Scallops with Meyer Lemon Pan Sauce

As foretold yesterday, I have a scallop/Meyer lemon recipe today. Huzzah!

You know, all those people who unsubscribed because I’m “no longer relevant,” what with my lentils and quinoa and photos of crocus, are going to be disappointed that they missed this one.  It may not be Whole30 compliant, but it’s pretty straight-forward paleo/primal, and it’s absotively-effing delicious.  To say nothing of quick and drop-dead simple.

Oh, well.  Their loss.

Anyhoo, Meyer lemons.  I’d heard of them, but had never actually seen one until last week when I chanced upon a small bag of them at the local supermarket.  I eagerly bought it and left it on the counter while Beloved and I traipsed down to southern Ohio for an extended weekend of dominoes, hot tubs and other middle-aged fun and games (ahem).

I thought the Meyers, which are believed to be a hybrid of standard lemons and mandarin oranges, giving them a deep yellow color and sweeter, more floral flavor than your average, run-of-the-mill lemon, would be fine.  After all, I buy citrus all the time in season and it all does quite well sitting on the counter for several days.

Meyer lemons, not so much, unfortunately – all but one of them were beginning to rot when we returned on Monday.  Disappointed, visions of Meyer lemon goodies in the form of pies and pound cake quickly banished, I salvaged the one good fruit and began to wonder what I could do with it.

Once I’d remembered the scallops, it was easy.

Our butchers, Whitefeather Meats, have recently found a good source of wild, sustainably caught seafood, and last week we were pleased to see scallops in the seafood case.  They’re my absolutely favorite shellfish, so we bought them eagerly and when faced with no leftovers for lunch yesterday I decided it was time to consume them – pan-seared, they take all of about 8 minutes.  Coming up with the sauce took little time, and served with leftover Roasted Root Vegetable Hash, we were eating lunch in the comfort of our home 15 minutes later.

Let me just say, the Meyer lemon pan sauce is outstanding – I was literally licking it out of the pan as I cleaned up afterward.  It would be great on shrimp as well as chicken, so if you don’t do shellfish you can still make it and it will still be outstanding.

No Meyer lemons?  No problem – this would work well with your regular, garden-variety lemons, although you might want to increase the amount of honey and/or butter slightly, to keep it from being too acidic (which is the whole point of the honey and butter in the first place).

Scallops with Meyer Lemon Pan Sauce.  So simple and easy, but impressive enough for company!

Click the image to enlarge

Scallops with Meyer Lemon Pan Sauce
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • the juice and grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the scallops and pat them dry; sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the butter begins to foam.
  3. Place the scallops in the skillet and cook until lightly browned but still opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate; cover and keep warm.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking the liquid in the pan until it becomes a light golden color, stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, scraping up any brown bits, then the zest, rosemary and honey. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sauce is reduced and almost syrupy (this should take less than a minute). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted.
  5. Plate the scallops and drizzle with the Meyer lemon sauce. Serve immediately.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 211 calories, 13.2g total fat, 42.5mg cholesterol, 446.6mg sodium, 279mg potassium, 11g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 14.1g protein

Pressure Cooker Venison Chili

Look!  Two recipes in one week!  I must be on a roll.

For those of you who may not know, I was once a professional cake decorator.  It’s a hobby now (you can find photos of some of the cakes I’ve done here on the blog if you do a search for “cake” and sift through the recipes), and I enjoy doing it – so much so that I’ve recently acquired an airbrush and a very nice caddy for my supplies.  Which beats dragging a huge box off the top of the freezer in the garage and digging through it when I need something, let me tell you.

At any rate, the son of our beef farmer is getting married this year and I offered to do the wedding and groom’s cakes.  As payment, I received a box of approximately 50 pounds of mule deer and antelope meat after their hunting trip to Wyoming last fall.

I love the barter system.

We’ve slowly been working our way through all of this wonderful game, revisiting some of our favorite venison recipes.  The antelope is just wonderful – flavorful and sweet; the mule deer, however, is a bit different from the Ohio whitetail to which we’re accustomed.  It definitely has a “gamey” flavor.  Not bad, just kind of strong.

There are things you can do to mitigate the strong, “wild” flavor typical of some game meats.  One is to soak it, either in milk or a good marinade, for several hours before cooking (coconut milk works fine if you have problems with dairy).  Another is to cook it with bold spices and other strong flavors.  I did both with this dish, soaking the venison in milk before preparing it in the pressure cooker.

The result was a spicy, complex and deeply flavored chili, without any hint of gaminess, that is simply delicious.  The coffee and chocolate were inspired additions which contributed to the rich and complex flavor, but it seemed a bit bitter when I tasted it before locking the lid on the pressure cooker, hence the addition of the honey.  You can certainly leave it out if you prefer.

Like most chili and stews, this is even better the next day.  Of course, you can use beef in place of the venison if you like.

Note: If you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can cook this in a cast iron Dutch oven (either enameled or plain) on the stove.  Once all of the ingredients have been added to the pot, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours, then cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or so, or until the chili has thickened to the desired consistency.

Pressure Cooker Venison Chili.  Rich, delicious chili for dinner on a weeknight?  Break out the pressure cooker!

Pressure Cooker Venison Chili
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed tallow
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large jalapeño peppers, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the tallow in a 4- to 6-quart pressure cooker over high heat. Sprinkle the venison liberally with salt and pepper and add to the lard; cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is nicely browned.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, peppers and jalapeno. Continue cooking until the onion has softened, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat to high until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and do a quick release of the pressure.
  4. Carefully remove the lid from the pressure cooker. Stir; bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chili has thickened to the desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 352 calories, 13.3g total fat, 32.2mg cholesterol, 299.9mg sodium, 670.5mg potassium, 22.6g carbohydrates, 4.2g fiber, 12.4g sugar, 37.8g protein

Honey-Mint Roast Chicken

We had both The Young One and The G Man last weekend, which meant lots of fun – lots of exhausting, non-stop fun.

My coup of the weekend was getting The G Man, whose idea of breakfast runs the gamut from oatmeal to pancakes (and little else), to eat bacon.  I can’t really take credit for that, though; it seems the boy has decided his uncle is the epitome of cool, and if The Young One was eating bacon, G was going to have some as well.

Scrambled eggs and liver are so on the menu the next time I’ve got both of them in my clutches.

At any rate, most of what I made over the weekend was pretty kid-friendly, including this delicious and easy chicken dish which was nommed with much enthusiasm (by my Big Boys, at least, since The G Man had already gone home).  The leftovers reheat well, too, but not in the microwave, or the skin will turn rubbery.

In the summer, this would be good on the grill.  You could also make it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes.

Honey-Mint Roast Chicken. Juicy chicken with crispy, mint-and-honey flavored skin, this is a wonderful week-night family main course.

Click the image to enlarge

Honey-Mint Roast Chicken
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces (legs, wings, thighs)
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper; lay on the foil-lined pan and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, water, mint and zest. Brush the mixture on the chicken, coating the pieces completely.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, basting the chicken with the drippings in the pan every 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pricked with the tines of a fork.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 368 calories, 14.9g total fat, 127.6mg cholesterol, 162.9mg sodium, 399mg potassium, 17.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 17.3g sugar, 39.7g protein

Pomegranate-Glazed Meatballs

Well, hello there.   I know I haven’t posted in a month, and I apologize, but I’ve needed this break in the worst possible way.  Part of the problem is that I stare at a computer screen all day and most days the last thing I want to do is go home and stare at it some more.  Another part of the problem is all of my “photography stuff” got consigned to the basement over the holidays and I have so not been motivated to run up and down those stairs looking for appropriate place settings for pictures.  And it’s also the dead of winter, which in northeast Ohio means NO sunlight, which means using artificial lighting for photos and I’ve gotten to the point where I hate that.

Yeah, I know – excuses, excuses.  At any rate, I’m not going to make any promises about the frequency of posting in the near future, but I think I’m ready to get back into the saddle again, at least on a provisional basis.

Even with all of the above-mentioned excuses, I’ve managed to photograph a thing or three I’ve cooked over the last month (when the stars were aligned just so); this is one of them.  And it is very, very good – Beloved keeps asking me when I’m going to make it again, and we argued over what little leftovers there were the next day.  It’s also incredibly simple, and these days, that’s a huge plus.

If you look at the photo, you’ll see this is served over something you might think is lentils, and you’d be 100% correct – it’s a sprouted lentil pilaf, and it was really delicious.  In the wake of all the brouhaha about resistant starch, we’ve been incorporating a moderate amount of properly prepared legumes (soaked, sprouted or fermented, which deactivates much, albeit not all, of the lectins and phytates) back into our diet.  Which makes me happy, because I’ve always liked them.

If you wish to avoid legumes for whatever reason, these would be very nice served over just about any vegetable puree or steamed white rice.  Make those itty bitty, cocktail-sized meatballs, and they’d make a great appetizer, too.

The meatballs would also work well made with ground pork or turkey if you can’t find or don’t care for lamb.

Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Meatballs.  These little gems are delicious - bright and exotic.

Click the image to enlarge

Pomegranate-Glazed Meatballs
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/pomegranate-molasses/” target=”_blank”]pomegranate molasses[/url]
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix together the lamb, garlic, salt, coriander, cardamom and pepper until combined; form into meatballs. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake the meatballs until golden and just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Brush with pomegranate molasses, making sure to coat the meatballs completely, and return to the oven until glazed, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mint and pistachios and serve.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 384 calories, 21.5g total fat, 101.3mg cholesterol, 581.8mg sodium, 1104.5mg potassium, 17.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 28.8g protein

Cider Glazed Chicken Bites

Well, here it is, the day before Thanksgiving, and I’ve been up since 6 a.m. cooking.  It didn’t occur to me until some time later that I had a recipe to post this morning, so I’m taking a break for a bit from sweet potatoes and mushrooms and pie crusts.

I know a lot of food bloggers are concentrating on Thanksgiving dishes in the early parts of this week, but I figured if you haven’t figured out what you’re cooking tomorrow, it’s too late for me to help.  I suppose if you’re really desperate and are determined to keep your holiday meal reasonably “clean” you can find a list of delicious, autumnal recipes here.

In the meantime, I’ve got a fun and incredibly tasty, kid-friendly recipe for you to file away until after the Turkey Day excesses are over.

This is one of those recipes that I just sort of pulled out of my, um, refrigerator.  Beloved and I had come home for lunch one day recently and discovered there were no real leftovers that could be reheated, but I did have 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge I’d planned to cook for dinner that evening.  Instead, I took some tenderized round steak out of the freezer for dinner and made this for lunch.

Because we ate it for lunch, this is quick and easy.  It’s also pretty darn good – we just loved it, and it occurred to me that The G Man would really like it too.  I can’t wait to make it for him.

Since I was cooking for just me and Beloved – who inhaled this – the recipe makes 2 servings, but there’s no reason it can’t be scaled to make more servings.

Cider Glazed Chicken Bites. This quick and easy, one pan dish is sure to please the entire family.

Click the image to enlarge

Cider Glazed Chicken Bites
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon lard or bacon fat
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. Place the cubed chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary and sage and toss until all the chicken pieces are coated.
  2. Heat the lard or bacon fat in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the seasoned chicken to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is well browned on the outside but still slightly pink in the center. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Pour the cider into the hot skillet and bring to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Stir in the honey.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and return the chicken to the skillet, along with any juices that accumulated. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the chicken is glazed and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 419 calories, 12.7g total fat, 157.1mg cholesterol, 278.1mg sodium, 1034.2mg potassium, 23.4g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 8.6g sugar, 50.3g protein