Dinners, Sauces

Recipe—Baked Sea Scallops with a Mushroom Cream Sauce

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!

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


  • 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.
Dinners, Sauces

Recipe—Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Horseradish Cream Sauce

When it comes to Christmas dinner this girl loves her beef. Every year we either cook prime rib or beef tenderloin. This recipe calls for beef tenderloin but feel free to try the seasoning and sauce recipe with prime rib. Both turn out fantastic! I prepare this recipe every year and it has never disappointed. The roasted garlic horseradish sauce is spectacular! For lunch the next day spread some of the sauce on a roll with leftover meat and there will be fireworks in your mouth. Oh how I can’t wait for Christmas dinner and the leftovers that come with!

Note: I recommend making the sauce the night before so that it has time to chill and thicken. This large of a tenderloin will serve 12–16 people. Plan on 1/3–1/2 lb per person. Feel free to half the rub recipe and use a 3 lb tenderloin but be sure to adjust the cooking times. The temperature is really what you need to pay attention to.

1 large head of garlic, left intact
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 c heavy cream
1/4 c drained bottled horseradish
1/8 tsp white pepper


  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut off and discard top fourth of garlic head and place on a large sheet of foil.
  • Drizzle exposed garlic with oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Wrap the seasoned garlic head tightly in foil.
  • Roast garlic until tender, about 1 hour, then open foil and allow to cool.
  • While garlic is cooling, simmer the cream in a heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3/4 c, about 20–25 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves into a small bowl, discarding skins, and mash together with horseradish, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Stir the garlic mixture into the cream.
  • Chill until ready to use.

1 (6 lb) beef tenderloin roast, tied
1 c cracked black pepper
4 tsp granulated beef bouillon
4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • Pat tenderloin dry.
  • Stir together pepper, bouillon, salt, cornstarch, oregano, garlic powder, and paprika in a small bowl.
  • Rub oil over tenderloin, and then cover with seasoning mixture, rubbing it into meat.
  • Put tenderloin on a rack in the roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 425° and cook until thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130° for medium rare, probably 50–60 minutes.
  • Let beef stand on rack in pan for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Cut beef into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve with the roasted garlic horseradish cream sauce.
Appetizers, Sauces

Recipe—Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

If you are from California then you should know that it’s crab season! Since crab is so affordable, and as fresh as can be right now, I thought I would share my favorite crab cake recipe. These crab cakes are perfectly crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. The spicy remoulade is the icing on the crab cake here.

Note: You can make miniature crab cakes for a delicious hors d’oeuvre or large cakes for a main dinner entrée. If you have leftovers just put them in the oven for 12–14 minutes at 375º turning once and they will be delicious and crispy to enjoy all over again.

1/4 c minced onion
2 tbsp minced green bell pepper
1/4 c melted butter
1 lb crabmeat, drained and flaked
3/4 c breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestshire sauce
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp dry mustard
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 c breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying
lemon wedges


  • Sauté onion and green pepper in butter until tender and remove from heat.
  • Add in crabmeat and next nine ingredients mixing well (add in extra mayonnaise if needed to hold mixture together).
  • Shape into 10–12 patties.
  • Coat patties with additional breadcrumbs.
  • Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes. By refrigerating the patties, they are less likely to break apart when frying. (I make my remoulade during this time.)
  • Pour oil into a heavy skillet so that it is at least 1/4 inch deep.
  • Fry cakes in hot oil (375º) for 3–4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Serve with spicy remoulade and lemon wedges.

¼ c mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp of cayenne pepper


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add additional cayenne pepper to taste. I like mine spicy!

If the spicy remoulade isn’t really your thing, my mango salsa pairs up nicely as well. See the recipe here:


Recipe—Cranberry Orange Sauce


What’s Thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce? Out of all the traditional holiday sides, cranberry sauce is by far one of my favorites. It is a must have! This recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. The inclusion of orange and lime sets off the tangy flavor of the cranberries really well. Not only is this fantastic with turkey, but it is also great with cream cheese on a toasted bagel. After you try this you will say sayonara to that canned stuff!

Note: I recommend making this recipe at least 6 hours before serving. I typically do it the day before. It allows the sauce to thicken and set. If you would like to preserve this, spoon into sterilized jars, cover tightly, and refrigerate. This will last up to one month.

2 c sugar
1 orange, juice and zest of
1 lime, juice and zest of
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c red wine
1/2 c dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 c fresh cranberries
1/4 c Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur


  • Combine sugar, zests, juices, vinegar, wine, dried cranberries, and the cinnamon stick in a pot.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.
  • Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes.
  • Fold in fresh cranberries and orange liqueur.
  • Simmer and stir occasionally until most of the cranberries break open (approximately 15 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and allow sauce to cool.
  • Dispose the cinnamon stick and transfer to your serving dish.
  • Place in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Recipe—Marinara Sauce

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of pasta smothered in a thick flavorful marinara sauce? It certainly is always a big hit in our household. I find jarred pasta sauces to be far too sweet for my liking. After trying this marinara recipe you will never again want a jar of Prego. I typically double the recipe and freeze it for future use. I’m sure canning it would be great also. This recipe makes a fantastic sauce to be used on homemade pizzas, over chicken parmigiana, paired up with your favorite pasta, or even as a dipping sauce.

Here’s a little history for you. Marinara sauce is the term for a simple tomato sauce cooked with herbs. It dates back to Italy as far back as 1550. The name loosely translates to “sailor-style” sauce in Italian. One theory for the name was because marinara could easily be prepared on ships. Due to the high acid content from the tomatoes, and the absence of meat, the sauce did not spoil easily, making it ideal for those at sea before refrigeration techniques existed. The other theory on the origins of the sauce is that the wives of sailors developed it. Marinara could be prepared quickly once the wives caught a glimpse of the ships offshore, making it possible to serve their husbands a hot meal as soon as they returned home, often serving it with the sailors fresh catch.

Note: For some extra veggies I occasionally add in some chopped mushrooms and green bell peppers when cooking the onion. If you would like to make a rich meat sauce brown 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb Italian sausage with your onion and garlic, and follow the rest of the recipe as usual. The meat sauce is killer in lasagna! (Lasagna recipe coming soon)

1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes
3 (14 1/2 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes


  • Brown onions and garlic in olive oil.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Add water until sauce reaches desired consistency. I typically add about a 1/2 cup. Feel free to add more water as it cooks.
  • Keep in mind that it will thicken up quite a bit as it simmers.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour.