Creativity the key to kitchen success

Flaming Brandied-Triple Sec Sea Scallops

Lana came up with this recipe after having these for dinner at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona. She was unable to get the recipe, so she went home and tried ingredients she thought were in the dish and it worked. It’s now one of her husband’s favorites.

1 pound sea scallops (they’re the large, more flavorful variety)

1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil (She uses Consorzio brand, available at some local grocery stores)

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 cup triple sec

Sea salt

Wash scallops, pat dry and sprinkle with sea salt. In a heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallops and sear on both sides. Add brandy and triple sec and ignite. Using long-handled wooden spoon, stir until the flame burns out. (Alcohol content will burn off.)

Reduce heat to medium-low and keep turning the scallops until browned and the liquor caramelizes, about 5 minutes.

Lana serves this with her Orange-Romaine Salad, homemade French bread (made in her bread machine) and a good bottle of Chardonnay such as Rosemont Reserve. Sometimes she adds breaded shrimp to the menu.

Satay Chicken

Lana again created a favorite dish by combining and changing two recipes she liked. All the ingredients are usually available at local grocery stores.

3 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless, cut into 5 strips each

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon garlic-flavored olive oil (Consorzio brand)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon curry

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce

15 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour

Heat sesame oil over medium-low heat in a small skillet. Add coriander seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic oil, sherry, pineapple juice, curry, ginger and soy sauce. Place chicken strips in heavy plastic bag. Add liquid and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Empty marinade into a bowl and reserve for basting. Slide chicken strips on bamboo skewers and cook on barbecue grill, basting often, for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve with Peanut Sauce as an appetizer or a light dinner.

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red curry paste (in oriental section of grocery store)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon garlic-flavored olive oil

1 teaspoon roasted-pepper flavored olive oil (Consorzio brand)

Measure all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Remove to an airtight container and refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

Orange Romaine Salad

Lana makes this salad often for dinner at home and for showers and birthday celebrations at work. She says, “It’s everybody’s favorite and a most-requested recipe.” She has made it for her father-in-law, who is diabetic, by substituting Sweet & Low (according to package directions) for the sugar and it was just as good.

2 bunches Hearts of Romaine, inner leaves only (or 1 head red leaf and 1 romaine)

1 cup chopped celery

2 cans (11-ounce) mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 cup green onions, chopped (white and green parts)

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces and combine with celery, green onions and oranges in a chilled salad bowl. Sprinkle avocado with lemon juice and add to salad.

Toast almonds in skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden. Drain on paper towels. Add to salad and serve with Sweet & Hot Dressing.

Sweet & Hot Dressing

1/4 cup each olive oil and canola oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

1 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until frothy. Pour over salad and toss.

Chocolate Rum Cake with Kahlua Glaze

Lana makes this rich cake for parties and special occasions and it’s always a favorite. This is a very fragrant cake and she says, “I was once taking 6 of these cakes to a party in my car and I was afraid I would be pulled over by the police and questioned, due to the smell of the brandy.” She prefers to use Bacardi Superior or Meyer’s rum, but any kind will work.

1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or sliced almonds

1 chocolate fudge cake mix (18-1/2 oz.), with pudding in the mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/3 cup oil

1/2 cup dark rum (80 proof)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with Pam and sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour over nuts and bake for 1 hour. Leave cake in pan.

Kahlua Glaze

1-1/2 sticks butter

3 ounces water

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup dark rum

1/4 cup Kahlua

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum and Kahlua. Leave cake in the pan and pierce several times. Slowly pour glaze over cake and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Invert onto a serving plate. NOTE: Due to the alcohol content, this cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to six months.

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