Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Sam Hoffer and
Photography by Meakin Hoffer from My Carolina Kitchen

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blackened Sea Scallops with Green Onion Vinaigrette and Roasted Tomato Relish

I am not a big seafood fan (sigh).  I was forty before I decided that sea scallops were delicious.  How can a girl like me who thinks about food 24/7, not enjoy seafood?  Should I admit that I was born and raised in South Florida, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and would not touch the abundance of fresh seafood?  I should not admit it, but it's the truth.  Since I am baring my food soul should I admit that I could eat tuna (from the can) salad sandwiches with wild abandon?   It's a sad state of affairs for a food lover.

These days,  I do make an effort to continue to re-discover seafood as the opportunity presents itself.  One of my favorites is scallops.  This dish prepared by my husband is a meaty sea scallop dish, blackened in a spice mixture and then seared in a smoking cast-iron pan.  Served up with a simple vinaigrette of green onions and a smoky tomato relish provides a fresh vibrancy to the dish.

The ingredient list is long but it is really an uncomplicated dish to prepare, so worth the effort.

The sea scallops cook quickly in the smoking hot cast iron pan searing the flavor mixture.  Remember when blackening meat was all the craze?

The finished scallop dish is a celebration of flavors.

Blackened Sea Scallops with Green Onion Vinaigrette and Roasted Tomato Relish
Serves 4
Recipe from Bobby Flay's  Bar Americain

Roasted Tomato Relish
4 ripe plum tomatoes, roasted halved, seeded, and diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, green part only, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Roast Tomatoes:
Preheat the broiler or heat a grill pan over high heat.  Brush tomatoes with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.  Broil and grill, turning a few times, until entire surfaced is blackened, about 5 minutes.  Remove let cool slightly.  Slice in half, remove the seeds, and dice.

Sea Scallops
3 tablespoons smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon ground ancho chile
1 tablespoon ground pasilla chile
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
20- U-10 sea scallops, muscles removed
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt
Green onion vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Green Onion Vinaigrette (makes about 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup white wine
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
6 green onions, green part only, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions Green Onion Vinaigrette
Combine the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, the shallot, mayonnaise, and honey in a blender and blend until combined.  Add the green onions and blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  The vinaigrette can be prepared 4 hours in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

1.  To make the tomato relish, put the tomatoes, red onion, green onions, vinegar, and olive oil in a medium bowl and mix gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

2.  To cook the sea scallops, combine the paprika, ancho, and pasilla powders, white and black pepper, thyme, oregano, onion and garlic powders, and celery salt in a medium shallow bowl.

3.  Heat a large cast-iron pan over high heat until it begins to smoke.  Brush the scallops on both sides with oil and season with salt.  Dredge one side of each scallop in the spice rub and put the scallops in the pan spice side down.  Cook until browned and a crust has formed, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.  Turn the scallops over and continue to cook until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

4.  Divide the scallops among 4 large dinner plates, top each scallop with some of the tomato relish. drizzle with vinaigrette, and sprinkle some green onion on top.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Laura Lafata

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dirt to Table Experience: Fresh Cabbage Slaw "Coleslaw"

You are thinking seriously?  Really?  She is sharing a basic coleslaw recipe with us today?  Yes, I am sharing a basic, but fabulous coleslaw recipe with you today.  Why is it fabulous?  It's fabulous because the colorful cabbage and carrots were taken directly from the dirt to my table.  The flavors are crisp and fresh tasting.  The colors pop with the combination of red and green cabbages, with carrots.

I typically think about preparing coleslaw in the summer months to serve alongside barbecue or my contribution at a potluck gathering.  What I don't think about is that the main ingredients in coleslaw are not summer produce, they are fall/winter harvests.  So why do I eat coleslaw in the summer but rarely in the winter?

I could not quite define why we call a salad of shredded cabbages and carrots "coleslaw" what I learned is that, "cole" is a rarely used English word "for the plants of the cabbage" used in the late 18th century. Very interesting.

Gardening or purchasing seasonal vegetables makes you think about your food in a new way.  From now on, I may stick to serving coleslaw in the cooler months, and stick to summer vegetables to fill my barbecues and potluck side dishes in the warmer months.

 Fresh Cabbage Slaw 
Serves 6-8

8 cups chopped cabbage (mix of green and red)
1/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Chop cabbage and carrots. 

In a salad bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar and lemon juice.  Beat until smooth.  Add the cabbage and carrots.  Mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Kim from Stirring the Pot

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Modern Cocktail- The Metropolitan

There has been cocktails experiments taking place at my house.  My husband has been looking for a new cocktail to serve up for Valentine's Day.  I do believe he has found one....Say hello to the Metropolitan. 

This cocktail uses one of the more creditable flavors of the vodkas in Absout's arsenal with good results.
The cocktail includes blackcurrant vodka, combined with cranberry and lime juice.  It's a fruity cocktail, but one that can sneak up on you pretty quickly if you are not careful.

Metropolitan Cocktail
Serves 1 (easily doubled)
Recipe from Cool Cocktails

2-oz. Absolut Kurrant Vodka
2-oz. triple sec or Cointreau
1-oz. fresh lime juice
1-oz. cranberry juice

Shake all the ingredients sharply over ice and strain into a frosted martini glass.  Squeeze the oil from a strip of orange zest, skin downward over a flame.  Rub the rim with the orange zest before dropping it into the glass.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Andy Wallack

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dirt to Table Experience: Fresh Beet Salad

Okay, don't say "Ewww beets!" I know that beets are a love them or hate them vegetable.  I have a strong opinion about those who dislike beets, but have only experienced beets from a can or a jar.  You cannot officially say you don't like beets until you have done two things:
You have eaten them prepared fresh 


You have taken fresh beets and have roasted them in the oven

If after both these attempts have been made, and you still don't like beets, then you can say "Ewww beets!"  I doubt you will.

Fresh Beet Salad
Serves 4

5-6 fresh medium beets
Small onion thinly sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar ( red or white)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh mix of salad greens
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place beets in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring beets to a boil and simmer until tender about 25-30 minutes.

Remove beets from the heat. Drain.  Cool.  Peel the beets and slice or cut into wedges.

Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange greens on a platter.  Place beets on top of greens, followed by thinly sliced onion and chopped parsley.

Pour vinaigrette over salad.  Serve.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Almond Joy Bread

My fellow bloggers inspire me, their passion and creativity awe me.  They can even get me to come to the edge, get outside my box.  They can even get me to bake.  Cathy from Wives with Knives  inspired me with this Almond Joy Bread recipe.

The name of this bread may imply that it would be very sweet, it isn't and that was my favorite part.  It imparts one of my favorite candy bar flavors without overwhelming my sweet palate.

Hurry-up and print the recipe. You will love it.

I made two loaves. We ate one and saved one for later.

Congratulations to All Things Yummy. Danielle is the winner of the Bobby Flay Bar Americain cookbook.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  I really enjoyed hosting the giveaway.

"Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Almond Joy has nuts, Mounds don't." 

Almond Joy Bread
Compliments of Wives with Knives
Author: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Coconut Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Chocolate Ganache:
8-ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 heavy cream

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, sift and and combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3.  Starting with the flour mixture alternate flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour, that order.  Mix until just combined, like you would if you were making muffins.

4.  Fold in coconut, chocolate chips and almonds.

5.  Pour into two loaf pans or 8 mini loaf pans that have been greased and floured.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 1-hour (minis take about 10 minutes less).

6.  Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.  While cakes are still warm, poke several holes in the top of the cake with a wooden skewer.  Drizzle Coconut Glaze into the holes.  Finish glazing cake by taking a pastry brush and brushing on remaining glaze ( as much as you would like).  When cake is completely cool, drizzle chocolate ganache over cake.


8. Place ingredients into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for about a minute.  Turn heat off but leave saucepan on burner.  Glaze cake as instructed above.


10.  Place chocolate into a bowl

11.  Place cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil

12.  Once cream has boiled pour over chocolate.  Let sit for 3 minutes.

13.  Stir with whisk until smooth and glossy.

14.  When cake is completely cool, drizzle chocolate ganache over cake.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Ton Vanvliet