spices

Dishing It: Scallops with Tomatoes and Mango

March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm , by

Before we discuss the dish I made for this week’s “Dishing It,” I have one question: Do you know Bal? Bal Arneson, that is. She’s is one of the Cooking Channel‘s newest culinary stars…and with good reason. Bal completely demystifies Indian cuisine on her show Spice Goddess with simple recipes that anyone can make. (Even I, a culinary school grad, am not ashamed to admit that Indian recipes sometimes intimidate me.) She’ll even sell you the organic spices to prepare them, with proceeds benefiting women and children in her native India—talk about DO GOOD!

I chose Bal’s recipe from the March 2011 issue of LHJ (Dinner Made Easy) mainly because I adore scallops and was intrigued by the sweet/spicy sauce that accompanies it. Plus, as a food editor, it’s always fun to try other chefs recipes—especially chefs I admire, like Bal.

I did make a few changes to the recipes. For starters, I used mango instead of papaya, because I prefer it and since the recipe calls for ground coriander, I took the opportunity to also test out McCormick‘s new line of roasted spices. If you haven’t tried them yet, they’re great. The roasted coriander I used had a much more powerful flavor than traditional ground coriander. It was perfect in a dish like this, with just a few ingredients. Also, instead of serving my scallops with shaved Parmesan, I served it with a sprinkling of freshly chopped cilantro.

This recipe could not be easier, with minimal prep. You basically start by searing the scallops. The directions say 2 minutes per side which is the perfect amount of time to cook them. They were tender and moist inside and not overcooked at all. Overcooked scallops are often tough and chewy—no one wants that.

After you cook the scallops and remove them from the pan to rest, you toss in your minced garlic and cook for just a moment. Then you add the spices and cook them for another moment. Then you add the tomatoes. (I used an assorted variety of cherry tomatoes, halving the large ones and leaving the smaller ones whole. This was a good move since the halved ones got a touch over cooked.) Cook them for a few minutes before adding the mango (or papaya) to cook a few minutes more. Add the scallops back to the pan to coat in the sauce and serve over rice. That’s it! So, so, so easy, but also very sophisticated. I would totally serve this dish to guests. I’m definitely adding this recipe to my regular repertoire.

As I devoured the dinner (like I said, I adore scallops), I realized that you could prepare this meal with different ingredients and it would be just as delicious. Chunks of cod or salmon could be substituted or, if you don’t like fish, you could always use strips of chicken or pork. Even cubes of tofu if you are vegetarian. Yum!


Great Kitchen Finds For Mother’s Day

May 4, 2010 at 10:07 am , by

Hmmm… what should I get Mom this year? Check out some of our fave products that are perfect for the kitchen-savvy mama.

* If your mom likes looking good while cooking, a girly, frilly apron is a must-have. Jillie Willie put our favorite apron on sale just for us. The Fancy Up Apron is now only $34.50!

* Does your mom like to bake pies? Help her get prepared with the Kitchen Krafts Pie Essentials Kit for the in-season spring and summer fruits.

* Go with a pretty spring theme and get your mom a Nordicware Floral Cupcake Pan. Don’t forget to bake cupcakes for her after she opens it!

* No kitchen is complete without a heavy-duty baking dish. You can make everything from fillet of sole to brownies in it, so this is a gift Mom can use all year round. Present the sleek and colorful Calphalon Ceramic Baker with her favorite dinner in it!

* Here’s a fun activity for you and Mom to share: home canning and preserving. (Yep, canning is cool again!) Try the new Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit.

* Spring and summer means delicious fresh fruit. Making your own juices is super-quick with the Cuisinart Citrus Juicer. Just present it to Mom with a nice, cold glass of freshly-squeezed OJ.

* Does your mom like a little spice? Organize her dried herbs and spices with the Super SpiceStack. It’s convenient, cute and it doesn’t take up too much space on the counter or in a cabinet.

For more Mother’s Day gift ideas check out our 2010 Mother’s Day Gift Guide!