Monday, February 16, 2015

Pan-Seared Jumbo Scallops with Sweet Potato Mash

Do you know how easy it is to cook scallops?

Simply dusting them with salt and pepper and searing them up in a pan produces a fantastic result. They cook fast. Maybe a little butter to jazz them up. Some lemon.

That's all you need.

Why mess with something so good in the first place?

For this recipe, I did just that. They're served over a simple sweet potato mash. To make it, I back sweet potatoes in the oven. Then I allow them to cool and peel off the skins. Add butter, salt and a dash of cinnamon. Mash them with a fork. They're so tasty!

The sweet potato mash gives this dish a nice seasonal flare, don't you think?

Without further ado... here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Pan-Seared Scallops with Sweet Potato Mash
Serves 2 people
Cooking time: about one hour (including baking the sweet potatoes)
Gluten free

6 jumbo scallops
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter (preferably pastured like Kerrygold brand)
1 lemon, halved
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the sweet potato mash, poke holes in the sweet potatoes. Bake them in the oven on a lined baking sheet for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel the skins off the potatoes and place in a bowl. Add the butter, cinnamon, and salt to taste. Mash with a fork.

Meanwhile, to cook the scallops, heat the grapeseed oil in a pan over high heat, until almost smoking. Rinse the scallops and pat them dry. Season with salt and pepper, and smoked paprika if desired. Gently add the scallops to the pan so that they're not touching. Sear them, turning once, for about 1 1/2 minutes per side. They should form a golden crust. Remove the scallops from the heat and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

To plate, spoon some of the sweet potato mash on the bottom of the plate and top with three scallops per plate. Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fusilli Pasta with White Beans, Cherry Tomatoes & Wild Arugula (Gluten Free)

So... I made this for dinner last night.

And it turned out so fabulous!

It was one of those great moments where I was working with the dregs of my last grocery store run, combing through the cupboard. What can I make with this stuff? I always keep a quality gluten free pasta on hand for just such cooking emergencies. This is a new one I tried out last night and really loved—Bionaturae Organic Fusilli. It had the texture of "normal" pasta and held up well.

So that was a start. Then I sorted through the last of my veggies:

Organic heirloom cherry tomates
Organic yellow bell pepper
Organic wild arugula

That had the makings of a tasty pasta. I grabbed a can of organic white beans. I love throwing them into pasta because of their great, creamy texture. Plus, they add some protein to veggie meals. Other cupboard staples include garlic, chili flakes, extra virgin olive oil, white wine and parmesan reggiano.

The final ingredient?

Some fresh basil clipped from the plant on my porch, which miraculously hasn't died yet. There you have it. Now here's how I threw it all together to make this tasty little dish.

Fusilli Pasta with White Beans, Cherry Tomatoes & Wild Arugula (Gluten Free)
Serves 4 people
Cooking time: about 20 minutes
Vegan (if served without cheese); gluten free

1 bag of fusilli pasta (12 oz.), cooked per package instructions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
pinch of chili flakes
1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups wild or baby arugula, tightly packed
1 can white beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed with cool water
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
grated parmesan reggiano for garnishing (optional)

1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes, and stir for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper and continue to cook, until beginning to soften (about five minutes). Then add the arugula and cook for another minute or so, until beginning to wilt. Add the white beans, stirring to combine, and cook for another minute.

2. Add the white wine to the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Toss the pasta with the vegetable and bean mixture, adding a little reserved pasta cooking water if needed to create a little sauce.

4. To serve, spoon the pasta into bowls and top with grated parmesan. Enjoy!