Spiralized Beets and Scallops


I have an indescribable infatuation with Gina Homolka and her SkinnyTaste cookbooks (and blog). Well, maybe it is describable and I will attempt to do so here.

I own three of her four cookbooks and they all sport a billion post-it flags. This is indicative of the recipes I want to make after the initial run-through when I procure a new cookbook.

I may save time flagging the ones I *don’t* want to make.

This recipe isn’t on her website, so I will IMPLORE you to buy the book, SkinnyTaste Fast & Slow, to get the actual recipe, but her Sea Scallops, Arugula, and Beets is a close approximation that will get you most of the way there.

The best part about the recipe that isn’t in that one ^ is the beets get spiralized and they bake in 15 minutes. 15-minute beets. Can you imagine?

Using your favorite mechanism to spiralize (mine is linked in the “verb” back there), get a couple of beets (one gold and one red makes for a prettier dish), and spiralize the crap out of them.

Two spiralized beets take up a half a sheet pan.

Salt, pepper, and 15 minutes in a 425° oven results in perfectly roasted, toasty, tasty beets.

Post-roast.

Meanwhile, make the dressing, which consists of some orange juice (from a real, live orange), white balsamic vinegar (if you have never used this in a dressing, treat yo’ self), and olive oil. Plus Himalayan pink sea salt and ground peppercorns, but since those go in just about everything, it’s mostly without saying.

Real fruit juice makes for a better dressin’.

Toss your favorite greens with the dressing and plate, and grind some more pepper on there for good measure.

Let’s turn our attention to the scallops now. You’ll be happy to know that they take next to no time to cook but need some prep beforehand. So much prep that I didn’t even know about it until researching for this post.

If you buy the frozen scallops (as I do), The Splendid Table recommends soaking them for 30 minutes before drying for 10.

All lined up, like the oysters in the Walrus and the Carpenter.

This next part is funny because Gina’s whole premise is “skinny but still tasty”, which it totally is, but her portion sizes are a lot smaller than mine and I don’t measure vinegar, fat, citrus juice, or salt. So, the recipe calls for 1 tsp. butter. ONE TEASPOON of BUTTER. I said, out loud to no one, “Who uses one teaspoon? I mean, I’m not Paula Deen or anything, but come on!” and put roughly half a tablespoon in the pan with some olive oil because Gina knows what she’s doing.

Oil and buttah.

The pan should be super hot because the scallops need to sear, not cook, and they only need 30 to 90 seconds per side.

Near perfection. Have I said that before?

After the scallops look like that ^, then they are ready to plate.

You don’t have to get each ingredient in every bite, but every bite will be worth it if you do. Enjoy! And go buy all of Gina’s books.

Coconut Curry Whitefish


We put this on the weekly dinner list (more on that later) and I was a little apprehensive because, well, fish. Thankfully, this dish hits on all points and the real star here is the curried broth.

I modified the recipe from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street and feel like I made enough changes to warrant publishing this version as my own. But, buy the book, because it has a lot of yummy dishes.

The first thing to do is bust out the ol’ rice cooker and measure up some jasmine rice.

Measuring cup and bowl.

It’s really important to use the cup that came with the cooker and not use any other device. This cup is “calibrated”, if you will, to the size and type of rice cooker. If you were to dump a cup of rice from this guy into a regular 1-cup, you’d see what I’m talking about.

After the rice is in the bowl, it needs to be rinsed. Admittedly, I haven’t found much of a difference in the end result. Except when I make rice for the dogs and it hasn’t been rinsed, it’s more difficult to get out of the container.

I don’t use a colander. Instead, I rinse it in the bowl and pour the water out. This needs to happen at least three times, if not more. I don’t look for very clear water at this step, just clear-enough water.

The first rinse.

When the rice is sufficiently cleansed, the cooker does all the rest. Believe me when I tell you that I cannot make rice without this rice cooker. If I try to make it on the stove, I lift the lid out of impatience or it’s got too much water to rice, or it all sticks to the bottom.

Fill the bowl, with water or broth, to the line that corresponds to the number of cups of rice you’ve measured. I am pretty sure this is where the magic happens and some rice-cooking faeries are watching from inside of the cooker, waiting for the opportunity to heat up each individual grain.

Ret-to-go.

Best of all, it plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” when it starts cooking.

Most white rice will take 30-40 minutes and the display will let you know when the 10-minute countdown begins. Jasmine is particularly fragrant (it kinda smells like popcorn when it’s nearly done), so your nose may notice before the countdown starts.

The next part involves a bunch of chopped vegetables and I didn’t get pictures of them because I’m not used to stopping and capturing the process yet.

Heat a 3-quart dutch oven or another vessel over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of coconut oil. When that’s melted, add the yellow curry paste and stir in the carrots, onions, garlic, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and coconut milk.

All we had were purple carrots.

While this gets all saucy, prepare the cod (you remembered to take it out of the freezer two days ago, right?); cut into chunks and season with white pepper and salt.

May ye rest in pepper.

When you can’t stand just smelling this anymore, put the cod into the pot and stir, making sure everything gets nicely mixed in. Add more chicken broth if you want it saucier.

A designated cutting board for raw meats is a grand idea.

Give it sevenish minutes and poke on of the pieces with a fork. If it responds like someone that consistently stands you up (flakey!) then dinner is served.

Plate some rice, scoop some delish, and chow.

Parsley pulls it together.

Caio!

Coconut Curry Whitefish

A mildly spicy curry sauce with veggies and fish. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion halved, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 14 oz coconut milk can (full fat)
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 medium carrots peeled, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 c potatoes chopped
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry paste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1.5 lbs cod cut into 2″ pieces
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • steamed white rice to serve

Instructions

  • Heat coconut oil over medium in a 2-4 qt. dutch oven.
  • Heat curry paste in the melted coconut oil until softened.
  • Throw in the coconut milk, onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. Cook until veggies are soft; about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken broth and agave nectar and bring to a simmer.
  • Season the cod with white pepper and salt. Stir into the pot and cover for 7 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when stuck with a fork.
  • Serve over white rice and gush about how good the house smells. Talk about how you kinda wish smell-o-vision were a thing. 

Shrimpy Tacos


This is another easy dish that we tend to reserve for (Taco) Tuesdays.

Frozen, unpeeled shrimp is the way to go. Grab a 1 lb. bag the next time you’re at the market; this will be enough for two with some shrimp leftover. Or for seconds.

Thaw the shrimp in a colander and bowl under cold, running water for about 10 to 15 minutes; I have the fella peel the shrimp because this process makes my fingers itchy.

You or a loved one can use the time during the shrimp defrost to shred cheese, chop onions, dice tomatoes, and chop lettuce.

I can’t remember where I learned this onion-dicing trick, but I wish I could thank whoever taught me. I happened to have half an onion (the butt end) hanging around in the crisper drawer for this tutorial. Slice the onion all the way through and set one quarter on its side. Slice that piece in a series of cuts that sort of radiate around the outside, not slicing all the way through the butt (this part is keeping the bulb held in one piece).

Radiant onion.

Once the onion is sliced longways, you can start chopping shortways (I don’t know how I decided which was which), and this will result in some nicely-sized diced onion! Remember to keep your knuckles sticking out further than your digits; you’re less likely to chop something off this way.

Warm up a pan over medium and add some oil, then sprinkle in your favorite taco seasoning. When the pan is hot, lay all your shrimps on one side, sprinkle with some more seasoning, and cook until you see them get pink and curl a little; about 4 minutes.

Hot pan with taco seasoning.
Shrimpers, side one.
Little shrimps, dancing in the pan.

Flip each and cook on the second side for about 4 minutes.

Happy shrimps!

Once they’re sufficiently pinkened, I usually cover the pan and turn the heat all the way down while I toast the tortillas using the remaining three burners. Stay close by because they have a tendency to catch (at least for me because I sometimes leave the room or even the house after getting impatient with one side or the other).

This isn’t really a trick, but I don’t know what you don’t know, so I’ll share. Slice the tomato into quarters and use your fingers to scoop out the seeds and goo out so you can just dice the parts worth eating.

Tomato, deseeded and degooed.
Prepped toppings make assembly a breeze.

Plate your tortillas, top with favorites, and chow down.

Half of us like Cholula.
The other half prefers this à la veggie.

I usually like green salsas but have been pouring away at this jar of Dashelito’s Sweet Potato Hot Sauce that I found hiding in the cupboard.

Shrimpy Tacos

An easy recipe for any day that ends in “y”.
Prep Time22 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shrimp frozen, unpeeled
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c lettuce chopped into shreds
  • 1/3 c tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 c onion diced
  • 1 c cheddar cheese shredded
  • 6 tortillas

Instructions

  • Defrost shrimp in a colander under running cold water. Peel and remove the tails.
  • Heat pan over medium, spray or drizzle with oil. Sprinkle half the amount of taco seasoning in the pan and distribute shrimp evenly. Cook for 4 minutes on each side.
  • Chop up your toppings and have at the ready.
  • Turn the other three burners on low to medium and heat up the tortillas. 
  • Plate the tortillas and top as you see fit.