on self worth and mini cornmeal crabcakes

January 23, 2015

mini crabcakes (2)

This week I’m thinking about self-worth. Or self-esteem. Or the ability to believe in oneself. Self-love. Call it whatever you like. It’s so important and yet for many of us, our sense of self-worth is difficult to maintain, so shaky, so fragile, so easily eroded…. 

…it takes so little to derail – one rejection; one cheap shot; one unkind, mean-spirited, unfair  or unwarranted comment (true or not); one person to tear us down…

I don’t ever want to be the person tearing anyone else down, not intentionally or unintentionally. I really don’t. Not in front of the person or behind the scenes. And I don’t want to be on the receiving end either. But this is harder to avoid. Unless you’re a narcissist and then you don’t really take anybody else’s opinions seriously anyway. But for rest of us, I think this is fundamentally about human kindness and decency. A subject that doesn’t get enough airtime as far as I’m concerned. But it’s also about resiliency and learning to un-hear and just simply maintaining focus and soldiering on.

This all started because of something I saw on Facebook, something that seemed very apt;

your value

I know, another inspirational quote. Groan. I’m sorry. But never mind, I think it’s a really important concept. And I think some version of this is my new mantra.

In the meantime, I’m making crab cakes. Appropriate, no? Sweet little mini crab cakes.

I always think that I love crab cakes. But then I order them and they so rarely live up to my expectations. Mostly because it’s often hard to find the crab in the crab cakes. Sometimes they’re tasteless, or doughy, or dry. Or drowned out in seasonings. I haven’t managed to make decent crab cakes either. Same litany of complaints about my own.

But because I like the concept so much, I decided to try again. I made up my own recipe – based on a cross between a cornmeal pancake and a crab cake. They’re simple and surprisingly fast to make. I made these small – approximately one inch in diameter and just fried them in a tiny amount of olive oil. You can serve them hot or cold, but I actually think the flavour improved when I served them cold – more crabby.

I served them hot with a dill, lemon, caper mayo. And I also served them later cold with a dab of pesto and a small dollop of cream cheese. They’d also be good with cilantro pesto or mango chutney or curry mayonnaise (just don’t kill them with too much seasoning). A perfect appetizer but equally good for a meal served atop a bed of mixed organic greens along with some olives and fresh lemon. Wonderful for a party. Just add champagne.

I’m bringing these to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener. Angie has been doing Fiesta Friday for the entire past year, bringing together bloggers from across the world, a major time commitment on her part but also a wonderful year-long celebration of food. Thank you Angie and all your co-hosts!

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @

Mini Crab Cakes

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus another for the pan)
  • a dash or two or several of Tabasco
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped green or red onion
  • 2 – 170 gram cans of crab meat, drained

Mix together the dry ingredients. Combine the egg, milk, Tabasco, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Stir into the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the onion and crab.

Fry by the tablespoonful in a non-stick pan in a tiny bit of olive oil. This quantity of batter should make 16-18 crab cakes.

Make sure you keep the heat low enough to cook the interior of the crab cakes before you over cook the outsides. (Trust me.)

Serve hot, warm, or cold with a variety of toppings as suggested above.

For the lemon, caper, dill mayo – I just mixed a good teaspoonful of dried organic dill into half a cup of Hellman’s mayo – along with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, a bit of grated lemon rind, and about 2 teaspoons of chopped capers.

crab cakes in process

crab cakes cooking

crab cakes

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  • Reply Jhuls January 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Can you belive that I haven’t eaten crab cakes in my entire life?? 😐 But now is my day as I’ve got to taste these delicious treats of yours. I am glad to see you here and happy first FF anniversary. 🙂

  • Reply apuginthekitchen January 23, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Are we funny or what, we both brought crab cakes to the party. What is it they say about great minds, LOL. Love your crab cakes, using cornmeal is a wonderful idea. You are touching on a very important subject, self esteem, self worth self love. It’s difficult and I also would not want to be the person who belittles or hurts another person.

  • Reply memarose3 January 23, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Beautiful post – both for the recipe and the subject matter.

  • Reply Amanda January 23, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I agree with you about crabcakes and it being hard to find the crab, but these look PERFECT. I love the mayo too. Beautiful recipe. I also love your line about narcissists. Lol. I really appreciate a post on self-worth. For those of us who are sensitive it really is something you must cultivate. It’s earned, not a given when really it should be a given. And so many people do and say such really mean things out of insecurity. It’s nice to see you acknowledge that here. Well done on all fronts, Lindy.

  • Reply An Embarrassment of Freedom January 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    amen..believe in yourself..I have a wee bluebird ornament on my writing table with the phrase printed on it..behind the little inspiring birdie I have set up two photos of my artsy self and my dear son as a little guy ( now a big strong artsy professional guy). and I look at these things every day…as a( retired) teacher and a mom I know how tender this belief is and needs protection and reassurance until the hardening off period makes it sturdy enough for the real world…
    Your crab cakes look great and make me think of the big treat of years ago when mom would make “elegant” salmon patties as a change from our usual farm suppers ( of our own wonderful meat and produce, gosh, how lucky we were to have such hardworking parents)….when mom and I would be out shopping on very rare occasions, we would eat at the lunch counter of a department store etc and she always suggested that I eat something we didn’t get at home….(ha, I only wanted tomato soup and a salmon sandwich)…now I realize just how fabulous the home food really was..no crab cakes but awesome and varied…Mom believed in herself in her own way…a real, somewhat difficult and inspiring woman.

  • Reply Darya January 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I truly enjoy reading your posts! I also have never tasted crab cakes, but then I hardly ever get my hands on quality crab meat over here. I tasted stuffed crab (freshly caught) at my dad’s cousin’s in Cape Cod years ago and will remember it as long as I live, and I bet I would love crab cakes too! I really should just take a day trip to the closest seaside and go to a fish market!

  • Reply Hilda January 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Lovely post with some very wise words. And very elegant and tasty little crab cakes. Thanks for sharing them with us. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  • Reply Nancy January 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Lovely post. 🙂 These crab cakes look delicious… love that you allow the crab flavor to shine! I like the sounds of the cold version with a dab of pesto and cream cheese. Thanks for bringing your recipe to the party to share!

  • Reply Kitsch n flavours January 23, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Love the sound of these. Crab is something I very seldom eat – perhaps to do with a 3 day stint in a wretched crab factory in Plymouth years ago! Long, long story. But I happen to love bite-sized anything. Particularly pan-fried.Already wondering if I could sub polenta.
    As for self-worth, I just don’t bother anymore. Self-image…now, that’s different. I’ve spent hours today cutting hair and preening. For a shift tomorrow. Hmm, doubt if I care to analyse that! 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer Smeltzer January 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Lovely post Lindy….
    Wish it was that easy..

  • Reply Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs January 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Beautiful post.. We are our own worst enemy.. Arent we? It certainly doesn’t help when we let others treat us that way… Especially when we wouldnt bring hurt to them. Ever.

    Crab cakes. They are a beautiful thing… I’ve tried to make them numerous times… And have failed miserably. Your crab cakes are calling my name… I feel tunnel vision coming on… Which means that they’ll be on the menu in the Blank house very soon! Much love to you.. ❤️

  • Reply Julie is HostessAtHeart January 23, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Very intuitive post! I sure wish it was as powerful to be kind as it is mean. I love crab cakes but never think to make them. They are definitely perfect for FF!

  • Reply First Fiesta Friday Anniversary (Part 1) | The Novice Gardener January 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    […] Lindy […]

  • Reply chefjulianna January 23, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Yum! I really think crab cakes are perfect for celebrations! Yours look so yummy and I’m so happy that you could bring them to the big soiree! 😀

  • Reply Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake January 24, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Lovely post, self love is definitely important, if not always easy! Crab cakes look really yummy!

  • Reply Selma's Table January 25, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Lovely post – we all need a little reminder every so often. Crab cakes sound delicious too!

  • Reply Maria Dernikos January 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    What a beautiful picture, I love crab cakes but as you say so often there is only a whiff of crab in them. Your recipe looks delicious.

  • Reply chef mimi January 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Beautiful, and a great post. With two daughters, I was very careful to raise them with as much self-esteem as possible. The rest is on them.

  • Reply petra08 January 27, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    A great post. Your crab bakes looks delicious 🙂

  • Reply thebrookcook January 28, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Lovely crab cakes & post. I love your addition of cornmeal too.

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