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dinner main courses one-pan recipes pasta Recipes seafood Spring

Spicy Scallops on Pasta with Fiddlehead Ferns and Mozzarella

April 27, 2011
spicy scallops on pasta with fiddlehead ferns

spicy scallops on pasta with fiddlehead ferns

Weeknight Pasta with Spicy Scallops, Fiddlehead Ferns and Mozzarella
For Two

4-6 scallops
2 oz dry spaghetti (I used whole wheat bionaturae spaghetti. I actually like the flavor of it.)
1-2 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped into chunks
1 medium leek, chopped in short thin strips, white & light green only
4 oz fiddlehead ferns, cleaned and trimmed (can sub asparagus, tender wild greens, or chicories)
1 C white wine
1 T butter
2 tsp chili flakes, divided
salt & pepper

Salt & pepper the scallops; sprinkle sparingly with chili flakes. Bring water to boil, and prep all ingredients.

Begin cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, cook the leeks at medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until coloring. Add 1 tsp chili flakes and fiddlehead ferns. Cook 2 minutes at medium high heat. Add about 1/2 C white wine and cover loosely with a lid; reduce heat to medium.

In a very hot pan (cast iron would work best), sear the scallops and turn only when browned at high heat. If sticking when turning over, do not force. Add 1/2 cup wine, wait a moment and wiggle them free to flip.

Add the pasta to the fiddlehead and leek mixture, turning heat up to medium high. Add the mozzarella and toss quickly. Plate with the scallops on top.

dinner main courses Recipes seafood Spring vegetables & hot greens

Halibut Belly with Ramp Vegetable Hash

April 25, 2011
halibut belly with ramps pancetta asparagus and farro
halibut belly with ramps pancetta asparagus and farro

I made a pilgrimage to Rainbow Grocery over the weekend and scored some fiddlehead ferns, raw chocolate and among other things ramps. I spent most of the day thinking up how I should use said ingredients, with ramps and fiddleheads being new to my kitchen–I searched around and figured out the jist of what I intend to do (fish with ramps), but made my way to the grocery to pick up some fish to top it all off.

I was hunting for halibut cheeks, and while my fishmonger didn’t have any for me, he did offer up the halibut’s belly (he disappeared into a walk in fridge and came out with the collar of the fish, and proceeded to slice a beautiful filet off for me) and I did take 3 oz of it home for just $0.58. “Fish Scraps for Stock,” it was labeled. Thanks, fishmonger!

halibut belly cooking

pancetta and asparagus

fresh cleaned wild ramps

Recipe: Halibut Belly with Ramp Vegetable Hash
10 minutes prep / 10 minutes cook
Serves 2
6 oz (for two) halibut belly or cheeks
12 thin spears of asparagus, chopped to 1/4 inch or less
2 oz pancetta, cubed
3 oz fresh cleaned ramps, sliced finely, greens set aside
1/2 C farro or other grain, cooked
1/2 C white wine

In a skillet at medium heat fry the pancetta. When browned, add the asparagus and cook until almost tender. Add the ramp whites, and salt, cook until slightly browned. Add farro and ramp greens, cook until wilted and hot.

Meanwhile, in a skillet at high heat, fry the salted & peppered halibut belly in a small amount of oil, turning when brown. If sticking, deglaze with white wine, and then flip over.

Assemble and enjoy!

– You can replace the farro with: wheat berries, wild rice, kamut, barley or other whole grain or omit it entirely
– You may substitute for the ramps: shallots, spring onions, or leeks
– If you omit the pancetta, be sure to add some olive or walnut oil


appetizers desserts dinner Italian main courses one-pan recipes sauces seafood special occasion Spring Wine pairings

Scallops in Fava & Pea Puree, Littleneck Clams on White Beans, Sausage & Chard, Creme Fraiche Pannacotta with Strawberries

April 4, 2011

creme fraiche panna cotta with strawberries (sunday suppers at lucques)

I had occasion to cook last night– a Sunday– and was feeling pretty inspired by a very solid weekend of good eats. Friday night a feast in our back yard, Saturday a hike from our doorstep to the top of twin peaks, down into the mission for a stop at Delfina Pizzeria, an errand at Tartine (here’s a hint: it involved walnut bread, croissants and an eclair) and another at BiRite (which involved this steak) and yet another feast in our back yard.

There is a huge collection of cookbooks in my living room. You can tell they aren’t used often because they’re behind glass, stacked with ornamental things on top that would have to be moved to use them. I woke up around 9 on Sunday and tip toed into the living room to loot a few, returned to bed and did the most serious reading I’ve probably done since college…and the result, my final paper, if you will–this menu.

Scallop in Fava & Pea Puree from Amuse Bouche (slightly altered for scale and for oil content)
With Vouvray

Clams with White Beans, Sausage & Chard from Amuse Bouche (altered significantly)
With Vermentino from Sardegna

Creme Fraiche Pannacotta with Strawberries (From Sunday Suppers at Lucques — perfect as is but would use more milk/less cream next time)
with Moscato di Asti

Recipes Spring sweets & cookies Winter

Whole Lemon Bars Using Whole Meyer Lemons

March 31, 2011

lemon bars with whole meyer lemons

A very lovely coworker surprised me a few days ago with a gigantic bag of meyer lemons from a family tree in Napa. I sent about 1/3rd of them to my mom, used several in smoothies (which are not so blog worthy and are certainly very ugly looking with all the chard and other hippie hoo-da I’ve been drinking up, thus, the blog has been rather neglected lately for my newfound need to eat more vegetables in very boring forms), and the rest are either in these lemon bars or waiting to be devoured in the coming days.

This recipe is only slightly modified from David Lebovitz’s Whole Lemon Bars recipe, with my notes and adjustments below. My favorite frequent visitor to Paris (who has on several occasions rubbed shoulders with Mr. Labovitz at certain company events!)  is coming for dinner Sunday and I imagine I’ll find some new, delightful way to use the lemons in our meal. You, reader, can look forward to that!

I did make these by weight and recommend you do the same if possible.

1 C flour (140g)
1/4 C sugar (50g)
1 stick butter, melted (113-115g)
1/2 tsp vanilla

2.5 small organic meyer lemons
3/4 C sugar (150g)
3 large eggs
4 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
3 T melted butter (45g)

Powdered sugar for top

Oven to 350–line a 8×8 inch pan in foil as smoothly as possible, matte side of the foil touching the bars/filling. Get the foil crisply into the corners.

Mix the flour, 1/4C sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, stick melted butter and vanilla until just smoothly combined. Distribute the dough into the bottom of the pan evenly using hands or a spatula.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

While crust is cooking, cut lemons in half and remove seeds. In a blender (I used my wonderful vitamix, but if you have a regular blender you may want to chop the lemons a bit), pulverize two lemons and the juice of 1/2 a lemon with the sugar until mostly smooth, a few chunks are good. Add the eggs, corn starch, salt and the rest of the butter, blending until smooth.

Pour the lemon topping onto the crust when it’s done cooking, reduce the heat to 300 and return the dish to the oven for 25 more minutes, or until it stops jiggling and is set.

Remove from oven, let it cool COMPLETELY before messing with it, then cut with a very heavy sharp knife into squares! Consider topping with powdered sugar and serving with tea.

I recommend NOT leaving these in an air-tight container as I foudn it to make them go very soggy very quickly. Foil wrapped in bunches works much better, at least in SF climate!