Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Romantic Dinner for Two

Scupper had a sleepover at Grandma's the other night, but I decided to stay in and enjoy a quiet (ahhhh!) evening at home. Aren't grandmas the best!?

A special dinner for sweetie and me -

Baby Greens with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Pecans, and Dried Cranberries , Cedar Planked Salmon in a Honey Balsamic Glaze, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Baby Greens with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Pecans, and Dried Cranberries

  • 4 c mixed baby greens, washed and dried
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 c gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 c pecan halves
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 4-6 tbsp of My Grandma's Vinaigrette
to make the pecans:
  • melt 1/2 tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium heat. add sugar and nuts and stir constantly for about 5 minutes or until sugar is caramelized and the nuts are evenly coated. transfer nuts onto a piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil, dust with a little fresh ground black pepper, some salt, the cranberries, and the orange zest and let cool for 20 minutes.
to plate the salad:
  • add the lettuces and chives to a large bowl and toss evenly with the vinaigrette (suit amount of dressing to taste) and evenly distribute the dressed greens onto two small plates.
  • attractively top each salad plate with half of the cheese and nut mixture

soaking the planks

Cedar Planked Salmon in a Honey Balsamic Glaze

this recipe was adapted from Micael Chiarello's, Easy Entertaining - I just love his ideas for food.
  • 2 (6-ounce) skinless wild salmon fillet portions
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 commercial cedar planks, soaked in water according to directions or overnight
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
preheat the broiler

  • slice about 8 angled slits into each fillet
  • in a small bowl mix the salt, pepper, and mustard
  • in another small bowl, heat the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds to liquefy. remove from the microwave and mix in balsamic vinegar. brush the top of the salmon fillets (not the skin side) with the melted butter. season the fish with the spice mixture. brush with the honey-balsamic mixture, reserving some for later.
  • put the soaked planks under the hot broiler, about 5 inches from the heat, until the wood is browned on top, about 3 minutes. carefully remove the planks from the oven.
  • immediately brush the planks with olive oil and put a seasoned salmon fillet on each.
  • put a flat baking pan in the oven below where the planks will go to catch any run off. put the planks under the broiler and cook the fish for 5 minutes. baste again with remaining honey-balsamic glaze and place in oven at 350. cook to your taste, about 15 minutes or more for very well done.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, unseparated if possible
  • 2 medium white potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c - 3/4 c milk (depending on size of potatoes used)
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped herb/s of choice (I used parsley this time)
for the roasted garlic:
  • preheat oven to 350
  • cut off the very tops of 6 cloves of garlic and place it, cut side up, in a very small oven safe dish or ramekin. add 1 or 2 tbsp of water to the bottom of the dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and golden.
  • cool slightly and then gently squeeze the roasted garlic to remove from jackets and set aside.
for potatoes:
  • bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil on the range of the stove
  • meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into cubes
  • add the cubes to the boiling water and cook until tender 8-10 minutes and strain in a colander, keeping the burner on
  • return the potatoes to the pot and shake them in the pan over the hot burner for about 30 seconds to remove excess moisture (this will keep potatoes from becoming too starchy)
  • remove from heat and either keep potatoes in the pot or transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • add the butter, roasted garlic, cheese, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. slowly begin adding the milk while mixing everything with a hand held electric mixer on medium until the potatoes become silky and fluffy and almost uniform in texture.

roasted garlic smells so so yummy when it's being cooked. it has a deeper, sweeter and nuttier flavor than fresh garlic. try it on toasted baguette slices with with a little drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper as an alternative to garlic bread. mmmhmmm.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rain and a Wild Mushroom Bisque

The whole summer here has been mild, but Monday was just dreary, unseasonably cool and rainy. At first I felt a bit put out, but then realized that the weather set the perfect tone for some soup! I happened to have a few different varieties of wild mushrooms in the fridge and some organic heavy cream, along with a well stocked pantry, so a bisque was inevitable. However, there wasn't enough cream! I ended up improvising and making a roux to thicken the soup instead of just cream. Lower in fat, but it turned out really tasty!


Wild Mushroom Bisque

  • 1 pound assorted, cultivated wild mushrooms (I used oyster, cremini, shitake, and portobella)
  • one white onion
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or broth plus 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 c heavy cream (or half and half)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • add the 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 of the stock, wine, and 1/2 cup water, and bay leaf in a large pot and bring to boil.
  • meanwhile, wash the mushrooms and pat dry. chop the mushrooms and onions somewhat finely. (see picture)

  • add the onions and mushrooms to the boiling stock and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  • after about a half hour, add the rest of the stock, cover the mushroom mixture, remove bay leaf, raise heat and continue to simmer another 15 minutes.
  • meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in another in another large pot and add the flour. stir constantly until flour is fragrant and light brown, about 2 minutes. whisk in the cream until well blended. add the mushrooms and broth cupful by cupful, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. season with salt, fresh ground pepper, and thyme.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two Favorite Recipes

Isn't it so curious how siblings, although they start out the same, often come to be completely different personality types or even opposite ones? So many dishes I make start out with the sweat of onions and garlic, yet starting with these bulbous jewels, each creation morphs into something distinctively different. To illustrate, let's take two recipes that came from the same place and that started out with the same stuff yet somehow, miraculously, found their own identities vastly apart from one another.

Two Recipes
1. Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese, and Spinach Quiche
2. Easy Vegan Vegetable Soup

Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese, and Spinach Quiche
(this one is dedicated to Reiko)

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • one sweet white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • one store bought (lard free - check!) pie crust, partially defrosted
  • half of a red bell pepper, seeded
  • 5 oz (half a bag) of pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • salt/pepper
  • 4 oz chèvre (goat cheese)
To make quiche:
  • preheat oven to 350
  • pierce pie crust bottom with a fork
  • cook for 6 minutes and remove
  • meanwhile, finely dice onion and mince garlic
  • add oil to the pan and heat, over low heat, then add the onion and garlic with the 1/2 tsp salt (about 15 minutes) note- this 'sweats' the veggies, making them tender and also flavors the whole dish
  • meanwhile, cut the pepper half into to two pieces. turn two gas burners to high, and place pepper pieces, skin side down, until they char black. (alternatively, for electric ranges, broil on highest level in oven until charred) remove from heat and place in a sealed ziplock bag or in a pot with a lid for 10 minutes.
  • as peppers sit, coarsely chop the spinach and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. mix the salt in well then move spinach to a bowl. the salt makes the spinach release it's juice, so over the sink, squeeze the water, handful by handful, out of the spinach and set aside.

  • by now, the onion and garlic are probably done. add the nutmeg and the tbsp butter. let butter melt, then remove from heat.
  • remove peppers from bag and peel the skin off (the condensation from the bag should make it come off easily). rinse, pat dry, finely chop, and set aside.
  • mix the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper with a whisk or the back of a fork until well blended.
  • crumble the chèvre cheese evenly on the bottom of the pie crust.
  • evenly spread the spinach, the onions, and then the peppers over the cheese.
  • place the crust on a flat baking sheet.
  • slowly and evenly pour the egg mixture over the cheese and veggies.
  • carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven.
  • bake for 30 minutes or until set.
  • let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Easy Vegan Vegetable Soup
This soup is so quick and easy, can easily be made with all organic ingredients, is low in fat, high in fiber, and so good for you...but you'd never know it! It's so tasty and satisfying, and leftovers are great for a light lunch.

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 sweet white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (1 quart) (I love Imagine's 'no chicken' organic vegetable stock) with 1/4 c reserved
  • 1 large carrot, cut into small cubes
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • one medium white potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup frozen petite peas
  • 1/4 c frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup cut frozen green beans
  • small handful of orzo pasta
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sprinkling of fresh, chopped parsley
To make soup:
  • add oil to the pan and heat, over low heat, then add the onion and garlic with the 1/2 tsp salt (about 15 minutes).
  • meanwhile, chop carrots, potato, and celery.
  • add the reserved stock to the pot along with carrots, potato, and celery, and tsp salt and raise heat to medium. simmer for 10 minutes.
  • add the rest of the stock. raise heat to high and add frozen vegetables. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. add the orzo pasta and simmer about 20 minutes or until all veggies are tender.
  • add the parsley and fresh ground pepper and more salt to taste, if needed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

I love this dish because it is so very tasty and indispensably versatile. It is shown in the picture by itself, but can be served as a vegan or vegetarian main course with a couscous pilaf or a risotto, as a side dish, or as a salad topping. Even leftovers make a fantastic wrap or sandwich with some lemony mayo, romaine lettuce, and some mozzarella cheese.

I used yams, white potatoes, Vidalia onion, red bell peppers, yellow sweet peppers, and portobello mushrooms, but it can be switched up any which way and could also include cubed yellow squash or zucchini, asparagus, or thinly sliced baby eggplant. Have fun!


For the dressing:

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried, crushed rosemary or 1 tbsp fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh fresh leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme or ½ tbsp fresh leaves
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup of good olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (this dressing flavors ALL the veggies and combines with the juices they release, so it should be a little saltier/spicier than if it was to be used alone)

Either place all of the ingredients in a food processor, blender, or magic bullet and puree until smooth or mince the garlic and combine in a bowl. Set aside.

For Veggies:

  • 1 large yam
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 c baby carrot
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3-4 small yellow sweet peppers
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and put a large pot of lightly salted water to boil
  • Peel the yam and potatoes and cut into large chunks
  • Rinse the mushrooms, pat dry and cut into large chunks
  • Seed the peppers and cut into large chunks
  • When water is boiling, boil the potato and yam pieces for 2 minutes to parboil and then drain in a colander
  • Combine all the veggies in a large mixing bowl, pour the dressing over and mix well with a rubber spatula until all veggies are coated evenly
the picture also illustrates approximate size of vegetables before roasting

  • Pour vegetables onto 2 shallow baking pans in a single layer
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes and flip, then roast 15-20 minutes until they start to caramelize (juices on outside get a bit crisp and browned)
Remember that the vegetables can be varied in any way, just make sure that any root vegetables are parboiled before roasting to ensure that all veggies cook evenly.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Story, a (mostly) Vegan Lunch, and Some Product Revies


I had such an extraordinarily pleasant trip to Wegman’s Supermarket this morning. Usually, my 2 year old son acts like a crazy maniac forcing me to frantically chuck only the items on my list into the basket a la Supermarket Sweep. Today, however, heaven smiled on me, and he was an absolute angel sitting there in the cart, eating from a box of cinnamon Earth’s Best Crunchin’ Blocks, his bare little legs dangling his bright green Crocs, just looking around, giving me high fives, and flirting with all of the old ladies. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

The unexpected respite afforded me the opportunity to (gasp!) browse. Now I realize that a lot of people might find it somewhat boring to peruse the organics and health food sections of the supermarket, but for the pescetarian, it is so much fun. I even got to poke around in international food! I scored a couple of previously untried products in the organics section and a favorite in international food that I hadn’t even realized Wegman’s carried until today.

When I came across Lite Life’s USDA Organic, Fakin’ Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips, with just 100 calories and3 grams of fat per serving along with 8 grams of protein, I just knew I’d have to try it. Next on my journey was, Kettle Brand Bakes Potato Chips. They’re not organic, but regular Kettle Brand Chips are sooooooooooo good and such a guilty pleasure of mine that I just had to know – could it be possible that the bastardized cousin of the original are just as good? Well, per serving, they’re 30 calories less, 6 grams of fat less, and have 1 more gram of protein than the regular ones, so I’d have to see for myself. The last of my adventures was in international foods. I love experimenting with Asian ingredients while cooking, and as I was looking through the Asian section today, I came across an old favorite that I heretofore did not realize was there - Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise! It comes in this soft plastic squeezy tube, and it is ever so dreadfully delicious. Being that the pescetarian refuses to count spreads as “real” calories, we won’t get into any nutrition facts about this one. (nevertheless, expect to see some recipes for sauces using this delectable mayo in the near future.) With my complete list (that’s an accomplishment these days) and my newly discovered booty in tow, I headed home to make myself and my lil' scupper a much deserved lunch.
I decided to make a bltaw which stands for a whole wheat wrap spread with mayonnaise and layered with 'bacon', lettuce, avocado and tomato served along with a healthy side chips.

When I got home, scupper decided to take a nap. It's these moments when I look upon him and say..."perfection." He is so cute, if he was any cuter, I'd have to eat him up like a pudding parfait. (a threat I use quite regularly, mind you.) Sweetie informed me that he'd be home for lunch, so I still got to cook up two.

Fakin' Bacon, Avocado, Tomato and Lettuce Wraps
  • 6 strips fakin'
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 plum tomato
  • whole wheat wrap
  • kewpie mayo
  • romaine lettuce leaves washed and patted dry

To make two wraps, I pan fried 6 strips of the Fakin’ Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil, and drained them on a paper towel. I then sliced up half of a seeded plum tomato, half of an avocado, and washed some romaine lettuce. I spread the Kewpie Mayonnaise onto the wrap and on one end, vertically layered the 'bacon', tomato, avocado, and lettuce. (note – I had a vegan protein shake for breakfast and so used the real mayo – if vegan mayo had been used, the meal would be animal free) Then I rolled it up, cut it in half, plated it with some chips, and took a picture for you!


Being that I grew up omnivorous, I sometimes think about what meat products I miss the most, and without a doubt, right at the top of the list is...BACON! While the wrap I made was definitely delicious, the Fakin’ Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips were not exactly like bacon. They are very good, though, with a smoky, barbecued, and nutty taste; pan frying them gave them an appetizing crispiness that complemented the crunchy freshness of the veggies and the creaminess of the avocado and the mayonnaise. Final Grade and analysis – B+. Not like real bacon, but at least Wilbur gets to see the snow.

The chips were also “nothin’ like the real thing”, but very tasty nonetheless. Crunchy, slightly salty with a nice roasted flavor that is not found in the original. Final grade and analysis – B. I don’t know if they’d satisfy an all out chip craving, but they are perfectly fine and paired very well with the wrap.

The mayonnaise – well, you know – A+! Get some...Today!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Crispy Tofu Cutlets with Jasmine Succatash Fried Rice

This is a tasty vegan supper I whipped up two nights ago. It's a nice way to use tofu as a "meat alternative" because the cutlets are prepared similarly to breaded chicken. The tofu recipe was adapted from The Big Book of Vegetarian by Kathy Farrell Kingsley, an editor from Vegetarian Times. It's a really fantastic vegetarian/vegan cookbook that I highly recommend. The rice was my own "throw it all in there" concoction which turned out so good, I'm eating a leftover dish of it right now. An egg or two thrown into the rice at the beginning with the garlic and ginger would be delicious, but the goal was vegan, so I didn't this time.

The tofu should be drained first, or the consistency will be too silky. To drain tofu, I use the plastic carton it comes in to prop up a cutting board so that it's edge is angled towards the sink. Then I put the tofu on the board, cover it with a paper towel and place a large can of beans or tomatoes or whatever on it and let it drain into the sink for about an hour or 2. This sounds more complicated than it is, so here's a picture to explain the process:

See that? So easy!

For the tofu cutlets:

  • 1 lb tofu, drained
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ c flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • canola oil cooking spray

  • preheat oven to 425 and ready a flat baking sheet
  • cut tofu in half horizontally and then into fours vertically, making 8 cutlets total
  • mix the flour and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl
  • mix the panko and garlic powder in a shallow bowl
  • mix the water and soy sauce in a shallow bowl
  • in this order, dip each cutlet, coating evenly on all sides
  • water
  • flour
  • water
  • breadcrumbs
  • repeat until all are coated
  • spray each side of each cutlet evenly with the canola oil
  • place on the baking sheet
  • cook 10 minutes, then flip and cook 10 minutes more till golden and crispy

A note on stir fry - since stir frying requires high heat and a speedy hand, using the "everything in it's place" or mise en place method seems to make the process move along more smoothly.

Example of mise en place for the fried rice

For the Jasmine Succotash Fried Rice:

  • 3 c cooked jasmine rice
  • ¼ c blanched cubed carrots
  • ¼ c frozen corn, thawed
  • ¼ c frozen, shelled, edamame, thawed
  • handful of scallions, cut fine
  • 1 ½ tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 c red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 2-4 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tbsp dark sesame oil

  • heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan
  • add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper and stir fry about 30 seconds
  • mix in the vegetables, except scallions, and stirfry about 30 seconds
  • add the soy sauce and stir fry about 15 seconds
  • add the rice and toss it to incorporate all of the ingredients, then add the sesame oil and stir fry, tossing constantly, for about 3 minutes
  • remove from heat and add scallions, toss to incorporate
Serve the cutlets along side the rice and enjoy a vegan, low fat, and healthy meal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Grandma's Vinaigrette

This is a French style vinaigrette that is so perfect for a mixed greens salad with some slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and chèvre crumbles.

  • 1/2 c white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or good quality vegetable oil
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • 1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 scant tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried parlsey
  • splash of water
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Put all of the ingredients into a blender, food processor, or magic bullet, and pulse until combined. Alternatively, mince garlic and add vinegar and all other ingredients except oil to a dressing shaker, add the oil, and shake until blended. Store, covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

me, my brother, and grandma'a cat, sniffy in her kitchen

My Boyfriend’s Back

A Special Brunch for Sweetie

Yay! My sweetest sweetie has returned from his travels. I wanted to make him something extra special for brunch this morning (he’s a musician who travels and keeps late hours , so breakfast almost always turns into brunch). I decided to make a fine herbs omelette with a brie cheese and asparagus filling inspired by a little café I used to frequent when I lived in
Manhattan. I actually cheated a little bit, and used Allouette Crème de Brie with fine herbs as a shortcut and steamed my asparagus in the microwave with a trick my Grandmother taught me, but shhh, don’t tell! I sliced up some organic, farmer’s market strawberries and raspberries then toasted some Tuscan style bread, and it did indeed whisk me back in time. Oh, sweetie and scupper enjoyed it too.


Brie Cheese and Asparagus Fine Herbs Omelette

Serves 2 (and a half)

For the filling:

  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 8 spears of asparagus, ends snapped off
  • 2-3 tbsp of herbed, creamy brie cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp butter, tiny splash of olive oil

For the omelette:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter

  • Wet two thick paper towels and ring out slightly. Wrap the asparagus loosely in the wet paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until tender. Remove. Chop into one inch pieces and set aside. A sneaky little trick that works like a charm.

  • Melt the ½ tbsp of butter with the oil in an omelette pan or small skillet over medium low heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more (if either begins to brown, reduce heat).

  • Add the asparagus and heat through, 1 minute. Pour into a small mixing bowl and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Crack the eggs into another small mixing bowl. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well blended with a whisk or a fork.

  • Wipe out your skillet well. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet over medium high heat until hot, but not browned. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let set until the very edges are opaque. Carefully lift up one side of the omelette with a spatula, and let the raw egg run under the set egg. Repeat on all edges until omelette is opaque.

  • Remove from heat.

  • Using a rubber spatula, scoop out filling evenly onto one side of the omelette. Fold omelette over, and cut in half with the spatula. Carefully remove each piece to a plate.

This would be a fine lunch or late supper served with some fries and a simple mixed greens salad. I'm going to post one more blog today because scupper is taking an extra long nap, and because the asparagus trick reminded me of Grandma.

Oh, and by the way, for those who are wondering, yes, sweetie is also scupper's daddy, nosy!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

So Simple - Fresh Genovese Basil Pesto Pasta with Peas

I think I like this recipe because it has so many "p's" in it...pasta, pesto, peas, pine nuts, parmesan and pepper! Actually, I like it most because it is super fast, simple, and tasty, plus I get to use my fresh herbs and my coveted magic bullet (the fruits of infomercial surfing at 4am). Served with some garlic bread and a simple tomato salad, it's perfect for summertime.


  • 16 oz pasta (i like to use rotini or nuggets because the folds catch all the yummy sauce)
  • 2 cups fresh, packed basil leaves (Genovese variety if possible)
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, plus some shredded for topping
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts plus 2 tbsp reserved
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c frozen peas
  • 1/4 c pasta water
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • put water to boil for the pasta.
  • in a blender, food processor, or magic bullet add the basil, garlic, 4 tbsp pine nuts, 2 oz
    parmesan and olive oil, pulse until smooth.
  • boil the pasta according to directions adding the frozen peas during the last two minutes of cooking time. drain, reserving 1/4 c of the pasta water, and return to pot for mixing.
  • mix the pesto sauce, reserved 2 tbsp of pine nuts, and reserved pasta water into the pasta and peas.
  • season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls with the shredded Parmesan and fresh black pepper on the side for individual application. So fast, so easy, yet so good

Monday, July 2, 2007

Coquilles Saint Jacques au Gratin

A fancy way to say a scallop and mushroom casserole that the pescetarian got to use her fresh herbs in. This is a traditional French dish served in a scallop shell or in an individual sized ramekin. It is a little bit richer than most of the recipes I make, but a girl's gotta get it out of her system sometimes! Butter, half and half? Let's take it on.


  • 1 lb sea scallops, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 c half and half
  • ¼ c white wine
  • 8 oz of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • butter (2 tbsp), melted
  • ¾ c panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c shredded parmesan
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • thyme, chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • mix the thyme, parsley, 2 tbsp of melted butter, parmesan, salt, and fresh ground pepper into panko crumbs until well incorporated.
  • melt, over medium low heat, remaining tbsp of butter in a medium sized frying (if you’re absent minded, like me, add a splash of olive oil to keep it from burning).
  • add shallots and garlic and cook for for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. raise the heat a bit and add mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt. cook about 8 minutes, stirring every so often, until the mushroom liquid is absorbed. increase heat for one minute, then deglaze the browned bits with the wine and evaporate for about three minutes.
  • add half and half and boil until thickened, 3-5 minutes.
  • add scallops and simmer until opaque, about 3 minutes. add lemon juice.
  • spoon mixture into ramekins and top with the breadcrumbs. Place in the broiler.
  • Broil for one minute or until crumbs are crispy and goldenly browned. Heaven.