Friday, November 14, 2014

A DAC-ART Coastal Home and Crab Cakes

This is me last year interviewing "Mobilian of the Year" Dr. Samuel Eichold
at an annual gala held at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. 
After more than 25 years as a marketing executive at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, I decided to retire and take on the new challenge as marketing director of the DAC-ART Building System, a new storm-proof, maintenance free way to build homes using solid concrete "stone" masonry that combines both strength and aesthetic beauty.  (Check it out at
This year, I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting many past and potential DAC-ART clients who live in virtually every area of the country.  My experience has inspired me to write about it in a new blog.  In it you will see photos of some magnificent, yet extremely diverse DAC-ART homes, read some personal client stories, get tips on how to build the strongest and most maintenance-free home possible, and learn more about how DAC-ART creator Ted Dial can work with you to design a unique living space that suits your lifestyle and tastes.  I will also highlight a little local flavor from client hometowns, give homeowner design tips, share some of their favorite recipes and secrets to creating their ideal homes.

DAC-ART Coastal Cottage

I recently visited with DAC-ART homeowners on the beautiful Florida coast.  This coastal cottage has 3,500 square feet of heated and cooled space, with a roomy backyard veranda and outdoor kitchen bringing the total size of the home to 4,500 square feet.  The couple has become such proponents of DAC-ART, which provides them sound protection against Gulf Coast hurricanes, that they wanted to tell others about it in Southern Coast Home Design magazine.  The article below shows how DAC-ART components provide finished surfaces on both the exterior and interior walls without the need to apply stucco, paint or other finishes to it.  If the homeowner desires a different look, interior walls may be finished with stucco or framed-in with sheetrock.  Most homeowners love the natural "limestone" look of DAC-ART.  The article photos show how warm and inviting DAC-ART concrete "stone" walls can be in a home's interior.  

Scroll to the end of the "Home Design" article to get this DAC-ART homeowner's recipe for super moist crab cakes.  (You'll never guess the secret ingredient.)  Register to win a crab cake kit, which includes a $25 gift card from Florida's famous Joe Patti's Seafood, their recipe book, beignet mix, and a cap . You can use the gift card to order fresh seafood online.  To enter, visit and e-mail DAC-ART designer Ted Dial using the link at the bottom of his webpage.  Write "CRAB" in the subject line.  Only one entry per person.

This DAC-ART home on the Florida coast was featured on the cover of Southern Coast Home Design.   Photos of the home's interior illustrate how DAC-ART lends a touch of old-world elegance found in historic, solid stone masonry buildings.

The fireplace mantel was a custom piece designed by Ted Dial using DAC-ART.  DAC-ART incorporates many other decorative features including custom crown moldings, cornices, pilasters, columns and column capitals, keystones and even architectural art pieces sculpted by Ted.  (Use the "zoom" tool in your browser to enlarge the text in the article.)  Enjoy the remaining photos....

Super Moist Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

One of the greatest things about meeting DAC-ART clients is they all seem to have exquisite taste in food.  Fortunately for me, they often invite Ted and me to try some of their favorite recipes.

I don't know about you, but as someone who has grown up on the Gulf Coast, I'm always in search of the perfect crab cake.  Most of the time I'm disappointed because they are mostly breading and grease.  Our Gulf Breeze, Fla., clients surprised us by serving possibly the best crab cakes we've ever eaten.  The secret ingredient?  Eggplant!  Yes, eggplant replaces the enormous amount of breading that is typically used to hold crab cakes together. The end result is a super moist crab cake that may only be improved with a touch of lemon or dash of Woeber's Horseradish Sauce (another tip we got from our Florida clients).  Please enjoy the recipe below, but you may want to take a tip from me...don't tell your family (or dinner guests) that you're serving them crab cakes with eggplant.  Believe me, they'll never know.  I experimented with my own family.  And, I want to say thanks again to our DAC-ART clients in Gulf Breeze for sharing their treasured recipe.

See instructions above and register to win your own crab cake kit that I pulled together after a visit to Joe Patti's Seafood near Pensacola, Fla.  It includes everything you'll need except for the eggplant and crab.  There's a $25 gift card from Joe Patti's, which may be used to order their fresh seafood online.  The kit even includes a bottle of Woeber's Horseradish Sauce, the perfect companion to this crab cake dish.  There's also a cap and Joe Patti's recipe book.  A winner will be selected and notified on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, via e-mail.  All ingredients for the crab cakes may be purchased from Joe Patti's, or you may also find them at most major grocery stores, including Publix.

Super Moist Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

1 lb. jumbo lump crab
Zatarain's Crab Cake Mix
1 egg
1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup mayo
finely diced red bell pepper (if desired for color)
Woeber's Horseradish Sauce (sold at Joe Patti's and Publix)

Slice eggplant in half and bake at 350 degrees until done (approximately 40-50 minutes, depending on size).  Let eggplant cool, then scoop out the meat and chop finely.  Add approximately 1/3 of the box of crab cake mix to eggplant in bowl, along with egg, mayo, and the finely chopped red bell pepper (if desired).  Carefully fold in the jumbo lump crab.  Don't stir the mixture too much once the crab is added because you want the chunks of crab to hold together for better texture.  Form the crab cakes into patties and brown them in either oil or butter.  You may even mix some butter with the oil for taste.  I prefer to cook with olive oil, but canola oil is also good to use for this dish.  It takes only a few minutes to cook/brown the crab cakes.  Serve them immediately with wedges of lemon and Woeber's Horseradish Sauce.  (Serve the Woeber's sauce in a pretty dish and your family or guests will never know it's not homemade.)

Joe Patti's Seafood in Pensacola, Fla.  Online ordering is available at .  Notice that they serve fresh, hot beignets at a stand in front of the market.
This is one of the beautiful displays at Joe Patti's.
Our Gulf Breeze DAC-ART clients also served fresh October beans with the crab cakes.  As a Southerner, I was surprised to learn that there was a bean I'd not yet consumed, nor heard of before then.  They were served in a dish with chopped red bell pepper and fresh corn.  I was so excited about this newly discovered bean that I had to cook some for my own family.  I found the October beans and cute little pumpkin (in photo) at Bailey's Market in Pensacola, Fla.  Of course, we learned about Bailey's from our clients.

It's pretty difficult to miss Bailey's Market with this jolly green gentleman guarding the entrance.  Bailey's is home of the rare October bean.
Bailey's also has the largest, most exotic selection of pumpkins I've ever seen.  

Wishing for a pumpkin pie....
I wonder if it's possible to get this guy to stack DAC-ART blocks as neatly as he stacks his pumpkins?
I end my blog this week with one of my favorite Southern staples.  Nothing says fall in the South like a bright orange persimmon.  Yum!

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