Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Eve Suppers Amongst Friends-- A bounty of seafood.

Cooking for friends is a good way for me to pass time.  This holiday season I've done a couple of nice plates that I thought I might share.

Christmas Eve -- Squid ink linguine, with Seared scallops and lobster tail medallions.
Cook squid ink linguine per normal instructions.  I sauced it with an anchovy sauce.  Seared off the scallops and lobster tail.  Served the pasta on a platter, then placed the scallops and lobster on top for contrast.

Middle of the week -- Pan seared Halibut with lime and parsley, and greek salad.
Make a greek salad as you deem fit (I prefer mine without lettuce). Dry your halibut salt and pepper, and sear in a hot pan.  After you flip it splash with some lime juice, and minced parsley and top with a pat of butter.

New Years Eve -- Shrimp Cocktails and Fennel seed flavoured risotto with asparagus and king crab meat.
Shrimp Cocktails do as per hundreds of recipes that already exist.  For the risotto, I steeped a couple of table spoons of fennel seeds in the broth that I used for the risotto.  Prepare the risotto per your favourite method.  When the risotto was 3/4 done I added chopped asparagus, so that is was al dente when the risotto is done.  I mixed cooked king crab leg meat just at serving time.

While I do enjoy good food, during the holidays I try to do it a little better.

More Later....

PS: Here's hopin' the food in 2011 is as good as 2010. In the new year I'll try to remember to take some photos before I dig in.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scallops in Calvados

Over Xmas I picked up a couple of bags of U12 count Canadian Scallops.  Yes they were frozen, but they did have a fairly low water weight so it wasn't too bad.  One batch went into Xmas Eve dinner with friends and the other batch was eaten at home with my girlfriend.

  • 6 scallops
  • 1 shallot finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup calvados
  • couple pats of ice cold butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking scallops is not a nearly as difficult as Hell's Kitchen seems to make it.  You do need a good skillet and a hot flame, but it shouldn't be rocket science. To brown anything, it needs to be "dry" so blot all excess moisture off of the room temperature scallops, I placed mine between a few sheets of paper towel, about 15 minutes before I needed them.  Put the skillet on the flame and get it smoking hot. Season the scallops with salt and pepper1. Add an oil with a high smoke point, I have been using grape seed oil. Once the oil is smoking place the scallops in the pan.  Don't touch them, don't move them, until they have got a nice golden crust, around 2 minutes for my U12s.  Flip them and wait until the scallop is just turned opaque.  Remove them from the heat and place them on a plate to rest for a moment while you prepare the sauce.

In the same pan add the shallots and garlic, once the shallots are translucent, deglaze the pan with the calvados, and reduce by half.  Wisk in a couple pats of butter to make a nice rich creamy sauce.  If there is any liquid from the resting scallops whisk that into the sauce.  Place 3 scallops per person on a plate and sauce.   The night I made this, I served it on a bed of seasoned quinoa, and a side greek salad.

For me the sweet apple flavour of the calvados goes nicely with the sweetness of the scallops.

More Later....

1 I've resorted to fine pre-ground pepper, because out of my pepper mill the pepper is course and it feels gritty on the scallops when you eat them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hummus Recipe de Gregorio

There are a large number of hummus recipes floating on the net, and when you find one you like, use it. Here is my general spin on it
  • 2 14oz cans chic peas A.K.A garbanzo beans
  • 1 12oz bottle of tahini 
  • 1/2 the liquid from 1 can of chic peas
  • 4 lemons juiced 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Take everything throw it in your food processor, pulse it a couple times to get stuff mixed, and then purée until smooth.  If it's a bit dry add a splash more EVO or liquid from the chic peas.  Taste and adjust lemon juice, or garlic, or salt, or pepper etc. to your taste.  I like mine garlicky and lemony, but do as you see fit. Server with  pita chips, toasted bread, tortilla chips, or pretty much anything you like to dip.  If you have the time and inclination you could pass it through a chinoise to get a really smooth purée, but a little fibre and texture didn't hurt anyone.

More Later....