"A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of you liking what you made are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one will ever know." (Jenni Ferrari-Adler)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rustic Italian Sweet Pea Soup

I love soup! Soud makes the ideal weeknight dinner.  Its quick to prepare, healthy and loaded with nutrients and vitamins, light enought to one doesn't go stuffed to sleep and yet heathy and comforting.  Growing up my gramma would serve is soup for dinner religiously. My favorite soups are the traditional portuguese kale soup CALDO VERDE and Roasted Tomato Basil soup. 

Last weekend inspired by the sping legumes I decided it was time for sweet pea soup. Got out my copy of Anne Sheasby "The complete book of 400 Soups", and voila, picked out this amazing Italian version of the well known British soup.  Sorry Nigella..... but Italians do it better!

1 large onion (Chopped)
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tbs of olive oil
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 stalk of celery (chopped)
1 lbs bag of frozen peas
750ml (3 cups) low sodium vegetable stock
Salt, pepper
Fresh basil leaves and shaved parmesan to garnish

Saute onion and garlic till onion is slightly translucent. Add carrot and celery, continue sauteing  for another 3 min or so.  Add frozen peas and hot vegetable stock.  Bring it to a rolling boil and then simmer it until peas are cooked throughly (about 20 min)

Process soup in batches in a food processor until smooth. Return soup to the pan.  Season with salt  and pepper to taste. Allow soup to thicken slightly by cooking it in medium high heat for 8-10 min. Be sure to steer it constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom.

if you are blessed with a Bimby (thermomix) like me here is the adapted version

Add quartered onion, garlic and olive oil to the cup and program 5sec/vel 5

Then program 3min/100/1

Add sliced carrots and celery, program 4/100/2 reverse spoon

Finally add peas and vegetable stock program 20/100/2.  Puree soup till smooth 1min/5-7.  Season with salt and pepper. To thicken soup (add basket on top of cup) program 8/varoma/3

Garnish with fresh basil and shaved parmesan

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gordon Ramsay's Herb Crusted Rach of Lamb

Gordon Ramsay is my Idol...... the fucking best lamb chops ever...... here is the recipe

Here is what the result will look like..... I did cheat a little, marinated meat the day before (garlic, salt, herbs, white wine), went lighter on the bread and used panko instead of regular bread crumbs for an extra crunch, on and whole grain dijon mustard will bring it up a notch. Use a thermometer to check for doneness specially if this is the first time you are cooking them.....125F for medium rare, 130F for medium.  Also be sure to bring lamb to room temperature for about 2 hours before cooking so it cooks evenly.

5 starts recommended De-F@#*ing-licious

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scallops in Blackberry Roasted Pepper Sauce

On December 31s, 2010 I had my first experience with scallops. I wasn't quite convinced as to its taste. It tasted kind of blend and it was slightly undercooked which conferred it with a gooey funny texture reminiscent of my brain would think raw snails would feel like.  At the same time is was kind of good, but as it is the case of expensive restaurants you get to pay 30 bucks for one scallop... well unless we are talking about chocolate, one of anything is never enough while determining likes.

After flirting for 5 months with the Mollusca, I picked up a 2lbs bag of the frozen (yes frozen .... you know the rule, no fresh shellfish in months without an R). Call me superstitious.

I came home and stuck it back in the freezer. Finally last weekend I was inspired by an old magazine containing this intriguing combination of peppers raspberries and SCALLOPS..... right on, i though. And without further thought I headed to the kitchen.

Here is the recipe adapted from the July/ August 2010 edition of Clean Eating magazine.

Scallops in Blackberry Roasted Pepper Sauce.

(serves 2)
1 Cup of fresh Blackberries
2 tsp of lemon zest
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 splash of honey
1 roasted red pepper chopped
6 large scallops (20 count)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/4 cup of god quality dry white wine


If using frozen scallops make sure to taw then in the fridge for about 6 hours before cooking them.
In a bowl combine Blackberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and red peppers. Set aside.

Pat dry scallops with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat up a skillet till its hot, add a little olive oil and about 1 spoon of butter maybe 2.  Do NOT let butter burn (make sure you keep stove on medium-medium high). Sear scallops for about 2-3 min on each side till golden.  Remember if there is no color there is no taste. For smaller scallops 1-2 min. Remove scallops from heat place them in a plate covered with aluminum foil and keep warm. 
Deglaze pan with white wine, add the blackberry concoction, and let it simmer for about 4 min (till berries start popping)

We acompaigned it with whole wheat couscous as suggested by the recipe. 

I am proud to announce that i love scallops and can't wait to cook  them again.  Next time Coquilles St. Jacques, bien sure!

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