Pan Seared Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Today, you’re in for a treat.

With the beginnings of Spring budding in the air, it’s time for some light and delicious dinners. Now, I don’t know about you, but I love me some seafood. And bacon.I’m pretty sure that the most wonderful dishes always include some form of shellfish. And the other wonderful dishes include bacon. So why not combine them?

Tonight is no different. Be prepared to salivate. I give to you the following wonders: Pan Seared Bacon Wrapped Scallops served with fresh Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts and my wonderful mother’s very own recipe for Homemade Gluten Free Corn Bread.

Since I’m doing three separate things here, I’m going to go in a step by step process of how I coordinate different cooking times.

First, we have to prepare our cornbread and get that on to cook. It’s going to be one of the most time consuming items, but it will also sit out on the counter and cool, which frees up your oven space for your Brussels Sprouts in the future.

Side note: the cornbread is a super awesome dessert when drenched in honey and served with hot tea.

Let’s start.

Mama’s Homemade Gluten Free Corn Bread:
1 cup Jules gluten free flour.
1 cup Bob’s red mill gf corn meal,
4-5 tbs sugar ( I like mine sweet so I use 5),
4 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp salt.
1 egg or 1 egg replacer,
1 cup milk or equivalent (I like coconut milk for this recipe),
1/4 cup canola oil.

Now, mix all of your dry ingredients together first. If you like, as my mom and I both do, you can make a batch of the dry mix in batches, and store these in ziplock baggies to have around on hand for a quick addition to any meal.

Once your dry ingredients are all combined, set them off to the side for the moment. Now, mix your wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and mix them thoroughly. Go ahead and combine everything together. Be sure to mix thoroughly so there are no possible lumps in your mix.

Don’t forget to oil your pan. And for any of you fellow soy allergy sufferers out there, DON’T FORGET that cooking sprays include soy. I like to take just a little bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe down my pan.

Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

When done, you should have something wonderfully tasty that looks like this:

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Now on to the Brussels Sprouts!

First, we’re going to start off with the following ingredients:

3 cups (roughly) washed and halved Brussels Sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder/black pepper/onion powder mixture
3 strips of bacon

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Take your Brussels Sprouts and put them in a large bowl with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Be sure to get them all equally covered. Then pour in your Kosher salt and your spice mixture to get them all covered deliciously.

Now, take out your bacon.

This is the easy, yet slimy, part. Take the 3 bacon slices and cut them into small strips that will go over the tops of your Brussels Sprouts.

Like so:

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Tip: If your bacon is slightly frozen, it’s much easier to cut up your bacon without it sliding around on you.

Now, set your oven to 400 degrees and cook for 15-20 minutes minutes, when bacon has a nice golden crisp to it, and the Brussels Sprouts are tender when you put a fork through them.

They will look wonderfully delicious, much like the following:

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On to the Bacon Wrapped Scallops!

This will be the centerpiece of your dinner, at least it is in mine. Feel free to add anything to this meal, like a nice steak or some roasted chicken. However, for me, this is more than enough food.

What you’ll need:
3 large sea scallops
3 pieces of bacon
2 toothpick skewers

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Now heat up your skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil, and two tablespoons or minced garlic.

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Once your garlic is effectively browned, put your scallops on to cook. Now, you want to be sure to cook them on a lower heat. Scallops cook very quickly, but you also need to make sure the bacon is fully cooked.

Raw bacon is gross and unhealthy. I like to avoid getting trichinosis. Unless you’re my best friend. She eats her bacon mostly raw, merely warm. I know…ew.

In the end, my scallops came slightly unwrapped, but were still QUITE delicious.

Serve and enjoy.

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This meal is brought to you by Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Nerd Chefs Unite!

This recipe is: gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, peanut free, tree nut free, and paleo friendly!

Adventures in Dairy Free Caramel Experiments: Part 1, Making Your Own Condensed Coconut Milk

Good Day My Allergy Prone Foodies! (Or not so prone if you’re inclined that way.)

Spring has sprung, and is finally upon us. What does this mean? It is time to start making caramel and chocolate combinations in preparation for all of those sweet treats you’ll be bombarded with at the grocery store.

One little problem: caramel is not dairy free.
Sadly, neither is chocolate (most of the time).

Don’t fret my lovelies, I’ve come up with a solution! And that solution will be delicious. After this three part blog series, we will end up with Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter and Caramel Cups.

Think of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups mating with Cadbury eggs. Yum.

Now, caramel sauce recipes, and caramel in general will call for condensed milk in order to actually make the caramel. It’s important that you used condensed milk, rather than just normal milk, because the process of condensing milk actually changes it into an entirely different product.

So the question here is, how do you make dairy free condensed milk?

Well, question asked question answered. You make condensed coconut milk.

How do you make condensed coconut milk, though, you ask?

Simply! Let me show you how:

Ingredients:
-Thai Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla
-1/3 – 1/2 cup refined cane sugar (or maple syrup or honey to make this recipe paleo friendly)
-1 tablespoon brown sugar (not required, but adds a nice pinch of sweetness)

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: Roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes

What To Do:

At this point in time, you’ll want to open your can of unsweetened coconut milk, and put it in a medium sauce pan.

Just a warning, it’s going to be a whee bit thick. Actually, it looks a bit like Crisco, so prepare yourself young padawan.

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Pour in your refined cane sugar (or sugar of choice), your brown sugar, and vanilla into the sauce pan. Heat on medium high heat until coconut milk and sugar has completely melted together. Once you have some bubbles around the edges of your delicious concoction, turn your temperature down to the lowest setting you have.

Now, your coconut milk will sit on the stove for about an hour (remember on the lowest setting), stirring every 5-10 minutes to help the evaporation process for your milk.

You’ll know that your coconut milk is deliciously condensed when it has thickened up and has a sweet smooth soft color to it. It will look a bit silky and have a slightly soft caramel color to it (even though it isn’t caramel yet).

Once it’s ready to go, you’ll pour it into a mason jar.

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Now that you have condensed coconut milk, it will store in the refrigerator for roughly a week. You want to be sure to use it before it goes bad, or else you’ll have wasted all your time and effort to make homemade condensed coconut milk.

You’ll be able to use this in:
-pumpkin pie
-sweet potato pie
-coffee
-mix with a bit of dairy free/soy free cocoa mix
-AND IN CARAMEL SAUCE!!

Stay tuned for the next installment in Adventures In Dairy Free Caramel: Part 2, Caramel Sauce!

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This recipe is: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, legume free, and paleo friendly.

Soy: The Secret Ingredient in Basically Everything

Have you ever bothered to actually read the labels on your food? And by read, I don’t mean looking at the calorie content, maybe the serving size, possibly even the fiber/carbohydrate/sugar content.

I’m going to go ahead and take a guess and say no. Most people don’t actually have a reason to read their food labels. Sometimes it’s trendy, as it was for so long with gluten free, and it now is with paleo. There seems to be a stigma against the people you see standing in the aisle reading their food labels, trying to understand the intricacies of chemical names for ingredients.

What you may not always realize, is that for some people there is a legitimate reason to be an avid label reader. It’s not always some lady and/or man who is the obsessive ingredient jerk at Whole Foods. Sometimes, you’ll get the apologetic allergen as I like to call them. These people are otherwise known as individuals with legitimate allergies, who aren’t trying to be rude, but trying to avoid a hospital visit.

Now, it’s moderately easy to accommodate gluten free diets these days, at least in a state as health conscious/friendly as Colorado; but when you add in dairy, egg, peanut, and soy, reading labels gets much more difficult (as well as depressing).

Optimistically, it is possible find gluten free, dairy free, nut free foods (though these seem to be buried in the back of the freezer section). It’s difficult, but you can find them. Add in egg free? That is an ingredient that can seriously mess up any hopeful products you may find.

How about soy?

Now soy, that shit is in everything.

If you’ve never had a reason to look before, look now.

Soy can be found in the following non-consumable products:
-makeup
-Chapstick
-lipstick
-face wash
-lotion
-shampoo/conditioner
-medications (yes, I know you consume these, but they aren’t tasty, so they don’t qualify)

As for soy in consumable items? It’s almost impossible to escape. Almost, but not entirely so; however, it can be rather disheartening to read labels when looking for food.

Soy is used as a preservative, an emulsifier, for coloring, for added “health benefits”, and for what just seems to be general corporate desire to overuse one particular ingredient.

When reading labels, even if it states that the product is soy free, it is of vital importance to still read the ingredient list.

“But why Allison? Why would I have to read the label if the front of the package tells me it’s soy free?”

Companies can label their product as being soy free while it still contains soy lecithin. It’s of a general consensus that the amount of soy contained in soy lecithin is so minimal that even an individual with a soy allergy can still consume the product with minimal to no harm.

Now, this may be true for you, and to that I say “Good on ye’ mate!”

However, depending on the severity of your allergy, it should no be risked, because there remains enough soy content to still cause a reaction.

Sadly, soy lecithin is used in the processing of chocolate.

So what’s a girl to do in a world now bereft of chocolate, and the necessary equipment for pastries and baked goods? Cooking and baking free of soy, dairy, egg, peanut (all legumes in general, really) is definitely a system of trial and error.

The main idea here is, you need to be aware of what is actually going into your body, even if you don’t have allergies!