Friday, May 28, 2010

seared rosemary scallops and risotto with spinach and pine nuts

I love this house.  I'm always a little sad to drive up the driveway, and I'm always happy when I spot the little pineapple bird feeder on my way back down.  For awhile, that was enough for me.  The house would get messy, we'd eat out a lot, and the pile of household projects stayed unchecked on the lists I would create in my head.  I was never quite satisfied, but I definitely was not motivated enough to do anything about it.

Then spring came along.  Spring and fall always stir something up with all of that energy of transition.  Life is changing so much so fast that there seems to be an inner shift that happens.  This year I seem to be motivated enough finally to turn our house into a home... the Siegel Household, if you will.  So with my new drive to be a good and proper housewife comes a blog, I suppose.  I am not sure if I will ever share this one, but I intend to flex my writing muscles a bit while keeping a record of recipes, housekeeping stuff, and any other domestic arts subject that I feel is worthy of the clicky sound of the keyboard.  It is really satisfying, btw.

For my first recipe, I will be poaching (stealing, not simmering) something from and giving it my own spin (complete with one photo!), as is the custom around these parts.  Tonight for dinner we had seared rosemary scallops on a bed (!) of last night's risotto that was enlivened with some pine nuts, leeks, and spinach.  Bonus--I used up many of the remaining veggies from our produce bin.

Seared Rosemary Scallops
Not at all adapted--literally cut and pasted (except for my color commentary!) from Gourmet

Serves 2-"4" (psshh)
four 12-inch-long rosemary branches or 10-inch bamboo skewers*
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
16 medium sea scallops--about 1/8 pound (I used ten medium-large scallops and it was just enough for Z & me
2 tablespoons olive oil 

*my rosemary branches were nowhere near 10 inches, so I had to use the skewers... also my scallops sorta fell apart and shunned the skewers in the end.  Next time I will forgo the skewering and just flip them individually.
If using rosemary branches, remove leaves from all but top 3 inches of each branch. In a small bowl stir together chopped rosemary, paprika, and cayenne. Remove tough muscle from side of each scallop if necessary and pat scallops dry. Season scallops with salt and sprinkle with rosemary mixture. Thread 4 scallops onto each rosemary branch or bamboo skewer. 

In a large non-stick skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and saut√© scallops until golden and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. 

A note here... when I hear non-stick skillet I always reach for my trusty old cast iron.  Today I used the cast iron double-duty grill/griddle on the stove.  It is not yet quite as loved (read: seasoned) as I would like, and I definitely didn't heat it up enough.  As a result, I had to cook the scallops WAY longer than four minutes and I didn't get a good sear.

Risotto with Spinach and Pine Nuts
 This one's mine!

Serves 4-6
2 tsp olive oil (I used browned butter--need to go to Costco...)
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 leek, halved horizontally & sliced--white parts only (stay tuned for a recipe with the greens!)
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of white wine
4 oz spinach, stems removed and chopped*
2 c leftover risotto--if yours doesn't have complementary flavors to this recipe, then adjust above to accomodate :)

*go ahead and throw in the whole 6 oz if you are feeling frisky, not sure why I didn't...

Take the risotto out of the fridge so it has a chance to warm up a bit.
Heat up the oil/brown butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the pine nuts and cook until just barely toasted.  Add the leeks and cook until soft but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add a splash of white wine and simmer until the cooking liquid thickens/evaporates a bit.  Add the spinach and cook until it's soft but not wilted.  Scoop in some risotto and break it up in the pan.  As the cold glue... I mean risotto... warms up it will break apart more easily and become recognizable.  Turn the heat down to med-low and let that simmer while you attend to other things.  Just stir occasionally and you won't have to (get to?) watch while the pan gets scrubbed by your very attractive dishwasher.


And now for the most useful part of this blog (for me), the plan for tomorrow:

Black Bean and Kale Tacos
Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos
Chicken Tacos with Salsa Fresca
Z's Amazingly Awesome Totally Not Fried Even Once Black Beans
Cucumber Radish Salsa (damn ordering cucumbers in produce box by accident)
Grit Salsa
Strawberry Brown Butter Bettys

bonne nuit.

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