Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Hawthornes Are Served.

The Hawthornes had company the other night -
the Capricornicuses -
Guiseppe and his wife Giovanna -
and Guiseppe cooked for us!

What a treat.
All I had to do was sit back and drink my wine,
which I can do very well.

I provided the barley salad
 - one of my favorite spring salads -
which has cucumber, squash, and zucchini,
and a tart mayo-based dressing with dill,
basil, and tarragon.

I provided the salsa and chips, too.

Guiseppe is preparing
a garlic shrimp dish and ...

...  prosciutto wrapped scallops.

Shrimp with Garlic and Olive Oil
Season the shrimp with 1 tsp salt.
Heat a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat.
Add shrimp and cook, turning once, about 1 minute each side.
Yes, the recipe said use a dry, hot pan.
Add 2 TB olive oil,  5-6 cloves garlic, 1 leek, finally chopped, 
and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.
Cook a minute longer.
Add 2 TB dry white wine and cook a minute longer.
Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Add 2 TB parsley.
Serve immediately.

I cooked nothing.
I stood back and shot pictures.

Nice sear on those scallops, Guiseppe!
I love sweet and salty together
and the scallops and prosciutto were a perfect fusion.

A most excellent repast.
Thank you, Capricornicuses.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rosie Makes Her Barley, Squash, And Zucchini Salad. And Some Other Stuff.

The Hawthornes have company coming tonight.
The Capricornicuses are in town!
Rosie is excited.

I have a few appetizers in the works.
Above is some shrimp
(I have a sinus-assaulting cocktail sauce
to accompany the shrimp.),
lettuce leaf with carnitas and salsa,
and one of my favorite summer salads -
barley with squash, zucchini, and cucumber,
dressed in a tangy mayo and herb dressing.

I cooked my Israeli Pearl Barley to perfection.
Using 1/2 cup barley,
cook according to package directions.
Let cool.

I brought a large pot of salted water to a boil
and dropped in 1 diced zucchini and 1 diced squash.
Cook for 30 seconds.
Poured into a colander
and spray cold water over top.
You want to stop that cooking.
You want your veggies al dente.
Not al mushe.

When squash and zucchini cool,
add to barley.

Peel, if needed, a cucumber,
and spoon out any seed gel.

Give cucumber a quick dice.

Add cucumber to squash, zuke, and barley.

Now, time for the dressing.
I picked parsley, tarragon, and dill.

1/4 cup mayo
1 TB rice vinegar
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
fresh herbs - parsley, dill, tarragon

Mince the herbs and add to dressing.

Pour over barley mixture.

I left the salad in the fridge for about an hour,
then taste-tested.
Went back out and picked more tarragon and dill
and some basil.
This is one of my favorite summer salads.
I love it in a lettuce wrap.
Light and packed with fresh flavors,
it's herbalicious goodness at its best.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Baked Kale.

When the Hawthornes returned home from our vacay,
I found that last season's kale had self-seeded 
and I had a whole slew of new kale plants in the garden.

Usually, I like to cook my greens down,
but every now and then,
I want crispy, salty Green Chips.

Here's what you do:
Gather your greens.
Remove tough center ribs.
Wash leaves well.
Place on towels and let DRY COMPLETELY.
No moisture on the leaves, whatsoever.

we're going for crisp here.
Not soggy.

Also do NOT salt the leaves before baking.
Salting brings out moisture.

Place totally dried, unsalted leaves on 
an oiled baking sheet.

Dredge the leaves in the oil,
coating both sides.

I'm using Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil.

Bake at 300 degrees
until leaves are crisp -
about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with sea salt.
I used a pink Himalayan sea salt.

These are addictive.

I think I'll try spinach next.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rosie Is Back At The Range Again.

 One of the first meals I made 
upon arriving home was, naturally, seafood -
specifically, a pistachio encrusted mahi mahi. 

Both Mr. Hawthorne and I missed our East Coast Seafood.
In fact, my column for the Outer Banks Voice
this month was about that very fact.
I find East Coast seafood far superior
to West Coast seafood.
In preparation for that column,
I made this particular dish
which is always a winner.
I served the mahi mahi with a compound butter
of cilantro, lime, and red pepper flakes on top,
sittin' pretty on a nest of oshitashi on the bottom,
with a pineapple rum salsa on the side.

Pineapple Salsa 
small can of pineapple
soy sauce
rice vinegar
orange juice and zest
lime juice and zest
s & p

Mix together in whatever proportions suit you.
Be creative.

I used tablespoon-fulls.


Rice vinegar.



Mix all together.
Cover and refrigerate.

Next, a compound butter:
Add some chopped cilantro to softened butter.

Add in some cayenne pepper flakes.

Mix well.
And don't forget the raw, green coriander seeds
on your going-to-seed cilantro plants.
Excellent source of pop and flavor.

For the oshitashi ...
I toasted some sesame seeds
in a little peanut oil
and some sesame oil.
Go easy on sesame oil
until you know how much of a punch it packs.

Stir and lightly toast the seeds.

Add in the spinach and let wilt.

A little soy sauce and ...

... lemon juice are welcome additions.

I love dark green foods.
This spinach dish, 
which I first had at Koi Restaurant in Nashville,
has become a favorite of ours.

On to the mahi mahi,
or dolphin fish,
Coryphaena hippurus.

Freshly ground salt and pepper.
Dip filets in beaten egg whites.


Ground pistachios.

Evenly coat the filets with the ground pistachios,
pressing the nuts into the fish.

Lightly saute the fish in a 
mixture of oil (I used peanut.) and butter.
The butter is for flavor.
The oil is to raise the smoke point of the butter.

Remove filets.

Deglaze the pan with a little white wine.
Then return filets to pan and
place in a 450 degree oven for about 7 - 10 minutes -
until the fish is firm and opaque in center.

The saltiness of the pistachios is a nice complement 
to the fish and I love me some earthy green spinach.
The toasted sesame seeds are a nice touch.

See those little green balls on top in the butter?
That's coriander, the seed of the cilantro plant.
I pick them while still green to eat.
They give a surprising cilantric and citric punch
to whatever they're on.

Grow some cilantro
because you won't get these little babies
anywhere else.
They're culinary gems, I tell ya.