Stuffed Flounder with Scallops

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A few reasons I don’t prepare much seafood dishes at home:

-It’s expensive to buy

-I live in Ohio and don’t have the best access to fresh, local seafood (I lived in South F.L for 2 years and was spoiled by fresh off the boat seafood)

-Much of the seafood in the decent shops are far overpriced for what you’re getting and most of the seafood has been improperly cut up and it just doesn’t look the best to spend the money on.

I’m just vert picky when it comes to seafood. I’m also careful when ordering it while out at a restaurant, for example i’ll never order seafood on a Monday, I’ll also not order it at a place like Applebees (yes offence). There’s nothing worse than overcooked or old seafood!! Trust me, it’s hard to find places that offer the best seafood for an affordable price around here. Maybe I’m just being pretentious but I know good food.

It’s been a while since I’ve last had some good seafood so my friend and I randomly decided to make fish & scallops at home, rather than go out and spend a lot for sub par seafood. All together this meal cost around $30 to feed 2 people. Unfortunately the items pictured above were all purchased from out local grocery store so don’t judge me for using {frozen} Flounder and pre-made crab cakes. If you have access to fresh fish and crab meat, please please use that over what I used. Event though I didn’t use the freshest ingredients, this recipe still came out delicious!

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Pack (4) Flounder Filet’s {Fresh or frozen}, thawed
  • 2 (6oz) Crab Cakes, uncooked {Google recipe if you don’t have one} or buy pre-made from the store
  • 8 Small Scallops
  • EVOO
  • S&P, TT
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 350
  • Cover a sheet tray with foil, apply non-stick spray
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of salt & pepper on foil. Season both sides of the flounder filet’s with s&p, place skin side down on tray {placing 2 filet’s side by side}.
  • Top Flounder with 3 ounces of crab cake mix, press down onto filet to so it makes for easier rolling. 
  • Take the top of the 2 filet’s and roll down (so the flounder is folded over mix). Take 2 toothpicks and insert into filet’s to keep them from unwrapping during cooking. 
  • Sprinkle top of fish with Old bay and a small amount of EVOO, use your fingers to rub over entire filet. 
  • Place in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes or until fish is cooked all the way (Should feel firm to touch)
  • Use a fish spatula to remove from tray. If you don’t have one, substitute a firm spatula and carefully remove avoiding to break up the fish. 

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For the Scallops:

  • Using a Cast iron skillet, heat over high heat until hot. 
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of Evoo to pan, reduce heat to medium high (if pan begins to smoke, remove from the heat and let cool down for a minute before adding scallops)
  • Season both sides of the scallops with S&P, place into pan over medium high heat and allow to cook for 4.5 minutes or until the bottoms begin to turn golden brown. (about 2 minutes into cooking, using tongs, lift up scallops from pan to prevent them from sticking)
  • Once bottoms of scallops look golden brown, turn over and push them up to the top of the pan. Reduce heat to low. 
  • Add in butter and using a large spoon being to baste the scallops with butter for 2 minutes. Remove scallops from pan and place on top of a paper towel to soak up any moisture. *Note: Add in Crushed garlic cloves (skin on) and 1 sprig of fresh Rosemary and Thyme for additional basting flavor**
  • Serve fish and scallops with choice of sides. Take the remaining crab cake mix and cook off into mini crab cakes for an appetizer, or serve as a side option!
  • Enjoy! 

Homemade Fajita Seasoning

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I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 10 years now. I started in the back of the house ( kitchen) as a line cook and moved my way into the front of the house (dining room) as a banquet captain where I continue to grow in my career as a hospitality professional.

As a Chef, the greatest question I was asked, was what’s your favorite thing to cook?  I’ve always had a passion for ethnic cuisine particularly Indian and Thai. I’ve become proficient in learning to cook the above regions, however those styles of food require a great deal more prep time, and ingredients into each dish. Leading to the decision of looking for a meal to prepare in 30 minutes or less, i.e Tacos.

I would say at least 70% of my diet revolves around tacos, chips & salsa (Tex-Mex) followed by the other 30% of rice based dishes in Indian, Thai and even Chinese cuisine given the time and cash money needed to prepare the more complicated recipes. I’ve always said the ways to my heart are as follows: 1.) Buy me tacos 2.) Make me tacos 3.) Be tacos. I guess you could say I’m basic! My all time favorite taco would have to be blackened Mahi Mahi but seems that I live in Ohio and can’t get the good fresh Mahi I was spoiled with having access to in South Florida, I’m going to settle with Skirt Steak tacos, which lead me to this recipe of {Steak} fajitas. I’m a firm believer that the best food is made from the ingredients that go into the dish starting with the seasonings. I’ve developed a recipe for a [common] fajita seasoning to first rub onto your steak and let sit for a minimum of 1 hour before grilling and making into a taco. Please feel free to adjust the measurements to your liking, I went a little heavier on cumin & paprika based on my taste liking. I find the best way to test your seasoning before rubbing it onto the final product is to take a very tiny spoonful to taste. From there you should be able to decide what you may need to add more of.

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Mise en Place:

  • 1 LB Skirt Steak
  • Tortillas of choice
  • Fajita toppings of Choice (Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Diced Tomatoes, Guacamole, etc
  • 1 Lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

For the Seasoning:

  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Hungarian Paprika (Smoked works wells too!)
  • 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin

Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1/2 Bundle Cilantro removed from the stems
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • S&P, TT

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Method of Prep:

  • Mix all spices into a small bowl until well incorporated. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • Place raw skirt steak into a large bowl. Rub well with seasoning mix on both sides. cover and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour up to 1 day.
  • For the Sauce: Add all ingredients into a vita mix (blender) and blend until mixed well, approximately 2 minutes on a lower speed, Set aside.
  • Add olive oil into bowl and rub over coated steak.
  • Toss steak onto a hot grill or sear in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side.
  • Allow meat to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Cut across the grain and serve in flour or corn tortilla shells. Add toppings of choice and garnish with chimichurri sauce.
  • Enjoy!

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Pear & Pecan Crumb Bars

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After being gone for a few months of blogging, I’m back! not like i’ll have a new post every week back, but i’ll aim for at least 2 a month and hopefully be able to keep adding more from there. 

If you enjoy most of my blog posts, you should follow me on Instagram @Theamanda.lassiter & like my facebook page: facebook.com/driven2eat

Were a few weeks shy of the official start of pear season, but so far many of the pears I’ve eaten have been fantastic! A nice fresh pear on it’s own cut up makes a great snack therefore, I don’t do too much with pears in recipes. I picked up a few pears that were a little unripe for my liking. They had a very starchy mouth feel & very little natural sweetness. To be fair, the pears weren’t pleasant to eat and I didn’t want to just throw them out. It took me two (2) days to think of how I could utilize the pears without wasting them. A few ideas that came to mind: infusing them in vodka, poaching them for a salad, or even blending them up for a smoothie…All basic ideas. I was pondering all this over a cup of coffee when a major sweet tooth & hunger craving hit me. I thought, what pairs well with coffee? Suddenly I thought about coffee shops and some of the menu items they offer. Soon after, the idea of coffee cake (duh) came to mind. Just like that, I played around with a few ideas & took the concept of a (apple) crisp and substituted pears, added more flour and some nuts, resulting in what I am calling a crumb cake (bars).

These are get them out of the house right now bars (They’re that good). This recipe is composed of three (3) parts: Shortbread crust on the bottom, cinnamon poached pears in the center, and a nut crumble on top make the perfect dessert for your coffee, day & night! Don’t be afraid to top with ice cream or drizzle with caramel sauce, I wont judge! 😉

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Mise en Place:

For the Crust:

-1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

-1/4 Cup AP Flour

-1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

For the filling:

-3 Pears, Peeled & Diced Small

-2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

-1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

For the Topping:

-1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

-1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1 Cup AP Flour

-1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

-1 Cup Chopped Pecans

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

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Method of Prep:

-Spray a 9×9 pan (I used a bread pan instead for a thicker, pie like crust on my bars). Preheat over to 350.

-Using the paddle attachment in your mixer, begin creaming your butter & sugar. Slowly add in the flour, salt and pecans. Press the crust into your pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

-While crust is baking, start on the filling. Add diced pears into a medium sauce pan. Cover with water. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until pears become translucent. Drain well.

-Next, start the topping. Cream the butter & sugar. Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should become crumbly.

-Take drained pears and add them into a mixing bowl. Add in cinnamon & sugar. Stir well.

-Remove crust from the oven. Carefully add pears (try to avoid getting extra liquid from the pears onto the crust).

-Add crumb topping. Bake for an additional 22-25 minutes or until the topping becomes golden brown.

-Cool completely in pan before slicing. (*Freeze up to 3 months if needed)

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Steaks

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It’s a well known fact that fresh is always better than frozen products. When it comes to vegetables though, the shelf life for them being fresh and kept in the fridge goes faster than I can keep up with in my back and forth work schedule.

During the slow winter months, also knows as our off season at the Country Club, I try to use this free time to do a lot more cooking at home. The only thing I wish this side of Cleveland would offer is more farmers markets. I would much rather spend my money there than at the grocery store any day. Even though I’m doing a lot more cooking at home, I’m still watching how much produce I bring home. I can only use up so much of it at one time during the week. Like I said, fresh vegetable always seem to wilt or rot on me before I get to using them.

I’ve always had a liking for cauliflower, raw or cooked didn’t matter to me. A fellow co-worker mentioned how she will make roasted cauliflower for her 2 little kids at home. She roasts it in the over with oil, salt and pepper and then sprinkles loads of Parmesan cheese and tops it with fresh made pesto, she really talked the roasted cauliflower recipe up. I figured if 2 kids under the age of 6 will eat it, it’s gotta be good. Usually I steam cauliflower so I was ready to try something different with roasting it. I took the basic ingredients: salt, pepper, and EVOO and added a few more spices to it to really make the flavor pop. The recipe makes the best entree, or side dish, you choose.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem & leaves removed, cut (You will get 3 steaks out of 1 head)
  • 1/2 Cup EVOO
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Heat Oven to 350
  • Once cauliflower is cut, place on a sheet tray
  • In a small bowl mix together EVOO & seasonings
  • Using a pastry brush, brush oil over the front and back of cauliflower, brush along the tops and sides as well. Season with S&P.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 10 Minutes. Turn over and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until tops of cauliflower are golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Chorizo & Quinoa Squash Bowl

I’m really trying hard to get back into adding more posts for ze blog. Ive had a few requests recently and I’m still not sure why I ever veered away from blogging. I guess its a lot harder than it looks to maintain and I just haven’t dedicated any of my free time to cooking, capturing deliciousness, and sharing it.

Here I am, almost 11pm on a Monday night. Today was a cleaning and organizing, slightly mild, lazy day off. It was nice to have an open schedule for doing anything I wanted to do, my ADD really loved that! I did however decide to finally cook something and write about it. Using just a few of my favorite fall ingredients, here it is…the long overdue much anticipated second food post of 2016 (that’s terrible I know) Cheers, enjoy!

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Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Mise en Place:

-1 Acorn Squash, Sliced in half

-2 Cups Apples, peeled, medium diced (About 3 small apples)

-1 Cup Quinoa

-1/2 LB Ground Chorizo Sausage

-1/2 Yellow Onion, small diced

-Salt & Pepper, TT

-Grated Parmesan, Optional Garnish

-Honey, Optional Garnish

Additional Ingredients:

-Canola Oil

-Ground Cinnamon

-Pumpkin Spice

Method of Prep:

-Turn oven to 350 degrees. Split squash in half and remove seeds. Season with a pinch of salt & pepper on each half, a dash of ground cinnamon and a tablespoon of canola oil. Rub along the inside.

-Place on a lined sheet tray and bake for 40 minutes.

-While squash is cooking, in a small pot cook off quinoa per directions on package.

-Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Using a tablespoon of oil, add in diced apples and onions. Season with salt, pepper and a thin coat of pumpkin spice. Cook until apples are soft, set aside.

-In the same pan, cook off chorizo over medium heat until fully cooked. Add in apple mixture and stir until well incorporated, set aside.

-Remove squash from oven. Fill with quinoa and chorizo mixture. Top with grated Parmesan. Toss back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

-Drizzle with 2 tablespoons local honey, mix filling up with squash

Enjoy!

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**Suggested Wine Pairing:

-Semi sweet Riesling.

-Oregon Pinot Noir