Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Broiled Scallops with Miso Stuffing

April is going to be an amazing month. I'll be dining not only in NYC and NOLA, but also at some of my favorite places in DC. So needless to say, consumption will be at a high, so in times like these, I find it important to eat as healthy as possible when cooking at home. Last weekend, Easter would bring a healthy dose (read: large) of chocolate as well as sugary and salty dishes shared with friends. Don't get me wrong, I love all of those things, but this weekend was the first of many where I wanted to try some lighter meals at home.

We had some Miso that we wanted to use and found this great recipe in "How To Cook Everything." We served these scallops on a bed of greens with an Asian dressing. A wonderfully light meal and very easy to make!

Broiled Scallops with Miso Stuffing (serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 lbs large sea scallops
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 TB peanut oil.
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow miso
  • 2 TB mirin
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chives


Make a paste by combining the miso, mirin and light sprinkling of salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and the peanut oil.

Make a deep horizontal slit in the side of each scallop, but don't cut all the way through. Fill each scallop with 1/2 teaspoon of the miso mixture, and close. Pour the remaining oil onto a plate or pan and turn the scallops in it. Let them sit while you heat a broiler until very hot (500 degrees) and put the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.

Put the scallops under the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes per side. Serve immediately, adding a little dollop of the miso paste/oil to the top if desired. We also added some chopped chives.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Artichoke and Spinach Orzo

Spring is just around the corner. I can feel it. The tourists are flocking to DC in droves, crowding our metro platforms and asking asinine questions like "what is there to do on the Mall?" or "wait...I thought I was going to a Mall...where are the stores?" Seriously...I've had to answer these questions multiple times over my years working near the Smithsonians.

But it's not just the tourists! My allergies have started to become a daily annoyance. My pale legs are blinding everyone around me as it's becoming warm enough to go without tights. And then there there is the inevitable shedding of the winter comforts...big sweaters and for most, the move from filling your belly with amazing amounts of winter comfort food to opting for lighter fare that won't put you into a food coma once the humidity arrives. Plus there is outdoor dining to look forward to. Who doesn't love a good beer garden?

I find that vegetarian side dishes with a little bit of carbs are my typical "go-tos" during this time of year. Orzo and/or couscous provide a great base. I tried this recipe recently, which is from a post back in 2013 on my friend Nick's blog ( This was a great side dish with fish, and I think it would also go well with other Mediterranean-flavored main courses.

Artichoke and Spinach Orzo (serves 4-6 as side dish)


  • 12 oz. orzo pasta, cooked and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch spinach, washed well
  • 6 oz. marinated artichokes, drained
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), diced
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • salt and pepper

Cook orzo according to package instructions. Once cooking is completed, be sure to drain it and rinse quickly with cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil and the red onion and cook over medium-high heat for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until onion softens. Then add a pinch of salt.

Add artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. 

Add washed spinach to the skillet, along with 2-3 TB of water to help the spinach steam. Add more water if needed. Cook until spinach is wilted, just a minute or two.

Stir in orzo and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.  This salad is good both warm or cold, with grated cheese. Because cheese.