Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Rosie Sears Scallops. With Citrus. And Rice.

What a simple, quick, delicious meal.
Scallops and citrus.
Rice and citrus.
Here's my game plan
I had a blend of Texmati (whatever that is), white, brown, and red rices.  I had it in mind that I was going to sear the scallops then clean up the goodie bits in the pan with citrus juices and make a nice reduction enriched with butter, so I decided to enhance the rice with citrus to complement the scallops.

So, let's start on the rice.
juice of 2-3 oranges
juice of 1-2 limes
some zest of both
(You want about 1 1/4 cups juice.)
Combine the orange and lime juices in a small pan.  Add in about 1/2 cup rice and a bit of kosher salt.  Slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is ready.  Add in a big plop of butter.  Taste test.  Maybe more salt.  Cover.
For the scallops.
Remove that little tough tag on the side of the scallops.  Feed it to your cat or throw it away.
Rinse the scallops, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
Using a small sifter or fine mesh sieve, lightly sprinkle some corn starch over the scallops.  Maybe some Lawry's pepper.

1 pound scallops (Large sea scallops.  I don't bother with the small bay scallops.)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1 small can pineapple chunks with juice
2 TB diced onion
2 TB diced red pepper

Heat up a heavy skillet to medium high with a thin film of oil in it.  375° - 400°.  Place scallops in hot oil.  Do not crowd the pan.  Resist the urge to push the scallops around.  Leave 'em be!  Cook first side about 1 1/2 minutes.  Once the first side is seared, it releases easily from the pan. Turn scallops over and sear the second side.  About another minute.  Remove scallops from pan.  Add a pat of butter, let it sizzle, then add onion and pepper.  Stir for about 20-30 seconds, then pour in citrus juices and pineapple chunks, stirring to scrape up all the goodie bits.  That's where the flavor is.  Reduce the liquid a bit and whisk in butter, a pat at a time, to enrich the sauce. Maybe 3 tablespoons - depends on how much liquid is in the pan.  Pour sauce over scallops and rice.

Sprinkle on some parsley.


Thursday, March 7, 2024

Rosie Makes Grasshopper Pie.


Celebrate The π-rish

I’m killing three birds with one pie this month.  I’m celebrating Pi Day (3/14), St. Patrick’s Day (3/17), and the Spring Solstice (3/19) with – what else? – PIE.  We’re having Pie for Pi Day.  Specifically, we’re having Grasshopper Pie.  It’s green and slightly boozy so that takes care of St. Patrick’s Day.  And I’m paying homage to the season with this green pie as a symbol of verdancy and as a nod to the springtime hatching of grasshoppers.  I’ve got all my bases covered with Grasshopper Pie.


 Grasshopper Pie has a rich chocolate base made from chocolate cookies mixed with melted butter.  I’m using Oreos, so you know we’re off to a good start.  You can use your basic Oreo or you can complement the filling flavors by using Oreo Mint cookies.  It’s up to you.  The smooth and creamy filling is easy and no-bake.  Marshmallows are melted with milk, crème de menthe is added to provide the distinct flavor and the green color, and then whipped cream is folded in to provide a light, airy finish.  The grasshoppers themselves add a delightful crunch and a certain je ne sais quoi.  I’m kidding, no grasshoppers were involved in this pie.  I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.


 The name “Grasshopper,” however, and the inspiration for this pie, comes from the Grasshopper cocktail, made popular back in 1920s New Orleans.  The drink itself was invented at a 1918 cocktail competition in New York City by New Orleans restaurateur, Philibert Guichet, whose family owned the French Quarter restaurant Tujague’s. The drink, made of cream, crème de menthe, and crème de cacao, won second place, and Guichet proudly brought the drink, named the “Grasshopper” for its luminous green color, back to New Orleans, where it became one of the signature drinks of Tujague’s. When Prohibition lifted, the drink’s popularity spread across the South, and as people became enamoured of that distinctive chocolate-mint flavor combination, the after-dinner cocktail inspired the pie which shares its name.  The Grasshopper Pie became quite in-demand during the mid-1900s when chiffon pies became all the rage.  My particular version is mousse-like, fluffy, and creamy.  It uses no gelatin or eggs, it’s easy to make, and it needs no baking.  It’s minty-cool, refreshing, chocolatey, a tad boozy, highly satisfying, and delicious!


  Grasshopper Pie

 Cookie Crumb Crust

 1 1-lb. package Oreo Mint Crème cookies (36 cookies)
6 TB unsalted butter, melted
Pulse Oreos, including the cream filling, in food processor into a fine crumb.  Pour in melted butter and process until well-combined.

Press crumbs evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment-lined bottom and buttered sides.


 1 10 oz. package marshmallows (46 large)
¾ cup 2% milk
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup + 2 TB crème de menthe
¼ cup crème de cacao 
 2 cups heavy cream
24 bright green, plump, juicy grasshoppers *See Rosie Note below
8 drops green food coloring

 Rosie Note:  I told you I was messin’ with you about the grasshoppers.  Weren’t you paying attention?No grasshoppers were harmed in the making of this pie.

  You’re going to be whipping heavy cream to fold into the marshmallow mixture, so before I start, I take my beaters and a glass bowl and set them in the freezer.  You’ll get better volume when both the beaters and the bowl are cold. 

 In a medium sauce pan, combine marshmallows, milk, and heavy cream over medium low heat, stirring until marshmallows are melted.  (Notice I’m using 2% milk and heavy cream here.  You could substitute with whole milk, or a combination of a less fat milk, and more heavy cream.  I tend to go heavy on the cream, appreciating the fat content.) Pour mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool.

 When cool, stir in the crème de menthe and the crème de cacao.

 Whip 2 cups cream until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the marshmallow mixture until just combined, along with 8-10 drops of the food coloring.  Pick out the hue of green you like. 

Pour filling into the cookie crumb crust, smoothing top, and place in freezer.

 When you’re ready to serve, run a knife or offset spatula along the sides of the crumb crust and release the springform pan.  Use the parchment paper to pull the pie off the bottom of the pan and onto a serving platter. 

 Let the decorating begin!

I like lots of whipped cream, so I beat 2 cups of heavy cream in an ice-cold glass bowl until soft peaks formed.  Then I gradually whipped in ¼ cup sugar and 1 TB pure vanilla extract.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  I snipped the corner off a zip-lock bag and stuck in a decorative piping tip, then transferred the whipped cream to the bag.  Squeeze the whipped cream out however you like to decorate the pie.  You can use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls from a bar of dark chocolate and sprinkle on top.  You could also use some green sugar sprinkles. If you want to continue the chocolate/mint theme, chopped-up Andes Mints would work nicely, too

  Happy Pi Day!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  And Happy Spring!


 Now for the step-by-steps

I used a 9-inch springform pan.  Buttered the sides and placed parchment paper in the bottom so the pie can be easily removed to a serving plate.

Process oreos with butter. 
 Fine crumb.

Spread crumbs evenly.
Bottom and sides.

Start on filling.  Melt marshmallows in milk.

You want it nice and smooth.  No lumps.
Let it cool to room temp.

When marshmallow mixture is cool, stir in crème de menthe.

I just like the color here.

Stir in the crème de cacao.  Crème de cacao is a sweet chocolate liqueur.  The crème part doesn't mean it has any cream in it.  It simply means it's a liqueur with a high sugar content.

When I went to the liquor store, I picked up the only thing I saw, which was dark crème de cacao.

After the fact, I looked up crème de cacao and found out there are two types - white, or clear, crème de cacao and dark crème de cacao.  According to my research, i.e. Google, the white crème de cacao is sweet with a delicate chocolate flavor and vanilla notes and the dark is sweet with a bolder, richer, dark chocolate flavor.  The white, or clear, crème de cacao lacks cocoa solids, so it doesn't have as much of a chocolate flavor as the dark crème de cacao.  The difference is in the production, or distillation.  The white is flavored with a distillate of cacao beans, while the dark liqueur is extracted by percolation of cacao beans.  You could use either in the grasshopper pie, but I'll go with more chocolate flavor given the choice.  And the brown color did not affect the lovely green color from the crème de menthe.

Next, I'm ready to whip the cream.
The bowl and the beaters have been sitting in the freezer while I've been working on everything else.
Whenever you're beating cream, have the beaters and the bowl ice cold.  
Makes for more volume in the whipped cream.

(Rosie Note:  Whenever you're beating eggs, say for a soufflé, you want them at room temperature.  You'll get better volume from the eggs.)

Whip the heavy cream until you get stiff peaks.

Whipped cream on the left.  Marshmallow mixture on the right.

Gently fold whipped cream into marshmallow mixture.

The whipped cream is pretty well incorporated, but I want it greener.

So I added 8-10 drops of green food coloring.
Add a few drops.
Fold in.
Check color.
Keep adding food coloring until you get the color you like.

Filling ready to go into Oreo crust.

Plop it in.

Smooth out the top.

Into the freezer.

I left it, covered, overnight, before running a knife around the outside
 and releasing the springform pan.
Transfer to a serving platter.
Since I'm celebrating pi day, I cut out a pi template and shaved some dark chocolate 
to make a pi symbol.

For more decorations, you can use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate curls.

I wanted/needed more whipped cream, so I beat 2 cups of heavy cream with 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla.  Scoop it into a zip lock back with a pastry tip and commence to decorating.

Add a little sprig of mint for the pretty.


Saturday, March 2, 2024

Rosie 's Always Up For Some Fudge Brownies


It's been about... hmmmm... two minutes since I made something sweet, so I think I need to make some brownies.  I've made a lot of brownies and I don't think I ever make the same recipe twice since I'm always looking for the "ultimate" brownie.  Haven't found it yet, but I also haven't ever been disappointed in any brownie I've made.  So here's another brownie recipe for you brownie-lovers out there.  It's kinda fudgie and it's got different chocolates in it, and it's got a chocolate glaze on top.  So what's not to love?

For the brownies:
1 stick butter, unsalted
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 TB vanilla extract 
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 TB espresso powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
 Heat oven to 350°Line 8x8" baking pan with buttered parchment paper

Medium saucepan, low heat.  Melt butter and chopped chocolate.
Remove from heat, stir in sugar until sugar is somewhat dissolved and you get a grainy paste.
Whisk in eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely, until you have smooth, shiny batter. Whisk in vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder.

Pour chocolate mixture over dry mixture, folding in until just mixed.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan.  Back about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Place on wire rack and let cool completely.

For the glaze:
6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 TB corn syrup
2 tsp espresso powder
Combine all ingredients in small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until chocolate is completely melted and glaze is smooth.  Pour over cooled brownies, spreading into an even layer.

Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until completely set.

For the step-by-steps:

Mix chocolate
and butter.

over low heat.

Combine dry ingredients.

Melted choc on left.

Dry ingredients
on right.
Add sugar to choc.
It gets grainy.

Eggs in.



Until smooth.

Pour into dry.

Fold in.

Add chips.
Pour into
prepared pan.



Bake it.

Prepare glaze.

Melt butter, cream
 and chocolate with
corn syrup and
Stir until smooth.

Pour over baked
and cooled brownie cake.

Smooth it out.


Then cut into pieces.