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

Quinoa Salad with Salmon and Apples

Before I get into how I’m not torturing poverty-stricken Bolivian farmers by eating quinoa, let’s talk a little bit about why I’m eating it after more than 3 years of largely avoiding grains.

Aside from the fact that it’s freaking delicious, reasonably nutritious when properly prepared and not really a grain.

Grains are the seeds from grasses; quinoa is the seed from a broadleaf plant that is closely related to spinach and beets.  This makes it what is called a pseudograin – it looks like a grain and cooks like a grain but botanically isn’t a grain.  Which is all fine and dandy, but it still contains all those awful lectins and phytates plus an added bonus of saponins – a bitter-tasting coating on the outside of the seed that makes for one nasty meal if not completely rinsed away.

Most commercially available quinoas (which, like lentils, come in a variety of colors) are pre-rinsed, but you should always rinse them again before cooking just to make sure.  And, like most grains, you’ll get a lot more out of them if you soak or sprout it beforehand.  Quinoa sprouts pretty easily – unlike most grains and legumes, soaking it in warm, filtered water for as little as 12 hours will cause it to sprout, which also reduces the cooking time by as much as 1/3.

Unfortunately, quinoa has gotten a bad rap lately.  It’s traditionally grown in South America and has been a dietary staple there for thousands of years.  Its growing popularity worldwide in recent years has caused concerns about the sustainability of the crops there, as well as diminishing quinoa’s status as a staple – it’s far more profitable for farmers to sell than consume.  Now, having said that, some varieties are pretty hardy and can be grown in other climates – there is widespread farming of quinoa in Europe, the US and Canada.  The quinoa I purchase comes from the bulk bins at our local natural food store (making it cheaper than the packaged stuff) and is grown in Canada.

Beloved and I also love the stuff, which is the main reason we’re eating it.  But after 3 years of forcing foods that aren’t rice or pasta or wheat or whatever isn’t “allowed” in a paleo diet into behaving like foods that are rice or pasta or wheat or whatever, I started to wonder why I don’t just go ahead and eat them from time to time?  Muffins, cakes, breads, ice creams, cookies, candies and all those other delicious treats that people work so hard to recreate – yes, myself included – really shouldn’t be eaten every day no matter what they’re made from (the one exception being “noodles” made from vegetables.  But it still isn’t the same).  I still make all of these things from scratch from the best quality ingredients I can find, I still don’t eat industrial seed oils or prepackaged crap and we still don’t eat out nearly as often as the average American.  If I eat something and it makes me feel bad or sick, I don’t eat it again and so far, a slice of sourdough bread and a serving of quinoa, beans or soaked brown rice a couple of times a week, homemade pasta once or twice a month and a dessert once in a blue moon isn’t killing me.  In fact, I’m feeling pretty okay these days, and after the menopausal hell of the last 5 years or so, that’s not a bad thing.  Not bad at all.

Anyhoo – quinoa. My favorite way to prepare it is in homemade chicken broth with diced onion and garlic that’s been sauteed in ghee – it is just delicious.

This salad was made with leftover quinoa cooked in just that manner, as well as some leftover salmon that I’d attempted to prepare (at too high a temperature – oops) in the sous vide.  It may not have been the best entree I’ve ever cooked, but chilled and flaked into this salad the salmon was great.  Throw in a little diced apple, finely chopped herbs, a light vinaigrette and some salad greens, and this was a marvelous light lunch – just what my body has been craving after this absurdly long, harsh winter.

Quinoa Salad with Salmon and Apple - quick, simple and incredibly good for you.

Click the image to enlarge

Quinoa Salad with Salmon and Apples
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 ounces cooked salmon, flaked
  • 1 small apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cups salad greens
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the vinegar, honey and olive oil in a small bowl until well-blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, salmon, apple, mint and parsley. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again until evenly coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  3. Divide the greens between two plates and top with the quinoa salad.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 393 calories, 20.2g total fat, 40.3mg cholesterol, 51.4mg sodium, 791.2mg potassium, 34.2g carbohydrates, 5.3g fiber, 9.6g sugar, 20g protein

Fish Poached in Ghee

I think I mentioned in yesterday’s post that The Young One is picky about fish – he pretty much refuses to touch it, unless it’s shellfish – so Beloved and I tend to eat it at lunch.  Since our time at lunch is generally limited, I tend to cook fish recipes that are pretty quick and easy.  And really, really tasty.

This is one of those recipes.

Really, this dish is simplicity itself and is ready in 10 minutes.  It’s a classic preparation of fish, lemon and butter, only due to my issues with cow’s dairy, I substitute ghee – all of the flavor of butter, without the lactose or casein.  You can certainly use butter if you prefer, but whatever you do, you should make this dish – it is just delicious.

The pretty purple stuff underneath is a purple cauliflower mash, and it was a great vehicle for the fish.  You could serve this over rice or even mashed potatoes and it would taste very good, although it would look a little…one note.  The cauliflower was a nice contrast and the light, mild flavor complimented the richness of the ghee and the tartness of the lemon really well.  If you don’t care for cauliflower, a winter squash puree – butternut, perhaps? – would be delicious, too.

I used flounder for this dish, which I just love, but you can use any mild, white fish and it will be fine.

Fish Poached in Ghee. A simple combination of lemon butter makes a tangy sauce for mild, white fish.

Click to enlarge

Fish Poached in Ghee
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces flounder or other mild fish
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/ghee/” target=”_blank”]Ghee[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • finely chopped parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon
Instructions
  1. Lightly season the fish fillets with the salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning.
  2. Melt the ghee in a saute pan over low heat; stir in the lemon juice. Add the fish to the pan and spoon the ghee/lemon mixture over the fillets. Cover and cook, turning once, until the fish becomes opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using a spatula, transfer the fish to two warmed plates. Pour the pan sauce over the fish, and garnish with the parsley and lemon slices. Serve immediately.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 305 calories, 25.8g total fat, 124.9mg cholesterol, 422.8mg sodium, 241.5mg potassium, <1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 17.9g protein

Jambalaya

Happy Monday, everyone.  If you’re a mom, I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day.  If you’re not, I hope you got to spend time with your mom (or the closest thing you have to one) to make her day special.  My day was just lovely, thanks to my wonderful husband and children.  I spent a lot of time relaxing, and when I wasn’t relaxing I was cooking.

Don’t judge; it’s what I wanted to be doing.

At any rate, this was not one of the things I cooked; this is what we had for dinner Saturday night.  I had shrimp in the freezer leftover from the Bang Bang Shrimp a couple of weeks ago, and had been thinking about how to use it.  It’s been pretty cool in this part of the country for the last few days, so something warm and comforting seemed to be in order.  Combine that with the fact that our local natural food store carries Applegate Farms Andouille Sausage (yeah, it’s made with chicken and turkey but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste great), and Jambalaya seemed like a wonderful idea.

And it was.  Even The Young One wolfed this down, and I have a feeling there’s going to be a battle for the leftovers today at lunch.  It was simply delicious, as well as easy – you see the list of ingredients is a bit long, but don’t let that deter you; the actual directions are pretty short.  And it all comes together quickly – once the ingredients are prepped, which is simply some dicing and chopping – the whole thing comes together in about half an hour.  Not bad for one of Louisiana’s most famous dishes.

Now, this has rice in it, but that’s simply because I think Jambalaya really needs it.  I’ve made this in the past with grated cauliflower and the flavors are there, but it’s just not the same – cauliflower doesn’t soak up the liquid, or the taste, the way rice does, and the texture simply isn’t right.  And since white rice is pretty inoffensive as grains go, I don’t see any harm in indulging in it occasionally (which we do once or twice a month).

You can make this with the cauliflower if you like:  omit the water, reduce the chicken stock to 3 cups and add 1 1/2 cups of grated cauliflower to the stew when you add the proteins, and just cook it for the 10 minutes specified.  It’s even quicker this way, and comes in at about 15 grams of carbohydrates – it will be Whole30, too.

Note:  Jambalaya should be made with Creole seasoning, but I cannot find it anywhere in my area so I use Cajun seasoning instead.  Use whichever you like, although it won’t be “authentic” with the Cajun stuff.

Jambalaya. Hearty, satisfying and deeply flavorful, this is soul food at its finest.

Jambalaya
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
  • 6 oz Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl combine the shrimp, chicken and Cajun seasoning; work the seasoning in well. Set aside.
  2. Heat the ghee in a small stock pot over medium heat and cook the onion, pepper and celery until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in the chicken broth, water and rice.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is almost tender. Add the seasoned shrimp and chicken and the sausage; continue cooking, uncovered, until meat is done, about 10 minutes more.
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional Cajun seasoning, as needed, before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 409 calories, 15.9g total fat, 137.2mg cholesterol, 1158.3mg sodium, 564.5mg potassium, 37.3g carbohydrates, 1.1g fiber, 4.2g sugar, 27.3g protein

 

Curried Mango Tuna Cakes

We keep canned tuna – line caught, of course – in the pantry pretty much all of the time.  It makes for a quick lunch in the form of tuna salad if we have no leftovers from the night before.

Yesterday was one of those days, but I didn’t feel like tuna salad.  I felt like crab cakes, but I had no crab.  There was the tuna, though – and some curry powder, a mango, a red bell pepper and some cilantro.

This delicious recipe, based on my Gluten-Free Crab Cake recipe, was the result.  Between the two of us, we ate the entire batch – they were that good.

Just a couple of notes:  I didn’t have time to refrigerate the cakes before frying, so they were a little fragile and tended to fall apart when flipped.  Just keep that in mind if you don’t have time to refrigerate them beforehand.  For the same reason, don’t cook them over a heat that is more than medium, especially if you don’t refrigerate them – they will stay together much better and won’t over-brown.

Other than that, these went really well with a squeeze of lime, guacamole and some spicy sriracha mayo.  And they’re Whole30 complaint, too.

Curried Mango Tuna Cakes. Give the humble tuna cake a sweet and spicy twist with curry powder and diced mango!

Curried Mango Tuna Cakes
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mango, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 10 ounces canned tuna, drained
  • 1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • coconut oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Gently combine all of the ingredients except the coconut oil in a medium mixing bowl. Carefully shape into five patties; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Gently fry the tuna cakes until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
  3. Serve with fresh lime and guacamole or cocktail sauce.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 339 calories, 23.2g total fat, 111.7mg cholesterol, 863.7mg sodium, 312.9mg potassium, 14.7g carbohydrates, 5.4g fiber, 6.4g sugar, 19g protein