Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Word Writes a Thousand Pictures - My Cookbook and Some Seared Scallops

Hi, my name is Shane, and I am a food geek. Yes, I admit it. Some of my "foodie-ness" has moved beyond the realms of "normal" eccentricity. Although I have been informed, on several occasions, that only the rich get to refer to themselves as eccentric, thus I must refer to myself as just plain strange and/or odd.

Be that as it may, my obsessions ARE many, so I will only touch on a few...
I am a pyro-ceramic glass nut (Old CorningWare), I love storing things in odd containers (ie. Cinnamon bark canisters with Sugar and Fleur de sel). I have 5 different implements for brewing coffee... Cause one cane NEVER have too much GOOD coffee. Don't get me started on the matcha bowl with bamboo whisk or Yixing tea pot and tea canister, specifically for Earl Grey.

See... I am a total obsessive food geek...

But the one thing that I obsess about the most is this.....

This is my cookbook. All scrawled with my chicken scratch. Only my most favorite recipes go in this book... HA HA, and if you have read my more recent blog posts, you will recognize this one...

Linguine alla Carbonara, Green bean Casserole from Scratch, Risotto alla Gorgonzola, Lasagna, Passion Fruit Cheesecake, Kibbeh, Aushak, and Pork Tenderloin in Huckleberry sauce are also in there, just to name a few.

Oh, I have recipes stashed everywhere as well. I have been collecting and printing stuff off the internet for 12 years... Sadly, most of what I collected in the beginning was simply cut and pasted into miscellaneous word documents, never knowing at the time that SOMEDAY I would be sitting here at 11:00pm writing a blog post about something I had collected 10 years ago. What isn't in the stack on the floor of the bedroom, is located on my Mac, or on a CD of stuff that was lifted from my PC before I left my previous company.

All this technology is fine and dandy. But there is something about creating a handwritten cookbook. The feel of the pages, the pen scratching across the surface leaving the marks of dinners past. It's just aesthetically pleasing to me. I find it extremely grounding to flip through the pages of this self created tome looking for a recipe instead of having my nose buried in my computer screen. In all honesty, this is part of the reason that my blog template looks the way they do... To give that same feeling of a very old book.

But I am obsessing on the cookbook and not it's contents..... Enough babbling....

Tonight I had scallops that were in desperate need of cooking. So I grabbed my trusty cookbook to look up a recipe I adore... It's from the movie No Reservations and it's absolutely divine.

I recommend Kashmir saffron, and not the Spanish.

Spanish Saffron is a little more bitter than Kashmir.

I cut this recipe WAY down, I have it written for 4-6 people in my cookbook depending on whether it's a starter of a main. This is the cut down version... For only 4 scallops, not 16

Lemon Pepper Seared Scallops in Saffron Sauce

Searing the Scallops:
2 TB AP Flour
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Marjoram
1/4 tsp Thyme
Pinch of Coriander
1/2 TB Lemon Pepper
4-5 Sea Scallops, rinsed and drained
1 TB Olive oil
1 TB Flat Leaf parsley, Chopped fine
1 TB Lemon Juice

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, marjoram, thyme, coriander and lemon pepper.

Roll scallops in the flour mixture until lightly coated on all sides.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat
Add four scallops and sear on both sides (About 1 1/2 minutes for each side)

Remove scallops and place on a plate in a low oven to keep them warm until ready to serve.
Toss with parsley and lemon juice.

Saffron Sauce
2 TB shallots, finely minced
1 Makrut (Kaffir or Wild) lime leaves, chiffonade fine
2 TB Pinot Grigio Frizzante - Although Dancing Bull Sauvignon Blanc is better
small pinch of Saffron Threads
1/2 TB Heavy Cream
3 TB unsalted COLD Butter, cut into 1/2 TB pieces
1/2 TB Fresh Lemon juice
Kosher Salt
Finely ground white pepper to taste

Fill a saucepan with water and set to simmer
In a heavy saucepan, combine shallots, lime leaves and white wine; reduce to 1/2 TB of liquid.

Add Saffron threads and heavy cream; Stir until desired color is reached. (bright yellow, not orange)

Strain into a clean stainless steal bowl, place bowl over simmering water.

Begin whisking in the butter one piece at a time, adding the next just before the previous one melts completely; do not stop whisking or the emulsion might break.

Also, work with the simmering water, you may not need to leave it there, just keep placing it over as the sauce cools from the cold butter, then remove again once the sauce is re-warmed.

After all the butter has been incorporated, add the lemon juice and the salt and pepper.



Michele said...

What a great post! I love the cookbook! Now you know I don't eat fish but I always thought that scallops were beautiful. I loved no reservations and the description had me drooling. If these were in front of me I seriously would try them! Come to NJ and make them for me!!! Please! LOL

Heather S-G said...

I am a total food geek, too. I have many a notebook bought specifically because I fell in love with the feel, the look, the paper and wanted to hold it in my hands and write my favorite recipes or food observations and be able to open it and smell it and carry it with me. I'm particularly obsessed with stoneware/ceramic/rustic style cookware. Good to know I'm not alone. These scallops are making me drool, btw. :)

Bob said...

That cookbook is awesome! Love it. Heh.

Sophie said...

No Reservations was a really cute movie. That saffron sauce sounds elegant and delicious. What a beautifully plated meal!

Laurie said...

The saffron sauce recipe looks delicious. Very intense flavors and must have tasted wonderful with the scallops! :)

DDpie said...

Dude, the leather bound, hand written recipe book alone makes you too cool. (will it to me?) Scallops, I love scallops...and the fact that you have saffron in your kitchen...even cooler! (gonna check out those cupcakes too)

Unknown said...

That is just soooo cool!! I only have a pocket binder thingy with my recipes in the pockets, by some vague category. I think maybe thats why i never put them into a book cuz I was afraid they wouldn't be organized and I wouldn't be able to find them.

the fish look great, wish I could eat them....