#Recipes, Holiday, Lent, Meatless, Seafood

Scallops on the Half Shell

Happy Holidays Everyone! Another successful Christmas passed and now looking forward to 2019. Coming from an Italian family we’ve always celebrated the “Feast of Seven Fishes,” on Christmas Eve. We do more shrimp and scallops vs some of the more traditional fishes that may be used. I’ve been doing different scallop recipes over the last few years and this year has been my favorite.

These scallops on the half shell are simple and can be done ahead of time which makes entertaining a breeze. This is my first time using the baking shells. It gives it a cool look and definitely makes serving easy. You should be able to find the baking shells from any online retailer. Make sure that they are shells that are used for baking, not just decorative shells.

Scallops on Half Shell

Ingredients:
1lb large seas scallops, rinsed and dry
1 ½ cups Italian panko bread crumbs
1 lemon, juiced (extra for drizzle)
2 t lemon zest
3 T dry white wine
3 T quality olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 t parsley
2 t oregano
2 t garlic powder
½ t salt
½ t pepper

Extras:
4-6 baking shells

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. Lay out scallops on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 15 minutes to remove any excess liquid and then pat dry.

In a sauté pan add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the garlic and shallot until tender. In a medium bowl mix together the panko bread crumbs, seasoning, garlic and shallot, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and zest and mix well. The mixture should be wet. If not, you can add a little more oil.

Add 2-3 scallops to each shell depending on size of scallops. I used 3 per shell. You want the scallops tight together. Top the scallops with panko mixture. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until fully cooked. Drizzle with lemon and serve immediately. These are great for a crowd and easy to get ready ahead of time and then just bake when needed. The shells make it very easy for serving.

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Comfort Dish, Meatless, Quick Meals, Soup

French Onion Soup with Garlic Crostini & Swiss Cheese

Happy December! I made French Onion soup for the first time in years. It’s a super easy soup to make. You don’t need a lot of ingredients or time to make this. I almost feel like it’s healthier compared to most soups because there is no cream and yes there is butter but I cut back on that as well.

This is perfect for lunches or with a salad for dinner. It’s nice and warm for those cold winter nights. What’s better than soup and bread? This recipe has BOTH!

French Onion Soup with Garlic Croutons and Swiss Cheese

Ingredients:
5T butter
6 large sweet onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large bay leafs
6 sprigs of thyme
3 T flour
1 ½ cups wine (I used white)
2- 32 oz cartons beef broth, no salt added
3 t salt
2 t pepper

Croutons:
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 loaf crusty French bread
2 T olive oil
½ T parsley
2 t garlic powder
Sprinkle: salt and pepper

Toppings:
Swiss cheese

Directions:

In a large soup pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add sliced onions and garlic and mix well. Add in the bay leafs and 3 of the thyme sprigs. The other 3 sprigs, remove the herb and sprinkle in the mixture. Cook on medium low heat until onions are tender and caramelized. This may take 30-40 minutes for the amount of onions we are using. I covered the pan and let them cook down mixing every 10-12 minutes. They will cook down, don’t worry if they seem to take up the whole pot. (That’s what happened to me.)

After onions have cooked down and are soft and starting to caramelize remove some of the liquid and add to a small bowl and mix with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix well to remove lumps. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add in the flour mixture and the wine and whisk well. Cook on medium heat about 10-15 minutes mixing half way through with a whisk. A whisk will help make sure the flour mixture gets broken up. Add in the beef broth and salt and pepper and stir, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering make the croutons for the top of the soup. Slice the bread into ½ inch pieces. In a small bowl add oil, parsley, garlic powder, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and mix well. Single layer the slices of bread on baking pan covered with foil. Brunch the bread with olive oil mixture. Bake at 400° in the oven 12-15 minutes. It’s okay if they get hard, they will soften once added to the soup.

To serve ladle soup into bowl add 2-3 slices of bread and top with sprinkle of Swiss cheese. If you wish, you can add to an oven save bowl and put under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly. I made this for lunches, so I just add in the bread slices and top with some cheese once the soup is heated through and the cheese melts perfectly. Enjoy!

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Appetizers, Meatless, Seafood

Absolutely Delicious Crab Cakes

My Dad was an amazing cook.  He had a habit of throwing together ingredients and just making it taste good.  I definitely got that from him.  He didn’t write down recipes all that often but we’ve come across some recipes of his over the years that he did actually write out.  These crab cakes are one of them.  I found both a handwritten copy and also a typed copy.  The handwritten one just brought a smile to my face because it’s his written.  It made me happy to have that.  It’s just a rough draft as you can probably tell.

I wanted to share with you this recipe as it’s special to me since it’s my Dad’s.  I hope you enjoy these crab cakes as much as I do.

Absolutely Delicious Crab Cakes with Garlic Aioli
By Tony T.

Ingredients:
1 lb real lump crab meat ONLY
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
2 bunches green onions chopped, or 1 small yellow onion
2 cloves, minced
2 T Dijon mustard
1 cup plain bread crumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan or Romano
3 eggs
¼ cup flour
1 t Cajun spice
1 t cayenne
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ T olive oil
Oil for frying (cover bottom of a sauté pan with 1/2-3/4 inch of oil)

Garlic Aioli

Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 T olive oil (good quality)
2-3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2-3 t parsley, dried or fresh
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste (About 1/2 t of each)

Directions: In a medium bowl add all ingredients for the Garlic Aioli.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.  Heat a medium sauté pan on high heat.  Cook garlic, onion and peppers 3 minutes.  Add in spices to taste and cook till mixture is tender and cooked.  Remove and let cool completely.  In a medium bowl mix in the cooled pepper mixture, 2 eggs, mustard, ¼ cup breadcrumbs and the cheese. Mix together with your hands and make into patties/cakes.

Whisk last remaining egg in a small bowl.  Make a breading station.  1 bowl of ¾ cup of bread crumbs, 1 bowl with ¼ cup of flour and one with the whisked egg.

Dip cakes into flour on both sides, then into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Place on a plate. Complete with remaining crab cakes.  Cover completely and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

Heat a medium or large sauté pan with oil. Oil should be about 1/2 -3/4 inch in the bottom. Heat until oil is hot and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towel and season with salt while hot.  Serve crab cake with garlic aioli.

Notes: You can omit the cayenne and Cajun spice and replace with 1 teaspoon each of, garlic, onion, chili powder and paprika. When cooking in a sauté pan you won’t be fully submerging the crab cake, it will cook on one side and then be flipped.  If you want to use a deep fat fryer it will cook for 2-3 minutes total and be completely submerged.

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Lent, Meatless, Veggies

Eggplant Parmesan Sliders

This is a perfect dish fot lent! The first time I made this dish I was so surprised how delicious it was I had to make again. It may be a little more time consuming but you will not regret it one bit.

I’m a complete meat eater. Unfortunately, I’m not any where a vegetarian or do I claim to be. I do like to however incorporate some meatless dishes into my week of food planning. If you are vegetarian and want a fun take on a “slider” give it a try or even if your a carnivore like me and want a meatless dish take a peek. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser and a recipe you’ll be coming back to in the future.

Eggplant Parmesan Sliders

For the Eggplant:
1-Medium Size Eggplants, sliced ½ inch thick, peeled
2- Large Eggs
1 ½ C- Italian breadcrumbs
½ C- Parmesan or Romano Cheese, finely grated
½ T- Italian Seasoning
½ T- Garlic Powder
½ T- Onion Powder
Sprinkle: Salt (Extra to draw out moisture of eggplant)
Sprinkle: Pepper

Slider:
10-12-Slider Buns
1C- Marinara Sauce (Homemade or store bought)
10-12 slices of fresh mozzarella (I buy the one pre-sliced)

Directions: Remove moisture from eggplant by adding sliced eggplant to a strainer. Generously sprinkle salt over the eggplant. Leave for 30-60 minutes. After, rinse the eggplant with cold water and lay out on a paper towel to dry. In a bowl mix together bread crumbs, cheese, and spices. In a separate bowl add eggs and whisk with a splash of water. Preheat Oven to 375° Degrees. Spray baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Set up a breading station. First dip eggplant in the egg wash, then in the breadcrumbs to coat, place on the baking sheet. Repeat for remaining eggplant. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes until bottom is slightly golden brown, flip over for another 10-12 minutes until the other side is golden brown in color. The eggplant should still be slightly firm and not mushy.

Assembling Sliders: Add marinara sauce to bottom bun, place an eggplant slice on bottom bun and top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and finish with a dollop of marinara sauce. Repeat with remaining eggplant.

Notes: You may need a less or more breadcrumbs. It all depends. I always seems to need a little more. It varies depending on the eggplant slices.wp-image-2099971444