Seared Scallops in a Chimichurri Style Sauce Sauce was my husband Richard’s request for our Valentines day dinner this year. Let’s just say, he did not have to twist my arm. Today was the coldest day of this winter so far. So spending the good part of the day in the kitchen was the best place to be on such a bitter cold day. There are a few variations to preparing a chimichurri sauce. Some people like them blended and with more olive oil. I like to chop all of my ingredients finely by hand. I also like adding sweet and hot chile peppers to mine. During the summer when I have a porch full of fresh herbs I prepare chimichurri quite often, sometimes adding fresh basil and tarragon into the mix. Someday, I would love to enjoy dinner at an authentic Argentinian restaurant just so I could try some real chimichurri! I have to say, that cooking my loved ones favorite dishes brings me great joy. Making great food memories one plate at a time….
For Chimichurri Sauce 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped 1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper 2 green onions 11/2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano 1 teaspoon dried basil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 chile serrano, minced 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 teasponn smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper Salt to taste Juice of 1 lemon 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/3 cup olive oil or enough to cover chimichurri generously
You will also need 8 sea scallops salt and fresh cracked pepper chili oil 1 tablespoon butter
1. Mix all of the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce at least an hour before cooking your scallops, taste for salt, cover and set aside. This recipe makes more sauce than you will need, but I use it on everything, lol!
2. When ready to cook scallops, make sure you gently press out any excess moisture out with paper towels. Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat 2 tablespoons chili oil with 1 tablespoon butter to medium heat for a few minutes. When good and hot, sear the scallops for about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until opaque in color. Transfer to serving dish that has some chimichurri sauce on the bottom. Add more chimichurri sauce to the top of each scallop before serving.
I will start with the pasta dish that I prepared last Valentines Day which was a Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale. This was my first attempt at preparing a carbonara style pasta and we loved it! We indulge a little more for special meals and I believe that’s what makes them even more special. This post also includes how to prepare Potato Gnocchi, a Spicy Red Sauce and a twist on a traditional gnocchi recipe, Toasted Potato Gnocchi with Golden Beets, Basil and White Wine. I say this often, and will say it again. Cook for the ones you love. Make special memories by cooking together. These are some of my most cherished memories.
Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Baby Kale
4 thick cut slices of bacon, sliced 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 cups bay scallops, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper 1/2 to 3/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated, plus more for garnish 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks Salt and pepper, to taste 6 to 7 ounces pappardelle pasta (cooked according to package) 1 1/3 cups of pasta water 2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh baby kale
1. In a large skillet, add the bacon and cook on medium/low until crispy and all the fat has rendered out. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and garlic slices, cook just until garlic becomes aromatic. Add the scallops and cook for just 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. In a bowl, combine the cheese egg mixture, set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 1/3 cups of pasta water. As soon as pasta is cooked and before you drain the water, add the baby kale. Drain all together and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
3. Return the bacon mixture to medium heat. Gradually whisk in the pasta water to cheese/egg mixture. Add pasta/kale to the pan with bacon, add cheese/egg mixture and turn heat to low. Toss to combine and cook just until sauce becomes thick. Add more cheese at this time if you like. Yields 4 light servings.
Potato Gnocchi, little pillows of potato pasta toasted in olive oil with garlic and drenched in a spicy red sauce. This is my husband Richard’s all time favorite in the whole world! Lol! Did that convince you on how tasty this dish is? I prepare gnocchi only twice a year. On his birthday and during the summer when the basil is fresh from my garden.
Potato Gnocchi 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks 3 large egg yolks 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1. In a medium pan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan, shake over heat until dry.
2. Working over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, rice the potatoes in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the salt, pour over potatoes. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir gently just until a dough forms.
3. Gently roll dough into four 1/2 inch thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1 inch pieces. Roll each piece against the ridges of the gnocchi board or you can also use a fork to create this effect. Transfer the gnocchi to the baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then cook them for 1 minute longer. Gently drain the gnocchi, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer to baking sheet until cool. Yields about 2 pounds. The Recipe for the Spicy Red Sauce Follows Next!
Spicy Red Sauce For Your Favorite Pasta Dishes
1. Preheat the olive oil to medium heat fro 3 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and serrano pepper. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
2. Add in the roasted red pepper and all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and taste for salt and pepper. Continue cooking at a low simmer for a good 45 to 50 minutes until the sauce thickens and reduces.
3. Now for the next step, I used a hand blender, but you can also blend sauce in batches in a regular blender. Blend the warm sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Yields up to 8 servings. I like to use this sauce for any pasta dish or as a pizza sauce. Cool completely for refrigerating or freezing.
Toasted Potato Gnocchi w/ Golden Beets, Chipotlé, Basil & White Wine. Once you have prepared a batch of the homemade Potato Gnocchi, you can prepare this variation. This was in the middle of summer with all the wonderful fresh ingredients from the farmers market.
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound cooked potato gnocchi 4 to 5 golden beets, peeled and sliced thin, about 2 cups 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 chipotlé in adobo, minced 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes Juice of 1/2 lemon 1/8 to 1/4 cup dry white wine Salt and pepper, to taste 4 to 5 large basil leaves, sliced 1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1. In a large skillet, preheat the oliv oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the gnocchi and cook, stirring often until toasted and golden in most spots.
2. Add in the beets, garlic, chipotle and red pepper flakes and toss to combine for just a minute. Add in the remaining ingredients, toss to combine. Taste for salt, serve right away.
Like authentic Mexican foods, Tex Mex foods have also taken a whole new shape of their own. The true Tex Mex recipes are prepared with simple ingredients and always look like a fiesta on your plate, lol! I really enjoy the layering of the different ingredients and flavors. I am not really sure where burrito bowls and taco salads fall into the Tex Mex world, but it’s a fun recipe to prepare at home and makes for a great presentation. I mean how many times have you prepared some sort of taco filling with a side of rice and beans? The homemade edible flour tortilla bowl is a tasty bonus at the bottom of all those savory flavors. So instead of the usual, funny tasting store bought taco shell, why not try this recipe. Your friends and family will be impressed and they will enjoy a great homecooked meal. I would suggest preparing the bowls ahead of time so that you can have a quick weeknight meal ready to go.
Tip~ If you are good at multi tasking, I would start the picadillo and rice while the flour tortilla bowls are baking.
For Flour Tortilla Bowls 6 flour tortillas (7 to 8 inches in diameter), whole wheat or white. Olive oil
4 to 5 inch glass bowls
Whole Wheat Baked Flour Tortilla Bowls
For Picadillo 1 pound lean ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork salt pepper garlic powder cumin 1/2 cup white onion, diced 2 cloves garlic 1 serrano pepper, minced 1/2 cup red or green bell pepper diced 1 cup zucchini, diced 2 large roma tomatoes, chopped 1/3 cup water 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules cilantro
For Rice 3 cups water Chicken bouillon or chicken base to taste 1 cup long grain brown rice 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/3 teaspoon pepper Salt to taste 14 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 jalapeño, minced handful of finely chopped cilantro Juice of 1 smal lime *I added a pinch of turmeric to give it a little color. If using white rice you will only need 2 cups of broth. Read the directions on bouillon or chicken base for correct measurements to use.
You Will Also Need 3 cups of enchilada sauce 2 cups pepperjack cheese, shredded 4 cups shredded lettuce 1 cup diced tomatoes 1/3 cup sliced green onions 1 jalapeno or serrano sliced into thin rings handful chopped cilantro 6 lime wedges hot sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil paper. Brush the tortillas on both sides with olive oil, place on a plate and heat in the microwave for a few seconds. Place 3 bowls on each baking sheet and lay a tortilla evenly over the top of each bowl. Gently push and shape the tortilla as best you can so it resembles a fluted bowl. Bake for 15 minutes. Gently pull tortilla up from bowl so it unsticks. Place back in oven, rotate the pan and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
2. Heat a skillet to medium/high heat. Add the ground meat, season with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and oregano to taste and cook until nicely browned. Add the onion, garlic, serrano and bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes to the blender along with 1/3 cup water and chicken bouillon. Blend until smooth and add to picadillo in the skillet. Stir well to combine reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 mintes.while the picadillo is cooking, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add in the zucchini and cook for another 10 minutes. Keep covered and set aside.
3. To the pot of boiling water, add the bouillon or chicken base, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper ans salt to taste. Gently stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. For brown rice, it could take 40 minutes or more. Once rice is done, fluff with a fork, add in the cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Cover until ready to serve.
4. Position rack in oven to the middle. Preheat broiler to high. In each bowl, add some rice, picadillo, enchilada sauce and shredded cheese to each bowl you are preparing. Place under broiler just until cheese melts. Garnish on top or serve on the side with lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, chile pepper slices, cilantro, hot sauce, crema, and lime. Yields 6 servings. Store unused flour tortilla bowls in a plastic storage bag for a few days.
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.