Crab Salad Tostadas

Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas

Hi, friends! How is Fall treating you? Isn't it crazy how after a long Labor Day weekend spent outdoors, gardening, cleaning, sleeping in, bbq-ing, and fantasy footballing, that it all of a sudden feels like pumpkin spice and sweater season?? San Francisco doesn't really have seasons, except our Indian Summer should be starting soon... I don't know though. This past week has been chilly and the sun is leaving us way too early in the day. This seasonal change does allow me to breakout all the cozy blanket sweaters I've been antsy to wear again! I'll take any opportunity to wear a blanket out in public. The autumnal equinox is not until September 22nd though! So we still technically have a few more days of Summer! That is plenty of time to squeeze in a couple more tomato toasts and to buy all the pluots at the farmer's market. Have you had a pluot?! I feel like I'm always talking about them on Instagram, but I'm seriously obsessed. It's the best fruit and one of the things I miss most about summer. Sorry, I know this is not a pluot blog.

Should we talk about crab salad? When I was a little 90s kid, my mom would make crab salad with imitation crab meat and serve it up with buttery club crackers and it was the most amazing snack! I can't remember the last time my mom actually made crab salad. But I'm going to call her and tell her she needs to soon. It's so good! I don't know if imitation crab meat was just super popular in the 90s and early 00s and then sort of disappeared from the culinary limelight in recent time, but it needs to come back out! When we were in Mexico City a few weeks back, we saw surimi (fancy way of saying imitation crab) salad tostadas at a whole bunch of places. We didn't actually order it, only because I felt like we need to be adventurous in Mexico and order things like octopus. At the tostada stalls, they would display the crab salad as a mini mountain of crab. It was so glorious and temping... I couldn't shake it from my head. So when we got home I wanted to try recreating the concept but use the nostalgic flavors I remember from the 90s.

It turns out crab salad is stupid easy to make. All it consists of is crab, mayo, onions, salt and pepper. It really is that simple. I wanted to make my life more difficult though, so I made mayo from scratch! Making your mayo makes such a huge difference in this recipe! I added a bit of lemon juice and grated in fresh garlic, which just takes it up a level. It's totally fine if you just use store bought mayo! Just make sure it is fresh. The crab salad is super creamy with a slight crunch from the onions. Then it's plops on top of a super crispy fried tortilla with a slice of avocado. The combo of everything makes for such a great textural contrast and flavor symphony. It's like an elevated crab salad and club cracker snack. Gosh, I could have ate a million of these tostadas! If our indian summer does show up, I'll definitely be whipping up another full tray of these. Thankfully I have blanket sweaters to hide under : ) 

Thanks a ton to Louis Kemp for sponsoring this post and rekindling my love of crab salad - I'm obessed!


Crab Salad Tostadas

makes 12 small tostadas - serves 4

materials:

2 8oz packages of Louis Kemp Flake Imitation Crab
1/2 cup mayonnaise (link to homemade recipe)
3 tbsp finely diced red onion + extra for garnish
2 green onion stalks chopped (white and green parts) + extra for garnish
1/4 tsp salt - adjust per taste, amount varies depending on mayo used
dash of white pepper
dash of cayenne
1 avocado halved and sliced
12 small corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

limes for garnish
microgreens or cilantro for garnish  

steps:

1. Place crab meat in a medium bowl. Break up the flakes into smaller pieces with your hands. Add in mayonnaise, red onion, and green onions. Give it a good mix. Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne. Give it another good mix and then cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. While the crab salad is chilling, fry up your tortillas. Pour canola oil into a skillet, enough that you have about an inch of oil. Heat over medium high heat. You want it hot enough that the tortillas sizzle immediately as they hit the oil. Place tortillas in the hot oil and fry up for 1 minute on each side. Place fried tortillas on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

3. Assemble your tostadas. Place a scoop of crab salad on a tostada. Place a slice of avocado on top. Garnish with some red onions, green onions and micro greens. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top and enjoy!

Crab Salad Tostadas

Green Coconut Curry Clams

Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams

Can we talk about how freaking easy it is to make clams??? Why haven't you told me?! Reuben and I recently realized that the seafood market by our house is actually really incredible, clean, and fresh. We've been missing out on all this great seafood for the last 2.5 years! Shame on us. I feel like Asian seafood markets can easily swing into 2 extremes. It could easily be a little scary with questionable food handling techniques and with less than stellar smells floating around. I'm too much of a food germ wimp to step into those places. BUT Seafood Center on Clement is awesome and smells clean like the ocean. They have sushi grade tuna (um... poke recipe, anyone?!!), sweet and tasty shrimp, the meatiest clams, and so many other delicious sea creatures that I want to bathe in thai curry and coconut milk. Sorry, sea creatures.

The beauty of this recipe is that it takes like no time to have a super impressive and fancy looking meal on the table. And by no time I mean like 30 minutes or less! The clams are nestled in a warm and bubbly bath of green thai curry paste, creamy coconut milk, funky fish sauce, aromatics, brown sugar, and beer! If you're having friends over for dinner and want to welcome them with the greatest food smell ever, this is what you should make! The clams steam for about 5 minutes, depending on what type of clams you have, and then you just need to painfully wait a few more minutes for it to cool down so you don't burn your face off as you try to inhale everything in the bowl. Please please please PLEASE don't forget to slice up some crusty bread to sop up all that blissful broth. I guess if you're going carb or gluten free you can just drink that magic straight up. Just don't waste it, I beg of you!

This recipe makes me want to buy 10 pounds of clams and invite all of my friends over for dinner! I'm dying to have a dinner party soon. Whenever I have a dinner party I need to have a theme. Not like, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party themed. But like, maybe Moroccan Night or a Fall Harvest dinner. Okay, I guess those are equally as cheesy as a TMNT theme. I'm thinking of a color themed dinner party. Green Coconut Curry Clams. Turmeric (Yellow) Goat Cheese Toasts. Pinky Beet Pasta. Blueberry Pie with Blueberry Pie Crust! I'm just spit-balling here.

Anyways... ramble over. Go get yourself some clams!


Green Coconut Curry Clams

materials:

3 lbs. clams
1 tbsp olive oil
1" chunk of ginger - minced
3 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
3 green onion stalks chopped - greens and white divided
1 14oz can of full fat coconut milk
1 can of beer - we used a pilsner
1 cup water
3 tbsp green curry paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepepr
1 lime

steps:

1. Rinse the clam under cold water to remove any sand or grit. Inspect the clams and discard any that are cracked.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven or big pot over medium high heat. Throw in ginger, garlic, and the whites of the green onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until just browned and fragrant. Add in coconut milk, beer, water, green curry paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar into the pot. Give it a good stir to combine and bring the broth to a boil.

3. Once the broth is at a boil, carefully add in your clams. Cover the pot and allow the clams to steam for 5 minutes, until all the clams have opened up. Remove the lid and squeeze 1 lime over all the clams. Top with the remaining chopped green onions and serve with crusty bread.

* Different clams have different cooking times. We used manila clams, but little neck clams take about 10 minutes to open up.

* We used a lighter pilsner beer in our broth, but feel free to experiment with other beer types!

Sambal Shrimp

Hi, lovely peeps! How's everyone's weeks so far? Are you feeling ok? Are you disheartened by what's going on in America and straight up embarrassed/disgusted by who "runs" this country? Yeah, me too. I'm not really great at writing about politics. Talk to me in person. You're invited into our living room. We'll provide beer and snacks. I just wish I could give everyone who feels hurt, angry, and afraid right now a big hug and a personally decorated cupcake. If I had enough time and butter, I'd do it. My hope is that we all continue to be hopeful, kind, compassionate, engaged, and aware. Just ignoring what is going on is not okay anymore. If you're interested in reading some great and humorous political commentary check out my good friend Claire's blog. I literally LOL every time I read it.

Whenever I feel a little down about the state of the world, I try to focus on what is good and bright around me at the moment. Normally that includes being thankful for my safe and cozy apartment, Reuby, and Cho Family. As a birthday present to myself, I bought a plane ticket to Cleveland next month. Going home to see your family does so much good for your spirit! I haven't been home during the Fall for like over 3 years!!! That's far too long. So I literally can't wait to go home next month. I've been fantasizing about apple picking, making apple galettes, strictly drinking only apple cider, dim sum, quality time with my blanket, and sushi feasts with my family. Gah. Cannot. Wait. Has it been 6 weeks yet?

The weather in San Francisco has been pretty chilly and dreary lately, which has been making my craving for real Fall that much more amplified. I hope it clears up soon though, because Reuben's mom is coming this week! We've been cleaning our apartment like crazy. Gotta make sure we look like responsible adults here. I really love having visitors stay with us! It gives us a reason to not be hermits (we're not really hermits) and make welcome treats! If you're going to travel X amount of hours to come hang out with us, you most definitely deserve a homemade treat to welcome you to San Francisco. I'm practicing for the day I run a bed and breakfast where I make dim sum and cakes for all the guests. Will you come? For now, our art studio/office functions as our guest room. It's honestly really nice! I've definitely rented smaller and crappier rooms as a traveling intern. Come visit us! I've invited you into our home at least twice now... don't be rude.

Okay, there's not a great segue into this week's recipe... if you're in need of an incredibly quick and easy recipe to make for dinner because you've scheduled hugging and baking cupcakes for all the hurt, angry, and sad people of America, this Sambal Shrimp is the recipe for you! If you've never had Sambal before, it is simply an asian hot sauce made up of ground red chilies, salt and vinegar. It's pretty spicy if you just eat it by the spoonful like Reuben, but don't worry! The heat really mellows out once you start to cook it and even more so once you mix it up with some fluffy rice. Preparing and cooking the shrimp is stupid quick. If everything goes right, you'll have some tasty shrimp in 10 minutes! But you should definitely cook up some rice and a simple side of veggies because of "health," and because adults eat balanced meals. Right?

Go on ahead and make this super quick meal and get yourself some hugs : )


Sambal Shrimp

serves 2

Materials:

3/4 lb shrimp - peeled and cleaned

3 Tbsp sambal oelek + more for garnish

2 garlic gloves - minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp for cooking

1 Tbsp honey

Salt + Pepper

2 green onion stalks - chopped, whites and green divided

Steps:

1. Mix together sambal, minced garlic, grated ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set sauce aside. 

2. Combine shrimp with oil, honey, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the whites of the green onions to the pan and cook for 1 minute, until slightly brown and fragrant. Add shrimp and cook on one side for about a minute, flip shrimp and cook for another minute until pinkish and opaque. Add the sambal sauce and stir to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Shrimp cook quick!

4. Serve over a scoop of rice, a side of veggies, and garnish with green onions!