Category Archives: 15-Minute-Meals

15 Minute Meals: Scallop Fettuccine Tossed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fried Capers

This past weekend was lazy. The kind of lazy that almost makes you more tired and gets into your bones, but is sometimes exactly what you need. Reading for hours, tucking in at nine o’clock, and considering laundry a triumph was what I was all about. Duke and Lou were oh-so-pleased to oblige.

Lou is growing like a weed…weighing in at 50+ lbs at 6 months. Looks like we’re going to have ourselves a heavyweight champion. Duke remains a saint of an older brother.

Come Monday though, all that changes. The week is filled with endless tasks, to-dos, demands, and delights. There’s work, dog walks, friends, food columns, blog posts, restaurant reviews, and frantic attempts to get in some much-needed exercise to preserve both my derrière and my sanity.

Incidentally, my boxing instructor (yes, I box…it’s a riot..and I love it..and someday I will be tough… and able to do a push up) scolded me the other day, “Erina…you’re very precise. But you’re also stiff. Very stiff. You have to feel it more. You have to loosen up.”

I’m still working on that one in the ring, but in the kitchen it’s one of my favorite ways to cook. This dish is the epitome of that, bringing together great ingredients and then getting out of the way. It takes only as long to make as the pasta does to boil and can be easily altered pending your desires and your pantry. The addition of the toasted panko simulates breaded scallops without all the trouble or the calories and the fried capers give each bite that little punch of “wow” you were looking for.

What’s your favorite 15 minute meal?

Scallop Fettuccine Tossed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fried Capers
Serves 2 generously

Scallop Fettuccine Tossed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fried Capers

1/2 lb fettucine

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

2 TB Olive oil + a glug

1/4 cup capers, drained

1/4 lb bay scallops

2 TB Butter

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions.
  2. Meanwhile toast panko bread crumbs in a dry skillet until golden brown. Remove to bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet heat the 2 TB olive oil over medium high heat, and cook the capers until fried and crispy, occasionally tilting pan to mimic a deep-fryer, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain.
  4. Once the pasta is done, drain and toss with sun-dried tomatoes and corresponding oil + a glug of olive oil if it looks like it needs it.
  5. Just as the pasta is done add the 2 TB butter to the same skillet and melt over high heat. Add the bay scallops and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 3-4 minutes, turning once.
  6. Add the scallops and any remaining melted butter to the pasta and toss.
  7. Top with fried capers and toasted bread crumbs and serve.

Rainier…the perfect accompaniment.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Pasta, Seafood, Uncategorized

Spectacular, Spectacular: Grilled Bruschetta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil, and Shrimp

This past weekend my Uncle Daniel took us on a boating adventure up to the San Juan Islands. It is truly breathtakingly beautiful up there, with vistas you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the States. We boated, we kayaked, we laughed, and of course, we ate. Happily bobbing along on the Moon Dance II, a handmade wooden craft by the renowned Sam Devlin, we enjoyed cooking up feasts in the boat’s galley, aptly named the Moon Dance Diner for all the impressive creations Daniel whipped up there.

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

A little pre-trip prep…slow roasting the tomatoes.

Day 17 of no buying groceries, coupled with boat friendly cuisine made this one a little tricky, but no less spectacular. The robust and bright flavors of the slow roasted tomatoes come to life when paired against the sizzling buffalo mozzarella. Basil freshly picked from the garden just the day before provides a welcome depth, and when topped with one impeccable grilled shrimp helps elevate an otherwise generally standard antipasto to an elite affair.

Mt. Baker in the distance.

The gents determining where the afternoon kayak should go.

Sunset at Sucia Island up in the San Juans.

We may have briefly lost a kayak, but it resulted in a midnight paddle where the phosphorescent were absolutely extraordinary, lighting up the water as we paddled through its stillness.

A cup of coffee, a morning kayak ride, and returning to Daniel cooking up omelets in the Moon Dance Diner. Doesn’t get better than this.

Grilled Bruschetta Topped with Buffalo Mozzarella, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Chopped Basil, and Grilled Shrimp

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course.

Grilled Bruschetta Topped with Buffalo Mozzarella, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Chopped Basil, and Grilled Shrimp

  • 2 Ciabatta loaves, cut in half
  • 1 TB butter
  • 4 slices buffalo mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup slow-roasted-tomatoes, room temperature (I’m loving the Smitten Kitchen recipe, right now)
  • 8 jumbo shrimp, raw and tail on, tossed in 1 TB Olive Oil
  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Using either a grill pan or skewers, cook the shrimp until pink and cooked through. About 2 minutes a side. Once done, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, butter ciabatta loaves and grill until nicely marked, buttered side down, about 5 minutes
  4. Remove ciabatta and top with mozzarella over grill marks. Return to grill and cook until mozzarella melted, about 5 minutes.
  5. Cut loaves in half and top with basil, slow roasted tomatoes, and shrimp.
  6. Enjoy!

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Appetizers, Entertaining, Seafood, Uncategorized

True Confessions: Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes

The conversation went something like this. In fact, it went exactly like this.

“BTW, apropos of nothing, deep down I find it hard to believe anyone actually likes kale. Kale sucks. At best it is edible. At worst it taste like kale. F*ck kale.”

So went the text message tirade from a friend of mine, furious at having received yet another bundle of kale in his CSA box. Up until last week I would have felt exactly the same way. Actually, I did feel the same way. Every time my CSA box would arrive there the kale would sit…staring at me in its infinite leafiness, daring me to try to think of something to do with it before, upon being neglected, it would wilt pitifully away until in a fit of rage and guilt I would toss it in the compost and vow…next time…next time…I’m going to use up everything in my CSA box…everything!

Look who came to visit this weekend! Deacon Dog, formerly known as Scuba Steve…an 11th hour rescue by Georgia Peaches who saved him from being put to sleep.

Not anymore though…for thanks to reading two of my favorite blogs, Katherine Martinelli and Natalie’s Daily Crave I came up with the ultimate hybrid…a delicious potato salad tossed with a Caesar inspired dressing, and bulked out with beautiful, dark leafy kale. Even the most avid of kale haters will like this salad, finding themselves deeply conflicted as they cherry pick out the kale, not to avoid it, but to get more than their fair share.

Admittedly, the kale is somewhat buoyed by serving as a Caesar dressing delivery system, but does provide an undeniably lovely contrast to the new potatoes, and thanks to its robust stature holds up beautifully until the next day, making it a perfect make-ahead salad for a dog days of summer picnic, or BBQ side.

What’s your least favorite vegetable you get in your CSA box?

Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes
Inspired by Katherine Martinelli and Natalie’s Daily Crave

Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes

I guarantee, even the most vehement kale haters will enjoy this.

8 cups new potatoes, washed, bad spots removed, and halved
2 egg yolks
1-2 anchovies
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup Parmesan grated + more for topping
Salt and Pepper
1 large bunch dinosaur kale, washed, and coarsely chopped

  1. In a large pot, cover the potatoes completely with water and add lid. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium-low and cook until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes, pending on size. Do not overcook. As soon as they are done strain and rinse with cool water to prevent cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender combine the egg yolks, anchovies, lemon, garlic, and Dijon. Pulse until well-combined. Adding in a slow stream with blender running combine the oils until dressing is emulsified. Add in the Parmesan and pulse just until combined.
  3. Toss potatoes with the dressing, add in the kale, and season with salt and pepper. Delicious warm, chilled, or even the next day.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Cheap Eats, Entertaining, Make ahead, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Back to Reality: Arugula Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, and Goat Cheese

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It was a grand day indeed complete with soaking up sunshine, ice cubes clinking against margarita filled glasses, and a seemingly never-ending stream of great friends, great food, and great fun.

TrufflePopcorn

The ever addictive Truffle Popcorn.

Fresh Spring Rolls, Sesame Noodle Boxes, and Goat Cheese Crostini.

Fresh Spring Rolls, Sesame Noodle Boxes, and Goat Cheese Crostini.

As an “adult” (whatever that means) I think I am supposed to have reached a state of general maturity and evolution so as to not feel disappointed when my birthday is over. But alas, between you and me, I’m not there yet. I love the anticipation and the excitement and the planning. And then I love the day…and then it is over, with simply a mysterious bruise or two and a full recycle bin as evidence.

Agave Margarita Bar

CJ’s Agave Margarita Bar.

Never one to pout and pity party for (too) long, I inevitably find myself back in the kitchen, slowly stirring, and chopping, and whisking the lurking gray clouds away.

This salad screams Summer! And Fun! And Self-Righteously-Healthy! It is literally impossible to be grumpy while eating this salad, as the spicy arugula is paired with the burst in your mouth pomegranate seeds, countered by the smooth taste of goat cheese, and punctuated with a bite of a pine nut. Make this when reality has returned, but you’re not quite willing to give into it yet.

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Many thanks to all who shared the Eggplant Carpacio recipe. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and more were buzzing…but despite my wish that everyone win a bottle of Olive Oil, there could only be one winner. And that winner is…Bonnie K who shared via Twitter!

Arugula Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Pine Nuts, and Goat Cheese
Serves 2

Arugula Salad topped with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

Arugula Salad topped with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, tail on, shell off, thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 TB
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 cups baby arugula, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds (Trader Joes sells them ready to go if you like)
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat grill until 500 degrees
  2. In a small bowl combine the shrimp, 3 of the cloves of garlic, and 2 TB of olive oil. Let marinade at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the dressing combine the remaining olive oil, garlic, balsamic, honey, and egg yolk. With a whisk or immersion blender, blend until well combined and slightly emulsified.
  4. Reduce grill to half heat, and cook until pink, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Note: Most people over cook their shrimp…it takes hardly any time and you want then to stay juicy.
  5. To serve, plate the arugula, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and goat cheese. Top with shrimp and drizzle with dressing.

Plating the Salad…so pretty.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Giveaways, Health Conscious, Salads, Seafood, Uncategorized

Camping Cucina: Grilled Shrimp with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

{Reminder: 24 hours and counting to enter the giveaway for some of the best olive oil you’ve ever had. Simply share this post via your favorite social media channel, drop the link into the comments section, and cross your fingers. Best of luck!}

What I’m about to say might shock you. Are you ready? Are you sure? Perhaps you might like to sit down. Here goes:

I am not much of a wilderness woman.

Shocking, right? And yet the truth remains,  I like nothing better than eight (okay 10) hours of sleep per night, my hot running shower, and my gourmet cuisine. I sometimes wish I was one of those women who genuinely loved to climb a mountain. Who was thrilled to ride the bull down white water rapids. Who thought bug spray was simply for the weak and the meager. But alas…I am not.

Not a soul in sight…but many a shooting star to keep us company.

And so rather than spend time beating myself up about it (so last year), I’ve decided to embrace my version of camping. Thinking PBR meets Prosecco. Bratwursts meets Bellinis. Hot Dogs meet Holy Hell Delicious.

A few weekends ago we went camping with our friends CJ and Nadia, their three dogs, and our crew. And it was fun. So much fun. And I’m not even pretending lying. We hung from hammocks over the river, we lounged and we lazed, and we ate. Oh did we eat.

Georgia Mae…one of the funniest dogs I know. She was perfectly content to be floating around in the river..on her raft!

The trick is to be smart about delicious, simple foods that require minimal on site preparation. Couple that with some prep work ahead of time and you can eat like a king in the middle of no where.

To give you some ideas, here’s the menu I put together…

Friday Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary and Garlic, served with Grilled Baguettes and Rhubarb Cocktails.

Saturday Morning: Bagels with Lox, Cream Cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Onions, Capers, and Lemon Wedges

Saturday Lunch: Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato Paninis

Saturday Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with Pinto Beans, Fresh Sliced Avocado, Pico de Gallo, and Peach Gin Fizz Cocktails.

Sunday Morning; Breakfast sausage, bacon, fireside biscuits, and hard-boiled eggs.

The shrimp was honestly one of the easiest items on the menu, and one of the most popular.

What’s your favorite food to make when camping?

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic…magnifique!

1/2 lb jumbo, raw shrimp, de-shelled and tail on (Costco sells them very reasonably)

1 lemon, sliced in advance

1 large stalk of rosemary, chopped into 3″ sections in advance

4 cloves garlic, smashed on site

Olive Oil

In tin foil lay the shrimp, lemon, rosemary, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and tightly seal up. If cooking on a cook stove or hibachi, grill directly, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Thanks to the foil these can also be cooked directly in the fire.

Serve with Rhubarb Cocktails, grilled baguettes, and one giant open sky.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

Patio Parties & Summer Sleepovers: Arugula and Pear Salad with White Truffle Vinaigrette

Do you remember the last time you really laughed? Not the everyday laugh you give the barista and her joke about the rain, but the kind that begins in your belly and ends with tears in your eyes and sore sides from mirth. The kind that makes you feel like a child again, like all is right with the world, like you can do anything.

This past weekend my Wine Book Club took our annual trip to Walla Walla where we enjoyed days of delicious tastings, nights of ridiculous dancing, and slow to start mornings shared over coffee and Pringles. Amidst the sultry readings of wine tasting notes (“What do you mean you can’t taste the leather and wet rocks?!”) and epic meals, we all became kids again, if only for a moment.

A brief moment of calm on the bikes.

Perhaps no moment of the trip felt more carefree than our Saturday evening tandem biking adventure to the Safeway, to get mixers for our cocktails, our palettes tired of wine, albeit briefly. The heat of the day was waning, and buoyed by the freedom of our weekend escape, we tied up our sundresses, and loaded ourselves onto the rickety, double-bikes. We shouted and shrieked (okay, mostly that was me), Nadia the personal trainer called out instructions, and the locals looked at us for the fools that we were. Careening around corners and filled with a mix of fear and joy, I found myself laughing harder than I have in months.

My new favorite breakfast spot in Walla Walla. Try the Migas or the Benedict.

Of course, no trip to Walla Walla would be complete without ridiculously good meals. A new addition to the food scene there is a brilliant breakfast spot, aptly named Bacon & Eggs. Everything we had was exceptional, from the Migas to the Heirloom Tomato Benedict, set amongst a decor that is both witty and whimsical, finding a perfect balance of each.

The welcoming committee upon arriving home.

Dinner at T.Maccarones is a must, and while it’s hard to say what was the best, this salad was the only thing we ordered two of so perhaps it deserves the prize. The girl’s were adamant that I figure out how to recreate the addictively pleasing combination of the salty arugula, bitter frisee, juicy pear, and finger licking white truffle vinaigrette. The good news is that this is pretty damn close. The bad news is, you might never want to eat anything else ever again.

Arugula and Pear Salad with White Truffle Vinaigrette
Serves 4
Inspired by T.Maccarones in Walla Walla

Seriously so addicting and so good.

1 bag arugula, washed and dried
1 cup frissee, washed and dried
1 very ripe pear, cut julienne style
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Hunk good parmesan
1 egg yolk
2 TB shallots, coarsely chopped
2 TB champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 TB honey, or to taste
2 TB Truffle Oil, or to taste
Salt and Pepper

  1. Using an immersion blender or food processor, combine the shallot, vinegar, and egg yolk for about 10 seconds. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Adding in a very slow stream, combine the olive oil, allowing the dressing to thicken and emulsify.
  3. Add the honey and truffle oil, using more or less pending on how “truffle-y” you like it to be. Add a shake salt and pepper.
  4. In a large bowl place the arugula, frissee, pear, and pecans. Toss well with the dressing, and finish with parmesan shavings.
  5. Prepare to become obsessed with this salad.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Entertaining, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Sinfully Delicious: Cheddar Bacon Burgers topped with Truffle Mushrooms

Perhaps it is my East Coast upbringing, but my conscience is peppered with my “Should” list.

  • I should floss more.
  • I should swear less.
  • I should call my Grandmother more.
  • I should drink less.

The list goes on and on, and let me tell you…it is f*cking exhausting (see…there goes bullet #2).

Also on the list is that I “should” take public transportation more, and furthering my commitment to being more eco-friendly, I “should” eat less meat.

At this moment you’re probably thinking this is going to be a recipe for kale muffins, or radish soup. Let me tell you…it is not.

This is a recipe for the most sinful, most delicious, and generally most awesome burger you “should” ever eat.

Our excellent assistant Lou, who is gaining 2 lbs a week, and cute as can be. After getting swatted away from the grill she resigned herself to nibbling on a stick from the plum tree. So hard to be a puppy.

Forget the idea of cooking a burger and then topping it with bacon and cheddar. Those more advanced might think they’re clever by making a little cave in the middle and hiding the naughty goodies there. I’m here to tell you there’s something better…Cheddar Bacon Burgers topped with Truffle Mushrooms.

You buy the best ground chuck you can afford, into it you mix the best bacon you can find, and furthermore you add the best cheese in town. This is then formed into dense little patties of pure ecstasy and grilled to utter perfection.

Feeling like I’m on the set of a Big Mac commercial or something.

No you “shouldn’t” eat these every night and you definitely “should” be nicer to your neighbors, but in the meantime, I highly encourage this. You’ll be glad I did.

Cheddar Bacon Burgers topped with Truffle Mushrooms
Serves 4

This is wildly rich, so resist the inclination to pair it with a big red and instead go with a sophisticated rose.

Are you feeling guilty imagining eating this? Don’t…you shouldn’t. You “should” just enjoy it.

1/2 lb bacon
2 cups sharp cheddar, cubed
1 lb ground sirloin chuck (you can ask your butcher to do it, or do it at home if you have a meat attachment for your KitchenAid)
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
4 buns, toasted
2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 TB truffle oil
Desired toppings (Mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc)

The beginnings of utter deliciousness.

  1. Preheat grill to high, and get grates as clean as possible.
  2. Partially cook the bacon, until fat is released and it turns pink. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, over low heat saute the mushrooms in the truffle oil until liquid is released and evaporated and mushrooms are cooked through. Remove from heat.
  4. Mix the chuck, bacon, and cheddar until well combined and form into four patties. Give each a shake of worcestershire
  5. Add the burgers to your grill and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, pending on thickness and desired doneness. Note: The bacon will make it look a bit pinker than it actually is, and the cheese will cause it to be a bit smokier and stickier than you’re used to. This is okay…it is worth it.
  6. Remove from grill, put on buns, add truffle mushrooms, and assorted toppings, and enjoy ignoring your “should” list for the evening.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Comfort Foods, Uncategorized