Kitchen Adventures

I tested out two, new adventurous recipes recently. My motivation was to experiment with new techniques, and to make something I’ve never made before.

The first was Scallops in Parchment, en papillote if you’re fancy. I love this technique, having admired chefs on television demonstrate it, and having been a very young Girl Scout doing the more hardy, aluminum foil version over a camp fire. Cooking in parchment is super easy, not messy, easily versioned and elegantly rustic. A great dinner party idea would be to have everyone BYO fish, while you supply the herbs, veggies, wine/stock and parchment. Guests could assemble the papillote to their liking. When it’s done cooking, place the steamed pack on a plate, rip open and enjoy! Makes for easy clean-up, too.

For my Scallops in Parchment, I trimmed down the recipe for one serving. I added baby bok choy to up the greens content, and to take away some of the emphasis on fennel, which I don’t love. I asked the fish guy at The Freshmarket for a 1/4lb of fresh sea scallops (that came to 2 big guys, but in my price range, too). Here’s the assembly process!

gently toss all ingredients (except scallops)

gently toss all ingredients (except scallops)

place mixture on 12x12 parchment, stack scallops on top

place mixture on 12x12 parchment, stack scallops on top

bake

first you roll it, then you bake

tear it open!

tear it open!

i added couscous and lemon juice

i added couscous and lemon juice

I did not have white wine on hand, which I would have added to the package, but the veggies and scallops produced enough moisture to steam themselves. The couscous I made on the side because I wasn’t sure how the steam bag would handle cooking it thoroughly. Overall, this meal was a huge success. Like, I said, I’m not a huge fan of fennel. The baby bok choy was delicious, as well as the tomatoes. I love when grape tomatoes get hot, burst and produce that highly acidic, hot juice! That is divine. Now that I’ve tested out this technique, I’m ready to try different ingredients, switching up the recipe with asparagus, zucchini, carrot slivers, peas, salmon, snapper, etc.

My second recipe test-drive: Homemade Pizza. This is mostly a no-brainer, so the dough was the emphasis. Major roadblock, I’ve never bought yeast, and wasn’t going to make a trip to the store just for that. So I’d have to go the no-yeast dough route. Yeah, sort of a cop-out. But my next pizza adventure will most certainly involve proper, yeast pizza dough. And maybe even whole wheat flour next time. Here’s how the assembly went.

flour, milk, olive oil, baking powder, salt

flour, milk, olive oil, baking powder, salt

after kneading

after kneading

nope, don't own a rolling pin.

nope, don't own a rolling pin.

all rolled out, with olive oil on top

all rolled out, with olive oil on top

now for the fun part: choosing the toppings

now for the fun part: choosing the toppings

The toppings include (building from bottom to top), pesto, mozzarella, grape tomatoes, capers, sun dried tomatoes & bacon (leftover from this BLT dip), Parmesan and parsley.

before baking

before baking

golden brown. dinner time!

golden brown. dinner time!

This pizza was ah-mazing. Granted, I normally don’t have these kinds of ingredients around, but it truly made all the difference. So much great flavor. I will definitely make this again because it was so easy and beat the hell out of delivery. And DiGiorno. One mistake I made was not spraying the baking sheet. I lost some of the crust trying to get it off the pan. Or, use a Silpat, which I also do not own.

spinach salad with grape and sundried tomatoes, capers, marinated shrooms and artichoke hearts

spinach salad with grape and sun dried tomatoes, capers, marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts

Here’s my lunch the next day, using some of the antipasto ingredients that made their way onto my pizza. Note the container by Oggi (set of three nested containers at TJMaxx for less than $10). They have great design sense with functionality (date slider on the side to mark when you made the contents). Love it.

Finally, I made some of my favorite salad dressing. Before I was limited to fresh ginger dressing when dining out at sushi bars. Now I can make my own, and avoid shelling out cash for the fancy bottled versions. Here’s the recipe for Carrot Ginger Dressing. I highly recommend it.

combine in blender or food processor

combine in blender or food processor

More kitchen adventures to come. I loved trying out these newbies.

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