Monday, February 11, 2008

Mr. And Mrs. Hawthorne And Glowria Go To Cooking Class.

Today Mr. Hawthorne and I and our friend Glowria headed to the North Carolina Akorium in Manteo
to attend our third cooking class.
Chefs Steve Whitley and Rob Mattis (who incidentally wore a white chef's jacket with the name "Joel Russo" embroidered on it) from the Flying Fish Cafe in
Kill Devil Hills
presented the cooking demonstration.

Here's the web site:

Flying Fish Cafe

Years ago, when I worked at a bank right down the street from the Flying Fish, I would lunch there several days a week.
I always enjoyed my meals there
so I was looking forward to this demonstration.

For starters, we were served Scallops Ceviche Asian Style
(on the left)
and Scallops Ceviche Southwestern Style (on the right).

Scallops Ceviche Asian Style

2 cups sea scallops (rough chopped)
1/2 each sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, orange), finely diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
3 TB pickled ginger, chopped
1 cup cucumber, finely diced (seeds removed)
1 TB black sesame seeds
1/2 cup sesame oil
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hour.
Stir and refrigerate 2 more hours.
Serve chilled.

The chefs had attractively plated the Asian Style Ceviche atop
fanned-out cucumber slices cut on the bias.

Scallops Ceviche Southwestern Style

2 cups sea scallops (rough chopped)
1/2 each sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, orange), finely diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
2 TB garlic, chopped
1 avocado, medium dice
(Hold off on the avocado dicing until you're ready to add.)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients except avocado in bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Stir and refrigerate for 2 more hours.
Add diced avocado and serve chilled.

The reason you wait to add the avocado is that it would be mush if you put it in at the beginning and you'd end up with green scallops.
Salt and pepper to taste.

It's hard to see, but the Ceviche is served in the avocado peel.
More cilantro was added as a garnish.

As you might have gathered by now, Mr. Hawthorne, Glowria, and I are quite the gourmands. Here's our take on the two Ceviches. Mr. Hawthorne considered them more like a salsa. The scallop taste was not that prominent.
Well, basically, it was non-existent.

Both Glowria and I thought 1/2 cup sesame oil and the 1 cup rice wine vinegar
in the Asian Style Ceviche was a bit over-powering. I would halve both. Chill. Then test taste. You can always add more. We just thought it was too much.

As for the Southwestern Style Ceviche, again the apple cider vinegar was too much for our tastes. Glowria suggested adding corn to it, which I thought would be a nice touch. We all thought both Ceviches might have been better with shrimp.

As it was, you couldn't really appreciate the scallop flavor. Scallops have a very delicate flavor and are easily masked by stronger flavors.
Shrimp might have held up better flavor-wise.

As I reported in yesterday's post about scallops, ask your fishmonger for "dry" scallops, i.e. those that have not been chemically injected to plump them up and to preserve them.
Also, I prefer the the ocean scallops (large) not the bay scallops (small).

Next, we were served Pesto Topped Sea Scallops Topped with Caramelized Onions over Spinach and Sundried Tomato Risotto.

Basil Pesto

1/2 pound fresh basil
1/3 cup garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 Parmesan cheese
2 cups olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all dry ingredients in food processor.
Blend, then slowly add olive oil until all ingredients are combined.

Rosie's note here: I like using pecans in my pesto instead of pine nuts. I like the flavor better. Also, in the summertime, when I have plenty of basil growing, I make great batches of pesto, then spoon INto ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, pop out pesto cubes INto freezer bags and you have individual units which you can thaw out and add to pasta or spread on sandwiches.


Bunch of spinach, washed and finely chopped
Sundried tomatoes (1 cup), steeped in hot water for twenty minutes to soften

In large pot, melt 2 ounces butter.
Add 1 cup chopped onions.
Saute until translucent.
Add 1 quart Arborio rice and stir until grains are completely coated.
Gradually add in hot chicken stock. Just a bit at a time. Allow grains to absorb stock. Boil, stir, add more stock.
Total amount - 2 3/4 quarts stock.
You can also add heavy cream.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Add spinach and sundried tomatoes.
Finally stir in grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 - 1 cup).

Note: Don't go INto the rice section of your regular groshry shtore and look for Risotto. You won't find it. Look for Arborio Rice.

Caramelized Onions

1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 pound butter
white wine

Melt butter.
Add onions and saute on high heat until pan begins to burn.
Add a little wine to deglaze pan.
Continue sauteeing.

Repeat process until onions turn medium to dark brown.

Parmesan Crisps

Make a neat circle of grated Parmesan cheese on parchment paper.
Bake at 425 until just melted.


Rinse, pat dry, and discard tough side muscle
on scallops (the one that sticks in your teeth).

Saute in olive oil in medium hot pan, maybe 2 minutes on each side.
You want the scallops nicely browned but you don't want to overcook them.
The chefs then placed the scallops on a baking pan, topped them with basil pesto, then added the caramelized onion, and placed the pan in a 400-425 degree oven for no more than 4 minutes.
Do NOT OVERcook seafood.

Now, assemble everything.

The chefs used an ice cream scoop to scoop out a ball of Risotto.
Then, they placed a Parmesan crisp on top of the rice and squished it down a bit.
The Parmesan crisp, besides being delicious, is a base for the scallops so they don't fall off.
Add the scallops with the Pesto and Caramelized onions.

We all agreed this was wonderful.

Now, off to the exhibition rooms and wacky hijinks.

When we entered the first exhibit room, the crocodile or alligator (I never can get those two straight.), lurking off to the side, promptly grabbed Mr. Hawthorne's foot. Don't worry. He only needed a few stitches and he was good to go.

Ah! A new addition -
Mr. Toad impaled on a stick.
We went to investigate.

Mr. Toad was getting a little too familiar and
friendly for my tastes.
Don't you just hate it when a toad humps you?

Glowria and I left Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Toad
alone while they shared a private moment.

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