Archive for September, 2012

If you are craving shellfish, try this Fettuccine with Spicy Shellfish by Emeril Lagasse from the July 2012 issue of Food and Wine. The timing on this recipe is very forgiving, because the pasta is cooked, rinsed and then tossed with warm chile oil, cheese and basil. This flavours the pasta and keeps it from sticking together. You then quickly cook the remaining ingredients and reheat the pasta with cooking liquid before serving the pasta in bowls, topped with the seafood, broth, cheese and basil. This recipe also includes sausage, which adds heat and depth of flavour. Dry chorizo is called for, but I used crumbled hot Italian sausage instead and cooked it a little longer. I also used dried pasta, which worked fine.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients to watch out for are the cheese, sausage, clam juice and shrimp. Make sure the Parmigiano-Reggiano does not contain colour and that the sausage is all-natural. The clam juice should contain one ingredient: clam juice. Look for shrimp that is flash-frozen with nothing added, except perhaps salt.

Cook hot pepper flakes in oil for a few minutes.

Add chile oil, cheese and basil to the cooked pasta.

Saute the sausage for a few minutes until it is cooked and the fat has rendered.

Fettuccine with spicy shellfish


½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 pound fresh fettuccine

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

¼ cup shredded basil leaves

6 ounces dry chorizo, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 large shallot, minced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 plum tomatoes—peeled, seeded and chopped

1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed

1 cup bottled clam juice

1 pound mussels, scrubbed

1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp



In a small skillet, combine ¼ cup of the olive oil with the crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until it is barely al dente; drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the warm chile oil, ¼ cup of the cheese and 2 tablespoons of the basil.

In a very large, deep skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, clams and clam juice, cover and cook until the clams just begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook until all the shells have opened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, season with salt and cook until pink and curled, about 2 minutes.

Using a ladle, transfer half of the liquid to the pasta in the pot and cook over high heat, tossing, until the pasta is al dente and heated through, about 2 minutes. Divide the pasta between bowls and spoon the shellfish all around. Ladle the broth on top and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of shredded basil and ¼ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve right away. Serves 6.

From the July 2012 issue of Food and Wine

The June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit ran a multi-page spread on homemade tacos that made my mouth water. In addition to homemade corn tortillas, the recipes for fillings included homemade chorizo, shrimp in adobo, seared short ribs and roasted poblano chiles. But I really wanted to make the corn tortillas, since I have not been able to find any that are additive-free. The first challenge was finding the masa flour. It took some searching, but I found it at a health food store. The second challenge was finding a tortilla press. But my local kitchen store just got some (having been sold out in June, probably because of the Bon Appetit story). I was finally ready! And it was worth it. The dough comes together in a jiffy and the low-tech tortilla press is amazing. The results bear no resemblance to those taco shells that come in a box with a chemical-laden seasoning mix; homemade corn tortillas are pliable, tasty and perfect for a whole range of fillings. I made them with fried shrimp last week (a recipe from Real Simple magazine), but will be trying all kinds of things – including enchiladas – with them soon. I made half the recipe, which yielded nine four-inch tortillas.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients to check in the filling are the beans (PC Blue Menu brand black beans are additive-free), the sour cream (light sour cream often contains chemicals) and the hot sauce. I used Tabasco original brand.

This is the masa flour I used for the dough

The dough is very easy to make - it should be fairly dry

Place a heaping tablespoon of dough in press lined with plastic wrap or a freezer bag cut into two circles the size of the press

This press makes four-inch tortillas

Brush with oil and cook for 1-3 minutes on one side

Turn and cook for a few seconds on the other side

Dredge and fry up some shrimp

Shrimp tacos with fresh corn tortillas


For tacos

2 cups (or more) masa (corn tortilla mix; preferably Maseca brand)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Vegetable oil (for brushing)

For filling

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

4 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated

2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 pound peeled and deveined small shrimp

1 large egg white, beaten

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup cornmeal

8 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed

Cut up avocado, salsa, cilantro, hot sauce, sour cream, and lime wedges, for serving


For tacos

Whisk masa and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water; knead in bowl until dough forms. The dough should feel firm and springy and look slightly dry (think Play-Doh). Add more water by tablespoonfuls if too crumbly; add a little more masa if too wet.

Measure 1 heaping Tbsp. dough and roll into a ball. Flatten on a tortilla press lined with a plastic bag. If tortilla crumbles, dough is too dry (add more water); if it sticks to the plastic, dough is too wet (add more masa). Repeat, pressing out 2 more tortillas. Don’t press them too thin, or they will stick.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; lightly brush with oil. Cook 2–3 tortillas until charred in spots and edges start to curl, 1–2 minutes. Turn; cook through, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a kitchen towel; fold over to keep warm. Repeat, in batches, with remaining dough.

For filling

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallion whites and cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans, ¼ cup water, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens.

In a shallow bowl, toss the shrimp with the egg white. In a second shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.

Heat the remaining ½ cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the shrimp until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve in the tortillas with the avocado, salsa, cilantro, hot sauce, sour cream, and lime wedges, alongside the beans.

From the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit and from Real Simple magazine

I’m usually wary of scallops, because they are often pumped full of water and phosphates to make them weigh more and appear snow white. These scallops are sometimes called wet scallops and are difficult to sear properly. Dry scallops, on the other hand are untreated and sear well. Scallops are now in season, so we were able to find some nice ones recently. I used them in this recipe from the September 2012 issue of Bon Appetit and they were excellent. The scallops are seared in butter and thyme and then topped with an almond vinaigrette. Don’t overcook the scallops or they will be tough – two to three minutes a side should be fine. A smear of peach or apricot preserves on the plate makes a very pretty presentation. This dish could be served as either an appetizer or main course.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

In addition to the scallops, the almonds, vinegar, butter and preserves may contain artificial ingredients. Check the label on the almonds to makes sure nothing has been added. Look for unsalted butter with a single ingredient: cream (if you don’t use much butter, store it in the freezer). I didn’t have sulfite-free white vinegar on hand, so I used Eden Organic brand red wine vinegar and it was fine. I also didn’t have peach preserves, so I used Greaves peach apricot jam, which contains only sugar and apricots.

This vinaigrette uses finely chopped almonds

Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on one side

Add butter and thyme and sear the other side

Seared scallops with almond vinaigrette


1/4 cup roasted almonds, preferably Marcona

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon (or more) Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8 large sea scallops (about 9 oz.), side muscle removed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 sprigs thyme

2 tablespoons peach preserves

Fresh herbs, baby arugula, or microgreens


Finely chop almonds into small pieces but not into a powder. Mix almonds and 4 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 Tbsp. vinegar and chives; season vinaigrette with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Add to skillet. Cook until deep golden and caramelized, 2–3 minutes. Turn scallops; add butter and thyme. Cook, frequently tilting skillet and spooning butter over, until scallops are deep golden and just cooked through, 2–3 minutes longer. (Basting adds extra flavor.)

Stir preserves and 1/2 tsp. water in a small bowl to loosen. For an appetizer, smear about 1/2 Tbsp. preserve mixture in center of each plate. For an entrée, smear 1 Tbsp. preserve mixture. Top with 2–4 scallops each. Drizzle some vinaigrette over. Garnish with herbs.

From the September 2012 issue of Bon Appetit

We love all kinds of pasta salads, and this one from the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit is a keeper. It is made with buckwheat soba noodles, which are a nice change from regular spaghetti or vermicelli. The other good thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables you like—I used radishes, cucumbers, and red, yellow and hot banana peppers. Cilantro adds great flavour, but not everyone likes it; substitute parsley if you wish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients that may contain artificial ingredients include the rice vinegar, Sriracha and sesame oil. I used Marukan brand rice vinegar and Eden brand toasted sesame oil. I have not been able to find an all-natural Sriracha—a hot chili sauce—so I used a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce instead.

Use whatever vegetables you like in this salad

Cilantro and scallions add flavour

Try buckwheat soba noodles or use regular long pasta

Cold Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables


1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

8 cups matchstick-size pieces mixed summer vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and bell peppers; about 1 1/4 pounds)

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8 ounces buckwheat soba (Japanese-style noodles) or vermicelli noodles

1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds


Whisk first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain. Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add to bowl with vegetables. Add cilantro and scallions; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve. Serves 4-6.

From the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit