, , , ,

I hosted a little cocktail party this past weekend. It was great! I’d say my best party so far. I’m pretty sure everyone would agree too considering that after they left I had a table full of empty dishes and a bar full of empty bottles. I had some of my party standards on the menu, bacon wrapped dates, ricotta with lemon and honey, olives, cheese. But I added some new and delicious things, spiced cashews which I will make on a regular basis, Ina’s onion dip, crab cakes and a punch my mom would make occasionally, which everyone loved! Dessert was mini cheesecakes.

This recipe comes from Ina Garten, you can find the original here. Since I was expecting a crowd I adjusted the the amounts a bit. I loved this dip and I found I still had a little left in the fridge after everyone left which I pigged out on. So good!

Caramelized Onion Dip
This makes a lot of dip

2 large yellow onions
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup good mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Low and slow is the way to go. Allow the onions to cool. (I did this the night before.)

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

This is my first attempt at making crab cakes and I was nervous. You can make some pretty bad crab cakes, they can be too dry, too much filling. This recipe had 4.5 stars with 500+ reviews on Allrecipes so I figured it would be pretty fool-proof. I basically doubled the recipe which gave me about 40 small crab cakes. These were hard to shape and keep together but they just required a little patience.

Crab Cakes

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/2 cup more for frying
6 green onions, chopped
2 lbs crabmeat, drained (I used 1 pound lump crab meat and 1 pound claw meat)
2 egg
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dry mustard
8-10 crackers, crushed (I used Saltines)
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular dry bread crumbs

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat. Saute green onions briefly until tender; cool slightly.

Combine crabmeat, sauteed green onions, egg, mayonnaise, dry mustard, crushed crackers, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Form into 1/2 inch thick patties. Coat the patties with bread crumbs. I fried a test cake to check for seasonings.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook cakes until golden brown on each side. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve hot.

I served these with a garlic aioli. Mayo, garlic, lemon juice and salt blended together in a food processor.