Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spicy sesame scallops

From Sunset magazine (I think).


12 large sea scallops (about 1 lb.), rinsed
1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian chili paste
Rice and steamed vegetables (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds


1. In a medium bowl, mix scallops, sesame oil, and salt. Let scallops marinate 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Arrange scallops in a broiler pan. In a small bowl, combine chili paste with 1 tbsp. water. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. chili sauce onto each scallop.

3. Broil 4 in. from heat until scallops are opaque and chili sauce starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables if you like. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Cook's Notes:
1. It wasn't until I had started dinner that I realized I had forgotten the seame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Needless to say, I skipped step 1.
2. It's pretty spicy, so watch out!

Grandma's coming to dinner, or spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

My grandmother was recently visiting the PNW from FL and we were hosting her for dinner. Mr. Snowgoose wanted to make dessert (buttermilk cake with blackberry/cream cheese frosting) and I needed to make something equally impressive.

I also hadn't made stuffed shells in ages. Now I remember why: I had to visit 4 grocery stores to find jumbo shells.

But the following recipe is ridicuously simple and is a perfect vegetarian meal. From the May 2010 issue of Real Simple.

Note: I used a whole 12 oz box of shells, and 36 oz marinara sauce (1 1/2 jars) and still had extra filling.


20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
2 15-ounce containers ricotta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)
green salad (optional)

1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and run under cold water until cool.
2. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.
3. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve with the salad, if desired.

Note: the recipe called for me to broil the shells for 2-5 minutes at the end but I declined to do so.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mr. Snowgoose makes Pasta Carbonara

I am generally the cook in the family as I tend to have more time and motivation than Mr. Snowgoose. His cooking jobs usually involve doing the dishes, making pizza dough, and baking. Recently he came home from a long day at the office and annouced he wanted to make pasta carbonara. Great! Except that I'd already precooked dinner the day before (chicken and yellow rice) and the fact we had no eggs, bacon, or white wine in the house. We set off to a local market down the street with the dogs so that he could get ingredients.

The recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking (Mr. Snowgoose's cooking bible) and involves cooking everything in the bacon grease.

It was to die for. We barely had enough for lunch leftovers.

You can bet he'll be making this again, though probably not anytime soon. I don't know if it was the pasta or the fact all the animals sleep on the bed, but in the middle of the night that night, the wooden bedframe snapped.

The culprits?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Roasted Pork Chops with Peaches

Yes, this is another Real Simple recipe.

1 10-ounce package couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 bone-in pork chops (each 3/4 inch thick; about 2 pounds total)
kosher salt and black pepper
2 peaches, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Heat oven to 400ยบ F. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

Add the peaches, onion, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to the skilley and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Return the pork (and any accumulated juices) to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to oven and roast until the pork is cooked through and the peaches are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve with the couscous.

Cook's Notes:
1. The peaches were from the farmer's market, the basil from our yard. I also served a salad with lettuce, olives, feta cheese, and basalmic vinegar to round out the meal.

2. I used red wine venegar instead of white wine vinegar. It did smell slightly of vinegar, but tasted fine.
3. Mr. Snowgoose really enjoyed this. Me? Not so much (though the peaches were great). Turns out I only like my pork cured.

Coming soon: pickles!