Betty-Ann’s Amazing Crab Cakes

Friday, 10/30/2009

Today I am  participating in a benefit for Sankofa Fine Art. My contribution to the event is crab cakes.  About 30 of Cleveland’s amateur cooks and professional chefs will each have our own booth, touting our ‘specialty’ for this event.  I was invited to participate in the amateur-likes-to-cook category.  Bill is serving as my assistant.  The crab cakes are now ready and they will be loading the car and going to set up later this afternoon.  The event is 5:30-9pm.

It is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic and is being held in one of their buildings.  My instructions were to prepare 150 sample-sized portions of my dish; chafing dishes and other apparatus will be provided.
Betty Ann Lynerd


Betty-Ann will load some pictures of the event tonight but I must tell you how proud I am to have been her assistant at Sankofa’s “Women Cookin’ for the Arts” competition.  She was the judges unanimous choice for first place in the appetizer category with her most famous crab cakes!  Her competition was actually pretty stiff and included several people who own catering businesses.
Bill Lynerd

and now… the award winning recipe!

  • 1 lb of crabmeat
  • 4 T melted butter
  • ¼ c fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 c minced fresh parsley
  • 4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • ½ t dry mustard
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ T Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 large beaten eggs
  1. Mix all ingredients except crabmeat.
  2. Gently fold in crabmeat with hands.
  3. Form into desired patties, and sauté in canola oil, 3 minutes one side and 2 minutes the other side.  Cool on paper towels.

BA’s Notes:

The fresh ingredients make a difference.  I made the breadcrumbs from leftover ciabatta bread from the night before.  Grainy mustard changes the texture so I did not use grainy.  I used crab meat from the fish counter, cold and pasteurized, combining the ‘special’ grade with the ‘lump meat’ grade.  It helps to refrigerate the mixture an hour or more prior to forming and cooking.

I made 150 appetizer sized- patties, so the recipe can be easily adjusted.

1 lb crabmeat yields 6-10 patties, depending on size.

My crabcakes placed 1st in the appetizer category.  We added some crab paraphrenalia to add to the festivities.  One photo is with the other winners, one is with our Channel 5′s morning anchor who emcee’d the event, and one is with the cook who was at the table next to us.

Bill pretty much won over all the hearts by wearing the crab headdress all evening.

Abel Reviews Uncle Geever’s Hamim!

Corn and Bean Salad

Corn and Bean SaladBest with fresh corn, but canned corn will work if out of season.

6 or 7 ears of corn
1 can black beans
1 can white beans
1 medium tomato (diced)
1 medium red onion (chopped)
1 medium jalapeno Pepper (chopped fine)
4 TBS fresh cilantro (chopped)
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook corn on cob and let cool.  Cut corn from cob.    Rinse beans.  Combine corn, beans, tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Gently stir dressing into other ingredients.  Chill before serving.

Chicken in Yoghurt Sauce

Chicken YogurtMadzoonov Hav

Chicken in Yoghurt Sauce

Contributed by Howard Landon

Stovetop and 375°F Oven
Serves 3 – 4

Yes, this dish is somewhat rich, but everything in moderation! Uncle Howard describes the sauce on this chicken as “unctuous” and the meat literally falls of the bone. The lemony yoghurt flavor is very Middle Eastern.

6 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 Tablespoons light cream
5 Tablespoons plain yoghurt
juice of 1 to 2 lemons


  1. Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onions until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the chicken and quickly brown on all sides, about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add the seasonings and stock and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.
  5. Mix together the cream, yoghurt and lemon juice to taste.
  6. Grease a casserole, transfer the chicken to it and pour the creamy sauce over.
  7. Roast about 1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear if the flesh is pierced with the tip of a knife.
  8. Turn occasionally and add more lemon juice mixed with water if too much sauce evaporates. Serve with mashed potatoes, salata and bread for mopping up the rich, unctuous sauce.


Watch carefully while roasting and turn to prevent over browning

Midia Dolma – Stuffed Mussels

Midia Dolma

Midia Dolma
Tsgnaganchi Litzk

Stuffed Mussels

Serves 6

This elegant appetizer has it origins in ancient Armenia.

36 large mussels (in shells)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 lemons cut into wedges for garnish


  1. Scrub mussels, loosen (do not seperate) shells, and remove beard.
  2. Rinse under cold, running water then soak in cold water 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, saute onion in olive oil.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in rice, currants, nuts, allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  5. Rinse mussels again under cold, running water.
  6. Place 1 Tablespoon of filling in each shell. Close tightly and tie with a piece of string.
  7. Arrange in layers in a heavy casserole. Add water and lemon juice. Place an inverted plate on top to hold mussels down during cooking.
  8. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 1 hour.
  9. Uncover and cool to room temperature.
  10. Remove mussels from casserole, cut string off and arrange on serving dish. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Horiatiki Salata: Greek Village Salad

greek_village_saladIn Greek: χωριάτικη σαλάτα
pronounced haw-ree-AH-tee-kee sah-LAH-tah

On the menu in every Greek restaurant and many non-Greek restaurants as well, this salad has many individual variations, but here are the basics to work from. This is the traditional version that does not include lettuce.

Note: Many cooks peel the tomatoes if the skins are tough; it’s a personal call.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

4-5 large, ripe, tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 cucumber
1 green bell pepper
1/4 pound Greek feta cheese, sliced or cumbled
dried Greek oregano
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil
1 dozen Greek olives (Kalamata, green Cretan olives, etc.)
pickled pepperoncini hot peppers (garnish)
1 Tbsp water (optional)


Wash and dry the tomatoes, cucumber, and green pepper. Clean off the outer skin from the onion, wash, and dry.

Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized irregularly shaped chunks, removing the core. Salt lightly. Slice the cucumber into 1/4-inch slices, cutting slices in half (whether or not you peel the cucumber is a personal choice). Salt lightly. Slice the pepper into rings, removing the stem and seeds. Salt lightly. Slice the onion into thin rings.

Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper and onion in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with oregano, pour olive oil over the salad, and toss. Just before serving, place the feta on top of the salad, either as a slice or crumbled (as in photo), and toss in some olives. Sprinkle the cheese with oregano (and pepper if desired), mix the oil and water and drizzle over the top, and serve, garnished with hot peppers.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Additional ingredients

  • Anchovies: if you like this salty fish, add a couple to the salad before tossing.
  • Capers: toss in a few if you like them.

Derevi Sarma


Derevi Sarma

Derevi Patdadz, Yalanchi, Yapraki, Cigars

Stuffed Grape Leaves with rice and olive oil

Makes about six dozen

Sarma are tasty and attractive as appetizers for an Armenian meal.  These are the ones without meat, hence the name “Yalanchi“. They are eaten out of hand and sometimes dipped in madzoon. This is a different recipe from the 1st edition. The currants give a slightly sweet taste which makes the sarma delicious!

16 ounce jar grape leaves (about 80)
rice filling (below)
Filling (about 5 cups, enough to fill 60-80 leaves, depending on size.)
2 lbs onions
1 cup medium grain rice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 large bunch parsley
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped
2 Tablespoon fresh dill – chopped
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika


  1. Chop onions and parsley, mint and dill. Saute onions in oil for 15 minutes. Stir in rice and lemon juice and cook 10 minutes longer.
  2. Add remaining filling ingredients and cook a few minutes longer. (rice should not be completely cooked, it will expand after it is filled into the grape leaves)
    Filling may be prepared in advance and refrigerated
  3. Rinse and soak grape leaves in hot water to remove brine. Remove stems
  4. Place each leaf with shiny side down on a plate. Put 1 to 11/2 tablespoon of filling at stem end.  Roll once, fold in sides and roll the rest of the way. Try to get them as tight as possible. Food Picture
  5. In pan for cooking place torn grape leaves to line the bottom (you can also use a few lettuce leaves to line the pan).
  6. Pack rolled grape leaves close together, as many layers as needed.
  7. Add 3 cups water, put a heavy plate on top of the leaves to keep them from floating up.
  8. Bring to a boil on med high heat (watch closely not to scorch the bottom). Lower heat , cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool, uncover and drain liquid. (grape leaves will discolor if uncovered while still hot)
  10. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges.


It is important to roll sarma tightly and completely enclose the filling. Leaves which tear can be used to line the bottom of the pan. Pack tightly together and hold down with a plate while cooking to prevent unraveling. If too much water gets into the sarma, they will be soft and bland in taste.

Grape Leaves – Vacuum Pack

Grape LeavesFor anyone who has ever struggled trying to get a bundle of fragile grape leaves to come out of the big glass jar without tearing them, look for the new convenient vacuum pouches in your local Mediterranean grocery store.

I found these packages from Ziyad over the weekend. The new pack requires no refrigeration, is much lighter and easier to store. There are actually more leaves in this pouch than in the big 16 oz glass jar.

Happy Yaprak making!

Eggplant Moussaka


Eggplant Moussaka

Greek Eggplant and Meat Dish

350°F Oven
Serves 6 – 8

A delicious main course, moussaka has layers of eggplant covered with meat sauce topped with a cheese flavored custard. They had great moussaka at the Greek festival in Tucson, Az every year.

1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds)
olive oil
Meat Sauce (below)
Cream Sauce (below)
Meat Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pound ground beef or lamb
1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper
Cream Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Slice eggplant 1/4” inch thick, leaving skin on. Sprinkle with salt and let set for 1 hour. Dry with paper towels.
  2. Fry slices in oil until lightly browned on both sides, stack on a plate and set aside.
  3. Make meat sauce: Saute onion and garlic in oil, add meat and brown over high heat. Add remaining meat sauce ingredients, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Make cream sauce: Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer for one minute. Remove from heat , stir in cinnamon or nutmeg, 1 Tablespoon of the cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Cover.
  5. Oil a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish and place a layer of the eggplant slices in the bottom. Top with half of the meat sauce, add another layer of eggplant, remainder of meat and finish with eggplant.
  6. Stir beaten egg into cream sauce and spread on top of dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake at 350°F for one hour. Let set for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Hot and Spicy Shrimp

Hot Spicy Shrimp

Hot and Spicy Shrimp
Hot Braised Szechuan Shrimp

Chinese Shrimp in Chili Sauce

Wok Preparation
Serves 4

I first encountered this mouth-watering dish at the Hunan Garden in New York City’s Chinatown. This is the closest I’ve come to duplicating that restaurant dish.

1 lb Medium-size raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon rice wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2+1 Tablespoons peanut oil
1 Tablespoon grated ginger root
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup green onions, sliced (save tops for garnish)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoon rice wine
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 cup green onion tops, sliced into small pieces


  1. Prepare the marinade ingredients, mixing together the salt, wine and soy sauce. Stir in the raw shrimp. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Combine the grated ginger, minced garlic, and green onions together. Set aside.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients together. Mix well. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2 Tablespoons of peanut oil in hot wok, until almost smoking. Drain the shrimp from the marinade, then add half the shrimp to the wok. Stir-fry briskly for 30 seconds until the shrimp are opaque (they will cook thoroughly later on). Remove shrimp from wok with slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
  5. Heat 1 Tablespoon peanut oil in hot wok. Add the seasonings and brown lightly. Add the sauce mixture and stir the sauce and seasonings together until the mixture begins to bubble.
  6. Return the shrimp to the wok. Stir-fry until the shrimp are cooked and well-coated with sauce. Sprinkle the green onion tops over the shrimp.
  7. Serve over rice.