Tuesday, July 30, 2013

pan seared scallops with raisin caper sauce and cauliflower puree

My summer of seafood continues. This past dinner at Tate's Kitchen featured these buttery, pan seared scallops served on a bed of roasted cauliflower puree with a golden raisin and caper sauce.

Yikes that is quite the mouthful when I say all of it out loud. 
Anyway, I got this idea from a very late night episode of Iron Chef - very late. One of the chefs made a cauliflower puree and this sauce and served both over some sort of fish. I knew I wanted to make scallops for the next dinner so I figured this would be a fun experiment! Yes, a rather pricey experiment, but why not right? Let's try something new!
Totally worth it!
I hope you can give it a go.

roasted cauliflower puree
raisin caper sauce
fresh parsley for garnish

roasted cauliflower puree
Here's the link since I've posted this before - but I'll do a quick review below.

1 head of cauliflower - washed and broken apart
1 red onion - very large chop
5 cloves of garlic - sliced
fresh thyme
pecorino cheese - grated - you will need about 1/2 a cup
(you could also use Parmesan - but I actually prefer Pecorino)
1 cup milk or heavy cream
olive oil

oven to 425

chop everything and spread out on a baking sheet.
drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
toss in 4 or 5 thyme sprigs.
into the oven for about 20 minutes.
remove - carefully toss all this and add the cheese.
back into the oven about 15 minutes - or just until the vegetables are tender.
let cool.
when ready - add all the cauliflower, a couple chunks of onion and 2 large garlic slices to the food processor.
pulse 5 or 6 times.
add 1/2 cup of the milk or cream.
pulse a few more times and see if you like the consistency.
add more cream as needed.
add salt and pepper as needed.

golden raisin and caper sauce - 
1/4 cup golden raisins (do not use regular raisins - only golden raisins)
1/4 cup capers - rinsed
2 tablespoons water

all of this goes into a small saucepan.
bring to a gentle simmer.
once it is simmering let it cook just until the raisins are plump.
let cool.
dump all of it into the food processor.
pulse until you are happy with the consistency.
add a few turns of salt and several turns of pepper.
set aside.

scallops - 
couple things about this...
- I don't think it should be done in a non-stick pan - you just do not get the same crispy caramelization thing happening as you do when using a regular ol stainless steel pan 
(in my personal opinion) (and what a horrible sentence)
- Everything else needs to be done and pretty much ready to serve before you do scallops. They are definitely a cook and serve immediately type item.
- Do not add too much butter and oil to the pan - again, you will not get the crispy browned sides. They are still tasty but they are now poached instead of seared (another horrible sentence...sorry) I only add a pat of butter then a tablespoon or so of oil and just add more butter and oil as needed.

okay.....the scallops...
gently pat them dry.
salt and pepper both sides.
sprinkle a scant amount of sugar on them as well - sugar helps with the whole 'crispy caramel outside edge' thing

in a saucepan heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil until bubbly and browned.
sugared side first - gently lay the scallops in the pan - no one should be touching.
if you purchased the large scallops they will be ready to flip in two or three minutes - as soon as you see a lovely caramel color forming around the edges.
flip and cook the second side - adding a little more butter if needed.

little cauliflower puree on the plate.
the scallops next.
drizzle with the raisin caper sauce.
garnish with some fresh parsley and a lemon wedge if desired.
serve immediately.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

dinner @Tate's / july 2013

Another dinner on the books! I guess this is becoming somewhat of a habit? This summer I wanted to do the "Summer of Seafood" which is trickier than it sounds since no one in this house will eat it! Husband is allergic and daughter refuses to eat anyone that might have been friends with Nemo (yes...the animated clown fish - Dory's buddy -you know who that is right?) I decided to muddle forward anyway and carry out my plan. They can have hotdogs.

The July dinner started with two appetizers,
Olive oil bruschetta with a lemon, honey ricotta spread, seasoned with herbs de Provence - topped with macerated plums, tart little cherries and fresh mint,

Entree for the evening was buttery, pan fried scallops served on a roasted cauliflower puree, topped with a golden raisin and caper sauce,

Sides were straight from my morning visit to the Farmer's market (actually most of this menu was and usually is) - green beans and caramelized onions garnished with toasted almonds and parsley,

And oven roasted baby carrots finished with a little butter, brown sugar and thyme, not real pretty but definitely tasty, 

I also did some small accordion potatoes with bay leaves and thyme and which could have used a touch more salt - but were still pretty good,

Bittersweet chocolate filled beignets for dessert (everyone's favorite)

And a little scoop of homemade cinnamon, vanilla ice cream,

Hopefully no one left our house hungry?
(silly....i know)

Thank you again to all the attendees!
Hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

bittersweet chocolate cremeux

I'm on a roll today with the computer so I figure I'll just keep going until my eyeballs fall out of my head. Edit edit edit...upload 9 bajillion photos to Flikr and Facebook...edit some more...label...tag...organize...someone pour me a beer stat!

This was one of the desserts served at the June TK dinner - in addition to Florentines and Lemon curd filled thumbprint cookies - I know...I'm nuts for making all those treats. But this little dish just HAD to make an appearance because it is delicious! I served it with a raspberry coulis, fresh berries, cream and chocolate shavings. All gone.
From the July issue of Food and Wine magazine. 
If you love chocolate this is the dessert for you.


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
9 ounces dark (or bittersweet) chocolate
sweetened whipped cream
chocolate shavings
fresh berries for garnish (optional)


chop the chocolate - place into a good sized heatproof bowl - set aside.

medium saucepan - add the heavy cream and whole milk - bring to a simmer over medium heat.
turn off heat.
in a bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar and salt until creamy.
add very little of the hot cream to the egg mixture whisking continuously.
gradually add the hot mixture to the egg mixture until it is all incorporated.
everything back into the saucepan and back onto the stove - medium low heat.
stir constantly! until custard is thickened and coats the back of a spoon - 
5 to 6 minutes.
pour the custard over the chopped chocolate.
let stand until chocolate is melted - just a couple of minutes.
whisk the cremeux vigorously until smooth.
pour into a shallow glass or ceramic dish.
press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until set - overnight is best.

when ready - spoon into bowls - add a dollop of cream - add chocolate shavings - berries - serve.

avocado lime soup with fresh crab

What can I tell you about this? I served this soup as one of the appetizers at my last TK dinner and it received quite the rave reviews. I could probably have served this as a meal in itself with just some good bread - but there was a lot of food still to come out so appetizer it was. It comes together pretty quickly and in this Sacramento heat is quite refreshing. I think I originally found this in an old issue of Food and Wine. I of course made a couple changes based on flavor and the need to prep ahead of time. I also HIGHLY recommend you only use fresh crab - we did do a tasting with imitation crab and that was a definite "no go". If you love avocado you will truly enjoy this dish.


4 avocados - pitted, peeled, cut into chunks
2 or 3  cups vegetable stock or broth
1 cup cold milk
3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
(I like lots of lime juice - I may have used almost 1/2 cup)
about 1/4 pound crabmeat
4 radishes - sliced thin
cilantro - rough chop
cayenne pepper


puree the avocados in a food processor with half the lime juice, the milk and 2 cups of vegetable stock until smooth.
add a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.
give it a couple more pulses and taste.
here i added another couple tablespoons of lime juice and a couple more pinches of cayenne pepper.
at this point it's pretty thick - keep adding vegetable stock until you reach a consistency you like.
taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

when ready - ladle into bowls, garnish with a sprinkling of fresh pepper, the sliced radishes, the crabmeat and the cilantro.

serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

kale and zucchini bread pudding

True confession time. I don't really like bread pudding. I usually find these dishes to be too mushy, too dry, too lacking in flavor, too just plain yuck (did I already mention mushy?) So when I see a recipe in a magazine that uses broccoli and Pancetta I think maybe it is time to give this another go - Pancetta? Yes please! And the family loves broccoli and croutons so how bad could this be? I didn't love it - but liked it well enough to give it one more try with a few alterations. The next time around I used kale - since it is overflowing at the farmer's market right now. I used a grated zucchini to help with the moisture factor - you're not really going to taste the zucchini, but it did make a big difference in the texture of this dish. I used the fresh garlic as well as garlic powder for a little smokiness. Added some red pepper flakes for a little heat. And just a little more Pancetta in the egg mixture because...why not...
Here's the final dish,

and here's how I went about this...

3 garlic cloves - minced
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
7 cups good white bread - cut into small pieces
1/2 cup parmesan cheese - plus more for topping
1 medium zucchini - grated
1 bunch kale - washed, dried, stems removed (or most of them anyway)
1 sweet white onion
8 to 10 thin slices of Pancetta - set 6 aside for topping
1 or 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons garlic powder.
a tablespoon or so of olive oil


oven to 350

lay all those pieces of bread on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
remove and set aside.

prep the kale.
grate the zucchini.
chop the onion.
chop the garlic.
chop up all but 6 pieces of the Pancetta.

heat the oil - then add the garlic and pepper flakes.
cook until fragrant then add the chopped onion.
cook 8 to10 minutes until translucent.
add the kale.
add the garlic powder.
stir well.
cook just until softened.
add the Pancetta - mix all this up.
add salt and pepper and taste - add more if needed.
remove from heat and set aside.

in a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and a few turns of pepper.
add the parmesan cheese and mix well.
add the bread and stir to coat all the pieces.
add the grated zucchini.
add the kale and onion mixture.
mix all this then pour into a casserole dish.

lay the 6 reserved slices of pancetta on top of the pudding.
sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top.
grate some fresh pepper all over this.

into the oven 40 to 45 minutes.

Now if you are as neurotic as I can be (sometimes)
You will happen to have a cookie cutter that is the exact size of the Pancetta slice and will use that cookie cutter (and a spatula) to get each piece out of the casserole - and it will look like this when you serve it,

I know...I have got to learn to let things go...


Monday, July 22, 2013

dinner @Tate's / june 2013

Cook, cook, cook...eat, eat, eat...
and it's a bajillion degrees in this house with no real air conditioning!
Is it worth it?
Of course it is.
LOVE hearing everyone at the table chatting and laughing and then the moments of silence when someone takes a bite and encourages all others to do so.

Here was the June dinner...

We started with a mushroom bruschetta,

And an avocado, lime soup with fresh crab, red radishes and cilantro,

Next up was a spicy grilled shrimp served with a traditional risotto and some kale chips,

Also a Tilapia with paper thin slices of potato baked until crispy and delicious,

Another photo of the Kale chips which everyone MUST try soon,

I also tested this recipe for a kale and zucchini bread pudding which I have made 3 times since this dinner - I will get that recipe up very soon,

Finally it's time for dessert,
Some lemon curd filled thumbprint cookies,

Some Florentine cookies,
And a bittersweet chocolate Cremeux served with raspberry coulis, fresh berries and a little touch of fresh cream,


Until next time...

Monday, July 8, 2013

if "Bake It With Booze" had a party...

If the ladies who write Bake It With Booze ever invite you over for a little soiree/pot-luck you say YES, where and what time. 
There may then follow a small moment of panic when you realize this little pot-luck includes several other food bloggers ...amazing...fantastically talented food bloggers. Then you have a medium sized moment of panic about what you should bring. Since this was being hosted by BIWB I figured I could skip making a dessert...
probably good thinking on my part...safe...whew...
This was such a fun evening. So many delicious edibles. Ending with some crazy something, something, whiskey, something that was beyond delicious and sinful. I am sharing photos and links and introducing you to some amazing women and their blogs (if you haven't already met).

Enjoy...and get cooking!

We entered her yard and were welcomed with the following...

"...hello lover..." was pretty much all I could think for a few seconds.
And are those the best napkins?

After visiting for a bit and sharing cocktail ideas - then drinking said cocktail ideas - we got down to the business of eating...ALL of what you see in the following photos - and a few other items I did not get photos of (sorry).

...eat, eat, eat....repeat...so good...

The top right corner of the above plate has a Farro salad that is delicious. 
Ally from A Girl and her Fork brought this little dish.

...make this...

Below to the left are these little phyllo cups filled with a spicy shrimp, avocado and mango ceviche - I will eventually get that recipe up on this site.
(i know i know....tsk tsk...)
I brought something else as well but didn't even get a photo of that dish 
(i know i know...)

On the toast was a mango chutney made by Ellen

Ellen also provided these shrimp skewers (holy hell good)

This occasion also introduced me to the lovely woman who writes 
the food blog Guava Rose.
She brought with her the following,

Now I don't even like SPAM - but here's the link to this recipe because you all need to try these (if you haven't already)

She also brought these super cute little Hawaiian roll things that I could eat every day until I die.

...definitely make these asap...

Bake it With Booze then pulled out a few little treats.
First we had these filled strawberries from Jacqueline,

Then Ellen pulled out these things,
...no words...

Here's the link, you're going to want it.

Whiskey ginger mini cheesecakes by Bake it With Booze

There were also sausages and cheeses and various meats and Karla made this delicious cheddar topped apple pie and by the time we were done I pretty much rolled myself home and to bed.

I guess the moral of this little tale is, again, if BIWB invites you to dinner - you go.

THANK YOU SO much to this group of ladies for such a fun evening.
Looking forward to getting together again soon.