Sea Scallops and Asparagus


My son Patrick is a fan of FlavorNC and especially enjoys the interesting recipes.  He convinced me to try this recipe for lunch today,  and we both were very pleased with it.   I made only half the recipe using six instead of twelve scallops.  Scallops are very pricey.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Evan Hayes
as seen on episode “Currituck Asparagus”, season 4
Preparation – Medium, Serves 4
Ingredients:
·        12 Fresh Jumbo Sea Scallops
·        2 medium Sweet Onions (I used about 1/2 cup of frozen chopped onions.)
·        1 bunch Fresh Asparagus
·        1 c Spinach
·        1 tbs Olive Oil
·        ½ c White Wine
·        1 tbs Lemon Juice
·        1 tbs Honey
·        1 c Chicken Stock
·        4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
·        Salt & White Pepper to taste
Pre-heat Grill and cast iron. Chop one onion and thickly slice the other. Chop ½ bunch asparagus.
Asparagus Puree
Pre-heat sauté pan with olive oil. Caramelize chopped onion in sauté pan. Add wine and lemon juice and reduce. Add chicken stock, honey, salt and pepper, and chopped asparagus. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. In batches, add ½ sauté, ½ spinach, and ½ cream cheese to blender until smooth. Repeat and combine until all of sauté has been blended with cream cheese and spinach.

Salt, pepper, and olive oil scallops. Sear scallops on cast iron until golden brown on both sides. Grill remaining asparagus and onion. Assemble grilled items and drizzle with asparagus puree. 




I had some of the asparagus puree left over, and I think it would be great over poached eggs or even broiled salmon. Any suggestions on how to use the leftover sauce?




A Halloween Party Isn't the Same Without Mice

Chocolate mice like the cheese.
A lot of good recipes pop up on Facebook, and this one for chocolate mice intrigued me, and I thought "Hey, this is the perfect snack for a Halloween Party." I don't usually attend Halloween parties, but my sister and her extended family have one every year, and this year it was Saturday night and I decided to don my leopard lounge suit and go.  I "caught" these mice to serve.

Chocolate Mice

Ingredients:
4 (1 ounce ) squares semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
24 silver dragees decorating candy
1/4 cup sliced almonds
12 (2 inch) pieces long black licorice

Directions:
1.  Melt the chocolate, and combine with sour cream.  Stir in 1 cup chocolate cookie  crumbs.  Cover and refrigerate until firm.
2.  Roll by level tablespoons into balls.  Mold to a slight point at one end for the nose.
3.  Roll dough in chocolate cookie crumbs.  On each mouse, place dragees in appropriate spot for eyes, almond slices for ears, and a licorice string for the tail.
4.  Refrigerate for at least two hours, until firm.  
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. 
Add the sour cream. 

Add the cookie crumbs. 
Ready to refrigerate. 

Ready to serve. 


I couldn't find the dragees for making the eyes, so these are blind mice. 
The "cat" that "caught" the "mice."
This "cat" (leopard) served the "mice" at the Halloween Party.  The party was great fun, and I think the mice were a big hit.     

No-Workout-Needed Chocolate Cake

I have been hankering for a chocolate cake for some time now, and I finally found a recipe on the Allrecipes.com website that I think might just work.  So here it is.  I love that I don't have to workout after eating this.  Or maybe I do!!!!  Anyway it is a nice soft pudding-like cake with an interesting icing.  I garnished it with strawberries and blueberries. 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, or as needed
  • Cake:
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (12 ounce) package silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee

  • Chocolate Topping:
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter (such as PB2(R))

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rub enough coconut oil into a 9-inch springform pan to lightly coat bottom and sides.
  2. Blend cake mix and tofu together in a food processor until well mixed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add brewed coffee and blend until well mixed, scraping sides down as needed. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Mix chocolate chips, almond milk, and powdered peanut butter together in a microwave-safe bowl; heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Mix and heat for 30 seconds more. Spoon chocolate topping over cake.
Ready for oven.
Out of oven.
Chocolate chips, PB2, Almond Milk, Ingredients for icing.  
Icing on cake. 
Ready to eat. 

I think this recipe is a keeper. 

Check out this video:  Allrecipes.com

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini


Each week I get a box of local farm veggies and fruits from The Produce Box.  I like to support local farmers as well as have nice fresh produce to use.  This past week the box included two nice fresh zucchinis that I decided to prepare for lunch.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients: 
2 medium zucchini
1/3 cup diced onion
4 sausage links, cut into rounds
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons tomato sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.  With a metal spoon (I used a grapefruit spoon) scrape out most of the insides of the zucchini and place into a skillet.
Transfer the zucchini shells to a baking sheet.
3. Over medium heat, stir in onions and sausage, and cook about 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and spoon mixture into zucchini shells.  Spread one tablespoon of tomato sauce on each zucchini and top with Parmesan cheese.
4.  Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.







This is so easy and a good way to use that extra zucchini that's available this time of year.

Lunch Out of the Pantry


It's such a beautiful day here today after all that rain.  I didn't want to do any cooking so I decided to raid the pantry in order to prepare lunch.  I usually keep cans of salmon, tuna, and crabmeat on hand for days like today.  A crabmeat salad was something I could put together very quickly without cooking anything.  I used a can of crabmeat (about 8 oz of meat), 1/4 cup cucumber diced and 1/2 cup of halved grape tomatoes.  A teaspoon of lemon juice (  I always keep frozen lemon juice on hand for when I might not have lemons for dishes like this) and a couple of tablespoons of mayo (Duke's of course), added to the ingredients with a dash of fresh pepper completed the salad.  It took about 5 minutes.  Served on a bed of lettuce with a couple of crackers and it really fit the bill.  I have enough of the salad remaining to make a sandwich as well.





It's a good idea to keep a few cans of seafood on hand for days when you don't feel like cooking.  And during hurricane season these come in mighty handy if you lose power.  I can practically live on tuna or crabmeat sandwiches.

After this quick lunch I had lots of time left to spend outdoors in this lovely weather.

July Fourth Junk Food YUM!

A plate of Fairy Bread. 
There are certain days that I am without doubt going to consume lots of junk food: hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, brownies, sodas.  The menu on July Fourth would not be complete without junk food.  This year I am adding two Aussie junk foods to the menu.  My Aussie friend Jeanette is currently vacationing in Australia, and she recently shared a link entitled 9 Australian Junk Foods That Are All National Treasures For the children or adults who crave sugar I'm making Fairy Bread.

Fairy Bread needs only three ingredients:  white bread (I broke down and bought some potato bread which is almost white), butter, and sprinkles.  Apparently, the bread must be white for this truly to be called Fairy Bread.  This reminds me of something I sometimes made as a kid.  I would spread white bread (the only kind we had, probably Sunbeam or Bost) with butter or margarine or Crisco (ewuh!!) and then sprinkle with white sugar.  I'm not sure my Mama knew I did this, but I called it my sugar and butter sandwich.
Lavish soft butter on white bread. 
Add sprinkles.
Cut into triangles. *

But I digress. The Fairy Bread name apparently comes from a Robert Louis Stevenson poem:    
                                                   Fairy Bread
COME up here, O dusty feet! 
  Here is fairy bread to eat. 
Here in my retiring room, 
  Children, you may dine

This year I'm making Sausage Sizzlers another Aussie junk food instead of the requisite hot dogs.  Afterall, I need to use the remaining loaf of white bread.  
Brown cooked sausages in frying pan. 

Place sausage on a piece of white bread.  Add condiments. 

Ready to serve.  

Of course there will be baked beans, slaw, potato salad, watermelon, canteloupe, and brownies.  Lemonade, sweet tea, and sodas to drink. One of my favorite junk food days.

* It is a good idea to freeze the Fairy Bread until ready to serve.  In this hot weather, it will thaw very quickly.  

Cooking Aboard the Viking Ship Alsvin

The Viking Cruise Ship the Alsvin.

On the Viking Cities of Light Cruise another passenger Kathy and I had the honor of cooking with the Chef in a demonstration on how to make  Ofenschlupfer, a bread pudding from southern Germany.  It is layered with apples and  raisins and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  It is best enjoyed straight from the oven and topped with ice cream or custard sauce.
The Executive Chef and Pastry Chef. 





We enjoyed a serving right out of the oven that had been previously cooked.

As a souvenir Kathy and I were each given our Chef's Hat signed by both the Pastry Chef and the Executive Chef.  Fun !!!
Signed Chef's Hat, a wonderful memento of our trip. 
Here's the recipe:

Raiding the Freezer and the Pantry

Danish bars using ingredients I had on hand.
I've been trying to use things that are in the freezer and the pantry, so this afternoon I noticed a package of Puff Pastry, and I thought oh I'll make something with that.  In the pantry a can of cherry pie filling was just what I needed to make Danish bars.  And yes I had cream cheese in the fridge.

It's possible to find almost any recipe online when you indicate the ingredients you want to use, and I found just the one I needed.

  • 1 sheet Puff Pastry dough, thawed
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup canned  Cherry Pie Filling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface roll out thawed puff pastry into a 12×9″ rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise, yielding 2 4-½” strips. Cut those two strips crosswise into thirds, to yield six 4×4 ½” pieces.

With a knife, score ½” border around the edge of each piece of puff pastry. Use a fork to make pricks into the dough within the border of each piece. This will help keep the middle of each piece from rising.

In a bowl, stir together softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the middle of each piece of dough and spread around evenly, ensuring the mixture stays within the borders.

In the middle of the cream cheese, add 4 or 5 cherries.

Bake for 20 minutes, on the middle rack and rotate the baking sheet half way through baking. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


Cut into six rectangles. 

Prick center so that area won't rise. 
Fill the pricked area with cream cheese mixture and top with cherries. 
Out of the oven. 
Ready to eat with a bit of confectioner's sugar sifted on top. 

These will be perfect for breakfast, but I must admit, I had one for a snack almost as soon as they came out of the oven.  They are good!