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Cooking For Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs by Jessica Strand
$19.95 at Chronicle Books
I love cooking but get annoyed when I come home and realize I actually bought ingredients to make enough food for 6 people! Since it’s just Gilles and myself at home (along with our baby and dog), I love this cook book Cooking for Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs by Jessica Strand, published by Chronicle Books. Finally, recipes that are delicious and with portions that are just for us. The book is broken up into different sections “Simple, Fast, Easy Suppers”, “One-Pot Dinners”, “Romantic Meals”, and “Duo Desserts”. I also like the fact that most of the recipes are quick ones too, even if they aren’t in the fast supper section.
Scallops are a favorite of ours, so I attempted the cover recipe for “Seared Scallops on a Bed of Fresh English Pea and Mint Purée”. Delicious! The pea purée was a flavorful touch I never had before. Just make sure when you sear the scallops you don’t move them in the pan. Leave them untouched for a couple of minutes or till you can see the bottoms get brown. I’d also say if you end up buying larger scallops, you may need to leave them on the pan longer than just two minutes. I also cooked the “Lamp Chops with MInt Gremolata” recipe and added a side of beet salad similar to the photo in the book. It was a nice combination along with the bottle of Pinot Noir I had picked. So far this cook book has been a breath of fresh air in the dinner department and I’ve been having fun trying these new recipes. Next up may have to be Antonia’s Paella”. With Valentine’s Day happening tomorrow, pick up this book to whip up a special dinner at home for the one you love. Better yet, make dinner together!
Now you can also test out the seared scallops for yourself with this recipe excerpt from Cooking for Two. Leave a comment to this post if you make this dish!
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Seared Scallops on a Bed of Fresh English Pea and Mint Purée
The brilliant green purée dotted with the light amber scallops looks like a fabulous abstract painting. The buttery scallops go very well with the sweet, fresh flavors of the minty pea purée.
2 cups fresh or frozen English peas
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Large pinch of paprika
12 large sea scallops, or about 12 ounces
Fill a small saucepan with a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil, add the peas, and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes for fresh peas, about 1 minute for frozen peas. Place the peas in a blender and add the mint, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Place the pea purée in the saucepan to keep warm.
In a medium heavy sauté pan (preferably cast iron), heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the lemon juice and the paprika. When the butter begins to foam, add the scallops. Cook for 2 minutes per side or until just cooked through and each side is golden to amber brown on top.
Spoon the pea purée in two shallow soup dishes, creating a bed, then place the seared scallops on top and serve.


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