Tag Archives: fancy food

Seared Scallops with Orzo & Herb Butter Sauce

My kids are out of town and I was feeling like giving myself a little treat.  So I made myself a fancy dinner, poured a glass of wine and watched R rated shows all evening.  It was lovely.

After cooking this dish, I was so impressed with myself I sent a photo of my plate to a friend and received the reply that it looked like something you’d pay $25 for in a restaurant!  And even better, it tasted like it too.  Simple to prepare, but elegant and oh, so delicious.

Seared Scallops with Herb Butter Sauce, served with Orzo & Snap Peas

Seared Scallops with Orzo & Herb Butter Sauce
(adapted from Cooking Light)

3/4  cup uncooked orzo
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (divided)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives (divided)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 – 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops (3-4 per person)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. chopped shallots
1 tbsp. white wine or sherry vinegar
3 tbsp. chilled butter, cubed
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Cook orzo according to package directions and drain.  Return to pan, stir in 1 tbsp. parsley, 1 tbsp. chives, olive oil, salt and parmesan. Keep warm.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle scallops with salt & pepper.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the skillet, heat for a minute and then add scallops to the pan.  Cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove from pan and keep warm.  Combine wine, shallots  and vinegar in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1 tbsp.  Reduce heat to low.  Add butter cubes, one at a time, whisking after each addition until butter is fully incorporated.  Stir in remaining herbs and 1/8 tsp. each of salt & pepper.  Drizzle over scallops and orzo.  Serves 4.

Seared Scallops…mmmmm!

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I Can Make A Soufflé!!

Few things intimidate me in the kitchen (other than chefs who yell, but I think they are mostly on TV).  One of those things is soufflés.  They look difficult.  They look fussy.  What if they don’t poof up right, or if they fall down?  What if it tastes bad because I did it wrong?  But then I realized, who cares?  I can always order pizza if they don’t turn out, right?  Besides, attempting a soufflé gave me a reason to buy something new I’ve been wanting for my kitchen, mostly just because they are so darn cute.

Ramekins! Aren't they adorable? Yes, I'm a food geek.

So…new ramekins in hand, I decided to start with a simple cheese soufflé.  If it turns out I’ll move on to chocolate.  Don’t want to waste good chocolate on a botched first attempt, after all.  I made my soufflés, and in the process, I made a realization:  I am an idiot!  Soufflés are not difficult, and they aren’t fussy.  I was silly to be scared of this poofy little thing.  They were actually pretty quick to make, turned out perfect the first time, and they were delicious!  I can’t wait to make more!

Cheese Soufflé! I did it!

Cheese Soufflé
(adapted from Cooking Light)

2 tsp. unsalted butter, softened
8 tsp. grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. 2% milk
2 tbsp. dry white wine
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. shredded swiss cheese (I used smoked swiss)
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
2 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites

Coat each of 4 (1 cup) soufflé dishes evenly with 1/2 tsp. butter.  Sprinkle each dish with 2 tsp. parmesan cheese, tilting to coat sides and bottom.  I didn’t have one cup dishes; mine were 6 ounce dishes, but they worked just fine.  Combine flour, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat.  Gradually add milk and white wine, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Cook for 4 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add salt, chives, and cheese.  Stir until cheese melts and mixture is smooth.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in egg yolks.  Place egg whites in another large bowl.  Beat with a mixer on high speed until medium peaks form (do not overbeat).  Gently stir one-quarter of egg whites into cheese mixture.  Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.  Spoon into prepared dishes.

Ready to go in the oven. In retrospect, I could have used 5 or 6 dishes instead of just 4 since mine were a little smaller than the recipe called for. But these still worked great.

Place dishes on a baking sheet, and place in 400˚ oven.  Immediately reduce oven temperature to 375˚.  Bake for 17 minutes or until puffy and golden.  Serve immediately.

Fresh out of the oven! Aren't they beautiful?

What’s the most intimidating thing you’ve tackled in the kitchen?

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