Friday, June 28, 2013

What's Cookin'?

It occurred to me the other day, now that sanity has returned with the start of summer vacation, that I haven't done much cooking lately. I love to cook, but there hasn't been much time to get into the kitchen and try out new recipes. Over the last week or two I've rekindled my relationship with the kitchen, and I'm happy to say our love is stronger than ever. Here are some of my latest creations along with accompanying recipes in case you'd like to reconnect with your kitchen.  

Simple scallops. These are cooked in a scrumptious butter shallot vermouth reduction sauce. Even I eat these and I hate seafood. The recipe can be found here. If you're going to get fresh, as opposed to previously frozen, sea scallops, which I recommend, I suggest getting dry vs. wet scallops. What is the difference you may ask? Dry scallops are not treated with any chemicals, which causes them to absorb water, thus making them bigger, but not as tasty and also more difficult to cook. If you are lucky enough to have a Whole Foods in the neighborhood, they sell dry scallops, which is where I bought these.

Everything is better with bacon right? Well, that includes asparagus. This is so simple and it's a hit every time. All you doing is drizzle some asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Assemble the asparagus into bundles (I do 3 asparagus each) and wrap one stripe of bacon around the bundle. Since it's BBQ season you can throw them on the grill or (if you are indoors) get and handy grill pan. Cook for 15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp, turning occasionally.

A different type of white pizza, for those of you who are sick of the traditional peperoni version. I buy the pre-made dough from Trader Joe's, but I really should try to make it from scratch one of these days. The idea of adding yeast and getting the dough to rise seems like too much of a science to me. Anyway, for this pizza's topping, I spread the dough with fresh ricotta cheese and a touch of mozzarella. I added marinated artichoke hearts, red onion, and a little salt and pepper.  Above I served it with a semi-antipasto salad with slices of salami.

Summers are great for eating outdoors. Even in the dark! Above is a spread of appetizers that I made one evening. The appetizers include stuffed bacon mushrooms, artichoke Parmesan crostini and shrimp cocktail. The recipes for the mushrooms and crostini can be found on my A Yummy New Year post. For the shrimp cocktail, I made the sauce, which is super easy. I found the recipe here on the food network website, courtesy of Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa.  I don't eat shrimp (due to my weird food rules, which I won't get into), but I was told by my husband and guests that the homemade cocktail sauce was superior to the store bought stuff.

So, what's cookin' in your kitchen?


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