Where Real, Practical Work is Done

Zeke lies on the floor next to me, drifting in and out of sleep. He looks up when my chair slightly rolls to the left or I reach for coffee. Whenever the pets are around, I’m always reminded of the great W.S Merwin line “the eyes of animals are upon us.” There’s no other feeling. In Maine, I would fall asleep between dogs, feeling safe and at ease with the world under me.


I looked up “ground” in the dictionary and found all these great, simple phrases with the word. The phrase “on the ground” particularly stood out. “On the ground” refers to a “place where real, practical work is done.” What real, practical work did I achieve as a child on the floor with dogs? Did I feel the ground soften as I do now? When Zeke rests his heavy head on my neck and I look up at the ceiling or sky, I feel more solid. The work is done.

Sunday night meals prepare the ground for the coming week. I really love this tradition, especially when it involves a nice bottle of wine. Last sunday I made my famous crab cakes. I always turn to this recipe when I want something fresh and special. When Philip Levine came over for lunch a couple of years ago, I made these crab cakes. I’ve always wanted to write a poem about it and title it “Crab Cakes for Philip Levine.” I’m not sure if he would be too amused though. For my dad’s opening reception party, I made 50 miniature crab cakes. This recipe is a parent, party and partner pleaser. Triple threat.


Unlike most prepared crab cakes, this recipe barely has any breadcrumbs. I bind my crab cakes loosely, which I think makes them taste more fresh. One pound of crab meat makes four generous cakes. Two pounds of crab meat makes fifty delectable ones.


I serve them over salad with a shallot-lemon zest vinaigrette. I like a crusty baguette and bright green asparagus on the side.


Most Amazing Crab Cakes Ever

(serves a hungry four)

  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 lemon, 3 tbs fresh lemon zest
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tbs mayo
  • 2 tbs dijon mustard
  • cracked pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbs parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 egg

For vinaigrette to pour over crab cakes and salad

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • cracked pepper
  • 2 tbs lemon zest
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced



  1. Combine crab, mayo, mustard, 2 tbs lemon zest, garlic clove, cracked pepper, egg, parsley and bread crumbs.
  2. Lightly form into balls. Optional: pat with dried bread crumbs.
  3. Over a medium-heat, melt 2 tbs butter or oil in pan. Once pan’s warm, slide crab cakes in. Allow 5-6 minutes per side. These crab cakes do have the tendency to break so make sure you keep binding them back together with your hand or spatula.
  4. Serve over mixed greens with the special vinaigrette poured over each cake.

And by all means, do not forget to kiss the cat!


About Hark, Zeke

Hark, Zeke is a Brooklyn based blog devoted to cooking, appeasing the inner foodie and howling the good howl.
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2 Responses to Where Real, Practical Work is Done

  1. sybaritica says:

    I’m not usually a huge crab-cake fan (although I love crab), but your look like something I might enjoy.

  2. tee says:

    I love crab cake. I’m going to try to make it this weekend.
    Thanks for the recipe.

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