I've had a lot of disasters in the kitchen lately. Seems I've lost some of my mojo, so to speak. I found what looked like a great recipe in the latest issue of Intermezzo magazine for Limoncello Squares. It called for a cup and a half of my favorite Italian digestif, Limoncello, which should have raised a few red flags (but didn't). I little Limoncello goes a long way. Needless to say, even for the staunchest supporter of the lemon liquor, it was waaay overpowering.
Then there was the Port Cherry Swirled Coffeecake with Almond Streusel Topping. This one was totally my fault as it helps to read the directions thoroughly. It called for baking the cake in a tube pan, but I used a bundt pan. I'm not sure if that was the problem or if I just didn't bake it quite long enough, but it totally fell while it was cooling. This one I'm definitely trying again, because even though it looked like a six-year old baked it, it tasted amazing. I love port (are we seeing a problem here with my love of all things alcohol??) and I love cherries, so this one gets a second attempt.
One of the few successes I've had in the past couple of weeks was a Shrimp and Squid Pasta dish that I threw together one night. Really, really good......but the pictures sucked, so I was going to recreate it last night. Things got busy and I got tired so I instead made hubs favorite, Penne with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. It's my go-to pasta dish. Anyhoooo....I had the shrimp and squid in the fridge that needed to be used and I didn't want pasta two nights in a row, so I went searching for a nice light summer salad.
Peeps.....this is so great. The fennel and peppers give it a satisfying crunch and it's lightly dressed with a hint of olive oil and lemon juice. And can I just convince everyone to quit deep frying their calamari?? It's soooo much better (and immensely quicker) sauteed in olive oil and garlic. And BONUS....much healthier. Hubs and I had this as our dinner with a nice glass of white Bordeaux, but this would also make an impressive first course at your next dinner party.
Seafood Salad with Shrimp and Calamari
adapted from Whole Foods
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional) (NEVER optional!!)
1 pound bay scallops (I omitted)
1 pound cleaned squid (calamari) tentacles and tubes cut into rings (I only buy the bodies)
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup thinly sliced red and yellow bell pepper (I only had red in the fridge)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (Oops....didn't have any in the house)
Juice and zest of one lemon
Heat 2 tablespoons oil with garlic and chile flakes in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic begins to lightly brown, about 3 minutes. (Be very careful not to burn the garlic as it will turn bitter.) Increase heat to medium-high and add scallops. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallops just turn white, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to a large bowl and set aside. Add calamari to the hot skillet and cook until tender and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with scallops. Add shrimp to skillet and cook until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with scallops and calamari.
Stir into the bowl of seafood the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, parsley, peppers, fennel, onions, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Toss until evenly coated. Salad can be served immediately but the flavors develop as it sits. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.