Scallops with Caper Sauce over Veggies

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I may not have posted in a month, but I am getting this in just in the knick of time to enter this month’s Food ‘n Flix hosted by Caroline Makes. This month Caroline hosted the movie Burnt. This had been on my to-watch list, but I hadn’t seen it yet, so this was a great opportunity to watch the movie and let it inspire me.

This movie is about Adam, a chef who lost everything he had because of his addictions. But after cleaning himself up, he decided he wanted to earn his way back in the fine dining scene in London.

Obviously, this is a foodie movie. There was so much delicious food in it. But there were a few things that jumped out at me and made it onto my idea list:

  • oysters
  • shrimp
  • summer vegetables on a bed of ricotta
  • Burger King
  • tarragon sauce
  • halibut
  • scallops
  • omelet

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I decided to make something I haven’t ever made before and went with the scallops. While not restaurant quality like the food in Burnt, my dinner was extremely satisfying. The combination of the capers, fat, and lemon was very tasty. Now imagine how delicious this would have been had Adam made it for me.

My inspiration from the scallops came from one of the many dishes you see being prepared in the kitchen. There were a ton of choices!

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Scallops with Caper Sauce over Veggies

Ingredients
– 1 zucchini, julliened
– 2 carrots, julliened
– 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
– 3 tbsp unsalted butter
– 12 scallops
– 2 tbsp capers, drained
– 1 shallot, minced
– 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
– 1 lemon
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once hot add the zucchini and carrot. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Pat your scallops dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat your skillet back up. Add the 2 tbsp remaining of olive oil. Once hot cook the scallops 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove the scallops and set aside, keeping warming.
  4. Add the butter to the pan. Once the butter begins to boil and turn brown, add the shallot and capers. Cook for 1 minute. Take off heat. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the sauce.
  5. Place vegetables in a bowl. Top with scallops. Spoon butter sauce over the dish. Sprinkle with cilantro.
  • serves 2

Lentil Cauliflower Curry

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This month’s movie for Food ‘n Flix couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The Lunchbox is a movie set in Mumbai, India. A lunchbox delivery service starts delivering the wrong lunchbox to the wrong man. They begin sharing notes through the lunch boxes.

I have given up meat for Lent. I’m including fish and other seafoods in Lent – the reason being to make more vegetable heavy dishes. I use Lent as my annual exercise in self-control. Given I’ve been dreaming about buckets of bacon and eating meat, clearly this is a good exercise for me.

Because so much of Indian food is vegetarian, this movie really came at a good month for me.

Ila learns that her husband has no idea that he isn’t getting the food she was making for him when he comments on her cauliflower – needless to say, she did not make him cauliflower.

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Though Ila may not have made her husband cauliflower, I figured I would make my boyfriend cauliflower.

I love curries in general. For such a simple meal to make, curries are packed with flavor.

This month Culinary Adventures with Cam is hosting the film. There’s just a little bit of time left if you decide to join us. If you don’t make it this month, next month we’re watching A Walk In The Clouds!

Lentil Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 chunk ginger root, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
4 cups water
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a pot heat over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Once the onion is translucent, add the ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and crush red chili pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  3. If your pan is getting dry, add some oil. Add the carrots and sweet potato to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
  5. Then add the cauliflower florets. Cover and cook for 20 more minutes over low heat.
  • serves 2

Food n' Flix: Eat Pray Love ROUNDUP

Spaghetti Bolognese

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

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For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Tempura Sushi Salad

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This month the movie at Food ‘n Flix was very different than the one I hosted last month. Instead of a French dystopian movie, this month’s movie is a documentary about a Japanese sushi chef. Camilla is our host this month, having picked this documentary with its beautiful shots of sushi.

If anyone knows sushi, it’s Jiro. But frankly, this movie didn’t inspire me to make sushi – it terrified me. I’ve never done it before, so I knew any attempt from me would be laughable. I can just see it. It’s embarrassing even in my head. Maybe one day I’ll try sushi, but then not document my failure, because who wants everyone to see that? Being that Jiro is a huge perfectionist, I think he would have appreciated my refrain from trying to participate in his art.

In the film, Yamamoto tells us that there are five attributes of a great chef:

1. Take your work seriously
2. Aspire to improve
3. Maintain cleanliness
4. Be a better leader than a collaborator
5. Be passionate about your work

I am not a cook. I am an amateur that cooks for myself and my boyfriend. I enjoy food, but I am no cook. But I find these attributes so important to employ in all fields of work, to be a good lawyer I’ll need many of those traits as well. The only that might not quite apply is 4, because I think leaders also need to collaborate, but those five attributes can be applied to more than just cooks.

Be passionate.

Anyway, because I did not feel inspired to make sushi, I took it and ran with it a bit. I decided I’d use all the things I love in sushi and make a salad. Though I actually really love raw tuna in my sushi (along with other raw fish,) I’m not sure of where I could get fish fresh enough to eat raw and I didn’t want to chance severe sickness. I instead made tempura with shrimp and green beans. Considering my favorite sushi roll is the spider roll (with fried soft shell crab, yumm!) making tempura for my sushi salad seemed appropriate.

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Join us at Food ‘n Flix, get inspired, be passionate.

Tempura Sushi Salad

Ingredients
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt, divided
8 shrimp, peeled and deveined
a handful of green beans with the ends snapped off
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cooked rice
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 sheet nori, cut into strips
1 avocado, diced

Directions

1. Marinate the shrimp in the white wine and 1/4 tsp of salt for 20 minutes.

2. Mix together flour, ice water, cornstarch, egg yolk, sugar, 1 tsp of the shortening, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Once well mixed, coat the shrimp and the green beans with the batter.

3. Heat the shortening in a cast iron skillet or a wok. Once hot add the shrimp and the green beans, in batches, a few at a time. Cook the shrimp about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Flip and cook for about 3 more minutes on the other side. Continue until all the shrimp and green beans are fried. Let drain on a paper towel.

4. Put your salad together in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl. Surround with the cucumber and carrot pieces. Top with half of the tempura per bowl. Top with avocado and nori.

(serve with soy sauce if you want some!)

* serves 2
* besides Food ‘n Flix, this dish is shared with #FoodieFriday & Foodie Friday

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

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This month’s Pasta Please theme was chilies and was hosted by Shaheen.

I’m looking at the picture of this dish, and I’m realizing there is way too many breadcrumbs on the dish. Once scooped out of the dish, they obviously got lost in the noodles – but oh my goodness – this picture looks like a breadcrumb dish.

Anyway, after poking around different corners of the internet and looking for something that would work for this challenge, I found a delicious looking mac and cheese. I didn’t venture out as much as I could have with this challenge. I should have bought a red chili to substitute the crushed red chili flakes – but alas, I did not. I like spicy food. I just really hate cutting chilies. Without a doubt, for as careful as I try to be, I touch my eyes or rub my nose or get the chili juices somewhere that just doesn’t feel great – and oh my goodness, it’s hard to get rid of it once you do it. Even when I wear gloves, I somehow manage to just create so much pain for myself. I love the taste, I just hate the process.

Because of this, I rely on red chili flakes to add the heat from a fresh chili (though.. obviously not the same, I know.)

Anyway, this was a yummy mac and cheese. It created a lot of dirty dishes, but was delicious!

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese
(source)

Ingredients
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into pieces
1 yellow squash, diced
1 orange bellow pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups elbow pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried chili flakes
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Set a medium pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles per package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil covering it. Toss the broccoli, squash, bell pepper, and carrots on a baking sheet. Coat with half the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar, allowing to melt. Add the red chili flakes and cayenne. Add the macaroni and vegetables.

4. Place the mixture in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler for 4 minutes.

* serves 6
* Besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti with Ragu

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After skimming through December 2010’s Food Network Magazine for the one millionth time, I decided to make ragu. What a quick and easy recipe. I especially like that ragu uses vegetables to add bulk without relying entirely on meat. The celery and carrots in this sauce added some flavor of their own, but for the most part they supplemented the meat.

Served with garlic bread, this made a great dinner.

Spaghetti with Ragu
(from Food Network Magazine December 2010 edition)

Ingredients
1/4 onion
1 stalk celery, cut into pieces
1 carrot, cut into pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground turkey
15-oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup skim milk
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Place the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and rosemary into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring until softened and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, milk, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until slightly thickened.

3. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles to package directions. Drain.

4. Once the sauce and noodles are cooked, toss the noodles and sauce together until well combined.

* serves 2
* Shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party & Tempt My Tummy

Yakisoba

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This month Chris asked us bloggers to join him on a trip to Japan. I sometimes wish Chris’s travels with us were real. My brother’s been to Japan three times. I’m sure if he ate my dinner he would have turned his nose up and claimed it not to be Japanese enough. I’m not claiming it’s super authentic either. I had to make several substitutions that probably minimized it’s Japanese value because I couldn’t justify buying sake (rice wine) or mirin (a sweeter rice wine) for cooking this dish. I had some sake and had to toss it because it was way too old. I just can’t justify buying ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I used white wine instead.

I probably should have just taken a picture of the Japanese curry and the tonksatsu that we had for lunch at the Japanese restaurant. 😉

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Yakisoba
(the more authentic recipe)

Ingredients
6 oz dried chow mein noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz pork chop, cut into small chunks
2 oz cabbage, shredded
2 oz carrot, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sesame oil

Directions

1. Cook the noodles per package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok and add the oil. Add the garlic and stir, cooking until brown. Add the pork and stir a few times.  Next add the cabbage, carrots, and onions. Stir a few more times. Add the noodles and the remaining ingredients. Stir fry until the vegetables are cooked and the noodles are warmed through.

* serves 2
* Besides Bloggers Around The World, I’m sharing this dish with Foodie Friends Friday, Foodie FridayWeekend Potluck, & Foodie Friday

Fish Pie

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This month over at BakeBakeBake the challenge is British. Frankly, my experience with British food is very small. All I can think of is fish and chips. But a baked British dish? Google was required to find something to meet the challenge! Fish pie is a pie made with white fish. It is a traditional British dish. Upon googling I found Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie recipe, using a combination of fish, shrimp, carrots, celery, lemon, tomato, spinach, and mashed potatoes.

I was skeptical, but clearly I had no reason to be. This dish was time consuming (until it went into the oven) but came out perfectly with a beautiful crispy potato topping.

Fish Pie

Ingredients
2 lbs white potatoes, cut into pieces
1 carrot, shredded
2 sticks celery, shredded
5 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lemon
2 1/4 lbs tilapia, cut into pieces
4 oz shrimp, cleaned and peeled
olive oil
1 handful baby spinach
2 tomatoes, quartered

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 12 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, mash together with several glugs of olive oil.

2. Place the grated carrot, celery, and cheese together in a baking dish. Zest the lemon into the baking dish. Cut the tilapia into bite size pieces. Mix the tilapia, shrimp, spinach, and tomatoes in with the grated vegetables.

3. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the dish. Bake for 40 minutes.

* serves 6
* shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party, Tasty Tuesdays,  Tempt My Tummy, & Recipe Box 

Jamaican Curry

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This month I’m participating in Cooking Around The World. This month the blog is traveling to the Caribbean and we were challenged to make a dish from any of the Caribbean islands.

I decided to go with Jamaica. I wish I could be in Jamaica right now for real. With this Sacramento-cold (which I know isn’t even that bad compared to a lot of the United States,) I could use a day of sunshine. I’ve been waking up and having to scrape ice from my car windows every morning. I’d rather have to worry about putting on sunscreen than standing outside in the cold shivering scraping my car windows.

Anyway, the recipe I found wasn’t exactly authentic. It’s Martha Stewart. It was delicious though. And it made me dream of the beach.

Jamaican Curry

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup water, divided
salt, to taste
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 can coconut milk
1 10-oz package frozen peas, thawed
Cooked rice, for serving

Directions

1. In a heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, brown chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, curry powder, thyme, and 1/2 cup of water. Season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is soft.

3. Add carrots, coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peas.

4. Serve the curry over rice.

* serves 4

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Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Stew

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This will probably be the last slow cooked recipe you see for a month. I’m done with school! This meal was made for last night because I had an evening final. I have one more evening final on the 4th, but I decided to make an easy salad that night (maybe I’ll start sharing my meal plans again, because why not?) Yeah, I think I will.. They will be listed at the top of the blog with the other links once I get it up.

Anyway, because I’ll be home in the evenings for the next month I’ll have time to cook! Wahoo! But next semester is going to be even crazier than this one; I have late classes three days a week. But then.. Then I’ll be done. If I pass.

This was a really easy recipe. It didn’t take any culinary skill besides the skill of dumping. But it tasted good and it lasted more than one meal. Tonight I made biscuits with fresh oregano from my AeroGarden to go with it and it was perfect and full of carbs.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Stew
(source)

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
5 red potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, sliced
4 (10-oz) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 tbsp chicken bouillon
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 (16-oz) bag frozen mixed vegetables

Directions

1. Combine the chicken, potatoes, carrot, soup, bouillon, garlic, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 7 hours.

2. Add the frozen mixed vegetables. Reduce slow cooker to low and cook for 1 more hour.

* makes about 8 servings
* Shared with Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, & Weekend Potluck