The Edible Books selection for December is Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger by Nigel Slater.
Nigel Slater is well-known for several cookbooks filled with stories and sumptuous photos, his BBC series "Simple Cooking," and his food column in The Observer. And "Toast" is now a BBC movie starring Helena Bonham Carter.
Before Slater was a famous author and broadcaster he was a young boy who dealt with the loss of his mother, a new housekeeper, and his father’s uncertain temper.
"Toast" is a memoir of Slater’s childhood and growing culinary talents, told through food. Get ready to learn more about the boy who became the famous man.
Happy Reading! ~ Christina & Natalie
Below is the December discussion schedule:
This month’s reading schedule requires some explanation: We have divided the book into four roughly equal weekly sections as usual. Toast is written in 118 very short chapters – some less than a page long – that are titled but not numbered. The page numbers listed below are accurate for the Kindle Edition but vary slightly for the paper editions and are therefore intended only as a guide.
December 1-7: Discuss Chapters Toast 1-Jelly 1 (approx pp. 1-57)
December 8-14: Discuss Chapters Jelly 2-Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney Pie (approx pp. 58-109)
December 15-21: Discuss Chapters Smoked Haddock-Coffee and Walnut Cake (approx pp. 110-159)
December 22-31: Discuss Chapters Candyfloss-Toast 3 (approx pp. 160-247)
If you need more information about Edible Books, please read the participation guidelines here.
Though I do not have a sweet-tooth, every now and then I like to have some sweet baked item with my tea in the afternoon or evening. And based on last week’s column, you know that I like it to be something that can be dipped or dunked.
A biscotti proves to be the ideal thing to have on hand for such occasions; more importantly, I like that a biscotti can be around whenever youf eel like having one because they can be stored at room temperature for a couple of weeks.
Biscotti are Italian twice-baked cookies or some would say biscuits depending on their interpretation of the word biscuit. Biscotti di Prato originated int he Italian city of Prato. The dough, crumbly and sticky when mixed, is first formed into logs, baked and then cut into 1/2-inch slices while still hot and baked again until dry and crisp.
These cookie-biscuits were first sought after for long journeys and wars back in the day because they could be stored for long periods and were considered non-perishable food.
Today, biscotti still have a long shelf life; a homemade batch can last for two weeks at room temperature and longer yet at cooler temperatures. I like to keep it simple with some dried fruit and almonds.Sometimes I add freshly grated coconut, this results in a shorter shelf life due to the coconut being fresh with its oils, however, I never have to worry about that because the coconut biscotti are gone in no time.
One of the other things that I like about homemade biscotti is that it is not overly sweet as some desserts and baked items can be. With biscotti on hand, having people over for tea or coffee is never a bother. Ready to give it a try?
Fruit and nut biscotti
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
1/2 cup raw almonds coarsely chopped
3 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Add in cranberries and nuts to flour mixture and toss to mix. Whisk together eggs, milk, oil, and essence. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined; do not over mix, the dough will be crumbly and sticky, use your hands to bring the ingredients together so as not to over mix.
Divide the dough in half and transfer to a parchment-lined or greased bakingsheet (13 x 18”) 5 inches apart. Shape each half into an 8-inch log and flatten the top just a bit. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven to 325 degrees F.
Slice each log of biscotti diagonally (across) into 1/2-inch slices. Assemble onthe same parchment-lined/greased baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake for 15 minutes on one side, remove pan from oven, flip the biscotti and bake for another 15 minutes on the other side.
Remove biscotti from pan and cool completely on wire racks.Store in airtight containers at room temperature for one to two weeks. Serve with a hot beverage or a dessert wine.
You can vary the spice flavourings for you biscotti – anise, cardamom, teamasala, apple or pumpkin pie spice mix. Add your nuts or dried fruit preference. Orange or lemon zest can be used as flavours too.
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This may be one case where too many cooks in the kitchen is a good thing.
The award-winning community of online home cooks is back with another crowd-sourced tome, The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2. Created by food writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Food52.com is a recipe and cooking website that invites online users to contribute and critique recipes, and share solutions for kitchen challenges. So immediate has been its success since its launch in late 2009, Food52 has attracted more than 85,000 members and was named the 2012 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation.
This second cookbook edited by Hesser and Stubbs includes 104 recipes culled from the themed recipe contests hosted each week over the course of a year on Food52 (as in 52 weeks). Full of interesting, unique dishes and candid comments from Food52.com groupies, "The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2" inspires as easily as it charms.
Volume 2 is organized by season in order to best showcase its emphasis on seasonal, fresh cooking. Its recipes demonstrate a certain artisanal flair, with such titles as "Almond Cake with Orange Flower Water Syrup," "Variegated Spiced Latkes," "Coconut Cajeta & Chocolate Fondue," and "Late Night Coffee Brined Chicken," to name a few.
Why buy a cookbook when you can find thousands of recipes online? Consider this volume a carefully edited selection of the crème de la crème efforts by home cooks. Hesser and Stubbs, with an assist from a team of recipe testers and photographers, chose the finalists of each contest but it was the online readers themselves who voted for the winning recipes. The cookbook also includes 23 "wildcard winners," hand selected by Hesser and Stubbs.
On the last pages are tiny mug shots of each winning contributor, which helps to give the cookbook its community feel and reveals the identity of some of the more prominent Food52 users (Mrs. Wheelbarrow has a real name!). Three of the winners are also contributing bloggers to CSMonitor.com's Stir It Up!: Hong and Kim Pham of TheRavenousCouple.com (Korean Fried Chicken Wings) and Perre Coleman Magness of TheRunawaySpoon.com (Fig and Blue Cheese Savories).
Enthusiastic comments from the online members also include their own confident adaptations. "This is soooo delicious and easy! Great for entertaining," writes user VBeale of a recipe for Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin. "I substituted shallots for the pancetta to make it vegetarian. Thanks for sharing!"
This is exactly the kind of spirit that makes Food52 endearing – it reassures home cooks that we're all in this together and that everyone has something to offer. What makes the Food52 experience so unlike anything you'll find on the chef-focused Food Network is that this is a community by home cooks for home cooks. Even the photos and videos are shot right in Hesser's Brooklyn Heights apartment kitchen.
But beyond the feel-good community ties, which have far surpassed expectations of its founders, followers of Hesser's work will find that the Food52 cookbooks are yet another chapter in her ever-interesting career. As a food editor of The New York Times and an award-winning author ("The Essential New York Times Cookbook," "Cooking for Mr. Latte," "The Cook and the Gardner") Hesser has something of a golden touch, right down to picking a partner in Stubbs.
Everyone needs a break from being logged on, and when you are ready to power down and head into the kitchen create something of your own, just tuck a copy of "The Food52 Cookbook" under your arm and bring a whole new army of foodie friends to cheer you on.
Southern California is a huge ethnic melting pot/salad bowl with large ethnic groups such as Vietnamese, Koreans, Chinese, Thai, Philipinos, and Latinos – and each group has made it’s mark on the culinary landscape. One such culinary notch is Korean fried chicken wings.
While fried chicken may be something American’s consider their own, the Korean style is also extremely delicious. Their method of a very lightly battered and double fried chicken wing renders out the fat and results in an ultra crispy and delicious wing. Add to that a variety of glazes such as ginger soy and spicy glaze, it’s no wonder Korean fried chicken joints are popping up all over the West and East Coasts.
We don’t deep fry very often but we had access to a deep fryer and had to make our version of Korean fried chicken wings for a birthday party. We adapted Maangchi’s Sweet and Crispy Fried Chicken to make it similar to the ones we’ve had here in Los Angeles. The Korean chicken wings at Kyochan or Bon Chan have a very thin crust and so instead of using your typical flour and egg batter, we used Wondra flour which is a super fine flour – great for crispying things up – a tip we got from Chef Eric Ripert on his cooking show, Avec Eric.
Korean Fried Chicken Wings with Ginger Soy Glaze
(adapted from Cooking Korean Food with Maangchi)
2-3 lbs. chicken wings (tips discarded, and wings cut at the joints-washed and pat dry)
1 cup of Wondra flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Soy Ginger Glaze:
1 cup water
1 cup thinly sliced ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoon honey or corn syrup
1-2 tablespoons Korean fermented chile or rooster brand garlic chile or red pepper flakes (adjust according to your tastes)
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)
First prep the chicken wings, wash, and pat dry with paper towel. In a mixing bowl, combine about 1 cup of Wondra flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken wings in the flour mixture to get a fine light coat.
Heat some cooking oil in a deep fryer or a deep frying pan to about 350 degrees F. Fry chicken wings, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes. Remove, and shake any excess flour/grit off and allow to cool.
Now in a small saucepan, add the water, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, chile, sugar and bring to boil. Then add the honey/corn syrup and reduce by half and it will be a thick maple syrup like consistency and set aside.
Re-fry the wings until crispy golden brown, about another 5-8 minutes. Drain on frying rack or paper towels. Dredge or brush on the soy ginger glaze. We also like to finish with some toasted sesame on top.
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If you are like me, you always offer to bring something when invited to someone’s house. I mean the offer, I always love an opportunity to cook for people, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with a quick idea on the fly. And when it’s one of those roaming parties – not a seated affair – choosing a dish that doesn’t have to be kept hot or cold or require and special equipment adds to the challenge.
I tend to fall back on the same recipes, but I wanted to add one to my repertoire – after all, it gets to be the same people at parties, right? These little Fig and Blue Cheese bites are easy but very elegant, and the surprising tart and tangy with sweet combination is a real treat.
Blue Cheese and Fig Savories
Makes about 3 dozen
You’ll find fig preserves at the grocery – it may be shelved with the “fancy” jams and jellies. You can make these a day ahead and keep them in two layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Ground black pepper
Fig preserves (about 3 Tablespoons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the flour, butter, blue cheese and a few grinds of black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough just comes together and starts to form a ball.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick with a floured rolling pin. Cut rounds out of the dough with a floured 1-inch cutter and transfer the rounds to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Using the back or a round half-teaspoon measure or your knuckle, make an indention in the top of each dough round. Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of fig preserves into each indention, using your finger to push the preserves as best as possible into the indentions.
Bake the savories for 10 – 14 minutes, until the preserves are bubbling and the pastry is light golden on the bottom.
Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes, the remove to a wire rack to cool.
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New Orleans is one of our favorite cities for food. Everything tastes of history, blended cultures and spices. Lots of spices. Some of them hot, of course, but more often just big flavored. And from the diviest dives to the fanciest white tablecloth spots, you have to work hard to find a bad meal.
It’s been too long since we’ve been back to New Orleans. Fortunately, "Taste of Tremé: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans’s Famous Neighborhood of Jazz" by Todd-Michael St. Pierre delivers. Published in October 2012, it is stuffed with doable recipes, from breakfast right on through to dinner, dessert, and cocktails.
"Taste of Tremé" is also packed with the flavor and soul of the city. Author Todd-Michael St. Pierre shares some history of Tremé, his favorite NOLA neighborhood and the oldest African-American community in the nation. St. Pierre says of the area “music is always in the air and something wonderful is always simmering on the stove.”
This recipe for shrimp with cheddar grits had me at "grits." I grew up in St. Louis, about as far north as grits reliably get on breakfast joint menus. And I have a lot of family in the South. So the creamy texture and buttery, salty taste of grits (to those of you who put sugar or syrup on grits, stop it) is a road trip welcome home sign for my mouth.
It helps to think of grits as kind of polenta (they’re both ground corn) or even risotto, filtered through Southern kitchens. All are slow cooked to a creamy finish that, unlike rice or pasta, doesn’t need a sauce or gravy. In fact, they often serve as the slightly saucy base for other foods.
St. Pierre warns that a “true grits connoisseur will scold you if you suggest that they use instant grits or what are commonly called ‘quick grits.’ ” On the day I had for shopping, quick grits were all I could find – Chicago may be too far north for the real thing. If you can find old-fashioned, slow-cooking grits, do so. Otherwise, the quick grits are pretty good. However, don’t use the instant grits – even I wouldn’t do that.
Spicy Shrimp with Tomatoes and Cheddar Grits
For the shrimp:
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper (or other pepper—see Kitchen Notes), finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Creole/Cajun spice (see Kitchen Notes)
2 to 3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
For the grits:
3 cups water
a generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grits
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)
A quick note: Time the cooking of the grits and the shrimp so they’re both done at the same time, based on the kind of grits you use.
Cook the shrimp. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add bell pepper, onion, jalapeño pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Be careful not to brown or burn the garlic.
Add Creole/Cajun spice and shrimp, stirring to combine, and cook for two minutes, turning the shrimp halfway through. At this point, the skillet will seem alarmingly dry. Don’t worry. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional three minutes, stirring frequently. The tomatoes will release their juices; use them to scrape up any browned bits and incorporate them into the dish.
Meanwhile, cook the grits. Bring the water to a rapid boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and then slowly stir in the grits. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low so the grits just simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until grits are smooth and thickened—30 to 45 minutes for old-fashioned grits, five to seven minutes for quick grits.
Don’t go crazy on the thickening – like polenta, they will continue to thicken as they cool. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar until it completely melts into the grits.
Assemble the dish. Spoon grits into individual shallow bowls. Top with vegetables and shrimp and serve.
Pick a pepper. The original recipe calls for a tabasco pepper. I went with the more readily available jalapeño, which is also lower on the heat scale than the tabasco (but I didn’t seed my pepper, as the recipe called for with the tabasco). You could also use a Serrano pepper, if you want more heat.
Creole/Cajun spice. St. Pierre’s Suck da Heads and Pinch da Tails Creole Spice sounds like an excellent mix (and authentically, it uses onion powder and garlic powder, two regulars in New Orleans cookbooks, even when the recipe uses fresh onion and garlic, as does this one). I used this recipe for Emeril’s Creole Seasoning, a slightly stripped down version. (I switched teaspoons for tablespoons, reducing my total mixture to 1/3 the original recipe and still have plenty left for other uses.) In a pinch, you can use store-bought Creole/Cajun spice.
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My mom's lemon tree is literally spilling over with lots of juicy lemons so I need to ratchet up the lemon baked goods. I loved the picture of these on Pinterest, so I made these as a pre-holiday baking experiment in case I want to serve it at Thanksgiving or my dessert parties.
As always with sandwich cookies, you want to make them small since you or your guests will be eating two cookies as one. The dough was easy to make and great to work with, not too dry or sticky. I portioned into small balls, flattened each with a fork and froze them first. They don't spread when they're baked and I wanted them chubby so I didn't flatten them too thin.
I liked these cookies. They were crisp, but not hard and the crisp wasn't the snap of a shortbread or dry but just good chewing. The lemon filling complemented the butter cookie nicely but note that you may need to let it set a bit before you use it to sandwich the cookies.
The filling is more like a glaze when you first mix it but unless you want it really sweet, refrain from adding more powdered sugar until it firms up. Then it should be okay to use as filling. If you're serving a "high tea" this holiday season, these would be good to have with your tea.
Lemon melting moments
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 cup confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
juice of one lemon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl cream the butter, salt, and sugar until light and fluffy on a medium setting, roughly three minutes. Reduce the speed to low and incorporate the vanilla and lemon zest, scraping down the sides as you go. Sift the flour and cornstarch into the mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
Take small portions of the mixture and roll into balls, continue until you have 24-30. If you want them to be as even as possible, roll out the mixture until it forms a log then use a clean knife to section into 30 pieces.
Place them on a baking tray lined with wax paper, gently press on each piece with a fork until it has left an imprint. You can also press on them gently with your fingers, if you do not wish to leave an imprint. (You can also chill the dough at this point, if so, don't preheat the oven until you're ready to bake.)
Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool completely.
For the filling, beat the sugar, butter, and lemon juice on a medium setting until incorporated. Use the back of a spoon, or a knife to ice one side of the cookie then sandwich them together. Try to find two which are similar sizes.
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Butternut squash and apple soup is by far one of my favorite soups and though the ingredients are available all year round, I typically make it in the fall.
It comes from A Year of The Best from The Best of Bridge. It’s a seasonal cookbook that has lots of tasty recipes that have become favorites around our house. Though a lot of what you may find in them may not be whole food recipes, there’s enough of them that are to make it worth keeping the cookbook around, with some real gems scattered throughout. This is one of those gems.
This butternut squash apple soup is easy to make and it barely requires a recipe, once you’ve made it a couple of times. I served this as our first course for Thanksgiving diner this year. I made it ahead and froze it, so come the big day, I could thaw, reheat and serve over little cubes of Camembert cheese sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Yum.
There’s something so great about dipping your spoon into a bowl of rich and creamy butternut squash soup and to get a spoonful of gooey cheese. The cheese melts into a velvety unexpected layer. Of course this is easy to make into a vegan soup by omitting the cheese. It’s still delicious without!
Butternut squash soup with apples and Camembert
6 cups roasted butter squash (approximately 2 medium sized squash)
1 large leek (or 3 small), whites only, sliced
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium onions, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 bay leaf
8 cups of vegetable stock or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 inch cube of Camembert per person, rind removed
To roast the squash, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut each squash in half length wise. Place face down on a baking pan. Roast until soft when poked with the tip of a knife, approximately 45 minutes. Scoop out the seeds and discard (also good for making roasted seeds), scoop out the flesh of the squash using a large spoon and discard the skin.
In a large pot, cook the leeks, carrots and onions with 1 tablespoon of oil until the onions become soft. Add the apples, bay leaf, stock and cooked squash. Simmer for 40 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and blend with an emulsion blender until smooth. Or use a blender or food processor. Just be mindful to let the soup cool down before attempting that! Reheat soup if necessary before serving.
Place a 1 inch cubes of Camembert at the bottom of each bowl. Pour hot soup over cheese and serve immediately.
*Optional: Garnish with bacon bits
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I feel two ways about potlucks. On one hand, they're the only sensible way for a big group to gather and eat together. In all my magazine-reading (have I mentioned how much I love magazines? The paper kind?), I often come across "Easy do-ahead party menus!" that look atrocious. More work than I have ever put into having anyone over in my life. Maybe each step is technically easy, but you'd still have to be unemployed (or have a kitchen staff), hyper organized, and love cooking to pull it off. So potlucks solve this problem.
However, sometimes too many potlucks stack up in one week, and I find they are just as much work (or more) than what I would have made for my family that night. And I have occasionally cursed potlucks, though please don't tell anyone. Puget Sounders are supposed to love them. Always.
I adore people that bring a hot, main dish to potlucks. People with crockpots (I gave mine away as it was suffering from disuse), people with those handy Rubbermaid sets with thermal jackets. If you're one of those, thank you! Keep doing your thing!
As for me and my house, we will supply the salad. It's usually something like this one – brown rice and kale salad with cranberries and pecans. Here's my reasoning:
1. It's vegan and gluten free. And I label it as such.
2. It's filling. Though I'm not a main dish super hero (God bless you!) it's conceivable that someone could eat a load of this and feel fairly satisfied.
3. It's delicious. Have I ever let you down? (Don't chime in if I have. I know readers have slaved over some recipes and been ruinously disappointed. I'm sorry!)
4. It is best served room temperature. (Potluck royalty!)
5. It can sit in its vinaigrette forever and just get better. You don't have to worry about it getting soggy.
6. Crazily, I usually have everything I need for a version of this salad -- grains, greens, homemade vinagrette. If you wash and dry kale and put it in a ziploc bag in the fridge, it lasts a really long time. (Though it gets gobbled up around here. Along with a latte and Triscuits, it's the food I eat almost every day.)
7. It looks bright and beautiful with the macerated cranberries and the green kale. There's never any left.
The very first recipe I posted was something similar – Barley and kale salad with dried cherries and blue cheese. I had taken it to my Mom's birthday party and been accosted with requests for the recipe.
I prided myself on always delivering recipes (handwritten and cobbled together from memory) to people who asked for them, but had the idea of putting it online to save my fingers from so much work. I made up the name on-the-spot, and I've always been glad I didn't think it about it much. Otherwise it wouldn't have happened. (I have a couple dear friends who are contemplating – and contemplating some more! –the idea starting a blog. Just get out there. We'll all be better for it.)
Kale and brown rice salad with cranberries and pecans
You could use white rice, barley, quinoa ... so many other grains here. The important thing is that it's had a chance to cool down a little bit so the grains can separate. If you can't cook it ahead of time and chill it, just spread it out in a very shallow layer, drizzle a little bit of olive oil over it, and stir it occasionally to release the steam.
4 cups cooked grain (I made brown rice in my rice cooker the day before)
1 large bunch curly green kale, de-stemmed, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
2 garlic gloves
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Combine honey, salt and pepper, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil with an immersion blender. (Or with a whisk if you use a garlic press.) Add more of anything to taste. Drop the sliced onions and dried cranberries into the dressing to marinate.
To assemble salad
In a large bowl, combine rice, kale, and dressing. I use my hands. Make sure everything is covered with the vinaigrette. That's what makes this salad. Scatter the toasted pecans over the top and maybe a little more coarse salt and pepper.
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If you are a regular follower of my blog, you'll know how important date night is to my husband and me. If we didn’t set a time aside for just the two of us, I know a month would go by and we’d be asking ourselves, “When was the last time we really did something together?”
I admire those couples that seem to find time for each other every single day or even several times a week. We’ll get there some day. We strive for it. Some weeks are better then others, and then there are weeks like this one, where we get to Friday in a whirlwind and wonder where the week went.
On days like those, I am thankful for easy date night meals. This is one of those. It comes together in 20 minutes. The rest of the night, we can fall into each others arms and just be together. No expectations. No schedule. No big kitchen clean up. Just simply the lightness of being … being together.
Serve with a large green salad to start!
Scallops with golden almonds
6 large scallops or enough for 2 people
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
In a frying pan melt butter with olive oil. Pat the scallops dry using a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with paprika. I use a sweet paprika, but use what you like best. A good-quality Spanish or Hungarian paprika is a world apart from the stuff in the bulk bins!
Once the butter mixture is very hot, add the scallops. Cook for 2 minutes per side (if scallops are 1 inch across, less if they are smaller, more if they are larger) until browned on both sides but not quite cooked through.
Place the scallops on a bed of creamed cauliflower (see below). Add the almonds to the pan and cook until the almonds are brown. Add the lemon juice and stir until combined. Top the scallops with the almond butter sauce.
6 cups cauliflower florets or 1 large head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Strain and return to the pot. Add butter, salt and nutmeg. Using an emulsion blender, purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. A food processor or blender will also work.
Place 1-1/2 cups of cauliflower puree into a wide low rimmed bowl or plate. Top with scallops and browned almonds.
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