It’s SO Easy Being Green!

I’ve been on a scallop kick lately and if these gentle magazines don’t stop coming up with delicious recipes for these tasty little suckers well then you are just going to have to get used to it!

This Grilled Scallops with Honeydew-Avocado Salsa from Food & Wine magazine is my favorite scallop dish I’ve tested so far. Not only is the ingredient list short and there are only two steps, but the flavors were out of this world. The salsa is fun twist on a traditional salsa verde with honeydew melon and fresh avocado, plus a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I did add a smidge of honey at the end and folded into the salsa just for good measure. Then you simply grill (or grill on a grill pan inside your house…sigh) the scallops and that’s it. This was on the table in no time and I LOVED it!

The Burger That Made Me Say “Yay!”

Oh yum people, oh yum. This Cheddar BLT Burger with Tarragon Russian Dressing is on the cover of the June issue Food & Wine magazine. Doesn’t it look like the Heidi Klum of cheeseburgers? Not only was this so good, but it was pretty simple to make. It has a simple Russian-style dressing with fresh tarragon, bacon, onion, tomato, cheddar cheese and the patties are equal parts ground beef chuck and sirloin. One thing you do differently is brush the patties with unsalted butter while they cook. WHY have I not thought of this before? As you know I don’t have a grill but cooked them instead on a grill pan on the stove until the patty was slightly pink inside. This was by far one of the easiest to to make and best-in-flavor burgers I have made in a long time, if not ever!

On the side I enjoyed this simple Heirloom Tomato Salad with Garlic Oil from Martha Stewart Living. Heirloom tomatoes and their unique shapes and colors just make me so happy when I get to enjoy them. When you have something this good and flavorful you need to make sure the rest of the ingredients are simple and do not overpower. This recipe with it’s garlic-infused olive oil, fresh chives and basil were delicious with the heirloom tomatoes I was able to find at the market. As a side note, I enjoyed reading this article from Food & Wine about a husband and wife team who grow heirloom tomato varieties. Do you like a Green Zebra or Arkansas Traveler better?

Spiced Lamb and Vegetable Kebabs with Cilantro Mint Sauce

I love a good sauce of any kind and the cilantro mint sauce in this Cooking Light dish is divine. The magazine claimed this would take 40 minutes total to get this on the table and lo and behold it did. This was very simple to put together and the only difference was that since I don’t have a grill (sigh), I broiled the skewers in the oven until done. I also like the idea of a protein other than the standard beef or chicken for a weeknight meal and the lamb dipped in the sauce, “oh my goodness!” is all I can say.

I thankfully had a lot of sauce so I sliced up some fresh cucumbers and drizzled it on top and then served the skewers on top of the Currant-and-Almond Pilaf from Everyday Food which gave a satisfying crunch to the dish and rounded out the meal.
This dish rocked and I would highly recommend it for simple and different kind of weeknight meal.

Thai Salad with Pork (or the salad that made me literally lick my plate)

So I just got the new Family Circle and am dying to try some of the recipes in the June issue. First up this Thai Salad with Pork recipe, that yes, I may have licked my plate when I was done. What really made this dish amazing was the dressing. A little backstory for you. I grew up in East Texas and have been visiting Shogun’s (a hibachi grill) my entire life. They make this ginger dressing that is out of this world and this is the first homemade dressing I’ve made that reminded almost exactly of their’s. So maybe it was a little bit of delicious dressing mixed with fond childhood memories? I don’t know.

The other thing I liked about this was how quick and simple it was to make and on a good-for-you scale this one registers way up there, with cucumbers, red bell peppers and lean-pork. I didn’t have bean sprouts (which I love) so I decided to do something very un-cooking inside the lines and added fresh mango to add a sweet note (and more vitamins and fiber) to the dish and it was great.

On a random side note, I was watching Andrew Zimmern’s latest installment of Bizarre Foods last night and saw an ad that next week is his tour of Texas. Being a very proud Texan, especially of our food culture, I can’t wait to see where he ends up. It airs next Tuesday, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. CT.

Sean Thackrey Wines

So none of the recipes I tested this week really were up to par for the site…sad. So I thought I would mention my deep love for a particular winemaker’s wines out of Marin County, CA named Sean Thackrey. I guess you could call him a rogue winemaker since he goes against the current of what many winemakers strongly believe in such as the importance of
terroir and the role science plays in the development and fermentation of his wines.

You can hear these thoughts and more in this interview on I love how he refers to barrels as “spice” for his wines. If you’ve ever had one of his wines, (I’ve had the cost-effective Pleiades a lot and the wee more expensive Orion once) you can really taste the difference in his wines versus others. I can’t put my finger on what makes it so good but once you taste for yourself you can see his theories really reflect in his work.

For you lovely Austinites I checked at Whole Foods Market and supposedly they might be getting in a shipment of Pleiades (yippee!) in the next few weeks and I will post here if it arrives. They do have bottles of Sirius but it’s a little out of my price range at $78.00! Have you had a Sean Thackrey wine? Would love to hear other thoughts!

Strawberry, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Exquisite is a word I would use for this pizza dish from Cooking Light. The flavors melded so well and I would highly recommend using watercress if you can find it. I just found a gorgeous bunch of it at Whole Foods Market today and I guess you could substitute its kin arugula if you wanted.

I would never have thought to put these flavors together on a pizza but it turned out beautifully and was so delicious. I couldn’t find pistachios (go figure) at H-E-B or Central Market so I used cashews instead.
This would be great for a party or a simple and quick weeknight meal that is both an entree and dessert. Go make this right now!

Sauteed Scallops with Watercress and Ginger

I was on a watercress kick last week with the world’s best pizza and all, but I also made this Sauteed Scallops with Watercress and Ginger from Everyday Food which was really good.

This recipe was so super simple for a weeknight meal and had it on the table in about 25 minutes. I did add a dash of red pepper flakes at the end for a little bit of heat. I still can’t find this recipe online so here you go.

Serves 4

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of peeled minced fresh ginger

3 bunches of watercress (about 5 ounces each), thick ends trimmed

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 pound large sea scallops (about 12)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic and ginger and cook until garlic is lightly golden. 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 of the watercress and cook until wilted. Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining watercress. Stir in lemon juice and sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper. Wipe skillet clean.

Pat scallops dry with a paper towel; season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high. Add scallops and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. turn and cook until opaque throughout, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve scallops with watercress.

Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

So after a quick but intense trip to New York and a looooong drive to and from my hometown I was super beat last night but nothing, I repeat nothing, would stop me from making this.

I came across this Strawberry-Avocado Salsa in this month’s Cooking Light and literally squealed with glee and clapped my hands together. It just sounded so good! This salsa was super easy to make and everything melded so nicely with the creamy avocado, crisp red onion, spicy jalapeno and of course delicious and sweet strawberries. I served over a sauteed piece of halibut and dinner was done in 15 minutes. I wish I had made more so I could eat with tortilla chips but I have learned my lesson for next time. Make this immediately!

Where’s the Beef? Black Bean Tacos…

No beef for you! Instead you get really tasty, mashed black beans that have been sprinkled with a little bit of cumin. Place some pepper jack cheese on a tortilla, and then place it flat on a hot skillet with some extra virgin olive oil. Place the bean mixture on top, fold and crisp on both sides. Voila! Yummy vegetarian tacos in no time.
I followed Crispy Black Bean Tacos recipe from Bon Appetit except I did not have corn tortillas or feta but it was still yummy the way I made them, especially if you serve with some low-fat sour cream and homemade guacamole. I also made the Mexican Pineapple Salad to round out the meal. And now back to our regularly scheduled beef programming…