Grill pan | Grilled Scallops

I own one of those large panini press style “healthy” table top grills, which I occasionally bring out for things like pork medallions, slabs of chicken, shellfish. Occasionally would be the key word here, let’s just say it’s a bit of hassle to clean up. So, a more handy stove top grill pan has been on my wish list for quite some time. I recently bought one and I love it. I can use it to grill bread, make sandwiches, or for things like this:

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Or grilling scallops… HMMMMMMMMMM:
 

Grilled scallops

Grilled scallops

When I grill scallops, I buy fresh, large sea scallops, and don’t add anything to them except for a tiny bit of salt and pepper. The scallops will release their own scallopy juices and, combined with the dark color and aroma you can only get from a grill, taste totally awesome. With this grill pan, I don’t have to wait for sunny weather to enjoy my scallops! This time, I added a bit of color using some chopped red bell peppers, and green onions and lemon balm that came from my garden. I wish I had more of this to go on top, more like a tapenade, because it looked so pretty like that, and it wasn’t so strong tasting that it stole the show from the scallops at all.

Dressing up my Dutch Oven: That fat Italian dude’s silicon Mitts

I went everywhere looking for these Mario Batalli silicon mitts for my dutch oven. (Because, heck, those handles get hot and the pot is so heavy.) The first time I saw them was at the T Room Bakery on 4th. Looked for them everywhere else and couldn’t find them. Finally went back to the T Room. (The only other color they have is this dark maroon, I thought the green contrasted the flame of the dutch oven nicely.) The T Room have a lot of other kitchen tidbits too, plus great looking pastries and sweets. Tried a mini pretzel thing they had at the counter, it was OK. Probably would go for the cakes next time though.

Mario Batalli Mitt
T Room Bakery & Kitchenware
4445 10th Ave. W
604-677-BKRY

Williams-Sonoma

I finally went to the first Williams-Sonoma in Vancouver – I think it opened in December. The store is located on Granville Street near West 13th Ave.

Williams Sonoma

Le Crueset was 30% off, but only the yellow and blue. Gaaah. X__X (I belong in the “Flame” camp of Le Crueset colors.) All of the Le Crueset stuff here I have seen is made in France. The dutch oven I have at home is made in France. I have, however, gone to many stores and found Le Crueset stuff made in Thailand. I know they may have outsourced some of their stuff, but sometimes I would find a piece of cookware that is made in France in one store, and made in Thailand at another. It is odd, I am slightly wary of the Thailand-made ones.

Anyway, W-S was having a sale of left-over Christmas stuff, and had a box of their ginger snaps out for sampling – they were really good. I didn’t buy any though…. I was going to get this really cute pumpkin-shaped oven mitt, along with an orange-striped apron, but I decided that neither would be useful, since pumpkin-shaped does not equal good mitt, and I never wear aprons!

In the blink of an eye I realized I had already spent over an hour browsing and salivating but not being a very successful shopper (though you could say I was sticking to my New Year’s Resolution of saving up quite well). Still, determined not to leave empty-handed, and so I ended up buying a little something that is useful but still kind of interesting… a measuring spoon that has a plastic “cap” that clicks at each specific teaspoon/tablespoonful measurement!

Measuring spoon

Williams-Sonoma
2903 Granville Street (near West 13th), Vancouver

Fwlisht (Food Wish List)

Dear Food Santa:

December is here at last! And to welcome the arrival of this wonderful month Cooking Nerd has been working hard on her Christmas Fwlisht (Food Wish List). She’s been so good and nerdy this year. So please put under her tree some simple things, some much needed things, and some totally useless things she would otherwise never buy for herself. You get the point. 😉

– A pullman loaf pan
– A square bread baking stone
– A double-burner stove top griddle, like this Le Creuset one
– A non-stick crepe pan
These Mario Batali silicon pot grips (preferably in orange or some color that matches my orange Le Creuset dutch oven)
– Saffron.
Cuisinart’s 6-cup Non-stick Muffin Top pan
These French bread razors (I know, I know. I have razor blades and I can make one myself. Still. )
– Oh so many books, but I will list just a few:
Twinkie Deconstructed – Steve Ettlinger
The Science of Cooking – Peter Barham
Millennium Cookbook – Eric Tucker
Let Them Eat Flax! – Joe Schwarcz

That’s all. For now. Thank you Santa,

Sincerely,

Cooking Nerd.

Steamed Tilapia on the Fish Plate

Steamed Tilapia

One of my favorite fish dishes- Steamed tilapia, Chinese-style: Buy fresh tilapia. Put fish on plate. Drizzle soy sauce, vegetable oil. Steam 15-20 minutes. Throw in generous amounts of scallions, ginger, garlic, cilantro. (There was umeboshi paste in this one but that was an experiment and optional. Tasted great though.) Moist, soft, delicious fish. Now how simple is that?!

(And now you see why I bought the fish plate? :-D)

Yellow Chard

Yellow Chard

Came across these beautiful, vibrant looking bunches of organic yellow chard at Caper’s a few days ago. I have never seen them on sale elsewhere. Of course, being attracted to all things brightly yellow or orange, I had to buy it.

Although chard is a versatile veggie that you can do a lot of things with, it was a bit bitter for a raw salad without anything else to go with it, so I decided to steam it. I probably should have steamed it a few minutes less (I went about 13 minutes) – It wasn’t soggy or too soft, but maybe the green would have stayed greener. 😀 Next time if I’m not lazy I might try pairing it with something else, but the chard was good on its own, and the yellow definitely makes it exciting enough. It also leaked yellow liquid all over! 😀 

cimg3470.jpg

Also bought this cute little fish plate on the same day… for serving fish really – but just couldn’t wait to use it!

Needed a new mug

New MugI have been coping with my old Thermos mug since forever. Coping – as it leaks and I would often end up with a pool of liquid on my lap, or on my books, after taking a sip. Unfortunately I am too loyal when it comes to tools and utensils in general, especially when I have developed some kind of bond with them.

I got my Thermos mug when I first started university (the time when caffeine starts becoming your real buddy), and it accompanied me every morning on that long commute to school. We had a great relationship for maybe two years until it started leaking. Then came a series of cheap stainless steel affairs which also ended up in leakage. Mug after mug, I chucked. Then I had to quit caffeine for a while due to a medical issue; and went back on it about a year ago. The vicious serial-mug-nogamy ensued. Many a mug-break later, and feeling rather cheap, I dug out my old Thermos again. I took it to work and left it there, and I have been using it for months. Every – single – time it leaks on me I swear I will get a new one. And every – single – time I am at any store that sells mugs I look through them intently trying to find a new one, but I don’t end up buying one. Why? I don’t know. I am devoted to that Thermos. And it’s still a pretty good mug. I thought it kept my beverages decently warm, I like the size and the feel of it in my hands. And there are some great dry days. It’s inconsistent, but the dry days are good. (You see this is not one of those relationships I can easily get out of.) 

A few days ago, I had to sneak into a Starbucks during a torrential downpour. Rain made me feel like spending money, but I didn’t get anything to drink. I had my eye on a Starbucks mug. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because they are overpriced and say Starbucks on them. (Although I am not a Starbucks fan: I dislike their coffee and never drink it. I only ever drink their Americano.) Maybe it is to declare: I want to date other mugs.

So I bought this one. And it is nice. It has a better “lip” than my old Thermos one. And is much better at keeping things hot (I don’t feel the heat coming out of the mug. Plus I put hot coffee in it, then put it in the fridge for an hour. Afterwards the mug was cold to the touch, but the coffee was still hot. Not warm, much warmer than warm.) So now I am in a new mug relationship, feeling all puppy-love like. *sigh* 

But I’m not going to chuck my Thermos. Yet.