Amad scientist’s power comes from making something wonderful and brand new—like a singular dish that was just a grocery list of disparate ingredients, moments or hours before. The golden, shimmering alchemy of cooking is one of the ways I fill my life with warmth and light. I cook home food; no molecular gastronomics, no loopy swirls on the plate. It is a remarkable thing to be confident in providing for yourself—not just surviving, but creating, often out of very little, a feast, nourishing and magnificent in its rustic simplicity.
CHESAPEAKE BAY COUNTRY CLUB CRAB CAKES
When summer rolls around in all its lush green glory, the absolute last thing anyone wants to do is mess about in a hot kitchen. However, these classic and kind-of retro crab cakes (adapted from Andrew Zimmern’s Baltimore Crab Cake recipe) are a cinch to prep and fry up in minutes, so you can escape the heat real quick, and go sit outside with the party platter. If you make these for a party, you’ll become a legend. If you eat them all yourself, that’s also kind of legendary, so you do you.
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over (It’s got to be lump—skip that claw meat!)
1 tbsp dijon
1/2 c Duke’s mayo
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp hot sauce
20 saltines, finely crushed
1/4 c canola oil
4-5 scallions, sliced thinly (optional)
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and egg until smooth. Crush up them saltines into a large mixing bowl. Next, pick through the crab to make sure it’s all fluffy and there are no shells.
Lightly toss the crab with the cracker crumbs and scallions if you’re using them, then tenderly fold in the mayo mixture. Chill in the fridge for about an hour.
You can either make six or eight large patties or a party tray of about 20 to 24. When you’re ready to fry, scoop out the crab mixture into patties or little golfball/donut-hole sizes. Heat the oil over medium high until shimmering, and fry them in small batches until golden and cooked through—2 to 3 minutes per side. Try to only flip them once.
Transfer to paper towels to drain some oil, then serve on a big platter with lemon wedges.
They’re so good! Everyone will love them—and you forever for making them!
PEACH ICE CREAM (NO MAKER NEEDED)
It’s hot. We can’t be fussing around with eggs and sugars and boiling hot ice-cream bases. So, all summer long, do it like this…
1 can chilled evaporated milk
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 medium peaches, sliced and juiced and pulped (press every bit of flesh you can into a wire mesh strainer, and throw away the stone and skins)
Add milk to a thin aluminum bowl (or some other vessel that chills quickly), and whip with a hand-mixer for a minute until it’s all frothy.
Add the sugar little by little while mixing, until it’s all mixed uniformly, bubbly and frothed. Then pop it in the freezer for an hour.
Halve your peaches and work them through a strainer to get as much peach juice and pulp as possible. Set them in the fridge to chill.
After an hour, take milk and sugar bowl out, buzz it with the hand-mixer to break through the hard foam that’s formed, and then add your peach sauce. Blend well for a minute to combine, and put the mixture back in the fridge.
Repeat this process four or five more times, and pour the peachy fluff into a Tupperware container and freeze overnight. The fruit has water in it, so crystals might form, and you may have to remix it with the hand-mixer before serving, but it ain’t bad for a stunning taste and texture, even a brain-dead summer zombie could make.
It’s amazing, simple, and so, so satisfying. A hot, perfect summer day in one cold and deeply delicious dish. Go, you!