Thursday, April 26, 2012

Devilishly good

We all have special food memories. Our company president, Pam Barefoot, shared this one: "In the late 1950s and early 1960s, my mother would take me on our annual trip to North Carolina's capital city, Raleigh, to shop for school clothes. A highlight of our trip was a visit to the long lunch counter at Woolworth's department store, where we would order deviled crabs. And those deviled crabs were heavenly, not devilish! I never could figure out why they called them 'deviled.' This was my only experience with crabs as a child, as we lived in the heart of sweet potato, hog, and tobacco country."

Try this recipe out at home:

Chesapeake Deviled Crab

2 tbsp. yellow onion, minced
2 tbsp. bell pepper, minced
2 tbsp. celery, minced
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¾ cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
1 tbsp. dry sherry (if desired)
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ cup fine breadcrumbs (divide in half)
1 lb. fresh crabmeat or 2 tins crabmeat
6 to 8 clean crab shells or ramekins, lightly greased

Sautè onion, pepper, and celery in butter until tender. Blend in flour and gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, beat an egg and add lemon juice, mustard, sauces, sherry, and all seasonings except Chesapeake Bay Seasoning or paprika. Add cream sauce to the egg mixture. Blend in crabmeat and half of the fine breadcrumbs. Place mixture in well-greased crab shells or ramekins. Over low heat, lightly butter the remaining breadcrumbs. Put the buttered bread crumbs over the top of each shell and sprinkle with Chesapeake Bay Seasoning or paprika. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about six servings. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A soft spot for soft shells

Our friend Judy Brunk harvests soft crabs.

A soft-shell crab is a culinary term for a crab that recently has molted its old exoskeleton and is still soft. Around here, we love to get our hands on these! And now is the season.

Once you're in the kitchen, prepping these treats for cooking is a breeze. Just take some kitchen shears and cut off the crab's face, slicing about a quarter-inch behind the eyes. Pull up the soft upper shell, leaving it attached, and remove the spongy gills underneath.

Now, you're ready to fry. There are numerous variations. Some people like a simple dusting of flour and frying in butter. This is one we like: Try dusting the crabs with flour, running them in a milk and egg wash, then follow with a seafood breading with some of our Herbs for Seafood or Chesapeake Bay Seasoning mixed in. Fry up until golden brown. Experiment, and have fun doing it! The flavor is wonderful! See below for some dinner ideas.

A home chef popped one of these fried delicacies into a tortilla for a tasty wrap.

The cook on this one took the panko crumb route.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Surf's up!

Our Surf Doggies™ Gourmet Virginia Peanuts with Spicy Honey Mustard Seasoning is a 2012 sofi™ finalist for Outstanding Snack Food by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc.! You should have heard the "howls" and "woofs" around the facility when we paged about the notification. Our own little "Doggie" chorus! Please share in our excitement and try them for yourselves. Visit to shop all of our snacks.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We're pumped!

A new wholesale customer, Grayslake Shell at Rt. 83 and Center Street in Grayslake, Ill., has our company information running on the screens of the pumps at his gas station. Head over for a fill-up and pick up some nuts! While you're there, thank our new Steve Dahl friend, Tim Tahaney, for ordering. Check out the pump video!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A pearl of a pea crab

Ever eaten a pea crab? Recently, at an oyster roast fundraiser for the Eastern Shore of Virginia's YMCA Camp Silver Beach, some diners had quite a treat! Our president, Pam Barefoot, told the kids they were like crab M&Ms. A pea crab lives in oysters, clams, mussels and other species of bivalves for protection. The crab feeds on any grit present, thus keeping the bivalve clean and healthy. Females have a soft carapace, or outer shell, are pinkish white, and stretch only as much as 2 centimeters across. An irregular stripe runs from front to back. These delicate crabs especially live in oysters from the Chesapeake Bay region, where some refer to them as Washington crabs because George Washington favored them for use in his chowder. Males, seldom seen, are smaller, dark brown, and usually free-swimming.

And speaking of the oyster roast fundraiser, we hope it raised big bucks for such a great camp! The facility offers an amazing experience for young people - check it out on Facebook at YMCA Camp Silver Beach or online at - you won't believe all it has to share!