250 Cookbooks: Creme de Colorado Cookbook

Cookbook #103: Crème de Colorado Cookbook, The Junior League of Denver, 1987.

Creme de Colorado CBThis is one of my favorite cookbooks! I store it in my kitchen cabinet with other cookbooks that I use a lot (like my Joy of Cooking). I rely on it for the Denver Cheesecake that I make at Christmas. I love the Creamy Banana Coffee Cake, with bananas, cream cheese, spices, and pecans, baked in a bundt pan. It’s my reference for baklava. I have notes and scrap papers throughout this cookbook.

This cookbook is produced by the Junior League of Denver. To date, they have produced five Colorado cookbooks, and the Crème de Colorado is the second in the series. Beautiful color photos of Colorado landscapes grace the introductory pages of this full-sized hardcover cookbook. John Fielder is the photographer. You can check out his photography on his web page. He used to produce yearly calendars of Rocky Mountain National Park – I bought them every year – but those have been discontinued.

The Crème de Colorado Cookbook is a from-scratch cookbook, with a wide variety of good recipes. Many recipes tend to be high in calories. Butter, cream, and cheese are common ingredients. I use this cookbook more at holiday times than in every day cooking. But looking at the recipes today, I find many that I want to try that either are calorie-appropriate or could easily be made so with a few changes.

I decide to make “Scallop Crepes” for this blog. This recipe intrigues me because of the way the scallops are prepared. Briefly, the scallops are put in a hot stock for a few minutes and then removed. Thus, the scallops do not get overcooked but all of their juices are released into the stock. I have this big bag of scallops in the freezer that I bought on sale, and I have tried cooking scallops from this bag without success: I fried them, and they leaked liquid into the pan and got very tough. I am curious to try the method in Crème de Colorado to see if I can preserve the texture (and flavor) of these scallops.

Scallop Crepes recipeThe above recipe calls for whipping cream, and I’ll substitute it with milk to save calories. I want to serve these as small, appetizer-sized crepes, so I will make the crepes smaller. I will halve all amounts to serve three instead of six. Other than that, I plan to pretty much follow this recipe.

Scallop Crepes
serves 3 as a main dish, 4-6 as an appetizer

Crepes

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (optional, leave out for fewer calories)

Combine all crepe ingredients in a blender and mix well. Let stand an hour or so. Make 3-inch crepes in your favorite way. My way is this: I have a dedicated (old) crepe pan, I heat it to very hot, spray with non-stick spray, and immediately pour a small amount of batter onto the pan and roll the pan to distribute the batter. I cook both sides of the crepe about 15 seconds.) Crepes can be made ahead and extras can be stored in the refrigerator for a later dinner (or breakfast!).

Stock, scallops, and mushrooms

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 green onions, cut roughly
  • 1 or 2 stalks celery, cut roughly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • whole peppercorns (about 5)
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1/3 pound mushrooms, sliced

Combine the chicken stock, wine, green onions, celery, bay leaf, and peppercorns and heat to boiling. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, then pour through a strainer to remove the vegetables. Put the stock back into the pan and add the scallops and mushrooms and simmer 5 minutes (no longer!). Remove the scallops and mushrooms, either by straining or using a slotted spoon. Reserve the scallops and mushrooms. Boil the stock to reduce the volume to about 1/2 cup.

The sauce and filling

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 5/8 cup milk (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup reduced stock from the previous step
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Stir for a minute or two, then stir in milk and reduced stock, cooking until bubbly. Keep stirring until smooth and a little thick.

Beat the egg yolk with a couple tablespoons of the milk, then beat in a spoonful of the hot sauce. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the hot sauce and heat until bubbly and thick. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and salt.

Add a little over half of the sauce to the cooked scallops and mushrooms, along with half of the Swiss cheese. Gently mix, then fill the crepes and roll to enclose. Place the crepes in a lightly buttered or non-stick-sprayed pan. Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 425˚ for 10 minutes.

These were good! I added a bit more lemon juice to the sauce (and incorporated that change in my version of the recipe, above). I especially like these as appetizers, rather than a full meal, but that’s just my preference.

Scallop Crepes

250 Cookbooks: The New Pasta Cookbook

Cookbook #13: The New Pasta Cookbook. Joanne Glynn, Tormont Publications, Montreal, Canada, 1993.

New Pasta Cookbook

Pasta is one of my favorite foods. Sometime in the early 1980s I bought a manual pasta maker, and sometime in the 1990s I received as a gift an electric pasta machine. I must have picked up The New Pasta Cookbook around the time I got the electric pasta machine. I don’t think I’ve ever made any recipe from this book, it’s clean and has no notes written in it.

This is a glossy cookbook with lots of photos, including pretty pictures of many different types of pasta. Some recipes use ready-made pasta, others include instructions for making the pasta from scratch. Lots of interesting variations on pasta sauces and pasta dishes are included. But for some reason, I just don’t “bond” with this book. The author doesn’t write personal notes, either in a foreword or with the individual recipes. Many recipes seem high calorie, although no nutrition information is included. I don’t like the layout of the recipes.The recipes have long names: “Fresh Carrot Pasta with Cream and Mint”, “Spicy Ricotta Agnolotti in Herb Leaf Pasta”, “Sauce of Leeks, Gruyere, and Cream”. Why do I mention this? A pet peeve. Long recipe names are distracting and pretentious, in my opinion.

It took me several times of going through this book to find a recipe I wanted to try. I chose one of the long-name recipes: “Seafood Agnolotti with Coriander and Zucchini”. Agnolotti is a filled pasta, similar to ravioli, but these are folded-over circles instead of filled squares. The recipe calls for preparing the pasta from scratch. The filling is a mixture of fish, shrimp, ricotta, spinach, fontina cheese, and coriander (cilantro). The sauce is light, just zucchini and butter: sounds good, but my eating partner likes heavy sauces and he is not a fan of zucchini. I will make a regular tomato sauce to sauce the agnolotti, and I will also prepare a variation on the zucchini sauce.

I have set myself up for a long task: pasta from scratch, a filling, and two sauces to prepare. I will have to focus carefully on the sauces, since I will be going off-recipe so that I can create something both of us will enjoy. Here is what lies ahead for me:

Agnolotti Rec1Agnolotti Rec2

It’s a Wednesday afternoon. I find my old manual pasta maker, dust off the cobwebs (literally). I used to use it a lot!  I remember making pasta at least once a month when the kids were little. I’d make a full batch and freeze extra noodles for quick mid-week meals. Where did I find the time, raising kids and working full time? And why did I stop making fresh pasta? I think I stopped because stores now offer fresh pastas that are almost as good. I also use no-bake lasagne noodles (Barilla); soaked in hot water, these make a quick lasagne or can be rolled to make manicotti.

But I seem to recall that homemade, fresh pasta just can’t be beat. And now I have the time to see if my memory is correct.

The Project

I am first going to describe how I prepared this dish, and then I will write down the recipe as I revised it.

Freshly mixed pasta dough needs to rest 30 minutes to an hour before it can be rolled out. So the first thing I do is prepare the pasta dough. I use the recipe that I was given at a cooking demonstration when I first bought my manual pasta maker:

Pasta Recipe

I like semolina flour in my pasta dough, and I know this recipe works. I’m not going to all this work using an untried dough recipe. I put the flours, salt, eggs, olive oil, and a couple tablespoons of water in my big stand mixer, and start it mixing on a low speed. Then I add more water in small portions until the dough almost holds together. This is a judgement call, and I was pleased that it all came back to me, I just “knew” when it was right. This day, I added 3 tablespoons of water.

I took the dough out of the mixer and pressed it into a big ball. Then I covered it with plastic wrap and set it on the counter to rest. In the photo, you can see how the dough “almost” holds together.

Agnolotti 2

Time to start the filling. Note that the New Pasta Cookbook’s recipe calls for poached fish and cooked shrimp, but gives no instructions for either task. I decide to poach the seafoods in hot water seasoned with lemon, cilantro, wine, and salt. I brought this mixture to a boil:

Agnolotti 1

I added the fish to the pot and covered it, then removed it from the heat. After two minutes, I added the shrimp (shrimp should never be overcooked). I waited another two minutes, then strained the mixture through a colander. When cool enough to handle, I picked out the fish and the shrimp, chopped them into small pieces, and put them in a bowl.

Next, I cooked the spinach. Spinach really cooks down. I put half of a 5-ounce package of fresh spinach in a pot and added a little water, brought it to a bowl, then turned off the heat. In a few minutes it was done. I drained it through a colander, squeezed out most of the liquid, and chopped the spinach (it measured about 1/4 cup). I added it to the bowl with the fish and shrimp, then I added the remaining filling ingredients.

By this time, at least 30 minutes had passed, so it’s time to roll the pasta. Boy, this all comes back to me! This is fun, pushing the dough through the pasta roller. My pasta maker has six settings. I started on setting 1 (thickest) and pushed one-quarter of the dough through, turning the crank. Then I folded that piece in two and rolled it through once more. Next I changed to setting 2 and rolled it through once, setting 3 once, and so on all the way to setting 5. By this time, the sheet of dough was quite large, so I chopped it in half and put each piece through setting 6. After I rolled all the dough in this manner, I had 8 thin sheets of dough. I covered them with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out too much.

Agnolotti 3

Time to fill and cook the agnolottis. I start a pot of water boiling as I lay the first sheet of pasta out on my counter. I take my very ancient cookie cutter and start cutting out circles. I have to push down very hard because it’s not very sharp!

Agnolotti 4

I use my fingers to spread an egg wash on each circle, then add a small amount of filling, then fold the agnolottis over and crimp with a fork.

Agnolotti 5Agnolotti 6

I quickly learned that I couldn’t use too much filling or the dough would crack when folded. I also learned that the agnolottis like to stick to the bread board, so I transferred them to a lightly floured parchment paper.

Once I had about a dozen agnolottis formed, I put them in boiling, salted water. They took about 4 minutes to cook.

I just had to try one! I carefully removed one with a slotted spoon and when it was still almost too hot, I put it in my mouth. Agnolotti 8

Absolutely heavenly! Perfect perfect perfect! The photo doesn’t do them justice, though.

Okay! Time to cook the rest of the little pastas. Now I can rest easy, I know they will make a great meal.

What happened, though, is that I cooked a lot of them, then got tired. I had enough for about three people when I stopped cooking the agnolottis. I had thought I’d make extra for another meal, but I had been in the kitchen for three hours and enough is enough. I froze about half the dough sheets for a future meal. I did a calculation, and I figure that if I had made the recipe according to the one in the cookbook, I would have enough for 8 people, not 4 as stated in the recipe. I had a lot of filling left over, but oh well. There is also a lot of wasted dough, since cutting circles leaves a lot of unusable dough pieces. (Square raviolis make better use of a sheet of dough. Ravioli is more environmentally proper. Ha.)

While I was making the agnolottis, I also prepared a baked tomato sauce. The New Pasta Cookbook has a recipe for this, and it appealed to me because I could just pop it in the oven and forget about it.

Baked Tomato SauceI followed this recipe almost as written. I didn’t drain the tomatoes; I used an immersion blender to crush them; I chopped the onion, garlic, and basil in a mini-chopper. It turned out great:

Baked Tomato SauceI finished the pasta and the tomato sauce about an hour before meal time. Just before we ate, I quickly sauted julienned zucchini and a mixture of mushrooms in a little butter.

To serve, I lay the agnolotti on each plate, then put a little sauce and zucchini-mushroom mixture on and around the pastas.

When I sat down to eat, I shoveled in about three pastas and then stopped to breathe. They were that good. Delicate, bursting with flavor, and perfectly complemented with my two sauces.

These were so successful that I will keep this cookbook, try more recipes, while aware that the recipe might take a long time to prepare. I read the back of the book and learned that in 1985 the author opened a fresh pasta business, supplying a chain of retail shops. I’m sure that she has a lot of help when she prepares her recipes. I need a sous chef!

The Recipe: Seafood Agnolotti

This recipe makes enough for 2-4 people, depending on appetites. It makes extra pasta dough, which can be frozen, uncooked, for later use.

Pasta:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons water

Put the flours and salt in an electric mixer bowl, then add the eggs and oil. Turn the mixer to a low speed and mix until the eggs are incorporated. Continue mixing while adding water, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough holds together. Remove the dough and push it into a large ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into four pieces. Use a manual pasta maker to roll each portion into a long thin sheet, going sequentially through the settings on the roller from 1 (thick) to 6 (thin). If a sheet gets too unwieldy, cut it in half. Cover the sheets of dough with plastic wrap or damp towels.

Filling

  • 2 ounces white fish, uncooked (cod, sole, halibut, haddock, etc.)
  • 2 ounces raw shrimp, shell removed
  • lemon, cilantro, and wine for poaching fish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (this is fresh coriander)
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fontina cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • about 1/2 ounce fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add lemon wedges, a few sprigs of cilantro, and a dash of white wine. Add the fish and cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and let stand an additional 2 minutes. Drain through a colander. Pick out the fish and shrimp and place in separate piles; chop each finely (especially the shrimp, or it will poke through the agnolotti), then place in a bowl.

Put the fresh spinach in a pot – a half ounce is probably about a cup. The amount of spinach is not critical, since about all it brings to this dish is a bit of color (well, a few nutrients too). Add about a half cup of water to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and when cool enough to handle, put the spinach through a colander and squeeze out all the moisture. Chop it finely and add to the fish and shrimp.

If necessary, make fresh bread crumbs in a food processor, or use packaged bread crumbs. Add these to the other filling ingredients along with the fontina and ricotta cheeses, a little salt, and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

Making the agnolotti

Beat an egg in a small bowl – it is used to seal the pasta. Set a pot of salted water over high heat to bring it to a boil.

Place a sheet of dough on your working surface. Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass (about 2 inches in diameter) to cut out circles of dough. Use a brush or your fingers to paint the beaten egg around the rim of each circle. (I used my fingers and I got the entire circle “painted” but hey, I’m a messy cook.)

Put a little filling in the center of each circle, then fold over to form a half-moon shape. (You will learn that you cannot fill these too full, or they will burst through the dough when you fold them over.) Press the sides of the circle together and go around the cut edges with a fork, or a zigzag pastry wheel or a crimper cutter if you own such a tool.

As the agnolotti are filled, place them on a lightly dusted piece of parchment. When you have enough to fill a pot (about 10-12), put them in to cook for about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, go back to making more agnolotti.

Remove cooked agnolotti with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander. Make agnolotti and cook agnolotti until you have used all the filling, or until you think you have enough to serve as many people as you have for dinner.

As the agnolotti cool in a colander, they probably won’t stick together, but watch them. I didn’t rinse them. When completely cool, you can put them on a large dish or in a bowl.

At serving time, these are tricky to heat back up. I microwaved them briefly, but a couple burst and made a mess in the microwave. The best way is probably to run hot water over them, or put them into a simmering sauce just before serving.

Wrap and freeze any unused pasta dough. If you have extra cooked agnolotti, you can freeze them.

Sauce 1: Baked Tomato Sauce

This makes more sauce than you will need for 2-4 people; any extra can be frozen.

  • 28 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes (undrained)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more)
  • 1 small onion, cut in chunks
  • lots of fresh basil (at least a couple tablespoons when chopped)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup fine bread crumbs (fresh if possible)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh if possible)

Put the tomatoes in a deep baking dish. Use an immersion blender in pulses to break up the tomatoes a little, without turning them into a puree. Alternatively, mash them with a fork.

Put the garlic, onion, and basil in a food processor and pulse a few times. You want these finely chopped, but not pureed. Stir the mixture into the tomatoes along with the olive oil, then sprinkle with a few chili flakes.

Mix the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese, then sprinkle over the top of the tomato mixture. Bake – uncovered – in a 400˚ oven for 45 minutes.

Don’t break the crust until the sauce is being tossed through the pasta; large crunchy bits should remain.

Sauce 2: Zucchini and mushrooms

  • 1/2 of a zucchini
  • 2-4 ounces mushrooms (plain old white ones, or see if you can a mixture of interesting-looking types at your local store)
  • olive oil to taste

Slice the zucchini into thin strips, julienne-style. Chop the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the zucchini for a minute or two, then add the mushrooms and cook a few more minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked. Drizzle with olive oil. Feel free to add garlic, basil, or Parmesan cheese, or even some cilantro.

Put it all together

Warm the agnolotti (if necessary) by running some hot water over them. Place them on a warm serving plate, if possible. Arrange, to taste, the tomato and zucchini-mushroom sauces around and on top of the agnolotti.

Serve! Enjoy!

Favorites: Fish Cakes with Sauce

This recipe is based on one I clipped from a printed BonAppetit magazine, date unknown. I first tried these fish cakes in 2009, and modified the recipe several times to settle on the version below. What’s kind of nice about this entree is that you can use frozen fish. I choose frozen mahi mahi, simply because I can always find it as a wild caught product in our local stores. Cooked as is from the package, it can be tough. But chopped up in these dill-seasoned fish cakes, it is a yummy delicacy.

I state to use “12 ounces” of fish because that’s the size package it’s sold in. Any fish will probably work. I’ve been successful with tuna, mahi mahi, and cod.

The recipe makes 4 fish cakes. It will serve 2-4 people, depending on appetites. For the two of us, I usually have a leftover fish cake that tastes good the next day!

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (substitute the yogurt with mayonnaise if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh) (go ahead and squeeze 3 tablespoons, since you will need 1 tablespoon for the fish cakes)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1-2 tablespoons horseradish (this depends on how hot your horseradish is and how much you like the taste of horseradish)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (go ahead and chop 3 tablespoons, since you will need a tablespoon for the fish cakes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (go ahead and chop 1/2 cup, since you will need 1/4 cup for the fish cakes)

Fish cakes:

  • 2 cups fine bread crumbs, divided (process about 3 slices of sandwich bread in a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces mahi mahi, or other boneless, darkish fish (this is a good time to use economical frozen fish)
  • olive oil

Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Put 1 cup crumbs in a large bowl (for the fish cakes), and place about a cup in a dish (for coating fish cakes).

Cut the fish into large chunks and put it in a food processor. Using very short on/off pulses, very coarsely chop it (do not form a paste).

Add the processed fish to the breadcrumbs in the bowl; then gently mix in the egg, 1 tablespoon of the sauce, 1/4 cup green onion, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chopped dill, and a little salt.

At this point, you can let the mixture stand for an hour or so, covered in the refrigerator. The original recipe did not say to do this, but I did it and it worked.

Shape the fish mixture into 4 – 3 1/2″ round cakes. Thickly coat both sides with the breadcrumbs in the dish.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. (I always hold my hand an inch above the pan and when I can feel a good heat coming off the pan, I know it’s ready. Don’t heat it to the smoking stage.) When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. As soon as the oil is shimmering, carefully add the fish cakes. Cook until cooked through and nice and brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve immediately, with the sauce and fresh lemon wedges.

Fish Cakes

250 Cookbooks: Cooking Light Cookbook 1992

Cookbook #1: Cooking Light Cookbook 1992. Published in 1992 by Oxmoor House.

Cooking Light 1992This 1992 cookbook gathers several hundred recipes from the magazine Cooking Light. (The magazine is still in publication in 2012.) The recipes include appetizers, breakfasts, breads, main dishes, and desserts. All are slanted towards a low-calorie, low-salt diet.

I am determined to report on one recipe from each of my cookbooks, and I am determined to follow each recipe as exactly as possible. Even if I don’t like the cookbook. Even if I would rather substitute ingredients or amounts. Even if the recipe turns out to be a disaster. This is probably unlike any other cooking blog you will see. Just wanted to state that before I get going.

Okay, Cooking Light Cookbook 1992. I could not find a single recipe in the book that I really wanted to make and for which I had all of the exact ingredients, and I have a brimming pantry. Listen to this partial list in one of its recipes: “3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, 1 teaspoon white wine Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons vodka.” I have a black thumb, so any “fresh sage” would have to be harvested wild from the weeds around my house (or purchased for this one recipe from a store). “White wine Worcestershire sauce”, who the heck keeps that on hand? If I could find any buried on a back shelf, I’m sure it would be way past its expiration date. And vodka? 3 tablespoons? I don’t keep vodka in the house because it would call to me. Or if I bought a bottle and used 3 tablespoons, the rest would probably go into the cook and then who knows how the dinner would manifest.

Here are more examples of recipe ingredients in this cookbook:

  • red currant jelly
  • Montrachet goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • low-sodium chicken broth
  • reduced calorie mayonnaise
  • skim milk
  • no salt added tomato sauce

The red currant jelly is not used in many other recipes, meaning one would have to purchase it specially for that recipe and then figure out what to do with the rest. Why specify Montrachet goat cheese? What do you do with the rest of the can of the concentrated orange juice? Why bother with low-sodium Worcestershire sauce when it is usually only used by the teaspoon in a recipe? And as to the low-sodium and low-fat products, yes, they might make a difference. But it is tiring seeing “low-fat-low-salt” listed in every recipe. Why not just state once in the introduction: “Always choose low-salt ingredients when possible” and leave it at that?

Why did I buy this cookbook? Probably to get ideas for low-calorie meals. It’s an ongoing battle for me, to eat good food but not gain weight. I probably incorporated many ideas from cookbooks like this one into my own cooking and shopping practices. Yes I keep low sodium soy sauce in my pantry, yes I use low-sodium chicken broth (homemade). But the  book talks ad nauseam about how we can all benefit from adopting a plan of good nutrition and exercise to bring about a healthier lifestyle. Yes, we hear this a lot. Some cookbooks deal with it better than others. This one is a bit irritating.

Would I use or read this cookbook again? Maybe. I might check it for an idea for a main or side dish or how to lighten up a dessert recipe, but not much else, and I would not follow a recipe exactly. The cookbook is dated, but not dated enough to be “interesting”. It may go into the recycling bin. (Hey, it’s selling for $1.99 on Ebay!)

One plus for this cookbook. A couple decades ago, I must have perused this book a lot, because I tucked a lot of light-style clipped recipes into it. One of those is “Stir Fry Shrimp Salad”. That one is a keeper, with orzo, shrimp, broccoli, and mushrooms in a cool summer salad. Ask me for the recipe, it’s yours.

I decided to try Sweet-and-Hot Scallops because I had some scallops in the freezer and I thought the mix of pineapple and vegetables sounded interesting. And hot bean paste, what’s that? An unusual ingredient for a 1992 American cookbook, for sure. I had some trouble finding it in a store (details) but it was a fun search.

A second plus for the cookbook. We liked the following recipe!

Recipe: Sweet-and-Hot Scallops
4 stars


Vegetable cooking spray
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1/2 cup diagonally sliced carrot
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
6 ounces fresh snow pea pods, trimmed
1 pound sea scallops
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth, undiluted
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hot bean paste [see note]
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
3 cups cooked long-grain rice (cooked without fat or salt)

Coat a wok or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil. Place over medium-high heat (375˚) until hot. Add carrot, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add onion, and stir-fry one minute.

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Add pineapple, snow peas, and water chestnuts to wok; stir-fry 1 minute. Add scallops and chopped green onions; stir-fry 3 minutes. Combine broth and next 4 ingredients; add to scallop mixture. Cook until mixture is thickened and thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Serve over cooked rice. Yield: 6 servings (272 calories per serving).

Hot bean paste note: If you cannot find this, use any other very hot sauce you have, or chop up a teaspoon or less of fresh jalapeno, or a little tobasco. There is nothing “magic” about the bean paste other than the heat it brings to the dish. I often have chili paste (sambal oelek – the link tells you how to make your own) on hand, as it keeps forever in the refrigerator – it would work in this dish.

Comments on recipe

We liked this dish. It was just a little bit different from my usual stir-fries, with the pineapple and hot bean paste. Next time, I’d use double the amount of hot bean paste. I made a half-recipe for the two of us, and it was still a light meal. But tasty!

I never cook just carrots first, I always start cooking a stir-fry with onions. But, I followed the recipe, and was rewarded with something fun. When I added the onions to the cooking carrots, they turned a lovely shade of orange from the beta-carotene in the carrots:

carrots and onionsI don’t know why the printed recipe states to drain the pineapple and reserve the juice. It isn’t used in the recipe, and no explanation for saving the juice was given.

Here is the final presentation:

scallopsYummy!