Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dishing up Maryland cookbook features Smith Island Cake

"There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate."  ~ Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers"

Last week, I promised to show you one of Susan Evan's Smith Island cakes. She baked this cake at her home on the island of Ewell, which also doubles as Susan's on Smith Island Bed and Breakfast. For those of you not familiar with Ewell, it is a quaint island where time still lingers in the past.

Evans, an employee at McCready Hospital in Crisfield - yes, she takes a 40 minute boat ride to McCready every morning -  has made us all proud by having her recipe printed in, "Dishing up Maryland", a 150 page cookbook by Lucie L. Snodgrass. The cookbook features 150 recipes highlighting Maryland-grown produce and seafood. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the state’s Maryland’s Best program.

For those of you not familiar with Smith Island cake, the origins are not known, but it has been a part of Smith Island since the 1600s. The layers are individually baked-no cheating with large layers and a knife as some people suspect- and the icing is thin but rich;  the chocolate reminds me of the homemade fudge my grandmother used to make, and a small slice will satisfy the palate of the most die-hard sweet aficionado.

In the old days, women used only a few layers to make their cakes. As time went by, they began to make the layers thinner and the cakes taller. Competition among the women soon had them stacking  their cakes with layers up to 15 inches or more. Today, the traditional Smith Island cake has 8-10 layers, but 12-15-layer cakes can still be found. 

Susan slices up the cake she brought by boat to McCready. 

10-scrumptious layers of the Maryland State dessert. Yes, the Smith Island cake was made our official state dessert in 2008.

Wouldn't you just love to dig into a slice of Susan's cake?

Susan poses with her star dessert. Oh, if you stay at her B&B, you get a cake all to yourself.

Read more about Susan  and,"Dishing up Maryland" here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crisfield working boats

“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.” ~ G. K. Chesterton 

Not sure if I have posted this filtered photo before. If so, please enjoy it again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Lion in Crisfield

"Successful entrepreneurs are able to make great discoveries . . . because they keep alive within themselves the curiosity and wonderment of a small child exploring the universe . . . for the first time. ~ Peter J. Patsula

Crisfield is growing! In about a month, we will have a Food Lion. 

There are many business opportunities in Crisfield for companies looking to relocate, or for those looking for a quaint town to begin a start-up business. On the drawing board: a industrial park. Artisans would be right at home here as well. Low taxes and beautiful views make Crisfield the ideal place for both businesses - that includes Mom and Pop - and retirees. Check us out before moving to one of those crowded, polluted cities.

Story about growth in Crisfield can be found in both our weekly and daily newspapers. Just click on the newspaper links on the sidebar. You can do a search at the newspaper's web site if you don't have home delivery.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Susan's on Smith Island" bed-and-breakfast in Ewell and Smith Island Cake

 "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first."  ~ Ernestine Ulmer

Susan Evans of Ewell is the embodiment of hard-working Somerset County.

Susan commutes weekdays by boat from her home on Smith Island to Crisfield, where she works in McCready hospital’s human resources office.

She also is involved part-time in cosmetic sales, operates a quaint bed-and-breakfast inn and knows the secret to baking decidedly delicious Smith Island cakes.

It’s the latter that has garnered Susan, 44, some unexpected – and frankly, humbling – attention.

Her recipe for a 10-layer cake – that’s right, 10 LAYERS – is included in a new cookbook, “Dishing Up Maryland: 150 Recipes from the Alleghenies to the Chesapeake Bay.”

And it all came about by happenstance.

Freelance writer Lucie L. Snodgrass and a friend stayed at Susan’s on Smith Island Bed and Breakfast a little over a year ago and enjoyed their stay immensely.

“They were having such a good time, they didn’t want to leave the porch” with a view of the Chesapeake Bay, Susan says whimsically. “I finally told them I had to go to bed.”

Susan makes sure her guests get to sample a real, homemade Smith Island cake, named the state’s “official dessert” by the Maryland legislature in 2008. It joined jousting, the Black-eyed Susan and the Chesapeake Bay retriever as unique state symbols of life in Maryland.

Snodgrass apparently was in the midst of gathering string for a book of unique Maryland recipes from appetizers to main courses and  needed a simple, sweet dessert. A chocolate Smith Island cake from Susan’s kitchen proved to be the ideal way to cap it off.

Susan, a 13th-generation Smith Islander, eagerly shared a basic recipe that most of her friends and neighbors typically use to get started. A snapshot of her life’s story accompanies it as well.

On March 24, she traveled to an Annapolis museum for an official book unveiling. Susan almost didn’t attend, but a friend talked her into it.

“I’m so glad I did go,” she said.

Susan was among a handful of recipe contributors featured in the book who were invited to the event, which attracted (Md.) Gov. Martin O’Malley and the First Lady, Catherine.

“They rolled out the red carpet for me,” she said.

Susan posed for pictures with the author, the book’s photographer and the governor.

“I met so many interesting people,” she said. “I had no clue” it was going to be such a big deal.

Susan says a national women’s magazine also has expressed interest in talking with her about her entrepreneurial spirit – and cake-baking talent.

“I really can’t believe this is happening to me,” she says. “I love the publicity  I’m getting out of this.”

Promotional material for the book promises “a portion of proceeds from (its) sales … will be donated to Maryland’s Best program to promote the purchase of locally grown and raised products for the benefit of the state’s farmers, watermen and related businesses.

The book, which sells retail for $19.95, is available online and at local book stores.

Susan Evans, left, shows McCready hospital colleague, Marie Witt, a hot-off-the-press cookbook featuring 150 Maryland dishes.

Check back next week for a sampling of Susan's Smith Island cake.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fresh Crabs coming to Crisfield!

“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.”  ~ Christopher Morley 

Obviously Morley never ate crabs.

Hungry for the taste of fresh crabs? Crabbers will be putting their pots in the water on April 1, so start planning your trip to Crisfield now. It's never too early to plan for what must be the most famous all-you-can-eat and drink event (that includes beer)  in the entire state, perhaps the county.  And who else is going to offer you the best of the bay?

The J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake will take place on July 21, 2010. The menu is as follows:

Steamed crabs
Steamed clams
Raw bar
Fresh fish
Onion rings
French fries
Corn on the cob

Only $45.00, and you can eat from 12:30 until 4:30.  Call the Crisfield Area Chamber of Commerce at 410.968.2500 for advance tickets and save $5.00. Book early; the motels and B&B's fill up fast. That is no exaggeration. 

No time to get lonely when picking and eating crabs! And crab is so much better than spaghetti.

Let me move back, or forward in time, depending on how you read this post, and remind everyone that the 17th Soft Shell Spring Fair will be held on the city dock May 30, 2010. Enjoy fresh local seafood (the soft shell crabs are delicious), arts and craft, and live entertainment. Admission is free.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Boating in Crisfield

“Marge! Look at all this great stuff I found at the Marina. It was just sitting in some guy's boat!” ~ Dan Castellaneta 

I know all you boaters out there are just itching to make your maiden spring-run. Crisfield is a paradise for boaters.Won't you join us on Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay?

 Leaving Somers Cove Marina - filtered photo.

 If you don't have a boat, why not cruise on in on one of the ships that docks in Crisfield during the summer months?

Are you a land-lover? Come sit a spell on our city dock and enjoy the beautiful bay, talk to the boat captains and friendly people, and watch  supplies headed to Smith and Tangier Island being loaded onto boats.  Yep, if you want a stress-free get-a-way, Crisfield is the place to be.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tangier Sound

“I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.” ~ Steve McQueen

We aren't actually in the middle of nowhere but we don't have Walmarts or traffic jams or noise or pollution. And we only have one red light in town.

When you think about it, the middle of nowhere is really a peaceful place where you can chill out and enjoy nature. So I guess that kinda makes us "the middle of nowhere" that McQueen envisioned. Don't you wish you were in Crisfield now?

A little short on time, so enjoy this photo in both color and black and white.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Runaway to Crisfield!

“Adventure must start with running away from home” ~ William Bolitho

Spring is almost here. Crisfield is a great place to runaway to, and enjoy the sights on the bay, shop, visit our museum, look for a vacation or retirement home, and sample some Eastern Shore foods. You can also take a passenger or mail-boat to Smith Island or Tangier Island, after you have taken in all  Crisfield has to offer, of course!

As you plan your spring and summer vacations, think about visiting our friendly town. Over the next several  weeks, I will be bringing you some photos from around the area to help you plan your vacations. Hope to see you this year.

The entrance to Somers Cove Marina

Captain's Galley near the City dock. Some units are still for sale.

Enjoy the views of the quaint shanties

And watch the watermen at work

Shortly, I will begin highlighting some of our restaurants and shops; maybe Crabby Crab will help me out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nice to be back in Crisfield

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.” ~  Charles Dickens 

Back in Crisfield after a week in Vegas. Nothing like coming home, especially when you live in a town as beautiful as Crisfield.
Jenkins Creek, a short walk from our home.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crabby does Vegas

Note: I try to remember to put a note on my Crabby Crab posts for newbies who have come here looking for info on Crisfield. John-John "Crabby" Crab is a self-professed mascot of Crisfield. He loves showing off his town. When I have time, I plan on doing a little book - or two - on his adventures. Any copy editors out there? Yes, I can write, but I am first a photographer, and once I post photos and slap down some words I move on, with good intentions of returning for editing purposes. I never do.

Crabby Crab went to Vegas with us to spread the word about Crisfield, and he did a great job! Remember my disclaimer on the 1st batch of  Vegas photos? These photos were point and shoot and just for fun. Most of the time I did not even look at my settings. Hey, I was on vacation! Taking good photos requires thought and work. So just enjoy the theme and don't put too much emphasis on the quality. And "forget about" the editing. The editing part applies to all my posts - my old English teacher would kill me.

"All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast." ~ John Gunther

Crabby started out his day with a cup of coffee and a good breakfast. He longs for a cup of coffee from Gordon's.

 Crabby Crab pays for breakfast. He did so well at the slots he felt like a big spender, so we did not insist on paying.

Crabby could not wait to hit the tables. I want to thank Treasure Island for letting me take photos of the tables and slots. Once they knew what an important celebrity Crabby was, they were happy to give him the full run of the house. Umm? Perhaps he should have requested a room upgrade.

Crabby poses before seeing "Love" at the Mirage.

Another "Love" pose...

Uh, Crabby took this photo. I have seen Love twice. It is the best show in Vegas.

After the show, Crabby hit the ATM machine.

And then we lost him. Thanks to the Mirage for running their security tapes to help find a crab on the loose. That is a true story, folks. When they found out how important Crabby was, they  went to work. I am sure  there are some guards who will be telling their families stories about the time they  tracked down a Maryland crab gone wild in Vegas.

Back in the room, Crabby had a ball jumping up and down on the bed.

 Then we scolded him. Look at those sad eyes.

Grand Canyon-2

For new visitors who have found their way to this blog looking for info on Crisfield - yes, this is a blog about Crisfield.

In an earlier post, I wrote the following: "Crabby's Vegas trip photos are being shot "on the cheap." I am on vacation and don't want to have to think about exposures or flash output - blah, blah, blah. If you are just visiting this site, Crabby Crab is kind of a self-appointed Crisfield mascot who enjoys promoting Crisfield. He jumped into my camera bag before we left, and we thought it would be cute to show a Crisfield crab gone wild in Vegas.This is a Crisfield blog, so we hope, if you have come here looking for info on Crisfield, you will come back. Please visit my archives for all good things about Crisfield. And come visit us soon!"
Crabby is looking forward to returning home. Vegas is nice, but in Crisfield everyone knows your name and says, 
"Hello" when you walk into a store or restaurant. When driving down the road, people wave; when walking, people wave or stop 
and talk. We can't wait to get back to our own little quite corner of the world. And a good cup of coffee. No one in Vegas 
Vegas can beat Gordon's coffee. 

I will be bringing you more Crisfield photos this weekend, so stay tuned.

Continuing our helicopter ride story: before boarding, everyone - even crabs - had to be weighed.
Something about fuel and weight distribution.
Crabby tried to fly the helicopter.

The Captain allowed him to be his co-pilot. 
What a view!

Crabby helps my husband take photos with his camera.
 Crabby helps with the focus.
Crabby digs into his lunch as my husband enjoys another glass of champagne. 
 We almost left Crabby behind.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crabby Craby does the Grand Canyon- part 1

 “The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.” ~ John Wesley Powell quotes

We took a helicopter ride today to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, picnic lunch and champagne included. Crabby had a great time taking in the view from above - a crab's-eye view, so to speak. When Crabby saw the river he got a little home sick.

I will post more photos later. So much to do; I can't spend too much time blogging. Thanks to all of you who are keeping up with a Crisfield crab's adventures in Vegas. My site meter tells me you are having about as much fun as we are. And Crabby is really getting the word out about Crisfield. He is a great promoter.

Speaking of promotions, we flew on Papillion Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours. I highly recommend them. Maybe they could open up a branch in Crisfield. The aerial view is spectacular.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crabby Crab takes flight

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Note: Crabby's Vegas trip photos are are being shot "on the cheap." I am on vacation and don't want to have to think about exposures or flash output - blah, blah, blah. Many of these photos have been shot at 6400 with no flash and not a lot of worry about focus. If you are just visiting this site, Crabby Crab is kind of a self-appointed Crisfield mascot who enjoys promoting Crisfield. He jumped in my camera bag before we left, and we thought it would be cute to show a Crisfield crab gone wild in Vegas.

This is a Crisfield blog, so we hope, if you have come here looking for info on Crisfield, you will come back. Please visit my archives for all good things about Crisfield. And come visit us soon!

We finally made it to the BWI airport. Crabby had his ticket in hand.

We had packed carefully, as to not be held up at security. Crabby Crab must have looked like a suspicious character; we made it through security but Crabby had to be pulled aside and wanded.

After Crabby's embarrassing moment he settled down to read the classic "On the Road" while waiting for our flight.

Crabby was very excited when the plane arrived.

Crabby was greeted by a friendly Southwest Airline attendant.

Please fasten your seat belts.

Snacks anyone?

Crabby met a nice bunch of Motorola communication specialists (Communication Specialists, Inc. out of  Fredericksburg, VA) headed to a convention in Vegas. They cater to our first responders. And everyone in Crisfield knows how much I love our first responders! This is Bill McCloskey. He covers the Washington D.C./Metro area.  Bill has never been to our Crab Derby. Crabby told Bill all about it, so we hope to see him next year!

And this is Drew Wine, Vice President of Communication Specialists, Inc. Drew loves crabs. No, Drew, you can't eat Crabby. But you can bring  your team to the Crisfield Crab Derby on Labor Day weekend. All you can eat crabs, and tons more. We roll out the red carpet for the entire weekend.

I just know Crabby is going to have nightmares tonight.

Crabby listens in on "Motorola" talk. He really wanted some of that homemade cake.

Time for a snack.

Crabby arrives at the Vegas airport. Wait for us, Crabby!

Crabby tries to slide down the escalator rail. Bad crab!

We finally arrived at Treasure Island. Crabby wasted no time making friends with these girls from San Diego. Actually, he used them to try and pick up that cute dog. What happens in Vegas is going back to Crisifeld, Crabby!

We tried to hold Crabby back when he saw the slots, to no avail.

After Crabby lost all his mad-money, we took him for a walk. Notice he is wearing his Somerset County pin. He could not find his Crisfield pin.

Crabby is most certainly a VIP Crisfield crab.

At the Venetian, Crabby barely missed being stepped on as he scuttled across the floor trying to see a pretty dancer. For those of you who have never been to Vegas, that is a painted sky. It looks sooo real. It reminded Crabby of Crisfield. For a few minutes Crabby was sad.

A beer made him feel better.

The helicopter man gave Crabby a ride on his head. Tomorrow Crabby is going to the Grand Canyon in a chopper.

After a long day, Crabby had to take a nap. A Crisfield crab is not used to such a fast-paced world. We tucked him in and hit the slots.