Baked Sea Scallops

  • 16 sea scallops, rinsed and drained (**see substitutions below)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 pinches ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place scallops, melted butter, garlic, and shallots in a bowl. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs and olive oil, then sprinkle on top of scallops.

Bake in preheated oven until crumbs are brown and scallops are done, about 11 to 14 minutes. Top with chopped parsley, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

**Substitutions: If you are not a fan of scallops, you can swap them out for ½-1 lb of shrimp or white fish. The cooking time should be adjusted to 8-12 minutes for shrimp. Cooking time for fish should be about the same as for scallops, but it will depend on the thickness of the pieces.

Coriander Drop Cookies

·         1 cup vegetable shortening

·         1 cup sugar

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         2 eggs

·         3 cups flour

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         3⁄4 teaspoon salt

·         2 teaspoons coriander

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cream the shortening until fluffy, then gradually add in the sugar and beat until light.

Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg until blended.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and coriander.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the shortening-egg mixture and mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet; you can also use parchment paper or silicone sheet instead of greasing the cookie sheet.

Bake about 10 minutes until done.

Easy Bechamel Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden color, about 7 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux (cooked flour mixture). Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until smooth and thickens, about 10 to 20 minutes. Once the sauce no longer tastes gritty, season with salt and nutmeg.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)

In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed. Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

Spice Blends

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Spread some on salmon or ribs before grilling or add into a brown sugar marinade for chicken.

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


Baharat Seasoning

Baharat, a Middle Eastern spice combines cardamom, coriander seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir some into your next vegetable dish, or mix some with lime juice and oil for a savory marinade.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper**

Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, mash the ingredients together for 2 to 3 minutes.

**You can substitute white pepper if you want a less spicy blend.


Cajun Seasoning

Makes about 2 cups

  • 4 tablespoons paprika
    • 3 tablespoons dried granulated onion
    • 3 tablespoons dried granulated garlic
    • 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons white pepper
    • 3 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground thyme
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground oregano
    • 2 tablespoons ground New Mexican chile
    • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile

Combine the paprika, onion, garlic, cayenne, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, oregano, New Mexican chile, and chipotle chile in a bowl. Store in a covered container up to 6 months.

Substitutions: You can use hot or smoked paprika instead of regular to change the flavor. This recipe doesn’t call for any salt, do remember to salt your ingredients in addition to using the spice in a recipe.


Everything Bagel Spice

  • 2 ½ teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

Curries

Any leftover curry powder would be delicious mixed into deviled eggs, sprinkled over quartered new potatoes before roasting, or stirred into yogurt and served with pita chips or warm naan. Perfect for use in soups, stews, curries. Try sprinkling on fried potatoes or scrambled eggs.

Curry Powder 1

Makes about 3 tablespoons

  • 2 dried red chiles, stemmed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Combine chiles, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and cumin seeds in small bowl. Add cold water to cover, then drain. Place drained mixture in heavy small skillet. Dry-roast over medium-low heat until seeds are dry, slightly darker in color, and beginning to pop, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan from heat, and let cool in skillet.

Place nutmeg, white pepper, and turmeric in spice mill or grinder. Add the cooled spice mixture, then grind to powder. Store in a cool place in an airtight container.


Curry Powder 2

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons whole cardamom seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Add ingredients to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind up. Place in a small jar with airtight lid and shake to combine. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. When ready to use, add to dishes according to taste.


Curry Powder 3

  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or ground chilies

Add all spices to a small jar and shake. Store in airtight jar for up to 3 months.


Sweet and Mild Curry Blend

Makes 1/4 cup

2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon clove
1⁄2 teaspoon ground mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients, and store in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

Summer days are here/cookbook library update

We are at the start of at least a one week heatwave of 100+ temperatures, which means that anything needing done outside has to be accomplished before I start work at 7am or after dark (which is NOT happening). Once I’m off of the clock at 3:30pm, I pick a project to work on before starting dinner. Sometimes the project is dinner; it depends on the day.

The Covid-19 isn’t fun for anyone, and staying home all of the time other than for the needful things gets old (even for this homebody). I have been putting off cataloging and organizing my cookbook collection for a long time. My hubby has been a very good sport about it overall. Not having a current list has caused me to accidentally buy duplicates of a few books. I’ve also been promising to post my cookbook list for awhile too. Yesterday I had had enough of the many, many boxes and decided the time had come to dig them out and get organized.

Two and a half hours later, I had five cataloged and sorted boxes plus another eight feet of books to go through. If you think that is a lot of books, I am barely getting started. There are three bookcases that are racked and packed as well. It will take at least a week to get them all checked, sorted, and put back, but the end result will be worth it. I am keeping track of the signed copies, and will be selling any duplicates. I also decided to group all of the Food Network chefs together, then the ones that I wind up using the most (Jet Tila, I’m looking at your cookbooks!). The rest will mostly be shelved by rough topic (e.g. brewing, Asian cooking, baking, etc.).

I hope you find my little cookbook library amusing. There is a wide range of topics and authors to choose from.

Time for Worst Cooks In America Bingo!

Apparently 2020 is the year of wild and crazy Food Network shows. I loved last season’s Worst Cooks in America with Anne Burrell and Alton Brown, and watched Amy Schumer Learns To Cook (she actually did, a teeny tiny bit) as a way to liven up staying home during the pandemic. Due to Worst Cooks, I teamed up with Allison Wolfe to make and post bingo cards for last season celebrity edition. They have proven to be popular, so we are gearing up for the new season that starts Sunday, June 21st.

The new season bring a feisty new chef to Team Blue – Alex Guarnaschelli. She was a judge during the early stages of the show, but has not had to run the gauntlet of boot camp recruits. I don’t know if she knows what she signed up for; I think she should have asked Alton for tips or what to be on the lookout for. Both chefs are amazing in the kitchen, and it will be great to see what they can do with people that can burn water.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Food Network, but I am a huge food groupie. Watching food competition shows is my idea of a sporting event.

Want to play along? Click here to pick a bingo card: Worst Cooks Bingo

Bingo card archive

I hope you have fun playing bingo along with us. I don’t get to see the show ahead of time, so I am just as surprised at the shenanigans that go on. You can print up an individual card or play a few, the choice is up to you.

Pickle Me This

Making quick refrigerator pickles only take a few minutes, and you can eat them in as little as 30-40 minutes. I like the idea of making small batches, and changing the herbs or seasoning level between jars. Have fun and experiment with flavor!

Quick Pickles

Ingredients
3/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp kosher or pickling salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup water
1-1 1/2 lbs cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
8 dried cloves
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 pint jars with lids, washed and sterilized

Combine the salt, sugar, and vinegar in a small non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved, then removed from heat. Add in the water and let cool.

Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds or spears and put into cleaned and sterilized pint jars. Mix coriander, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, dill, and garlic. Split evenly between the jars, and add the cloves. Add the cooled brine to the jars, dividing evenly. You can add a little cold water if needed until the liquid covers the cucumbers. Place the lids on the jar and tighten and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but they will have a better flavor if you can wait 24 hours. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

I like waiting 48 hours to 2 weeks before opening my quick pickles, but you can certainly eat them sooner than that. The nice thing about doing small batches is that you can experiment with different vegetables or spices without committing to a large amount.

Variations: asparagus, carrots, green beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, radishes, cherries

Pickled Onions

Ingredients
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp honey or granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pint canning jar (I always have an extra jar on hand, just in case I make too much for one jar)

Clean and sterilize the canning jar(s) and lid(s) and set aside. Pack the onions into the jar, and set in the sink or on a kitchen towel in case the vinegar splashes later.

In a non-reactive saucepan mix the vinegar, water, honey (or sugar), salt, and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then pour over the onions in the jar.

Use the back of a spoon to make sure the onions are submerged in the vinegar mixture. Carefully tighten the lids on the jar(s) and let cool to room temperature. It should take about 30-40 minutes.

You can eat the pickled onions after they’ve cooled off, or you can store them for up to three weeks. They are best eaten within a week of pickling, and make sure to store them in the refrigerator.

Worst Cooks season finale and live discussion!

The season 19 Worst Cooks in America on Food Network has been a wild ride. Chefs Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence have had their hands full trying to wrangle seven celebrity boot camp recruits – Wells Adams, Johnny Bananas, Dave Coulier, Robin Givens, Bridget Everett, Sonja Morgan, and Brian Posehn. It is certainly not dull when you have so many comedians and actors in the mix.

Allison Wolfe and I have had a lot of fun creating the weekly bingo cards, and will continue to make more for the upcoming season with Alex Guarnaschelli replacing Tyler. I know that I will have as difficult time choosing between red or blue teams, because Alex ranks up with Alton and Anne on my favorite chef list. I haven’t been able to meet Alex, Anne, or Tyler yet, but I keep hoping that I will get to at some point.

To wrap up the season, Allison and I are going to have an Instagram live chat around 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT. You can find us on Instagram at @allison_vic and @forktravel. We will talk about our favorite moment of the season (there were quite a few!) and what we hope will be in the finale. Who will show they have what it takes and win? Go over to the WC bingo page (get your cards here) and pick a card. Play along and have fun.

By the way, what are you planning to fix to nosh along with the show? Time to go through my cookbook library and start prepping.

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