Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pan Sear Scallops with Green Cauliflowr and Potato Puree

WOW, is all I can say for this amazing dinner, the puree is so delicious the scallops ended up taking a backseat.  We have been making the San Mateo Farmers Market a Saturday morning family ritual, I picked up a beautiful head of organic green cauliflower for like $1.50, I had to have it.  I have never cooked with it before and although I LOVE cauliflower I am not a fan of its bland color.  The first night I took half of the head, cut into small florets and lightly boiled them (they still had a lot of crunch), delicious!  The next night I had a craving for scallops, this recipe is the result of that craving and the need to use up the other half of the green cauliflower.  Scallops are tricky little buggers to cook, I cannot tell you how much money I have wasted on scallops that needed to be thrown away due to the "silly putty" effect..LOL  Fresh scallops are best of course but, they are hard to come by, if you do use frozen it is necessary to blot dry the scallop and make sure you get as much liquid out of it as possible, salt and pepper and let sit until your pan is ready.  

Ingredients for Puree:
1/2 head green cabbage
5 whole cloves garlic
2 peeled potatoes
Chicken broth (I used about 1/2 a qt, use as much or little as you like)
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste (totally unnecessary but I like a little kick)
Steam potatoes with the whole garlic and seasonings, when potatoes are tender add cauliflower, cauliflower does not take long to steam but you want it SOFT.
Place potato/cauliflower mix into a food processor, add chicken broth until you get a nice thick and very creamy consistency, season again to taste...Be prepared to go back many times to taste, because its THAT GOOD...:)  Transfer to saucepan, you can add a little half and half if you like but it really does not need it, place on low and allow to heat up while you prepare the scallops.

Heat pan, add olive oil, place scallops in a circle, cook aprox. 2 minutes on one side (you want a nice caramelized color) flip and 2 minutes on the other.. I typically will sacrifice a scallop to test to see if they are ready, they should be easy to cut with a knife and not chewy at all!  Scallops take time to learn how to cook, I suggest checking out a youtube video if you want to make sure you don't mess it up..:)

BEST Sugar Cookies EVER (sorry Grammie, these are better than yours)

I have been searching for the "perfect" sugar cookie recipe for literally years, I grew up on my Grammie's recipe, it is good and to honor her I will make them from time to time BUT, this recipe one day will be the "Grammie" cookie my grandchildren will remember!  I use unsalted butter and bakers sugar, the sugar is more expensive but gives excellent results.  The cookies are organic for the most part, the only thing NOT organic is the cream of tartar, salt, baking powder and sugar, organic ingredients are not necessary for success.  I love making these cookies, the dough is easy to work with and the 5 t. vanilla makes my house smell soooooooo good!!!

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs 
2 egg yolks
5 t. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

Beat sugar and butter until fluffy, add eggs, egg yolks and vanilla, mix well.  Add next 4 ingredients, wrap dough in wax paper and refrigerate for a couple hours.

Preheat oven to 375
on a lightly floured surface roll out dough, cut into desired shapes and bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them they turn from perfect to burnt quickly.

Frosting-  I make a simple glaze style frosting with powdered sugar and water, watch how much water you use, you don't want the frosting to be too thin or it will run off the cookie.

Add 3/4 cup powdered baking chocolate you you have the best chocolate cut out cookies EVER EVER EVER...think crunchy chocolate brownie cookie!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken and Seafood Stew

I bought a bag of seafood mix from Trader Joe's a few weeks ago and have been trying to figure out what to do with it.  I had a craving for a spicy tomato based stew and thought about a take on a southern stew with seafood and chicken, the results were delicious!  


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into chunks.
1 lb. bag seafood mix (scallops, shrimp,calamari)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
 2 cans diced tomatoes
2 potatoes peeled and diced
1 onion diced
1t. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
ground pepper to taste
salt to taste

Directions:  In a large stockpot saute onion with small amount of olive oil, add chicken and garlic, cook until seared and brown on both sides, be careful not to burn garlic.  Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, carrots, onions, red pepper flakes, old bay seasoning and salt and pepper to taste, cook until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.  Add frozen seafood mix and peas, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  If you like a thinner stew/soup add more chicken broth until the desired consistency is achieved, this recipe can easily be adapted to whatever seafood/veggie you have on hand, it was great over rice the next day..Enjoy

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dinner Rolls

These are the best dinner rolls ever, super easy, I highly recommend!  I have made them into hamburger buns as well, soft and delicious..  The key is to make sure you knead them long enough, the longer you knead the softer the roll!       


  • 1 cup of  warm water
  • 2 tbsp of butter, softened
  • 1 egg (hold under warm water before breaking it)
  • 3 1/4 cup of bread flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp regular active dry yeast
Preheat oven to 375

Place water, sugar, salt and yeast in bowl, whisk and cover for 10 minutes.  Add butter, egg, flour, mix until forms a shaggy ball, turn out on counter and knead for 5-10 minutes (I use the dough hook on my kitchen aid and knead for 3-4 min. on med. speed), return to lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, aprox 1-2 hours depending on temp. of kitchen.

Once dough is doubled, remove from bowl and make 12-15 small balls, place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet, brush with butter, cover with towel and let rise for 30-40 minutes.

Bake for 8-10 min or until golden brown!  ENJOY

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Warning...Shameless cute pet photo!

Moss the BIG eared kitten!

Farmers Market!

Beautiful day at the farmers market in San Mateo!  I was short on time but, HAD to get the 3 pints of organic strawberries, they are amazing.  I got a beautiful head of romaine lettuce and a head of green cauliflower, all were picked yesterday or this morning, I love that!  The strawberries are sweeter than they look...WOW  I won't be making anything terribly exciting with my small bounty, I am looking into some cool things to do with the green cauliflower, I LOVE the color. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Pizza night!

Its Friday night, we live in one of the best foodie cities in the country, what am I doing?  Making the best PIZZA ever in my own kitchen!  I have made this recipe too many times to count, it has never let me down, I always have the ingredients in the house, it is amazing, it is delicious, its PIZZA LOVE.  I normally make one 18 inch pizza on my pizza stone for the three of us, but, my 12 year old son has a friend over so I made 2, I am glad I did they ate a whole one just the two of them! 

I LOVE Trader Joes Pizza sauce, I have made my own, I have tried many others, this is the ONE!  If you don't have a Trader Joes in your area I recommend picking up a store brand, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, dash of oregano and a dash of garlic...I guess I am pretty picky, I have used other brands in the past, the family could not notice the difference. 
The dough, ahhhh the elusive yeast product that it is!  The recipe I use could not be easier, I do use the dough hook attachment on my Kitchen Aide but, this is a easy hand knead recipe as well. The flecks you see in the dough are dried herbs (oregano, black pepper, rosemary),  I throw in a dash of garlic powder as well.

I have had this guy for almost 20 years!

This is my favorite kitchen appliance!  I got this when my girls were babies, I had no idea what kind of use it would get...Please God, let this fine piece of equipment live a LONG life! amen

Chinese Soup with Baby Bok Choi

This yummy soup was a last minute addition to a wonderful dinner!  I purchased a bag of amazing baby bok choi at the Asian market and this simple soup came to mind, easy ingredients, quick to make and super healthy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My loot from the San Mateo Farmers Market last weekend!

I got some good stuff!  Beautiful vine ripened local tomatoes, baby yellow squash (had to have them), 3 pints organic strawberries, 2 pkg. freshly made gnocchi and MY FAVORITE Rainbow Swiss Chard!  We are going back this Saturday, I will make sure to post pic and recipes of what yummy creations I dream up!

Happy 2011! We are California residents now!! WOOT

I love California!  So much that I am inspired to resurrect my BLOG!  I have been cooking like crazy, fresh local foods and now that we are finally settled I am going to get moving and actually try and post every day!  Operative word is "try"!