As I mentioned before, we are making some changes to the food intake here at home. It’s been about two weeks, and although I am still 5’3″ and myopic, I have enjoyed the challenge that comes with preparing gluten free foods. Before going head first in to this dietary change, I considered trying the Mediterranean style of eating. i distinctly remember there being a Mediterranean diet boom about 10 or 12 years ago. It followed the surge in Atkins and low or no carbohydrate eating styles. We had a book, I think it was eggplant colored with images of rolling Tuscan hills or something Mediterranean-esque on the cover. I don’t think I made one single thing out of that book and subsequently donated it to the first used book sale I encountered.
Fast forward to 2014 and I’m thinking about lifetstyle, well, mainly I’m thinking I’d like to take a vacatin to the mediterranean and do some hands on research. Seriously, I’ve plateaued with calorie counting and measuring and am ready to just eat without having to think about it. The Mediterranean approach appeals because it has a lot of foods at its core that I like:
- almonds, walnuts, pecans
- brussel sprouts
I have fallen into a weekly meal rut because I know there are certain meals up my sleeve that I can make in a pinch and others that I can make with my eyes closed, I’ve done it so often. Monday through Friday, the menu is the same for dinner, it just the order in which it’s presented that gets the shake up. Standard dinner fare includes:
- tacos or fajitas
- chicken picata
- breakfast for dinner
- hot dogs, pizza, or chicken nuggets (that remains a Friday staple)
I’m not saying that I can’t stick to this routine now that we’re trying GF, but I’d rather branch out a bit and see what else I can incorporate into the rotation. Aside from the Mediterranean cookbook I have, I also used the Epicurious app that I have on my iPad. I know, I was just decrying the prevalence of apps yesterday, but bear with me. This app has been useful when I’ve got a handful of ingredients and I’m not sure how to put them together. I’d never make it on that show “Chopped”, when they give you a picnic basket filled with random fridge ingredients and then you have to make a three course meal. I plug in what I’m working with and the app provides me with some recipes that include what I have. Sure I may have to sub a vegetable or a protein, but overall, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction that comes with preparing a new dish with what you have on hand and having it come out right.
The other night, I found some scallops in the freezer and some asparagus in the fridge. I was tempted to just make breakfast for dinner, but wanting to capitalize on the new cookbook, I started thumbing through the index. The recipes looked great, but either I was missing some key ingredients or the protein called for something other than scallops. I fired up Epicurious, typed in what I had and bingo! Scallops with Asparagus! It’s very reminiscent of chicken picata, truth be told, it basically the same thing, minus the capers. No matter, the buerre blanc was new and topping it with the asparagus made it aesthetically pleasing to my chefs in training, gathered around the table. When I look as this photo, I should have garnished it with a lemon peel or something! Lemon garnish or not, it was delicious and certainly something that can be done again.
Happy Friday, y’all!
- 1 lb medium asparagus
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lb large sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
- Trim asparagus, then cut stems into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).
- Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté half of scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops with tongs to another plate as cooked.
- Wipe out skillet with paper towels, then add remaining tablespoon oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté remaining scallops, turning over once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total, transferring to plate. (Do not wipe out skillet after second batch.)
- Carefully add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Add any scallop juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.
- Add asparagus and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
- Serve scallops topped with asparagus and sauce.