Posts from July 2015

Scallops & Fresh Pasta with Garlic & Dried Chilies

07/28/2015

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We spent another summer Sunday in my sanctuary that is the sea. This time we took along our friends Ivor and Parker, who know how to find them. We didn’t get our limit, but all of us were satisfied with the catch.

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Parker is one of the best cooks I know; he made this recipe he found from Cooks Illustrated that I swear takes the cake for my Favorite Scallop Dish Ever. This is probably because Parker decided to make the pasta by hand. Pasta making, as he taught me, isn’t difficult, but it does take a little finesse. But believe me, fresh scallops are WORTH it!

Although you can easily make this without fresh pasta or catching your own scallops, instructions for both are below.

To make the pasta:
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour (preferable bread flour)
1 c semolina flour
1/2 t salt
3 large eggs
1 T olive oil
1 T water, or more if needed

Instructions:
Place dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough on the counter and cover with saran wrap or a bowl. Let rest for 30 minutes. When ready to make into pasta, cut the balls into quarters (leaving each quarter wrapped up until ready to use.) With a pasta maker, set the rollers of the pasta machine on the largest setting. The dough will crumble the first couple of passes, but will hold together after two or three rollings. Next, lightly flour the dough, and fold into thirds. Feed through the rollers again. Do this about 5 or so times until the dough is smooth and elastic. Feed through the rollers, each time getting smaller and smaller until the desired thickness is achieved.

Next, feed it through the pasta cutter, careful to catch the cut dough with your hands. You can then dry it by hanging it over a pasta rack or broom handle, or gather it in little “nests” on a cookie sheet to dry. Lightly flour the pasta, and cover with a towel. We let it sit for about 30 minutes before using. Fresh pasta takes considerably less time to cook than dried (usually 1 to 3 minutes) so watch it carefully. To test, remove a noodle with tongs or a long-handled fork and take a bite.

To make the dish:
1 lb scallops
1 lb fresh pasta (or packaged spaghetti)
3 T vegetable oil
1 T olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
3 dried chili peppers
4 T grated Parmesan

Instructions (almost verbatim from Cooks Illustrated):
First, get the pot of boiling water for the pasta ready. In a large skillet, sear the scallops, as followed in this recipe here. Set aside. In another skillet, heat both oils and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is almost blackened all over, 7-9 minutes (the long cooking time deepens the flavor).

Tear peppers in half; add seeds and pods to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until seeds are dark brown, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic and pods, leaving seeds in oil. Put pasta in water now, if using fresh pasta. Once pasta is cooked, reheat garlic-chili oil until it shimmers.

Using tongs, transfer pasta with some water still clinging to it from pot to skillet (it will splatter; the starchy water helps form the sauce). Add 2 T pasta cooking liquid; remove skillet from heat; toss just until evenly coated, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry.

Divide pasta among bowls and add scallops and Parmesan.

Beans & Chicken in Coconut Curry

07/21/2015

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The quest to find creative dishes for our yard-long beans continues. I was inspired by this NYTimes recipe, but, like many recipes I begin with, they become jumping-off points that then point me in another direction. I took liberty with just about everything in this recipe to make it my own.

Ingredients:

2 T coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper
1/2 lb green beans
1 lb chicken thighs, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T ginger, chopped
2 T curry powder
1 T cumin
Pinch cayenne
S&P
2 T coconut oil
2 c coconut milk
2 T lemon juice
1 point cherry tomatoes
Rice

Instructions:

Start the rice cooking according to your preference. Chop the chicken, pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger. Set aside. Next, get a large sauce-pan on the stove top and heat to medium-high. Put in the coconut oil. Put in the curry powder, cayenne, cumin, and S&P. Heat for about a minute. Put in the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from skillet, and put in chicken thighs (add more oil if you need to). Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until done. Add the green pepper and beans, and cook with the chicken for 3-4 minutes. Add back the onion mixture and coconut milk and lemon juice. Turn to simmer, and cook for 10-20 minutes. (Add more spices if needed.) Serve over rice (or rice noodles). Add chopped tomatoes at the very end. Feel free to garnish with cilantro, sraracha, or peanuts.

Seared Scallops

07/17/2015

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My friend Josi came from Minnesota for a visit! Of course, this being the beginning of scallop season, we taught her how to scallop. And Josi was a champ! But despite all her hard work catching and cleaning the guys, due to a shellfish allergy, she had brats for dinner.

We didn’t do anything special to the scallops this time around–just a quick sear–but sometimes simplicity with scallops is all you need.

Ingredients:

1 lb sea scallops
2 t butter
2 t olive oil
S&P

Instructions:

First dry off the scallops well, and salt and pepper both sides. Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch saute pan on high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke, gently add half the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. (The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.) Once one batch is finished, remove from the pan, and put the rest of the scallops in the oil. Cook the same way. Serve immediately.

They’re great sprinkled with parsley, and eaten with polenta, vegetables, or just about anything.

Beans with Almond Pesto

07/10/2015

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Here is yet another Smitten Kitchen recipe win. (I *heart* Deb Perelman!) I didn’t change anything in my recipe because she is awesome. Her recipe is here, but I copied it verbatim below.

Ingredients:

2 lbs green beans
1 c almonds, toasted and cooled
1/3 cup grated parmesan or aged pecorino cheese (but no need to grate if using a food processor)
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
2 to 3 T white wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
S&P

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Trim green beans — I find using kitchen shears the quickest way — and cook beans in boiling water until crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes for regular green beans or 2 to 3 minutes for the skinnier “haricot vert” variety. Plunge in an ice water bath to fully cool. Drain and pat dry. (If you have no patience for the precision of ice water baths, take the green beans out a full minute early as they will continue cooking as they cool.)

In food processor, grind almonds, cheese, garlic, thyme, pepper and salt to a coarse paste. Add vinegar, and pulse again. Stir in oil and adjust seasonings to taste.

Toss cooled green beans with almond pesto. Drizzling with extra olive oil for a fresh glisten.

Avocado & Green Chili Puree on Fish

07/07/2015

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The past week, my sister and her family made the trek down to Florida to spend some time with us. We parked it at the beach for a couple of days, and spent many glorious hours swimming, making sand castles, and absorbing the ocean. I find that being right next to the sea makes me so aware of the circadian rhythms of the planet: the cycle of the moon, the rise and fall of the tides. It’s so easy for me to disregard all that when I’m in the air-conditioned comfort of my walled home.

It was great fun to cook for my niece and nephew, who, at the ages of almost 2 and 4, are surprisingly adventurous eaters. We had fig pizza and boar sausage and lots of fish. I’m sure a day spent at the ocean contributed to their hungry bellies, but still, the only noses that were turned up was toward my polenta, not my paprika spiced fish.

We used the last of Gary’s sea-trout he caught the other weekend.

Ingredients:

1 lb white flaky fish
3 large green chilis
2 avocados
1 T + 1 t cumin
1 t paprika
1 T lemon juice
1 T coconut oil
S&P

Instructions:

First, turn on your broiler in the oven. Put the washed peppers on a cookie sheet, and put the sheet on the very top shelf in the oven, right under the broiler. Cook each side of the pepper, while watching, until it blisters and is black. It should only take about 2 minutes per side. One the peppers are blistered, remove from the oven and set aside.

Next, dry off the fish. Mix the 1 t cumin, 1 t paprika, and S&P in a bowl. Sprinkle on the fish and set aside. Once the peppers are cool, remove the blistered black skin, and seeds and stem. Put the cooked pepper into a food processor with the 1 T cumin, lemon juice, and S&P. Mix well.

In a skillet, put the 1 T of coconut oil. Heat on medium-high heat. Put the fish in the skillet for about 3-4 minutes. Flip, and cook about a minute more. Once the fish is cooked through, it’s finished. Serve the fish over polenta, with a dollop of the pepper/avocado puree.

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