Herb Crusted Scallops

Rinse under cold water and pick the muscles off the scallops, season with salt and pepper

Take bread crumbs and add to them some Italian seasoning, fresh chopped basil, marjoram, parsley. Dip the scallops into the mixture covering just the tops and bottoms and set aside.

seasoning for scallops

seasoned scallops

In a large sauté pan heated to medium high add some good oil and cook a few of the scallops a few at a time for maybe a minute or two then carefully flip them over. You are looking for a nice sear and good color; however you don’t want to cook them all the way through.

scallops cooking

When done transfer to a plate and slide them into the fridge for about ten minutes, to stop the cooking process, while you make the sauce.

As for the sauce, wipe out the pan, add a tablespoon of oil and add 1/4 of a diced sweet onion. Sauté for about 7-8 minutes. While the pan is on medium-high heat deglaze with about 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine, let it reduce for another minute or two. Add the juice of a fresh lemon. Finish the sauce by adding 1/4 cup of heavy cream, bring to a boil then lower the heat to low.

Take the scallops out of the fridge and place into the hot sauce just until they heat through; be careful not to cook them too much, you don’t want to overcook them, they will get hard and rubbery.

scallops in sauce cooking

To be fancy, plate some rice down the center of a plate, place the scallops on top and then spoon some sauce over the rice. Serve right away and enjoy.

scallops on rice

fancy pic finished plat

Enjoy

Spicy Shrimp and Polenta

My wife and I were discussing how much she likes grits for breakfast and I asked her if she ever has had polenta.  She said no, so I suggested that I make her some for dinner.  Dinner? As she looked at me funny, I said I bet you will like it, it would be my take on Southern shrimp and grits.  So this is what I did.

Start out with good polenta.  Make it to the directions on the package substituting one cup of water for one cup of heavy cream, add one stick of butter. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

polenta

cooking polenta

Pour off about half of the mixture into a buttered shallow pan if you have one. We are going to save that for another day. We will use this over the weekend for breakfast. Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Back to dinner now.

polenta in a pan

Take the shrimp you are having for dinner and marinate them in some olive oil, and whatever spices you like to make them spicy say some crushed red peppers, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.

seasoned shrimp

With the rest of the polenta in the pot add about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and mix in until its smooth, if necessary loosen the mixture a little with some more heavy cream. You are looking for a consistency of very thick applesauce. Put the bowl off to the side over very low heat and cook the shrimp.

cooked shrimp

Heat a non stick pan to medium high, add the shrimp, and cook a few minutes a side just until done. Scoop some of the hot cheesy polenta into a bowl and top with the spicy shrimp. Serve with a nice cool glass of your favorite white wine. As for my wife she now likes polenta just as much as grits.

plated shrimp

Enjoy

Italian Chicken Breast with Cheese Tortellini and Tomatoes

Once again my wife and I bought too many little cherry tomatoes and I was really tired of eating them on salad so this is how I finished them up in dinner a couple nights ago.

First off cook the tortellini according to the package minus one minute, drain in a colander, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set them aside, we will heat them up after cooking the chicken.

For the chicken, season with salt & pepper and sprinkle some Italian seasoning over the breasts. Just a quick note these were very large chicken breasts. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil, then put the chicken breasts in and cook for about five minutes then flip over for another four or five, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165 degrees. Take them out and set aside on a plate to rest for a minute while you make the sauce for the tortellini.

Turn the pan up to medium high and add one shallot sliced thinly to the oil left in the pan, cook it  until it becomes soft then add one tablespoon of chopped garlic, cook for a minute. Add ½ cup of extra dry vermouth to deglaze the pan. Toss in the tomatoes and the tortellini and stir around for a minute then turn heat off and add two tablespoons of butter. Let the butter melt and stir the sauce coat the tortellini. Make sure to check for seasoning. Serve right away next to the chicken breast. A salad and a glass of white wine goes nicely with dinner. Enjoy ~

baked chicken with tortellini

Chicken with Red Onion, Thyme, Lemon and Pasta

Since my wife and I are still a little sick and our throats still hurt, I threw this together one evening knowing that it would taste good, be good for us and it would be soft on our throats going down.

I took 3 large chicken breasts and poached them in the water I was going to cook the pasta in. Took the chicken out and let them cool a little while I cut a red onion into large dice.

I then sautéed the onions in a tablespoon of oil until they became soft, then added a tablespoon of diced garlic and 6 to 8 sprigs of thyme to the pan.  Cooked that together for a few minutes and then added ½ cup of lemon juice and a ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan. Let that simmer for a minute or two.

onions with thyme

Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking and serve it over the pasta. It is quick, easy, delicious, and good for you too.

chicken, red onion on pasta

Enjoy ~

Orange Scallops

My wife and I spend the last two weeks of December with my family in Sarasota at my father’s place. We had a wonderful time with family. I always enjoy time with my father, sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephew. Unfortunately, my wife and I ended very sick after our trip. To infuse our bodies with some much-needed vitamin C, I came up with this easy dinner.

First cut the skins off of 4 oranges like you see here then here comes the tricky part.

peeled oranges

Carefully supreme the oranges and place them in a bowl. To supreme is to cut the orange segments from the membrane. I recommend you do this over another bowl to catch all the juice that will be running down your hand, you will need the juice for the sauce.

supremed oranges

In a large sauté pan set over medium high heat put 2 tablespoons of butter in and cook the salt and pepper seasoned scallops for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until almost done. Take them out of the pan and set aside for few moments. Deglaze the pan with about a 1/3 of a cup of extra dry vermouth and reduce a little. Add the juice from the oranges, the segments, and the juice that has collected on the scallop plate to the pan. Add another 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and remove from the heat. Carefully swirl the pan to not break the segments until all the butter has melted and thickened the sauce. Then toss in the scallops in at the last moment just to heat through.

scallops

oranges

This evening I served the scallops over some brown rice and some steamed broccoli. It was an easy meal to eat with our sore throats and a healthy meal to make us healthy again!  Enjoy!

orange scallop plate

Prosciutto Pinwheels

Some of my friends and I did a little get together because we are all very busy with work and family. My contribution was to make the appetizers for the 40 or so people who would be there. So let’s get to it!

I actually cheated a little and bought some puff pastry sheets from the grocery store, let them come to room temperature, floured the kitchen counter and rolled it out to form a large rectangle.

rolled puff pastry

Next step was to mix some homemade pesto into some ricotta cheese and spread it on the pastry dough thinly and top it off with some Parmesan cheese.

pesto starting

spreading pesto

pesto spread

Now top the mixture lightly with some roasted red peppers and top with the finest prosciutto sliced very thinly.

roasted red peppers on pesto

proscuitto

Roll tightly, making sure you seal the end with a few drops of water and pinch the open ends of the “log” like in the picture.

rolled pinwheel pastry log

Place into the freezer for about 20 minutes to let the dough firm up. Once cold it can be sliced into pinwheels, usually I would get 12 to 14 slices out of each log.

cutting pinwheels

Place the wheels on a lightly oiled parchment paper and lightly brush the tops with some olive oil and bake at 425 F for about 17 – 20 minutes. Pull the parchment paper off the baking sheet and let them cool a little before transferring to your serving dish.

cut pinwheels

Enjoy them warm. Really good especially served with some homemade apple pie moonshine, scored some big points with my friends!

proscuitto pinwheel

Blackened Corvina with Pineapple Relish

My dad came down to Florida to visit for a few days and I know he likes fish so I whipped this one up for him after getting him from the airport while he enjoyed the warm weather and the sunset.

Lightly oil a sheet pan and heavily season both sides of the fish with blackening seasoning.

blackened fish

Peel a nice ripe pineapple and cut into small pieces, toss into a mixing bowl add 1 of each finely diced red & green peppers and ½ of a red onion, 1 jalapeño finely diced, ½ cup of good quality olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, a bunch or so of cilantro (some people love it and others hate it, it is up to you) and some salt and pepper. Mix well and set in the fridge of about an hour.

pineapple relish

I had some zucchini in the fridge so I cut it up, rubbed it with some olive oil and dusted them with some seasoned salt. Headed out to the grill and fired it up on high.

seasoned salt zucchini

Put the fish on a pan onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for about 10 minutes then flip over while you cook the zucchini on the other side of the grill maybe for another 10 minutes. You will know the fish is cooked when it flakes apart.

Take the pineapple relish out of the fridge before you head out to the grill so it comes to room temperature.

Today for dinner as you can see I served the blackened fish over some sweet potato mash with the pineapple relish and the grilled vegetables.

plated fish with pineapple relish

Enjoy

Coleslaw

Sometimes homemade is better than store-bought so this is how I make coleslaw.

You will need 1.5 pound head of red and green cabbage.

red/green cabbage

In a big bowl add 1.5 cups of mayonnaise. Mix with ¼ cup of milk, 3 tbsp of sugar, salt, pepper and a dash of celery seeds to taste.

coleslaw sauce

Cut the cabbage in half and take out the core. Cut into wedges as you can see in the background of the picture above, from the wedges cut them into small strips or run them through a food processor.

Add all the cabbage to the big bowl, mix thoroughly and let rest in the fridge for a ½ hour, then mix again to make sure everything is combined together. Make sure to taste it at this time and adjust the salt & pepper or sugar. Cover and store in the fridge.

Remember as it sits, the moisture will leach out of the cabbage causing the coleslaw to be wetter at the bottom of the bowl. Just stir everything together before serving.

In our case, we had some sliced carrots I just threw in at the last-minute.

You can also make it yours by adding raisins, cranberries, apples, pineapples, or even blue cheese.

coleslaw

Enjoy

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

For a nice weekend brunch or even a light weeknight dinner a quiche always works. You can change the fillings and spices to have something different every time. My wife makes the dough as she enjoys baking.

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter cold – cut into small chunks
  • 4 tbsp shortening cold – broken up into small chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix the flour, salt and pepper together. Add in, alternating, the butter and shortening into the flour. Using a dough blender or a fork, combine until the dough is coarse pebbles. Add in 4 tbsp of milk and bring the dough together in a ball, if it is still dry, add more cold milk. Take the dough and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.

Roll out the dough and place in a nine in pie plate.

peppered pie doughFor the filling:

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

In a large saucepan cook the bacon until crispy, place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Do not discard the bacon grease left in the pan. Chop the bacon into chunks.

In the saucepan add in the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Remove from pan.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk. Stir in salt, pepper, onions and garlic.

eggs, onions, galic, milk

Place the egg mixture in the rolled out dough in the pie plate. Place the chopped bacon, cheese and spinach carefully in the egg mixture.

Cook at 375 F for about 35-45 minutes until eggs are set.

quiche in oven

Enjoy!

cooked quiche

plated quiche

Skirt Steak and Onions

As you can tell, we love steak. On this night we had skirt steak with marinated onions

To start marinate some skirt steak in your favorite seasonings, here I had some frozen left over chimichurri sauce that I found in the back of the freezer, set that aside.

steak in package

marinated steak

Cut about 3 onions into small strips put in a pan over medium low heat with 2 tbsp of butter and oil sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft about an hour until nice and caramelized.

sliced onions

cooking onions

Add 1 jalapeño that has been cut in half and the seeds taken out sliced thin and the juice of 2 limes to the onion mixture, check for salt and pepper, set aside.

chopped jalapenos

Make however much yellow rice to go along with dinner. Remember its 2 cups of water to every cup of rice.  Add some butter, Adobo seasoning and pepper to the pot, bring to a boil then cover and reduce temperature to a simmer. Cook until the rice is done to your liking.

yellow rice

Fire up the grill to the hottest setting you have, take the meat out of your marinade, drop it on the hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes a side. You’re looking for rare to medium rare on the steaks (125 F) at most. Take meat off the grill and let rest for about 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, reheat the spicy caramelized onions, sauté some vegetables, check the rice and plate it up!

grilled steaks 1

grilled steaks 2

Lastly make sure after the meat rests to cut it across the grain or perpendicular to the striations in the meat. Otherwise you will end up with very chewy steak.

how to cut steak

Enjoy with fresh sauteed vegetables, and the onions on the steak!

finished plate no onions

finished plate with onions