So my brother-in-law recently announced that he was vegetarian bound. Not a decision he is taking lightly, but a well thought out journey arriving at destination “no meat”. His announcement really got me thinking.

Since arriving here in France,our eating habits have changed drastically.  I’ll spare you  the details of the breakfast challenge, the bread challenge, and the coffee challenge, and just state straight up, we’ve been eating LOTS of meat since we’ve been here.  I’m honestly not even sure how it happened.  Partly, I think I caved to cultural pressure.  I wanted to fit in.  Partially, I think my vegetarian habits were very California (warm climate)-centric.  Smoothies, salads, acai bowls, and soba noodles no longer held the same allure in freezing winds and pelting rain.  A big plate of Boeuf Bourguinon – – – well, that sounded appetizing!  But the thing is, ideologically I completely and 100% believe in vegetarian eating.  Back home we weren’t 100% there, but we were on the right path; headed in the right direction.  We ate meat occasionally and only as a garnish (yes, for those of you that know me well, it’s the bacon we can’t manage to abandon).

Interestingly enough also, since we’ve been here, we’ve had more “debates” (read parental coaxing / prodding / screaming & kid resisting) about food than ever before.  When I stopped to think about it, I realized those debates always happen over meat main dishes and never over veggies.  Imagine that, a kid that wants to eat her veggies and nothing more!

So here we go again.  Like salmon swimming up stream in this French land of charcuterie, we’re going to attempt to regain a more veggie-centric mode of eating – – – still allowing the occasional meat in as a garnish.

I recently renovated this little dish known as a Tartiflette to be based on carrots rather than potatoes.  It was a success.  And yes, there was a meat garnish here since I had ham left over and couldn’t bear to toss it out – I’m ideologically opposed to waste also {wink}. However, this dish can completely forego the meat and be just as tasty.

Start out by slicing up a good amount of carrots into thin rounds. I believe I used five.


Sautee up the carrots until they just start to become tender.


Add a generous amount of sage and continue to sautee for another 2 minutes.


Spread the carrots into a casserole dish that is oven-safe.  Then pour about a cup of cream over. (I just said it was mainly veggies, I never claimed it was low fat!) Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Spread thinly sliced ham over . . . or skip this step altogether if you aren’t feeling the meat garnish.


Finally, top with raclette cheese.


Put the whole thing in the oven at about 375 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.


Enjoy with some sliced baguette and a nice green salad.

Pumpkin & Onion Tarte

These adorable pumpkins (potirons) are all over the market these days. Last week I bought a larger one and stuffed it with baguette, bacon, gruyère and emmenthal cheese, some crème fraiche, and sautéed onion. It was to die for.  This week I bought two little guys and set out to figure out what to do with them. Just roasting and then turning into soup was tempting, but I wanted something a little more substantial.  After nosing around a few French recipe sites, I found some inspiration and settled on a Pumpkin & Onion Tarte.

I started by peeling my little pumpkin and then cutting it into largish sized chunks.  I put them in a pan with a bit of water and boiled until they were soft and mashable.


I chopped up a medium sized onion and grated a large potato.  I put a little olive oil in a skillet and started to sautée the onion.  After a couple minutes, I added in the grated potato.  I also threw in a few sprinkles of herbes de Provence.


When the pumpkin was soft, I drained off the remaining water and mashed it with a potato masher. I added the mashed pumpkin to the skillet of onion and potato and mixed well.

  I pulled it off the heat to let it cool. Once cool, I added in a big handful of grated gruyère, 3 beaten eggs, and a couple of heaping tablespoons of crème fraiche.

I mixed everything well. I took one of those lovely pre-made French crusts (why, oh why, do we not have these crusts back in the States?), spread it in a tarte pan, and then added the pumpkin yumminess.


After about 30 minutes in the oven, we had a golden Pumpkin & Onion Tarte. We had it as a simple dinner with soup and green salad, and homemade applesauce for dessert. Perfect dinner for a chilly fall evening.


Allez les Bleus – You’ve Been Chopped

I wish I could tell you that I haven’t posted in a while because I have been so wrapped up watching the World Cup.  If I were to say that, I would definitely earn some points in The Hub’s book.  He literally has the schedule memorized, has installed I don’t know how many new apps on his phone to track scores and standings, and cut our San Diego getaway weekend short because he had to be back home to watch France’s first game.  Never mind that the hotel had a gazillion TVs – all of which were tuned to the World Cup.  Nope, there’s something special, I guess, about watching it in a fellow Frenchman’s living room with 15+ other screaming and cheering Frogs.

The Cup Mania is so intense with him this year, that he went so far as to order cable.  The family who hasn’t had cable in over 6 years, whose children don’t really even know what cable is, now have it just so one man can watch grown adults kick a ball around.

The upside for me? Shhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t say it too loudly, but with cable also comes the Food Network.  I literally feel like I am on a permanent vacation.  I can watch the Food Network whenever I want . . . . not just when traveling and staying in hotels.  So the small people in this house may be a bit impressed by the World Cup thing, but they are now INFECTED with the Food Network.  The Medium Little One has taken to critiquing every meal I put on the table a la Geoffrey Zakarian.  Just today the Little Little One was playing in her pretend kitchen and asked me how many minutes she had left on the clock.  And the Big Little One is trying to figure out how we could have a Chopped Party with a couple other families using only one kitchen.

There you have it, the highlight of our Summer so far: A father obsessed with soccer, a mother obsessed with food, and kids just newly exposed to cable trying to navigate the thrill of it all.

Yet, none of this should overshadow the thrill of the family’s newly acquired vegetable spiralizer.  I am a spiralizing fool!  Don’t stand in my kitchen too long or you might find an appendage starting to spontaneously ribbon off.  A recent creation with the spiralizer was this Sriracha Shrimp Over Zucchini Pasta.

I started by spiralizing about 3 medium large zucchini.  The little hands just love to help with this part.


Then I spread the spiralized zucchini out on a couple of layers of paper towels, sprinkled with salt, and let them sit for about 5 minutes.  This helps to release excess liquid so you don’t end up with a soggy mess.


While the “noodles” were basking on the paper towel, I put a pot of water on to boil and set to work on the shrimp.  I mixed my Sriracha sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar and salt and pepper in a little bowl.


I warmed some olive oil in a large skillet and sauteed up some chopped shallots.  I added in the Sriracha mixture and my shrimp.  I let it cook until the shrimp was just pink.


I tossed my zucchini noodles in my pot of boiling water for 1 minute.  Yep, only 1 minute.  Any longer and you will have mush.  I drained the noodles and reserved a bit of the cooking water.


I added some butter and a bit of the reserved cooking liquid to my shrimp and then placed the noodles on a platter and crowned them with the shrimp.


I guess some people call these lovely little zucchini noodles Zoodles.  I prefer to just call them noodles and my kiddos are none the wiser.  Luckily for me, I wasn’t chopped after serving this for dinner.  I think they kind of know that they’ll starve should they ever decide to “chop” me.

Here’s the complete recipe for Sriracha Shrimp Over Zucchini Noodles.


Another One for the Net – Grilled Salmon Kabobs

This is a quickie, folks.  Another fish recipe that you might enjoy, that didn’t make it to the table in time to be included with FishFest.  But I wanted to be sure and get it up while barbecuing season is in full swing.  It’s so simple, delish, and healthy!  Really hope you will give it a try.

Oregano Lemon Salmon Kabobs graced our table for Memorial Day and here’s how we put them together.

Start the party off with some fresh oregano, finely chopped.


Then, I mixed the oregano with some sesame seeds, ground cumin, sea salt, and red pepper flakes.


I took 2 fresh lemons and sliced them both quite thin.


I threaded one inch chunks of salmon, alternately with a folded lemon slice, onto my (soaked) bamboo skewers.  I found I had more salmon than lemon and so I threaded with kind of a bonus clump of salmon right in center skewer.  I then brushed the completed kabobs with olive oil and generously sprinkled / pressed on my spice mixture.


Onto the preheated grill they went.  The hubs took over; the man can’t cook to save his life, but he has been trained to follow explicit grilling instructions.  About 6 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so, did the trick so that the fish was opaque throughout.


Tasty and entertaining – it’s always an added plus when you can eat and then torment your siblings with bamboo weaponry, right?  At least that’s the way things generally roll at our house.

Here’s the complete recipe for Grilled Salmon Kabobs with Lemon & Oregano.

Fish Fest – And I’m Not Talking About A Big Christian Rock Concert

Something new has been a brewin’ here in my kitchen and I confess that it’s kind of a mind blower.  I have been diving into “clean eating”, and I must say, I am loving it!

I have always been about healthy and real, but the “clean” thing I just didn’t get.  Not being one to follow the crowd, I resisted the whole fad.  I downright dismissed it as something that didn’t / wouldn’t fit with my food philosophy.  I know, right, who in their right mind has a food philosophy?!  For me, it’s really more of a gut take on food and strongly held beliefs about its place in my life from the pure pleasure of taste to the abstract notion of socializing around a good table.  I am also an adamant resister of deprivation; and I perceived the whole “clean eating” trend as all about legalistic deprivation.

So here is where I do the HUGE shout out to Francesca Gadaleta Giessmann and The Nourishing Seed.  I met the lovely Francesca because our small people play water polo together.  She invited me to her Spring Detox and it was at that moment that “clean eating” took on a whole new meaning to me.  I GOT it.  And the greatest thing is that she makes “clean” fun, delicious, and without deprivation.  Let me just repeat that last tidbit – there is no deprivation.

As I have been exploring the great recipes found in Francesca’s Spring Detox Guide, I have also been having a ball assessing some of my own new recipes and determining their “cleanliness”.  Ha – I love that expression; just makes me think like Lysol and Clorox and not kale and halibut.

Rather than my one recipe show that you usually get with each post, I give you a trio of fish recipes that are sure to please any clean eater.  On the docket we have African Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks, Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon & Thyme, and Moroccan Halibut.

The African Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks have three main elements:  the adobo rubbed tuna, a bed of English hothouse cucumbers, and a topping of avocado salsa.  I started the adobo (a fancy name for spice rub) by mixing together a slew of spices.


I put the rub aside and set to work on the salsa.  I diced 2 avocado, chopped some scallions and minced some garlic.


I then chopped up a couple of roasted red peppers and added them to the avocado mixture.


I whisked together some fresh OJ, fresh lime juices, and some olive oil and seasoned that with salt and pepper.  I poured that over the avocado mixture and set aside in the fridge.

For the cucumbers, I whisked together some champagne vinegar and a tad of sugar (yikes, I know, but it was only a tad).  Then I thinly sliced the cukes and tossed them in the vinaigrette.  I let them stand for at least 15 minutes allowing the flavors to blend.

Back to the tuna, I rubbed the steaks with the adobo very generously.


I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until it was smoking and then added the tuna steaks – cooking only about a minute per side for a nice medium rare steak.

I plated it all up by first putting down a bed of cucumbers, the sliced tuna steak to the side and then the avocado salsa to top it all off.


On to our number two contender in the FishFest lineup – Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme.  This recipe is so easy it’s ridiculous, but you would never guess that from how tasty it is.

I started by lining a cooking sheet with foil and preheating my oven to 275 degrees. I brushed the foil with a little olive oil and placed the salmon filets on top.  Then I mixed a little more olive oil, some chopped fresh thyme, and some freshly grated lemon zest.  I spread the thyme – lemon mixture over the salmon fillets and then seasoned with salt and pepper.


I let that stand for about 10 minutes for the flavors to permeate the salmon and then baked about 17 minutes.

I served this up with some polenta topped with steamed spinach and goat cheese and some roasted carrots.


Last up on our roster is the Moroccan Halibut.  This one, like the salmon, is so easy and yet so flavorful.

I started by just sprinkling both sides of the halibut with salt and pepper.  Then I generously sprinkled the fish with cayenne pepper and cinnamon.


I then heated a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet, added the halibut, and sauteed until golden and opaque in center; about 4 – 5 minutes per side.


I served this one up with swiss chard (a great recipe from The Nourishing Seed) and roasted carrots (yes, we love our roasted carrots ’round here).


So there you have it – – – a trio of super tasty, super easy, and super healthy fish recipes.  Just think, you can serve up some fish for the next three weeks without having to scour through oodles and oodles of recipes.  Oh, and you can casually tell your friends, “Yep, I’m eating clean.” (WINK)

Here are the complete recipes:

Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks

Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon & Thyme

Moroccan Halibut

~ all recipes adapted from Epicurious





Our Vegetarian (kind of) Shift – Kung Pao Cauliflower

I laugh when I hear my kids telling other people we are vegetarians.  Die hard vegetarians probably wouldn’t find it so amusing.  Why do I get such a chuckle out of this?  Well, let’s see . . .  We eat bacon.  We frequent In&Out Burger  AND The Habit from time to time (for you Californians, you know what that means), and we recently sucked down some corned BEEF & cabbage to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.  So you see where I’m headed with this.

No, my kids aren’t challenged with information processing and they are very aware of what they eat.  But the rub is that we don’t prepare beef, chicken, or pork in our home as a main course.   Bacon really is the only meat cooked within our kitchen and we eat that mainly to accompany breakfast entrees and as a “garnish”  with certain veggies.  But we have no problem consuming meat when invited to other people’s homes or when eating out.

So I was recently thinking about our transition from that family who, at every meal, ate a meat protein, a starch and a veggie, to the family that now, at every home meal, eats strictly veggies.  And I remember what a mind shift it was for me to feel as though I was serving up a complete meal when the plate contained no meat protein.  It seemed off kilter to me, unbalanced, not well rounded.  But little by little my lens changed and I began to understand how to take what would be construed as a side and transform it into an entree. I began seeing the plate as more of a palette and striving to balance colors and textures instead of following my old formula of protein, starch, veg.  I practiced putting veggie sides with veggie entrees to create comprehensive meals.  And above all, I didn’t sacrifice the creativity of cooking that I love just because I was only preparing vegetables.  I discovered that you can put as much time and effort into creating a wonderful vegetable entree as you can a hunk o’ meat entree.

This past week is a perfect example of what this transformation can really look like.  I got two glorious heads of cauliflower in my Abundant Harvest CSA box.


In my pre-pseudo-vegetarian state, that would have turned up on the plate either roasted or steamed as an accompaniment to a pork tenderloin or a chicken dish of some sort.  But after deciding that the cauliflower itself would be the main staple of our dinner, I chose to go the Asian route and put together a little Kung Pao Cauliflower.

I started by tossing the cauliflower florets and some thin carrot sticks with some olive oil and roasting at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes.


When things were nicely browned and starting to feel tender to the poke of a fork, I removed them from the oven.  I mixed together a little kung pao sauce consisting of soy sauce, water, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, crushed red pepper, peanut oil, wasabi powder and cornstarch.

I transferred the roasted veggies from the cookie sheet to a large skillet and poured the kung pao sauce over.


I also tossed in some sliced shallots that I had lying around.  I let things simmer, while stirring pretty regularly, until the sauce thickened up and was coating the veggies nicely.  Then I served atop a bed of brown rice, garnished with some chopped cashews, and accompanied by some steamed sugar snap peas.  You could add in a lot of other things to get even more color, texture, flavor and nutrition – red peppers, green onions, kale, garlic, etc.


Just like that we went from side dish to entree.  We followed this up with a green salad with an Asian-like dressing and everyone felt as though they had  had a complete meal.


I’m not always assured full family approval when I go off script and start making stuff up.  In fact, a certain member of this little clan is known for asking, “Is this a real recipe, Mom, or just stuff that you made up?”  But this one got thumbs up all around the table.

So I’m curious.  Do any of you opt for full vegetarian meals?  If so, would you share your favorite?  I’m looking forward to hearing about your veggie delights.

Here’s the complete Kung Pao Cauliflower recipe.


Let It Grow! – Tuna Steaks with Ginger Chile Marinade

I think I’m addicted to growing things.  I honestly thought it was a little whim that would pass after a tad of experimentation, but nope, I believe it’s here to stay.  Last year, late Spring-ish or early Summer, we played around with a little gardening.  A few tomatoes here, some beans and carrots there.  “Borrowed” crates that served as planters. (You can read all about the beginning of this adventure here.) The kids got a kick out of it and I enjoyed watching them as they explored and enjoyed the wonder of real food growing right in our own back yard.

Summer turned to Fall and the tomatoes kept right on producing.  In fact, we picked some on Christmas day. The corn and beans turned barren and we replaced them with a few winter harvest items – like cauliflower and lettuce.  Then there was a brief lull and we let things have some unattended “alone time”.

My parents came to visit mid-March.  Even though he is 85 years old, it’s always best to have a few “projects” up my sleeve to keep my dad busy.  So this year’s project entailed the rental of a chain saw and the extraction of a huge, and I do mean huge, palm tree stump.  It had been occupying a good little chuck of my precious postage-stamp backyard, and my mind was racing with the possibilities of what could be planted there if I could only get rid of the palm.  As luck would have it, post-palm stump removal, I passed by a neighbor’s home as they were doing a little remodeling.  I spied on their driveway, a tile crate and just knew it would be a perfect planter.  There’s something about the scrounging / re-purposing / upcycling aspect of my gardening approach that gives me an extra little thrill.  I sent the hubs on a planter recon mission, and he returned with my new “planter” in tow, mumbling something about ” . . . whatever it takes to keep the wife happy, blah, bah, blah.”

I feel like a veritable little country girl planted in the middle of Orange County with a garden which boasts 3 tomato plants, 3 cabbage plants, 1 cucumber plant, 1 zucchini, 1 crook neck squash,1 cauliflower,  2 lettuce, 1 red pepper, basil, thyme, and multiple pumpkins (note to self on pumpkins – – – if you toss whole pumpkins in your compost, there’s a VERY good chance you will experience spontaneous pumpkin generation when using said compost soil!)  My children, in their delusions of grandeur, were talking the other day about how we could run our own farmers market with our harvest.  Easy girls, easy!  Anyway, here’s a little shot of my ridiculously small, but massively enjoyable backyard garden.


And here’s my challenge for you – grow something, anything, even if one small thing, in your own backyard this summer and experience the joy for yourself.

In keeping our food real this past week, I served up these Tuna Steaks with Ginger Chile Marinade.

To start off the marinade, I grated some fresh ginger.


I whisked the ginger with some rice vinegar, sesame oil, peanut oil, soy sauce, and fresh chopped parsley.  Then I added in this little guy for a bit of a kick.


I seasoned the marinade with a little pepper and then set aside about 3 Tablespoons.  The rest I poured over the tuna steaks and let marinate (refrigerated) for about 40 minutes.


After marinating (the tuna, not me), I preheated my grill and sprayed with a little non-stick oil.  I grilled the tuna for only about 4 minutes total to keep them nice and rare.  In fact, these ones were a little too done for my taste.  Next time, I would stay closer to a minute and a half per side if preparing steaks of a similar thickness.


I served them atop a bed a steamed spinach and brown rice, accompanied by some balsamic cherry tomatoes, and spooned the reserved marinade over each steak.


Yummy, easy, and quick!  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s the complete recipe for Tuna Steaks with Ginger Chile Marinade

Want to explore more ahi recipes?  Have a gander at these:

Grilled Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Orange Ginger Soy Sauce

Marinated Ahi Tuna Salad

Multiply That By FOUR – Sweet Potato Curry with Brown Rice

Sometimes I feel like having four kids is like holding down FOUR full time jobs.  You know, like those start up companies where one person is juggling a million balls to fill four positions all rolled into one.  Believe me, having helped to launch not one, but two, Internet start-ups “back in the day”, I know of what I speak.  I used to put in 16 hour days in my previous life as a leader in a techie start-up . . . because in that culture, you did whatever it took to get the job done, whether it was technically your job or not.  After all, you had one shot, and one shot only, to get your baby of a business off the ground.

So yesterday, it just kind of hit me, that my current life isn’t that drastically different from my old one.  I put in very loooong days and do whatever it takes.  As I see it, I’ve got one shot, and one shot only, to be with these little people through every age and stage.  But multiply that one start up company by four and  – – –  well, I think you get the picture.

Just this week, there was so much going on that I really thought I was about to lose the plot.  One wants to raise money to fund a well in Africa.  So she was baking cakes, going door-to-door offering samples, and trying to get customers to pre-order her goods.  Of course she had to create an order form, a delivery calendar, and the list goes on and on.  Not to mention that now she has to fulfill the orders over the coming two weeks. Budding entrepreneur basically.  Another one is entering a youth expo and was busy painting and photographing her entries.  Budding artist, you might say.  Number three had CoffeeCanTheater which came home from preschool.  That involved telling stories, acting out the stories with puppets, and then writing the stories down.  Hmmmm, budding writer / comedian / thespian?  The last one  is just a sponge taking it all in.  Of course on top of that there’s the routine sports practices, school work, meetings, and playing.

And you know what?   This isn’t a question of overscheduling.  The majority of this stuff isn’t organized extra-curriculars that often can get such a bad rap.  This stuff is just about letting them identify their interests and passions and run with them.

What’s a mom to do?  It’s not like I can just pick a favorite “start-up” and tell the other three, “Tough luck, we’ve decided to pull your funding”.  Wouldn’t that be rich?!  Pick the kid with the most potential and get 100% behind her while letting the other ones just “go under”.  OK – end fantasy analogy world and resume real life thinking.

So it’s long days and late nights for me.  Not to mention that no matter what else is going on, they all have to be fed.  I often joke and say that if they would just stop eating and wearing clothing that I would end up with an abundance of free time.  They think that’s funny.  I’m. Not. Joking.  Anyway, amidst this past week’s flurry of activity and dinners, I served up a little Sweet Potato Curry with Brown Rice.  It was a clear crowd pleaser and quite simple to pull together.

I started by just cutting the sweet potatoes into wedges and steaming them over some boiling water until they were tender.


While the spuds were steaming, I sauteed up some mushrooms.


I also sauteed up some shallots and chopped up a small bunch of cilantro.


Then I brought some coconut milk and water to a simmer in a skillet.  To that I added some Thai red curry paste and cilantro.  The sweet potatoes got tossed in next, along with the sauteed mushrooms and a drained can of bamboo shoots.  Oh, I also tossed in some sauteed shallots to this mess of goodness.


I let that all just simmer a few so that the flavors could blend, and then spooned it over some brown rice, dished up some roasted bok choy on the side, and garnished with lime wedges.



Nothing particularly fancy, but definitely choc full of nutritious goodness for my  “four little budding businesses”. Because no matter how thin I may be spread at this point in my life, there’s really no other place that I’d rather be investing my heart and my time.

Here’s the complete recipe for Sweet Potato Curry with Brown Rice.

Mind over Mollusk – Scallops in Tarragon Brown Butter Sauce

While tempting to tell you all about our journey into Colonial food for the kiddos’ Colonial festival, I’ll spare you all the gory details of onion pies and transparent puddings!  Suffice it to say that pilgrim-esque cooking is not my gig and so I’m glad I wasn’t drafted for the Mayflower.

My little mind is also flirting with the idea of pumpkin pie (we made one fresh from the adorable little pie pumpkins they have at Trader Joe’s these days), but there are a bazillion other blogs out there this time of year talking turkey and pie.

I could also go all persimmon on you since we have been inundated with those little gems these past few weeks, but the truth is, as hard as we have tried, none of us really likes them.  I want to like them, I really do.  But sadly they just don’t do it for me.

So I’ll hang on that little segue and get to the point of scallops.  Like the persimmon, I have never truly enjoyed scallops.  Shrimp – no problem.  Lobster – ok, twist my arm.  Clams – yep, especially if they are fried.  But the scallop, ummm, pass.  There’s just something about the texture, the concept, the appearance that creates a mental barrier for me.  The stomach wants to, but the brain isn’t cooperating.  Then last week I had this weird out of body experience while strolling through Costco (yes, we’re back on speaking terms again) and a strange voice in my head said, “Hey, don’t those scallops look good?”  I looked around to see who was commenting on the crustacean only to realize it was my very own inner voice.  I looked to the kids and threw out the crazy idea that we try some, half expecting full veto.  Nope, they were all on board.  Maybe had I said, “How about we cook up some bi-valve mollusks for dinner tonight?” I could have swayed the vote a bit more.  But by the time I had retraced my steps and thought of that approach, the exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates were already in my cart.

Wouldn’t you know, that evening, the Hubs had a last minute meeting come up.  Great . . .there I was cooking scallops -which I don’t even like – for a 10 year old, an 8 year old, a 4 year old, and a 2 year old!  Why didn’t I just roll an extra math lesson into dinner and call it a real party?!  After sifting through a few recipes, I decided that simple was best for this little seafood saga.  Scallops in Tarragon Brown Butter Sauce it was, and off we went.

We started by generously salting and peppering the little guys.


Then, we heated a bit of olive oil in a large skillet and added the scallops.  We let them cook until golden brown on one side (about 4 minutes), and then flipped them and added some butter and a few sprigs of fresh tarragon.  The tarragon had come in our weekly produce box and was just lovely.



We let the second side cook for another 4 minutes or so, just until the butter was browned and started to small kind of nutty  Finally we mixed in a little fresh lemon juice.  We served everything up with some mashed sweet potatoes, sauteed summer squash & French bread (for dipping in the brown butter sauce, of course).


Overall not a bad reception – loved by the 10 year old, luke warm reception by the 8 year old, eaten by the 2 year old, and the 4 year old?  Let’s just say lots of sweet potatoes and squash were consumed by a certain someone at the table.  As for me . . .  well, my inner-voice was leading me in the right direction (and for once it wasn’t toward chocolate).  I enjoyed the little mollusks after all!

Here’s the complete recipe for Scallops with Tarragon Brown Butter Sauce.

And for your browsing pleasure, here are a few more scallop recipes:

A Definite First – Collard Greens Burritos

I love a challenge.  Last week that challenge came in the form of COLLARD GREENS which appeared in my weekly produce box. What?!  I admit I had to take a step back on that one.

Googling efforts produced a good chuckle anyway.  My favorite entry was titled “Do white people eat collard greens?”  Though racist and not the kind of question I would think of popping off with, I have to admit that it made me think.  This white person had never eaten collard greens.  I started to wonder why.  Well first off, my culinary exposure sprouts from two distinct geographic locations: Ohio and France.  Enough said – I don’t think I need to go into any deeper explanation on that one.  Secondly, collard greens just aren’t jumping up and down in the produce aisles I frequent squeaking out “pick me, pick me!”  And finally, my usual online haunts, like Epicurious, aren’t regularly featuring collard greens as the latest, hippest food in town.  So there you have it.  As a result of these three little factors, this white person had never eaten collard greens.  Bummer for me.

So after deciding that I wouldn’t be fixing up any chitlins, hog jowl, ham hocks or pigs feet to accompany my collard greens, I set out to find a recipe that that would allow me to use my beautiful greens AND keep the cooking style in line with what we usually eat.  After all, the collard green is considered one of the world’s healthiest veggies and I didn’t want to pass up its health benefits just because I wasn’t going to be frying them up in pork fat.

I came up with a lovely idea of burritos using the collard greens in place of the tortilla and off we went.

I started by removing the stems from the collard greens.  Each green will make two separate wraps.  After the stems were removed. I placed the greens in boiling water for about 4 minutes.   Then I pulled them out and transferred to ice water.

In a large skillet, I sautéed up some onion and bell pepper.  I think I may have tossed a small chili in there too for some extra heat.


Once those were nice and golden, I added in some brown rice and 3/4 of a can of diced tomatoes.  I also tossed in some chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a smidge of cayenne.


I mixed that up well, and started to spread about 1/2 c. of the mixture into each collard green half.


I rolled each leaf up and then lined them in a 9×13″ baking pan.  I scattered some Mexican cheese blend over the top and then the remaining diced tomatoes.  Into the oven it went at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes – just long enough to make sure everything was piping hot.


So there you go . . . who knew incorporating collard greens into a weeknight staple could be so easy!


Here is the complete recipe for Collard Greens Burritos.

Want to explore more collard greens recipes?  Take a peek.