Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Seared Scallops with Tarragon Butter

I just happened to have a open bottle of white wine I needed to use, one shallot left in the pantry, and some tarragon still left from the holidays - so this was PERFECT!

I found it on Epicurious - have been finding more there than anywhere lately, it seems.

I only had my homemade tarragon vinegar, so I went a little easy on the vinegar & a little heavier on the white wine, so that it wasn't to "tarragon-y". My cast iron skillet works great for searing - though I still dust a bit of flour on the scallops first, to get that nice golden color fast, without burning the butter or the scallops.

  • 1 1/4 pounds large sea scallops, tough ligament from side of each discarded
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon


Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (total).

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sear scallops, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.

Add shallot, wine, and vinegar to skillet and boil, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Add juices from platter and if necessary boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Reduce heat to low and add 3 tablespoons butter, stirring until almost melted, then add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and swirl until incorporated and sauce has a creamy consistency. Stir in tarragon and salt to taste; pour sauce over scallops.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mushroom Quinoa

I have also just realized - after paying $10.00 for a small bag of it at the store - that I have neglected to say how I cook my quinoa.

First of all, be sure to rinse it over and over before cooking it - you want the water to run clear - otherwise it has a tendency to have a soapy taste to it. (I do this and then soak in cool water for 30 minutes and then rinse again before cooking.) I take a teaspoon or so of olive oil in a sauce pan and toss in a healthy handful of sliced portabella mushrooms and chopped onion (probably about a cup or more of sliced shrooms and a half a cup of chopped onion.) Saute for a few minutes and then add a cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, add a half a cup of your clean quinoa and some fresh thyme. A bit of salt and pepper and then reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed (about 30 minutes)
I LOVE it like this!

C'mon - is that easy or WHAT? And quinoa is SUPER good for you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Veal Scallopini with Brown Butter and Capers

I just found this on epicurious and it's so simple and very, very delicious! Just make sure you use a heavy NOT non-stick skillet - I used my big cast iron pan and it was perfect...
  • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound thin veal scallopini (less than 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons drained small capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat until hot, then add oil and heat until it shimmers.

Meanwhile, stir together flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then pat veal dry and dredge in flour, knocking off excess.

Cook veal in 2 batches, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Discard oil from skillet, then add butter and cook over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until browned and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar, capers, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Return veal to skillet just to heat through, then sprinkle with parsley.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oil and Vinegar Coleslaw

I like oil and vinegar slaw way better than the mayo kind - if you haven't tried it, you need to!

1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 head purple cabbage cored and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked white pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion tops

In a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the cabbage, onion and carrot, season with the salt and pepper and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour before proceeding.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the vinegar periodically to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat. Remove the cabbage from the refrigerator and pour the vinegar over the top of the cabbage. Add the oil and green onions and toss well to thoroughly combine.

Cover with plastic wrap and return the cabbage to the refrigerator. Allow slaw to sit for 2 or 3 hours before serving, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bean with Bacon Soup

Ok - so this is a classic soup, and I always forget how great it is, until I make it again! This is one of those soups where you can really change it up a lot, depending on your tastes, but this is a good basic starter recipe, and it's one of my own.

1 Bag of 15-Bean soup mix

10 Bacon strips, trimmed of excess fat & chopped
1 Medium onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, chopped

1 Large (48 oz) can of chicken stock
1 28 oz Can of chopped tomatoes
1 Whole bay leaf
1 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

4-5 Celery ribs, sliced
4-5 Carrots, sliced
6 Medium potatoes, cut into chunks

Quick soak for beans: Place beans in a large stock pot & fill pan half way with cold water. Bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat & cover for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, turn crock-pot on high & place in chopped bacon, onion, & garlic. Cover and let simmer while beans are cooking. When beans are done, drain in a colander and rinse well. Add beans to crock-pot, along with chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaf & spices. Reduce heat to low & simmer, covered, for at least 4 hours.

Add chopped celery, carrots & potatoes, and then allow to simmer for another 4 hours, or until beans are cooked and veggies are tender.

Now, of course, you can always do this in a big stock pot on the stove - works just as well, and of course is a little faster!


Friday, August 31, 2007

Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce

This is a pasta dish that is so easy to make ... you can have this on the table in less than 30 minutes and it's really great!

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup vodka
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
A couple splashes of hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco), to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
4 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 pound penne
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Melt butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in vodka, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add tomato puree and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Keep sauce warm over very low heat.

Cook pasta as directed on package until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.

Add pasta to sauce and toss with sauce and cheese. You can add some of the reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 Cup thinly cut carrots
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Cups butternut squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1Tbsp minced jalapeno
  • 31/2 Cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup half and half

In a large pot, over medium heat, add canola oil, onions and garlic. Saute until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, cumin, salt and pepper and cook another 3 minutes. Add the squash, stock and jalapeno, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat if necessary, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until squash is softened.
If you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender...blend in pan until smooth and creamy. If however, you are like me, you will need to scoop it into a blender (or food processor) and puree it.
Return to the pot and add half and half, stirring to blend well.

If you are really creative you can serve this in hollowed-out squash shells!
Also, a little dollop of sour cream on top, before serving, is divine!