Monday, September 29, 2014

Buttermilk-Goat Cheese Dressing

Here is a tangy dressing that is easy to make and great on just about any kind of salad you can think of.  Romaine.  Just some sliced tomatoes.  Even as a dip for a snack of crudite.

Buttermilk-Goat Cheese Dressing
Makes a scant 2 cups.

1 teaspoon minced garlic, mashed into a paste with a little salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon (substitute chives if you'd like)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar also ok)
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (you can sub regular milk with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice)

Place all ingredients in a jar. Close lid tightly and shake until well-combined.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Seared Scallops with White Wine-Butter Sauce

I am in that zone nowadays where I haven't been using a lot of recipes.  (Might I use that as my excuse for not posting regularly?  Or at all?)

Anyway...when I DO use recipes, it usually means checking the table of contents of several of the hundreds of cookbooks I have and laying them side-by-side.  A little bit of this. (ooo...I like that it calls for goat cheese.) A little less of that.  (No tarragon, thank you.)  The result is a wonderful amalgam.  And I have given myself permission not to try and codify them and write them down.

Right now, the kitchen is my laboratory.

That said, I DID follow this recipe step for step. It's fussier than I am up for these days, but it was a pairing for a bottle of Chardonnay that I received in my Food & Wine wine club shipment.  After going through all the steps and tasting the sauce on its own, I was disappointed.  Tasted a little tinny...too acidic.

But when all the components were put together, it was wonderful.  Use them all.  Spinach, pine nuts, and Aleppo pepper if you have it.  The dish was sublime with an almost tropical French Chardonnay.  (2013 Domaine de Grezen)

And you wonder why I still call Food & Wine my favorite foodie publication...

Seared Scallops with White Wine-Butter Sauce
From Food & Wine magazine.

2 tablespoons pine nuts
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, minced
2 cups white wine
2 thyme sprigs
1 cup fish stock
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon minced chives
Salt and ground pepper
1 packed cup baby spinach
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 large sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (optional)

In a skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until golden, 2 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool. Lightly crush the nuts.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned, 4 minutes. Add the wine and thyme; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 15 minutes. Add the stock and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 9 minutes longer. Add the cream, bring to a boil and remove from the heat.

Strain the wine sauce into a clean saucepan. Whisk in the butter, 4 pieces at a time, until the sauce is thickened and smooth; set the pan over low heat as necessary to help melt the butter. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the lemon juice and the remaining olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

In the skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned but barely cooked through, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the scallops and spinach to plates. Garnish with the pine nuts and pepper flakes. Gently reheat the sauce, spoon on top and serve.