Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Spicy Raspberry Sauce

Scallops are beloved by pretty much everyone who can eat them …. they’re tender, sweet and taste ever so slightly of the sea. Being not only expensive and easy to overcook, scallops are often considered restaurant only fare.

Wild scallops feed by filtering microscopic plankton from the water. They are hand shucked immediately and frozen at sea to capture their fresh sweet flavor.

Pan-seared scallops pair well with bright, tangy flavors that contrast their meaty sweetness or in creamy dishes that emphasize their richness.

One of my go-to ‘sauces’ that I’ve used on numerous occasions on the blog, contains hot red pepper jelly. I’ve added a raspberry preserve to the jelly for a new twist on the flavor this time. The parmesan risotto brings it all together, definitely making this meal a ‘keeper’.

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Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Spicy Raspberry Sauce
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Instructions
Risotto
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook & stir diced bacon until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Drain the bacon & reserve.
  2. In the skillet, melt the butter & sauté onion & garlic for about 4 minutes until soft & translucent. Add the rice & mix well until it is fully coated with the butter.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth & lemon/lime juice. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid, turn heat to medium low. Add one cup of broth & continuously stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat, one cup at a time, with the remaining broth. This will take about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup water & take the pan off the heat once risotto is at your desired consistency. Add the parmesan cheese, reserved bacon & parsley; stir to combine. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Sauce
  1. In a food processor, puree ingredients for sauce & set aside.
Scallops
  1. Thaw scallops as directed on package. Rinse & pat dry with paper towels; season with salt & pepper. Add oil & butter to a non-stick skillet & heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté scallops by turning over once until browned & just cooked through, 4-6 minutes total.
  2. Serve over a bed of parmesan risotto & drizzle with sauce.
Recipe Notes
  • Of course, if you live where you have access to fresh scallops, your in a whole different class!!

Honeyed Saskatoon Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Here on the Canadian prairies we have a native berry called a ‘Saskatoon’. These berries are very special …. the kind of special that only comes once a year.

Saskatoon berries look much like blueberries, but in fact are part of the rose family which includes apples, cherries, plums and of course roses. Saskatoons ripen in late June or early July. They grow in many conditions from sea level to mountain peaks and are less picky about soil conditions than blueberries. Trying to explain their flavor to anyone who has never tasted them is difficult and elusive. They’re sweet, dense, rich, seedy, slightly blueberryish, more almondish, a bit apple-y, dusky and deep. Like I said …. difficult to explain!

Throughout North America, saskatoon berries have a variety of names including: prairie berry, service berry, shadbush or juneberry.

Saskatoon berries work equally good in sweet treats as well as savory recipes. This pork tenderloin entrée is a good example of the latter.

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Honeyed Saskatoon Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
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Instructions
Tenderloin/Stuffing
  1. In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan, thyme, oregano, garlic & pepper.
  2. Remove silverskin from tenderloin & 'butterfly'. Place meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap & pound, making it all the same thickness. Spread mustard evenly on flattened cut side & top with 'stuffing'.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Starting with the long side, carefully roll the tenderloin as opposed to just folding it over.
  4. Place a rack in a shallow roasting pan & lay a piece of foil on top creating sides for it. Lightly oil center of foil; place tenderloin on it & brush with Fig Balsamic Olive Oil Vinaigrette or just use olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes until just a hint of pink remains.
Saskatoon Chutney
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, add 1 tsp oil & sauté green onions & ginger for a couple of minutes. Add honey, water, cider vinegar, cornstarch & salt; mix well. Add saskatoons; bring to a simmer & cook until chutney thickens slightly.
  2. Slice roast tenderloin into medallions about 1-inch thickness. Pour some chutney onto serving platter; place sliced tenderloin medallions on top & drizzle with remaining chutney.

Rhubarb Streuseltaler

If you follow the blog, its no surprise to see rhubarb recipes frequently at this time of year. Its probably due to a childhood memory or maybe because its just so versatile and good.

The name of today’s pastry was inspired by the round shape of the ‘taler‘, a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in the currency called ‘dollar‘.

Taler is a German word for ‘coin’, so the name of the dessert literally translates to ‘streusel coin’. Basically, a free form tart made with a yeast dough topped with a huge amount of streusel, sometimes filled with custard and often with a sugar glaze.

A traditional German streusel (streusel meaning something ‘strewn or scattered’ in German) bakes up into shortbread balls. It makes a crunchy, cookie-like top but is soft on the bottom where it meets the cake or fruit.

Streusel was first popularized in Germany. In its simplest form, it consists of flour, sugar and butter but gets even better with the addition of oatmeal, cinnamon and nuts …. just my opinion of course!

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Rhubarb Streuseltaler
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Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
ROLLS
Ingredients
Rhubarb Compote
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
ROLLS
Ingredients
Rhubarb Compote
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Instructions
Rhubarb Compote
  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except vanilla. Heat to medium high & stir occasionally until rhubarb begins to break down completely. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla & allow to cool to room temperature.
Streusel Topping
  1. In a bowl, place COLD, cubed butter, add flour, cinnamon, sugar & vanilla. With your finger tips work streusel until crumbles form. Spread out on a large tray & set aside in freezer until ready to use.
Dough
  1. In a small dish, combine yeast with lukewarm water & 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Allow to sit for a few minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, slightly melt butter; cool a couple of minutes then whisk in egg. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt & remaining sugar. Add yeast mixture to butter mixture, whisking together. Add flour mixture, combine then turn on a floured work surface & knead for about 5 minutes. Dough will be very soft but not sticky.
  3. Lightly grease bowl, place dough ball in it & cover with a towel. Place in a draft-free place & allow to rise for about 20 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, & divide into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a ball & allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Space out the balls on parchment lined baking sheet. With fingertips, press out each ball to about 4-inch diameter. Add about 1 Tbsp of rhubarb compote to each dough piece & spread leaving a border around the outside.
  7. Divide streusel topping evenly between the pastries & allow to rise for about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  9. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. In the meantime, you can prepare the glaze.
  10. In a small dish, whisk powdered sugar & lemon juice to a thick glaze. When streuseltaler are cooled, drizzle with glaze.
Recipe Notes
  • Being lovers of the cardamom spice, I dusted our streuseltaler with it using a wire mess strainer.
  • You will probably have a little bit of rhubarb compote left over but its never too hard to find a use for at our house.
  • I should mention, making the compote the day before needed will speed up your baking process.
  • These streuseltaler are incredibly soft & so good!

Mini Lemon Kiwi Strudel

Like many dishes, this one is a fusion of different cultures. Strudel is an Austro-Hungarian pastry made with a thin, layered dough. Originally that dough was the almost transparent sheets of Turkish phyllo. Subsequent cultures employed the much easier to use puff pastry.

The word strudel is a Germanic word for ‘whirlpool’. You can visualize someone back than saying …… ‘can I please have some of that stuff that looks like’, (and they spin their fingers) and say ‘whirlpool’.

Strudel fillings have varied over the years from savory to sweet, depending on who was making them. European immigrants brought their recipes to North America in the early 20th century, and strudel became popular in bakeries and restaurants.

Today, I’m making some individual strudels in a little different style. I guess I’ll just say I’m ‘reinterpreting the strudel’.

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Mini Lemon Kiwi Strudel
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Servings
STRUDELS
Ingredients
Lemon Pudding Mixture
Servings
STRUDELS
Ingredients
Lemon Pudding Mixture
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Instructions
  1. Peel & dice kiwi; place in a large bowl. Gently fold in lemon juice (if using) & set aside.
  2. Roll out half of the puff pastry until thin; cut into 3 even, long slices. Lightly brush the slices with cream.
  3. Spread half of the drained kiwi/lemon mixture down the center on all 3 slices.
  4. Roll the dough over the kiwi mixture from bottom to top, until you have even rolls. Pinch the sides of the rolls to seal them. Repeat with second half of puff pastry & kiwi mixture until you have 12 strudels.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin OR use silicone cups.
  6. Cut rolls in the middle & transfer with the closed side down into a muffin tin.
  7. In a pouring container, whisk together lemon pudding powder with 1 1/2 cups water. Pour about 2 tablespoons into each strudel. Spread egg wash over strudels.
  8. Bake strudel for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven & allow to cool for a few minutes. Take strudels out of baking cups. Top with a dollop of lemon pudding (see NOTES below).
Recipe Notes
  • You will have some lemon pudding & egg wash leftover. I added the egg to the pudding mix & cooked it until it thickened. 
  • I placed a dollop on top of each strudel for a nice finishing touch.
  • It was a good way to use the leftovers.

Chicken Katsu w/ Saskatoon Chutney

Chicken Katsu is simply a Japanese version of chicken cutlets. While it is great to enjoy a good dish, its worth knowing where the idea originated.

Katsu was first created in the late 1800’s by a restaurant in Tokyo that wanted to offer a European style meat cutlet. Now, katsu can be found everywhere from convenience store takeaway bento boxes to Western style Japanese food restaurants. The name ‘katsu’ comes from the English word ‘cutlet’. It is typically made from either chicken breasts or thighs coated in panko breadcrumbs.

Frying or baking chicken cutlets is simple, but its like cooking pasta, when you get it right, it changes everything. Breading helps to seal in moisture during the cooking time. Its a basic process that’s used for making everything from chicken to onion rings. Japanese panko crumbs are lighter and crispier, the secret to ultra-crunchiness which yields to the kind of crust that you can actually hear when you bite into it.

Since its ‘Saskatoon Berry‘ time here on the prairies, I wanted to make some saskatoon chutney to have with these crispy cutlets.

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Chicken Katsu w/ Saskatoon Chutney
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Instructions
Saskatoon Chutney
  1. Combine all chutney ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, cook until mixture is the consistency of runny jam, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat & cool completely.
Chicken Cutlets
  1. Place chicken breasts between plastic wrap & carefully pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Season with salt & pepper. Coat with flour then dip in beaten eggs & lastly coat with Panko crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap & place in fridge for 15 minutes to chill before cooking.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter & add oil. Place cutlets in a single layer in skillet & fry on both sides. When no longer pink inside & golden on the outside remove from skillet & blot on paper towel.
  3. Serve immediately with Saskatoon Chutney.
Recipe Notes
  • The standard breading technique includes three steps: dredging in flour, moistening in egg wash, then coating in crispy panko crumbs. The flour helps the egg wash adhere & the egg helps the breadcrumbs adhere. 
  • Once you have all the food coated, you will want to place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will ensure the breading actually sticks to the food instead of falling off in the hot oil.
  • If baking, put breaded food on a rack set over a baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil & place in the oven. Bake until golden brown & cooked through.

Lemon Saskatoon Berry Pudding Cake

Pudding cake is kind of a magical concept that lies precisely at the intersection of cake and pudding. When you mix it, it looks like a very light cake batter. But, as it bakes, it separates into two layers. The top is the lightest cake ever and the bottom (in this case) is an intense lemon pudding with some fresh ‘seasonal’ saskatoons.

Of course, overtime, there have been many versions of this classic dessert developed, all of which are no doubt delicious. You have to love a dessert that practically garnishes itself, right?! Sometimes, old recipes really are the best.

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Lemon Saskatoon Berry Pudding Cake
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Saskatoon Berry Compote
Pudding Cake
Servings
Ingredients
Saskatoon Berry Compote
Pudding Cake
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Instructions
Saskatoon Berry Compote
  1. In a small saucepan, combine berries, sugar & 1 tsp lemon juice; heat until bubbling. In a separate dish, combine cornstarch & water; pour into berry mixture. Stir until thickened & remove from heat.
Pudding Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter 6 ramekins (or a 10-inch glass dish). Divide the saskatoon compote between the ramekins; set aside.
  2. Grate 1 Tbsp of lemon zest. Squeeze 1/3 cup lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt & 2/3 cup sugar. In another bowl, whisk together YOLKS, milk, lemon zest & juice. Add to the flour mixture; whisk until completely blended.
  4. In a bowl, beat WHITES until soft peaks form; add the 1/4 cup sugar slowly & beat until medium peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of the whites into flour mixture; our this mixture over the remaining whites. Whisk together using a folding technique to keep from deflating egg whites.
  5. Pour the batter into ramekins & place them into another larger pan. Fill the bottom pan with water as high as it can go without floating the ramekin dishes.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of ramekin dishes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes
  • I flipped my little puddings over so all those pretty saskatoon berries could sit on top.

Lime & Guava Cheesecake Truffles

Any season is cheesecake season, but some cheesecake recipes have a bit of an edge. Truffles are the perfect summer dessert, especially when there’s lime and guava involved. You can make these without using your oven and since they are kept in the freezer, perfect for hot days. These truffles have a rich and creamy cheesecake interior with lime undertones, a Maria biscuit base, all topped with some guava cardamom drizzle.

For those who aren’t familiar with Maria biscuits, here’s a bit of food history about them (you might have guessed that was coming). On January 23rd, 1874, Queen Victoria’s second son, Alfred, married the Russian Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna Romanova. Peek Frean, a London bakery, released a biscuit to honor this, naming it after Marie. They imprinted the name Marie right on the cookie and in a nod to architectural styling at the time, put a beaded border on the cookie’s edges. They also had docker holes in them. The biscuit is made from wheat flour, sugar, palm oil or sunflower seed oil and has a vanilla flavor.

That’s how this very international cookie was created. From England to Russia, to the Philippines, India, Mexico and Puerto Rico, today half of the globe considers Maria biscuits a household staple. They are manufactured and sold by multiple companies around the world.

How this biscuit has travelled the whole world and kept its original look and recipe almost intact for over a century is somewhat of a mystery. Maria Brand is well-known in Canada under the President’s Choice biscuit manufacturer.

Marie biscuit crumbs are a nice trade off for the usual graham wafer crumbs used in so many cheesecake bases. It helps that they aren’t to sweet, so they offer a counter to the other sweet ingredients used and even broken they don’t become complete ‘mush’.

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Lime & Guava Cheesecake Truffles
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TRUFFLES
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Servings
TRUFFLES
Ingredients
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Instructions
Base
  1. In a food processor, pulse Maria biscuit cookies until crushed slightly. Remove from processor & set aside.
Cheesecake Truffles
  1. Zest the lime & set aside half the zest for sprinkling on top of truffles for garnish.
  2. In the food processor, place the other half of the zest with the cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Juice the lime to obtain 3 Tbsp of juice & add to processor. Combine until smooth.
  3. Using a Tbsp or a mini cookie scoop, scoop small balls of cream cheese mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Place balls in freezer.
  4. After about 20 minutes, remove balls from freezer & roll in crushed Maria crumbs. Place back in freezer.
Guava Drizzle
  1. Place guava paste, water & cardamom spice in a small microwave bowl. Heat carefully, mixing well. Set aside to cool then drizzle over cheesecake truffles. Sprinkle with remaining lime zest. Keep frozen in a covered container until ready to serve.

Shrimp Dutch Baby Pancake

A Dutch baby pancake is a cross between a fluffy style pancake and a soufflé. Its less work than standard pancakes and less complicated than a soufflé.

If you follow our blog, you probably have seen other versions, both sweet & savory featured on it. Dutch baby’s are such an easy meal to make, they are a regular in our meal rotation, not to mention how delicious they are.

Dutch baby recipes work best in cast iron pans because they retain heat and cook evenly. If you don’t have cast iron cook-ware, I find pyrex bowls will work as a substitute.

Because of the delicate nature of the batter, you can only add your toppings once the batter has baked. For some toppings, this will require cooking these ingredients on the stove top while the eggy batter bakes.

Be careful with recipes that instruct you to mix chopped veggies and meat directly into the batter. The combination of weight and moisture will prevent the batter from cooking and puffing up as it should. One exception to this would be finely grated Parmesan cheese. To help create height, bring the eggs to room temperature before mixing into the batter.

Being seafood lovers, this meal really works for us.

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Shrimp Dutch Baby Pancake
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SERVINGS
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Instructions
Dutch Baby Pancakes
  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & milk. Add flour & whisk until incorporated then whisk in parmesan cheese, scallions, parsley, thyme, salt & pepper. Set aside in refrigerator until sauce & filling are made.
Gouda Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter; sprinkle with flour & seasonings. Mix well; add milk & broth, stirring until sauce becomes thickened. Blend in cheese; set aside
Shrimp Filling / Baking
  1. Peel & devein shrimp (you can chop into pieces if you prefer). Prepare filling veggies for cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  3. Place 2 Tbsp butter in each of TWO 7-inch pyrex baking bowls (alternately you can use one 10-inch cast iron skillet). Place bowls in hot oven to melt butter (and heat the bowls for baking pancakes in). Once the butter is melted & the bowls are hot, divide the batter between them. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. The Dutch Baby will puff up during cooking, but once its removed from the oven & starts to cool it will deflate slightly. At this point its nice to do the final sautéing of your filling so that when the pancakes come out of the oven you are ready to fill & serve.
  5. In a large skillet, sauté zucchini, onion, mushrooms & garlic in oil until tender-crisp. Combine soy sauce with water in a cup; add to vegetable mixture along with shrimp. Gently stir fry ONLY until shrimp is cooked, then fold in Gouda sauce.
  6. When Dutch Baby pancakes are finished baking, remove from oven & transfer to 2 serving dishes. Divide filling between the 2 pancakes & serve hot.

Chicken Tenders w/ Pepita Seeds

Pepita seeds might not be what you ordinarily think of as chicken coating material, but these nutty, chewy kernels are every bit as tasty and versatile as almonds or pistachios in cooking.

Many people use the words pepitas and pumpkin seeds interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. A pepita is harvested from specific hull-less pumpkin varieties, known as Styrian or Oil Seed pumpkins. Any other variety of pumpkin produces a hulled seed that’s slightly fibrous and less tender.

Pepitas are more versatile in the kitchen than traditional pumpkin seeds since they’re not as tough. Aside from using them as a garnish or a snack, pepitas make good pesto, or as a crust for meat or fish, as a topping on muffins, mixed in granola, baked in focaccia bread or made into brittle.

Crunchy pepita seeds are little powerhouses of nutrition, so using them instead of breadcrumbs along with a light, spicy ‘tempura’ batter to prepare this chicken breast, really takes it from ordinary to special. It’s the whole package …. moist, crisp with the toasty appeal of pepitas.

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Chicken Tenders w/ Pepita Seeds
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Tempura Batter
Chicken Tenders
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Ingredients
Tempura Batter
Chicken Tenders
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine all tempura batter ingredients (except pepita seeds), whisking until smooth.
  3. Pat chicken tenders dry & add to batter. Turn in mixture to coat evenly. Allow to stand in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  4. Place whole pepita seeds on a large tray or plate. Lift chicken out of batter & coat evenly with pepita seeds.
  5. Place chicken on baking sheet & bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown & cooked through.
Recipe Notes
  • Alternately, you could cook the chicken on a griddle using a combo of oil & butter. 

Apricot Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Couscous

The flavors of the meal hint of Moroccan cuisine to me. It wasn’t until Brion & I visited Morocco on a holiday one year, that I realized how many of their spices appealed to me.

Moroccan cuisine is very refined because of its interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Its dishes are layered with sweet and spicy, earthy and bright flavors that reflect the vast array of spices available in their local markets.

Often referred to as the national dish of Morocco, couscous is made of tiny balls of wheat semolina, steamed so they’re are soft and fluffy. Subtle cumin and ginger spices add an exotic flavor to it.

Pairing apricot and lemon flavors with the chicken breast and serving it over couscous makes this simple meal quite special.

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Apricot Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Couscous
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Beat egg & water slightly. Stir together baking mix, lemon pepper & garlic powder. Pound chicken breasts gently to achieve uniform thickness. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then coat with baking mix mixture. Place on baking sheet & drizzle with melted butter.
  3. Bake uncovered 20 minutes; turn chicken. Bake about 10 minutes longer until no longer pink inside. While chicken is baking prepare couscous & sauce.
Couscous
  1. In a saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil; add green onion, cumin, ginger & garlic. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until green onion is softened.
  2. Add honey. Heat & stir for about 30 seconds until green onion is coated. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & second amount of oil. Stir. Cover & remove from heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff with a fork & stir in remaining 3 ingredients.
Apricot Lemon Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine sauce ingredients, stirring occasionally, until warm.
To Serve
  1. Place couscous on a serving platter. Top with chicken breasts & drizzle with apricot lemon sauce. Serve.