Sunday, May 28, 2006

Roasted Corn Soup with Seared Sea Scallops

Is 2 times in one day too many times to eat corn soup? Possibly. If the second time the corn soup is home made and includes sea scallops, would you change your answer?

Roasted Corn Soup with Seared Sea Scallops

4 ears fresh white corn, sliced off cob
1/2 fresno (hot) chile pepper, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tbs chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
5 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs margarine
1 c vegetable stock

6 sea scallops, cut in half to make to circles
2 tbs vegetable oil


Heat up oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add in all of the vegetables. Smooth out into a single layer (or as close to as possible) and leave for 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Do not give in to the tempatation to stir. After that time, mix up the vegetables and smooth out again. Repeat this process until the corn is nice and brown. During the last repetition, add in the cilantro and lime juice. Note: Do not salt and pepper every time :) just the first.

Move roasted vegetables into a food processor. Turn on and let puree . Add the vegetable stock to thin out, although the soup will still be thick. Add in the margarine to finish the soup.


Heat up the vegetable oil in the same large skillet, after cleaning it out (or a different skillet, I suppose). Salt and pepper the scallops and add to the oil. Cook them 2 minutes on the first side. After this time, they will release from the pan and be nicely browned. Give them 1-2 minutes on the second side, until done and brown.


Add the soup to a bowl and place 2-4 scallops on top. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

The feedback from my test subject (read:Antonia) is that this soup is much better than prepared corn soup. Who would have guessed?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Steak Taco
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
Now, I bet you are wondering what kind of question has the answer "BROIL!" Well, here it is:
What do you do when your dishwasher and air conditioner break at the same time?
Now, intuitively, neither of these would seem like a particularly good idea. I mean, besides food, the two main products of cooking are dishes and heat. And let me tell you, we have heat inside our house.

So why did I answer the question with broil instead of, say "pool" or "sleep"? Ingredients, that's why.

I had in my possession, all at one time
1) Fresh tortillas from a lady in Woodland, made this morning.
2) Tomatoes
3) Cotija cheese
4) Lime
5) Onions
6) Zucchini
and 7) Steak.
The only sane thing to do would be to put them together. So I did.

1 lb steak (I used top sirloin)
1/4 white onion, chopped
1/6 zucchini, chopped
1/4 tomato, chopped
2 tortillas, warmed over a gas burner or in the oven
fresh lime juice
chili powder
cayenne powder
garlic powder

I made a rub out of the salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and paprika and rubbed it on both sides of the steak.

The oven was set to broil at 500ºF.

With the oven rack set it its topmost position, put in seasoned steak (on a baking sheet). Broil for 5-6 minutes on the first side and 4-5 minutes on the second side, depending on how you like your meat.

After that finishes, take it out and LET IT SIT for 10 minutes. We will be using those 10 minutes to prepare the rest of the food anyway, but don't be tempted to cut before 10 minutes. You will be sorry. As you cut into the meat, you will watch all of the precious juices flow right onto the board. That is flavor. Pure flavor.

But I digress.

To make the onions and zucchini, heat up some olive oil (regular, not extra virgin, if possible) over med-high heat. Add in the onions and sautee for 3 minutes, and then add in the zucchini. While they are going, season with salt and chili powder. These seasonings will end up making a flavored oil to pour over the tacos.

Once you have made the onion-zucchini mixture, take it off the heat and cut up your steak into little pieces. Put the steak pieces into the tortilla, scoop on some onion mixture, add some tomato on top, sprinkle with a little cotija and pour over some of that precious, flavorful oil. I finished it with a little bit of parsley (I know David - again, I didn't have cilantro when I needed it!) and some lime juice.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ode to Chickenless Nuggets and Other Fake Foods

Ode to Chickenless Nuggets
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
You may be able to tell by reading the posts on the blog that I enjoy food. I enjoy learning about ingredients, talking to producers, cooking and of course, eating. If I had to pick one phrase that describes what I think of as the best food, it would be "fresh and grown close to home."

This is all well and good most of the time, but there are occasions that I am strongly attracted to foods so antithetical to the above descriptor that some could call it blashphemy.

I enjoy fake food. Chickenless nuggets, Idaho Spuds, Del Taco $0.39 tacos. Each is fake and each holds a special place in my heart.

Idaho Spuds
I grew up eating fake mashed potatoes. In fact, to this day, my favorite comfort food is Louis Rich turkey hot dogs and Idaho Spuds fake mashed potatoes. It is what my mom would make for my brother and me when we got to request a meal. It was our favorite.

Del Taco Tacos
Anyone who has had a real taco knows that Del Taco does not serve real tacos. There is a place in Woodland, near Davis, called Tacos al Jalisciense. They serve real tacos. Asada, pollo, pastor, lengua, cabeza... I've still yet to try a couple of those. But when I go to Del Taco with my brother, its like we are transported back to our youth. No responsibility, to cares. Just fake tacos between brothers.

Chickenless Nuggets
I was only introduced to these later in my life - at 21. Antonia ate these and introduced me to them. They are one of our special meals.

You can see here that I gave a fake food a plating that it deserves. I feel bad for these fake foods sometimes. People who love foods tend to shun fake foods, yet they mean so much to us as a people. Some would say they are the glue that holds society together.

Some would call it folklore. :)