Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Yummy Mummy

Greek Orzo with Seared Scallops


Every Tuesday I take a break from me and focus on someone else for a change. Which is a lot more fun and rewarding than obsessing over myself. Or testing recipes over and over and over and over...

Thus on Tuesdays, I feature an original recipe from another blogger: I make the recipe following the author's directions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I taste the result - and I then share everything I love about the recipe.


My tutor today was the artistic and talented Marina from the glamourous yet ever accessible Yummy Mummy blog. Marina may be the ultimate definition of the British term "Yummy Mummy" with her flair for beautiful food, photography, and home decorating inspirations. Marina adds her style to everything she makes and has been featured in multiple publications and her macarons even made appearance on the Martha Stewart Show. But what I love most about Yummy Mummy are the wholesome simplified recipes that effortlessly exude charm and sophistication. If you're not following Yummy Mummy, you really will miss out on yum.

About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "My blog started out being "just for me" as a way to document my recipes and share them with family and friends. I'm amazed and love how many blogland friends I've made and how the blog is now growing into a little business."
     
  2. "Getting a good dslr camera changed my life. Maybe that's a little dramatic, but really I can't imagine going back to a point and shoot now."
     
  3. "I'm a "disgruntled pastry chef." What I mean is this: I love working with sugar and chocolate. But I'm also a borderline healthnut, so those two passions are kind of conflicting."
     
  4. "My #1 passion is my family and kids. I have two girls. Hence the "Yummy Mummy" moniker."
     
  5. "I really want to do a big kitchen remodel soon. Fingers crossed I can make that happen!"

Author's Photo

Orzo is an under-appreciated pasta. It doesn't have the flair of more showy pastas, it's resemblance to rice causes confusion in the pasta isle, and it just doesn't work with so many classic Italian dishes likes spaghetti and lasagna. But I LOVE orzo - it has the shape of rice, can be cooked just like rice in risotto,  but the texture and flavor of pasta. So when I found this recipe by Marina, I had to make it. (Besides, scallops may be my favorite seafood ever, and I generally will use any excuse to buy a pound!)

This recipe is also a halmark example of the dishes to be found on Yummy Mummy - simple, fast, healthful and sophisticated. While still accomplishing a rustic beauty. In fact, if you're an organized cook, you could probably make this meal in about 30 minutes - an hour at most. Even better, if you're vegetarian, you could swap out the scallops for something like mushrooms and still enjoy a very satisfying meal. So the next time you're in a rush, try this orzo.


Original recipe courtesy of Yummy Mummy

The recipe says this makes enough for 4 servings
But with a whole box of orzo, I'd think it makes closer to 6 servings

This was my 1st time boiling orzo
In the past, I've always cooked it like risotto

GENEROUSLY SALT THE COOKING WATER
I cannot stress this enough for orzo

I also had an onion lying around that wasn't getting any fresher
So I peeled and chucked it in to flavor the cooking water

My cherry tomatoes were HUGE

So rather than halving as the recipe directed, I quartered mine

My camera does not appreciate the beauty of orange peppers

I diced the pepper a bit small so that the heat from the cooked
pasta would be able to steam-cook the pepper chunks slightly

Added the orzo to boiling water - as you can see,
the onion stays on top so you can easily scoop it out later

You will need a BIG bowl for this recipe
I used my largest Pyrex bowl

I used a generous 1/2 cup of olives
Because I love salty kalamata olives 

I also had some parsley lying around
So I minced up a little to toss in

After you toss in the orzo, you will probably want to
add a drizzle of olive oil. Otherwise the pasta is too
gummy to work with and sticks to everything

If I made this again, I would probably add the juice
from both halves of the lemon instead of just 1/2

Don't go too crazy with the salt at this point
The seasoning on the scallops and the olives add
quite a bit of salt to the final dish

Baby arugula is the perfect green for this salad

The freshest scallops I could find were frozen dry-packed
Find the freshest you can find or suffer fishy flavors

Here's the spice mix I used for the scallops:
4 t kosher salt, 1 t garlic powder, 1 t cracked pepper

Make sure you use a stainless steel pan and heat
the olive oil until shimmering before adding scallops

I dipped both sides in the rub

And transfered one-by-one to a plate


Then added each scallop into the pan,
keeping track of the order that I added the scallops

Don't move the scallops for 3 minutes

Then use a off-set spatula to flip each scallop
Turn in the order that you put the scallops in the pan

As soon at the scallops are cooked thru,
transfer immediately to a clean dish

My scallops stuck a bit to the pan.
I may not have used quite enough oil or let it get quite hot enough

Add scallops on top of combined pasta salad and serve


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • My favorite part of this dish is not the orzo or the scallops (although I love both dearly) - it's how EASY this is to make. You can prep all of the ingredients while the pasta is cooking, then you just toss the salad together, sear off the scallops, and serve. No baking, no waiting, no fuss - who doesn't love that?
     
  • Vegetarian? Then leave you the scallops, add some mushrooms (or black beans), and you've got a delicious and easy salad. Love cheese? Grate a little parmesan over the warm salad and toss together. Got shrimp instead of scallops? Roast the shrimp and serve over top the salad like scallops. Talk about versatile...
     
  • If you're serving 6 people with this recipe, you will probably want to increase the number of scallops to at least 24 scallops instead of 16. There's a lot of orzo salad and it just isn't as delicious without the salty spiciness of the seared scallops
     
  • It's easy to over-salt the pasta salad if you don't sample the salad with the scallops - my boyfriend and I both found that the pasta serves as a pallet cleanser in between bites of scallop. I suppose, you could also reduce the amount of salt in the spice rub and add more salt to the pasta...
     
  • Like all sea-food, the scallops are best the day you sear them (preferably the same day that you buy them). So do yourself a favor and only sear-off the number of scallops you're going to eat for one meal. If you have leftovers of the pasta salad, it will save nicely in the fridge for a couple of days and you can sear-off more scallops as you need them

Other Must-Try Recipes from Yummy Mummy
Maybe pasta and scallops isn't your thing. But I guarantee you'll find something scrumptious and beautiful at the Yummy Mummy blog. Check out these mouth-watering eats and tell me you're not inspired!

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites
French Toast with Stewed Berries
Pina Colada Yogurt Pops
Cupcakes Topped w/ White Chocolate Snowflakes
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



2 comments:

  1. I love Marina's blog and the always excellent photography she displays. Great post!!
    Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gerry, I completely agree - Marina's blog is gorgeous and I'm always inspired by the posts...

      Delete