Got plans this weekend?
Come to the Baltimore Book Festival in Mt. Vernon and check out the Concert Artists of Baltimore booth. We have great CAB merchandise and a large selection of CDs, LPs, and Sheet Music from the CAB archives and from generous CAB supporters. We will be giving away free bookmarks and season information in addition to having a raffle for a pair of free season tickets each day of the festival!
The CAB booth is on the West side of the North park, in front of the beautiful 700 Washington Place residential building.
Make sure you stop by, say hi, and sign up!
Maestro Polochick’s Steamed Crabs
The joy of eating the Maryland Blue Crab is a time-honored tradition throughout the state of Maryland, and indeed, all along the Chesapeake Bay area. And it is more than a delicious delicacy; it is a fantastic social event bringing together family, friends and new acquaintances for wonderful fellowship and loads of fun. For newcomers, it may seem a bit odd, at first, to pull apart the crab, smash the claws and open up the shell of the crab to eat the delectable treasure of meat within, all with your own fingers (which helps to disperse the seasoning from the outside of the crab shell!). But the rewards of such a social, delicious, culinary feast are without equal. Many of us have our favorite crab restaurants, and we tend to be fiercely loyal to them. My personal favorite, however, is to steam my own, and best yet, is to catch my own right out of the Bay and into the steaming pot!
Steaming your own crabs is rather straightforward and not as daunting a task as one might think. Be sure the crabs are lively, and they should all be males (always discard any dead crabs). The seasoning is rather simple:
Take a large can (16 ounces) of Old Bay Seasoning and mix with equal parts of Kosher salt. Add a small can (2 ounces, more if you like it spicier!) of Colman’s Mustard and mix all ingredients together thoroughly. This should be enough mixture for 3 ½ to 5 dozen large/extra-large crabs. Figure on anywhere from 5 to 8 crabs per person depending upon the size and ‘heaviness’ of the crabs.
Use a steamer pot with the accompanying insert which can hold around 4-5 dozen crabs, and in the bottom of the pot empty 3 12-ounce bottles of National Bohemian beer (‘Natty Boh’) along with a quart of white vinegar. As you bring that to a boil, begin layering the crabs in the top insert part of the steamer. Generously sprinkle the Old Bay mixture on each layer of crabs. When the liquid has come to a ferocious boil, place the top insert part containing the crabs onto or into the bottom part, depending upon the type of insert you have. Cover and steam for 25-30 minutes. Have all of your other condiments (melted butter, apple-cider vinegar, etc.) along with your mallets, knives and table ready to go. (Prepare your table with several layers of newspaper, topped with a layer or two of brown postal wrapping paper. Obviously, I wouldn’t do crabs on a glass tabletop!) When crabs are finished steaming, remove top part and let the crabs “rest” and drain for about 5-7 minutes before serving. Dumped about half of the pot onto the middle of the table for all to dig in and enjoy.
Of course, along with the crabs, it is also great to have that super sweet Maryland white corn, tomato salad and coleslaw. Top off the meal with ice cold watermelon, and you will probably feel like you will never need to eat again!!!
Maestro Polochick’s Special Bloody Mary
When the beginning to middle of June finally arrives in Baltimore, I get quite a hankering for two of my gastronomical favorites—steamed crabs and Bloody Marys. Over the years I seemed to have perfected what many of my friends consider the perfect Bloody Mary (and, if I do say so myself, I quite agree!). It is the best thirst quencher on a hot, hazy, humid afternoon, and for me, is usually a prequel to steaming crabs. My own recipe has evolved over a period of time searching for the perfect Bloody Mary, combining, eliminating or re-calibrating ingredients. At times, in my quest, I had a difficult time remaining on the barstool, but now it never seems to affect my endeavor at steaming crabs!
Although it may seem like a lot of ingredients for one drink, they are all essential and the mixture serves many, and it can be stored in the refrigerator for at least two weeks (it can even be frozen, senza vodka, and used at a later date). And unlike the usual Bloody Mary, it is also a low sodium drink for those on a salt-restricted diet.
One large (46 ounce) bottle of V-8 Low Sodium Juice
3 to 4 ounces of fresh horseradish (to taste)
Juice of one whole lemon
Juice of one whole lime
One 8 ounce bottle of Clam Juice
2 to 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce (don’t overdo)
2 to 3 shakes of Celery Seed (also don’t overdo)
Several shakes of Tabasco Sauce (to taste)
1 to 2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of raw sugar
½ to ¾ cup of regular ketchup (the secret ingredient!!!)
Celery stalks, wedges of lemon and lime
Your favorite Vodka
Mix together the first eleven ingredients in a large pitcher or bowl. Whisk well. In a tall 16-24 ounce tumbler, fill with ice, pour a generous amount of your favorite vodka and fill with the Bloody Mary concoction. Find out who would like salt added, and then salt to taste. Garnish with wedges of lemon and lime, a large celery stalk, and a few sprinkles of Old Bay. Now get to work on shucking the corn and steaming your crabs!!!
Copyright, Edward Polochick, August 2013
…To mark its 26th season, Concert Artists of Baltimore recently introduced …
the “26 Club Passport,” which offers admission to all nine of the ensemble’s concerts for $26. The passport is available to those age 26 or younger….
Read the full article HERE.