Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seafood Soup

You can call this a soup or a stew. It is very simple to make and is so delicious. Saffron is a little expensive, but it makes such a big difference. It goes well with a nice Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. (My favorite) It can be very saucy so be sure to have a hot crusty bread.


  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice (not seasoned)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound of halibut or any firm white fish cut in chunks of an inch or more.
  • 1/2 pound sea scallops
  • 1/4 cup flour, 
  • 1 tablespoon (1 turn around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • Hot, crusty bread, for plate mopping  


Lightly coat the sea scallops in flour after seasoning them with salt and pepper. Discard remaining flour.
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil (1 turn around the pan) and butter. When butter melts into oil, add scallops. Brown scallops 2 minutes on each side, then remove from pan. Do the same with fish and shrimp.
Add an additional drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic, shallots, and crushed red pepper flakes. Reduce heat and saute it for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to the pan and free up any pan drippings. Reduce wine 1 minute, then add stock, tomatoes and saffron threads. Let this sauce reduce and thicken up a little. Return seafood to the pan and cook 5 minutes longer. Add lemon zest, stir well and transfer to a warm serving dish.  Pass plenty of warm country bread or baguette to enjoy the juices.
NOTE If you like the sauce a little thicker, you can dissolve 1/4 of a teaspoon of corn starch in 1/4 cup of water and add it at the end, cooking for a couple extra minutes

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Bubble.. no trouble..

A beautiful Quartz with three phases of inclusions: gas, liquid and solid. The solids are tiny specks of Graphite. Isn't it just amazing to think that this water has been trapped there for millions of years?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Black Bean Soup

It is still cold and one of my favorite soups is a good black bean soup. First because I am Brazilian and Brazilians love beans (and rice), second because it's so rich in protein and nutrients.
I  would usually cook the beans in a pressure cooker but for this recipe, I actually used canned beans as a short cut. This serves 2 as an appetizer portion or small entree.  But is is simple to double the recipe.

2 cans of organic black beans (with no seasoning)
1/4 of an onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed.
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs olive oil

Blend the beans with 1 cup of water. Meanwhile saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, in a soup pot.
add the blended beans and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You can add a little more water if you think it's too thick. Season with salt and black pepper.

Serve hot with a parsley and egg garnish:

1 bunch of parsley finely chopped,
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
lime juice, salt and pepper to taste
Make a little salad with these ingredients, and season well. I like the kick the lime gives.  Scoop on top of the hot soup.  Bom Apetite!