First I’ll do an update on my training, since this blog is supposed to be about training, blah, blah, blah. This week I ran once (yep, once, marathon schmarathon). It was supposed to be 10 miles, I made 5. That’ll teach me to start a run at 2:30 in the afternoon, on a boiling hot day, after eating nothing but ½ a muffin and a tasting of tomatoes. I was one hot, dizzy, dehydrated, slow mess!
Why so late? Why a tasting of tomatoes? Well, after living in Northern Virginia for 3 ½ years I FINALLY ventured out to the Eastern Market (bigger (better) then a farmer’s market, much smaller the Reading Terminal in Philly). And that, my friends, is the first of two Happy Places I found this weekend (2nd is Total Wine - someone explain to me how I missed this gem?!).
Eastern Market is heaven on earth. We went there with no menu, no recipes, just an open mind and the desire to make a fabulous dinner. We walked through all of the vegetable stands and ideas were forming, but I needed the main dish solidified before making a purchase. I was starting to get disappointed because there was no meats/seafood - then we went inside. The first counter we saw was the seafood counter…Frutta di Mare? Next was fresh meat…Pesto stuffed Pork Loin? Focus on the appetizer and that would determine the main dish. Choice between Prosciutto wrapped Cantaloupe (then I'd make the pork loin) or Bacon Wrapped Scallops (to go with the Frutta di Mare). HMMMMMM
And the decision is:
Thick Sliced Hickory Bacon wrapped Sea Scallops
Grilled Baby Octopus (17/101)
Baked Sweet Onion
Tomato Basil Fettuccine (Cheated and bought this)
And Frutta di Mare (18/101)
I thought I bought 2-person quantities, but know that these recipes could have EASILY fed four. I also don't believe in measuring things when I make up my own recipes so everything is an approximate.
Fresh Herb Mix
1/4 Cup Loosely Packed Basil
Leaves from about 6 inches of Rosemary
Leaves from about 6 inches of Oregano
Sprinkling (teaspoon-ish) Sea Salt
Pepper (about 5 turns of the grinder)
Put everything in a bowl and chop. I prefer to use scissors, Dude uses a knife on a cutting bored. I don't recommend a processor - in my experience too much moisture is released. Set aside - will be used throughout these recipes.
Thick Sliced Hickory Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops
6 slices bacon, cut in half
12 Scallops (ordered ½ lb, this is what I got)
Wrap bacon around scallops, put on metal skewer. Grill for 10 minutes (500 degrees*).
Grilled Baby Octopus
4 Baby Octopus (figure 2 per person)
¼ C Olive Oil
2 Tbs Fresh Herb Mix
Marinate octopus in olive oil and herbs for 15 minutes. Remove from oil, shake off extra oil. Grill on top shelf of grill (500 degrees*) for 10 minutes.
Note: Some people can’t get past the look of the octopus and won’t eat this. Once they are cooked you could chop them up so they no longer resemble little 8-legged aliens. (Not that Dude or I have an issue with this, but Dude did apologize to each one before he ate it).
Fresh Tomato Salad
3 Different (Colors/Types) of Tomatoes - I used beefsteak, Green Zebra, and a big orange one. Do some tasting at the farmer’s market to find a good mix.
2 Tbs Olive Oil, divided
Sprinkling Sea Salt
1 Tbs Fresh Herb Mix
2 Basil Leaves, sliced in this strips
Drizzle Platter with Olive Oil and sprinkling of salt. Slice/Core tomatoes. Arrange on Platter. Sprinkle with Fresh Herb Mix and Basil Leaves. Top with additional Olive Oil.
Baked Sweet Onion
Dude and I have been trying to duplicate this since we had it in Italy. It seemed simple enough, a baked onion that was basically caramelized in its skin. After trial and error, I think we have it.
2 Onions - top/bottom cut off, cross cut in top and bottom, and stabbed on each side
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Fresh Herb Mix
Preheat oven or grill to 500 degrees*. This is why the grill was so hot for the scallops and octopus.
Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in two bowls. Put onion in bowl, top with Fresh Herbs. Cover with saran wrap and let sit for ~30 minutes.
Make tinfoil pouch. Put onion and oil mixture in the pouch and seal. Bake/Grill for 1 hour. Remove skin and serve piping hot.
Frutta di Mare
4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
3 Tomatoes, chopped, with juice and seeds
1/2 Cup White Wine
4 Calamari Tubes, cut into rings
5 Large Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut into 3 pieces
6 Mussels, scrubbed, debearded
6 Clams, scrubbed
1/4 Lb Bay Scallops
Fill a large pot with water, add some salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a boil. While boiling the water do the below.
Wash, clean and lightly steam the Clams and Mussels just enough to open. Remove meat from shells and set aside.
Wash the calamari and cut into rings
Heat olive oil and add garlic, Stir for ~2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and herbs and cover. Simmer on Med-Low for 5 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add all seafood except clams and mussels. Salt to taste. Cook for ~5+ minutes. In the last 3 minutes or so add the mussels and clams. Add red pepper flakes right at the end. Cover and let sit (on the same burner) until ready to platter.
In the last 3 minutes of cooking the sauce, add fresh pasta to the boiling water and follow the directions (usually calls for 2-3 minutes). I recommend under cooking it, drain. Reserve some of the pasta water. Put on serving dish, drizzle with olive oil. If it seems to dry out quickly add a scant amount of the reserved water. Serve seafood on top of pasta.
And the results...mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm GOOD!
For each one of these recipes, I give them:
15 hours ago