Caramelized Garlic Butter Scallops

Caramelized Garlic Butter Scallops

On Monday,  I got to go up to the mountains to babysit two of my grandsons, Nate (age 6) and Titus (almost 4).  Upon arrival, Nate informed they had a Secret Hide-Out, Only Club Members Allowed.

Nate was not inclined to share the whereabouts of the Hide Out with me,  though Titus,  Mr. Tender-Hearted, was in agony trying to hold back the secret., wanting to blurt it out and take me to it right away.

I knew what had to be done.  I commenced with Nonny Charm: reading books, showing off a bag full of garage-sale-finds toys and crafty items, sharing funny stories about their Daddy and his siblings,  playing with toys in a bucket of water on the porch,  listening to their tales with animated interest, giving them each “critter punch balls” to bounce,  and finally, digging for marbles in The Marble Hole.

Nate getting a little discouraged about the lack of marbles mined from the Marble Hole.

Nate assured me he’d found three marbles in a dirt hole in the yard,  which was about 1 foot deep and 2 feet wide,  and that if I would only do the digging, he’d do the sifting and he was sure we’d find more.  So I picked up the shovel and went to work.  (The things grandmothers do for love.)  Alas, we found a rock, a worm, and one beetle but no marbles.  Later that day,  I placed a text to my son saying, “Well played, Zeke. Well played.  Great way to keep the boys busy, but a heads up: it is time to add a few more marbles to hole.”

At some point, Nate weakened and gave in.  “Okay, Nonny.  Because you are SOOO nice to us, you can be a Club Member and I will now show you our  Secret Hide-Out.”  Whew! I was IN!

The Club House was impressive. You had to climb up a ladder and hold on to a rope to get up inside the second story.  The views of the mountains and deer in the distance were none too shabby.  Super Power Rocks lined the inner sanctum’s walls. Nate offered me a seat a crate beside him, put his hands on knees and began to chat, Club Member to Club Member.  “Nonny, I had a bunch of plastic swords, but Titus chewed on all of them. So my mom is going to get me a new one.

I looked at Titus and said, “Wow, Titus! I didn’t know you were a sword eater!”  Titus responded with a shy head duck. His big blue eyes sparkled as he grinned and gave a little huff of a giggle, then turned his palms up confessing, “Yeah.  I was really hungry.” Like, Whaddaya gonna do? I was hungry. There was a plastic sword. I ate it. End of story. 

I don’t know what it is about babysitting my grandsons but at the end of the day, I always seem to take a long deep nap, and I am so hungry I could eat a bear. Or possibly, a plastic sword.

After I said my goodbyes to the boys, I arrived home and slept for two hours, then woke at 6:00, starving.  Thankfully I had thought to stop by Whole Foods on the way home. Big juicy sea scallops were on sale.   I pulled a dinner together in minutes that looked fit for a King and Queen, or a Club Member belonging to a very special Secret Hide Out.

A friend from the shores of Virginia taught me the easy trick to making incredible scallops, perfectly caramelized, buttery on the outside, and tender on the inside.  This night I served them on some leftover Jasmine rice, with some freshly steamed broccoli and a side of watermelon-feta-mint salad.  The perfect supper to revive a tired Nonny, with minimal effort on my part.  Thankfully,  Greg volunteered to wash the dishes and didn’t even make me dig for marbles to get him to do it.

Caramelized Garlic Butter Sea Scallops

Serves 2 Hungry People …  3 Not Too Hungry, Skinny People:)

These simple ingredients make the most amazing scallops

Ingredients:

8 to 10 Large Sea Scallops about 2 inches in diameter, and an inch thick

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed

½ fresh lemon

Sea Salt to Taste (If you have any fancy  gourmet sea salts on hand, this is the time to use them!)

Few pinches raw sugar

Directions:

Rinse the scallops then pat dry.  Sprinkle both sides of the scallops, very lightly,  with a bit of your best sea salt.  Sprinkle lightly again with little pinches of sugar – just a few grains on each scallop will do.

In to a “screaming hot skillet” put olive oil, butter and garlic cloves, then immediately turn down the heat to medium high.  Add the scallops in the skillet and let simmer in the butter and oil until they are a gorgeous shade of golden brown caramel.  Turn them and cook them on the other side until they are the same golden shade.  The middle should be perfectly done at this point.

Squeeze half a fresh lemon over all and put on a big plate.  (As you can see, I like to surround them with broccoli and lemon quarters.) Stir and scrape any pan juices and drizzle over the scallops.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Caramelized Garlic Butter Scallops
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-A7
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved

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Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies

“I don’t like asparagus. I don’t like broccoli. I don’t like onions. I don’t like garlic. I don’t like vegetables. Well, I do like corn … and potatoes. I like potatoes.”

This was my husband when we first got married.

I don’t remember cooking much in our first year of marriage. In fact, I have no idea what we ate. I hardly have a single memory in that tiny galley kitchen. Between Jared’s aversion to all things that made food delicious to me and the hideous marbled yellow laminate counter tops with cracks on the corners, I must have felt less than inspired.

When we moved to a new town house with a bright white kitchen near Galveston, I suddenly found myself looking for excuses to be in the kitchen. I started shopping at Farmer’s Markets and reading food blogs and became determined to get Jared to love veggies. Little by little, I found ways to prepare certain vegetables in a way he would eat them. He’ll eat onions if they are caramelized or chopped fine and sauteed in a dish. He’ll eat his peas in a split pea soup. And I can get him to eat almost anything wrapped in a tortilla and dipped in salsa. Thank goodness, because in a crazy turn of events, before we moved out of that town home a year later, we had become full on vegans.

The preparation that finally got Jared raving and begging for veggies was roasting them. If it’s coated with a little evoo and seasoning and crisped up to perfection (to him that includes a few burnt bits on the pan), he’s a happy husband and a happy veggie eater!

This method works wonderfully with asparagus, any root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, onions, even chickpeas. Try it with a vegetable you think you don’t like and see if it changes your thoughts on it.

Roasted Vegetables with Roasted Garlic

Roasted vegetables are easy enough to serve up on a weeknight and beautiful enough to serve to guests for a celebration dinner.

Rachel’s
Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies

Ingredients

(Note: The vegetable  list is just a guideline. Use whatever you have in your refrigerator or is on sale at the market. The seasoning ingredients listed are for about 4 cups of vegetables.)

Potatoes, chopped (small, soft-skinned work great, but Idaho & sweet potatoes are wonderful too)

Carrots, chopped

Onions, quartered (leave one end in tact so they don’t get burnt)

Peppers (bell peppers, sweet tri colored peppers, poblanos) (seeded & quartered)

Broccoli (cut into “trees”)

Cauliflower  (cut into “trees”)

Zucchini (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)

Squash (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)

2 T (maybe more) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

2 t. Salt

2 t. Pepper

1 T. Italian Seasoning Blend

A full head of garlic

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Put all the veggies except the garlic in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle 2 tbs of olive oil over the veggies. Toss until all of the veggies are lightly coated, adding more olive oil if needed. Don’t drench them or you’re veggies won’t get crisp. (The amount of olive oil varies because some veggies soak up more, like cauliflower, and others hardly absorb any, like peppers.)

Add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and toss again. Pour veggies onto the cookie sheet and spread around. If they are piled on top of each other, use a second pan.

Take the garlic, remove the lose skin, and chop the top of the head off the garlic so the inside of each clove is exposed. Place the bulb on a piece of foil and drizzle the top of the bulb with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the clove. Add the foil wrapped garlic onto the pan of veggies (sitting upright). Check this tutorial out if you need a visual.

Bake the veggies and garlic for approximately 40 minutes. The potatoes and carrots take the longest to cook, so cook until they are soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.

Remove the garlic from the foil and allow to cool for a few minutes. Carefully either squeeze the garlic out (like toothpaste), or use a fork to remove each clove. Toss in with the roasted veggies. The garlic is delicious and really elevates roasted veggies! Your friends will most definitely track you down for the recipe. Trust me.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/24/balsamic-roasted-garlic-veggies


Sesame Broccoli Slaw

Today, a new mom friend asked when she would ever feel like herself again after quitting her job and becoming a mother full time. At first I chuckled and thought about saying, “I think it will be about 30 years from now!” Then I recalled there was a moment after Jackson was born, when I first felt like my old self again.

He was about three months old and Jared and I were desperate for a night to ourselves. Money was tight, though, now that I wasn’t working and bills for the two day hospital visit were piling up. The amount we owed to doctors was growing faster than Jackson was! Despite our empty bank account, we called the grandparents and asked if they could watch Jackson for the evening. They happily obliged.

We couldn’t afford to go out to eat, but with the few groceries we had on hand and a little creativity I planned to turn our patio into the finest bistro in town. (The competition isn’t too steep in Small Town, Texas!) Before we dropped Jackson off, Jared and I prepped all the food, cleaned the house, hid all the baby gear away, and set up a table on the back patio. I got dolled up, putting on a dress and heels for the first time in months, thrilled to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes.

When we returned to our home “bistro,”  all was ready for wining and dining. It was a perfect fall evening with just the slightest chill in the air. A bowl of delicious homemade vegetable soup and a bottle of Pinot Noir kept us plenty warm while we chatted the night away.

I remember stopping mid-sentence and saying to Jared, “We are talking, like really talking, and I’m actually able to focus on what we are saying!” The newborn haze had lifted for at least an evening and I felt like my old self again. I’d forgotten how much I loved spending the day in the kitchen, and evenings together, with the first love in my life. It was in that moment I realized though motherhood will forever change me, and in ways I’m really grateful for, I still need to make room in my life for the things that inspire and energize me. I’ll be a better mother for it.

One of my favorite creations from our romantic evening was an Asian-inspired Sesame Broccoli Slaw I served as our appetizer salad. It was crunchy, tangy, sweet, and easy to make ahead so it was waiting for us when we arrived at The Back Porch Bistro.

Rachel’s
Sesame Broccoli Slaw

Serves 2 as a side salad or appetizer, probably up to 4 as a side dish.

Ingredients

2 cups Broccoli, thinly sliced into ribbons
2 cups Carrots, thinly sliced into ribbons
4 tbs Rice Vinegar
2 tbs Olive Oil
2 tbs Organic Sugar
2 tbs Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Salt

Directions

Slice the broccoli and carrots into ribbons as thin as you can. (A vegetable peeler works great to “cut” the carrots really thin. Just start about half way up the carrot and peel, peel, peel lovely little ribbons. Then start over with the upper half of the carrot.) In a bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle and the carrots and broccoli soften up. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Sesame Broccoli Slaw
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/03/20/sesame-broccoli-slaw/
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved