Saturday, November 21, 2009

Edgy scallops

Scalloped edges may be long out of fashion, but as for scallops - the shellfish - they are edgy and always in style.

They are a fast food extraordinaire - 3 or 4 minutes each side until they turn the color of new pennies - and they play well with other fast foods.

Tonight, they took center stage with orzo, spinach and yam fries playing supporting rolls, all tied up with a lovely sauce that featured lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. A colorful (golden scallops, brilliant green spinach, bright orange yams) dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, and few pans to clean.

Scallops' edge

Serves 2

4 ounces orzo (ricelike) pasta
6 scallops, rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 or 5 ounces baby spinach

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, al dente. Drain.
  • As the orzo is cooking, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange scallops in a single layer in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Pour mixture over scallops. Sprinkle dried basil over scallops so that one side is coated with basil.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium-high, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Place scallops basil-side down, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until dark golden brown. Turn scallops, and cook the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat the marinade in the microwave for a minute, then add to the pan, scraping all the caramelized scallop juices and stirring well. Add the pasta and spinach to the skillet and toss well until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately, with the scallops on top, with a side of oven-baked yam fries.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

East-West brewfest

Jay R. Brooks (Brooks on Beer) had an interesting article on a collaboration of two of my favorite beers: Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Ale:
Collaboration beers are the epitome of the mythic win-win. Two or more brewers share their knowledge, stretch their creative muscles and create a beer that's usually greater than the sum of its parts. And beer lovers are treated to a special, limited edition beer that is usually made just once.
One of the most recent collaborations was between Sierra Nevada Brewing and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. The pair embodies the very notion of opposites. One is West Coast — Chico — while the other is from Delaware. Sierra Nevada is one of the largest craft breweries in the country. Dogfish Head is considerably smaller. And while Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head's owner, has done countless collaboration beers, this is Sierra Nevada's first.
Calagione and Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada's founder, have known one another for several years. They both served on the board of the Brewers Association, a trade organization that works on behalf of smaller breweries. Late one night — over a few beers, naturally — Grossman suggested the two create a beer together, using ingredients from their respective family farms and breweries to make the beer more personally meaningful.
Life and Limb
The beer was dubbed "Life and Limb," a nod to both the interconnections of the craft beer world and to family trees — both Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head are family-owned and run. And while a children's illustrator did a beautiful label evoking those themes, where it really came together was in the beer itself.
A blend of their two house yeasts was used, along with maple syrup from Calagione's father's Massachusetts farm and barley from Sierra Nevada (the same barley used to create their recent Estate Brewers Harvest Ale.) They also used birch syrup in the beer, and they believe this may be the first time it's ever been used in brewing.
The result is a strong, dark beer that defies categorization. It's 10.5 percent alcohol by volume, or a.b.v., and black as a starless night. It's also rich and slightly sweet, from the maple syrup, no doubt. Despite being so strong, it's quite delicate and complex. Its strength is well hidden by that complexity, making it a dangerous beer to quaff. This is a beer made to sip and share.
Available now on draft, beginning this week, 24-oz. bottles of Life and Limb will be available throughout the country, though in very limited quantities.
Reach Jay R. Brooks at Read more by Brooks at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reggae curry - yeah!

A friend asked if I had any more lamb recipes, and yes, I do, but none are as amusing as this video of "Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver singing about how to make lamb curry.

via The Insider

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nutrition data - will it just fade away?

Saw the item below (with the blue headline) in Nation's Restaurant News.

Can you imagine what would happen if the department of transportation dropped seatbelt regulations because drivers didn't like them much? Or if ski areas skipped publicizing the responsibility code because snowboarders didn't like like it much?

Businesses always resist regulations - until they have to comply and customers begin to appreciate the change. Remember the big stink after the Tylenol poisonings, and everyone resisted sealing their containers because of the added cost? But once it became widespread, companies even expanded it to such things as bleach, because, surprise, it prevent leakage and upped their bottom line.

Going lean on nutritional data

California Pizza Kitchen dropped calorie data when it recently printed new menus, in part because customers just didn't like it much. The change highlights the different ways California's chain restaurants are dealing with new and still-evolving rules that dictate how they provide patrons with nutritional information about the food they serve. Los Angeles Times