Seared Scallops with Black Quinoa and White Asparagus in an Almond Brown Butter Sauce

I wasn’t in the mood for a colorful dish today, so I went with a black and white theme. When I look at this plate, I cannot help but think of the Seinfeld episode, “The Dinner Party,” where Jerry equates racial harmony with a black and white cookie. I live under the constant impression that a Seinfeld reference can present itself in almost any life situation. Anyway, Jerry claims, “If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved. Look to the cookie, Elaine. Look to the cookie.”

This meal was a cinch to prepare. As I cooked the black quinoa in some chicken stock, I cleaned the scallops and thoroughly dried them in paper towels. In a saucepan, I seared the scallops in a mixture of butter and olive oil for a few minutes on each side, and then set them aside. I then threw in some garlic and blanched almonds into the now brown butter sauce, and sautéed them all together until they too browned a bit. The nuttiness of the black quinoa and the almonds perfectly complimented the freshness of the scallops.

Does this plate evoke feelings of world peace and racial harmony? Does it serve as a pioneering mode of improving race relations? Or would you just eat the scallops and call it a day?

Look to the scallops. Look to the scallops.


Warm Winter Salad in an Anchovy Vinaigrette

I love when I have an amazing meal at a restaurant and then realize that I am perfectly capable of duplicating it at home. I had a salad similar to this one at Peels Restaurant in NYC. For my version, I flash steamed some purple kale, treviso, and baby bella mushrooms, and then topped with walnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano. I was very tempted to add roasted beets or smoked trout into the mix, but there is always next time. What makes this salad so yummy is that the veggies are flash steamed, taking away the harsh bite that raw kale and treviso tend to have. I made an anchovy vinaigrette by combining anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. Top this salad off with a hard boiled egg and you’re not only set with a wholesome and hearty salad, but also one that will keep you warm during the chilliest of months.


Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with a Veggie Quinoa Medley

It seems like everyone and their brother is doing a cleanse right now. Call me crazy, but I really don’t think that lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper can serve as the foundation of optimal health and wellness. What happens when you introduce food back into your daily routine? Food. Remember food? I would imagine the second I was allowed to eat again, I would go absolutely nuts and gorge myself on pizza, cookies, and ice cream. Then most likely, I would feel the need for another cleanse, thus initiating a vicious, vicious cycle.

When I feel like my body needs a bit of a detox, I make meals filled with veggies – wonderful, wonderful veggies. I don’t starve myself, I don’t juice my meals, I don’t neglect gluten, and I certainly don’t participate in that malevolent Master Cleanse. My version of a detox consists of consuming organic, whole, and unprocessed foods. Think fruits, veggies, fish, and whole grains.

There is nothing like the goodness of veggies to take away the harmful effects of imbibing copious amounts of delicious vino. This meal, which I adapted from a delicious lunch at Clyde's in Washington, D.C., was the perfect healthy treat that I needed. You absolutely cannot beat the flavor of roasted acorn squash; and the fiber, potassium, and vitamins are nothing to frown at either. I like to switch up my quinoa medley, so for this one, I included asparagus, spinach, broccoli, kale, roasted garlic, and a touch of feta. In other variations, I mix cranberries, toasted walnuts, and goat cheese into the quinoa. Either way, I can stuff a roasted acorn squash with pretty much anything and I am a happy (not at all deprived) little detoxer.