Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vieras a la Gallega (Galician-Style Scallops)

This is one of my favorite recipes from Spain. The scallops are cooked in a tomato-based sauce that has a sweet onion and smoked paprika flavoring. It is important that you use sweet Spanish paprika rather than the normal paprika you might find in most grocery stores. You can find this at speciality stores or online at websites like La Tienda.

I cook these scallops in actual scallop shells that my mom brought back for me from Spain. Obviously, if you don't have these, you can use individual baking tin cups or small baking dishes.

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Finely chop small onion.

Step 2: Place 3 tablespoons of olive oil in pan and add onion when hot.

Saute until it starts to turn just slightly golden.

Step 3: Add one can of tomato paste.

Then fill empty can from tomato paste with water and add to pan; do this twice.

Step 4: Add 1/3 cup of wine; Then add 2 teaspoons of sweet Spanish paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of hot Spanish paprika (optional), and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.

The sauce will begin to thicken. Let it simmer for a few minutes until it has a thick consistency---if sauce does not begin to thicken, add another sprinkle of bread crumbs. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Step 5: Place scallops in shells or tiny baking dishes.

Step 6: Spoon sauce over scallops.

Step 7: Place scallops in oven. Cook at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Then turn down temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 15 more minutes. Then, turn on the broiler and cook for 3 more minutes to give it a slight crust. Pay close attention that it doesn't start to burn (every oven is different). ***My mother says that if you buy large scallops, you may want to cook them in the oven for 5 or so minutes before adding the sauce, since they can take longer to cook.

Step 8: Enjoy!

List of Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion
1 can of tomato paste
2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon of hot paprika
1/3 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
Scallops (I bought a 12 ounce bag of scallops---this sauce is probably enough for 1 lb.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Today's recipe for Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake comes to us courtesy my co-worker/friend, Lisa. She made this a few months ago for a morning meeting, and I have been thinking about it ever since. Although, she is quick to give credit where credit is due; this recipe actually comes from her mother-in-law, Kerry Marflak.

It is a pretty easy recipe to follow and essentially the perfect brunch dish. I especially love the crunch of the almond raspberry crust combined with the moist cake on the bottom. I made this for my friends over at LivingSocial (as advertised on this blog) because they generously donated to the Bright Beginnings 5K race I posted about last week. Just a reminder, the race is on May 1, at Hains Point. For more information, go here

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flour and 3/4 cup of sugar. Cut in butter until it resembles small crumbs.

Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture.

Step 2. To the remaining mix, add powder, soda, salt, 1 egg, sour cream, and almond extract.

Blend well.

Spread batter over the bottom and 2" up the side of the pan.

Step 3. Combine the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and the remaining egg.

Pour over the batter in the pan.

Step 4. Carefully spoon the preserves over the cheese filling.

Step 5. Combine the reserved crumb mix and the almonds.

Step 6. Sprinkle over the top of the preserves. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Serves 16.

Full List of Ingredients:

2 and 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1, 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds
cooking spray

Monday, April 19, 2010

Santa Fe Chicken and My George Foreman

While I wish every weeknight dinner could consist of home-made salad dressing, slowly cooked risotto, and 3-layer cake, the reality is something very different when life gets in the way. This post features a super easy marinade from Rosie Daley that is ideal for the grill, but in this case, my George Foreman grill works as a fine substitute. The dressing has kind of a tangy southwestern flavor, so when I want to make a more elaborate meal out of it, I serve it with slow-cooked Cuban black beans and rice. Tonight, I just served it with 5-minute couscous.

I feel I should tell the story of how I came to own a George Foreman grill for no particular reason other than as a tribute to my dad. My parents immigrated from Spain back in the 70s, and while I give them credit for how well they have immersed themselves in the American lifestyle, they have somehow managed to remain completely oblivious to cultural trends and phenomenons.

I told my dad that while I really enjoy living in an apartment in the city, sometimes I really miss being able to just grill some burgers out in the backyard on a summer night. My dad took to the Internet, determined to find a solution. He searched and searched, and finally, he found a grill that I could use indoors. This grill supposedly made burgers that tasted like they just came right off the grill. I was perplexed/amazed. When a box arrived from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for my birthday, I could not stop laughing when I opened it only to find a George Foreman Grill. This was my dad's solution to my grilling problem. In his mind, he had discovered a totally new product. I have to admit, it's not quite the same as a nice charcoal grill, but it does make a really juicy burger. That night, we even plugged the grill into an outlet on our rooftop and pretended like we were actually hosting a BBQ. Thanks, Dad!

My dad, in his "wild youth" as a Galician bagpipe player. I think they were sort of like the Spanish version of the Beatles:

(second person from the left)

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Slice the limes

(I love this juicer)

Step 2: Start dumping in the ingredients--low-sodium soy sauce, olive oil, chili powder, cumin seed, ground coriander, minced garlic, honey, white wine, and cilantro. (The original recipe says to wait until the end to pour in the white wine right before cooking, but I include it with the marinade.)

Step 3: Cover and refrigerate for one hour or up to two days (the longer the better--I like to make this in the morning). Depending on how you are cooking this--grill, broiler, foreman--preheat as necessary.

Step 4: I cooked this on a Foreman grill, and since it keeps the chicken really juicy I didn't need to baste. I have cooked it under a broiler before, and according to the directions---Broil the chicken under a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes, basting it with the juices to keep it moist.

The Foreman doing it's magic...

Step 5: Enjoy! Leftovers make great sandwiches or salads.

Ingredients for the Marinade:
Juice from 3 limes
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
6 cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1 packet of chicken breasts (they only had chicken tenders when I went, but I almost prefer that).

Topping Suggestions:
Sour cream
1 lime , sliced into 6 thin slices
Fresh salsa or Papaya/Fruit Salsa

Side dish:
Black Beans and Rice

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carrot Cake

I made this carrot cake for Easter Sunday (yes, that means this post is 2 weeks overdue), and despite my fear that an eggshell had made its way into the batter (no one choked thankfully), it was a hit! Surprise surprise, this recipe came from Martha Stewart and is fairly simple to make despite needing to finely crush pecans for the batter. To be completely honest with myself, I'm not particularly good at icing cakes, and because cream cheese icing doesn't need to be iced on until perfectly smooth, it is ideal for those of use who have yet to take Cake Decorating 101. The border of pecans is a nice touch that doesn't require any special skills thankfully and helps distract from any imperfections (I'm pretty sure my cake was lopsided).

Forgive me for a moment, but before I go into the recipe, I am going to use my blog as a way to advertise for an exciting fundraiser I am helping organize.

I volunteer with Bright Beginnings Inc., and the 5K race I am working on to raise money for them is right around the corner on May 1 at Hains Point in DC! Please help support my efforts by registering to run/walk here . Online Registration is $25 and all proceeds go directly to Bright Beginnings Inc. You will receive a great T-Shirt, runners goody bag, and there will be raffles and prizes for the top 3 finishers in each age category!

Bright Beginnings is a free full-day preschool for homeless children ages 6 weeks to 5 years that provides a safe, nurturing, educational environment for these children in Washington, DC. BBI serves approximately 139 children from 88 homeless families across the District.

Thanks for your support and please spread the word!

Here is what you will need for the cake:
please ignore the fact that I did not include the carrots in this picture!

Step 1: Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.

Step 2: Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes.

Step 3: Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture,

Step 4: Then add the finely chopped pecans (I think this is the secret to this recipe).

Step 5: Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes (It only took me 20 minutes in my oven--and I rotated my cakes after 10 minutes). Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.

Step 6: Make the icing. Beat cream cheese and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add butter, beating until incorporated after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, and beat until fluffy and smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature and stir well before using.

Step 6: Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes (mine were kind of flat already, so I didn't need to trim them). Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.

Full list of ingredients for carrot cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
1 cup finely chopped for batter
1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and brought to room temperature
2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted