RECIPE CARD: Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

This is the Midwest and we like baked potatoes and we aren’t ashamed to say so.  Loaded baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, simple baked potatoes, in my part of the country it is un-American not to like them.  For that matter, how good is a baked potato on those nights when they are what you crave?  Truth is we like all kinds and cooked lots of ways.  That is what is so good about this soup, it can be dressed up or kept very basic but no matter what at the dinner time it is nothing short of delicious.Potato Soup

I am not the first person to make this soup.  This one is different is because most of them  I have seen use red potatoes, flour, and a boullion cube.  I didn’t.  I use russet potatoes because they aren’t waxy like red potatoes.  They also contain lots of starch, a thickener, and enough of a thickener I can keep this soup gluten-free.  Take note, this soup could easily be made into New England Clam Chowder by adding celery, clam juice diluted with water instead of chicken stock, and by adding the clams at the same time as the half and half.  Potato leek soup is another option as is a watercress soup.  Your are only limited by your imagination.

4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked crispy, cooled, and cut

1 small yellow onion (about ½ cup)

3 or 4 medium to large russet potatoes, scrubbed, skin on, and cut into 12-inch cubes

1 TBS. flat leaf parsley, minced

½ teaspoon dried thyme

3 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

¾ cup half and had

¼ cup heavy cream

Green onion, cut into thin rounds

Cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Layer the potatoes into the bottom of the slow cooker.  Top with bacon, onion, parsley, and thyme.
  2. Pour in the stock and turn the heat to high’ put the lid in place, and set a timer for 3 hours.
  3. When the timer sounds, remove the lid and stir the soup gently.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Add half and half and the cream.  Stir and place the lid back on a cook another ½ hour.
  4. Serve with green onions and grated cheddar.

RECIPE CARD: All-American Crab Cakes

I can’t tell you how many times I made crab cakes while working at different restaurants.  I am pretty sure even I don’t  want to know.  What I do know is many times they had lots of flavors sans one, crab and I often thought the cakes were more bread crumb than crab.  So here is a quick, easy, and very crab tasting recipe that can be made any night of the week.  This recipe makes a lot of cakes but realize you can make the cakes and freeze them in sets of 4 cakes or whatever works for you.CRAB CAKES-

All-American Crab Cakes

1/2 cup yellow onion, fine dice

1/2 cup celery, fine dice

2 tsp. Garlic, finely minced

Grape seed or canola oil

1 lb. pasteurized crab meat, preferably from the claw

25 saltines, crushed

2 TBS. mayonnaise

1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 TBS. parsley, minced

2 large eggs

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

  1. Place a medium sized sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add a glug of oil to the pan and give it time to heat.  Add onion, celery and garlic.  Cook the vegetables gently until translucent.  Do not let them brown, adjust the heat if need be.  When finished let the vegetables cool.
  2. Place the cooled vegetables into a large mixing bowl.  Add crab, cracker crumbs, mayonnaise, Old Bay, parsley, and eggs.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  It’s nice to bite into meaty crab pieces of cake, so gently turn the mixture with your hands being careful not to break the crab meat.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set it into the refrigerator, and let it rest for 1 hour to over night.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add a good glug of oil so there is a thin layer across the bottom surface of the pan.
  5. Form tangerines size balls of crab cake working the mixture with your hands.  Pat them into a patty.  Repeat making patties until all the mixture has been used.
  6. Gently place 4 patties into the pan.  You don’t want to crowd the.  Sauté until dark. Gently turn and do the same.  Remove the patties from the pan.  Either keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while you sauté more or serve them immediately.  


RECIPE CARD: Celery and Lemon Tom Collins (mocktail or cocktail)

My wife Amy and I had the pleasure of eating a multi-course vegetarian meal a few years back. The dinner came with many drink options, wine, cocktails, and homemade sodas/mocktails.  For no reason other then curiosity, we chose to drink the mocktails and we were glade we did.  It was an amazing dinner all the way around.

This recipe is based on a recipe in Bon Appétit.  It’s a delicious non-alcoholic drink perfect for those times you want to feel like an adult but without the buzz.  It’s impressive, bold, and very drinkable —vodka would be a great addition too.Celery and Lemon Tom Collins

4 stalks celery, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup simple syrup

1/4 tsp Angostera bitters


Sparkling water or club soda

  1. Place the celery into a blender along with 1/4 cup water.  Puree until smooth and foamy.
  2. Strain into a cocktail shaker full of ice.  Press down on the pulp with the back of a spoon to get all the extraction.
  3. Add the lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters.  Stir.
  4. Fill two rocks glasses with ice.  Strain the Collins mix into the glasses filling them about 2/3 full.  Top off with sparkling water, stir, and enjoy.