Saturday, March 16, 2013

Growing Your Own Sprouts

radish sprouts
(1 week later)
Growing your very own sprouts is easier than you may think.  This is low maintenance which is my kind of gardening!  You can grow them inside your home even in the bleak winter months.  All you need is to soak the seeds/sprouts with water and drain them a few times a day.  No soil or light needed.  After a week you can harvest your crop and eat them!!  They are fun to use as garnishes, making your dish tasty and pretty!  

Recently I came across a package of sprouting seeds at a hardware store in Cambridge, MA during my lunch break.  I purchased a variety of seeds and started to experiment growing them.  After a little research I learned that in order to grow sprouts you must buy seeds that have been grown specifically for sprouting.  Other type of seeds (for gardening) may have been treated with fungicides and they may be harmful to your health.  Another interesting piece of information that I came across is that the sprouting seeds need to be soaked in a 2% bleach solution for 15 minutes prior to using.  This disinfectant process help eliminate certain bacteria such as E. coli and other foodborne pathogens. There are several ways to sprout seeds.  Below is a method that worked for me.  Maybe after you sprouts your own batch you will find that you have a better method.  When you buy the sprouting seed package there are instructions inside so you can just follow them. 

Growing Your Own Sprouts


Equipment:

Sprouting seeds (sprout as much or little as you prefer, if this is the first time you may want to start with a smaller crop such as 1 1/2 T to 2 T of seeds)
Cheese cloth (1-2 pieces large enough to cover your container)
A rubber band
A square or rectangular glass container
Water
Bleach

Preparation & Process:

1) Disinfect the seeds prior to using by soaking them in a 2% bleach solution (1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 cup hot water) for 15 minutes.  Rinse the seeds with tap water thoroughly.
2) Put the cleaned seeds in a clean glass container.  Add water to the container, enough to cover twice the depth of the seeds.  Cover the container with a piece of cheese cloth and secure it with a rubber band.  Let the seeds soak for about 12 hours (I soaked mine overnight for convenience).
3) Drain and rinse the seeds with fresh water.  Spread the wet seeds in the container.  I use my chopsticks to help spread the seeds.
4) Rinse with water and drain the sprouts completely 2-3 times per day.  If you find that the sprouts are too dry then rinse and drain more times.  However, I find that 4 times are more than plenty despite the low humidity during the winter months here in the Northeast.  Keep the container in a dark place.  I keep my container in an oven.  If I am using the oven then the kitchen cupboard is another good alternative. 
5) Once the sprouts have grown to about 2-4 inches tall they are ready for harvest (between 5-7 days of sprouting time).
6) If you want to green up your crop before harvesting then keep them in bright light (not direct sunlight) for 2-3 hours (longer exposure time in the light will make them tough and bitter).
7) After you harvest the sprouts, soak them in water. Swirl the sprouts a few times to loosen the hulls (outer seed covering). The hulls will float to the top.  Remove the sprouts and soak them in another batch of clean water.  Repeat the process a few times and this will rid most of the hulls.
8) Drain and use a salad spinner to dry the sprouts.  If you do not have a spinner then use paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to dry the sprouts.  The dry sprouts will keep longer in the refrigerator (as with any greens moisture will make them rot quickly).
9) Store the dried sprouts in a container or plastic bag in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.

*During the my trial of growing sprouts I realized that it worked well if I start my crop on Thursday evening (especially when I have the weekend off and will be around to care for them).  I have more time to rinse the seeds, 3-4 times each day over the weekend and this worked very well.  
*Too much exposure to light will make your sprouts tough and taste bitter.  Keep the container away from light as much as possible.  This is easy for me since it is winter and we have many dark and dreary days.
*According to Jim Mumm, use luke-warm water for soaking and rinsing in cool room temperatures and cold water in hot room temperatures.  The sprouts are best grown between 65 to 75 degrees F (18 to 25 C).  Please refer to the article links below for more information.
*My package insert tells me that these sprouts can be kept up to 4 weeks in a refrigerator if the conditions are optimal.  I don't think my sprouts will last 4 weeks for me to test this experiment!

disinfect the seeds by soaking them
in a bleach solution for 15 minutes
72 hours later
scallop salad with a tropical sauce
(garnish with radish sprouts)
spicy scallop tartare
(garnish with radish sprouts)
soy sesame seed crab salad roll
(garnish with radish sprouts)

*I found two interesting articles on-line on sprouting that have useful information.  If you are interested in learning more about sprouting please see:  http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A3385.PDF and http://www.cityfarmer.org/sprout86.html

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scallop Summer Rolls (makes 9 rolls)


I certainly have plenty of scallops from my last trip out to Rye Harbor, for all sorts of interesting food ideas!!  I decided to make these Vietnamese salad rolls, also referred to as summer rolls, using seared scallop slices.  In Vietnamese these are called gỏi cuốn (the direct translation is salad rolls).

Scallop Summer Rolls (makes 9 rolls)


Ingredients:

9 Vietnamese rice paper*
1 large bowl of warm water (large enough to dip the rice sheets without breaking)
7 oz baby arugula, washed and dried (divide into 9 portions)
4 oz finely shredded red cabbage, washed and dried (divide into 9 portions)
7 large sea scallops (or more), seared and sliced (please see directions below)
Hoisin with roasted peanut dipping sauce (recipe to follow)

Method:

1) Wet the whole sheet of rice paper in water.
2) Let the sheet drain on the back of a dry colander or on a clean dry towel.
3) When the sheet is pliable and somewhat dry add arugula and red cabbage.
4) Start rolling the sheet tightly and stop at about 3/4 of the way.
5) Line the scallop slices (about 2-3 slices per roll) along the roll (if you add the scallop here then after you finish rolling the scallop pieces will show through).
6) Fold in the sides.
7) Complete rolling the roll.
8) Repeat the process until complete.
9) Serve these rolls with the Vietnamese dipping sauce (please see Vietnamese Dipping Sauce post) or Hoisin with Roasted Peanut Dipping Sauce (recipe to follow).

Seared Sea Scallops

Ingredients:

7 sea scallops, washed, tough muscles removed, patted dry with paper towels
1 T canola oil or olive oil
A pinch of salt
A pinch of white pepper

Method:

1) Heat a small pan with oil over high heat.
2) Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper on both sides of each scallop.
3) Once the pan is hot add the scallops and sear each side for about 2 minutes or until they are golden.
4) Remove the scallops and set aside to cool.
5) Once the scallops are cooled, slice each scallops into 3/16th of an inch wide.

Hoisin with Roasted Peanut Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients:


4 T of Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
4 T of hoisin sauce
2 t hot sauce (or according to your taste)
Roasted Peanuts, crushed

Method:

Mix the Vietnamese dipping sauce and hoisin sauce together.  Add hot sauce and sprinkle roasted peanuts on top.

Vietnamese rice paper
(these may be purchased at an Asian market)

*You may use lime or lemon juice instead of the Vietnamese dipping sauce.  If you choose this method then add a little sugar (according to your taste).  This is a nice sauce to make if you don't have any Vietnamese dipping sauce already made.
*There are a variety of choices for Vietnamese rice paper.  I like to experiment with different types. Recently I bought some square ones with the Bamboo Tree brand.  They turned out to be very good. On the cover you see three bamboo trees.  As with all rice paper, all you need is to dip it in warm water to coat the whole sheet, remove it quickly, wipe excess water off and let the water dry off. These sheets will be pliable within no time and then you can use to roll whatever you want.  Working with one to two sheets at a time will be more manageable.  
*If you find that the baby arugula may be too overpowering for your taste then you can cut back the amount.  For example you may want to use half of the amount of arugula and replace the other half with cooked rice noodles.
*You certainly can use more scallop slices for each roll.  You can line the scallop slices on opposite sides of the roll.  
*I used 9 sheets to make fat little rolls.  If you use 10 sheets then these rolls will be more slim! 
*Here is an idea (not sure whether it is a good one or not), you can have a wrapping party!!  Set the ingredients out and let your guests roll them according to their preference/taste.  This way everyone can appreciate and enjoy them (and you don't have to do much work!).  If you are doing this make sure you have a variety of other ingredients such as cooked rice noodles, shrimp, sliced pork, other types of vegetable/herbs, and whatever you and your guests are interested in.
*It is better to eat the rolls as soon as they are freshly made.  However, any leftover rolls can be stored on a plate and place a moist paper towel or clean cloth on top to prevent them from drying out.  If you are making these rolls for a party or picnic then you can wrap each roll in plastic so that they do not stick together and the rolls will stay moist and fresh.  This brilliant idea came from my friend Thuy and her mother (from Portland, Maine).
*If you are interested in purchasing fresh sea scallops in Seacoast, NH.  Please click on the highlighted link.  F/V (fishing vessel) Rimrack is a family owned fishing business located in beautiful Rye Harbor, NH.  Thank you Rimrack for the amazingly fresh and tasty sea life!!  Please support and buy from your local fishermen.   

Monday, March 11, 2013

Scallop and Crab Soy Salad Rolls (makes 16 rolls)

colorful soy salad rolls
turmeric yellow soy wrapper
paprika orange soy wrapper
sesame soy wrapper

Spring forward with some colorful soy salad rolls!  These soy wrappers are fun to make and eat!  We just turned our clocks forward this weekend here in the United States, making our daylight a little longer in the evening.  It is a bit difficult to believe that Spring is just around the corner when we still have huge piles of snow everywhere, just last Friday we had a foot of snow!

Soy Salad Rolls

Ingredients:

4 soy wrappers
7 oz of Organic Spring Mix with Herbs (or any tender mixed greens), divide into 16 equal portions
3-4 seared sea scallops, cubed (please see Mini Seared Sea Scallops Salad with a Tropical Sauce post)
1/2-1 oz crab meat*
A few radish sprouts, garnish (optional)
1 recipe for sealing paste (recipe to follow)

Method:

1) Cut each soy wrapper in half.
2) Take some of the sealing paste and dab it about 1/4 inch wide across the end away from you.
3) Take a portion of the mixed greens and place it on the end closer to you.  If the greens stick out on the ends that is ok.  It looks nicer if you have some sticking out!
4) Start rolling as tight (but gently) as possible until you reach the other end.  Seal the roll tightly.  Add more sealing paste to the roll if needed.
5) Cut the roll in half.  Stuff the scallops or crab meat into the center of each roll.  Garnish with a few radish sprouts if desired.
6) Serve with spicy honey dipping sauce or hoisin with roasted peanut dipping sauce  (recipe to follow).

*You can pretty much use anything on top of these salad soy wraps.  Fish, shrimp, or even poultry would be a fine alternative.  If you are making these for a party you can wrap the greens first and then add the seafood or meat when your guests arrive.
*After I seared the scallops I added my crab meat into the pan and sautéed for about 1 minute.  This dried the crab meat a little and gave it an interesting fried taste.  In the past I used steamed crab meat and that is fine as long as the crab meat is added in the middle of the soy wrappers.  Placing the crab meat next to the soy wrapper will cause it to become soggy.
*If you are a vegetarian then leave out the seafood and meat.  You can add other interesting vegetable (such as shredded red cabbage), fruit (such as avocado, berries, apple, pear, tangerine, or orange) or cheese (such as goat cheese).  You can even dip these rolls in your favorite salad dressing!
*If you want to make these soy wraps even smaller.  You can cut these further in half, into bite size.
*I know of only one market nearby that sells these soy wrappers and they are located in Portsmouth, NH.  Lo's Seafood & Oriental Market Inc. located at 1976 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth, NH 03801, phone # is (603) 431-0022.  Hours: Tue-Sat 9 am - 7 pm and Sun 10 am - 5 pm.  The last time I visited their store I noticed that they sell fresh curry leaves, which is very rare to find in this part of the States.

Sealing Paste (glue for the wrappers)

Ingredients:


2 t water
1 t rice flour

Method:

1) Mix the water and flour together until well blended.
2) Heat the mixture in a pan over medium heat and stir until a paste is formed.  Remove from heat and cover the pan (to prevent paste from drying out).

*You can use steamed rice to seal the wrappers.  The steamed rice is a better option to use if you don't have any rice flour.  Today I came up with the idea of making a sealing paste and it worked extremely well on these soy wrappers.



Spicy Honey Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients:

2 T Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
1 t honey (or according to your taste)
1/2 t Sriracha chili hot sauce (or according to your taste)
1/8 t soy

Method:

1) Mix all ingredients together until well blended.

Hoisin with Roasted Peanut Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients:


4 T of Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
4 T of hoisin sauce
2 t hot sauce (or according to your taste)
Roasted peanuts, crushed

Method:

Mix the Vietnamese dipping sauce and hoisin sauce together.  Add hot sauce and sprinkle roasted peanuts on top.


Little Mouse, the scallop snowman
(this guy is totally edible!!)

*I made Muscles, a scallop snowman last week and he won first prize in a snowman contest (let the truth be told, I was competing with one other contestant!) in Portsmouth, NH.  The competition was to make a snowman out of anything but snow.  Today I made his twin brother and named him Little Mouse.  He has a hazelnut hat, eyes made out of cloves, a carrot nose, saffron mouth, lemongrass arms and he is resting on a scallop shell with a pile of mashed potatoes.  Muscles was a bit controversial and evil looking so I decided to post Little Mouse (the good twin) instead!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mini Seared Sea Scallops Salad with a Tropical Sauce (4 appetizers)


When it is dark and cold outside I like to prepare colorful meals.  I made these last weekend for my nephew's birthday and then again last night for my guests and everyone seemed to have enjoyed them. I had the scallops in the freezer and they tasted as fresh as on the day that I shucked them. After I shucked the scallops I saved the shells.  I scrubbed and dried them completely, then used them as a dish. I also grew these radish sprouts. They have a little bite to them and also make the dish look pretty.


Seared Sea Scallops

Ingredients:

8 to 12 sea scallops, washed, tough muscles removed, patted dry with paper towels
1 Tbsp canola oil or olive oil
A pinch of salt
A pinch of white pepper

Method:

1) Heat a small pan with oil over high heat.
2) Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper on both sides of each scallop.
3) Once the pan is hot add the scallops and sear each side for about 2 minutes or until they are golden.
4) Remove the scallops.

Fried Diced Pancetta

Ingredient:

1 thin slice of pancetta or 1/2 slice of any good bacon, diced (about 2 tablespoons)

Method:

1) Heat a pan over medium high heat.
2) Add the pancetta and fry until they are crispy (about 1 to 2 minutes).

Tropical Sauce

Ingredients:

2-3 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp soy sauce
A pinch of sugar

Method:

1) Heat a small pan over medium high heat.
2) Add coconut milk, butter, soy sauce and sugar.
3) Stir until butter is dissolved and everything is mixed well (about 1 minute).
4) Use immediately.

Plating Up Your Appetizers

Material/Ingredients:


4 large scallop shells, washed and dried
A handful of thinly shredded red cabbage
Seared scallops
Fried diced pancetta (Italian cured ham)
Tropical sauce
A few radish sprouts, daikon sprouts or another type of sprout (optional)

Method:

1) Divide the red cabbage into 4 equal parts.  Plate each scallop shell with 1 part of the red cabbage.
2) Place 2-3 seared scallops per shell.
3) Sprinkle with fried diced pancetta on top.
4) Drizzle with the tropical sauce as little or as much as you prefer.
5) Add a few radish sprouts on top and serve immediately.


*These are very tiny appetizers so I did not add too much salt to the tropical sauce as I would if it was for a larger salad.  Also the pancetta has a fair amount of salt in it already.  However, if you find that the sauce is not salty enough for your taste then add a little more soy.  I prefer not to eat too much salt since it is not healthy but also it makes the food taste terrible.
*Make sure that you are buying dried scallops (NOT wet). Dried scallops have no preservatives and when seared they have a beautiful golden color.  The best scallops you can ever eat are the ones that are freshly pulled/harvested from the sea!
*F/V (fishing vessel) Rimrack is a family owned fishing business located in beautiful Rye Harbor, NH. Thank you Rimrack for the amazingly fresh and tasty sea life!!  Please support and buy from your local fishermen.  If you are interested in buying from F/V Rimrack please visit their website:  
http://www.rimrackfish.com.  Rimrack staff is very friendly and helpful and they will happily assist you. They can also be found on Facebook.

Lightly Sautéed Pea Tips (serves 4 as part of a shared meal)


The first time I ate pea tips or pea tendrils was in a restaurant in Boston Chinatown.  They are tender and delicious. I was very excited to see that some of the Asian markets carry these tips.  I purchase these as often as I can.  I prefer to cook them as simple as possible with few ingredients added.  Sometimes I eat them steamed and dip in a braised meat or light soy sauce.  I normally eat this dish with steamed rice. However, I served these tips recently with my beef stew and it certainly brightened up my plate!

Lightly Sautéed Pea Tips (serves 4 as part of a shared meal)


Ingredients:

1 lb pea tips, washed and drained
2 t canola oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and chopped
1/4 t grated ginger (optional)
1/4 t fish sauce
1/8 t sugar

Method:

1) Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot, add ginger and garlic.  Sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Avoid burning the garlic.
3) Add pea tips and sauté for about 2-3 minutes until they are wilted.
4) Add fish sauce and sugar.  Sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

icicles on the house
(now that's cold!)
recent snow storm
(my husband cleaning my car so I can drive to work
--thank you, Paul!)
*You may add 1/2 of the tips in the pan at a time.  Once they are cooked they will decrease in size, then you can add more to the pan.

Roasted Terrific Trio (serves 4 as part of a shared meal)


These colorful potatoes are beautiful and delicious.  They make a nice presentation and are fun to eat. They are great for any poultry, fish or meat dishes.  Recently I served them with my beef stew.

Roasted Terrific Trio (serves 4 as part of a shared meal)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb terrific trio potatoes, washed and drained
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t crushed sea salt
1/4 t black or white pepper
1 T olive oil

Method:

1) Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
2) Place the potatoes in a pan.  Sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper over the potatoes.  Drizzle the oil on top.  Move the pan around to coat the potatoes.
3) Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes or until they are fork tender.

beautiful raw terrific trio potatoes
*You can use fresh thyme or substitute with another herb that you prefer.  I used dried thyme since I have plenty from the summer harvest.
*If you do not have the terrific trio potatoes you can substitute with other new potatoes.  Fingerling potatoes are tasty if you have access to them.

Beef Stew (serves about 6)


This tasty stew can easily be cooking under very low heat while you do other chores around the house or take a nap (which I did!).  I often make stews or soups for the cold winter months to help warm up the kitchen and living room and also to humidify our living quarters.  A few neighbors came over to join us for dinner recently and I served this stew with lightly sautéed pea tips, roasted terrific trio (which are young potatoes), and toasted baguette.  I have made this in the past and served it with mashed potatoes and that was as delicious.

Beef Stew (serves about 6)


Ingredients:

2 lb beef bottom round rump roast*, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1/3 C all-purpose flour
About 3 T canola oil (for browning the floured cubed beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 celery heart sticks, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 C chopped flat leaf parsley (stems and leaves)
1/2 t dried thyme*
32 oz beef stock (or make your own using beef bones)
2 C red wine*
3 T tomato paste
12 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean with a towel, trimmed the ends and halved
7 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 lb pearl onions
1/2 t salt
1/2 t fish sauce (optional)
1/2 t pepper
1 T Better Than Bouillon (beef base)
Fried diced pancetta, garnish (please see Mini Seared Sea Scallops Salad with a Tropical Sauce post)

Method:

1) Either on a plate or in a plastic bag coat the cubed beef in flour, shake off any excess flour.
2) Heat 2 T of oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Once the pot is hot spread the floured beef on the bottom of the pot to brown them.  Avoid over-crowding the pot.  Brown all sides of the beef.  It may take about 4-6 minutes.  Add more oil to the pot as needed.  Once the meat is browned, remove and reserve them on a plate.  Repeat the process until all the meat is browned.
3) Stir in the chopped onion and let it sweat, about 1-2 minutes.
4) Add celery, parsley, thyme, beef stock, red wine and tomato paste to the pot.  Scrape up the bottom of the pot gently using a wooden spoon.
5) Once the liquid starts to boil, turn the heat down to low.  Cover the pot and let everything cook for 3 1/2 hours.
6) Uncover the pot and turn up the heat to medium, add mushrooms, carrots, pearl onions, salt, fish sauce, pepper, and beef base.  Cook for about 1/2 hour more or until the carrots are tender.

*I use my handy cast iron pot all the time, maybe a few times a week.  It is definitely worth the  investment.  It's great to use it to make this type of stew since the pot retains heat well and it saves lots of energy when you cook.  
*When I cook with wine I use strictly drinking wine.  I am not a wine connoisseur, however if the wine is good enough for me to drink then it is good enough for cooking in my kitchen.  Avoid using cooking wine, it contains too much sodium.
*You can buy any type of beef for your stew, even the cheap cuts will make tasty stew.  I bought beef bottom round rump roast since it was available.  The last time I made this stew I used beef chuck.
*I used dried thyme since I have plenty from the summer harvest.  I grew them in my garden and dried them for the winter months.  If you have fresh thyme then add 3-4 sprigs to the pot.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sautéed Watercress with Squid Fins and Scallop Muscles in Oyster Sauce (serves 1)


Here is a dish that turns the undesirable parts into a tasty meal!  Most people would discard these squid and scallop parts but I used them for cooking.  I spent many hours jigging for squid last summer and I was not about to waste what I caught.  I saved all of the squid fins in the freezer after I cleaned them.  Recently I purchased 2 coolers full of large sea scallops and saved the tough muscles after I shucked them.  Today I had some watercress left in my refrigerator and decided to make use of the miscellaneous parts.  I sliced the squid fins and the tough muscles across the grain making them edible and less tough.  The result was delicious!

Sautéed Watercress with Squid Fins and Scallop Muscles in Oyster Sauce (serves 1)


Ingredients:

4 oz watercress, washed and drained
6 oz squid fins and scallop tough muscles, sliced the muscles thinly across the grain and sliced the squid fins
2 t canola oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and chopped
1 T oyster sauce
1/8 t sugar
1/4 t toasted sesame seeds, garnish (optional)

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan over high heat.  Once the pan is hot add garlic and saute for 1 minute or until lightly golden.
2) Stir in squid fins and scallop muscles, saute for 1 minute.
3) Add watercress, oyster sauce, and sugar. Stir until the watercress is wilted.
4) Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve with rice.


Spicy Scallop Tartare (appetizer serves about 2-3)


I made this spicy scallop tartare a few times this week since I have super fresh scallops.  When I got the scallops from the boat they were all alive and still in their shells.  I brought them home and over the course of two evenings I shucked them one by one.  Mike Anderson, fisherman and owner of Rimrack gave me a special scallop knife and showed me the tricks on removing the scallop muscles.  One of the tricks was to slice the muscle from the white or lighter (more shallow) shell first which makes a whole lot of sense.  Harvesting the muscle this way makes the job much easier!  Thank you, Mike!!

Spicy Scallop Tartare (appetizer serves about 2-3)

Ingredients:

Scallop Mixture

51/2 oz sea scallops (or about 5-6 large scallops), chopped
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T finely chopped red onion
2 T Hellmann's mayonnaise (with olive oil)
2 t Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 1/2 T chopped scallion
1/2 t lemon juice
1/8 t white pepper
A pinch of salt

Tomato Mixture

1/2 C diced tomato or about 1/2 vine ripe tomato, seeds removed and drained
2 T finely chopped red onion
1/2 t lemon juice
A pinch of sugar

Method:

1) For the scallop mixture:  Mix all the ingredients together in a medium size bowl until well blended.  Set aside.
2) For the tomato mixture:  Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.  Set aside.
3) Use a ring or a mold and place it on your plate.
4) Spoon a layer the scallop mixture first, lightly pack down the mixture to get rid of air pockets.  Next add the tomato mixture and gently push the mixture down.  Then top with the scallop mixture. Remove the ring or mold gently.
4) Garnish with (radish) sprouts if desired.  Serve with crackers or crostini.

 *To learn more about consuming seafood please visit:  http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm077331.htm

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paul's Birthday Noodles (serves 3-4)


Today is my husband's birthday and for lunch I decided to make a special noodle dish inspired by a Korean dish known as chapchae or japchae.  In my family we often make noodles dishes for special events.  The long strands of noodles is a sign of longevity.  Happy birthday and to a wonderful, happy, healthy, and long life, dear Paul!!  As my grandmother often tells us, may you get everything you ever wished for!
 


Paul's Birthday Noodles (serves 3-4) 

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of starch noodles* (cooked for 10 minutes, drained)
10 oz scallop roe, washed well and drained
6 oz mantles*, washed well and drained, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch lengths
2 oz pancetta, diced (or any good bacon)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 oz sliced lengthwise onion (or 1/2 medium onion)
3 1/2 oz julienned carrots (or 1 medium size)
3 oz sliced red cabbage
6 dried shiitake mushrooms (hydrated, sliced and squeezed the water out yields 3 oz)
2 oz watercress, washed and drained well (may cut the cress in half or keep the long strands)
1/2 oz seaweed, hydrated in water for about 30 minutes, rinsed well, drained and squeezed all the water out
3 T olive oil
1 T oyster sauce
1 T fish sauce (= 3 t)
1 1/2  T sesame oil
1/4 t sugar
1/4 t white pepper
1 t toasted sesame seeds
Light soy sauce (optional)

Method:

1) Boil the noodles for about 10 minutes (or according to the package instructions), drain and reserve the noodles.
2) For the roe/mantles:  In a large non-stick sauce pan heat 1 T of olive oil over high heat.  Once the pan is hot add the pancetta, saute for 1 minute.
3) Add onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
4) Stir in roe and mantles and 1 t of fish sauce.  Saute for about 3 minutes.  Remove the contents and reserve in a plate or bowl.
5) For the vegetables:  Add 1 T of olive oil in the pan.  Once the pan is hot add carrots and cook for 1 minute.
6) Turn heat down to medium high if the pan is too hot.  Add cabbage and cook for 1 minute.
7) Add shiitake mushrooms, watercress and seaweed.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove the contents and reserve in a plate or bowl.
8) Add 1 T of olive oil in the pan.  Add the noodles (if the noodles stick together then rinse the noodles in water and drain well before adding it to the pan).  Stir and add 1 T sesame oil.  Cook for 1 minute.
9) Add the vegetables back into the pan.  Mix the vegetables well into the noodles, about 1-2 minutes.
10) Add the roe/mantles back into the pan, 2 t fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper, mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
11) Remove, sprinkle sesame seeds and drizzle 1/2 T sesame oil on top before serving.

gift and card from the parents
*Right before eating I drizzled a little light soy sauce into my plate.  This added a little more flavor and depth to the dish.
*Once you have removed the mantles (these are the scallop's sensory organs and they are found on the periphery of the scallop shell), massage these strands with regular table salt.  I sprinkled about 
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons on the strands.  I massaged it for about 5 minutes, rinsed well in cold water and repeated the process another 2 more times.  This got rid of all the slime and impurities.  You may want to don some gloves for this process. 
*The starch noodles are called "vermicelli Asian style starch noodles".  These noodles are great for cooking such as stir frying since they don't break apart during the cooking process.  They also have a chewy texture.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Spicy & Garlicky Scallop Mantles (serves 1-2)


I asked Mike Anderson, my local fisherman (owner of Rimrack) if he has ever tried eating scallop mantles.  He said he had eaten them and they are a bit briny in taste.  I don't think he told me whether he liked it or not.  Tonight I was curious and decided to give them a try.  They turned out delicious. The mantles were slightly crunchy, chewy and tasted a bit similar to clams but better!

Uncooked the mantles are a bit slimy to handle.  I remember my mother told me to clean certain sea life with salt which she learned from her mother.  This will take some of the slime away.  I removed the scallop mantles from the scallops and placed them in a bowl.  I added about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon of salt and massaged the mantles for about 5 minutes to remove the slime and impurities.  I rinsed them in cold water and repeated this method two more times.  After the third time I rinsed the mantles well with cold water, drained and cut each mantle into 1/2 to 1 inch lengths.  

Spicy & Garlicky Scallop Mantles (serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

5 oz of scallop mantles, washed well and cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch lengths
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp chopped parsley
A squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan over high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot add the garlic and pepper flakes, saute for about 1 minute.
3) Add scallop mantles and sauté for about 2 minutes or until the mantles are cooked.  Stir in fish sauce and parsley and sauté for about 30 seconds.
4) Scoop out the scallop mantles into a plate and reserve.
5) Turn heat down to medium, reduce the sauce down, about 4-5 minutes.
6) Drizzle the sauce over the scallop mantles.  Squeeze a little lime juice over the top.  Serve with toasted bread.

Rimrack and crew returning from a long day of work
the goodies!!
a bucket full of shucked scallops
(it's a LOT of work to shuck them one by one)
the anxious customers
Captain Mike Anderson, dedicated
and hard working fisherman
(thank you, Mike for the work that you do!)
dealing from the back of a pick up truck!
my scallops!!
(I appreciate my scallops more now that
I have shucked all of these by myself!)
*F/V (fishing vessel) Rimrack is a family owned fishing business located in beautiful Rye Harbor, NH. Thank you Rimrack for the amazingly fresh and tasty sea life!!  Please support and buy from your local fishermen.  If you are interested in buying from F/V Rimrack please visit their website:  
http://www.rimrackfish.com.  Rimrack staff is very friendly and helpful and they will happily assist you. They can also be found on Facebook.