Enchanting Recipes & Everyday Life In General

Category Archives: tomatoes

Remember last week when I was making my pretty flower pots? …Well, there was a bit of a mishap. A small hiccup in my plans…

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I had planned to plant my herbs (cilantro, basil, and parsley), and some marigolds for the front stoop. I also thought I’d give a shot at growing my own tomatoes this year. After a trip to Lowe’s for some planters, soil, and seeds, I was ready to give my green thumb a go.

Here we were, Gracie & I, just minding our own business on the back porch, painting pots, planting seeds, and enjoying a glorious day.

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My herbs and marigolds were sunning on the rail, and I was just finishing taking pictures of everything to share with you lovely folks when, suddenly, the unspeakable happened!

My tomato seeds went missing!
GASP!

Now, let me tell you, I searched high and low for this mysterious, disappearing seed packet. I thought, maybe the wind blew it off the porch and it was floating around down below. I searched, and searched, and search…No seeds were found.

Finally, I gave up my search. 

I cleaned up the porch, and went inside to put my pots in the windowsill, when, finally, I found the culprit.

DUNDUNDUN

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Case closed. 
Oh, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the other plants that are warming in my kitchen.
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I’ve never made scallops before. Apparently it’s just not something they teach you in school…So I Googled it. You find anything on Google. I learned how to crochet from Google. I learned how to use Oxyclean from Google. I learned how to get my dog to stop barking from Google. I learned how to cook scallops from Google.

Now, via Google, you will learn too.

Tonight for dinner we had Scallops and Pasta.

Paul LOVES scallops. He’s not able to eat them very often, but I’m sure if asked, he’d say they are one of his favorite foods. Me, eh, I’m not the biggest fan–but anything for my boo. I do like pasta, though. Yummm pasta…So this dinner worked well for the both of us–and it was really quite simple.

The first thing you need to do is put a pot on to boil the pasta. Don’t forget to salt the water. I cannot stress this enough, folks! You need to salt you pasta water! And I’m not just talking a pinch, I’m saying add a good tablespoon. A good fistful. A good amount of salt!

Adding salt raises the boiling temperature of the water. It doesn’t make the water boil faster, like most people believe, but it does make the pasta cook faster because it allows the water to get hotter than 212˚ (boiling point). I learned this from Google as well. The reason I stress salting the water though is not to make the pasta cook faster, it’s to season your pasta. This is the only way to actually season pasta because the salt won’t really stick once the pasta is cooked…so why not just cook it in salt? Salt, yummmmm.

So. First: boil your water.

While your water is boiling, chop up 1 tomato, a couple sprigs of parsley, 2 garlic cloves, and slice a lemon in half.

Also, measure out 1 cup of white wine (or chicken stock, or beer) and 1 tablespoon of butter.

Set all that stuff aside–once your pasta is done cooking, drain it and set it aside as well.

Now, for the scallops:

The most important thing about pan-searing scallops is to make sure they’re dry. So when you get them out of their package, put then on a plate with paper towel. Then flip them over, to dry the other side. Then, move them to a brand new dry paper towel. Then pat the top again. As they sit, their juices come to the surface, so make sure you pat them right before you put them in the pan. Oh, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Please excuse my nails. I had to remove my nail polish in a rush this morning before school. Grossss.

For the most perfect, golden brown, crunchy sear that you really want on these bad boys–make sure your pan is piping hot. Hot hot. Not burning hot, but hot. To test if its hot enough, get your finger wet and splash just a drop of water on it. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough.
Drizzle a dab of oil in a hot hot large skillet, about a half dollar size. I used olive oil because it was handy, but you can use vegetable oil if you desire. I don’t recommend butter because it burns faster than oil. You don’t want to burn these suckers. Swirl the oil in the pan so it coats it. 

Lay the dry scallops in the pan with plenty of space in between them. You want them to have enough room to get a good sear. Here’s a secret when you put them in: DON’T MOVE THEM! 
Leave them be. Let the scallops rest. Let them get nice and toasty brown. Let them get a delicious crust. Let them sit in peace for 2 whole minutes.  
After 2 minutes, flip them over. Let them cook again for another minute and a half–again, DON’T move them! Drizzle a little more oil in the pan and swirl it around after you flip them. 

After a minute and a half, remove the scallops from the pan and transfer to a new paper towel.
(Note, these cooking times are for large sea scallops, cooking times are different for smaller sea scallops.)

Next, reduce the heat in the pan to low and add a tablespoon of butter (unless you have a lot of oil remaining in the pan from the scallops.) Add the chopped garlic. 10 seconds later, add the diced tomato. After about a minute, turn the heat back to high and add the wine (or chicken stock, or beer).

When you add the wine, the pan should steam a whole lot and all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan will be released. Use your spoon to scrape up these brown bits as you stir around the wine. Add the chopped parsley.

About a minute later, add the cooked pasta to the pot and mix it well. Sprinkle with fresh squeeze lemon juice (half a lemon).

Serve in a bowl with the scallops. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

Yumyumyum. My first scallops experience was a success and it only took about 20 minutes. Paul LOVED it too, an added bonus!

The easy to follow recipe:

Scallops & Pasta from Steamykitchen

  • 4 ounces, weight Dried Pasta Of Your Choice
  • 10 Sea Scallops (or Jumbo Shrimp)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 clovea Garlic, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Tomato, Chopped
  • 1 cup White Wine, Beer, Or Vegetable Stock
  • 3 sprig Parsley, Finely Minced
  • Just A Bit Of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Salt And Pepper
1. Cook the pasta in salted water per the instructions on the box. Drain and set aside.
2. In the meantime, prep all the ingredients and have them at the ready nearby. For the scallops (or shrimp), use a couple of layers of paper towels and pat very dry. Move the scallops to a clean sheet of paper towel and pat dry once more. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Heat a large frying pan or saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in the olive oil. Add the scallops to the pan, not touching. Give each scallop ample room so that they can sear properly. Cook for 2 minutes without touching (1 1/2 minutes if using smaller pieces of scallops or shrimp) then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a plate.
4. Turn the heat to low. Add the butter and the garlic. Saute for just 10 seconds and then add the tomatoes.
5. Turn the heat to high and add in the white wine (or beer or vegetable stock). Let it bubble a bit for 30 seconds and use your spatula to scrape up the bits in the pan. Season with salt and pepper, throw in the parsley and then add in your cooked pasta. Stir well to let the sauce coat the pasta. Serve with the scallops.


Gotta go! I’m chatting with my Boo on Facebook chat….Well, umm…We’re on the same couch too…

Enjoy 🙂


Chicken Chila-what-ees? Chicken chilaquiles, I say. (Chee-lah-key-lays)

In light of my current trip, (I’m in TEXAS, visiting my best friend, everrr!) I’ve decided to give you a nice spicy, Mexican recipe.

This. Is. One. Of. My. Favorite. Dinners. (Paul’s too!)

This meal, chicken chilaquiles (let’s see how many times I can say it in one post!), is delicious. What are chilaquiles you might ask? Chilaquiles are a Mexican dish, traditionally with corn tortillas and a tomato-ey sauce with cheeeeese.

My recipe-bestie, Martha (yep, we’re on a first name basis), does a yummy spin on this traditional Mexican dish that’s spicy, warm, filling, satisfying, and authentic tasting–we could eat it every day of the week here at the Yerrick house. I a million-billion times recommend trying this recipe–you won’t regret it, and you’ll crave it daily. Also, you can make a big batch like I do and freeze the left-over’s for later!

First, let me say that I LOVE this cookbook. It’s by far my favorite cookbook right now.

It has pretty little pictures of every recipes–and the recipes are always divine. I have yet to make a bad dish from this book. My favorite part is that it’s divided into seasons and uses ingredients that are easily found that time of year.
Now, to begin this divine experience…The cast of characters:

The original recipe calls for rotisserie chicken–but I just boil chicken and shred it. You can do whatever you prefer.

Anyways, you’ll need 3 chicken breasts. Boil them, let them cool a bit. Shred them, then set them aside.

Next, you’ll need a red onion. A beautiful, delicious, juicy red onion.

Cut the top and the bottom off, then cut it in halt from top to bottom.  Then, cut it in half again–also from top to bottom. Turn it on its side, then slice it very thinly. Set aside.
Chop up some garlic. I use 6-ish cloves–depending on my mood. I’m a huge garlic fan. Anywhere from 4-8 cloves of garlic will suffice, depending on your taste. 

Heat some oil in a stock pot on medium high heat and saute the onions, until tender, then the garlic, until fragrant.

Heres a quick tip about garlic…If you want the garlic flavor to stand out, then add the garlic at the end. If you want it to be more subtle, saute the garlic near the beginning. 


Next, add in your can of tomatoes. You can really pick any can of tomatoes you want. The original recipe calls for whole peeled tomatoes, I don’t really like using these because I don’t like big chunks of tomatoes in my food. This time I chose to use crushed tomatoes, but sometimes I use diced tomatoes. It really doesn’t matter, canned tomatoes are canned tomatoes. 
After your tomatoes, stir in your tomato puree–about half the can. 
Yay! Now it’s time for my favorite part. The chipotles. Where do you buy chipotles, you ask? Well–they are in the ethnic foods aisle, by the Mexican food. They come in a little can like this:
There are other brands, so your can may not look identical to this one–but you get the idea, right?
These bad boys are SPICY. They pack some punch. Be wary if you heat them by themselves. You. Will. Choke. And cough. And gasp for air. One time, I made chipotle burgers and it was bad bad news for everyone in the room–but that’s a whole different post. (By the way, while typing this I spelled ‘news’ ‘noos’ because I was sounding it out in my head…yeah, long day.) 
Anyways, back to the wonderful can of chipotles. Chop up one, two, or three chipotles (depending on the level of spiciness you desire, I went with 2.)
Add them to the pot. These will add a delicious smoky and spicy flavor to the dish. One of my favorite kitchen ingredients. 
Get a few of teaspoons of the adobo sauce that the chipotles are in and add that to the pot too–things are about to get crazy in here. 
You can easily transfer the remaining chipotles and their sauce to a different container and store them in the fridge for later use. 
After the chipotles, add a cup of chicken broth.

Then a tablespoon-ish of salt (this should be adjusted to your liking).

Add 2 tablespoons of cumin.
Then add pepper, oregano, chipotle powder (optional), cayenne, chili powder, and a dash of garlic powder. 
Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans. Add it to the pot.
And finally, add your shredded chicken to the pot.
To heat to medium low, and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grate some monterrey jack cheese and chop up some cilantro. (I like to grate my own cheese as opposed to buying pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in flour and gives things a different texture–it leaves a gritty feel behind. When you grate your own cheese it tastes creamier and it also melts better. Plus, it’s less expensive!)
After 15 minutes, stir in cilantro. 
To prepare your bowls, line a bowl with corn tortilla chips. Ladle chicken mixture on top of chips, then top with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, and fresh chopped cilantro. 

You will NOT be disappointed with this heaven.
Chicken Chilaquiles recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. 

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (or 1 rotisserie chicken)
1 teaspoon oil (vegetable…olive…butter…whatever you have, really)
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 can tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes
3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 can black beans, drained.
1 cup chicken stock/broth
1 jalepeno, finely chopped (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T cumin
1 T dried oregano
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t chipotle powder
1 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
Corn tortilla chips
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Sour cream


1) Heat oil in pan and saute onions until soft. Add garlic (and jalepeno) and saute until fragrant. 
2) Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, chipotle chilis, 2 T adobo sauce (from chipotle can), chicken stock, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne, chipotle, chili powder, and garlic powder and 1/4 cup cilantro. Stir in shredded chicken and black beans.
3) Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4) Serve with corn tortilla chips and topped with sour cream, Monterrey Jack cheese, and fresh cilantro. 

Enjoy!