Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seared Scallops and Spinach with Shallots and Bacon

A Soy-free Kitchen Original
(This cooks up very quickly in one pan.)

1 lb sea scallops
1 bag  (6-9 oz) baby spinach
2 slices bacon
2 medium shallots
1/2 cup hard cider

1. Cut bacon crosswise into 1/2-inch strips. Using a 12" skillet, fry until just crisp; remove to a paper towel.  Remove bacon grease from pan, reserving for later.

2. Meanwhile, cut scallops in half crosswise and mince shallots.

3.  Put a teaspoon or so of the reserved bacon grease (maybe a little more if the skillet is not non-stick)back in the skillet.  Sear scallops over high heat, approximately 2 minutes per side.  Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

4. Put another teaspoon or so bacon grease back in the skillet and saute minced shallots briefly.  When they are just starting to turn a little brown around the edges, add the cider and deglaze the pan.  Add spinach, cover the pan, and cook until the spinach is wilted but not mushy.  Add the bacon pieces and toss.

5. Serve the scallops over the spinach. 

Serves 2-3.  Possible accompaniments: Orzo or rice pilaf.


(c) 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vaguely Mexican Fish Cakes

As I have said before, I am originally from New England.  We ate fish sticks, fish cakes, fish patties, fried fish, etc, etc.  Usually cod.  And always with tartar sauce. 

Today I went to use some cod my husband had bought and found myself without white bread to use as filler.  (I know, I know, traditional cod cakes use potato as filler, but traditional cod cakes are made with salt cod, too.)  I did, however have some leftover corn tortillas.  My original recipe used thyme, but we had cilantro, and cilantro goes with tortillas, so.  . . .

[Update:  the original recipe had 4slices homestyle white bread (no milk) instead of the tortillas, 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried instead of the cilantro, and 1/4 cup minced celery.  You could put some fresh parsley, too.]

Vaguely Mexian Fish Cakes

4 corn tortillas, ripped up
1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup green onions, cut in 1/2" pieces, white and some green
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
1 egg
1 - 1 1/2 lbs cod or other white fish, cut into about 8 pieces
1 tsp ground cumin

1. Put the torn tortillas in the bowl of a food processor and let sit a few minutes. 

2. Add the green onion pieces and cilantro and pulse until the tortillas are in crumbs. 

3. Add the egg, fish, cumin, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and pulse until egg is combined with fish, but not until the fish is pureed. 

4. Divide the fish mixture into 8 portions and roughly shape into balls.

5.  Heat about 1/4 cup canola oil in a 12-inch skillet on medium high until it just begins to shimmer.  One by one, place the cod mixture in the skillet and press flat with the bottom of a pancake turner. 

6.  Cook until brown on one side, flip, and brown again.

7.  Serve with some kind of salad, and of course tartar sauce.  You might put some chopped cilantro in the tartar sauce and a couple of shots of lime juice.

8.  Serves 4, two cakes apiece.

Check the tortilla ingredients for soy, but this is generally not a problem with corn tortillas.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Say Hello to GirlEat

A great post from GirlEat, a relatively new blog from someone with a relatively new soy allergy:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vanilla Chai Spice Cupcakes

One of my colleagues' birthday is tomorrow, so I am making cupcakes.  If I don't make them, I don't get any because if you don't know all the ingredients, you can't eat it if you have food allergies. 
It's a new job (since August), and the cupcakes have made me somewhat popular because we generally have 1-2 birthdays a month.  So far we have had Banana Nut with Vanilla Frosting (recipes from Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook), Orange with Chocolate Frosting (a request, also from Betty Crocker) Pumpkin with Sour Cream Frosting (same recipe as Banana, with canned pumpkin substituted for the mashed banana), Individual Cheesecakes, Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting (also a request, from Betty Crocker), and some Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (original--coming soon). 

The Vanilla Chai Spice Cupcake recipe comes from the website The Novice Chef, whose food choices are rather sophisticated and don't seem "novice" at all.  I substituted Stoneyfield vanilla yogurt for the buttermilk because we never have buttermilk around.  I did make a little goof--I made 18 cupcakes instead of 12 and sort of forgot to increase the amounts of spices. They still taste wonderful.

Note about the cake recipes in Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook:  It was originally published in 1950.  My mom got one as a wedding present and I grew up on those cake recipes.  But I find they work just as well or better if I cut the amount of salt in half.

Note 2 about the cake recipes in Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook:  If the recipe calls for shortening, sometimes I use Spectrum brand palm-oil shortening and sometimes I use butter.  No rhyme or reason as to the choice.