Many moons ago, I left New England for a job in Washington, DC, where I was set up on my 1st blind date – a guy from Baltimore. I married him! He taught me the ways of the Chesapeake. We celebrated our 35th anniversary earlier this month, so I thought it would be a great time to introduce a happy hour featuring the flavors of the Chesapeake.

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll go bonkers over these recipes!

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The Cocktail

This is one of my favorites – it reminds me of the many summers we spent at the beaches in Ocean City, Maryland and Rehobeth & Bethany Beach, Delaware. A large group of families would head to the beach during the same week so the kids could play and so could the adults. My friend Kathleen was often the bartender because she made the best Eastern Shore Orange Crush. Please be sure to try this recipe…it rocks!

a recipe for an Eastern Shore Orange Crush with a photo of the drink
©2020 Kathleen Wesson

The Nosh

It’s an “R” month, so it’s safe to eat oysters – a small treasure of the Chesapeake. We most often eat them raw, but I know that’s not for everyone. A fried oyster is the perfect nosh and, luckily, the state of Maryland has an amazing recipe to share.

a platter of fried oysters with cocktail sauce
Visit Maryland - get the recipe

For you health-conscious peeps, I found a fabulous recipe for oysters prepared in the air fryer. I’ll have to try this version soon!  Samantha recommends dipping these babies in horseradish sauce.  

a platter of fried oysters with a dipping sauce
Everyday Family Cooking - get the recipe
A recipe for horseradish sauce with a photo of the sauce

The Dip

Maryland Crab Dip – it’s famous, and Marylanders eat it by the pound. (If you’re ever in Ellicott City, head to Shannon’s Pub for their famous crab pretzel – a baked soft pretzel topped with creamy lump crab dip.)
But I digress…

The Housewives of Frederick County share their delicious crab dip and I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s the perfect appetizer to serve at any Wine Down or party. If you anything about this area of the country, you know that crab rules as the flavor of the Chesapeake.

a glass pyrex dish filled with crab dip and hand dipping a ritz cracker into it
Housewives of Frederick County - get the recipe

The Protein

Speaking of crab, have you ever tried making crab balls? They’re like mini crabcakes rolled into balls before cooking. If you’re interested, I’ve been using Chef Robert Carney’s crabcake recipe for over 20 years and it’s always a hit. Robert was an amazing chef and his recipe lives on. You can serve the crab balls with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce (check out our recipe here), or remoulade sauce (find one here).

recipe for crab cakes with a photo of a large crab cake bursting with jumbo lump crab

The Veggie

When I saw this shaved zucchini salad, I stopped in my tracks. I’m always on the lookout for different ways to eat veggies and this recipe from Emily at This Healthy Table is right up my alley. The best part? No cooking involved!

a bowl of shaved zucchini, crumbled goat cheese, micro greens, and toasted pine nuts
The Healthy Table - get the recipe

The Crunch

We are big popcorn fans in my home – even the dog. Sometimes I like it plain with just a bit of sea salt. Other times I prefer it with butter & sea salt. And sometimes I’m in the mood for truffle salt popcorn. My granddaughters love it with grated parmigiana. And then there are the Chesapeake folks who like it to remind them of their favorite crab shack. Kristin from Dizzy Busy and Hungry has a recipe her family loves.

a bowl of popcorn with special seasoning
Dizzy busy and Hungry - get the recipe

The Sweet

Bergers Cookies – a very old Baltimore bakery recipe (1835). These cookies are addicting. They have a cake-like bottom with thick chocolate frosting on top. The King Arthur Baking Company has a copycat recipe which is pretty darn close. Your guests will scarf these down so be sure to make several dozen.

a plate of cookies with a cake-like bottom and chocolate frosting on top
King Arthur Baking - get the recipe

Here’s a quick Old Bay tip for you. I love the spicy ranch dressing at Outback Steakhouse. When I’m in the mood for their salad, I add Old Bay to my ranch dressing et voilà!  Always trying to incorporate the flavors of the Chesapeake.

Please try these recipes and let me know what you think. Come back next week for another recipe roundup of great entertaining ideas.

Keep Dancing, Darlene