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Score Big Smiles with Seared Sea Scallops with Leek Risotto and Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce

Sea scallops are one of those foods that are an occasional treat around our house. They are one of the favorite seafood meals for all three of us, but the cost of sea scallops today make them pretty prohibitive to have often. Even when you can get them on sale, they are very often still around twenty dollars per pound. However, once you are eating them and they are cooked correctly, you tend to forget all about the price and wonder why you do not have them more often. Scallops, like all seafood, requires attention when cooking so that you do not turn them into little disks of rubber and ruin your meal. You can cook them pretty easily, putting a nice sear on them for some color and flavor, in just a few minutes, and when you can find some great dishes to complement the rest of the meal, you will hit a home run. Such is the case with this recipe I tried from Serious Eats for seared sea scallops with a leek risotto and lemon-brown butter sauce. It sounds fancy and complicated, but it is pretty easy to make (save for the stirring of the risotto).

Seared Sea Scallops with Leek Risotto and Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce

For the Leek Risotto:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice 

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock if you do not use wine)

5 to 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock or water, kept warm

3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)

2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated (from about 1 large lemon)

1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce:

5 tablespoons butter 

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Scallops:

8 to 10 large dry-packed sea scallops (about 3/4 pound), dried thoroughly with towels

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as vegetable, canola, or grape seed 

2 tablespoons pickled pepper (optional)

For the Leek Risotto: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice turns translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the leeks and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the leeks are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer, stirring, until the wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of warm stock and stir the rice mixture until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth in 1/2-cup additions, and stirring until the liquid is absorbed before the next addition, until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes. The rice can be kept warm at this point until you are ready to finish cooking.

 

When you are ready to finish, stir in enough warm stock to loosen the risotto to a creamy consistency. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, mascarpone, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the risotto is finished, the grains of rice should be suspended in a thick and creamy sauce; if the risotto thickens too much, simply add additional warm stock or water to restore the risotto to the proper consistency.

 

Meanwhile, for the Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce: Add the butter to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring and swirling the pan every few seconds until the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn golden brown and smells nutty, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the garlic and let it sizzle for about 10-15 seconds, then add the lemon juice. Season the butter with salt and pepper; keep warm.

 

For the Scallops: Season the scallops with salt. Let the scallops stand in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

 

Remove the salted scallops from the fridge and pat them dry with paper towels. Season the scallops lightly with a little more salt. Heat the vegetable oil in a large stainless steel cast-iron skillet set over high heat until the oil is lightly smoking. Add the scallops, leaving space between each one. Press each scallop down very gently with a spatula to ensure good contact with the pan.

 

Cook the scallops without moving them until they are well browned on the first side, about1-2 minutes. Carefully flip the scallops and cook them until they are seared on the opposite side and medium-rare within, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the scallops to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. To serve the meal, scoop the risotto into warmed bowls or warmed plates, top the risotto with the scallops, and drizzle the scallops with the sauce. Top with a few pickled peppers, if using.

Okay, making risotto is always a bit of a chore because you have to constantly stir it to get the liquid absorbed properly so the rice comes out right. Many people today are making use of their Insta-Pot or pressure cooker to make risotto. I have yet to give it a try myself but some people swear by the results and say it is worth it so if you can do it, go for it. I didn’t mind the stirring all that much (consider it your workout for the day). The flavor of the risotto was very creamy and the leeks really shine through in the dish. The scallops are cooked very simply so that you get the best flavor of the scallops and Michelle and I loved the lemon-brown butter sauce as a topping for it all. I think this is an easy and delicious way to cook your scallops. You could serve it with a nice side of asparagus, broccoli or peas and you have a great meal (don’t forget to use the rest of your white wine from the recipe to go with dinner; it’s a nice touch and pairs well with the meal).

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Seafood

 

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The Food Lab: How to Roast the Best Potatoes of Your Life | Serious Eats

As easy as roasting potatoes may sound, getting the potatoes to come out just right with the perfect combination of crispy and crunchy outside with a creamy inside is not as simple as it seems. More often than not I find I struggle in getting the combination perfect and either get ptoatoes too crunchy outside and dried out inside or moist inside but not crunchy. Well Serious Eats seeks to make the process easier for you and I by showing just what you need and what you have to do to create the perfect roasted potatoes any time. Check it out!

Source: The Food Lab: How to Roast the Best Potatoes of Your Life | Serious Eats

 

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Here’s a Beef for You – Herb Crusted Round Roast with Parmesan Black Pepper Popovers

I do not typically buy a lot of eye round to using my cooking. It is not because we do not like to eat it; the fact is very often the pieces are just too large for just the three of us so unless I was making something for crowd for a special occasion it does not really make much sense for us. However, I am always a sucker for a good sale so if something is a really good price I am willing to take the plunge and make the investment in. Such was the case recently when our local supermarket had large pieces of eye round for a very cheap price. It meant looking for a piece that was not too big but was one that I could cut up into portions that would be the appropriate size for the three of us and allow me to freeze the rest. I was able to cut the roast that I chose into three decent sized portions so that we will be able to get at least three separate meals from the roasts. It was then a matter of finding a recipe that looks good where we could cook the roast without having it get dried out or tough, which is one of my typical complaints about many eye round roasts that you get. I came across this recipe from Serious Eats for a herb crusted round roast with Parmesan black pepper popovers that, even though it sounds complicated, is a very easy recipe to make and came up with great results.

Herb-Crusted Round Roast with Parmesan-Black Pepper Popovers

For the Popovers:

3 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup milk

3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

For the Beef:

3-pound beef eye of round roast, trimmed of fat

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

3 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon grain mustard

For the Horseradish Cream:

1/2 cups sour cream

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice from one lemon

For the popovers, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 400°. Place two muffin tins in the oven to preheat; note that you will be using about 18 of the tins.

Combine the eggs, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, milk and Parmesan cheese in a blender using a low-speed setting. Do not over mix. Remove the muffin tins from the oven, quickly spray the tins with cooking spray and pour the batter into the tins, filling eighteen wells halfway. Place the muffin tins in the oven and bake the popovers until they are puffed up and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the popovers from the oven and cool them on a wire rack in the tins.

For the beef, while the popovers are baking, season the roast with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed, oven-safe roasting pan until the oil is shimmering. Add the roast and cook, turning it occasionally, until it is well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a large platter and set it aside.

Add the thyme, sage, parsley, oregano, paprika, garlic, mustard and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to a blender or food processor. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse it until it forms a paste. Generously rub the herb mixture on the roast. Return the roast to the Dutch oven or roasting pan. When the popovers are done, reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Transfer the Dutch oven or roasting pan to the oven and roast the beef until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast registers 125° for medium rare or 135° for medium, about 1 hour. Remove the roast from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the roast with foil and allow it to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.

For the sauce, while the roast is resting, combine the sour cream, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Return the popovers to the oven to reheat them for about 5 minutes.

Carve the roast, arrange the slices on a platter and serve them immediately with the Horseradish cream and the popovers.

While this is certainly an elegant looking meal, it is simple enough where you could do this on a weeknight if you felt like having a beef roast. The roast came out perfectly, with a nice pink center and it was not tough at all. The herb crust on the outside added some very nice flavor to the beef. The popovers were very nice addition and made a great side dish that was very easy to do. I did not make the horseradish sauce to go with the beef since I am the only one who eats Horseradish but under normal circumstances I think it would be pretty tasty. I served this with some fresh green beans and some mashed potatoes and we made some gravy with the drippings that were left from the meat and the gravy really helped to punctuate the deliciousness of the meal. Since I still have some beef in the freezer, this is certainly a recipe that I would fall back on again since it went over so well.

That is all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Beef, Breads, Cooking, Dinner

 

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You Can Bake a Cherry Pie Very Long John, Just Bake This One

The season for fresh cherries is pretty short so if you like cherries you want to make the most of the time you have them, which is right now. For me cherries are great to just snack on, but there are lots of great things you can do with them as well. They make a great addition to dishes using duck or pork, but naturally everyone thinks of dessert right away when they think of cherries. I am a big pie fan myself, so making cherry pie seems like the natural thing to do. Now the idea of pitting several pounds of cherries does not really appeal to me, as I am sure it doesn’t for a lot of people. However, if you really like cherry pie and want to make some of your own, you can make a good compromise and use some frozen cherries mixed with fresh cherries. The frozen cherries, like most frozen fruit, are packaged and frozen when the cherries are ripe so they have good flavor and the pitting has already been done for you. If you mix this together with some fresh cherries you pit yourself, it makes things a lot easier. If you really want to streamline things, and I did, it is worth investing in a good cherry pitter. I have one from OXO that does a fantastic job instead of doing it myself with a paring knife and ending up with cherry stained hands and cramps in my fingers. Once you have a plan for your cherries, you want to try this cherry pie recipe from Serious Eats. It’s the best cherry pie recipe I have ever tried.

Homemade Cherry Pie

For the Filling:

5 heaping cups pitted cherries from about 2 pounds whole fruit (6 heaping cups), or a mix of frozen cherries and fresh pitted cherries

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 small lemon

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon tapioca starch 

Pie dough from your favorite recipe for a double crust or 2 store-bought pie crusts

For the Egg Wash:

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

 1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

To Serve (optional):

Fresh or store-bough whipped cream

For the filling: Combine the pitted cherries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and tapioca starch in a large bowl, folding the ingredients with a flexible spatula until they are well combined. Scrape the cherries into the prepared pie shell and top with the remaining dough, using a solid sheet, cutouts, or a lattice-top design. Trim away the excess dough and refrigerate the pie to ensure that the top crust is completely chilled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and pre-heat to 400 degrees.

 

For the egg wash (if using): Whisk the egg, egg yolk, heavy cream, and salt in a small bowl. Brush the wash over the chilled top crust in a thin, even layer. This will give the crust a glossy, golden sheen, but it is not necessary in any way.

 

Place the chilled pie on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake the pie in the oven until the crust is golden, about 1 hour, then loosely cover the pie with tented foil. Alternatively, an empty baking sheet can be placed on the topmost rack of the oven to serve as a shield. Continue baking the pie until the filling is bubbling even in the very center of the pie, about 15 minutes more. If the crust completely covers filling, bake the pie until the pie reaches an internal temperature of 213 degrees on an instant-read digital thermometer inserted into the pie. The time can vary considerably depending on the thickness and type of pie plate, the amount of top crust, how long the pie was refrigerated, etc.

 

To serve: Cool the pie until it is no warmer than 85 degrees  on an instant-read digital thermometer inserted into the pie, about 3 hours depending on the type of pie plate you use. At higher temperatures, the filling will be runny and thin. Slice the pie into wedges with a sharp knife, pressing firmly against the bottom and sides of the pie plate to ensure the under-crust is completely cut. If you like, serve the pie with whipped cream. Wrapped in foil, the leftovers will keep up to 3 days at room temperature; warm the pie for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven to revive the crust before serving.

This pie turned out perfectly. In the past when I have made cherry pie, even if I used cornstarch or tapioca, it always seemed to run too much. This one held together perfectly, even with using frozen cherries that I thought for sure would bleed out. The tapioca was just the right amount and chilling the pie for 30 minutes before cooking seemed to help in holding everything together and making the perfect crust. You can mix and match the cherries to suit what you like, using sweet and sour cherries if you like. A couple of things to note that Serious Eats comments on: first, the ratio of fruit to sugar in this recipe helps to boost the tapioca starch so that it gelatinizes well. Second, use a glass pie plate if you can because it helps to crisp the bottom crust well so it cuts nicely and holds up. A final note from me is that I used instant tapioca since I couldn’t find tapioca starch at any local store here. I was worried about how well it would work instead of tapioca starch but all went well for me. This pie is easily one of my favorites.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2016 in Cooking, Dessert, Fruit, Pie, Uncategorized

 

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22 Supermarket Items You Should Leave on the Shelf (and What to Get Instead) | Serious Eats

Even under the best of circumstances, most of us are going to have days or nights where you want your dinner to be as easy as possible. Beyond getting your meals from a restaurant or take out place, this means buying items that make cooking fast and easy for you and your family. Unfortunately, many of these items really aren’t any easier than doing it yourself, cost more, and do not taste as good as what you can do on your own. Instead of giving up quality, there are many things you can do very easily for yourself that can make any meal you make taste even better, even the simplest ones. Serious Eats has put together 22 items that you should try to avoid buying and instead make use of better tasting alternatives, often things you can do all on your own, to save you money and give you better flavor. Check it out!

Source: 22 Supermarket Items You Should Leave on the Shelf (and What to Get Instead) | Serious Eats

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Cooking, Cooking Tips, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Herbs, Pantry, Spices

 

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A Spicy Start to Spring with Crispy Potato and Chorizo Tacos

While the weather here has not completely warmed up to my liking just yet, it is slowly getting there. We had another 3 inches or snow of snow this past Friday but luckily most of it has melted away already, even though it has been windy and chilly here. the promise of spring is coming with warmer weather on the horizon towards the end of this week so maybe I will actually be able to walk out onto the back lawn without worrying about slipping and falling on the ice. in the meantime, I decided to warm things up in the kitchen a little bit by making a nice spicy meal for dinner the other day. I had picked up some freshly made chorizo when I went shopping and wanted to make something with it that was quick and easy so I decided to try out this recipe, which I found at Serious Eats, for crispy potato and chorizo tacos. With only a few ingredients needed it seemed like an easy meal that would come together quickly and promised to taste great.

Crispy Potato and Chorizo Tacos

1 pound russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 large potatoes)

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon white vinegar

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 pound fresh chorizo

12 warm soft tortillas, corn or flour, for serving

1 onion, minced, for serving

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

Homemade or store-bought salsa or salsa verde, for serving

Avocado slices, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

2 limes cut into 8 wedges each, for serving

Place the diced potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook until the potatoes are just cooked through, about 5 minutes after coming to a boil. Drain the potatoes and let them rest over sink until they are mostly dry.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is lightly smoking. Add the dry potatoes, shake the pan to distribute the potatoes and oil around the pan, and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally until the potatoes are very crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a medium non-stick or cast iron skillet set over high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until it is heated through. Continue cooking, stirring and tossing frequently, until all the liquid has evaporated from the pan, some fat breaks out, and the chorizo starts sizzling, and eventually is quite dry and well-browned, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the cooked chorizo to the pan with the potatoes. Toss the ingredients to combine them and season to taste with salt. Serve the chorizo and potato mixture immediately with tortillas, onions, cilantro, salsa, avocado slices, sour cream and limes on the side.

This meal comes together as quickly as any traditional taco meal might and you get something different for sure. I really liked the combination of the potatoes and chorizo and the heat and spice of the chorizo transferred really nicely to the rest of the dish. Combine it into a taco with some fresh avocado slices, salsa and sour cream and you have a real treat. I think Sean was little skeptical when I told him what I was making, but it seemed to go over pretty well for dinner as he gobbled up several of the tacos for dinner. you want to get the potatoes really crispy and the chorizo nicely browned and crispy to really get the most out of it. I think this dish worked really well and I’ll be making it again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Potatoes

 

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21 Sandwiches for Your Game Day Spread | Serious Eats

21 Sandwiches for Your Game Day Spread | Serious Eats.

I have been really busy work and stuff around the house this week with Michelle leaving on a business trip so I haven’t had much time for blogging the last few days. I should be able to get back into a rhythm next week, but for now here are some more great Super bowl party ideas. If you are looking to try some great sandwiches for the big game, Serious Eats has put together 21 sandwich recipes to wow your crowd. Try them on game day or any time, because a good sandwich is always a great option. Check it out!

 

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