Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Healthier Side of Life

What an awesome time. Sometimes it is really fun to write in retrospect, why? Well because before every dinner I am always running. Always with the adrenaline levels high, yet the stress levels are low. The adventure begins the moment I step out of work. The dash to the market (usually Whole Foods, but after today I think Chelsea Market is by far the best place to go in New York City for crazy ingredients), running through the aisles to grab all the ingredients as quickly as I can. I always have a list written, ALWAYS, if not I will get distracted in the amazing truffle oil or the fresh sea bass or what not. I need to focus, this place is the closest thing to a playground that I have had since I was 6 years old. Veggies, check, fruit, check, meats or seafood check. Do I need some saffron butter? No, but at that gives me some amazing ideas for the future! Regardless, the point is I never have enough time to write in real time before the dinner. The moment we close the door after our last guest has left there is an immediate rush of "Wow, what a fantastic success!" And that is the energy we use to communicate with. So again... What an awesome night.

Challenges are always fun. And every week we receive people with different dietary needs or restrictions. Its part of our plan to adapt to others instead of other adapting to our food. At the end of the day I prefer for everyone to enjoy their dinners rather than leave a plate half full of food. So this time around, when I heard we had a vegetarian coming, I decided to have the appetizer dedicated to her needs, and it wasn't a salad. That morning while running, I had a crazy inspiration to make a ceviche, but instead of your regular ceviche I would make a veggie ceviche. In my head it made sense, now it just needed to execute it well.

As for the main dish, I wasn't going to sacrifice the protein for everyone, but I wasn't going to let our vegetarian suffer either. So I made a delicious zucchini pasta (imagine the zucchini cut jullien style, mimicking a linguini) as a side (main dish for our vegetarian) with turkey-bacon wrapped scallops. Imagine this combined with some amazing champagne, malbec and great friends, the perfect combination for a great night.

Now for all of you reading this, and I really hope there are a lot of you reading this. Please let me know what you think about the recipes. If you try them out, let me know how they went. I would love your feedback. We finally fixed the feedback options below, so you can leave it as anonymous if you would like. Oh, and by the way, thanks for reading!

Here are the recipes:

Veggie Ceviche
2 green tomatos
10 baby corns
1 red onion
1 white pear
1 cup of edamame beans
6 limes squeezed
1/2 cup of fresh orange juice.
3 tb spoons of fresh cut cilantro
3 tb spoons of fresh thyme
3 tb spoons of fresh rosemary

The preparation of this is quite simple, the only real trick is in you mastery with the knife. All ingredients must be sliced very very thin, to the degree in which its almost transparent. Nothing is cooked, steamed, or baked, thats what the citric acids of the lime and orange are for. Begin by placing the lime juice and the orange juice in a mixing bowl. Then cut the red onion as thins as you can place it into the juice mix. After that, cut and mix the rest of the veggies as thin as you can and mix it with the onions. The baby carrots might be more difficult to slice, so try to at least cut in half. The edamame beans is the only veggie that you have to steam, but after steaming cool quickly by rinsing through ice cold water. Split the edamame in half (can be done easily by hand). Once all veggies are mixed in, add the chopped cilantro, thyme and rosemary. Let the mix sit in a fridge for about an hour, this will allow the lime juice and orange juice to seep into the veggies.

Zucchini Pasta
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 lemongrass
3 servings of spaghetti (about half of a box)

Another very simple dish to prepare where the most important part of the preparation is the actual cutting of the veggie. Cut the zucchinis jullien style (into long thin straw like pieces) and steam for about 4 minutes in salted water with the lemongrass (cut in half longwise).
Cook the past in boiling water with salt (do not worry about adding a lot of salt, this will flavor the pasta) to al dente.
Mix the zucchinis and the pasta together. To serve, twist the pasta with a large serving fork onto the plate and make sure the zucchini (which will be soft and flexible) is wrapped around to give it the feeling of additional pasta.
You may see this plate, a pasta with no additional sauce as bland, but the taste all lies in the preparation of each ingredient. You will end up with a very flavorful combination.

Turkey bacon wrapped Scallops
18 Scallops
9 pieces of turkey bacon
3 tb spoons of fresh thyme
3 tb spoons of fresh rosemary
1 cup of orange juice
4 tb spoons of butter
4 tb spoons of olive oil
1 shallot
3 tb spoons of aged balsamic (about 12 to 15 years)

For the sauce, chop the shallot up and place it into a sauce pan with half of the butter melted. Add a pinch of salt then the orange juice with the olive oil. Let the mix reduce a bit. Very simple, but the olive oil and the oranje juice should create a great flavorful mix.
For the scallops, cut the bacon in half lengthwise (most turkey bacon is very wide) and wrap each scallop with the raw bacon. Put a toothpick through the bacon and the scallop. Heat up the skillet and place the butter to melt. Salt each scallop with a small pinch of sea salt and a mix of rosemary and thyme. Place the scallops in the hot skillet salted face down and repeat mixture on the other side. Cook each side for about 5 minutes (bacon will cook through, do not worry).
When serving the scallops, be sure to remove the toothpicks (thats what I am actually doing in the picture above). Sprinkle the orange sauce on each scallop and the aged balsamic after that. Sprinkle some on the empty plate for decoration purpose.

1 comment:

  1. All recipes make me hungry - hummm - this is a good sign, hehe. I will try to make the vegetarian ceviche one of these days (I am not vegetarian!) but liked the idea. Will let you know. Congratulations! Besos to both