Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

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Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops is a wonderful homemade dinner ready in about 40 minutes when using jarred roasted red peppers. Roasted red peppers are widely available at most grocery stores and they make wonderful sauces and dips. For this recipe, the roasted red peppers are pureed with onion, garlic, herbs, and cream for a luscious sauce that hugs the spaghetti nicely and makes an easy yet delicious dinner.

Dry spaghetti, onion, garlic and salt arranged around a black pot in preparation for Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops.

It’s not always easy being creative in the kitchen and coming up with a wide range of meal options for you and your family, especially if you have picker eaters. Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops has a blended sauce that is smooth, creamy and mild in taste, making it appealing to many.  Not a fan of scallops? Try the recipe with shrimp, cooked chicken chunks or just an extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Other kinds of pasta like linguine or fettuccine will work well too, so use up what you have. The creamy sauce can be made up to two days in advance and warmed gently on the stove before adding the scallops. But I find little need to make it ahead of time when it comes together quickly as it is. But if you are all about the meal prep, I would suggest making a double batch of sauce and freezing half for use later. You just can’t beat meals made from scratch and this is a great dinner to have on rotation.  Enjoy!

Red Pepper sauce in a stainless steel sauce pan ready for cooked spaghetti for Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops.
A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.

A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.
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Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 340ml jar roasted red peppers, drained about 8 ounces
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 12 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • as needed chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a simmer. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, about 8-9 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft but not browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the white wine and reduce for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, herbs and spices and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Pour mixture into a blender along with roasted red peppers. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the sauce back into the pan and whisk in cream. Heat to a simmer and reduce for 1-2 minutes. Add the scallops and cook for about 3 minutes (depending on size) stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and adjust salt to taste. Add the cooked spaghetti and Parmesan cheese tossing to coat in sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if needed.
  • Divide among serving dishes and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Notes

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Chilled Corn and Crab Soup

Chilled Corn and Crab Soup

Silky and cool, this gorgeous soup makes a delightful first course for those scorching hot days when nobody wants anything heavy but everybody wants to  eat on the patio. Chilled Corn and Crab Soup has a lovely corn flavour that’s married up with fennel and swirled with sour cream. It not only looks pretty, it’s darn delicious. The crab salad swimming in the middle is also adorned with fennel and fennel fronds for a crisp and refreshing spoonful. Enjoy!

Recipe Source for Chilled Corn and Crab Soup:  Compelled To Cook

 

Chilled Corn and Crab Soup
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 20 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 1+ hour
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 20 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 1+ hour
    Chilled Corn and Crab Soup
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 1+ hour
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 1+ hour
      Ingredients
      Corn Soup
      Crab Salad
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      Corn Soup
      1. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, fennel and garlic. Sauté until starting to soften but not brown, about 10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking prepare corn by peeling off corn husks and removing silk. Stand corn on end and remove kernels by running a large knife along the body, cutting at the base of the kernels. Trim ends off bare cobs and cut cob in half. Add kernels and cobs to pot along with vegetable broth, water, thyme sprigs and 1/2 tsp salt.
      2. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove cobs and thyme sprigs and discard. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 tsp salt and adjust as needed, remembering that cold foods tend to taste saltier than warm. Using a blender, blend soup in batches until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, pressing against the sides to extract all the soup. Cover and chill until cool, stirring occasionally.
      3. Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of crab salad into the centre of shallow serving bowls. Ladle soup around crab salad and drizzle with sour cream, swirling into soup slightly. Serve immediately.
      Crab Salad
      1. Gently stir together all ingredients. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use. Can be made up to several hours ahead.
      Recipe Notes

      Yields a generous 5 cups of soup and will serve 6 as a first course or 4 servings as a main dish. Both the soup and crab salad are best if served slightly chilled but not cold. If both have been completely chilled, allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

      Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish

      Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish

      What I love about eating sushi is the little ritual of swirling a dab of wasabi into soy sauce, then methodically dunking each piece to get just the right amount pressed into the crevices. Savouring, getting that nasal clearing heat and repeating until I’m stuffed. Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish gives that same soy wasabi punch but with some added crunch. The edamame are perfect in the little soy bath and give a great texture and crunch to each bite of tuna. Simple, healthy and delicious.

      For the Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish I recommend that you hand chop the edamame as apposed to using a food processor as it tends to break them down just a little too much. I used frozen edamame pods and microwaved them as per the box directions less 20 seconds, then dunked them in ice water to cool quickly and prevent overcooking. They were perfect. I believe this relish would also be delicious stirred into steamed rice or on top of a mild white fish like halibut. Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish:  Compelled To Cook

       

      Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        4 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        6-7 minutes 0-2 hours
        Servings Prep Time
        4 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        6-7 minutes 0-2 hours
        Ahi Tuna with Edamame Wasabi Relish
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          4 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          6-7 minutes 0-2 hours
          Servings Prep Time
          4 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          6-7 minutes 0-2 hours
          Ingredients
          Edamame Wasabi Relish
          Ahi Tuna
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          Edamame Wasabi Relish
          1. Coarsely hand chop edamame and stir together with remaining ingredients, cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
          Ahi Tuna
          1. Whisk together ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. Pour over tuna, turning tuna to coat all sides. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours preferably but can be cooked immediately.
          2. Heat a non stick grill pan or BBQ to medium high. Cook tuna 2 minutes per side. Remove and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes. Cut into 1/4" slices. Top with Edamame Wasabi Relish and serve immediately.
          Recipe Notes

          I used a 10.5 ounce bag of frozen edamame pods, cooked 2 1/2 minutes in the bag.  Removed from bag and plunged into ice water to stop cooking. Once cool, shell edamame and discard pods.

          Spicy Grilled Vodka Shrimp

          Spicy Grilled Vodka Shrimp

          Wanna set your food on fire??  Here’s your chance with Spicy Grilled Vodka Shrimp.  It’s so much fun to cook and share.  These shrimp are spicy but not extreme, just a perfect spicy bite really.  They get a little heat not only from the chili flakes, but jalapeño and spicy vodka if you have it.  Add a good squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of cilantro for a great nibble.

          Outdoors is definitely the preferred location to perform this act of pyromania.  An ounce of vodka will shoot flames 2-3 feet high, seriously!!  And, the look on your guest’s faces will be priceless.    The flame will dissipate within about 20-30 seconds, so be ready for it, it happens quickly.

          I have done this particular flambé outside before, however for this post and for the purpose of taking pictures I used my garage which has high ceilings and a large open area.  It’s really not a maneuver I would ever do in my home.  Too much potential for bad things to happen in my opinion, so I’ll keep this outdoors and I strongly suggest you do as well.  Besides, that is where your shrimp and hot pan will be coming off the BBQ anyway. Have fun with it and enjoy!

          Recipe source for Spicy Grilled Vodka Shrimp:  Compelled To Cook

           

          Spicy Grilled Vodka Shrimp
          Print Recipe
            Servings
            4 people
            Servings
            4 people
            Spicy Grilled Vodka Shrimp
            Print Recipe
              Servings
              4 people
              Servings
              4 people
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Preheat grill to medium high. In a medium bowl combine, oil, garlic, lime juice, chili flakes, salt and cumin. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and toss with oil mixture. Thread shrimp alternating with jalapeño slices onto skewers being sure to skewer through head and tail of shrimp thereby making the shrimp lay flat.
              2. Place a cast iron platter or grill plate onto grill and allow to heat for at least 10 minutes. Grill shrimp for approximately 2-3 minutes per side until slightly charred, turning once or twice to get good char coverage.
              3. At the grill remove shrimp and jalapeño slices from skewers onto cast iron plate. Remove from grill, turn off grill and close lid. While everything is hot, pour vodka over shrimp and ignite using a BBQ lighter. Flames will shoot 2-3 feet high and quickly dissipate. Serve immediately garnished with chopped cilantro, red onion and lime wedges.
              Recipe Notes

              -If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak accordingly. You should be able to fit 4 shrimp onto each skewer, divided by jalapeño slices.

              -It's important to use cast iron for this.  Using ceramic, metal or anything with a coating is likely to crack and chip after pouring liquid on its hot surface.

              -DO NOT DO THIS INDOORS!

              Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad

              Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad

              Picnic and BBQ season is almost upon us. Don’t bring just any ordinary potato salad to the party! Show up with creamy Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad instead. Cool, crisp fennel meets up with plump little shrimp in a creamy dressing that’s freshened up with fennel fronds. Familiar yet deliciously different is why Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad will become your new picnic favourite.

              What’s potato salad to you? For me it’s a combination of summers at the lake and my mother. We only ate potato salad during the warmer summer months and my mother always made a deliciously creamy potato salad. It was on the traditional side, with eggs, celery, radish, mustard, mayo and maybe a little pickle juice. If I had it today, it would taste like a memory from my teenage years and fun at the lake. Who knew a bowl of potato salad could mean so much!

              Skipping forward a couple decades, I still love a traditional potato salad, but here I wanted to keep the same creaminess but sub in cool and crisp fennel and meaty little shrimp for a lovely riff on a childhood favourite. Enjoy!

              Recipe source for Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad:  Compelled To Cook

               

              Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                6-8 people 25 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
                Servings Prep Time
                6-8 people 25 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
                Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  6-8 people 25 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
                  Servings Prep Time
                  6-8 people 25 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: people
                  Instructions
                  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with 1" of salted water. Simmer until potatoes are just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch. Drain well and chill potatoes until completely cold.
                  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, white wine vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
                  3. Trim bottom off of fennel bulb and pluck off fronds. Cut bulb in half, removing outer layer if needed to clean it up. Cut each half in half again and thinly slice each quarter including stems until you have approximately 1 1/2 cups. Save a few fronds for garnish and coarsely chop remainder.
                  4. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and combine with potatoes, sliced fennel, fennel fronds and green onions. Add dressing and toss to combine. Chill for at least an hour and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.
                  Recipe Notes

                  Makes a generous 4 cups of salad.