Cover to Cover Food Challenge Aug31

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Cover to Cover Food Challenge

Despite our blogging enthusiasm, I’m not a big follower of many other blogs. However, there is one in particular that I really enjoy and it’s probably no surprise to hear that it’s a food blog. The bitten word focuses on actually cooking recipes from the many food magazines to which they they subscribe.

From the About Page on their website:

We’ve been blogging since 2008. We started the blog as part of new years resolution after being inspired by this post on Serious Eats. We resolved to start putting our food magazines to work, cooking at least one recipe from each magazine. Our current stable of magazines is 10 strong: Bon Appétit, Cook’s Country, Cook’s Illustrated, Everyday Food, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, Food Network Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, and Southern Living. On occasion, recipes from other magazines and sources sneak in, too.

MK-CC823_FOODMA_G_20130429150412This resonates with me as I have collected a small library of cooking magazines over the years. Sure, most of the recipes can now be found online, but there’s something more satisfying about looking at the photos, organized by what’s in season, along with tips & helpful hints, all while enjoying my morning cup of coffee. Although I haven’t subscribed to a mag for some time, I have referenced old favorites or sought new inspiration. So, see, it’s good to keep ’em around. Yet, Lin questioned said collection more than once when hauling the very heavy boxes into storage six months ago.


IMG_2837Ok, so on to this Cover to Cover challenge. The bitten word asked for volunteers to cook one recipe from the September Bon Appétit. They collected names of all those interested and then randomly assigned a recipe to each person. They appropriately called it recipe roulette. Imagine my delight when I received my assignment of crab toast with lemon aioli, an appetizer. In looking through the list, there were more than a few that wouldn’t have been so delightful, for me at least, like Beef or even Lamb Tartare or Lamb Shoulder with Polenta and Beans. Or Lin’s dinner hell Carrot and Beet Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins. Oh how she hates both raisins and carrots. I’m so glad they asked and I went ahead and mentioned that lamb allergy.

I had a week to cook the dish and submit a write-up, so that’s what you’ll find below, my official submission.

I’m in luck, I’m currently in Maine and I received the assignment of crab toast with lemon aioli. All the ingredients were readily available, nothing obscure. Given that my life is currently based out of an RV, I was a little trepedatious to sign up for the Cover to Cover challenge, since the kitchen is so tiny. Functional, but small and requires a lot of juggling. This was going to be a cake, no make that, crab walk.

Having never made aioli, I was nervous, so I read and re-read and carefully did exactly as instructed. It worked. It thickened just as it was supposed to and didn’t ‘break’. It tasted a little flat, so I added more salt, but was never able to get it to exciting status. There was enough aioli left over that I could invite the entire campground over for Eggs Benedict in the morning and still probably have some left. It’s a small, not so unfortunate problem to have.

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Six simple ingredients + 1 cup of oil & viola! It really is that easy.


IMG_2834The loaf of sourdough came from When Pigs Fly Bakery. I just couldn’t resist. Although I’d never made toast in a frying pan before that worked pretty well. The one thing I’ll mention is that if the bread has any jagged edge, it will toast at different speeds. See, knives are limited in the RV and no longer the sharpest in my arsenal, thus I had jagged edges. The edges were dark brown and the center, not so much. However, it didn’t affect the taste, and actually provided some nice contrast in texture.


IMG_2831Constructing the crab portion was easy, chop, mix and set aside. Fennel fronds aren’t sold separately as far as I know, so while at the grocery, I pinched a few from the bulb and tossed it in with the lettuce I was also buying. Lin doesn’t like fennel, so buying the whole bulb just seemed wasteful. Aside from the pretty green color, the fennel fronds could hardly be tasted. The recipe also called for 1-2 Serrano peppers and not wanting to overpower the crab, I opted for one, but probably should have used both. (Note to self: I must look up the trick to not burning my fingers when chopping hot things. My left hand was still warm the next morning.) The garlic flavor was big and bold and might have been a better companion to the dish if it wasn’t so kick you in the teeth, but instead roasted and thus mellow, sweet, and creamy.

The final product was very good and paired well with a Pinot Grigio as we sat among the trees and relished in yet another new experience – an official cooking challenge.

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Would I make the dish again? Yes, but only with some modifications and if I had an abundance of crab and needed to make use of it.

Cook’s Notes:
*Assemble the crab onto the toast just before serving, otherwise the bread will become soggy.
*This recipe made enough to serve 2 people as an entree.
*Consider spicing up the aioli, maybe with a little paprika or cayenne pepper, which is what I did for breakfast the next morning.