Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Seared Scallops

There is nothing like a perfectly fresh, seared scallop where the natural sweetness of the meat shines through.  The trick is to start with a really fresh, dry scallop that has not been soaked in a STP solution.  The second trick is to treat it very simply - season with salt and pepper and sear in a little olive oil that has been flavored by slowing cooking garlic in it.  Cook them in hot oil and wait until the first side is golden brown before flipping them to sear on the other side.  A quick drizzle of fresh lemon juice before biting into them completes the preparation.  Yum!

I served these over a bed of garlic sauteed spinach and with a side of sauteed squash.



Seared Scallops
Makes 2 servings

3/4 - 1 pound sea scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and split in half
Lemon wedges for serving

In a skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil with the garlic pieces, stirring occasionally until the garlic is golden brown on all sides.  Meanwhile, pat the scallops dry with paper towels.  Remove and discard the garlic from the hot oil in the pan, leaving the garlic flavored oil in the pan.  Raise the heat in the skillet to medium-high.  Sprinkle the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.  When the oil is shimmering, but not smoking, gently place the scallops in the hot pan.  Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes untouched until they are golden brown and do not stick to the skillet.  Flip scallops over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until browned.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top.


Our rating:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Greek Lamb Saute

This recipe started as the base for a filling for Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves).  Since I don't like grape leaves, I simplified the recipe and used the seasoned cooked lamb to serve over Cauli-Rice.  The dish was quick and easy to make and turned out quite flavorful.  I will definitely make this again.



Greek Lamb Saute
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Greek
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup sliced green olives
Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent.  Add the ground lamb, seasonings, raisins and olives and cook until the lamb is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.  Place in serving bowl and mix in fresh lemon juice.

Recipe adapted from Practical Paleo

Our rating:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cauli-Rice

In our quest to eat more Paleo based meals, I found this recipe as a substitute for brown rice.  It was actually a nice change and an adequate substitute for the rice.  This "rice" was flavored with cilantro but you could easily substitute parsley if you're not a cilantro fan.



Cauli-Rice
Makes 4 servings

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Cut the head of cauliflower in half through the core.  Remove the outer leaves and stem and chop it into large chunks.  Shred the cauliflower using either a box grater or a food processor.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil or butter and saute the cabbage, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Saute for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to become translucent, stirring frequently.  Toss with the cilantro before serving.

Recipe from Practical Paleo

Our rating:

1/2

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Portland, OR

We have been in the Portland area for a week now and still no sign of rain or showers at all.  We have not seen rain since June 27th.  I don't understand all the complaints about the rainy northwest (ha, ha).  We have really continued to luck out with the weather.  After my whirlwind week on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, I took it kind of slow my first few days in Oregon.  Amazingly enough, things like laundry, vacuuming, dusting, meal planning, grocery shopping, etc. continue to be necessary.  I did venture into the city of Portland to get to a Whole Foods market. 

After a few days of resting and getting caught up, I ventured into the city to visit the International Rose Test Garden which is a beautiful garden with thousands of roses on beautifully kept grounds.  It was amazing to find this in the city and free of charge.  The roses in this garden certainly rivaled those found in the famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC.  I found that the rose scent was much more pronounced here that in Butchart and it further enhanced the experience.  There was also a nice view of Mt. Hood in the background but it was just hazy enough in the morning to make it difficult to capture on film.  It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours .




From the Rose Garden, I was able to walk across the street to the Japanese Garden which is a tranquil and serene space set on 5 1/2 acres in the city.  It was truly amazing the feel the peace and quiet surround me.  I spent a lovely 1 1/2 hour exploring this beautiful haven.  






 This Poetry Stone in the Garden has a haiku carved in it which says "Here, miles from Japan, I stand as if warmed by the spring sunshine of home."



A beautiful view of Mt. Hood from the Japanese Gardens!

I rounded out my garden day by having a late lunch in the heart of the city from one of the many food carts in the city.  I decided on Indian food and sat in a nice shady spot in a park just across the street from the carts.  It was a perfect day!

On another note, we played a 9-hole round of golf on a beautiful, sunny 80 degree day and thoroughly enjoyed the lush golf course.  We used pull carts instead of riding in a cart and so enjoyed a little exercise as well.

We spent the day on Saturday exploring the Columbia River Gorge area.  We drove on Route 30 which is the Historic Columbia River Highway (a winding two lane road so I wouldn't call it a highway).  The Historic Highway follows the river and is surrounded by trees creating a canopy over the road which made for a beautiful drive.  Along this 30 mile or so drive are lovely scenic overlooks and 7 different waterfalls.  Each waterfall was a little different, both in flow and height.  


The first waterfall we came to was Latourell Falls which we thought was fabulous.

Next on the tour was Shepperds Dell which was a little shorter but more powerful.


I thought Bridal Veil Falls was appropriately named because of the white splash caused by the strong flow of these falls.  These falls were simply beautiful!



Wahkeena Falls came next and were quite smaller and set back quite a bit.


The most spectacular of all, were the Multnomah Falls which actually had a bridge about halfway up, across the front of the falls.  These were absolutely the most crowded of all the falls and so it was impossible to snap a picture without lots of people being included.  These falls are 620 feet tall and the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon.  These falls were truly stunning!


We stopped at Oneonta Gorge which required a hike to view the falls and we decided to skip the hike on this one.  We had already done short hikes to a few others and Newman was ready for a break.
 


The last of the falls was Horsetail Falls.  (I'd love to know how they came up with these names since I found them quite amusing).
 


We rounded out our day with a stop at the Bonneville Dam and the Bonneville Fish Hatchery.




It was another fabulous day of exploring the area and immersing ourselves in nature even with the crowds of people.
 
 


 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baked Beets with Fennel

This side dish was wonderful if you like beets and fennel.  Both of these vegetables are ones that people either love or hate.  If you love them, this is a flavorful side dish.



Baked Beets with Fennel
Makes 3-4 servings

2 large beets
1 fennel bulb
1/2 orange
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler and chop into 1-inch cubes.  Chop the tops (fronds) off the fennel bulb and slice the bulb into 1/4-inch strips.  Cut the orange into 1/2-inch pieces.

Melt the coconut oil or butter and pour over the beets, fennel and orange pieces and toss to coat all the pieces with the oil.  Spread evenly in a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the beets are fork-tender.

From Practical Paleo

Our rating:

1/2

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grilled Flank Steak with Peppers and Onions

Grilling steak outside on a beautiful, sunny day is what summer's all about.  This recipe could not have been easier as well.  I rubbed a flank stead with crushed garlic and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  I drizzled it with a little olive oil to make sure it wouldn't stick to the grill and grilled it over a medium high fire for about 4 minutes per side.  While the steak was grilling and resting, I sauteed some chopped peppers and onions in a little bacon fat to serve alongside the thinly sliced steak.

Our side dish was roasted beets, fennel and oranges which I will post the recipe for tomorrow.



Grilled Flank Steak with Peppers and Onions
Makes 3-4 servings

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed with a garlic press
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon bacon fat or butter
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Massage the garlic into the steak, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil to ensure it doesn't stick to the grill.  Grill 4-5 minutes per side until done and set aside.

While the steak is grilling and resting, melt bacon fat or butter in a large skillet over medium high heat and saute the onions and peppers until soft and golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice steak across the grain in thin slices and serve with the sauteed onions and peppers.


From Practical Paleo

Our rating:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lime and Coconut Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the most versatile proteins I can think of.  Tonight it was simply sauteed in a little olive oil and drizzled with a curry spiced mixture made with coconut milk.  It was curry flavored and a little spicy which made it superb!  I served it with brown rice and oven roasted asparagus.



Lime and Coconut Chicken
Makes 2 servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
pinch cayenne
1 small Serrano chili pepper, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges, for serving

In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, lime zest, cumin, coriander, coconut aminos, salt, honey, curry powder, coconut milk, cayenne pepper and minced Serrano.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside.

Place chicken breast between wax paper or place in a large Ziploc bag and pound to about 1/4-inch thickness.  Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is golden brown.  Stir in half of the sauce and cook over low heat, turning chicken frequently to coat chicken with sauce.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


Slightly adapted from Luscious Food Recipes

Our rating:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shrimp Scampi

I love the fact that shrimp are available anywhere in this country or at least in all the states we have visited so far.  I had been craving some comfort foods and Shrimp Scampi was just screaming my name.  I have been making this particular recipe for years which calls for covering raw shrimp with a butter, garlic sauce and placing them under the broiler until just pink.  Since I don' have a broiler in the motor home, I tweaked the recipe a bit and ended up with a dish that was just what I expected.  I served this over some simple brown rice with a side of sauteed cherry tomatoes.



Shrimp Scampi
Makes 2 servings

3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
lemon wedges for garnish

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the shrimp for just a couple of minutes until they just turn pink.  Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.

Over medium low heat melt the butter and add the garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.  Saute, stirring frequently for a couple of minutes and add the lemon juice and the shrimp back in the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently for another minute or so to heat the shrimp back up.

Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

Our rating:


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Olympic Peninsula

I found the Olympic Peninsula to be a spectacular area to visit.  The National Park is huge and offers a variety of different experiences.  The Lake Crescent area was only a couple of miles from where our RV park was.  We drove the scenic road meandering around the lake on Route 101 several times on our way to visit other areas of the park.  Because the lake naturally has very little nitrogen, the water is a unique aqua-marine color and surrounded by lush greenery making it the beautiful area that it is.






We spent an afternoon exploring Hurricane Ridge which is a scenic drive up into the Olympic mountain range where the views were astounding.  The other amazing thing was the number of deer that were at the peak and how unafraid of people they were.  People were able to get as close as 5 feet from them in their natural environment.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.











We took a hike one day to Marymere Falls, which is in the Crescent Lake area of Olympic National Park, and was just superb.  It was a beautiful trail through deep woods, very similar to the rain forest that we visited later, with the sound of trickling water slowly building up to the crashing sound of the falls.  The trail was only a mile or so, but with a steep incline to get to the falls.  It was a great way to work off lunch.





The next day I drove to the most NW point on the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery.  I drove west on Route 112 until the road ended and then did the mile or so hike to the point.  It was a beautiful walk through the lush woods with stunning vistas of ocean at the end.  There were tons of mussels attached to some huge rocks on this point, but unfortunately no way to reach them.  On this day, the hike was a wonderful way to work up an appetite for the lunch I had brought with me.  I ended my day with a tour and another hike around Lake Ozette.








The next day we checked out the Hoh Rain Forest which is one of two temperate rain forests in the U.S.  We hiked for a couple of miles in the very quiet forest surrounded by greenery of all sorts, deciduous and pine trees, lichen, and various grasses and herbs.  The Sitka spruce trees towered above and when any of them fall they become nurselogs for all sorts of other growth.  It was very peaceful and beautiful.








From the rain forest, we did a quick side trip to Rialto Beach which is on the Pacific coast and very primitive.  I visited two different beaches during our visit to Washington state and I found both of them to be similar.





We finished off our tour of the peninsula with a ferry trip from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island which had a little bit of a New England coastal town feel to it.  We drove up to Deception Pass which is a huge steel bridge towering approximately 180 feet over the water with some hiking trails nearby which we were able to take Newman on (most of the trails did not allow pets).  I walked across the bridge to catch some stunning water views.  We toured the historic town of Coupeville which is where we had Penn Cove mussels for lunch.  Coupeville happens to sit on Penn Cove so we just had to have the mussels.  We  finished our tour with a visit to Fort Casey State Park which has this beautiful light house that you could tour.








I loved the time we spent on the Olympic peninsula and it was a great way to end our tour of Washington state.  I felt very connected with nature and it made me sad to leave.  As great as it was to connect with nature, the downside was the lack of certain amenities that we are used to like cellular phone service at any time (I had no service in all areas of the park), lightning speed Internet service (our hotspot crawled along most of the time and not at all other times) and a choice of more than one restaurant.  The closest restaurant to us was Granny's and it looked like it had been built when Granny was a teenager.  The food may have been good, but we decided not to try it.  Because of all the time I spent touring the area, I found myself wanting to make familiar and simple meals for dinner so I did not post a whole lot of new recipes this past week.

We left Washington Friday and drove to Portland, Oregon where we will be for a couple of weeks.  I am not planning a lot of side trips for the next few days since I drove so much last week.  I actually used up three tanks of gas in four days in the Jeep that we use for touring around.  I am ready to stay put for a bit and get back to making new recipes.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Spicy Pork Stir Fry

I stopped at a local grocery store and found some healthy, drug-free boneless pork loin chops for sale.  I added some baby bella mushrooms, an onion and some sugar snap peas to the cart and that was the beginning of our dinner.  I already had some fresh ginger, garlic, and a couple of carrots at home along with some Sriracha sauce and coconut aminos.  I threw together a stir fry and served it over brown rice for a hot and tasty meal.




Spicy Pork Stir Fry
Makes 2-3 servings

2 boneless pork loin chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
Baby bella or crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
handful of sugar snap peas
1 teaspoon Sriracha (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown rice flour

In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and carrots and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the ginger and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.  Remove the vegetables and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste and stir fry the pork for 3-4 minutes or until no longer pink.  Add the vegetables back in along with the sugar snap peas and cook stirring for another minute.  Add the Sriracha and the sesame oil.  Combine the coconut aminos and chicken broth in a small bowl and stir in the flour.  Stir into the stir fry and cook for another minute until thickened and glossy.

Serve over brown rice.

Our rating: