Shrimp and Scallop medley

The nightly quest of  satisfying the question “what’s for dinner,” was especially difficult due to a missed shopping trip… kids homework and other things that just get in the way of a Betty Crocker moment.  I found myself staring at a very bare fridge.  Most would order in or get take out but this wasn’t an option.  You can use things in an imaginary way, just pretend your fridge is the mystery basket on the show  Chopped

I found enough to make a nice meal:  a few frozen scallops and shrimp.  A lemon grass and some spinach.  It took less time than ordering food and having it delivered.  I sautéed the shrimp in a bit of butter and garlic for about 2 mins.   I added the scallops and then tossed in my lemon grass and spinach.  I didn’t over cook the scallops.  I didn’t get a lovely

seer on them, either, but it was better than overcooked rubber!!!!! I finished the dish off with Sel de Cali– the Meyers lemon sea salt.  It was delicious and only took about 10 minutes to prepare.   I served this  medley over rice and called it my own.

1 garlic clove chopped

1-2 tablespoons of butter, depending on your health 🙂

around 6 scallops

around 6 shrimp

One bag of baby spinach

1 lemon grass

Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf
Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf (Photo credit: Ahmad Fuad Morad)

2 teaspoons finishing salt- Sel de Cali-meyers lemon sea salt

Steam some rice


Polenta encrusted tilapia with a side of spinach and parsley shrimp

Usually I make a ceviche with the Tilapia I get from the San Pedro Fish Warehouse but this time I had no time and nothing set for dinner.  I used a recipe that my Italian neighbor in Monza, Italy taught me for veal.  It worked well for the Tilapia!  I set out a plate of olive oil, a plate of polenta mixed with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of chopped fresh sage. I dredged the fish in olive oil then coated it with polenta.  Once fish is ready, prepare spinach to be steamed.  I had another little saute pan ready for my shrimp.  I only had about 6 shrimp but it made for a good side.  At the same time with the fish, I cooked the shrimp, but in separate saute pans.  For the shrimp chop up some garlic-about one clove and chop up a bunch of parsley, even the stems.  Add the garlic to the pan with olive oil.  Add the shrimp.  At the same time, add the fish to the other saute pan with hot olive oil.  Place the fish on one side and let cook for about 2 minutes before turning to the other side.  Start the spinach for steaming.  Soon in about 15 minutes your entire meal will be ready.  Make sure you have cut up lemon for the fish and shrimp.  Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.  This was really yummy!

1 tilapia filet per person

1/2 cup polenta

1/4 cup olive oil for the dredging

shrimp, garlic, olive oil, sage, parsley and lemon slices

steamed spinach

Polenta encrusted Tilapia


Stuffed round zucchini with a side of tuna and mango salsa

Inspired by a trip to the Redondo Beach farmers market I picked out a bag of mixed vegetables.  I got 6 round zucchini for $1.  I decided they were perfect little vehicles to stuff.  I wanted the meal to be fairly healthy and not carb packed.  I cut the tops of the rounds and then scooped out the meat with a spoon.  I chopped up the zucchini innards and sautéed them with some garlic, olive oil, peppers and salt and pepper to taste.  I then stuffed the mixture back into the zucchini rounds and baked it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  At the last 10 minutes I added some grated parmesan cheese for flavor.   While it was cooking I made my mango salsa and then fired up the grill to cook the tuna.  All in all it tasted good but I would pair up the zucchini with some other protein like chicken, steak or pork chops… or another fish minus the mango salsa.  The flavors were fighting each other.

stuffed zuchinni IMG_0381 IMG_0382

Veggie melange with sauteed radishes

I received my farm fresh to you box at my door.  It was filled with yummy vegetables including organic celery, Nantes carrots, fennel and some radishes of all sorts of different colors.  I decided to do a quick saute and it ended up delicious.  I used a bit of olive oil and chopped up garlic and shallots to start.  I then added my finely chopped carrots, celery, fennel and then some radishes.  In the end I seasoned with some of my Sel De Cali, the chardonnay infused salt and a few sprigs of rosemary.  I can’t remember what the main protein was for this meal, but I’m sure it was either steak, chicken or pork chops!  It was the first time I added radishes to a saute and it turned out delicious!

English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested
English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the start of crocking

shrimp cilantro lime tortillas

English: Fresh Cilantro (Coriander) Deutsch: V...


This is a really simple dish.  Basically take a bunch of shrimp, toss them in cilantro.  Heat up a pan with olive oil. Toss in shrimp, garlic and cilantro, cook till opaque, add in diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes at last-minute, just to warm up.  Meanwhile heat up tortillas as you usually do.  We just heat one by one on a frying pan with nothing in it, note, be careful, you could ruin your pan as we have.  It beveled under the heat but we also have an annoying electric stove top.  Anyway, add the shrimp, fresh squeezed lime wedge, a piece of avocado if you have one, some sour cream if you have, to your tortilla and voila, a lovely bite of mexicana americana Alla Karine and Paul.  Actually, I have to say this was Paul’s recipe he discovered from a friend while living in an artist loft in downtown Detroit.


18 or so shrimp for 2 people about 3 tortillas each

6 flour tortillas

2 limes

1 avocado sliced in 6 pieces-one piece per tortilla

a bunch of cilantro

a handful of cherry tomatoes or 2 plum tomatoes diced

2 tablespoons sour cream-preferable full fat!

you can add some hot peppers too


Baked tomatoes

Various heirloom tomato cultivars
Various heirloom tomato cultivars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle...
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle Stuttgart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Small tomatoes in Korea
Small tomatoes in Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is such a simple dish.  They are not stuffed or cut in half.  They are just simple baked tomatoes at 350 F for 30 mins then 375 F for 20 more minutes.  I love this dish.  I started making it over the summer when tomatoes were in season.  I just cut the tops off the tomatoes, enough to sprinkle salt, pepper and whatever herbs I have along with a good dose of extra virgin olive oil.  Sometimes I add chopped garlic, too.  At the last part of cooking, grated parmesan cheese is great on this, too.

The great thing about this dish is it makes a great accompanyment to just about anything.  It can be used as a sauce  as well.  Serve it on a big bowl of rice or pasta and it’s simple and delicious.  I could eat this everyday.  The tomatoes really make a difference, but it’s still good if you jazz up bland tomatoes with a bunch of garlic, basil, oregano, cheese… whatever.  Enjoy!

July's Tomato Haul
July’s Tomato Haul (Photo credit: statelyenglishmanor)

Cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic and black truffle sea salt

I didn’t have much time to prepare anything fancy, but somehow my simple dish made it to the “I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen” category in my husbands eyes, even though it took all of 10 minutes to prepare, if that.  I searched for something interesting to make for a side dish.  We are staying away from so many starches and cauliflower just has that satisfying taste that not all veggies have.  I chopped up, trying to keep the “flowers” in tack, 1/2 a cauliflower, sliced about 8 nice white mushrooms that I bought from the local farmer’s stand and then added a few sliced garlic cloves.  Voila, just a few drizzles of my herb infused extra virgin olive oil and a few sprinkles of my black truffle sea salt, it was ready to go into the oven.  I put it at 375 for about 30 minutes covered with foil and then 5 minutes uncovered.  In the meantime I grilled up my usual grilled chicken, but this time I played around with the flavors a bit, using more salt and rosemary, from my friends salt concoction she calls, Herbs de PV.  She blended sea salts with natural growing herbs from Palos Verdes.  I think our meal was great and it was definitely healthy.

Salade Nicoise

Every weekend I have the task to figure out how to make a nice lunch.  When it’s just me alone during the week, I just toss a few things together and wouldn’t go to much more effort than that.  However, on the weekend, we try to have a nice lunch as well as dinner, double the work!  So this is a very simple and nicely filling meal that is easy to make.  La Salade Nicoise.  There are so many variations on it, however, I used the easy way out with canned tuna vs a nice fresh grilled tuna.   I had some colorful purple potatoes, which added nicely to the presentation.  I also cooked some eggs, I usually calculate 2 per person.  The best way to make a hard-boiled egg is to place the eggs in a pot, covered with cold water.  Once the eggs boil, take them off the stove and cover for 20 minutes, that’s all it takes and you will have perfect hard-boiled eggs, as opposed to exploding eggs or whatever I used to get in the past.  I also steamed a bunch of green beans.  It is important not to over cook the green beans. Once they are cooked, plunge them into cold water to stop cooking and preserve the green color.   For the lettuce, I used an organic baby green mix as well as some romaine lettuce to give it a nice balance of crunch and texture.  I’m not sure if I added any cucumbers or tomatoes, it doesn’t look like it from the photo, but they would go nicely had I had some.

Basically the most important ingredients for a Nicoise are:

Hardboiled eggs-2 per person, Canned or fresh tuna, a bunch of steamed, cold green beans, boiled potatoes, about one or two per person.

Once all the cooked ingredients were ready and cool.  I started to compile my salad.  I tossed the greens with the dressing ahead of time.  Placed it in nice bowls, added pieces of potato, egg slivers, black olives, green beans and then the tuna on top of it all. Try to make it as pretty as possible, symmetry is key in this dish for me.  But you can get creative and design it as you like.  If you don’t care, you can just toss everything together and voila, it’s done!  I like to add fresh pepper and a few grains of Sel de Cali.

vinaigrette:  1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and chopped herbs or shallots.  Make sure you first mix the mustard and oil together then add the vinegar.  It really helps the thickness of the dressing.  This is my base vinaigrette that can have many different variations and alterations.  Go with taste

Sauteed garlic shrimp with pasta al pesto

For tonight I decided to satisfy my husbands love for pasta and give a good recipe for those who want pasta during their 3rd phase of the Dukan diet.  I was tired of grilling, so I just sautéed a few wild caught shrimp, previously frozen.  I sautéed them in a bit of basil garlic infused olive oil that I had made a few days ago, until the shrimp  were pink and  looked less opaque.  In the mean time, the water was boiling and ready to add my lovely pasta I brought back from Italy.  It’s a semolina based pasta called “Trecce Dell’orto.  It’s delicious and perfect for pesto but, unfortunately, I’ve not found it here yet.  Once my pasta was cooked, I just added one hefty scoop of pesto I had previously made and tossed it in.  I tossed in a few cherry tomatoes halves to add texture, color and freshness to this dish.  Finish it off with a few sprinkles of Sel de Cali, for taste and presentation, as well as a bit of grated parmesan cheese.  The dish takes about 20 mins to prepare, if you make the pesto ahead of time.  You can use any type of pasta, but good ones with this are farfalle, bow tie, orcetta, basically any type of pasta works.  I find that it’s not the greatest with angel hair pasta because it tends to clump up, but it’s still tasty.  Enjoy.  YUM

Seafood Stew











Lovely Seafood Stew

2 live crabs
10 shrimp with tail
8 scallops
1 quart Fish Stock
1 shallot
2 celery stalks
2 ripe, plum tomatoes-peeled
a few red pepper flakes
1 big glass of dry white wine

My fish stock that I previously made was fully thawed.

Chop the shallots and celery and saute for about 5 minutes in a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallops and sear about 2 mins per side.  Remove scallops and put them aside for later. Add the white wine to the celery shallot mixture, about a big glass. Let some of the wine evaporate a bit and then add  the fish stock. Start a big pot of boiling water to cook the crabs.  Once the water is boiling add salt, pepper corns and red pepper flakes to give a bit of flavor to the crabs. Carefully place the live crab into the boiling water and let cook for about 10 mins. once cooked add them to the fish stock mixture. Peel and chop a tomato and add to the pot. Add the shrimp and cook for about 5 mins.  Lastly add the clams and previously cooked scallops.  You will be ready to eat in about 4 minutes.  Just make sure all clam shells are open which is a good indication that your meal is ready to eat.   A big YUM!   It was truly delicious. I do wish I had fennel though, next time.

I went to my fabulous Fish stop to stock up on yummy seafood. I love going to this warehouse. I feel like I’m on a hunt. I never really know what the fisherman will have, yet whatever it is, it’s always fresh and delicious. Today I decided I would use up my fish stock to make a seafood stew. I got 2 huge crabs and 2 lbs of clams for nothing. My friend got a gorgeous Mahi Mahi, the lady at the shop told my friend’s 4-year old, “Mahi Mahi is so great they had to name it twice.” I just love it on the docks of San Pedro. The nice, friendly Mexican guy working on cleaning the fish gave the little girl the fish spine to give to the seals off the dock. We went out with our fish guts and got swarmed by over 30 hungry Pelicans. She tossed the fish remains in the water and sure enough, over 15 Lion Seals came swimming. It was the coolest thing, so pure. So pure that I was scared of all these animals rushing towards us. We weren’t in a safe-aquarium environment, we were in the wild, in a way. The pelicans were at my feet. I got over the fright then grabbed my two angry crabs and fresh clams. I got home and put them right away in the fridge. I placed the clams in a bowl of salt water with about a tablespoon of polenta, apparently it helps purge the clams of any sand. I perused different recipes for seafood stew and other types. Most all required fennel. I didn’t have any. I used a bit of celery instead.