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Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique

If you are looking for an impressive dinner entree to serve to guests, this recipe is sure to do just that.

This restaurant quality recipe is a nice segue into elevating your cooking style. There are a few steps, but it’s not impossible to achieve a beautiful, perfectly cooked and elegant dish.

The whole dish should really be called “Pan Seared Scallops over Brown Butter Cauliflower Puree, Sauteed Asparagus, Blood Orange Gastrique and Herb Salad” phewww…. that’s a long title. So I shortened it, however the full breakdown of each component is below.  It is a step by step approach to tackling this dish. Read it a few times before you get started. It helps to map out a game plan before you start cooking and it’s too late. You can make the gastrique a day or two ahead it just needs to be reheated before service.

You got this, kids. I believe you can do it. Get after it.

Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique

(serves 4)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 20 scallops, side muscle removed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 6 blood oranges (3 for juicing and 3 for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves
  • For the Cauliflower Puree:
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons brown butter (take regular butter and put in sautee pan, cook until butter turns brown and smells toasty and nutty)
  • 1 tsp caper juice
  • For the Blood Orange Gastrique:
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  1. Start by making the gastrique. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the sugar and cook until it starts to melt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then continue to cook without stirring until the sugar is a deep golden color; about 2 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the vinegar, and stir for about a minute until the caramel melts. Then add the orange juice; boil until the mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Then add stock and boil until the gastrique has reduced down to about 1/4 of a cup and it coats the back of a spoon. This should take about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a lid on the pan and set aside.
  4. Next start on the cauliflower puree. In a medium pot bring about 3 inches of water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Cut cauliflower into small pieces and drop into the water. Place a lid on top of the pan and steam for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. When it’s fork tender, drain and place into a blender with about 2-3 tablespoons of cooking liquid. Turn the machine on and slowly drizzle in the brown butter, caper juice and a good pinch of kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the asparagus. In a small sauté  pan melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper and sautee the asparagus for 3-4 minutes. Set aside, cover to keep warm.
  6. With the remaining blood oranges, cut 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of each orange. Working carefully, cut away all of the peel and pith from the fruit. You will see thin white membranes in between each slice. Insert your knife as close as possible and make a slice parallel to it, right to the center of the orange. repeat on the other side. You will be left with a tender little segment of orange. Repeat and add the segments into a bowl. Toss with the parsley and set aside.
  7. Finally! The scallops, right before service remove scallops from fridge. Pat them dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  8. In a large sauté pan over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add scallops and sear until golden brown. I like to cook them about 1 1/2 minutes on one side and 30 seconds -1 minute on the other, pending on the size. I like mine to be rare to medium rare. Be careful not to over cook these little rascals. They turn into erasers if they are cooked too long! :P
  9. To plate, place the warm cauliflower puree across a round plate. Sprinkle the cooked asparagus on top. Then place 5 scallops on top of that, arranging them in a rustic zig zag pattern. Tuck pieces of the orange segments and parsley in between the scallops. Drizzle warm gastrique on top and serve. It’s quite the dish but well worth it! Please enjoy it!

Thai Green Coconut Curry with Chicken

I am absolutely crazy for Thai food. In fact, anytime someone asks me what my favorite type of cuisine to eat, my Italian and Greek ancestors roll over in their graves as I declare “Southeast Asian” as my favorite. This category includes food from countries like, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Phillipines and Indonesia. There is something [...]


Mini Wagyu Beef and Sweet Potato Waffle Fry Sliders

It’s almost Super Bowl! This time of year leaves me with mixed feelings, yes it is the most exciting football game of the year but it also marks the end of football season. Sundays during football season just have a certain je ne sais quoi about them. Something about gathering around with friends and family, sitting on the couch all day and watching a bunch of large men in tights beat the hell out of each other over a tiny ball warms my heart.

I am always looking for new finger foods to try out while watching the game and I came across a picture on pinterest of these waffle fry sliders and was totally inspired. What ensued next was pure mouth watering, delicious bliss.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is totally customizable. You can use chicken, turkey, bison, lamb or even make your own veggie burgers, or you can make little falafel patties. You can check out my recipe for falafel here.

You can top them with any type of cheese you would like. I put my goat cheese on mine, but cheddar, gruyere, havarti, swiss, brie, mozzarella….you get my point. The options are endless.

For the waffle fry, I used a short cut and baked up some frozen pre-cut/cooked fries by ALEXIA They not only have sweet potato waffle fries but they have regular white potato ones as well. waffle-cut-sweet-potato-large

I chose for my meat a grass fed wagyu beef. I am not a huge beef eater, but when I do eat red meat I make sure it’s responsibly raised. It just so happened that my local grocery store was having a sale on meat so I bought a pound of it for only $8, which is a steal when it comes to organic, grass fed meats. In turn, these burgers were born.

These are a fun, unique, and GLUTEN FREE slider. YES, because let’s be honest, I love nothing more than a slider but I can never find tiny, delicious, gluten free buns to use. (only the ones that I know of are attached to my backside…AY YO!) …sorry I had to.

The waffle fry acts as the perfect substitute for a bun. These little rascals are the perfect game day snack. They are gluten free, flavor packed, deliciously satisfying and will impress all of your friends and family.


Turkey Bolognese Sauce

Growing up in an Italian household, I have vivid memories of  standing anxiously by the stove with an empty bowl and spoon  in hand as my mom made pasta sauce. I stood there practically drooling waiting for my mom to ladle me a taste. PURE HEAVEN. I would lick my spoon until I got every [...]


Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders

I don’t care if you are 5 or 50, everyone loves a good chicken tender….unless your a vegan and in that case I am sorry for you in general, because chicken tenders are freakin’ delicious.

Traditional chicken tenders are breaded and deep fried, and obviously contain gluten. 3 strikes little guys..no bueno. This recipe is so easy to make and a much healthier way to enjoy one of the greatest culinary treats on this planet of ours.

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I first came up with this recipe when I had to make up a salad recipe that kids would want to eat. You can check out that recipe here. Word to parents out there if you want your kids to eat anything, just put chicken tenders in/on it and watch the wonderment.

Crispy, crunchy and so freeeeeeaking good. Dunked in mountains spicy ketchup, to me there is not greater treat. I am 27 and I literally eat these guys once a week….with a glass of wine of course because I am an adult.

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders

(serves 4)

For the Chicken Tenders: 1 pound organic chicken tenders 2 eggs 2 tablespoons milk (dairy free substitute works great too) 2 cups unsweetened rice cereal (I used Chex) ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 475. In a Ziploc bag, place rice cereal, oregano, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Seal the top, making sure there is no air left in the bag. Using a meat mallet or a small frying pan, gently crush the cereal until fine. This can also be done in a food processor or blender. Set aside

    In a medium bowl combine eggs and milk and whisk together. Salt and pepper the chicken tenders, then one by one dip them into egg wash and then place in bag with rice cereal. Shake to coat. Remove tender and place on a baking sheet that has been greased. Repeat process. Once all the tenders have been coated spray or lightly coat the tops of them with a little cooking oil

    Place baked tenders into oven for 8-10 minutes. The outsides should be crispy and light brown. If they aren’t cook them for another 2-4 minutes. Pull out of oven and dig in!


Monsoon Black-Eyed Pea Curry

I am a cookbook junkie. I have more cookbooks than I do shoes and I would have it no other way. The beautiful Aarti Sequiera wrote a beautiful cookbook called ‘Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul’. This is a book filled with incredible Indian and Middle Eastern recipes that you can tell are deeply close to Aarti’s heart.

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Fun, light, engaging and scrumptious is how I would describe this book. It’s filled with stories that transport you to different places around the world which makes the recipes that much more special. I felt connected to this dish after I read Aarti’s description at the top of the recipe. (see below)

I chose to recreate Aarti’s Monsoon Black-Eyed Pea Curry, which is a tomato and coconut milk based curry. I added a few ingredients to the dish, like thai chili and spinach. I am a chili junkie and love some good heat, but you can omit the chili if you’d like. I also added a couple handfuls of spinach at the end because I had some extra in the fridge and thought “why not?”. I couldn’t get my hands on curry leaves, so I left them out and the flavor was still delicious. I can’t even imagine the flavor explosion that would have occurred had I put them in…a girl can dream. I am pretty sure you can order curry leaves online or at a local ethnic foods market. Curry leaves or not I cannot rave enough about this dish. It was creamy, hearty, complex in flavor and best of all it cost less than $10 to make. On top of all that goodness it’s gluten free, dairy free, nut free and vegan! I mean…come on. (if I had the fist bump emoji on my computer I totally would put it in here). I served mine over rice and I am still dreaming about it.

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Make sure you go and grab Aarti’s new book for more delicious recipes.