Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan Cheese

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 15 brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 tsp grounded black pepper

Recipe:

  1. Preheat to 325 F
  2. Thoroughly wash the brussels sprouts, trim stem bottom and cut into halves
  3. Microwave the cream cheese for about 30 seconds till almost melted
  4. Combine well with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, onion and black pepper in a large mixing bowl
  5. Add brussels sprout halves into the mixing bowl, evenly coat with the creamy mixture
  6. Place the well mixed brussels sprouts onto a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, bake for 25 mins
  7. Remove foil, give it a good stir, bake for another 25 mins or until the cheese topping form a charred crust
  8. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: rice, potatoes, steak …

NOTES: Peel off the outer, loose yellow leaves if you care about tenderness. “Ewwwww” is what I normally associate with brussels sprouts, but this recipe made me a liker of these tiny cabbage balls. Plus they are packed with various disease-fighting nutrients, you’d be doing your body a huge favor if you can learn to love brussels sprouts!! Perhaps you’d be brave enough to serve them at dinner parties around Christmas time? 😉

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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetable

Seared Scallops with Heirloom Tomatoes

For 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 8 scallops
  • 1 lb heirloom tomatoes (3-4 medium sized ones)
  • 1/5 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp fresh, finely chopped tarragon
  • 3 tbsp brown butter
  • canola oil to sear scallops
  • salt & black pepper to taste

Recipe:

Make brown butter

  1. Use a non-dark interior/bottom pan and heat butter on medium till the butter is completely melted into liquid and turn slightly brown
  2. Be careful not to overheat and strain out the specks when ready

Main part

  1. Mix olive oil, tarragon and garlic in a small bowl
  2. Sprinkle both sides of scallops with sea salt, sear scallops for about 2 minutes on each side over medium-high heat in a lightly oiled pan, till golden crust form
  3. Dice tomatoes to desired chunks, place on serving plate and drizzle with the olive oil mixture and some salt
  4. Place scallops on the bed of tomatoes, drizzle with brown butter and some black pepper
  5. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: white wine, bread, pasta, rice pilaf …

NOTES: Did you know that scallop come in dry and wet!? Well, I didn’t. But you’d better make sure you start with dry scallop or if only wet scallop is available in your neighborhood, rinse the scallops REALLY well and pat them dry!! Apparently most scallops we see in markets are wet scallops that had been soaked in phosphates, which acts as a preservative and also makes the scallop white and plump. If you don’t take care of the chemical and start searing.. well… you’d be poisoning yourself. Since the dry scallops are all natural, they’d be sweeter and vanilla colored. 🙂 Um… time to run to Whole Foods or local specialty seafood market and indulge? Don’t sear the scallops for too long, unless you like them rubbery and bouncy 😀 You can make a lot of the brown butter at once, they will last max 6 months refrigerated and they are very seafood and salad friendly! 😉

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Filed under Main Dish, salad, Seafood

Crabcake with Cranberry and Sage

For ~ 2 -4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped pearl onion
  • 1 <= medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp fresh, extra finely chopped sage
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Recipe:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, cranberries, sage, salt and pepper
  2. Melt 1 tbsp butter on medium heat in a small skillet, cook onion and celery until tender
  3. Gently mix crabmeat and bread crumb in a large bowl, add in egg and mixture from steps 1 & 2, toss to coat well
  4. Shape into about 8 crabcakes and refrigerate for 15 mins
  5. Melt remaining butter in skillet on medium heat, cook crabcakes till golden brown, turning once
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  Salad, melons, white wine …

NOTES: You may use dried/rubbed thyme and any types of onions. I think I would prefer adding just slightly more finely chopped celery and onion next time, but it’s up to you. Dried cranberries can probably be substituted with dried cherries. Make sure you squeeze the crabcakes tightly enough when shaping them, otherwise they’d fall apart during the cooking process. There, I think I am done with crabmeat for a while  😉

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Filed under appetizer, breakfast, Main Dish, Seafood, Side Dish

Crab Salad with Avocado and Tomato

For 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb lump crabmeat
  • 1 1/2 diced Hass avocados
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped onion
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeño
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2/3 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Create the dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, honey and garlic together in a small bowl,  season with salt and pepper
  2. Toss the picked over crabmeat with 3/5 of the dressing
  3. Gently toss the diced avocado and finely chopped onion with 2/5 of the dressing, lightly season with salt and pepper
  4. Place sliced heirloom tomato on serving plate, sprinkle with some sea salt, top with avocado/onion & crabmeat
  5. Garnish with cilantro leaves
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  bread, crackers/chips, white wine …

NOTES: Using good avocado, fresh lime juice, REAL crabmeat and quality honey will make a huge difference. Also for aesthetic purpose, you might want to use red onion, I only had yellow ones on hand. Drizzle over more or less of the dressing to your own liking. There is not much mistake to make here, really light and delicious! 🙂

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Filed under Main Dish, salad, Seafood, Side Dish

Roasted Mini Potatoes

For ~ 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb mini-potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and/or pepper to season

Recipe:

  1. Line the roasting/baking pan with foil paper and grease using 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  2. Lay the cleaned & dried mini-potatoes evenly across the roasting/baking pan
  3. Drizzle the remaining oil and toss to coat all the mini-potatoes
  4. Sprinkle on coarse sea salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and thyme leaves
  5. Roast for 35-40 minutes
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: meat, salad, soup …

Notes: You may substitute thyme with any other preferred herb, I just happened to have some fresh thyme in the fridge. If you are crazy about cheese, you may opt out of using salt and go with 4  or even 5 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese! Also, once a small knife can easily cut through the mini-potatoes, it’s ready, if worried, you can cut them in half before roasting. Quite addictive little potato balls 🙂

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Filed under salad, Side Dish, Vegetable

Fresh Lemonade

For ~ 1 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups cold water to dilute
  • slices of lemon (optional)

Recipe:

  1. Heat sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan till sugar dissolves completely
  2. Add in a couple slices of lemon while the sugar is dissolving
  3. Extract 1 cup of lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
  4. Bring out a glass pitcher/jar/container, add in the cup of lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and the syrup from step 1+2
  5. Refrigerate for 40 minutes – 1 hour before serving
  6. Serve with ice and sliced lemon
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  summer …

NOTES: I used slightly less than 3/4 cup of sugar, but use up to 1 cup if you are feeling sweet. Heating up a couple slices of lemon along with the sugar syrup adds depth to the flavor.  Don’t forget to drain out the seeds but leave the pulp alone ;). I heart my lemonade!

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Filed under breakfast, Dessert, Drink

Baked Gruyère Cod

For ~ 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of fresh cod fillets
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 handful of shredded Gruyère cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Preheat to 400 F
  2. Place cod fillets into an oven-safe dish
  3. Sprinkle on sea salt & pepper (lightly)
  4. Cover fish completely with heavy cream
  5. Scatter shredded Gruyère cheese over the cod fillets
  6. Bake for 25 minutes
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  Veggies, wine, pasta, rice …

NOTES: I chose cod, but you can substitute with white fish or sole. Frozen fish pieces work as well, but as always, fresh ingredients are superior. Don’t over do the salt and pepper since Gruyère cheese provides plentiful flavor. Depending on the size and thickness of the fish, cooking time range from 20-30 minutes. Such a lazy comeback, but it was delicious 🙂

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Filed under Main Dish, Seafood