The best laid plans

Even though I try very hard to plan out the week, sometimes it just needs to be adapted.  When I planned the week I didn’t realize that I had platform tennis from 6 – 7:15 and Keith had his platform tennis from 7:45 – 9:00.  That makes it tricky to eat together.  I also planned the steaks for tomorrow thinking that would make Samantha happy.  I forgot she is spending the night with her cousins and won’t be home for dinner.

So…

I wanted a dinner for tonight that was easy to serve at separate times and we might as well have something tomorrow that Samantha doesn’t like.  I decided to do make-ahead Coquilles St. Jacques for tonight (it sounds complicated but it isn’t).  We’ll move the crabcakes to tomorrow night and save the steaks (which are frozen anyway) for another night.  Here is the recipe for the scallops:

Coquilles St. Jacques (serves 2)

  • 3 TB butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2/3 cup of seafood stock
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 2 – 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 package cremini mushrooms, cleaned (throw away stems) and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • 2 TB minced parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 lbs scallops, rinsed, dried and cut in quarters

Preheat oven to 400.

Melt 2 TB butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, stirring constantly.  Slowly add seafood stock, whisking as you go.  Then add half and half and curry powder.  Stir over low heat.  Cream sauce should be thick but if it gets too thick, add more liquid (either seafood stock or half and half.)

(You can either do the next step concurrently with the first step if you are pressed for time like I was or do them separately.)  Melt remaining TB of butter and about 1 TB olive oil in another pan.  Saute scallops over medium heat until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook  for about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Cognac and increase heat so the alcohol cooks off.  Reduce heat and combine with cream sauce.  Add scallops to mixture, stir well to combine and divide among gratin dishes.

Mix panko, parsley and cheese in a small bowl and pour in about 1 TB of olive oil.  Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of gratins and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.  Serve hot.  (You can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to serve.)

scallops

Anniversary update

Thursday was our 15th wedding anniversary.  To celebrate I wanted to cook Keith a special dinner.  He loves scallops so I made Coquilles St. Jacques inspired by the recipe in Ina Garten’s newest Barefoot Contessa cookbook Make it Ahead.  I was in a bit of a hurry, since it was Thursday night so I wasn’t overly precise about my measurements and it was still delicious so don’t fret over quantities.  The sauce is so good that a roll or French bread to dip into it is really worth the calories!

Coquilles St. Jacques (serves 2)

  • 3 TB butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2/3 cup of seafood stock
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 2 – 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 package cremini mushrooms, cleaned (throw away stems) and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • 2 TB minced parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 lbs scallops, rinsed, dried and cut in quarters

Preheat oven to 400.

Melt 2 TB butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, stirring constantly.  Slowly add seafood stock, whisking as you go.  Then add half and half and curry powder.  Stir over low heat.  Cream sauce should be thick but if it gets too thick, add more liquid (either seafood stock or half and half.)

(You can either do the next step concurrently with the first step if you are pressed for time like I was or do them separately.)  Melt remaining TB of butter and about 1 TB olive oil in another pan.  Saute scallops over medium heat until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook  for about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Cognac and increase heat so the alcohol cooks off.  Reduce heat and combine with cream sauce.  Add scallops to mixture, stir well to combine and divide among gratin dishes.

Mix panko, parsley and cheese in a small bowl and pour in about 1 TB of olive oil.  Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of gratins and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.  Serve hot.

Ina says you can prepare the gratins ahead and refrigerate them and bake right before dinner.  Great dinner party meal!  Look how pretty it looks!

Anniversary dinner!

Anniversary dinner!

We continued the celebration last night by taking Samantha to The Milton Inn.  We hadn’t been there in years.  It is a beautiful old building and it was already decorated for Christmas.  Samantha had on a pretty new dress and looked quite sophisticated for 8.  She had a cheese plate appetizer and then cream of crab soup for dinner, followed by a trio of sorbets.  Keith had a fabulous chicken liver pate followed by Blackened Catfish Étouffée.  I started with beef tartar and then had the salmon in macadamia nut crust.  It was a lovely meal and we were so proud of how well Samantha behaved.  What a fun way to celebrate as a family and what a lovely restaurant for a special occasion.

Scallops and orzo

This was inspired by a recipe that I saw in a cookbook.  You cook the orzo almost like risotto, with chicken stock.  It was pretty simple and scallops pan sear quickly so it makes a good week night dinner.  My husband loves scallops so this one will definitely be a do over.

Seared scallops with orzo

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 TB chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1/4 lb large sea scallops per person
  • salt and pepper
Heat 1 TB of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute shallot until soft.  Add orzo and cook stirring about 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock and cook over medium high heat, stirring regularly about 15 minutes until stock has been absorbed.  Add lemon zest and parsley.  Stir in butter and remove from heat.
In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 Tb of olive oil.  Rinse and dry scallops and season with salt and pepper.  Sear over medium heat about 2 minutes per side.
Place a serving of orzo on each plate and top with scallops.  Serve.