Saturday, October 17, 2009
Curried Rice Pilaf
Baby Greens with Ginger Pear Vinaigrette
My dinner was inspired by two things; the first was Robin Miller of “Quick Fix Meals” making chicken breasts with a smoky orange glaze. The glaze immediately appealed to me, while the chicken breasts did not. I don’t like chicken breasts in any form except presented as Cordon Bleu. The second inspiration was from a dinner my husband and I had recently in Ketchikan. While there on a business trip we dined at Annabel’s, supposedly the ‘best restaurant’ in town. While it wasn’t great, or even good, the rice pilaf was spectacular. I couldn’t figure out the warm mystery spice. I asked our server and she said it was curry. Hmmmm….
Are you catching the warm fuzzies going on in my head? And my palette? Its fall, I’m bored, I feel like nesting and I had just purchased the movie, “The Proposal”. Just perfect for snuggling into the sofa with.
Okay. Orange glaze and curry, it’s working so far for me. I decided to head off to the grocery store and find the protein to happily marry with the glaze. I already knew that rice pilaf with curry was a given, but what to serve with it? I decided on sea scallops. One, they were on super sale, and two, they marry well with citrus, and three, they are just wonderful on their own.
The last part of the meal was a simple salad tossed in a bottled Ginger Pear Vinaigrette. I add sliced figs, chopped pears and a sprinkling of goat cheese. Fabulous.
I started with the glaze In case I needed to make adjustments, which I didn’t. It was simply a jar of orange marmalade, a hint of liquid smoke, and a teaspoon or so of soy sauce gently heated, with just a whisk or two to combine the flavors.
Once the scallops were rinsed and dried, I sprinkled them with kosher salt, seasoned pepper, and chopped parsley, they were ready to go into the smoking pan.
For the rice pilaf, it was just two boxes of prepared rice, instead of using the recommended water amounts; I used ¾ of the measurements in chicken stock. Chicken stock gives rice such a delightful depth of flavor. As for the curry, use your best judgment and your own personal preference. I personally love curry so I dumped a good healthy tablespoon or so in. Literally. I had a little spillage, which worked out fine. I also felt inspired to add some nearly thawed peas and carrots, I would venture I put in about a cup or so.
1 to 1 ½ lbs Sea Scallops
Rinse and pat dry scallops – dry scallops are essential to achieve a good sear.
Lightly salt with Kosher Salt and Seasoned Pepper
Chop handful of Parsley – about a ½ cup.
Get the pan and cooking fat hot — Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat for a minute or so; then add the fat and let it heat up. If you’re using oil, it’s ready when a drop of liquid sizzles as it hits the hot oil. If you’re using oil and butter, wait until the butter stops foaming.
Don’t crowd the pan — There should be enough room between the scallops so that they sizzle rather than steam—that’s the only way you’ll get a good crust. If your pan isn’t big enough to hold the scallops without crowding, sear them in batches.
Scallops only need a few minutes per side to get nicely browned. They’re done when they feel barely firm to the touch, and when you cut into one, it should be faintly opalescent. Don’t overcook them or they’ll be dry and rubbery.
Smokey Orange Glaze;
10 oz. jar Orange Marmalade
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
½ teaspoon Smoke Seasoning.
1. Combine all ingredients and heat gently on low.
2. Pour glaze into shallow dish and place hot scallops on top.
Curried Rice Pilaf
2 boxes Rice Pilaf
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 ½ Cups Hot water
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Curry
½ Cup Frozen Peas and Carrots
1. Follow directions on box, when the rice and seasonings are boiling, add the peas and carrots and the Curry. You may want to adjust the amount of curry you use – more or less is fine.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I knew I wanted pasta, chicken, spinach and “something”, what exactly that something was I wasn’t sure until I wandered by our deli section and saw some kind of “Caesar Pasta”; and that was my deciding factor. Refusing to purchase anything from our deli (remembering Rob’s violent food poisoning episode) I knew I was on my own for a concept, which actually came together in a flash, being a recent disciple of Caesar anything (especially homemade dressing) I figured I could bust out a bottle I had on hand and proceed on with my anticipation of a rainy day feast.
I chose farfalle because I thought it would be an easy pasta shape for small toddler sized forks and fingers to pick up, and it was.
Shortly after completing the pasta Savannah awoke from her nap, the skies had opened up with a downpour of summer awe, Alex and I were ensconced on the sofa with our blankets, the T.V. was on, and the little miss joined us for our feast on the sofa. I was having a bowl of the pasta (and a lovely mid afternoon Chardonnay – like I said physical therapy was painful) and Alex was noshing on some ice cream (hormonal therapy). Being not quite two Savannah wasn’t sure which dish to gravitate to; she tried some ice cream, tried some pasta, and proceeded to snuggle up with me to share the pasta. Not one bowl, but two – she loved it that much; the amusing part of it was her of trying to spear the spinach before anything else. Between feeding Savannah and Alex bites, I convinced Alex to get her own bowl, which she did and proceeded to share that with Savannah too.
The next afternoon we shared bowls of the pasta served cold on the deck in the sun, we shared “bites”, again, with Savannah’s preference towards the spinach. I think the flavors had melded even more overnight, and was just as delicious cold as hot.
The only thing I have to advocate is that you use the absolute best parmesan cheese you can find. My particular cheese that I had on hand runs around eleven dollars a pound, but if I am in town (Anchorage) I will go to a specialty market and purchase a fabulous cheese that runs close to twenty dollars a pound. It is worth every penny. There are few things in this world as scrumptious and delightful as great parmesan.
Alex has warned me that the bowl of pasta is low and I had better whip up some more, as it is “the bomb”, and to please not run out. I love my girl.
Today, I have a pot of Cream of Spinach soup simmering, which Savannah has been taste testing frequently with many consenting nods. The soup will be served with a garlic and olive Focaccia, another winner in her book.
Savannah’s Spinach Caesar Salad with Chicken
1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta) cooked
½ pound fresh spinach, cleaned and torn
1 cup cooked chicken
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Creamy Caesar dressing
Fresh grated – good quality – parmesan cheese
· Cook pasta until al dente. Rinse and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
· Clean and tear spinach, place at bottom of a large bowl.
· Pour hot pasta over spinach, allowing it to wilt.
· Add chicken.
· Add Caesar dressing to taste, about three tablespoons.
· Add grated parmesan.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 C hot milk
1/4 t each: paprika, nutmeg
1/2 t fennel
**4 steamed and flaked pieces of halibut - guessing about 6 oz each
1/2 C chopped chives
drops of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 C Monterey Jack cheese - shredded
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
Heat butter in pan, add flour to make a roux, pour in hot milk, add spices, add halibut and lemon juice, mix in 1/2 cheese,
Bake about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, set oven to broil.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture and chives.
Broil 2-3 minutes.
(6- to 7-oz) pieces salmon fillets (1 1/4 inches thick), skinned
Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.
Monday, August 10, 2009
1 head romaine lettuce
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tablespoon ground mustard
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups garlic croutons
1 (2 ounce) can anchovy filets
Clean lettuce thoroughly and wrap in paper towels to absorb moisture.
In a bowl rub with garlic, combine oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, mustard, and lemon juice.
Coddle egg by heating 3 cups of water to boiling. Drop in egg (still in shell) and let stand for 1 minute. Remove egg from water and let cool. Once cooled crack open and whisk egg into dressing. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
Mash desired amount of anchovies and whisk them into the dressing. If desired set aside a few for garnish.
To assemble, place torn lettuce leaves in a large bowl and toss with dressing.
The sauce cooks in less time than it takes for you to cook the pasta, even if it is fresh pasta, making it perfect for busy nights.
This sauce is great with farfalle, fusilli, gnocci, shells, or elbow shaped pastas
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter and olive in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté for three minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the cheeses and stock.
Stir until the cheeses melt and the sauce is smooth.
Drain the cooked pasta well and toss it with the hot sauce and parsley.
Season to taste with the pepper.
Crabmeat Cream Sauce:
For the Lobster Ravioli:
Egg white, slightly beaten
I package round won ton wrappers.
For the sauce:
1 lb shrimp
½ C tequila
¼ C sweet & sour
Juice of one lime
2 teaspoons white pepper
2-3 fresh basil leaves, snipped
Combine all ingredients except the shrimp, you want the mixture to taste like a spicy margarita, when you have the exact taste you like marinate the shrimp from 60 minutes to a couple of hours.
Place shrimp on skewers that have been soaked in water and grill about two minutes on each side, until just pink.
Combine all ingredients; mix thoroughly and chill.
Serve with crackers
They're inspired by lobster rolls, but we think you'll find these sandwiches more popular with a crowd of all ages — not to mention more affordable and easier on the cook.
4 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped celery
12 hoagie rolls (preferably top-split)
Cook half of shrimp in a 5- to 6-quart pot of generously salted (2 tablespoons) boiling water, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a platter and return water to a boil.
Cook remaining shrimp in same manner (then discard water), transferring to platter.
When shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel, then chill, covered, until completely cold, about 1 hour.
Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and chill until ready to use.
Devein shrimp and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Season with salt and pepper, then add to dressing along with celery, and toss to combine.
Serve salad in rolls.
Shrimp can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Heat grill and brush olive oil on salmon and cedar plank.
From Bon Appetit 11/95
4 1/2oz. mixed peppercorns
chopped fresh dill
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread top of each salmon fillets wit 2 teaspoons honey.
MEANWHILE PREPARE THE SAUCE:
Tranfer salmon to plates, Pour sauce around salmon and garnish with dill.
18 littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, minced
1 small green bell pepper, minced
2 ounce(s) Canadian bacon, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoon(s) white-wine vinegar
3/4 cup(s) fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoon(s) minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon(s) smoked or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Bring water, clams and bay leaves to a boil in a large covered pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook the clams until they open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Discard the bay leaves.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Canadian bacon; cook, stirring frequently, until heated and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar; transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, chives, oregano, paprika and pepper.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
2. In bowl, combine olive oil, cilantro, garlic, lime peel, and pepper.
3. Lay skewers on a well-oiled barbecue grill over hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand just above the grill only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook, turning once, just until prawns are opaque throughout, about 3 to 5 minutes total.
4. Push prawns off skewers and arrange on a platter. Set avocado cream alongside.
Peel 2 ripe avocados (about 1-1/2 pounds total), cut into chunks, and put in the bowl of a food processor.
Nutrients per serving:
277 calories, 19g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 61% calories from fat, 10mg cholesterol, 16g protein, 11.5g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, 489mg sodium, 67mg calcium, and .1g omega-3 fatty acids.
NOTES: A brief cure in salt and sugar adds flavor to prawns and makes them more tender. You can cure and marinate the prawns up to 1 day ahead; chill airtight.
WINE PICK: Dry Rosé
I call this Coquille St Jacques3 because it took me three attempts to get it just right!
2 lb. Bay scallops
1/2 c. white wine
1 tsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place scallops in a saucepan.
Add 3/4 cup water, bay leaf, thyme, lemon juice, wine, salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
Drain scallops, reserving broth.
Discard bay leaf.
Heat butter: add mushrooms and onion, and cook over low heat about 5 minutes.
Blend in flour.
Measure 1 cup reserved broth and add to mushrooms.
Add cream and cook, stirring, until thickened.
Add scallops and sherry.
Fill scallop shells or ramekins with creamed mixture.
Mix crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over filling.
Bake until crumbs are brown, about 15 minutes.
Makes 6 servings
Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
In the same pot, melt the butter.
These delicous tarts are easy to make and a delight to serve!
· 2 T olive oil
· 10 oz wild mushrooms (such as oyster, chanterelle, shiitake), chopped
· 10 oz white mushrooms, chopped
· 1 T butter
· 1 clove garlic, minced
· 3 T chives, finely chopped
· 1 tsp herbes de Provence
· 1 T heavy cream
· 1 whole large egg
· 2 large egg yolks
· 1 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, egg, egg yolks and parsley.
1 lb crab meat ( I prefer Dungeness )
2 – 3 cups breadcrumbs or Ritz Crackers
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
3 scallion, sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 large eggs
10 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
fresh ground black pepper
1 rib celery, minced
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees; generously coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix crab meat, breadcrumbs, bell pepper, scallion, mayonnaise, eggs, tobasco, peppers and celery in a bowl until well combined.
3. Divide mixture evenly – place in muffin tins.
4. Bake until crispy and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes, serve with lemon wedges.
1 roasted chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes (I use store bought)
1/4 cup chopped celery 1 (8-ounce) can sliced or chopped water chestnuts, drained
1 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ red apple, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 T Thai green curry paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Gently combine the chicken, celery, water chestnuts, grapes, peanuts, onion, garlic & apple in a large bowl.
Combine the dressing ingredients and mix well.
Add to the chicken mixture and stir gently to combine.
Salt & pepper to taste.
* Can be served as is or spooned over pasta of your choice.
This is a fall back recipe we go to time and time again.
Serves 4 to 6.
.... among the many including the wine and port!
1.Crispy Seafood SamplerTender pieces of Alaskan salmon and halibut, with shrimp lightly battered, along with a **seafood-stuffed squash blossom**, served with a red pepper preserved lemon coulis.
~ Having never had a stuffed squash blossom before I am a converted fan and would eat one everyday if I could, it was *that* good.
2.Fresh Alaskan Silver Salmon simply seasoned and grilled. Served over harissa lentil ragout finished with tomatoes and foraged Alaskan mushrooms in a garam masala spiced Matanuska Valley pool ball squash. Topped with Alaskan Moosetard-dill crema.(http://www.moosetard.com/)
~ Absolutely outstanding! I have to reconstruct that moosetard sauce. It was the perfect cooling accompaniment to the spicy harissa.