Sunday, March 9, 2014

What you get when both Les and I have a whole day without working

This weekend was so relaxing and wonderful. We finally got a break in this terribly cold winter. To celebrate we decided to cook some really really delicious food! I didn't use a recipe for these, so these amounts might not be perfect. Use your best judgement and taste, taste, taste.  The first thing we made was:

Scallops with Beluga Lentils and a Cranberry Gastrique

Beluga Lentils:

  • 1 cup beluga lentils (they look like beluga caviar)
  • water
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion, small dice
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and add diced onions. Heat until golden and add garlic. 
  2. Add beluga lentils, salt, and pepper to taste and stir until the lentils are coated with oil.  Add enough water to cover the lentils by 1 inch.
  3. Bring to a boil. Add sundried tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Take out the sundried tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 more minutes until the lentils are tender.

Cranberry Gastrique:

  • 1 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened)
  • little less than 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp ground fresh ginger
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat a small sauce pan and add all ingredients. Simmer vigorously for about 25 minute. Taste and add more ginger if necessary.
  2. Strain the liquid from the cranberries. Set aside and also save the cranberries.


I bought frozen scallops from Whole Foods because I got a coupon for $2 off, but for the record. I don't recommend buying them from Whole Foods. There was a lot of sand in them. I wasn't happy with how these turned out. I need to make scallops again to make these better.
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 scallops
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Pat dry scallops and lightly salt and pepper. Heat pan on medium high heat. Add butter and olive oil.  Once the pan is hot add the scallops. Cook about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side. It should have a golden look on each side. I didn't get the pan hot enough and I didn't pat the scallops dry enough.
The next day, I didn't want to waste anything so with the left over cranberries that were drained from the gastrique, I decided to make a chutney for a delicious appetizer. We also had a lot of the beluga lentils and cranberry gastrique left over, so we added to those and made a second meal...

Cranberry Chutney on Creamy Cheese and a Fresh Sourdough Crisp

Cranberry Chutney

  • Cranberry mixture left over from Cranberry gastrique
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, small dice
  • 1/4 onion, small dice
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F.
  2. Heat pan on medium heat and add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add dice onions, apples, and salt to taste Cook until golden. 
  3. Add 1 tsbp white vinegar and cook for about 1 minute
  4. Add onions and apple to the cranberries mixture and process in a food processor until jam consistency. 
  5. Cut sourdough pieces and place a good creamy cheese like brie on the sourdough slice. We used a cheese that was on special at Silverglades at Findlay Market. I can't remember what the cheese was, but wow it was so good!
  6. Add chutney to the top of the cheesy crisp. 
  7. Enjoy!

Baked Butternut Squash and Apples with Beluga Lentils, Cranberries Gastrique, and Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Butternut Squash and Apples

  • 1 butternut squash, small dice (from my garden last fall)
  • 1/2 granny smith apple
  • 1/4 large onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  3. Bake for 15 minutes then raise temperature to 400˚F and bake for 15 more minutes.

 Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

  • 1/2 lb Asparagus
  • 6 pieces of bacon (from Gorman Heritage Farm)
  • olive oil
  1. Cut asparagus into 2 inch pieces
  2. wrap 4 pieces of asparagus with a slice of bacon.
  3. Sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 400˚F for 15 minutes.
Les and I felt inspired and wanted to practice with food styling. You know real fine dining. This is how ours turned out. I would say a job well done!!

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