In Decembers past I baked and wrapped and entertained like a crazy woman. For most of my adult decades, December was the month of sleep-deprivation and financial over-extension and total stress.
No more. Now, my goal is to be judicious about where I put my energy, money and time.
As a foodie, I will attend Tops Holiday Open House tomorrow (Thur., Dec. 5) in Redding. There’s also a Tops Open House tonight (Wed. Dec. 4) in Weaverville.
Both Tops Open Houses will feature all kinds of food and beverage samplings, and entertainment, as well as fun things, like cookie decorating for kids. Events like these are what divide the big-box corporate mega-stores from the hyper-local, family-owned, like Tops, that has stores in Redding (formerly Sunset Market Place) and Weaverville. (See flier, below, for more details.)
Fun and activities aside, This week at Tops there are a number of items that I’m excited about, beginning with the season’s first, fresh, whole cooked Dungeness crab, $4.99 a pound. If there’s enough crab left over (it could happen), I’ll make friend Sunnie’s famous Crab Cakes. (I’ll share the recipe, below.)
Plus, if you’re planning a party, this week’s Tops’ ad offers $5 off all deli trays. (Call to order ahead – Weaveville, (530) 623-2494 or Redding at (530) 241-1391 – to place your order.) And for baking, you’ll need flour, and all Moore’s Flour Mill products are 20 percent off.
Next week I’ll attend another foodie-favorite event, our north state’s Terra Madre Day, Tues. Dec. 10 in Red Bluff at Enjoy The Store. As a Terra Madre California delegate at last year’s conference in Turin, Italy, last year, Slow Food is an organization dear to my heart, as it celebrates and advocates local, fresh food for all. The local Slow Food Shasta Cascade chapter hosts great events, like last year’s Field to Fork Fig Fest, complete with a fig cook-off contest, which, no brag (OK, just a little) I won. (Click on the link and scroll down to see the recipe.)
But first I’ll get crackin’ on sharing one of my favorite crab recipes, Mini Crab Cakes with Chipoltle Mayo. Enjoy!
Mini Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayo1 pound fresh crab meat 1/4 cup finely diced onion 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper 1/4 cup finely diced parsley 3 cups fresh bread crumbs 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 egg Pinch each cayenne, pakrika and salt
Mix everything ecept 2 cups of bread crumbs. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Place remaining bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Using a tablespoon, form a crab cake (about 1 inch in diameter). Dip ball into bread crumbs and place on baking sheet (sprayed with vegetable oil).
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
Makes about 24 mine crab cakes. (Can be done one day ahead, covered with plastic wrap and and refrigerated until ready to bake.)
Chipotle Mayo2 chipotle chilies (from can) 1 cup mayonnaise 1 clove garlic 1/2 cup chopped parsley Pinch of salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (can be made one day ahead).
This recipe sponsored by Tops Market in Weaverville and Redding.
Click here to order a sandwich online from the Weaverville Tops Market.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.