Inga's Indulgence

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fancy Pants

We all need a little fancy shmanciness in our lives. I'm lucky enough to get it during my cooking classes, while living vicariously through my students. During my last class, I had them prepare something French...ish, with a lot of words in the title, and boy did it live up to that title.

Seared Scallops with Parsnip Puree, Crispy Leeks, and Lemon Beurre Blanc

(yield: 6 servings)

2 lbs sea scallops
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp butter
1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds (optional)

Dry the scallops between 2 layers of paper towels. Combine flour with cumin in a shallow bowl.

Preheat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Place oil and butter into the pan.

Season scallops with salt and pepper, and dredge tops and bottoms in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Sear 1-2 minutes per side. Serve with Parsnip PureeLemon Buerre Blanc Sauce, and Crispy Leeks. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Parsnip Puree
(yield: 6 servings)

5 medium parsnips, peeled & diced into medium cubes
2 medium idaho potatoes, peeled & diced into medium cubes (same size as parsnips)
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste

Place parsnips and potatoes into a large pot and fill with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender.

 Drain and puree with potato masher or ricer. Heat the milk, until simmering. Whisk in the butter, and fold mixture into parnip puree. Season with salt and pepper.

Lemon Beurre Blanc
(yield: 6 servings)

2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
salt & pepper, to taste

Place lemon juice, white wine, and shallots into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, and continue to cook until mixture reduces and thickens, 3-5 minutes.

Whisk in creme fraiche, and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add butter, 1 cube at a time, whisking to dissolve before adding the next cube. Season with salt & pepper.

Crispy Leeks

2 medium leeks, washed & green parts removed
canola oil, as needed
salt, as needed

Fill a deep saute pan 1/4 of the way up with oil, and place over medium-high heat.

Slice the cleaned leeks into thin matchsticks (about 1/4-inch thick, and 3-4 inches long). Test the oil with one leek - if the oil begins to bubble around the leek, it is ready.

Fry leeks (making sure not to overcrowd the pan, about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil and let drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby gourmet: In a Scramble!

I felt like a bad mother today. Running errands all day, time escaped me. Before I knew it, it was time for Zelli's lunch, and I had nothing.

Without child, an empty fridge was no biggie. Living off of oatmeal and crackers was an all too common theme for this busy and tired chef (plus if it meant I could shed a few, I was all for it). But since Zelli started eating solids, he's grown accustomed to eating fresh, healthy meals, and I've grown accustomed to making them on a daily basis.

As the lunchtime tune began (which goes a little something like this - "Umm..ummm..ummmmamamamam!!!), I sprinted to the refrigerator, blindly grabbed whatever was in arm's length, and made a dash for the stove. And now what? Luckily, one of the items I was skillfully balancing with my elbow was a vegetable. Zucchini, eggs, ricotta...well I'll be it, a gourmet meal in minutes. I think I'll call it a scramble.

Zucchini Scramble
(yield: 2 servings)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini
, peeled and grated
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp milk
1/4 cup ricotta cheese

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add zucchini and garlic. Cook, stirring,  5-6 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and cook for another 5 minutes.