Miso Glazed Scallops and Greens

Scallops

Tender scallops, browned delicately and served over bok choy.  Yum.  In fact, you could use any greens, however the bok choy looked too good to pass by.

Ready for a 15 minute dinner?  This was so quick I couldn’t believe it.  If you want to make a full meal, just serve over rice.  In fact, by the time your rice is ready, the rest of this tasty dinner will be too. Dripping with the goodness of ginger and garlic the miso glaze adds the perfect amount of sauce to golden scallops.

  • 1 tbsp yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 baby bok chow, quartered lengthwise
  • 10 large sea scallops, patted dry (make sure to remove the side muscle)

GARNISH

  • thinly sliced green onions
  • toasted sesame seeds

Whisk first 4 ingredients and 1 tbsp water in a small bowl to blend.  Set sauce aside.

Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil, and sesame oil in nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add bok choy and cook until just wilted and browned lightly in spots, turning often.  Remove bok choy to serving platter.

To the same skillet, add a bit more of both oils.  Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet.  Sear scallops until brown and just opaque in center, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Pay attention, there is nothing sadder than an overcooked scallop. :o(

Remove pan from heat and nestle the scallops in with the bok choy.

Add miso sauce to skillet, stir just until warm, about 3-5 seconds.  If it seems too thick add a bit more water.

Drizzle sauce over scallops and bok choy.  Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.

I think it took about as long to type this as to cook it ……

SUSHI – (deconstructed and in a bowl!)

deconstructed sushi 2

On a hot night like this it is hard to think of cooking, or even standing over a grill ….. in fact standing and rolling cold items like sushi seemed a bit of a stretch …. this was just perfect – so cold and refreshing and really hit the spot.  Give it a try with any of your favorite sushi ingredients.  Great for a family too – serve it the way I did – on a large platter and let each person make their own bowl up as they go.

SUSHI SAUCE

zest 1 lemon and 1 orange, and reserve

juice of each: 1 lemon, 1 orange

1 tbsp. brown sugar

On medium heat cook on a gentle boil for 2 minutes, stir in:

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. rice vinegar

Heat again on a gentle boil for about 3 minutes until it thickens slightly.

Taste!!!!  I can’t say this enough …. you need to make sure the flavours are balanced, playing with each of the simple ingredients above.  If you think it can stand a bit more citrus, add in the zest.  If you like your sushi spicy, add in either wasabi paste or a minced chili pepper.

Toast nori sheets lightly, just until crispy.  Slice in thin strips, and again dice if you like small pieces or leave it in strips. 

Cook some sushi rice according to directions on rice

Finely slice whatever ingredients you like in your sushi

For us today this included:

imitation crab meat

shrimp

cucumber

carrot

avocado

cabbage

green onions

toasted sesame seeds

But really – use whatever you like!  Put a little rice in the bottom of your bowl, assemble a few of each of the ingredients and lightly drizzle with the sushi sauce – have fun – you will love it!

Seafood Paella

The seafood paella is so versatile, and can easily be transported between economy and luxury depending on what type of seafood you use.  This version is top of the line!  Nothing but delicious fresh shell fish, and  some chorizo sausage for that little bit of heat.

Preheat oven to 350

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cups rice

2 wine cured, dried chorizo sausages, sliced

4 cups chicken stock (hot)

1 tbsp saffron threads

1 tbsp each chopped basil and oregano

1 tsp turmeric

10 scallops

10 prawns (in shell – deveined)

10 clams

10 mussels

2 small lobster tails, split lengthwise

1/2 cup whole black olives

1/2 cup quartered artichokes

1/4 cup minced sun dried tomatoes

6 thin slices each – red, yellow, orange and green peppers

2 lemons

2 tomatoes

scallions (green spring onions)

parsley

In paella pan (or other flat saute pan that can go in the oven) heat oil and saute onion until soft, add garlic and chorizo sausage.  Stir briefly then add dry rice.  Toast rice lightly and continue to stir.

Add saffron threads, turmeric and herbs to chicken stock.

Add chicken stock one cup at a time to rice mixture, allowing rice to absorb liquid before adding more.  Once you have 3 cups chicken stock introduced and the rice is starting to soften, add the artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and olives.  Stir well, and gently nestle the seafood in – pushing the shells deep into the rice so that it is almost covered.  Reserve the lobster tails to arrange last.  At this point most of the liquid should have been absorbed so you can add the last bit of chicken stock.  Arrange the strips of colored peppers in a pinwheel on top of the paella – cover with tin foil and allow to finish in the oven – about 20-30 minutes.

While paella is in the oven, diced the tomatoes and warm gently in a saucepan.

Test for doneness with a fork – gently scoop out some rice and if it is cooked through take a peek to make sure your shells have opened – this should be all the cooking time the fish needs.  The shells are incredible when they fill with the rice mixture hiding the little nugget of a clam or mussel.

Remove from the oven, pile your cooked tomatoes in the center of the dish, and scatter parsley and green onions over top.

Make sure to serve with lemon wedges – encourage everybody to squeeze lemon on their serving – it really brings out the flavour.  Have a spare empty bowl at the table for all the shells.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella – Casa Katarina style

Once upon a time I had a really fun Spanish Tapas Bar … one of our specialties was Paella.  We served either a meat paella, a seafood paella, or the specialty of the house – Paella Parellada combining the best of all!

Olive oil

2 cups rice

4 cups good quality chicken stock (1 tsp saffron threads & 1 tsp turmeric powder added)

3 chorizo sausages, thinly sliced

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks celery, finely sliced

1 zucchini, quartered and sliced

1/2 red and yellow pepper – diced

1/2 cup sliced green beans

1 tsp each dried oregano, parsley, basil

1/2 cup whole olives

1/2 cup quartered artichoke hearts

salt and pepper to taste

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped

lemon wedges

Remember – all recipes are just guidelines!  Use whatever vegetables and meat you have on hand.  This particular recipe is for a meat paella – but feel free to do this with your own appetite in mind.  One of our favorites is a seafood paella – and so impressive!  Watch for a photo of that one of these days …..

Heat olive oil in paella pan (or other casserole style dish that is not too deep and can be used on both the top of the range and in the oven).  When oil has heated, add onions and sweat just until translucent.  Add chicken breast and cook until almost cooked through – stirring just enough to allow bits of carmelization on the meat.  Add the fresh vegetables and saute lightly.  Stir in dry rice, seasonings and stir for a few minutes to allow the rice to heat up a bit, and brown lightly.

Heat chicken stock and dissolve saffron threads along with turmeric powder.

Slowly pour 3 cups of chicken stock into rice/vegetable/meat mixture and allow to cook just until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Stir in the chorizo sausage, olives and artichoke hearts.  Add the rest of the chicken stock if needed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Go creative – add thinly sliced colored peppers to the top around the dish before covering with tin foil, or your lid, and baking at 350 just until rice has full absorbed and is fluffy.

Saute tomatoes only until heated through and pile in the center of your paella – scatter with scallions and parsley.

Be sure to serve with fresh lemon wedges to be squeezed over top – this really brings out the flavour!

Chinese Grilled Pork and Fried Rice

It is May, which is usually when I would prefer to be grilling dinner, or doing anything that doesn’t involve a lot of chopping in the kitchen … however – such a rainy day I didn’t mind the chopping involved in any Chinese dinner!

PORK TENDERLOIN

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound pork tenderloin
1/4 cup hot and sweep bbq sauce

PORK:   In ziplock bag, add soy and oyster sauce, ginger and garlic, and sesame oil. Add pork and let marinate for at least 1 hour in fridge, but much better if left over night.

Heat grill to medium-high, and grill pork on both sides until done. Heat remaining marinade to 165 degrees F and use to baste meat as it cooks. When meat is almost cooked through, glaze both sides with hot and sweet bbq sauce and let finish cooking while sauce caramelizes on meat. Remove from grill, allow to stand for 10 minutes, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

RICE

4 tablespoons canola oil                                                     
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced snap peas
1/2 cup peeled, diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups short-grain white rice, cooked and cooled
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

RICE:  While pork is standing, heat oil in wok or large skillet on high heat until oil almost begins to smoke. Add ginger, and all vegetables except garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked, then add garlic. Before garlic browns, add rice and mix rapidly so rice does not stick to sides of wok or pan.

Once entire mixture is thoroughly combined, push to the side of your wok or frypan, and pour beaten eggs  into a hot spot …. toss until cooked through, and toss with the rice/vegetable mixture.   Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.  Toss well until combined through and rice looks well coated.

Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

If you are would like an additional vegetable dish to round out this meal check out my coconut chili bok choy!

Red Rice Rocks

There are plenty of one bowl dishes to be found – but we think this one is simply the best!  The dressing makes more than you will need but it is amazing in so many ways – I also love to toss vegetables in it before grilling them 

DRESSING

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 generous tbsp tahini paste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

red chili flakes (optional)

1 1/4 – 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Your favorite hearty rice – we like red rice but brown would work well too.

lots of toasted almonds

spring pea shoots

Put the first 6 ingredients in a blender and give a good whiz until blended well – add oil in a slow but steady stream.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  On those days when I feel the need for a little extra winter warmth I add 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes.

SALAD

Spinach, grated carrot, grated beet, and honestly – whatever items in your fridge look appealing to you!  Spinach is a great green to use in this dish because it holds up so well with the hearty ingredients.

To make this a whole party on a plate, I also serve it with cooked chicken, sauted tofu or prawns.

Stir all the ingredients together: rice, vegetables and whatever protein you have decided on (if you want one!) and garnish with plenty of toasted almonds and spring pea shoots.