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29 January 2010

Hummus Flower

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t eat anything that had wheat in it-no crackers, no bread, no pita, no gravy, no biscuits, no cookies, no croissants... you get the idea. I got pretty creative with some things. Like Hummus. I reallyreally like hummus, but if you don’t have pita to put it on, what can you do?


Corn chips. Yes. They work very well. Sometimes, though, if you have company you want something a little fancier. Something a little unexpected. Maybe even something a little healthier. And sometimes you’re having company and you forgot to buy the corn chips and you don’t realize it till the last minute so you look in the fridge and the pantry for something to use to eat the hummus with besides a spoon.


That’s how I first came to make this. We were having dinner guests and I totally forgot to make something to munch on before dinner. Here it’s called an amuse-bouche, literally something to amuse your mouth. I like that idea...


So the next time your mouth is bored, or you forgot the chips or you just want to have something a little different, you can make this hummus flower. You’ll thank me. You will.



Hummus Flower


1 cup of hummus

2 large Belgian endives

paprika for color


  • Cut the bottom off the endives (to free the first couple of rounds of leaves).
  • Put the hummus in the center of a large, pretty plate and place the largest endive leaves around it like petals on a daisy.
  • Cut the bottom off the endives again to free the next couple of rounds of leaves, and place these IN the hummus.
  • Continue to put the leaves in the hummus (each new set of leaves will be smaller then the ones before), finishing with the smallest ones in the center. Now it should look more like a chrysanthemum than a daisy.
  • Sprinkle some paprika around to add a little color.


Hummus


1 can chickpeas

1/4 cup tahini

juice of one lemon

1 clove garlic

salt


  • Put the chickpeas in a food processor and blend. (Reserve the liquid from the can).
  • Add the tahini, lemon juice and garlic and blend some more. I like it really smooth, but you can leave it a little lumpy if you like. Add the reserved liquid from the can if necessary to get the consistency you want.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. I don’t usually need it if I used canned beans.



NOTES:

  • I use canned chickpeas for this. I think they taste fine here, and the difference between the canned ones and the dried ones is not worth the effort in this dish, in my opinion.
  • If you have a plate that’s prettier than mine you may not need the paprika. If I’d had a red plate that was large enough I would have used that...
'nother note: I'm working on another post about moving, but I wanted you to be sure that your mouth wasn't bored while you waited. I know you're thanking me. I can feel it.




25 January 2010

FLASHBACK: The Best Laid Plans... (part 3)

Note: This is a continuing story. Part 1 can be found here and part 2 is here.

Several people have asked me lately why I don’t write more about moving to Europe, about the process itself. Good question! It is really a good story, if I do say so myself...

We’ve been here almost nine years now, and it feels so much like home that sometimes our life in DC feels like a dream. So I’ve started going back through my emails and journals from that time to re-capture the whole process.

22 January 2010

Tea Verrines with Citrus Fruits

This time of the year we’re trying to eat lighter, to counteract the rich foods we ate over the holidays. I saw this recipe on Tartelette’s blog, and bookmarked it right away, knowing that when the blood oranges came in, I’d want to make it.


This is a verrine of citrus fruits and pomegranate seeds in a jelly made from tea. Tartelette made this with white tea and pink grapefruit. It was (of course) gorgeous. I wanted to use a combination of blood oranges and regular oranges for this I also threw in a pink grapefruit, because I had it and because the blood oranges weren’t very red. Not red at all, in fact--just orange with some red specks.


I used a rooibus tea, flavored with bergamot (rooibus Earl Gray). Aside from the fact that I like this tea, it had the body to stand up to the blood oranges. Also I didn’t have any white tea. How can that happen? I have two drawers full of tea of every possible color--green, red, black, but no white. I guess that eliminates me from the tea-collector-of-the-month award. And I thought I was a shoe-in. Tsk.


I used less gelatin in my version, because I like a soft jelly. These were frankly wonderful. I really liked them, and I can see that they’ll become a summer favorite here. The only problem will be finding the blood oranges in the summer. However, we'll have peaches, and peaches can make up for a lot of things.


Tea Verrines with Citrus Fruits

Adapted from Tartelette


2 sheets gelatin

2 cups boiling water

2 Tablespoons rooibus Earl Gray tea

6-8 sugar cubes

8 oranges

6 blood oranges

1 red grapefruit

Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate


  • Soak the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes.
  • Add the tea to the boiling water and steep for about 5-7 minutes. Add sugar to taste. I didn’t want to make this sweet, but just to knock the little bitter, sharp edge off the taste.
  • Squeeze the gelatin sheets to get rid of most of the water, and add them to the hot tea mixture. Stir to mix well. Leave to cool while you segment the fruit.
  • Segment the fruit by cutting the top and bottom off, then slicing the peel off, taking with it a little bit of the fruit. Then, holding the dripping, peeled fruit over a bowl, cut carefully between the membranes to free each segment. Squeeze the remains to extract the juice. You won’t use the juice in this recipe, but it’s great with breakfast.
  • Arrange the citrus and pomegranate seeds in 8 verrines, pour the cooled tea mixture carefully over them, and chill overnight.


Enough for 8



Notes:

  • I used sheet gelatin, because that’s what I have. I prefer it because there is never that scummy layer at the bottom if you don’t get it dissolved completely. After soaking in cold water for 10 minutes, these dissolve totally as soon as they hit hot liquid. If you only have the powdered kind, I think the conversion is 1 teaspoon powder for one sheet. Don’t hold me to that, but when I see other recipes, that seems right to me.
  • To seed a pomegranate without ending up wearing the lovely color of the juice, cut the top off, score it along the sides, and do the rest in a large bowl under water. The seeds sink and the membranes (mostly) float, so it’s easy to separate them.
  • The short, broad verrines I used for this hold a cup of liquid if you fill them right to the brim.
  • If you don’t have a bazillion verrines sitting around your house (why don’t you?), this would also be pretty in wine glasses, or champagne flutes. If you still have some of the old-fashioned flat bowl style champagne glasses, they would be splendid, I think. Brandy snifters would be nice too. You could, of course, just use a bowl, but what fun would that be?




18 January 2010

WINTER CLASSICS: Oxtail Soup

Soup. Are you sick of soup yet? Not me!


Before I made this, I’d never had oxtail soup. I KNOW! It’s such a winter classic, so traditional. Maybe that’s why I’d never had it! Be that as it may, when I saw some queues de boeuf in the supermarket, I snatched them right up. When I got home, I wasn’t sure anymore why.


There they were, though, so I decided to go ahead and make oxtail soup. The problem was that I didn’t know how to begin. So I searched all my favorite blogs. Nothing. I googled and found this and this. The problem was that I didn’t know what it was supposed to taste like. From the googled recipes I began to put together an idea of what I should be doing. For another point of view, I turned to James Beard. In my copy of The New James Beard (1981!), there are recipes for not only oxtail soup but also oxtail gratin and oxtail bouillon. Clearly this is something that was much loved in the past. Or maybe it still is, but just not in MY past...


Finally the time for reading was over. It was time to start cooking. Below is the recipe I ended up with -- partly a combination of the common properties of all the recipes I found and partly a function of what I had on hand. It was still snowing outside, and I wasn’t going out. (I’m from the South, remember? I don’t drive in this.)


The recipes all said to cook this 3 or 3 1/2 hours, until the beef was tender and falling off the bone. It took mine almost 5 hours, and by then it was too late for dinner. So I left it to cool in the stockpot overnight and we ate it the next day for lunch. I think if you have a slow cooker this might be just the thing to do in that.


Yeah, Kate, but how did it taste? Well. They say that the muscles that the animal uses the most have the most flavor--the legs and haunches. I think this beast must have practiced standing on his tail. This was veryvery good. It brought back memories of some of the best pot roasts I had as a child--meat meltingly soft, falling in threads; vegetables adding their color and flavor. But it was the broth that made this special. James Beard spoke of it as unctuous. Because that word makes me think of a gigolo, I don’t think I’d use it. I don’t know a better one, though. This broth had a body to it that was remarkable. That, added to the flavor of the beef and the vegetables makes this something I’ll make again.


Oxtail Soup


2 Tablespoons olive oil

500 g / about 1 pound oxtail pieces

Flour to dust meat

Salt and pepper

1 onion

1 bell pepper

3 medium carrots

3 stalks celery


  • Heat the oil in a soup pot.
  • Put about t heaping soup spoons flour in a dish and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roll the oxtail pieces in the flour and brown in the oil over high heat. You’re not really cooking them, only searing them. Remove from pot and set aside
  • Slice the onion in half, peel it, and slice it thinly. Add to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onion starts to brown.
  • Chop the pepper, the celery and the onion roughly and add them to the pot along with the oxtail pieces.
  • Add enough water to cover, bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for until the meat is tender and falling off the bones, skimming the scum that rises to the top. Most recipes say this will take 3 to 3 1/2 hours. It took mine 5 hours. Add water as necessary to keep the meat covered.
  • When the meat is tender, take the pieces out of the soup and let them cool till you can handle them. Strip the meat off the bones, shred it and put it back in the soup. Stir and serve!

Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don’t




NOTES:

  • We served this with cornbread. I think it would also be good with boiled potatoes or some good crusty bread and butter.
  • It really needed a little more salt.
  • All the recipes I checked said to skim the scum that rises to the top of the soup. I skimmed all the scum I could (say THAT five times fast)--there wasn’t very much. I think it’s easier if there’s plenty of water in the pot.




16 January 2010

IN PRAISE OF HEROES

Heroes. We all have them.


Whether it's a fireman rushing into a building we know will subsequently collapse or a child suffering bravely from an incurable disease, a parent who sacrifices everything for a child, or someone who does what we had thought was impossible; we have heroes.


Some of them are well known, and some of them are only known to those close to them. They're all heroes. In the human spirit there is both greatness and its opposite. In all of us. We get to choose what we will become―we can be a hero or not. It's up to us.


Some of my heroes work for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without borders). They go wherever they're needed to bring medical help to people who can't do it for themselves. They go independently of politics or danger. They go because they're needed. Some of them don't come back. They can have a complete field hospital on a plane and ready to go to anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours. It's what they do. Nobody does it better.


When I hear about disasters like the earthquake in Haiti, I want to do something heroic. I want to go and help people who are in a horrible situation. It could have been me. There's a photo that's haunting me―you probably know the one I mean―of a girl or woman trapped in rubble up to her armpits. She's looking at the camera. She's looking at me. I don't even know how to begin to get someone out of that kind of situation.


But they do--the heroes. They go where they're needed and they do what they need to do to help people who can't help themselves. Heroes.


I can't go to Haiti. But I can support the heroes who do. There are heroes who work for Médecins Sans Frontières, or for the Red Cross or for Oxfam or for Unicef or any number of other charities and aid organizations. You probably have a favorite one yourself.


Do something heroic today. Support the heroes.

14 January 2010

White Onion Soup



Cold, snow, ice. I had a whole day to cook, because I sure wasn’t going out in that stuff. I needed to go to the market, though, because we didn’t have much in the way of fresh fruit or veggies. But I decided that tomorrow is another day (as they say where I come from).


So I looked in the fridge, and I had a chicken carcass from one I had roasted a couple of days before. By now, Dan is well trained to put the bones back in the dish so that I can use them to make stock. I had the complete chicken in there. If the paleontologists come, they can create a replica of a chicken from these bones. Well, minus the head. And the feet.


Where was I? Oh, yes, trying to find something warming to cook. What I really wanted was a big steaming bowl of dark, rich onion soup, complete with a toasted crouton and melted cheese oozing over it. The problem was that I had no beef stock. All I had was chicken. And some onions. And some bread. And some cheese. Hmmm...(if I had had a beard I would have stroked it here)...I thought, can I make onion soup without beef stock? Can I make it with chicken stock? Well, of course I CAN, but will it be any good?


The answer is an unequivocal YES. I made the chicken stock and then made the onion soup in the normal way, but substituted white wine for the red and chicken stock for the beef stock. Not the traditional way, but it was really really good. The flavor was lighter, with a different kind of depth than the traditional soup. I’ll make it again. Because the color and the flavor were lighter than the traditional onion soup, I called it “white”. Also because “chicken onion soup” would have sounded like the onion was a coward, which wasn’t true. At least I don’t think so.


Because I had time on my hands while I waited for the onions to brown slo-oo-owly, I made some fancy pants croutons. That was almost as much fun as the soup, and I think that they made the soup taste better.


This is not expensive food, but it is food for someone who has time to spend with it, since a large part of the flavor depends on the quality of your stock. You can use canned stock if you need to--it’ll still be good, I think. I don’t see why you couldn’t even use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version, which would be even lighter. But there’s no hurrying the onions--they need to cook long and slow to develop their flavor.


I thought this would make more, but in the end it was enough for just two.



White Onion Soup


3 medium onions

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 heaping teaspoon flour

1/2 cup white wine

salt and pepper

2-3 cups chicken stock

2 slices bread

1/2 cup grated swiss cheese


  • Cut the onions in half, peel them, and slice them thinly.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onions.
  • Cook over medium low heat till light to medium brown and caramelized. This can take up to an hour, so be prepared to wait. Don’t rush this step--this is an important part of the flavor of the soup. Once they start to brown, though, they go pretty quickly so don’t leave them too long at that point.
  • When the onions are browned, add the flour and stir to mix it well. Keep stirring to cook the flour for a minute or two.
  • Add the wine stir well, and cook over medium heat till the wine is evaporated.
  • Add the chicken stock, stir well and heat through.
  • Meanwhile, toast your bread. If it’s larger than your bowls, cut it so that it will fit inside. Put the cheese on the bread and run it under the grill to melt the cheese.
  • Ladle the soup into the bowls, top with the croutons and any leftover cheese. Enjoy.

Enough for 2



NOTES:

  • I used Gruyere cheese, which is what I had. Emmenthal or any Swiss-type of cheese would do just as well.
  • The traditional way to do the bread and cheese is to put them both on top of the soup and put the bowls under the grill to melt the cheese. I don’t do that because my bowls get too hot that way, and because I always spill the soup trying to take the hot bowls out of the oven. You might not be as clumsy as I am.
  • If you decide to make fancy pants croutons like I did, I think you need a really strong bread. I used a sourdough rye which was even a little stale. It was maybe a little TOO hard to cut, but the flavor stood up to the soup well. I toasted the little stars in the oven and then put them on a baking sheet with the cheese over them. VOILA! I love stars.
  • I also had some shredded chicken from the carcass that I threw in at the last minute. TOTALLY untraditional, but you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh? Next time I think I’ll leave it out, though.
  • Note to self: When photographing hot soup from directly above, wait till it's stopped steaming.





11 January 2010

SCALLOP VERRINES

This is another recipe made from our gift of Breton Scallops. For this one, I wanted something lighter, with some Asian flavors. I had some lemongrass leaves that I thought would go well with the sweetness of the scallops. I also had some crisp radishes for a sharp note and some celery root to round out the flavor.


I didn’t do much to the scallops--they didn’t need much. I rinsed them, dried them well, and ground some pepper over them. This time, I didn’t have a pan with flavored oil ready for them, so I put a little bit of olive oil on the scallops themselves. That way, I didn’t have to use too much oil. It worked well--they seared nicely and had a lovely color.


I had intended to make a vinaigrette for these, but when I tasted the vegetables with their herbs, I tossed that idea and just used a little bit of mild rice wine vinegar. Perfect!


I like verrines. There’s something about their compact completeness that appeals to me. Maybe because I love little containers. Maybe because I love glassware. I don’t know, but I know that I make verrines whenever I can. They’re just so....cute.



Scallop Verrines


2 radishes

4 cm / 1 1/2 inch cube of celery root

4 cm / 1 1/2 inch celery

6 lemongrass leaves

3 basil leaves

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

8 sea scallops


  • Slice the radishes in half, then slice each half in three, making three round slices. Cut julienne from those. This is the size you’ll want to make all of your other julienne.
  • Slice the celery and the celery root the same length as your radishes, and julienne.
  • Make a chiffonnade of the herb leaves: stack the basil and lemongrass leaves, roll them like a tiny cigar and cut them into thin slices. You’ll end up with shreds.
  • Put all of your julienne and herbs in a bowl and add the rice wine vinegar. Stir to mix well.
  • Rinse and dry the scallops. It’s important that they be very dry or they wont’ sear well. Grind some pepper over them, and add about a teaspoon of good olive oil. Mix gently to coat the scallops with the olive oil.
  • Heat a frying pan till it’s very hot and add the scallops. Cook about 2 minutes each side or until almost done. They’ll continue to cook after you take them off the heat. You don’t want to overcook these or you’ll have little seared chewing gum balls.
  • Put the julienne mixture in each of 4 verrines. Top each one with 2 scallops threaded on a pretty skewer or toothpick. Serve immediately.


Enough for 4



NOTES:

  • I used lemongrass leaves because I had them. If you don’t have them, you can use any other fresh herb that you have that would go well with these flavors. Parsley, cilantro, dill, fennel, rocket. I don’t think I’d use mint, though.
  • Fennel would be a nice addition to the julienne if you have it. You could also add a tiny bit of cabbage or endive. Or bell pepper.
  • You could use lemon or lime juice instead of the vinegar. Or white balsamic. I don’t think I’d use the dark balsamic, though, or you’d kill the pretty colors.





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08 January 2010

An iPhone App and an Award

Do you see this? Do you see my strawberry panna cotta photo? ->>>



No, I haven’t been plagarized--I’ve been published! Several months ago, I was contacted by the California Strawberry Commission about using my recipe for panna cotta in an iPhone app featuring recipes using strawberries. Today it's officially available.


Do I have to say that I am thrilled? In some ways I’m still an academic at heart, and for me being published is a measure of success. This is the first recipe I’ve had published, and I can look at it every day on my iPhone. Except I don’t have to, because I already know this recipe.


This app has 50 very good-looking recipes, including one by Michael Ruhlman. I’m very happy to be included. If you have an iPhone, the app is free. You can find it here. Actually, it's free even if you DON'T have an iPhone. I just don't think you can use it...




It’s also time for me to accept an award from Jill at Jillicious Discoveries. If you haven’t yet discovered Jill’s blog, you might just stop here and click on that link. Go ahead. I'll wait.


Jill bakes. No, that’s not precisely correct. Jill BAKES! Her creations are gorgeous and her recipes wonderful. On Mondays, Jill tells introduces us to new things for our kitchens with her “Monday Must-Have” feature. It’s one of my favorite blogs.




This award comes with a reallyreally cute badge and (apparently) no other rules. I’m kind of glad, because by now you probably know all there is to know about me! Thanks, Jill.



07 January 2010

Some New Links and a Rant


I have been working on my photography skills since I bought my new camera and I’ve decided that one way to do that is to join Project 365. I’ve committed to taking at least one photo every day for a year. My year started on January 2, when I first read about this project over at Dine and Dish.


I’ve posted a link to my project photos in the column on the right -> ->, just under the list of followers. Here's today's photo:



Several people have also asked about my paintings recently. I’ve posted a link to my paintings as well. Maybe this will motivate me to update my website with some more recent paintings...


Meanwhile, here’s my friend Lori:




Now for the less pleasant stuff.


WARNING -- Rant follows:


Many years ago, when I was a brand new college professor, I assigned my class of seniors a term paper. This was before we had the internet and could buy term papers. Back when students actually had to write them. Well, in theory.


As I was spending a beautiful sunny Saturday grading these term papers, I came on one that simultaneously made me laugh out loud and made my blood run cold. Not an easy thing to do, if you think about it. It made my blood run cold because it was a paper that I had written when I was in grad school. (I am not making this up.) It made me laugh out loud because I wondered if the student who gave it to me was really that stupid or if they just thought I was.


Plagarism.


It’s an ugly word. It’s an ugly thing. Maybe it is my academic training, but I have to say that plagarism ranks right up there with shoplifting on my list of things I hate to see. Or to write about, to be honest. But both of them exist whether I want to see them or not. In fact, they’re remarkably similar things.


The Oxford English Dictionary (iPhone version) defines plagarism as ‘taking the work or idea of someone else and passing it off as one’s own’. The work can be a photograph, it can be a painting, it can be a paragraph. It’s all plagarism. It’s all stealing.


It’s a shock to see your work claimed by someone else, to see words you sweated over or a photo you worked on for hours or a painting you spent days on with someone else’s name on it. To see someone else take credit for your work.


My community of artists has discussions about this subject all the time. Plagarism and copyright violation. They’re important issues and the internet has made both of them easier to do. This is something that serious artists take seriously. Writers too.


I’m fairly new to blogging, having been at it not quite 6 months. One thing that that's clear to me, though, is that the bloggers I read and respect are scrupulous about citing their sources. Many even provide links to the original documents. It’s one of the things I appreciate about the bloggers I follow.


Recently I was reading a new blog I’d just discovered. It’s a lovely blog, with of lots of informative posts. I love learning new things, so I was happy to have found this blog. One post was so interesting that I wanted to know even more about the subject, so I went to Wikipedia. To my surprise, I read the exact same information that I had found on the blog I had been reading. Word for word. Some of the same photographs too. I went back to the blog to see if I had missed the citation. Nope. None there. I looked back at past posts and found the same thing.


Plagarism. Stealing. That’s one less blog I now read.



Rant over.


05 January 2010

Scallops and Chick Pea Puree


Luck.


You know, I’ve never thought of myself as a lucky person. I mean, I’ve never won any kind of prize. Never won even a small lottery prize, never won anything from Publisher’s clearing house. Never even won at bingo. Once in the Netherlands I held 20% of the tickets for a raffle that had 25 prizes, and I STILL didn’t win anything.


I don’t care. I may not have Lotto luck, but I have Life luck. I found my soul mate, I’ve always found work that interested me, and I have friends who I treasure. One of those, my friend Françoise, invited us to a large house party on New Years Day. The party was at a gite (a sort of large self-catering cottage) in the Ardennes near here. The other members of the party were about 20 friends of Françoise and her husband Jean-Claude. These friends-of-friends live in Brittany, and they normally meet Françoise and Jean-Claude twice a year: in the Loire valley where they meet to buy their wine, and over New Year’s. They came with food and wine and high spirits. They came in a van with a trailer attached to hold the food and the pots and pans. Maybe some clothes too (some of them were very chic). They’ve been doing this for 20 years. We were very pleased to have been invited.


The day began (for us) with lunch. In grand Belgian tradition, we ate sauerkraut with two kinds of sausages and ham. And mashed potatoes. And some strong mustard. And lots of wine, of course, for those who still had a head for it after the night before. We put coins underneath our plates to ensure prosperity in the new year.


It was a wonderful day. Lots of stories--the kind that only old friends can tell about each other, lots of jokes, lots of laughter. The Belgians told French jokes, the French told Belgian jokes, and Dan and I told English speaker jokes.


There was lots of wonderful conversation and wonderful food and we hated it when we had to leave. But leave we had to, and after all the good-byes and thanks were said we headed towards our car. WAIT! we heard, and when we looked around there was one of our new friends coming towards us with a bag of something. It turned out to be scallops. A lot of them. For us, since we wouldn’t be there for dinner. Life luck!


These scallops came from Brittany, fresh frozen and brought carefully in the van or the trailer (I’m not sure which), still frozen. They had been slowly thawed in the cold air outside, protected from marauding cats. And now they were on the way home with us.


Since they had been frozen, I had to use them quickly. There were a lot of them. So Saturday was scallop day at our house. I wanted to see how many ways I could prepare scallops in one day. So look for some scallop recipes coming your way.


Who needs Lotto luck, eh?


This recipe would make a nice appetizer. In fact, it DID make a nice appetizer. I used canned chickpeas, because for some reason the dried ones aren’t available in my supermarket right now. They were fine here.


This recipe might look familiar to you. It’s basically this soup with less liquid in it. The extra liquid then becomes a sauce to drizzle over it all at the end.




Scallops and Chickpea Puree


1 can chick peas

4-5 sage leaves

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 bay leaves

1 small shallot, chopped fine

1 dried hot pepper

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup white wine or tart apple juice

4 large scallops

chopped parsley to serve



  • Heat the chick peas with the sage leaves in a pan.
  • In a small skillet, heat the oil and add the bay leaves and the shallot. Crumble the hot pepper over it. Cook over medium heat till the shallots are soft and translucent.
  • Add the tomato paste and the white wine or apple juice and cook on high heat till the liquid is almost all gone.
  • Remove the bay leaves and scrape the contents of the skillet into the beans, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Pour the beans and the liquid into a tall, narrow container, then pour off about 1/2 cup of the liquid and some of the chickpeas. Liquify the rest of the chickpeas and the liquid. You want something with the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. Or hummus.
  • Rinse and pat dry the scallops. They need to be dry or they won’t sear properly. Without cleaning the skillet (you want that skim of infused oil that’s still in there), put it back on the heat and turn the heat up high. When the pan is hothot, cook the scallops for about 2 minutes on each side. If you overcook them, you’ll have chewing gum.
  • To serve, put some of the puree on a serving dish, add a scallop and a chick pea. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, spoon some of the reserved liquid over it, and serve while hot. Or you can take a lot of photos of it and eat it cold like we did. But I think hot is better.

Enough for 4.


Notes:

  • This would also make a nice verrine.
  • This puree also makes a nice spicy dip for chips or veggies.
  • If you do as I do and crumble the hot pepper with your fingers into the hot oil, be sure that you don’t wipe your eyes afterwards. The oils from the pepper will be on your fingers. It’s no use trying to wash it off--it’s not water soluble. It’s oil soluble, so the easiest way to get it off your fingers is to pour a little oil over your fingers and rub the oil into them well. Then rinse, and pour some dish soap directly on your fingers and rub them again. Rinse well. Now you can rub your eyes.