Monday, May 24, 2010

Seared Scallops and Crispy Prosciutto with Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans

4 large ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of dried oregano
olive oil
8 slices of prosciutto
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 small dried red chillies, crumbled, to taste
4-6 anchovy fillets, chopped
one 14-oz can of cannellini beans or flageolet beans, drained
extra-virgin olive oil
12-16 scallops, trimmed with roe on or off to your preference
a small handfull of peppery greens (arugula or watercress)

Preheat the oven to 475 F.

Season the tomatoes and sprinkle with the oregano.  Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven skin side down for about 10-15 minutes.

Place the prosciutto slices beside the tomatoes and continue to roast for a further 10 minutes...

... until the tomatoes are juicy and the prosciutto is crisp. 

In a pan fry the garlic, chillies and anchovies in a glug of olive oil for a minute or so. 

Add your beans and cook for a couple of minutes before adding a wineglass of water.  Bring to a boil, then lightly mash to a coarse puree.  Loosen the puree with a little more water if need be.

Finish the flavor off with some peppery extra-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Season the scallops, then sear them in a frying pan with a touch of olive oil for 2 minutes without touching them.  Check and continue to fry until they have a lovely sweet caramelized skin- turn them over and allow the other side to do the same.  Don't overcook them.  Remove to a bowl and coat with a little olive oil and lemon juice dressing.  Put some smashed bean puree on each plate, scatter over the tomatoes, prosciutto and scallops, and finish off with some peppery greens.

serves 4

My Review

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver's 2nd cookbook from 1990...  he was so young then and a talented chef!  This recipe is proof that the kid knew what he was doing in the kitchen.  The scallops, prosciutto, tomatoes or white beans would have been satisfying by itself, but to put them together... well, that was just a party in my mouth!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Salmon, Leek, and Celery Root Chowder

"Celery root, also called celeriac, is texturally close to potatoes when cooked and has a unique flavor reminiscent of celery and parsley."

3 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 leeks, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 pounds celery root (celeriac), peeled, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 cups bottled clam juice
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 salmon fillet (12 ounces), skin and pin bones removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 T chopped fresh tarragon
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 t fresh lemon juice
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

In a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. 

Add the leeks and saute over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the celery root, clam juice, bay leaf, and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the celery root is tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the salmon

Add the bacon, half-and-half, tarragon, and parsley to the soup pot.  Cook just below a simmer until the salmon is cooked through, about 5 minutes.  (The half-and-half will curdle if the soup comes to a boil.)  Remove the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.  Add the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir gently to keep the salmon chunks intact.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6 as a light supper

My Review

This chowder is not your typical rich, heavy chowder.  Considering it has bacon and half-and-half, it is suprisingly light.  The salmon cooks to perfection right in the broth.  One tip regarding the celery root... make sure you peel enough of the rough peel off so it doesn't end up in your chowder. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Frozen Yogurt Pops

"Your kids think they're just getting a treat, but these popsicles are a great low-calorie, lowfat alternative to high-fat ice cream.  If you're using raspberries, use 3/4 cup sugar; because raspberries are tart."

2 cups plain lowfat yogurt
2 cups frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries),
     thawed in the microwave for 1 minute
1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Makes 8 popsicles

My Review

I believe this is the most beautiful day in Seattle this year so far.  The perfect snack, on a perfect day,  for my perfect girl!  She loves them...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Slow-Cooker Braised Pork with Salsa

"With just a few ingredients, you can produce a full-flavored, meltingly tender pork stew in your slow cooker."

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt
1 1/2 cups prepared tomatillo salsa (green salsa)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 t cumin seeds or ground cumin (I used ground cumin)
3 plum tomatoes (1/2 pound), thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 reduced-fat sour cream

Trim and discard pork surface and fat.  Cut meat apart following layers of fat around muscles; trim and discard fat.  Cut into 2-inch chunks and rinse with cold water.  Place in a 5-or 6-quart slow cooker.  Turn heat to high.

Combine salsa, broth, onion and cumin seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. 

Pour over meat.

Add tomatoes and mix gently.  Put the lid on and cook until the meat is pull-apart tender, 6 to 7 hours.

With a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a large bowl; cover and keep warm.  Pour the sauce and vegetables into a large skillet; skim fat.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil, skimming froth from time to time, for about 20 minutes, to intensify flavors and thicken slightly.  Add the pork and 1/4 cup cilantro; heat through.

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.

Makes about 8 servings, generous 3/4 cup each

My Review

I've cooked this recipe a few times, but never turned the slow cooked pork into tacos.  Since it's Cinco de Mayo, we did it up tonight.  I love how moist and flavorful the pork is, not to mention, how it cooks itself in the slow-cooker!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mike's Award-Winning Rub

"Mike McGrath of Woodbury, Minnesota, used this recipe to win a grilling competition at Chicago's Backyard Barbecue in 2005."

4 t coarse kosher salt
1 T coarsely ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
1 t paprika
1 t minced garlic

6 boneless rib-eye steaks, about 12 ounces each and 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick, trimmed of excess fat (I used sirloin steaks)

Vegetable oil

In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients. 

Lightly coat the steaks with oil.  Massage the rub into both sides of each steak.  Let the steaks sit a room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat (Weber's Charcoal Grilling cookbook goes into complete detail on how to build a charcoal fire and how to create the perfect temperature.  High heat is 450- 550 degrees F or when you extend your palm 5 inches over the charcoal and need to pull your hand away between 2 to 4 seconds.)  using enough charcoal so that all 6 steaks can cook over direct heat.

Brush the cooking grate clean.

Grill the steaks over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, rotating each steak 90 degrees halfway through each side and swapping their positions as needed temporarily over indirect heat.

Remove from the grill, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings

My Review

Grilling season is here as far as I am concerned.  This rub is my go-to recipe when grilling steaks.  It's the perfect basic rub!  I grilled sirlion steaks instead of rib-eye steaks and they were excellent.