapeno-wrapped crab cake, baked in a cupcake pan to keep the form.)
During the months of July and August, our team will offer our members a walk down memory lane with some of our previously published blasts. This will give our team a chance to prepare for the launch of our new website and the highly anticipated book, Spicing Up Married Life.
(One of the featured recipes in the new book – complete with color photos of each dish.)
We will definitely offer some updated news, tips, and recipes with these Blasts from the Past, but we also want to make sure the fun stories, prayers, and recipe exchanges are not forgotten.
In the meantime, I pray that you and your family have a blessed summer, safe travels, and many opportunities to celebrate the greatest gifts of life – the food on the table and the blessed lives of the people around it!
(My entire family on a Philippine Island vacation 2011-2012.)
Let us pray: Lord, we pray that this time of vacation for family and friends will be a time of recreation – to be recreated and renewed. Keep all travelers safe and focused on their ultimate destination in Heaven. With the prayers of the angels and saints, we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Guardian Angel pointing to the Way of the Cross of Christ, Lourdes, France.)
Click here for the crab cake Culinary Confession for the Catholic Review.
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As you may know, I’ve been doing a monthly column for the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Catholic Newspaper, called “Culinary Confessions.” You may remember some of these posting exclusively for Grace Before Meals subscribers. This has been an exciting opportunity to share food and faith correlations from my own Archdiocese with all of you.
(The Basilica Shrine of Baltimore: last year’s Easter decorations.)
At the end of this blast, you can read about my experience critiquing a hospital cafeteria. You’ll find out why I would even choose to eat there in the first place! You’ll also read about the spiritual lessons God provided for me after that experience.
(Mercy Hospital’s Cafe: Chicken Marsala with potatoes and beans – all for about $6.00!)
These Culinary Confessions give our movement the chance to make faith connections to culture, which show the world the relevancy of faith. Faith, if practiced only in the confines of a church, synagogue, or mosque, demonstrates weakness, fear, or a lack of conviction. As such, it renders faith mediocre and lukewarm.
In our modern world where people of faith are constantly being challenged to keep their mouths shut or their opinions to themselves, we need to realize that could weaken our convictions and beliefs. Screaming, arguing, and proselytizing are not the answer, especially about controversial and challenging topics, but it is certainly important to make sure both sides are heard in a civil way.
(March for Life: Speaking Up for the Unborn Children.)
Perhaps this week’s E-mail Blast will give everyone a gentle reminder to make sure each person at the table has a chance to speak up and share what they think honestly and respectfully.
(Students at the Bishop Verot High School after a School Assembly. I also spoke at Cardinal Moody HS. Both are GREAT places of learning and faith!)
That’s what I hope people get out of these culinary confessions. My objective is not to complain, which is destructive, but to critique in a constructive manner and share experiences from which we can draw possible lessons to the practice of our own faith.
Life certainly gives opportunities to make our faith real. We need to talk about it without fear. We need to be able to use our faith to help us make decisions and judgments in our lives. This week, make your faith real!
(After a faithful and successful parish mission at Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal, Illinois, with great people who are making their faith real!)
Let us pray: Help us Lord never to be afraid to speak out against injustice, while speaking words of compassion to those who need it. Help us to practice our faith in such a joyful and sincere way that others will be drawn to follow our example. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Is there a restaurant review you’d like to share? Let us know, and we’ll post it on our site! Is there a topic you’d like to discuss for future E-Mail Blasts or for possible webisodes on YouTube? Please post your comments, questions, and concerns. We need to hear from you to keep our movement strong!
Click here for the Culinary Confessions for Mercy Medical Center’s Eatery.
A few other reminders:
Watch our show each week on EWTN’s Savoring our Faith. It airs every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Also, spaces are limited for the upcoming Virtuous Vacation and Culinary Retreat to Napa Valley. Be sure to call and reserve your space today!
This week, I am at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheuim CA Thursday and Friday, speaking on how “Food Is Love” for teens and families. Afterwards, I have a Lenten parish mission at St. Mary’s Church in Hudson, OH until next Tuesday. For more information, go to our Events page on the website. Please pray for me and all attending that our hearts, minds and sould are open to all of God’s Graces, especially in this season of sacrifice.
(Join us at the table for one of the sumptuous wine-pairing experiences!)
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“FLIPPING OUT” at Filipino Restaurants
By now you know I enjoy the challenge of using “poor man’s” food – which I believe is the tastiest type of food on the planet – and elevating it to a whole new level. As a self-professed “fusion-style” cook, I’m not afraid to experiment – within reason, of course. Different techniques can aid the home cook in creating beautiful-looking plates out of something that tastes both familiar and comforting, while at the same time special and celebratory.
(An Italian spaghetti, flavored with a brine and a hint of tomato sauce, topped with a fried “sardine” and sprinkled with shreds of a soft cow’s milk cheese. Uniquely delicious and stunning presentation with a slice of calimansi lime.)
During my trip to the Philippines, I found two restaurants that were unique, bold, and, in a word, “wonderful!” It was worth getting very excited – even “Flipping Out” – for these unique culinary destinations!
(Had to show this photo of poor kids having the time of their life on this grassy hill “sliding” board. No expensive video game equipment, just a little sprinkle of imagination and tons of fun!)
The first restaurant was on the Island of Palawan. This Island is remarkably pristine. The Mayor of the city outlawed litter, based on the philosophy that personal dignity requires the effort to show it. This island is home to underground rivers that have been voted the most impressive natural wonder of the world!
(A little explanation of the “Underground River” – a natural wonder of the world AND a miraculous place, if my sister can keep quiet in the cave! Click to watch exclusive video!)
The mayor’s leadership, combined with the beautiful (and clean) surroundings, has makes Palawan a heavily visited tourist spot by naturalists, adventurists, and leisure vacationers.
(The mayor’s no littering mandate stopped the diseased bearing mosquitoes, but not the thieving monkeys! Click to view exclusive video.)
As such, this Island has many dining options for locals and tourists alike. But I recommend Ka Lui’s. This restaurant offers smaller but satisfying plates of traditional flavors fused with European cooking techniques.
(Ka Lui’s Jalapeno-filled baked fish on a base of luscious cream sauce!)
Ka Lui is beautifully constructed in bamboo open-air island fashion. It’s elegant, refreshing, and remarkably clean. The unique ambiance is heightened by the fact that everyone – including the all-male wait staff – is barefoot and fancy free!
(Felt like beach dining with upscale flavors – and no sand!)
(My review and explanation of this fun restaurant with tasty food and fantastic ambiance. Click video to watch.)
Manila’s humongous urban sprawl makes it a food haven on every busy and overpopulated corner. However, in the Fort Global City of Manila celebrity Chef Bruce Lim offers traditional flavors in bold and exciting ways at his signature restaurant, The Chef’s Table.
I think Italians would be impressed, even if slightly confused, by a spaghetti dish topped with a Filipino fried fish. Or how about a “carbonara” that has grilled chicken and banana heart fruit cream sauce!
(Chef Lim’s Filipin-ized “carbonara” made with grilled chicken, banana heart, cream, and scallions. Delicious!)
This restaurant offers a completely different way of eating Filipino food by serving individual plates, not “family style,” with a side of rice. However, it’s become a popular spot for many locals seeking a European flare to break up the monotony that can happen with too much of any ethnic cuisine.
(Filipino’s don’t drink too many martinis. But they would seriously enjoy this one (NCR – No One Can Run), especially since it has the sharp and robust taste of roasted garlic oil and chili heat!)
Both of these restaurants highlight my personal style of cooking, characterized as “fusion.” And in both restaurants I was most edified to see families as the primary patrons. So these restaurants not only highlight my style of cooking, but also the message of our movement. Go ahead and be creative with your food and your family meals!
(Young culinary students who assisted me at the BergHOFF store and studio – to raise funds for the victims of the recent typhoon. They’re now going to intern at top restaurants around the world!)
Let us Pray:
Lord, we know that You bless the poor with good things. Help us, by this movement, to remember that being poor in this world means that we inherit the blessings and the kingdom of Heaven. We thank You for the “simple” but delicious meals that bring comfort to our tables – especially since these “simple meals” bring our families together in love. Bless our families and especially those that struggle to put food on the table, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
What is your favorite fusion-style of food? Do you have a recipe you want to share? Do you have a restaurant you think would characterize fusion foods. Your comments help us think of ways to share the Faith through the medium of food. Please post your comments here, and know that each posting comes with sincere thanks and heartfelt prayers for this movement!
NOW. . . check out the newest extension of the
Grace Before Meals movement: MINIFLIPPING!
This is for your families, especially if you have teens or young adults. Fr. Leo and a crew of “mini-flippers” share a positive message in a dynamic way, challenging the status quo, and hopefully bringing out mini-conversions in the hearts and minds of the viewers.
To help us get this Good News out there, tell your kids to watch, to subscribe, to “like” it, and to leave comments and questions. And then tell them to get all their friends to do the same! It’s certainly worth “FLIPPING OUT ABOUT!”
Check out our next video THIS FRIDAY:
FR.LEO TAKES ON THE PRESIDENT’S MANDATE ON CONTRACEPTION.
NO MORE MR. NICE PRIEST.
A Guest at Our Table
NOTE: Thanks to our readers for catching a grievous typo. We corrected the spelling of New Jersey and apologize for the clerical error. It was not our intent to offend anyone by our misspelling.
This week we have the special opportunity to share a restaurant review from one of our faithful foodie subscribers and a Grace Before Meals follower. As you recall, I invited our members to join the fun and submit critiques of restaurants they’ve visited during their travels.
(One of the beautifully plated appetizers served at the Culinary Cruise this past summer. It was a whole week of cooking critique!)
This one comes from Elizabeth Quirino, who lives in the Patterson Diocese of New Jersey. Elizabeth shares some of her thoughts about a local restaurant she and her family visited while in Delaware called Northeast Seafood Kitchen. She is also a contributor to the websites: www.asianinamericamag.com and www.queensnotebook.com.
Restaurant reviews from our viewers give your family the chance to share great food finds, but also give you the opportunity to offer constructive critiques about something extremely important to our travels in life: good food! Another interesting point about offering restaurant critiques – they give families a chance to talk about positive and negative qualities and characteristics that can be emulated or avoided in their home or in their own personal lives. In other words, critiques can be both constructive and instructive. If they aren’t practiced or are practiced the wrong way, critiques can easily become destructive. By articulating critiques in an appropriate and selfless way, we can actually learn about ourselves!
(My nephew, very interested in cooking – learning new techniques and improving his skills every day. He may beat me in some “flavor profiles” when it comes to food (he’s great at seasoning his meals), but I would definitely take him in when it comes to kitchen cleanliness!)
Go ahead and share some of your thoughts about different restaurants you’d recommend (or not recommend). Like Elizabeth, your reviews and pictures can help spread the message about good family food in different parts of the country and the world!
Also, be sure to check out her blog, where she will review my cookbook, Grace Before Meals: Recipes & Inspiration for Family Meals & Family Life and one of my recipes, my Arroz Caldo soup recipe.
(Elizabeth Quirino and with her husband Elpidio, and sons Tim and Toby. No wonder she knows her food – she has a household of hungry boys!)
NORTHEAST SEAFOOD KITCHEN : A Restaurant Review
By : Elizabeth Besa Quirino
If you’re ever in the south Delaware area, specifically near the beaches, don’t miss going to NORTHEAST SEAFOOD KITCHEN Restaurant. It was a refreshing change from all of the overpriced restaurants down the shore. From the outside, we saw a casual restaurant encased within a strip mall building. But the exterior looks were deceiving. As soon as we entered, we were warmly greeted by the friendly staff. The first sight that greeted us was the busy kitchen that is visible to the restaurant patrons.
At the helm of the busy operations was Chef Bryan Muzik, who is also the General Manager. I had met Chef Bryan at a “Beach Eats” Cooking Demo right there on the shore, during our week at Bethany Beach, Delaware. After watching his amazing cooking demos, we were convinced to go eat at NORTHEAST SEAFOOD KITCHEN.
(One of the booth settings at Northeast Seafood Kitchen.)
As soon as we arrived at Northeast Seafood Kitchen, we were brought to our table, which was in a nice, comfortable corner spot and offered a great view of the excitement going on in the Chef’s kitchen.
Our waitress was kind and helpful with the evening’s entrees. What was hard was deciding which delicious dish to pick from. Everything on the menu looked delectable.
(Fish & Chips)
We started with 2 appetizers: Roasted Mussels in Chorizo, a superb starter which had some spicy chorizos, swishing around in a zesty, tangy tomato sauce. Another great starter was LEO’S FAMOUS HOT CLAM DIP with Kettle Chips. The kettle chips were light, crisp, had just the right amount of saltiness that complemented the creamy and cheesy hot clam dip.
The appetizers came quickly and were hot, fiery and good. It went well with the beverages we ordered all around. The restaurant has a fine, sturdy wine and beverage list that does not disappoint.
(Grilled Salmon Salad)
The entrees came soon after. My “FISH and CHIPS” was light, crisp and non-greasy. It had huge portions and the crunchy fries that came with it were amazing.
Other entrees our family ordered were : “GRILLED SALMON SALAD, which was elegantly nestled on top of a bed of fresh vegetable greens, laced with a tantalizing dressing.
(Look at the delicious lobster in the mac & cheese)
Next up was the LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE , which according to my son, was terrific with just enough of a sharp cheddar bite swirling in it. There was also some fresh celery mixed in it which totally complemented the cheesy flavors.
We also ordered the LOBSTER BLT with SPICY MAYO, and Arugula . This came with a hefty portion of crispy, homemade kettle chips.
(A Lobster BLT served with Kettle Chips)
When the meal was over, we were so stuffed that dessert was farthest from our minds. We were mulling on ordering a few scoops of ice cream which we eventually did, when out of nowhere Chef Bryan came over with a complementary generous serving of the New England Style Oatmeal Pie Cinnamon with Whipped Cream. Did I mention it was heavenly?
The personalized service, the casual laid-back family atmosphere, and the sensational seafood courses are some of the many reasons why my family and I gave NORTHEAST SEAFOOD KITCHEN a “cool” stamp of approval for this seaside resort town in Delaware.
(Bethany Beach, DE)
Summer doesn’t need to end. Even as the fall weather sets in, drive off to the coastal towns of Delaware …take in the sea sights, enjoy some long walks, great tax-free shopping and best of all, savor the seafood at Northeast Seafood Kitchen, which is open year round.
Northeast Seafood Kitchen Restaurant
29 F. Atlantic Ave.
Ocean View, DE 19970
Price Range: $ 15-$20
Wine List : Good solid choices
Reservations not accepted. So come early!
Elizabeth Besa Quirino is a freelance writer and food blogger of 2 blogs http://www.asianinamericamag.com and http://www.queensnotebook.com. Elizabeth develops recipes, reviews restaurants and cookbooks, enjoys travelling with her family and writes about these culinary adventures in her 2 blogs. Both blogs are about FILIPINO & ASIAN food, as well as GLOBAL CUISINE, cooked from the comfort of home. Most of the recipes featured on her blog, are family recipes from her late Mom, handed and passed around for generations.
Currently, Elizabeth, her husband, Elpidio, and their sons Tim and Toby are parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Flanders, New Jersey. She is also a Contributing Writer for http://www.HomemadeQuirk.com, a community blog of Quirk Books.
Congratulations, Elizabeth, for a great restaurant review and great websites. From reading this review, I’d say Grace Before Meals would give this restaurant only three out 10 Hail Mary’s, which translates to about 3.9 stars out of 5.
Dear Father, we know what is right and wrong in most things in life. It takes great humility to hear when we are doing wrong and to accept the praise when we do something right. Give to us that grace to be humble and to learn from critique, by learning how to critique, and to celebrate the fact that nothing is perfect, until it reaches its fulfillment in Heaven. Thank You Lord for our Grace Before Meals movement, the friends and subscribers who help us give meaning to our meals, and in a special way Elizabeth and her contributions to our efforts. May God bless us all, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Click the picture to watch Fr. Leo’s latest video, where he traveled to St. Andrew Catholic Church in Newtown, PA for a “Food Fight”)
Do you have a restaurant you’d like to promote, or even warn people about. There’s no need to be afraid if you’re just trying to be helpful in spreading the good word about good places. Your restaurant reviews are always welcome. Simply send us your review. We’ll not only provide links for your websites or events, we’ll even send you a little Grace Before Meals thank you gift for being such an important and active part of our family. Click here if you want to share a restaurant review. Post any comments and questions below.
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