Sea Scallops in Wine Sauce With Black Japonica Rice

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The men in my house would rotate tacos, spaghetti, pizza, and grilled burgers every day of the week if I let them. I love those things too, but maybe once a month. The dinner request for tonight was tacos but that would have involved a trip to the grocery store. On a Sunday, when everyone and their grandma goes grocery shopping? I think not. No one spoke up and offered to go grocery shopping for the ingredients either, so scallops it was. Not quite as exciting as tacos, I suppose. But quite tasty and the Japonica rice was not only very flavorful, it also looked pretty against the scallops. Both of those combined with a spinach salad with a tangy vinegrette, made for a delicious dinner.

Black Japonica Rice

*Prepare the rice ahead of time according to package directions. I used chicken broth instead of water. Leave lid on and set aside. Later, other ingredients will be added to the rice right before the scallops start searing.

2 Cups Gluten-Free Chicken Broth

1 Cup Black Japonica Rice

1/2 Sweet Onion, diced

1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, diced

1 Cup Spinach, chopped

3 Cloves of Garlic, smashed, peeled, and chopped

1 Heaping Tbsp. Oregano, chopped

1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Seared Sea Scallops

2- 12 oz. Packages of Frozen Fresh Caught Sea Scallops, thawed (About 28 medium size scallops)

Olive Oil

Canola Oil

1 Tbsp. Garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp. Dairy Free Butter

About 1/2 Cup White Wine

About 10 Rosemary Leaves

About 1 1/2 tsp. of Thyme, leaves removed from stem

Get all ingredients for the rice and the scallops ready to go. Chop spinach, garlic, onion, oregano, & bell pepper. Strip rosemary and thyme leaves off of stems. Pat the scallops dry. Drizzle olive oil in a skillet for the rice ingredients and drizzle olive oil and canola oil in the skillet for the scallops. You’ll want enough oil in the scallop skillet that when you pick up the pan and swirl it around, the oil covers the bottom of the pan.

Heat the rice skillet on medium to medium-high heat and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. When onions are beginning to turn translucent, add the oregano and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted and add 1/2 cup chicken broth and rice. Stir until broth is absorbed, turn heat down to low and cover. Heat scallop skillet on medium-high heat.

Add scallops and allow to sear (don’t touch!) for about 2 minutes. Carefully flip scallops over and sear for another 2-3 minutes.

At about the 3rd minute, scoot the scallops to one side of the pan and add the butter, allow to melt and brown slightly.

Add garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and wine, as it cooks, quickly spoon the sauce over the scallops. Remove from heat.

Serve scallops and rice with spinach salad.

Fish Tacos

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So, I have to admit that several years ago when someone told me they had fish tacos at a local restaurant it made my stomach roll. For some reason I just could not picture a fish taco. The problem was that I was trying to picture a traditional taco with fish instead of meat. Once I got a grip on the concept, I was willing to venture out of my comfort zone and give this whole fish taco thing a try. I’m so glad I did! It’s not at all like a traditional taco. It resembles a taco because of how it’s presented but what’s inside is wonderfully different. Fresh and fragrant with so many different layers of flavor. There are many ways you can make them and be adventurous with your ingredients. I suppose the number one goal would consist of three things…fresh, flavorful, and fabulous. Fabulous to me means distinct flavors and textures that make you happier with each bite. Fresh tomatoes, lime, juicy slaw, possibly a spicy pico de gallo, a perfectly fried corn tortilla and of course, moist and tender pieces of seasoned fish. You can add mango, shrimp, cilantro…change it up any way you like with your favorite ingredients.

Fish Tacos

6 Cod Fillets, or your favorite lighter flavored fish

Olive Oil, I used garlic olive oil and drizzled the fish skillet with about 4 Tbsp.

Canola Oil, about 2 cups

Corn Tortillas

Sea Salt & Pepper

For The Pico de Gallo

5 Medium Vine Tomatoes, diced small with juice and seeds

1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, diced (traditional Pico does not contain bell pepper, but I like the color and the texture)

1/2 Red Onion, diced

About 1/2 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. Jalapeno Pepper, I used roasted Hot jalapeno…

1 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic, finely chopped

2 Limes, quartered

Prepare the vegetables, lime, garlic, and jalapeno. Pour into a medium bowl, squeeze lime juice into mixture, stir to combine, and refrigerate for at least an hour. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.

For The Slaw

1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw

3/4  Cup Light Mayonnaise

1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar

Pepper to Taste

A Pinch of Sugar

Whisk mayo, vinegar, pepper, and sugar until smooth. Add to broccoli slaw and toss until completely combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Pour canola oil into a large skilled about 1 inch or so up the side. You need a lot less than you think and if it gets too deep, it can be dangerous. Set aside until you start cooking the fish.

Tear off several paper towels on a plate and set aside.

Rinse and dry fillets completely. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, drizzle about 4 Tbsp. of olive oil and heat on medium to medium high heat. Add fish and cook until white and flakey. This will only take about 4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of your fish fillets. Heat the oil on medium high until it starts to ripple. If it starts to smoke it’s too hot, turn it down to medium or even medium low. It really depends on your stove. You want the tortillas to sizzle when you put them in but a medium sizzle, not too low, and not too high.

When the fish is done, remove from burner and cover lightly with a lid. Fry corn tortillas one a time, they only take about 2 seconds on each side, layer in between paper towels on a plate. I fry a lot, maybe 15 or so because I like to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I would fry about 3 per person.

When tortillas are done, layer your tortillas with slaw, fish, and Pico. Serve with a wedge of lime and sliced avocado with pepper,and a good beer.


Steak & Shrimp Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

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There are weeks when I have a menu planned that I’m excited about for every single night and then…there are weeks like this one. Today was one of those chilly, lazy, days where I didn’t even want to face going outside let alone going to the grocery store, again. Not knowing exactly what I would find in the freezer, I set out to see if I could come up with something edible for dinner. Way in the back I found one steak (One? There’s three of us, why would I only have one steak?) and a bag of frozen shrimp. Searching through the fridge I came up with a few veggies, grabbed some pasta from the pantry, and this is what I came up with. No going out in the cold, no schlepping through the grocery store. More time for me to work my way through the plate of sugar cookies on my counter and enjoy my new book…

Ingredients

1 – 16 0z. Ribeye Steak

1 Bag Medium Uncooked Shrimp (about 50 count)

About 10 – 12 oz. Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, spaghetti style

2 Bunches of Asparagus

Olive Oil

4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped

4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped for asparagus

1/2 Sprig of Rosemary, leaves removed, chopped

1 Medium Sweet Onion, cut in half and sliced

1 Tsp. Thyme Leaves, heaping, chopped

1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced

1 Cup Spinach Leaves, roughly chopped

About 3/4 cup Semi-Dry White Wine

About 2 Generous Tbsp. of Butter (I used dairy free)

Steak Seasoning

Sea Salt & Pepper

Peel shrimp removing tails and rinse. Set aside.

Season the steak with a bit of olive oil, sea salt & pepper, and steak seasoning. I used Chicago Chop and Steak Seasoning. Set aside. Pre-heat grill.

Slice the onion and pepper, chop garlic and herbs, and rough chop the spinach. Set aside. Place steak on grill and cook to your liking. I cooked mine medium-rare, probably more on the rare side. You don’t want it too done because you’ll add it to the hot shrimp mixture later and it will cook a bit. Once it’s off the grill set it aside to rest.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and prepare the asparagus by trimming the ends. Drizzle with olive oil and about 2 Tbsp. of chopped garlic. Sprinkle about 1/2 Tbsp. of sea salt and about 7 grinds of pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. While the asparagus is roasting, thinly slice the steak and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil in a skillet and saute onions and garlic on medium to medium-high heat until lightly golden. During this process, boil your pasta water. Cook pasta according to package directions (15-16 minutes) and drain.

Once the onion and garlic are a light golden color, add the red bell pepper and cook for 5 more minutes. Add shrimp, spinach, herbs, and season with about 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Saute until shrimp are almost cooked through.  Slide mixture to the side and add butter, scraping the bottom of the pan.

Next, add about 3/4 cup wine, de-glazing on medium-high until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and add steak, tossing carefully.

Taste, season a bit more if necessary and serve over pasta with the asparagus on the side.