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

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

 

Bang-Bang Shrimp

I’ve got a bad case of fuzz-brain this morning (don’t you wish YOU were menopausal?  ‘Cause I just have all the fun), so please bear with me.  I’ll make every attempt to be coherent.

Some time ago, I got a request from a fellow blogger to find a way to make Bonefish Grill’s Bang-Bang Shrimp more or less paleo.  Well, I’m always up for a challenge, and a challenge it was – for one thing, I’ve only ever eaten at Bonefish Grill once and I did not have the Bang-Bang Shrimp.  For another, we don’t eat a lot of shrimp; the vast majority of the shrimp for sale in this country comes from either Asia or Latin America, where it is farmed in the aquatic equivalent of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO).

Ewww.

I finally broke down a couple of weeks ago and bought a bag of frozen shrimp from my favorite natural foods store, hoping that it wouldn’t be too terribly bad.  A quick search of the interwebz told me that Bang-Bang Shrimp is nothing more than fried shrimp tossed in a sauce of mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and a little sriracha.  The mayo and sriracha I had no problem with – it’s one of my favorite combinations, in fact – but we just weren’t going anywhere with that sweet chili sauce, which is basically sugar, water and xantham gum with a little chili thrown in.  Tasty stuff, but not something I keep in my kitchen these days.

It didn’t take much thought to decide to replace the sweet chili sauce with honey, red pepper flakes and gluten-free tamari, and I have to say it was just delicious.  It may not taste like the dish you get at Bonefish Grill, but it was good enough to have Beloved tell me repeatedly how delicious it was, and the man is pretty lukewarm about shrimp (he’d rather have crawfish).  The Young One didn’t say much about it at all, but I think that was just because he was too busy eating.

This is an appetizer on the restaurant’s menu, although I served it as a main dish.  The servings weren’t large; like most things that are fried and doused in sweet sauces, this is neither low in calories or carbohydrates.  But if you’re craving such a dish, it is certainly tons better than eating something that’s been coated in GMO cornstarch, fried in industrial seed oils and coated in refined sugar.

We’ve all got to make compromises in life.  Some are tastier than others.

Note:  For those of you who voted for the venison curry recipe for today, not to worry; you’ll get it tomorrow or Wednesday.

Bang-Bang Shrimp - A bangin' good, real food version of the restaurant favorite.

Bang-Bang Shrimp
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lard or other fat suitable for frying
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, Sriracha, tamari, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the lard in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until it reaches 350 F.
  3. Combine the tapioca and potato flours in a gallon ziplock bag. Liberally sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper; drop half the shrimp into the bag, close tightly and shake until coated. Remove to a plate, shaking off the excess flour, and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  4. Fry the shrimp in the lard until pink and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Drain briefly on paper towels, then toss in the sauce. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired, and serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 463 calories, 34.2g total fat, 134mg cholesterol, 593mg sodium, 170.3mg potassium, 28.4g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 12.6g sugar, 11.3g protein

Squash and Crab Bisque

I know it’s still hot in many parts of the country, but here in northeast Ohio autumn has arrived.  Temps have been in the low-to-mid 60s during the day (that’s the mid-to-upper teens for you Celsius folks), and it’s been downright chilly at night.  The leaves are beginning to turn, and the last two days have brought us drab, rainy days.

Yes, it is soup weather.

We made what we call a “squash run” last week – basically, we drove out the farm where we got Pete the Goat and picked up $20 worth of winter squashes.  Since they charge by the squash, not by weight – a helluva deal, really – that’s a lot of squash.  Two boxes worth, in fact.

Among this treasure trove were 3 baby blue hubbard squashes.  Blue hubbard squashes can grow to be quite large – upwards of 20 pounds – but our baby squashes run about 5 pounds each, which is still pretty big, compared to all the butternut, spaghetti, acorn, sweet dumpling and delicatas that are part of our current squash collection.  They have a thick, inedible, greyish-blue outer skin, a brilliant orange, fine-textured flesh and are marvelous for soups.

Combined with a mirepoix of vegetables, homemade chicken stock, coconut milk and crab meat, is makes a seafood bisque that even The Young One will eagerly devour.  Frankly, I know of no higher praise for any dish, much less a soup.

You don’t have to use a hubbard, of course – butternut would work well, as would a pumpkin, though you should keep in mind that pumpkins are not as fine-textured as hubbard or butternut squashes.  Once I’d cleaned and roasted the hubbard, I got about 4 or 5 cups of the flesh for the soup, so if you use a smaller squash you might want to roast 2, or adjust the remaining ingredients accordingly for a smaller batch of bisque.  And if you don’t eat shellfish, this would be equally good with some leftover chicken or turkey.

Fairly low in calories, the bisque is as an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A, as well as a pretty good source of magnesium.  Oh, and the servings are huge.

Squash and Crab Bisque
Squash and Crab Bisque
Squash and Crab Bisque

Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 small blue hubbard squash, about 4 or 5 pounds
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound crab meat, picked over
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Split the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and stringy material in the center. Pour enough water to cover the bottom into a shallow baking dish large enough to hold both halves of the squash. Place the squash, cut sides down, into the baking dish. Roast until the squash is tender and easily pierced with the tines of a fork, about 45 minutes.
  3. While the squash is roasting, melt the ghee in a large, enameled Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery until the onion is tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and chicken stock; reduce the heat slightly. Cover and cook until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Once the squash is roasted, allow it to cool slightly and scoop out the flesh into the Dutch oven with the chicken stock and vegetables. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth and return to the pot. Or leave the soup in the Dutch oven and, using a stick blender, puree until smooth.
  5. Stir the coconut milk and crab into the soup and return to a medium-low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper; garnish with red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 363 calories, 15.9g total fat, 88.3mg cholesterol, 578.7mg sodium, 1403.5mg potassium, 36.1g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 24.6g protein

 

Crab Deviled Eggs

It’s Day 22 of the Whole30 – the end is in sight!  The end is in sight!

Actually, it hasn’t been that hard.  In fact, it really hasn’t been hard at all.  Yesterday I had 3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil and 3 mugs of coffee with coconut milk for breakfast, leftovers for lunch (pork meatballs and kale cooked in a red curry-coconut sauce) and for dinner we had stuffed bell peppers, summer squash sauteed in ghee and a salad of fresh tomatoes from our garden and watermelon.  It was all pretty delicious, actually.

At any rate, today’s recipe is one of the dishes I took to our company picnic last Saturday.  I made two kinds – standard deviled eggs, and these – and these were by far one of the most popular dishes of the picnic.  We had a few of the regular deviled eggs left over; I think one of these was left.

As deviled egg recipes go, this one is pretty good, and there is plenty of filling; if I remember correctly, I had some left over, which Beloved devoured with a spoon.  Make sure and buy the best quality of canned crab you can find; it will just taste better.  However, if you find the crab has a bit of a “fishy” smell, rinse it thoroughly with cold water and pat dry before mixing it into the egg yolk mixture.

Crab Deviled Eggs
Crab Deviled Eggs
Crab Deviled Eggs
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup lump crab meat, picked over
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; reserve both the yolks and the whites.
  2. Mashing with a fork, combine the yolks with the mayonnaise, pickle, celery, onion and Old Bay seasoning until well blended. Stir in the crab; taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the crab mixture into the reserved egg whites and arrange on a platter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not serving immediately.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 188 calories, 16.3g total fat, 212.4mg cholesterol, 156.8mg sodium, 107.4mg potassium, 1.6g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 8.6g protein