Recipe—Mango Salsa

I have traveled to the Hawaiian Islands several times and I can’t even begin to describe how incredible the regional cuisine is. Hawaii is known for it’s tropical fruits grown in rich volcanic soil and some of the best quality fish in the world. Every time I make this vibrant colored salsa it takes me back to the islands. It goes great served with just tortilla chips, but pairs incredibly well with grilled fish, shrimp tacos, and crab cakes. Another favorite way to dish it up is over warmed Brie served with Triscuits. It may seem like more of a summer recipe, but I enjoy making it year round. Mix yourself up a refreshing Mai Tai and pretend like you are on an island getaway while you are enjoying this tropical treat.

INGREDIENTS
2 mangos, diced
1 jalapeño, diced (deseed the pepper if you don’t want it to be too hot)
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt

STEPS

  • Mix together mangos, jalapeño, red bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro.
  • In a separate small bowl mix together lemon juice, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Pour liquid mixture over salsa and mix well.
  • Cover and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

See my crab cake recipe here for a great pairing for this mango salsa (skip the spicy remoulade if serving with the mango salsa):
https://divadicucina.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/recipe-crab-cakes-with-spicy-remoulade/

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Recipe—Creamy Beef Stroganoff

During the cold winter months I am a glutton for comfort foods. One of my favorite comfort foods is a big serving of rich and creamy beef stroganoff. Beef stroganoff is a traditional Russian dish typically made up of pieces of beef in a sour cream based sauce. I love that this recipe is not only delicious, but also really quick and easy. And what’s not appealing about a dinner that can be made in one pot? This makes after dinner dishes and cleanup a breeze. Beef stroganoff is filling and the leftovers are just as good as the night you made it.

Note: Be sure you use thinly sliced beef so that it doesn’t become tough.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped onion
2 c sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb beef sirloin steak, thinly sliced
2 tbsp flour
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 (14 1/2 oz) can beef broth
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp paprika
12 oz bag egg noodles, uncooked
1 1/2 c water
3/4 c sour cream

STEPS

  • Heat oil in large deep skillet or Dutch oven.
  • Sauté onion, mushrooms, and garlic until tender.
  • Add meat and cook until browned, stirring frequently.
  • Mix in flour.
  • Stir in peppers, beef broth, mustard, and paprika and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add noodles and water and again bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in sour cream and cook for an additional minute heating through.

Recipe—Baked Sea Scallops with a Mushroom Cream Sauce

Baked sea scallops over pearled couscous with a mushroom cream sauce and sautéed spinach with crumbled baked prosciutto. 

I am a lover of all things seafood. Whenever I see seared scallops on a cooking show my mouth starts to water. They always look perfectly seared, and of course the professional chefs make it look so easy. Being a fan of scallops, I wondered why I had yet to ever cook them myself. I think it is the fear of cooking such an elegant piece of meat and ruining it. Over the weekend I was feeling adventurous and thought I would finally give it a shot.

This recipe turned out to be so easy and it looked like something out of a fancy restaurant. The scallops just melt in your mouth. The rich sauce paired really nicely with the scallops. In fact the sauce was so good I think it would pair well with beef or chicken too. I served my scallops over couscous, but I’m sure it would go just as well with rice or pasta. This sophisticated dish is perfect for your next date night. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped
10 small white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 dashes hot sauce
14–20 large sea scallops, patted dry
1 c breadcrumbs (I use Texas Toast croutons coarsely crushed)
1/3 flat leaf parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Place an empty baking dish in oven and preheat oven to 400º.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots and mushrooms, cook 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 tablespoons butter and flour to softened shallots and mushrooms and cook 1 minute then whisk in wine, reduce 30 seconds.
  • Add stock and bring to a bubble.
  • Stir in cream and heat through.
  • Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and a couple dashes hot sauce, and reduce heat to low.
  • Heat a skillet over high heat.
  • Season the scallops with salt and pepper and dress with 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Sear the scallops to caramelize 1–1 1/2 minutes on each side.
  • Mix breadcrumbs with chopped parsley.
  • Transfer the seared scallops to the heated baking dish and cover them with sauce and your breadcrumb mixture.
  • Finish scallops in oven about 7–8 minutes until brown and bubbly.