In my family there were no birthday parties. On your birthday, you got to pick your birthday dinner and what kind of cake you wanted. We ate with family, usually at Aunt Jane’s house, opened presents and enjoyed good food and company.
In a world where parents drop hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on birthday celebrations – I’m ok with sticking to family tradition on this one.
So, what’s my pick?
CRAB CAKES. Every freaking year.
It’s my favorite. And in honor of posting my first recipe on here, there was no other choice.
My mom makes great crab cakes. Over the years I’ve made some changes, but I’ll be sure to give you the original recipe too.
Back to the story-
My pseudo great grandmother, Bernice, lived next door to my family forever. She passed less than two years ago and was 102. It was Bern who first taught me to cook, just as she had my momma. Bernice’s dad, Brooks, was my own momma’s pseudo great grandfather – so I guess that’s a bit of a family tradition too.
Bern was an only child, and as wonderful as her daddy was…her momma was rumored to be mean as a snake. The story goes that Brooks once wanted an ice cream cone from my real great-grandparents store. He dropped the nickel it would’ve cost on the way there, and Bern’s mom wouldn’t give him another. Bless her penny-pinchin’ heart 😉
Bern was a child of the depression, with a mom who took “fiscal conservative” to a totally new level. There was no fresh seafood for Bern growing up, or at any other point in her life. The woman would eat salmon cakes (from a can) any day of the week, but ask her to eat a crab cake and she’d turn her nose up.
So, when we sat down to my Pa’s birthday dinner many moons ago – Bern was in for a surprise herself…seafood and a lot of it. When the crab cakes got passed, sure enough Bern turned her nose up. Momma put one on her plate anyway.
She ate a bite to be polite.
And then she polished off two more cakes. Bern was a believer in the power of a crab cake from then on!
Empty 1lb of crab into a bowl. Carefully separate the crab, and pick out any remaining shell. (I actually prefer claw meat, but I’ll use lump for special occasions!)
Add the Dukes, yogurt, egg, seasoning/herbs, and bread on top of the crab. Gently mix it together on top, then fold it GENTLY into the crab. Don’t mix, you’ll break up the fragile crab.
Mom’s original recipe calls for only Dukes, no yogurt – but the yogurt will save you some calories and it turns out great. Aka Hubby couldn’t tell the difference.
Mom also uses 1 Cup Italian bread crumbs from a can instead of actual bread – I like the stale bread better, but either works.
If your mixture is still too liquidy, add more bread.
Feel free to play around with the seasoning, but do not skip the Old Bay. That’d be like trying to sell a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. No joke. Not the same. When my herbs come in better, I’ll be using those – for now I’m stuck with dry. Increase to a tablespoon with fresh herbs.
Use a spoon to heap out a handful, and form it into a cake placing it onto a cookie sheet. Continue until you’ve made all the cakes. One batch should make 8 medium cakes, but feel free to adjust size.
So, Momma has always fried them in a skillet with a vegetable oil/butter mix over medium heat… and they’re good, like really good.
But about a year ago I decided to try baking them. It’s a little healthier, and it was soooo much easier than standing over the frying pan. Both are great options, but for now I’m going with the baked version. So…put the cakes in a preheated oven at 425, for about 10-12 minutes or until they’re pretty and golden brown. They will change your life.
(I love them just as they are, but Hubby loves it with some creole sauce.)
1/2 Cup Dukes Mayo
1/2 Cup Plain Greek yogurt
1 egg (beat)
1 tsp each – Old Bay, dried chives, parsley, and onion
2 cups stale bread pieces (I used hotdog buns this time hah)
Put crab meat in a mixing bowl, gently separating it apart. Add all other ingredients on top of crab. Mix the ingredients above the crab, then gently fold the combined ingredients into the crab. Once adequately combined, spoon a heaping amount into your hand and form a cake. Put cakes on a baking sheet. (I cheat and use some non stick foil.) Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.