Today marks the half way point of the year. I started this blog just before the new year and have sort of impressed myself that I have achieved my goal of a post a day since I began. Sort of the ultimate “new years resolution” for me I suppose. I am not one for resolutions, traditions, or really celebrating over commercialized milestones of any type but it’s been fun thus far creating recipes daily. Some days it is a struggle; other days I have a couple of recipes ahead. No matter how rough my day had been or how tired I am there is something therapeutic about creating my post. Don’t get me wrong; some days I dread this time of day but once I have finished the sense of accomplishment takes over and I am glad I got it posted. I don’t think any of this would have come about if Charles hadn’t gotten me a camera. I’m not sure why he chose a camera or how he knew it would be perfect. To be honest I wondered what I would do with it for a moment …. but then we made some oyster stew, then I decided to start a blog, then I roasted some beautiful squash and had to take a picture, and then …. well you know the rest…..
1/2 cup diced onion
1 medium zucchini ~ diced
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 clove garlic ~ smashed
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 – 2 Tbs sour cream if desired
In medium skillet sauté onion and zucchini in butter for about 5 minutes. Add marjoram, nutmeg, cayenne, smashed garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Simmer for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
In blender combine zucchini mixture and remaining chicken stock. Be very careful when working with hot items in a blender (Adding the remaining chicken stock will help cool the veggies). Puree together to blend. Pour into sauce pan and add cream. Check flavors and add salt and pepper as desired; stir in sour cream. Serve hot or cold.
Oh how I wish we had great seafood here in the midwest available on any whim. However I do have to rely on my local grocery for frozen fair when the urge hits me on the spur of the moment for something from the sea. They sell some decent frozen scallops, not the whopping fresh ones you see in other recipes but they fit the bill quite nicely. I think these were about an ounce a piece on average. I picked up a 12 o.z. package and let them thaw in the fridge overnight …. quite tasty. Got these seared pretty well this time and I love the lemon zest.
Lemon Pepper Sea Scallops
12 o.z. scallops
1 Tbs olive oil ~ I actually used grape seed oil
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 Tbs butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic ~ minced
Heat oil over high heat ~ I did use grape seed oil which has very little flavor and tolerates a bit higher temperatures so be careful not to over heat oil, but you do want it as hot as possible. Drain scallops well; I allowed mine to set in strainer for several minutes. Season scallops on one side with salt, pepper and about 1/3 of the lemon zest on one side.
Place scallops seasoned side down in hot skillet. Sear for about 2 minutes; meanwhile season other side of the scallops as before. Flip over and sear for 2 minutes. Add butter, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining zest once each side has been seared. Heat through about 1 minute to deglaze the pan. Serve with rice if desired.
Don’t get frustrated if they don’t brown as much as desired the first try. Most important is to not over cook the scallops; they can get a bit rubbery if you do. I’ve cooked many scallops and this is actually one of my best sears so practice makes perfect. Just try to cook them in as hot a skillet as possible and make sure they are as dry as possible too.
I mention the guacamole yesterday; I don’t always make it the same way but I really enjoyed this chunky version. The flavors all worked well together. I’ve seen many different techniques as far as the preparation. One thing all have in common is use of lime juice to prevent the avocado from browning and of course covering well if storing before serving. I opted today to prep everything but the avocado in advance and add the avocado just before serving. This worked out really well and made it easy to throw together when the time was right.
1/2 jalapeno finely diced
2 green onions thinly sliced
1 clove garlic ~ minced ~ I used my zester for this but a garlic press works well too
juice of one lime
2 Tbs diced tomato
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 avocado ~ chopped or mashed as desired
Combine all ingredient except for the avocado. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve and add the avocado just before serving.
Alternately if you wish to add the avocado early I would recommend waiting to add the tomato until time to serve or omitting completely as it can make the guacamole discolor and get a bit watery if it sets too long.
I had a bit more fresh mozzarella to use so I decided to make a bruschetta tonight. I love toasted italian bread anyway so adding some fresh ingredients was a no brainer. You can use any type of mozzarella although the softness of the fresh mozzarella pearls was tasty.
Bruschetta ~ fresh tomato basil and garlic
2 Tbs fresh basil ~ thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomato
2 clove garlic ~ finely minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bread ~ crusty italian baguette works perfectly
Prepare basil ~ I like the technique I posted in my fresh basil post seen here. Combine basil, tomato, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Set aside and slice bread as desired. Lightly toast bread on one side just enough to dry surface. Flip over and toast other side. Flip back over and top with bruschetta mixture and mozzarella cheese.
Toast 2 – 3 minutes longer about 4 – 5 inches from broiler or until cheese is melted and edges of bread have browned.
I was using up the last of a package of ground beef and decided a little meatloaf sounded good. I just had about 12 o.z. of beef left so adjust this to your liking if you want to make more, but the jalapeno was a great touch and we really enjoyed our lunch with a augratin potato too.
12 o.z. ground chuck
1 clove garlic – minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup diced fresh jalapeno
1/8 cup diced onion
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup coarse bread crumbs
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Form into a loaf and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. I like to top mine with ketchup or bbq sauce and bake a few minutes longer.
I actually sprinkled a little brown sugar on top of the ketchup for this one. It makes a great compromise at our house as I prefer the bbq and Charles prefers ketchup.