…tasty bites to stimulate your taste buds..

Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Homemade Crab Bisque with Saffron

I was out of town for a pharmacy conference in Anaheim for a few days and have not had time to blog.  It felt really nice to be back home and back to my daily routine.  For dinner, I decided to make crab bisque, inspired by a crab dish that I had at Joe’s Crab Shack near our hotel.  French in origin, bisque is a smooth and creamy soup based on a strained broth of crustaceans, usually lobster, crab, shrimp, and even crayfish.  I paired the bisque with toasted baguettes and a glass of white wine.  If you are entertaining guests this holiday, this bisque would be a perfect start to your dinner party.


2 (1 1/2-pound) crabs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots or onions
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp saffron
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
chives for garnish


Fill a large stockpot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Place the crabs in the water and steam for 15 minutes.  Discard the water. (you can also save 1-2 cups of this original stock if you want a stronger crab taste)

Remove crab meats from the body and claws.  Save the shells.

Place 5 cups of water in a clean stockpot and turn on high heat.  Put the shells in the stockpot and cook for 30 minutes.  This should yield 4 cups of crab stock.

Add olive oil to a large sauté pan and turn on medium heat.  Add the garlic, shallots, leeks, carrots, tomatoes, and saffron and sauté for 20 minutes.

Add 4 cups of strained crab stock to the sautéed vegetables. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Press entire contents of sautéed pan through sieve into a clean sauté pan.

To finish the bisque, add heavy cream slowly, using whisk to blend.  Add white wine. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes; bisque will thicken slightly.

Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and slowly add to bisque with whisk.  Simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes.  Add pepper and sugar (more if you like a sweeter taste).

Place pieces of previous cleaned crab meat in bowl and add 1 cup of bisque.

Roasted Turkey with Stuffed Rosemary and Butter

We drove from San Diego to San Jose on Thanksgiving day to avoid traffic and moved dinner to Friday.  My mom had already bought a 14-lb turkey and defrosted it in the fridge 2 days before.  I decided to keep the recipe simple and do a rosemary butter stuffed turkey seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  We went to three grocery stores to get rosemary but all of them ran out.  I was getting a bit nervous that my recipe needed substitution for the rosemary.  Fortunately our neighbor had a rosemary bush in his backyard and was kind enough to let us take as much as we needed.  It was nice to get fresh rosemary! After four hours of basting, checking, and flipping, the turkey turned out very moist and delicious.  I also made gravy using the neck, heart, and gizzard, fresh cranberry sauce, apple with bacon stuffing, mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans for side dishes.  My brother in law added an excellent side dish of mac and cheese topped with bacon.  Everyone gobbled up their food within 15 minutes.  We ended the night with a pumpkin roll, vanilla ice cream, and dessert wine.  It was a successful Thanksgiving dinner for 13 people and no leftover.  I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving as much as I did!


12-14 lb turkey (neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for gravy)
2 sticks salted butter
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves (save the sprigs)
2 tbsps salt
2 tbsps pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 oranges (halved)


Remove the turkey from the refrigerator before roasting, clean, and pat dry.  Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Combine the butter and rosemary in a food processor and process until smooth.

Use a butter knife, gently separate the skin from the meat.  Stuff the mixed rosemary and butter evenly underneath the turkey’s skin.  Fill the cavity with the orange halves and rosemary sprigs.

Combine the olive oil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Brush the entire turkey with the mixture.

Place turkey in a roasting pan, breast up, and roast for 4 hours.  Baste every 45 minutes so the skin will not dry out.  Flip the turkey at 1.5 hrs so it can cook evenly, and flip it again at 3 hrs.  Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh reads 170˚ F.

Transfer the turkey to a platter. Tent it very loosely with foil, and let it rest for at least 45 minutes before serving.

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