Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops

Okay some may think it is simple, but have you ever eaten a rubbery scallop?

Not so simple to ‘just cook’ the scallop now is it?

I work with appliances for manufacturers and get to demonstrate the features and benefits. Many times I am trying to make it interesting for me because doing the same old thing gets boring. What I forget about is, I don’t cook to the same audience for every demonstration. Many times the simple things are the best to show.

Sauteing is a basic cooking technique that many do in their kitchen. Some are good at it, many don’t know that they suck at it. Too many times when you cook something you may think that you have to cook it all the way through.

Unless it is a stew, ribs or another braised or smoked item, don’t cook it all the way through.

There is always carry over cooking when you heat the internal moisture of food. The knack is learning when to stop heating your food.

Scallops are prevalent in the area ( I live in New England). This past year I have met a pair of excellent authors on the topic and please check out their book. http://scallopcookbook.com/  by Elaine & Karin Tammi.

When you buy them try to get them dry. This way you are not paying for water weight. You will want to rinse them because sand or a piece of the shell isn’t enjoyable to chew on ­čÖé

Cooking Scallops are easy. They are very versatile. You can broil, grill, fry, poach, steam, smoke and saute them.

Here is a recipe for Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops. Searing them in a pan just like sauteing with very little oil.

Ingredients:

1 lb. Sea Scallops (I used large), rinse and dry on paper towel

3 tablespoons cracked peppercorns

Cooking oil, I used Coconut also, grape seed or canola works well

1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Kosher Salt

Lemon wedges

Method:

Place a heavy gauge saute or non stick pan over a medium high heat.

Dip one side of the scallops into the peppercorns.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and turn to coat*.

Cook the scallops in batches. Place several scallops, pepper side down, onto oiled pan. Don’t crowd them or they will sweat the moisture and no provide a good caramelization.

Let it begin to sear Without shaking the pan. Season scallops with a pinch of kosher salt.

Carefully turn the pan to allow dripping to move to one side. On the high side of the pan add a couple of cubes of butter.

As the butter melts to the bottom of the angled pan, use a spoon and baste the scallops.

After about two minutes lay pan down onto burner and use a spatula to turn them over. Allow them to sear for about a minute and remove to a plate.

Wipe pan with a paper towel and cook remaining scallops the same way.

Serve with lemon wedges or favorite dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

*I used an Induction Cook Top in these photos. As you lift the pan from the cook top it stops heating the pan so you have to baste and lay the pan to heat, then lift it and repeat. Some electric tops have pan sensors that determine when you lift a pan from the heating element. Keep this in mind as you try this recipe or additional searing on the cook top.

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Garden Fresh Potatoes

If you have been wanted to start a garden, begin with potatoes. You don’t need any special equipment or fertilizers just soil, space and a seed or starter potato.

This year I used IKEA bags and filled them with great soil that I used from my compost bin and a bit of vegetable potting soil. Last year I only used the backyard dirt with a bit of compost.

First harvest

I planted red bliss, baby bliss, baby white, Yukon and sweet.

When selecting growing potatoes,wait until a few eyes grow from your potatoes. Keep in mind that todays retail potatoes are, in many times, scarce of the seed crop. Just be patient and you will find a few. Cut them in quarters to separate the eyes and let them air dry for a day. Place into the soil about 6″ deep and water. They will sprout in a week. Keep covering the growth with more soil.

The bags that I used were originally filled about 8″ deep and then I filled them to about 3/4 the height of the bag.

Start carefully digging in the dirt when you see some flowering. Sometimes the taters just start popping out themselves. I planted in March and crop is ready.

Try to eat them fresh picked. The flavor is sweeter and creamier in my opinion.

I Steamed them for about 8 minutes and then roasted them to just brown, with a touch of lemon, butter, salt and pepper.

Try one before you season it to really get a taste of the freshness.

Happy Gardening!

Cucumber Salad, Spicy & Cool

I needed an accompaniment to a grill chicken dish other than salsa and came up with this side.

Obviously you can slice it and garnish for a nice plate presentation but it worked for me as a topping to my marinated and grilled chicken.

Combining a little heat from the pepper, a ginger vinaigrette along with the cool cucumber it worked.

Ingredients:

2 Garden Fresh Cucumbers, peeled and diced (if thicker, scoop out the seeds)

4 Plum Tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 Sweet Onion, diced 1/2″

1 Cubanelle Pepper, seeded and small dice

1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

Vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon minced fresh Ginger

2 Garlic cloves, minced

3 Tablespoons Cup Rice Wine Vinegar

Juice from 1 large Lime

2 Tablespoons honey or agave

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Garnish with Diced Cilantro

Method:

For the Vinaigrette, combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Turn on a low setting, slowly pouring in the olive oil to combine.

Place all vegetables in a bowl and coat with a fair amount of the vinaigrette. Toss to season & adjust if necessary with more dressing or salt. Add in diced cilantro and combine.

This should keep for three days if covered and placed into refrigerator. Although too much salt can drain much of the water from the vegetables.

 

Plate and enjoy!

 

 

Boneless Pork Loin on Rotisserie

There are a few options when using your Rotisserie on your grill or in your oven.

In the oven, the heat source is generally the top broiler unit so set your temperatures on the lower side. Usually the thermostat may read between 400˚- 550˚F. The lower temperature is preferred for a larger roast so as to not burn the outside by the time the center has cooked through.

For this recipe I used an outdoor grill. Many of the grills only have one setting when it comes to Rotisserie temperature. The difference could be there are two setting for the spit rod one on high and one on low. The thickness of the roast can determine which to use so your roast doesn’t hit the grill grates as it is spinning around.

Do Not forget to set a pan beneath the roast so you have some drippings to use if you want to make a sauce or season vegetables. The pan beneath also keeps the grates from getting trashed unnecessarily.

If you want to cook ‘Low & Slow’ that may become your favorite. This method is ideal if you are going to add smoke wood chips to the grill for an amazing flavor.

If you are cooking for tonight’s dinner, there still is some planning for an optimum flavor. A marinade┬ácan provide an excellent flavor enhancement. place the roast in the marinade in the morning and when you cook it for dinner your will appreciate the results.

If you are on the fly you can use a dry rub spice for an alternative flavor.

For a boneless pork loin, you have options as to what side the roast had been cut from. The thicker side should be tied with butchers twine to keep the cut uniform for cooking and slicing.

I used the smaller end of the loin so I did not tie it (okay I was lazy)

Ingredients:

3 lb. Boneless Pork Loin

Marinade:

1/2 cup water

1 dried chili pepper

4 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Juice from 2 limes

3 tablespoons honey or agave

2 tsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp Tamarind Extract

2 tsp kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried onion

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

 

Method:

Combine marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse to a smooth mixture.

Place marinade over pork in a Plastic slip lock bag or container with a lid. Allow the magic to happen for at least 4 hours.

Remove from marinade and spear roast with spit rod. Make sure that you have the one side of tines already attached and just left of the center of the rod. Secure roast with the other set of tines and place onto grill Rotisserie attachment. Make sure to really push the tines into the roast. When it cooks it shrinks and if not secured with the tines they will fall away from and the roast and it will just stay centered not spinning around.

Turn on grill and Rotisserie motor with a pan beneath the roast. Close the lid. Allow 20 minutes per pound. Turn off the Rotisserie motor and check with a meat thermometer for an internal temperature of 160˚F

Carefully remove from spit rod and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I served it with a Pineapple Salsa. This is great sliced thin, placed into a wrap.

Enjoy!

 

Pineapple Salsa

I didn’t go with the heat on this one. I prepared this with a spicy pork loin that I cooked on rotisserie (recipe to follow)

Ingredients:

3/4 of a whole large pineapple – peeled,cored and diced 1/2″

2 yellow bell peppers – seeded and diced 1/2″

1 Cubanelle┬ápepper – seeded and diced 1/2″

1 medium red onion – peeled, small dice

1/8 bunch cilantro – rinsed, dried, loose chop

1 shallot – peeled, minced

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

 

Method:

Combine first five ingredients. Season with dry spices and mix. Add vinegar & oil to combine. Let it sit for at least and hour before use. Stir before serving. Salsa will keep for a few days although after a day you may want to strain it.

Enjoy!