Fall-Seasonal Seared Scallops

Always a favorite of mine as such an amazing dish comes from such a simple process- caramelization of the scallop in a clarified butter. From that point, there are also so many variations for flavor pairings to encompass a whole dish. In this particular instance, I went a little outside of the norm and tailored it to have autumn-like elements as that was the season it was created.

Image

The initial searing of the scallops is the easy part. Some heated clarified butter toss in the scallops and sear both sides until slight caramelization occurs.

First was coming up with a complimentary side dish. When sweet potatoes come to mind, typically think of hearty and savory- possibly highly seasoned or on the sweetened side. In this instance, I figured most of the stronger flavors would be from the scallops/topping so I used the sweet potato with more of its natural earthy flavor. Using a mandoline slicer, I cut thin slices and then used a circular cutter to make circles (slightly larger than the scallops. I then baked them in the oven on a baking sheet.

Image

With the savory and earthy aspects covered by the scallops and sweet potato, then next was spicing it up a little and adding a slightly sweet side but not too much as to take away from the scallops. I went with a pear compote (pears have some sweetness but aren’t overbearing) and with a little cayenne pepper and whiskey (add a little spice and smokiness).

Overall, I felt the flavors meshed rather well. The dish had the richness of the scallops balanced nicely with the earthy tone of the potato and a little smoky-sweetness from the pear compote.

Enjoy

Advertisements

Hazelnut Crusted Pork Chops

A huge portion of the time, I typically do not cook much pork. There are days where I do see certain dishes or get ideas and then I just go for it. This one is a bit of a variation from an idea I had seen Mario Batali do on the Chew a few days back.

Image

Simply put, the coating is a mixture of fine chopped hazelnuts and some unseasoned bread crumbs. I utilized thin sliced bone-in chops, coated with flour, dipped in an eggwash and then put on the coating. Meanwhile, I had put a combination of olive oil and butter in a pan and put on medium heat (start cooking the chops when brown butter starts to form).

Image

In the meantime, I had put white asparagus in a pot of boiling water and cooked until tender. I then drained the pot and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process. I then did a quick saute with truffle-infused oil, salt, pepper, and fresh basil.

In a separate bowl, I finely chopped up some shallots, red onion, and granny smith apple. These were tossed together in a bowl which I added some oil as well as some honey and mixed together. This mixture was placed on the chop after cooked through (they were cooked a few minutes on each side).

Image

Enjoy.

Been moving…Here’s some food

To everyone who follows my blog I would like to thank you and to apologize for a short period away. I was in the moving process earlier in the month which took a fair amount of time and effort and am now settled in between the forests and farms in Southern New Jersey. With a nice large and updated kitchen I can now get back to one of my favorite hobbies.

This past weekend, I had a few friends come down and stay for the weekend- sort of a house/ apartment warming type of deal and to just hang out. Along the way a few of the things I had made over the weekend were as follows (nice fall themed):

Image

This was the main dish. I had made roasted pheasant in my 5 quart Le Creuset. I had done them in a combination of apple cider, shallots, fennel, tarragon, salt, pepper and topped with thinly sliced apple. I had also roasted potatoes in a variety of spices and truffle infused oil and sauteed green beans with citrusy accents.

Image

A nice simple Apple tart with fresh blackberries and a nice pairing with a berry-brandy (one of my dad’s friends makes various brandys and spirits). The other dessert I had created went rather quickly and thus no pictures. But they were over-sized macarons (red) filled with a chocolate Chantilly-style cream and fresh strawberry slices.

Image

Need to have breakfast the next morning. Made up some homemade French toast with the main flavorings coming from vanilla, brown sugar, and cardamom. I then topped it off with a fresh berry-honey sauce (pictured) as well as a pear-caramel sauce). Also topped off with some powdered sugar.

Enjoy

A Nice Bistro Inspired Lunch

Well since I am set to move in a few weeks, I am at the point of trying to empty out the refrigerator and freezer to the bare minimum so new ideas and recipes are somewhat based on what meats/fishes I may already have versus just going to the store and grabbing some stuff. This lunch is inspired by both my experiences as well as reading about various bistros and my own wackiness to create a little piece of that at home.

Image

Yes I know, I am missing the typical carafe of water that many bistros leave on the table. Will have to change that one soon 🙂  I went with an in between not too fancy, not too drab set-up and since I already had the chalkboard for kid’s photo-shoots it provided the proper touch as numerous European bistros utilize them as menu tablets in part due to the fact of an often changing menu based upon local food/produce available at the time.

Image

And now, on to the part you all want to hear about…the food.

The main entree was a Ribeye steak which I had rubbed with salt, pepper and coated with very small diced up pieces of squash (a nice fall take). I then put the oven on broil at 250 and put in to my liking (I don’t know about you but I am a medium-rare kind of guy). Towards the end, I then put on some pieces of shaved Grana Padano to further enhance the flavors of the crust.

Image

On to the side dishes. In the bowl I had created a simple blend of fresh spinach leaves sauteed in butter with some pine nuts and fresh squeezed lemon. For the second side dish, I created a mashed yam concept done with the addition of pumpkin seed oil and a honey based glaze on top.

Image

Fall-Seasonal Crab Cakes

If you had missed my post from the start of the weekend pertaining to Wolffish stuffed with crab and a nice crab-horseradish sauce, you can find it here. With the crab meat which was leftover, I decided to make some crab cakes, but tailor them to a more fall like flavor.

Image

I wanted to go with more earthy, hearty type flavors so I went with some crushed pistachios to start and added in some acorn squash (I had sauteed first with some oil, onion, and green pepper minced up).

Image

Other seasonings I had used included sea salt, cracked peppercorn, fresh rosemary and basil, and some ground mustard. To hold the shape I mixed egg directly into the batter and formed balls in my hand. Unlike some traditional forms which use breadcrumbs throughout, I formed the cakes first and then coated only the outside with plain breadcrumbs. I then proceeded to saute in a pan with a combination of olive/grapeseed oil.

Image

The rolls (which were purchased from my local Wegman’s bakery) were a nice hearty pretzel roll. For a sauce, I combined fresh horseradish root, some mayo, some cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, and blended together to make a nice aoli style topping. I also accented the sandwich with some radicchio lettuce.

Image

Image

Enjoy.

Borrowed Idea— Apple Strudel

One of the many things I love about having the blog is interacting with fellow bloggers and coming across many ideas which may be good as they are to try or in some cases tailoring recipes to your own liking/cravings.

In this particular case, I had borrowed the recipe by Liz over at MY FAVOURITE PASTIME and made some tweaks to an already amazing apple strudel.

Image

If you are following the original recipe, nothing really changes with the dough except I added a little vanilla extract at that point. To make it easier for you, here is the original dough:

  • 225g (13/4 cup, 8oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
  • 4-5 tablespoons tepid water (I added 4 tablespoons water)
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar—

I did not use the vinegar instead I just poured in some vanilla extract.

The major changes in my version came a little but in the way of making the filling. To make it easier for you here is Liz’ original filling:

  • 450g (1Ib) cooking apples (I used 4 apples, granny smith)
  • 75g sugar (⅓ cup, 3oz) If you want it sweeter, please suit your palate and double or triple
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 40g (1½oz) flaked almonds
  • 50g (⅓ cup, 2oz) seedless raisins
  • I tablespoon grated lemon or lime rind (I used lime rind)

In my case, I went with Granny Smith apples as well (they are by far my favorite) and in the realm of sugar I did a combination of plain old sugar and some brown sugar. I’m also not a big raisin guy but I do love cranberries so I switched to Craisins. My next major change is how/when I prepared my filling. The original recipe called for making it as close to filling time as possible. Me, I like things to marinate and ferment, so before letting the dough rest for an hour, I prepared the apples (put in bowl with some lemon juice so they do not brown), added the craisins, the almonds, and besides cinnamon I added some ground clove and some nutmeg. To really strengthen what I will call my “fall flavors” I added in a few teaspoons of pot-distilled rum, mixed well and set covered in fridge for close to an hour and a half. I then took the recipe through to the end from that point with using melted butter to close up the strudels and to baste before cooking in the oven.

Image

Thanks again Liz for a creation worth remaking. Looking forward to many more.

 

*Post Edit: Forgot to mention, after the baking time, I knocked off the roasted almonds off the top, brushed with honey and stuck them back on. Yes I know I could have roasted them on the side however, it was a post baking thought that popped to mind. 🙂