Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meat wrapped in meat.

Seriously, dieting is a ridiculously frustrating thing. There's nothing like the phrase "low-carb" to make me want cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am being pretty good though, mostly because I am facing two trips in two months, and I want to lose enough weight that it won't matter if I gain ten pounds eating my way through two of the biggest food-centric cities in the US.

In any case, the Atkins website has some pretty interesting stuff on it these days- they've asked some chefs to come up with great low-carb recipes, chefs such as Mike Isabella from Top Chef, Simpson Wong of Cafe Asean in New York, and Courtney Thorne-Smith from... hmm... Melrose Place.** But this one caught my eye and I have to say, 50% of it was fantastic! The other 50% was bitter and gross (apparently, radicchio gets even more bitter when you cook it) so we are just going to share these lovely sea scallops wrapped in one of my favorite things... prosciutto!

 How did I manage to make something as exciting as prosciutto
look this boring? I would have taken more photos, but I ate all
of the rest of it. Oops.

Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops with Tomato Coulis
from here

Ingredients

  • 1 plum tomato
  • 1 very small yellow onion
  • 3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 8 very large sea scallops (about 1 pound)
  • 8 pieces prosciutto, sliced thin
Cut tomato in half and the onion in quarters and cover with about a tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking dish and roast in a 400 degree oven until tomato skin is slightly browned. Set aside and cool, then blend (I used a hand blender) with the tablespoon of vinegar until mostly smooth. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and continue blending until it comes together (just a few seconds- try not to blend the olive oil for very long.) Set coulis aside.

Rinse scallops, pat dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each scallop. Heat heavy saute pan on medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Carefully place each wrapped scallop in pan (with one bare side of the scallop touching the pan, not the prosciutto) and cook for about 8 minutes total, turning only once!

Transfer scallops to plate and drizzle with the tomato coulis.



This was quite a lovely dish- the sweet, slightly briny scallops offset the salty prosciutto nicely, and the tomato coulis added a wonderful tangy counterpoint to the whole thing. I would serve this again, perhaps with some steamed green beans, spinach, or basically anything but that sauteed radicchio!
 
 
 
Later this week- panna cotta, Atkins-style!

** I know that she's been an Atkins spokesperson for a long time, but you have to admit she seems a bit out of place here...


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meat-week.

So, hi- I have been doing a serious low-carb thing this week. Since I really need to show you something better than the grilled chicken breast or the hamburger patty that I ate, there's no weekday post.  I have high hopes for some things I am making tomorrow night, so you will most likely hear from me on Saturday. Until then, here are some pretty peppers that may or may not end up roasted and tossed on a salad.



(Don't worry, this is not going to become just a blog of meat. I don't think I can last that long without cupcakes!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Christmas in July

Hi there. It's hot here, so I wanted something frozen last night... and I killed my ice cream maker a while back. (It's not good when smoke comes out of it, apparently!) So... I had this melon:



Which is a Santa Claus melon. I have not been able to verify exactly why it's called that- one source said it's because they last a long time ("'til Christmas!") and another said it is because they are at their peak in December. (I kind of doubt this a little as it's July now and they seem pretty much in season.) It looks like a rough watermelon on the outside, but when you cut into it you'll find a very sweet, honeydew-like melon.








I decided to go with a granita. Good for a number of reasons: yummy, doesn't require the oven to be on, doesn't require an ice cream maker. All you need is fruit, a blender, a fork, and a dish.And if you don't have a melon, you can do this with most any fruit.

Santa Claus Melon Granita
(adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)

Makes about 3 cups
1 medium-sized melon (2 pounds)
1/3 cup sugar (you can play with this amount a lot depending on what fruit you use)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt

Split melon in half, and scoop out the seeds. Slice and then cut the melon into chunks and purée in a blender or food processor with the sugar, lime juice, water, and salt until completely smooth.
To freeze granita, pour the mixture into the dish and place in the freezer. Begin checking it after 1 hour. Once it begins to freeze around the edges, stir with a fork, breaking up the frozen parts near the edges into smaller chunks and keeping it pretty evenly frozen.

Return the dish to the freezer, then check the mixture every 30 minutes afterward, stirring each time and breaking up any large chunks into small pieces with a fork, until you have fine crystals that look rather like shaved ice. If at any time, the granite freezes too hard, leave it out at room temperature for few minutes until it softens enough to be stirred again with fork, and rake it back into crystals.

Scoop some into a bowl, and enjoy!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Pea Shooter

I discovered yesterday that I am a big fan of pea shoots.



They are more delicate than other sprouty things (bean sprouts, I am looking at you) and have a sweeter, brighter taste than many of the microgreens I have tried. I was feeling like something fresh and healthy, so here's a little salad I threw together last night. It goes nicely with this sort of Asian-inspired dressing, but lends itself to any number of variations. It's super simple, and almost not really a recipe. The hardest part is cutting the mango and radish to the same sized little matchstick pieces. 

Cabbage and Radish Salad with Edamame, Mango, and Pea Shoots

1 1/2 cups green cabbage, chopped very small
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 cup edamame
4 or 5 medium sized radishes, julienned
half a mango, julienned
A handful of pea shoots, chopped
1 thinly sliced green onion

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Top with salad dressing. 

Asian-ish Dressing
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves of chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients (a mason jar works great for this) and shake well.

I started out getting all fancy with my presentation, but it was impossible to eat it like this with a normal-person sized fork.


So I gave up on the fancy part and dumped it in a bowl. It was still really good.



See you soon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Here we go 'round...




Well, that was a much, much longer break than I thought it would be. I am back, and by back, I mean actually back to posting regularly! I have a few things stockpiled and some exciting new ideas for things to try. I was just... uninspired and mojo-less for a long, long time. But the bounty of summer has arrived in Southern California, bringing irresistible fruits and veggies to all of the farmers markets! First up: mulberries!





Prior to hearing that a booth at the market had mulberries, the sum of my knowledge was from that childrens' song. So I knew that they grew on a bush, and that we are supposed to go 'round it. I did a little online research, and found that different types grow all over the world, from white mulberries in east Asia, to the Riviera mulberry here on the west coast, which is what I think I got at the market. They look rather like a long, skinny blackberry. They are very sweet, but the texture of a plain mulberry was a little "meh" to me, so I decided to bake them into something. I thought if blackberries and lemon were such a great combination, maybe the same would be true for mulberries. So, here is a lovely, fluffy, not-too-sweet muffin. Perfect for breakfast.

Mulberry-Lemon Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins in Baking From My Home to Yours
(makes 24 standard muffins, because I like doubling recipes)

1 1/3 cup sugar
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
about a cup of mulberries, washed, de-stemmed, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two muffin pans with cooking spray or with paper muffin cups. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the zest is very lemony. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, almond extract, lemon juice and melted butter until smooth. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry, and stir until just blended. Do not over mix. Add the mulberry pieces and fold in gently.

Divide the batter evenly in the muffin cups. Top with sanding sugar if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes clean. (Honestly, I usually end up using a piece of spaghetti. It works just as well.) Cool for 5 minutes before eating.



These were great- pretty, solid little muffins with a nice, delicate crumb. If you are not eating them all right away (why would you not do that?) they benefit from being slightly warm, I just put them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.



See you in a few days!