Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cooking for Michael Buble'...

I love a man who will sing for his supper...or better yet, sing for MY supper. While Michael croons away, I throw on my apron and put on the show!

On the nights I'm flying solo, I'll get a little creative. Try out something I've been brainstorming or try to re-create a dish I've enjoyed in one of my culinary outings (which are few). These are the nights I know I can't go wrong. I have seriously NEVER been known to complain about the chef.

On The Menu: Bay Scallops with Toasted Sesame Quinoa & Swiss Chard & Morrocan Salad with Almond Vinaigrette

Bay scallops happened to be on sale this that was a given. And this particular salad has been on my mind for over a year now...about time to give it a go. I happen to like simple meals...with lots of flavor. I also like components of a meal that can be used...oh say, tomorrow. Here's how this all came together...

Swiss chard -- about 3 cups leftover from making my soup (Mushroom Swiss Chard Soup in a previous post), already rough chopped & sitting in my crisper ready to go

Quinoa -- pronounced "keen-wah", my favorite grain, a near perfect protein full of amino acids, very light with a wonderful nutty flavor, super versatile, so I prepared a double portion & will be using some of it for breakfast tomorrow (stay tuned).

Arugala -- you can see that I already had a salad with this earlier in the week with a completely different flavor profile, surprisingly also very versatile considering how peppery it is & besides, it is too good to let any of it go bad

Preparing Quinoa: Rinse your quinoa in a small sieve so that it won't be bitter. Prepare in a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water (i.e. 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water). Bring your water to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes and then remove from heat. The little quinoa grains will open up and look like tiny little spirals. You will fall in love with this grain...I promise!!

Tip: While your quinoa is cooking, prepare your salad dressing. You could also prepare these a day ahead to save some time!!

Almond Vinaigrette
3/4 cup

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup almond oil (can use grapeseed oil but almond is worth the investment)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp water (could also use unsweetened coconut juice)
1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Heat oven to 350. Place the almonds on a baking dish in a thin layer and bake for 5 minutes, until just golden. Remove from pan to let cool.

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a bit more water if necessary. It will be thick (think Ranch dressing from a bottle). This makes 3/4 cup. You will only use about 1/3 of it and it will keep well in the fridge for about 5 days.

Moroccan Salad
2 servings

3 cups Arugala
4 Medjool dates, pitted & rough chopped
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Toss arugala with 2 generous Tbsp of vinaigrette. Top with dates & gorgonzola.

Toasted Sesame Swiss Chard & Quinoa
2 servings

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 cup prepared quinoa
3 cups swiss chard, stems removed & rough chopped

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add quinoa and saute for an additional minute. Add chard to pan, mix well and saute down until chard is wilted. This is a yummy side dish for just about any meal.

Pan Sauteed Bay Scallops
2 servings

1/2 Tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 cup white wine (I use an inexpensive Pinot Grigio -- Fish Eye $5 bottle)
1/2 lb tiny bay scallops

In a medium pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add scallops and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. You don't want to overcook them or they will get rubbery.

Remove the scallops from the pan with a slotted spoon and serve them on top of the cooked chard. (I started my scallop dish at the same time I added the swiss chard to it's dish & they were ready at the same time. I already had my salad plated so my scallops didn't get cold while waiting.)

Serve immediately & Enjoy!!

A note on the oils: I love having these special oils on hand. They add a whole lot of flavor and make your dishes really special with no additional effort. Olive oil is always a good backup, but I like to add variety and this is a really easy way to do that. Just keep all your oils in the refrigerator so that they will stay fresh--rancid oils are very bad for your body. Your olive oil will solidify, but all you need to do is run it under some warm water for a minute before you use it or set it out a little before cooking time.

I have it on good source that Elvis may be coming for dinner next week! I plan to break him out of his jelly-filled doughnut and peanut butter banana sandwich phase while he sweetly sings Love Me Tender :)

Bon Appetit,


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