Search results for 'scallops'

Wicked Caramelized Sea Scallops

1 Mar

This past weekend Matt and I took an itty bitty teeny-weeny little tiny mini vacation to see the musical Wicked in Birmingham.  While I had great plans to sew a skirt especially for the occasion, I just didn’t have enough time to finish narrow hemming four layers of thin, silky fabric before we left.  And it’s a shame, too, because one of the leads in the production wore a very similar skirt in one of the scenes of the musical.  Instead, I decided to wear a beautiful store-bought dress that has been hanging unworn in my closet for a while.

While we were in Birmingham, we stopped by Whole Foods to do a little shopping (but mostly to just look and drool).  We brought home some gorgeous 10-count sea scallops that I cooked that evening for dinner.  Those of you who know me, know that I am a die-hard baker — I love that baking is very scientific and follow-the-directions.  I am less fond of cooking since it is more art than science (back to the whole OCD/control-freak bit again).  Scallops are one thing that I like to cook, though, thanks to the excellent directions in this cookbook.

I first learned about Thomas Keller when Matt and I were in Napa Valley a few years ago.  While we didn’t eat at any of his restaurants, I sure wanted to.  When we got home, I purchased the French Laundry and ad hoc at home cookbooks.  I don’t know that I’ll ever make anything from the French Laundry but I do use ad hoc on a pretty regular basis.  The roasted chicken has become a regular on my table (I’ll share it with you sometime), and his ice cream is divine.

These scallops are extremely easy to prepare and are almost fool-proof.  I recommend waiting until you can find really large scallops — like those that are 12 or less to the pound — so that your dish will turn out successfully.  This dish is definitely one that you could serve to impress guests but also works well as a quick, light meal on a busy night (like it was for Matt and I after we spent 4 hours on the road home from Birmingham and made a detour by the state farmers’ market in Montgomery).

A few notes about this simple recipe to ensure it succeeds without a glitch:

1.  Try to use the specified brand of Kosher salt.  If you can’t find it or don’t have it, measure your salt by weight, not volume.  In other words, if you don’t have Diamond Crystal, weigh out 5 ounces of salt — don’t use a measuring cup.

2.  Do not use olive oil.  Olive oil is not well-suited for high-heat cooking and may scorch.  You could use canola or vegetable oil if you had to, but clarified butter really is the best.

3.  To clarify butter, simply melt 1/2 stick of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Pour it into a small, narrow glass.  Let it sit until the milk solids have settled to the bottom and you see two distinct layers.  Skim the foam off the top and discard.  Carefully pour the clear yellow liquid off the top into another small container (this is your clarified butter).  Discard the milk solids that remain in the bottom.

4.  Use a stainless steel pan.  It will caramelize the scallops better than a nonstick pan.

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Serves 6
 
1 cup (5 ounces) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cups boiling water
8 cups cold water
1 dozen large (8-10 count per pound) or 1 3/4 pounds sea scallops
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 lemon (optional)
 

Line a small baking sheet with paper towels.  In a large bowl, combine the salt and boiling water, stirring to dissolve the salt.  Stir in the cold water.  Add the scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes but no longer as the scallops may become too salty.  Remove from the brine and rinse under cold water.  Place on a single layer on the baking sheet to drain.

Heat the clarified butter in a large stainless steel frying pan over medium-high heat until it ripples and smokes.  Sprinkle the scallops lightly with salt then add to the pan without crowding (scallops should not touch — cook in two batches if necessary).  Cook, without moving the scallops, until the bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes.  Turn the scallops and caramelize the second side.

Transfer the scallops to a serving platter and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice on top, if desired.

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Me Made May ’13 — Part 2

20 May

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Well, the month of May is almost 2/3 of the way done and I’m proud to report that I am holding strong on my Me Made pledge.  I have even managed not to repeat any items so far!  I will likely have to repeat something this week, though, as I am running out of items and I can’t sew fast enough to keep up (but don’t think I haven’t been trying!).  So without further ado, here’s May 10-19:

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Me Made: Sandra Betzina Vogue 1045 blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity Jeans, Cole Haan purse, New York and Co. necklace, red patent flats

 

May 10 (Friday) — We joined some friends and attended our local annual Rotary Steak Cookoff.  While the location was moved this year because of threatening weather, the grills were still going strong and we enjoyed tasting lots of different steaks.  In this photo, I am posing with my friend Catherine in front of one of the team’s displays.  It was too funny not to have a photo-op!

 

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Me Made: Renfrew #1
RTW: Kluster necklace, Citizens jeans, coral Cole Haan wedges

 

May 11 (Saturday) — Since this was the first weekend my husband and I have had to ourselves in a while, we drove to Pensacola, Florida (just across the state line) and had lunch at a cute little burger joint downtown called the Tin Cow.  They also had delicious milkshakes and I can’t pass up a milkshake.  After our lunch, we went to Joe Patti’s to pick up fresh sea scallops for Mothers’ Day dinner, to Four Winds market for steaks, and then met up with Matt’s dad and sister for dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 1808 shorts
RTW: New shoes T-shirt from Nordstrom

 

May 12 (Sunday/Mothers’ Day) — For the majority of the day, Mr. Homemaker and I piddled around the house doing chores and preparing food for dinner guests.  That evening my parents, sister, nieces, future brother-in-law, and friends Leslie and Danny came over for surf and turf.  Matt grilled the steaks and I prepared the scallops from Ad Hoc at Home that I have posted before as well as a Caesar salad and baked potatoes.  My sister brought bread, dessert, and sweet tea.  It was great to spend time with my family and friends.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Simplicity 2648
RTW: LOFT jacket, Nordstrom belt, Cole Haan wedges, The Limited necklace

 

May 13 (Monday) — Back to work this day and wearing a pre-blog Simplicity 2648 in a ponteroma knit.  This dress is a little big now but it’s okay when covered with a belt and jacket.

 

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Me Made: Vogue 8032 top
RTW: Old white belt, Nordstrom pencil skirt, Nine West pumps

 

May 14 (Tuesday) — Sorry for the blurry nighttime iPhone photo.  This day was just business as usual with a full day in the office.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Margarita Tank Top
RTW: Citizens jeans, black flats, Kenneth Cole necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 15 (Wednesday) — My day off was spent sewing a new top (see May 17), getting a hair cut, and seeing a house with my realtor.  This tank top was refashioned from one of my husband’s old T-shirts using the A La Mode Margarita Tank Top pattern.  I haven’t blogged this top but I think it is a nice little pattern for a tank.  Next time I make it, though, I will lengthen it a bit and lower the arm holes a tad as they are a bit constricting.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Jalie 2921
RTW: Kenneth Cole ponte pants; red patent flats; Kenneth Cole necklace

 

May 16 (Thursday) — Back to the office this day but nothing exciting to report.  This Jalie 2921 is unblogged and largely unworn because I don’t like the ties.  But when I pulled it out to wear it, I decided to try wrapping the ties around and knotting them in the back and I loved the effect it gave the top so I think this will be getting a lot more wear now.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged, brand new Simplicity 1664 top
RTW: LOFT capris, Kluster necklace, Donald Pliner red patent slides

 

May 17 (Friday) — TGIF and the weather was beautiful so my stepson and I put the top down on the convertible and drove to the local Marriott Grand Hotel to take pictures of my brand new Simplicity 1664 top.  Can I just tell you, I LOVE THIS TOP!  It fits true to the pattern sizing (must be because it is a “Threads” pattern and not standard Big 4).  I didn’t do a full bust adjustment, just graded one size up in the bust area.  It sewed up really easily and was completed in 2 evenings’ time.  I will give it a dedicated blog post soon.

 

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I offered Kris $5 if he could catch a mullet jumping in the background of one of my photos.  Well, I owe him $5 now — can you see the fish?

 

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My handsome stepson/photographer, Kristofer

 

 

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The grounds at the Hotel are beautiful.  Mr. Homemaker and I try to find a reason to have a weekend staycation there at least once or twice a year.

 

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Me Made: McCall’s 6654 skirt
RTW: Nordstrom chambray shirt, Silpada necklace, Frye shoes, old belt

 

May 18 (Saturday) — I have been on call this weekend so that keeps me close to home and pretty free of major plans.  On the up side, though, it allows lots of time for sewing and other crafty pursuits!  I whipped up this skirt to wear in the span of about an hour and that included time spent waffling about which size to cut and measuring the pattern pieces.  You can read more about my experience in my last post.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Vogue 8887 halter top
RTW: Nanette Lepore skirt, Kluster necklace, Steinmart shoes

 

May 19 (Sunday) — This is also a new, unblogged top — Vogue 8887.  I sewed this halter up in a silk I got on sale from Sawyer Brook.  This pattern gave me fits and I am not 100% happy with the final product.  At least in this photo you can’t see all the things that drive me crazy.  I will try to get this one blogged soon, too.  My husband snapped this photo in the middle of our picturesque downtown.  Our city swaps out the flowers on all the street corners regularly but the May planting is always one of my favorites with the star-gazer lilies.  We even have flowers on top of our trash cans 🙂

Well, that’s all for now.  We’ll see how many more days I can hold out before I have to repeat something!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Impress Your Guests Roasted Chicken

23 Apr

I had planned to give you this recipe before Easter.  Sorry.  I had a crazy number of birthday cakes to bake and numerous other obligations that kept me from typing the last few steps of the recipe and clicking publish.  But better late than never, right?

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a recipe for a showstopping main dish — a dish that will silence your harshest critic, boost your kitchen confidence, and go from oven to table with minimal effort.

The method for this recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks that I have mentioned before, but I have modified the ingredients to suit my own tastes.  Originally, the chicken was cooked on a bed of root veggies such as rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips.  I have made the original version before, but we prefer my modified version.  So feel free to adapt it as you see fit.

There are a few steps that will ensure your chicken is top-notch.  First, plan ahead and leave your chicken uncovered in the fridge for a day or two.  This will give your chicken nice crispy skin once roasted.  At first you may be repulsed by the idea of leaving a bare chicken in your fridge.  I sure was.  Once you eat the naked chicken, however, you will start advertising your refrigerator as a nudist colony for poultry 🙂

Second, make sure your chicken is at room temperature before you put it in the oven — don’t put it in the oven straight out of the fridge.  Also, truss your chicken to help it cook more evenly.  See this video here for a great demonstration on how trussing is done (but please don’t let your hair hang in your chicken).

Make sure to cook the chicken to the proper temperature.  My chicken was a roaster and came with its own little temperature gauge that popped out when it reached 160 degrees (and it was accurate).  But it is definitely a good idea to invest in a meat thermometer like you see in the top photograph (for around $10).  Finally, be sure to let the chicken rest on the cutting board for 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.  This will ensure that every bite of your bird is extra juicy and moist.

 

Whole Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Vegetables

One 4- to 4 1/2-pound chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
6 thyme sprigs
8 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
8 cipollini onions, whole (you could substitute 2 or 3 small, quartered yellow onions)
8 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
8 small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
 
  1. Let chicken stand uncovered in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days to dry out the skin.
  2. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  4. Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken.  Cut out the wishbone with a paring knife to make carving easier.  Generously season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and 5 of the thyme sprigs, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors.  Truss the chicken (see video link above).
  5. Combine all the veggies and the remaining garlic and thyme in a large roasting pan or iron skillet.  Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Rub the remaining oil all over the chicken.  Season generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it.  Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and place over the chicken.
  8. Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 degrees in the meatiest portion of the bird — the thighs, and under the breast where the thigh meets the breast — and the juices run clear.  If necessary, return the bird to the oven for more roasting; check it every 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glazing them with the pan juices.
  11. Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables, and serve.