Saturday, January 3, 2015

My First Beef Wellington....

I don't like New Year's resolutions that are founded in a negative - quitting something, giving up something, losing something.  So this year I decided to have a "want to" resolution list.  So far I've only come up with three:

1) I want to see Darius Rucker perform live.
2) I want to do more squats (significantly more, cuz right now 5 would be "more")
3) I want to learn new things.

Well Darius isn't performing in the Bay Area tonight, and I don't feel like doing squats right now (and therein lies the problem!), so I decided that I would go with #3 and tackle a recipe that always intimidated me, as my New Years Eve dinner: Beef Wellington.  As it turns out, it's not that intimidating, it just involved more steps than I usually care to take and more pots/pans than I like to wash.  I followed a recipe from Tyler's Ultimate show from You can probably just google it and follow the recipe like I did, but I thought it might be nice for you to see how it all progressed and ended with this.....

First of all I felt better having my cooking partner in crime Chef Tom there to help me.  He was classically trained at the CCA, so I tend to turn to him when I want to try a classic dish  like this one.  So here's how it goes...don't be intimidated like I was; it's easy and sooooooo worth the little bit of extra effort.

First things first - make a duxelle.  That's simply mushrooms, shallot, garlic and thyme.  Process them in a food processor until finely chopped.

Then sauté that mixture in a little butter and olive oil.  I like to use unsalted butter when I cook, so that I can control the seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture is removed and season it with salt and pepper.

While the duxelle is cooking, lay out some plastic wrap and layer them with slices of prosciutto.  I used three slices, slightly overlapping, down the length of the plastic. 

Next, spread a layer of the duxelle on top of the prosciutto.  Starting out pretty dang good, right?!

You want to sear the fillets (just about 3-4 minutes) in a screaming hot pan (you know I think it should be cast iron, right?), brush with Dijon mustard and place them toward one end of the prosciutto so you can roll it up.....


Wrap them up tightly and place in the fridge for about a half hour to firm up.  Now comes the puff still my heart!  Tom suggested putting a little bit of butter and olive oil under the beef to keep the juices from making the pastry soggy....

And then you just fold it up like a big, juicy present.  Use a little egg wash on each fold to act like a glue and then give the finished product one more brush; this will make the pastry beautifully browned.

Then into a 425 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  Take it out an let it sit briefly (thank God it doesn't need to sit as long as a roast, because THAT would be torture!)

Now if that's not delicious enough, we made Tyler's green peppercorn sauce to serve with it.  You start by sautéing more shallots, garlic and thyme in olive oil.

After a few minutes you're ready to scare the heck out of word: Flambe.  I had to make Tom do this because I know he's done it before, but more importantly because I'm a huge klutz and I like my house.  Tyler's recipe calls for removing the skillet from the heat, adding brandy and lighting the mixture with "a large kitchen match."  Tom didn't seem to be phased by the fact that I didn't have a large kitchen match.  He said, "This is a gas stove, we don't need a match" and promptly tipped the pan and ignited the brandy (he's a professional, so it worked out just fine, but I did have a minute or so of sheer panic as I watched the flames dance up toward the hood, and immediately thought of another new year's resolution - get a fire extinguisher for my kitchen!) 

Once the flames die down (felt like FOREVER), you add beef broth and reduce the sauce by half.  Then strain out the solids (that part breaks my heart, cuz those shallots are delicious little nuggets that should be eaten - crackers, anyone?!) and return the liquid to the heat.  You add cream (yes, heavy cream!  It's just one day, so forgive yourself.) and Dijon mustard and reduce it again by half.  When it's ready you simply add some green peppercorns drained from the brine you buy them in, and you begin to write Tyler Florence a thank you note.....

We served the sauce on the side (Tom's suggestion; I wanted to pour that puppy aaaalllll over the Wellington, potatoes and asparagus!  I conceded because without his mad flambé skills (and he brought the brandy), I wouldn't have had the sauce in the first place.  You do what you want....but whatever you do, make this dish!

Ironically I teach cooking classes to make people feel less intimidated in the kitchen, but I have allowed myself to be intimidated by certain recipes and techniques.  I may not be flambéing any time soon, but I WILL be tackling more recipes that take me out of my comfort zone.  Hope you'll join me on the journey.

What dish have you always wanted to try, but haven't yet?????

Cook Happy!

Here's Tyler's recipe:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sometimes you just need a quickie.....

....I'm talking about dinner, of course.

One of the biggest challenges I hear from people, especially moms, is that it's so hard to get a healthy meal on the table quickly at night.  I get it.  I spend most of my days cooking for other people, and when I get home I want something easy. But I'm not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich kind of girl.  I love to cook, but I like to eat even more, so I've found ways to get to the eating part as quickly as possible.  And I don't compromise taste or quality.  So here are some of my quick-cooking tips:

1) First of all, have a kitchen that supports your needs.  In my pantry I always have a variety of grains, beans, quinoa pasta, canned tomatoes, panko, herbs and spices, vinegars, coconut milk,  chicken and veg broth, onions, garlic and shallots.  My fridge always has my favorite veggies (whatever is in season), romaine, eggs, cheese (can't help it), tamari, curry paste, Greek yogurt and corn tortillas.  And my freezer holds nuts and seeds, frozen spinach, and puff pastry.  I can make something quick and delicious with just these.

2) Let the supermarket help you out - a rotisserie chicken is a great buy.  You can make sandwiches, soup, tacos or a stir fry in minutes.  Bagged lettuces save you time cleaning, as most are triple washed.  You can even find pre-sliced veggies for stir-fries and fajitas.  They will cost you more than their non-prepped counterparts, but will save you valuable time at night.

3) Take your frustration out on a chicken breast.  I always pound my boneless chicken breasts before cooking.  It helps them cook more evenly and quicker, and you'll often find that one chicken breast, when pounded thin, yields two servings.  Season it with a little salt & pepper and smoked paprika (trust me!) and sauté in a little olive oil for just about 3-4 minutes per side.  I like to sauté thinly sliced onion and peppers in the same skillet and serve over the chicken for an easy-peasy side (or top, as the case may be).

4) Eat more seafood.  Fish cooks up so fast.  My favorite way to prepare it is to put it in parchment paper with some fresh herbs, citrus slices, capers and scallions, then wrap it up and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.  The more thinly sliced veggies you put inside the packet, the more of a one-dish meal you've got.  Try carrots, mushrooms, zucchini.  This works with all seafood - shrimp takes about 8-10 minutes, fillets like snapper, salmon and bass take about 10-12, and thicker fillets like halibut take about 15.  Added bonus - clean up is a breeze.

5) Salad is not rabbit food.  You can make a really hearty dinner salad in a flash.  Remember that rotisserie chicken?  Slice it up and toss with mixed greens, chickpeas, cooked rice, fresh veggies and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I made the salad below in about 8 minutes tonight.  I sautéed cubes of a sourdough baguette in olive oil, added sliced onion, a little garlic, halved cherry tomatoes and cooked until the tomatoes blistered.  Then I added chopped romaine and balsamic vinegar.  Tossed it all with a little bleu cheese....and voila. Completely satisfying. (If you've never grilled romaine or sautéed it, give it a try!)

6) Have breakfast for dinner.  Here's another chance to get a bunch of veggies and protein all in one pot.  Make a veggie omelet, or scramble eggs with some black beans, pasilla pepper, onion and salsa.  If you want a fast yet fancy egg dish, whip up a fritatta: saute veggies in unsalted butter or olive oil, add 6 beaten eggs to the skillet (and some fresh herbs), cook on the stove top until mostly set, and then pop under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes until it puffs up.  Bonus: you have extras for a healthy breakfast on the go.

So there you quick cooking tips to get a healthy, tasty meal on the table in minutes.  Dinner shouldn't be stressful.....I hope this helps.

Cook happy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Machuca....

About two years ago, I visited Roatan, Honduras.  I went on a tour of the island, expecting the usual photo opps and shopping stops.  I didn't expect one of the best culinary experiences of my life...but I sure got one. Our last stop was at a little Garifuna village where the women were making a traditional soup called Machuca.  I've dreamt about it ever since.

I remember asking our tour guide on the way back how to make it, and she gave me her basic recipe; I've not forgotten it: mashed plantains, coconut milk, fish stock, peppers, onions, cumin, coriander and fish.  Of course the Garifuna women don't have Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, so they make their own coconut milk from shredding and soaking coconut meat, and their own fish stock from simmering fish heads, shells, bones, conch, etc.  I'm sure this is why their Machuca was so delicious and memorable.  This weekend was cold and rainy, and my thoughts ventured to sunny vacations, so I figured it was time to bust out a little Machuca.

Here's what you need.....

Black plantains (they're sweeter and so ripe that they need very little cooking), coconut milk, seafood stock (I'm not buying fish heads, sorry), onion, bell pepper, Serrano pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander and fish (preferably snapper, but any white fish will do).  Traditional Machuca also contains yucca, but it takes a long tome to cook and it wasn't in my guide's recipe, so I left it out, but if you're looking for authenticity, go for it - just boil that first until soft, then add to the soup later.

Start by slicing the plantains in half, peeling the flesh from the skin and chopping.  Place in a pot of boiling water along with about a teaspoon of chopped garlic (boiling the garlic helps mellow the bite of raw garlic).

My plantains were super ripe and soft, so I only had to boil for about 5 minutes.  When done, drain really well (cook the rest of the soup while it drains) and mash with the garlic and a pinch of salt.

To prepare the soup, sauté the onion, bell pepper, Serrano, and garlic in coconut oil until softened, about 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the fish into bite-sized pieces.  The Garifuna often will fry fish and place that in the bowl with the soup poured over, but I opted for just simmering fresh fish pieces in the soup before serving.

When the onion mixture is soft, add cumin and coriander and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes. Then add coconut milk and seafood stock, and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the fish and cook just until opaque and cooked through, stirring often to turn the fish, keeping it in the hot liquid.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and just before serving add a splash of lime juice.

Now the  presentation..... take a handful of the plantain mash and form into a ball.  Place that in the middle of the bowl....

...then pour the soup mixture all around the plantain ball.  We had ours served like this, but often the Garifuna people will serve the mashed plantains in a separate bowl on the side.  I really prefer it all together, taking a little spoonful of the plantains in each sip of soup.  The combination of sweet, spicy, creamy and tart (from the lime - so don't be stingy) is incredible.

Man, I need another culinary vacation......

Machuca (Suzanne Style)
Serves 4

2 black plantains, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic, divided
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 Serrano chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 can coconut milk
2 cups seafood broth
1 lb snapper or other white fish, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place the chopped plantains and 1 teaspoon garlic in a pot of boiling water.  Boil until softened, about 5 minutes.  Drain well while you prepare the rest of the soup.
  • Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, Serrano, bell pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic.  Sauté stirring occasionally until softened, about 3-5 minutes. 
  • Add cumin and coriander and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in coconut milk and seafood stock, and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Add fish and stir occasionally, turning the fish pieces to keep under the liquid until opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile mash plantains in a bowl with a pinch of salt.  Form plantain mixture into 4 balls and place in each of four bowls.
  • When fish is cooked, season soup with salt and pepper and add lime juice to taste.
  • Pour soup around plantain ball and serve immediately.
Cook Happy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A New Take on Sloppy Joes

Foods from my childhood are comfort foods to me - Mac & Cheese, Tomato Soup,  Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  But they're not the healthiest things on the planet, so I tend to "mix it up" a little bit.  When I was a little kid, I loved Sloppy Joe's.  My mom was a "from scratch" mom, so we're not talking about a can of Manwich thrown on a bun.  She probably made a tomato sauce, sautéed onions and any other veggie could try to sneak in there, and fresh ground beef.  And it went on something cool like a Dutch crunch roll.

So in honor of my mom's efforts, I put my own spin on Sloppy Joes: Thai Style!

I started out by sautéing some diced onion in coconut oil.  You can use olive oil if you don't have coconut oil, but I HIGHLY recommend coconut oil; adds a really nice background of flavor (and the scent reminds me of sun-filled vacations).  When they're nice and soft, create a little space in the middle of the skillet and add garlic, ginger and Serrano pepper.  I like to let those sit on the heat by themselves for a minute and then incorporate them into the onions.  Then add red curry paste (green or yellow works, too, but the red paste makes me happy and looks good), and stir that in well.

Now comes the turkey.  I like to use a half-and-half mixture of breast and thigh; it makes for a moister (Is that a word?  It looks weird.) burger, meatloaf or....sloppy Joes.  Break it up with a wooden spoon into little pieces and cook until no longer pink.

How about some more Thai flavors?  I'm all in with coconut milk, fish sauce (just do it!) and tamari.  Tamari, if you're not familiar, is a wheat-free soy sauce.  Traditional soy sauce is about 60% wheat, so when you remove the wheat, you get a really rich, deep flavor. 

Let that simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed... depending on your particular "sloppy" factor.

Add scallions, cilantro and fresh lime sauce, and you're good to go.
I made a little slaw salad to go on top with purple cabbage, carrots, scallions, lime juice, a tiny pinch of sugar and a little cilantro.  Make this early on and let it sit to soften and develop .
I like to serve this on naam (I know it's Indian, and this is Thai, but it works!), but you can use traditional buns...I won't come to your house and check.
This is fast and flavorful, perfect for a quick weeknight fix.....
Thai Turkey Sloppy Joes
Serves 4-6
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup diced onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced serrano pepper
¼ cup Thai Kitchen red curry paste
½ lb ground turkey breast
½ lb ground turkey thighClick to see savings
Click to see savingsClick to see1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarik to see savings
½ teaspoons fish sauce
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, divided
½ cup lime juice, divided, plus extra lime wedges for garnish
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
Click to see savi1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks or shredded
Click to see savings1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, divided
Pinch coconut palm sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
1 package Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan
·         Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
·         Create a well in the middle of skillet and add garlic, ginger and serrano pepper.  Let stand 1 minute and then stir to combine.
·         Add curry paste and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
·          Add turkey, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes.
·         Add coconut milk, tamari and fish sauce and half of the scallions. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
·         Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, remaining half of the scallions, ¼ cup lime juice, ¼ cup of cilantro and sugar. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand (the longer the better).
·         Add remaining lime juice and cilantro to turkey mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
·         Cut naan in half across the middle and place turkey mixture on each half.  Top with cabbage slaw and serve with lime wedges.
Cook Happy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lentil-Chickpea Burger

I was at a dinner party last night and heard a couple people mention following me on facebook and reading my blog (I love when that happens), and then someone said, "But I haven't seen much lately"  (I hate when that happens!).  But he was right.  I've been so busy cooking for other people, having classes and doing freelance recipe writing and editing (and don't get me wrong - I'm loving it!), but that has left my poor little blog neglected.

So here I am, with one of my favorite new veggie burger recipes: Lentil-Chickpea Burgers.  I made it last month for one of my weekly clients who's interested in eating more vegetarian meals, and it was such a hit that she requests it every week.  Sounds like a good comeback blog item to me.....

I start out by cooking lentils.  I prefer green lentils because they tend to hold up better than red lentils.  You only need 1 cup of cooked lentils for the burgers, but I find it a little more difficult to cook small amounts of lentils, so I go ahead and use 1 cup uncooked; it'll yield more lentils than you need, but you can save the rest and add to soup or a salad.  Put the lentils and enough water to cover by a couple inches (usually 3 times the amount of dried lentils) in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  I only cook them for about 10 minutes, so they are still fairly firm.  Then drain them, measure out 1 cup and put them in a food processor.

Add a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), some shredded carrot, chopped scallion, fresh cilantro, ground cumin and coriander, lemon zest and salt & pepper.  Pulse it to break down the ingredients a bit , then add an egg and some panko and pulse again until fully combined.

Since I work with people who avoid both of those last ingredients, I have a couple alternatives for you, if you are in the same boat: instead of an egg, you can make a flax slurry - 1 tablespoon ground flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water is the equivalent to 1 egg (let it sit for a couple minutes to congeal), and if you are going gluten-free, just place a couple slices of toasted gluten-free bread in a food processor and blend until you have breadcrumbs.

Form the mixture into 4-6 patties, depending on the size you like and pan fry in oil about 4-5 minutes per side until lightly browned - a cast iron skillet will help facilitate that beautiful browning.  Leave enough space between patties so that you can easily flip them.

I top mine with a little avocado sauce - blend 1 avocado, juice of 1 lime, a handful of cilantro, about 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt in a Bullet or mini chopper.  If you only have a blender, this amount may be too small to blend properly, so double it, using just enough water to get the consistency you like. 

Lentil-Chickpea Burgers
Serves 4

1 cup cooked green lentils
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 large scallion, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 cup panko
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Place cooked lentils, chickpeas, carrot, cilantro, scallion, zest, cumin and coriander in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 4-5 times to break down the ingredients.
  • Add panko, egg, salt and pepper and continue to pulse until well blended.
  • Form into 4-6 patties, depending on your taste.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) and cook 4-5 minutes per side until lightly browned.
Yum it up.....and cook happy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A spoon, a knife and a bowl....

I'm having my kitchen repainted, and with that comes the daunting task of having to empty EVERY cabinet and drawer.  No sooner was I done packing everything up that I realized....DANG, I'm hungry!  Why didn't I think about that BEFORE I put everything in boxes???

It was the avocado that I spied off to the side of the kitchen that got my stomach growling. The last thing I packed was my pantry, and I remembered that I had a can of Alaskan salmon.  Trying to keep it simple, I knew if I could only find a spoon, a knife and a bowl, I could make something yummy.

I still had my fridge hooked up (thank you!) , so I found celery, red onion, dill and pepperoncini (would've preferred capers, but I used them up last week when I made Chicken Marbella for a client, but it was a nice substitution). 

I tossed that all in the bowl, added some Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon juice, a little vinegar and seasoned it with salt & pepper. 

Then I cut the avocado in half, took out the pit and stuffed it with the salad.  I placed them on a bed of arugula.....and I was a happy girl!  This is a great thing to make not only when your kitchen in sitting in boxes all around the house, but when it's hot, hot, hot during the summer (or this weekend in Northern California, as they're predicting), because you only need a spoon, a knife and a bowl...and no stove time!

Salmon Salad
Serves 2-4 (I ate a whole avocado, but then I'm often a glutton!)

1 six ounce can wild Alaskan salmon
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 celery stalks, diced
3 tablespoons capers (or diced pepperoncini)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt (depending on your desired consistency)
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Sea salt & pepper to taste
2 Hass avocados
3 cups arugula
  • Place salmon, onion, celery, capers (or pepperoncini) and dill in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
  • Stir in enough yogurt to reach your preferred consistency.
  • Add lemon juice and vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cut avocados in half, remove pit and use a spoon to remove skin.
  • Place arugula on platter or divide among individual plates and top with avocados.  Stuff each avocado half with salmon salad.

Cook (or in this case, don't "cook") Happy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Scallop Challenge

I haven't had a "DANG!" moment in the kitchen like this for a while.  A "DANG!" moment is when I make something that is soooo tasty that I literally say "DANG!" when I take that first bite.  It's usually followed by what one class of former students at Bauman College called "the growl"...... I think it's more like a purr, but who am I to say.

This particular Dang Moment came from a recipe I developed for a book that a nutritionist I work for has coming out later this year.  I was tasked with developing 25 recipes, in specific categories, with specific considerations: no gluten, dairy, soy for one (or three, I guess).

One request was for a seafood recipe, preferably shrimp or scallops.  I'm allergic to shrimp, so if I can't taste it, I don't want to put it in a book.  So I went, lovingly, with scallops.  I DIG scallops, but I usually like to cook them in some kind of a cream sauce.  But I can't use cream for this assignment.  So.....let's use coconut milk.  Oh how I love a challenge!

I must confess I got the idea for the sauce from my friend Francesca when we made a roasted red pepper coconut and pea sauce for a chicken dish we made at The Ceres Community Project. I played around with it a smidge, and made a sauce perfect for delicate scallops.

Let's start with roasting a couple yellow bell peppers....

You can do this a few ways.  My favorite is to place them on my gas flame and keep turning them until fully (or as best you can get) blackened.  You can also place them under the broiler, if you don't have a gas stove, and also keep turning until blackened, or you can roast them at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally until blackened.  Do you get the goal here...."blackened."

Once your peppers are sufficiently roasted, place them in a  bowl and cover with a plate to "sweat" them, or place them in a paper bag and fold the bag down tight to  capture the heat.  Let it sit for at least 20 minutes, and the skin will slide right off.  Take out the seeds , stem and membrane and chop them up.

While the peppers are roasting, cook diced onion in oil until soft and lightly browned.  Then put the onion, chopped peppers and coconut milk in a blender and puree.  Add a little lime juice and salt and you're all set with the sauce.

You want to wait til that's ready before you start cooking your scallops, because scallops cook so quickly....

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with sea salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large skillet (cast iron gives you the best sear - crispy edges) and wait til oil is good and hot - I wet my hand and spritz a little water in the skillet; if it sizzles, you're good to go.  Place the scallops in skillet, careful not to overcrowd the pan - work in batches or use 2 skillets.  Sear for about 3 minutes, flip and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until crispy outside and soft inside.

Remove scallops to plate and tent with foil to keep warm.  Pour coconut-pepper mixture in the skillet  and along with some basil leaves and cook a few minutes until warm.

Peel one zucchini per person and mound into individual bowls.  Add three scallops and pour some sauce (to your liking) over the whole dish.

I made this the other night when a friend came over who "hates" coconut.  Sorry, but this is what I'm testing.  I offered to make something else for him, but he didn't want me to go to the trouble (got to love that!), so he tried it...... he asked for seconds!!  I think that says it all..... well, plus a "DANG!"

Seared Scallops in Sweet Pepper-Coconut Sauce
Serves 4 

2 yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 dozen large sea scallops
Sea salt &freshly cracked pepper
¼ cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
4 zucchini
·         Preheat broiler with a rack in the upper third position (not directly under the broiler, but the next rung down) 
·         Line a baking sheet with foil and broil peppers, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 20 minutes. (Alternately, if you have a gas stove, you can roast each pepper over the flames, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.
·         Remove peppers and place in a large bowl and cover with a plate to sweat the peppers for 15-20 minutes, or place in a paper bag and fold & tighten the bag to sweat them.
·         Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet – preferable cast iron – over medium meat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and lightly browned, about 4- 5 minutes.  
·         Remove onions from skillet and place in a bowl.  Wipe out skillet, removing all onion pieces.  Set aside.
·         Remove skin, stem and seeds from peppers, chop roughly and add to bowl with onions.
·         Transfer onions and peppers to blender and add coconut milk, lime juice and a pinch of salt.  Blend for about 30-45 seconds or until smooth.   Set aside
·         Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and season one side with salt and pepper.
·         Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over medium high heat.  When hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, add half the scallops, seasoned side down, and season the remaining side with salt and pepper.  Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until a crisp, brown crust forms.
·         Transfer cooked scallops to a pate and tent with foil to keep warm
·        Add remaining 6 scallops, adding more oil if necessary.  Remove to tented plate.
·       Add coconut-pepper mixture and basil leaves to skillet to warm, just 2-3 minutes.  Meanwhile peel the zucchini into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler and place in on individual plates or bowls.
·         Place 3 scallops on each of the zucchini “noodles” and top with sauce.
Cook Happy!