Autumn Pantry Pasta

I improvised this pasta dish tonight out of ingredients in my fridge and pantry that I needed to use up.  Despite the wacky mix of ingredients, it actually tastes delicious!

First I sautéed 4 cloves of garlic, 1 shallot, and 4 scallions in plenty of olive oil, seasoning with some herbes de Provence, freshly ground black pepper, and dried kombu and shiitake-laced sea salt (similar to the Breakaway Cook’s umami salt, but minus the Parmesan).  Then added a bunch of white Swiss chard, sliced into ribbons, a handful of chopped walnuts, and a roughly chopped Fuji apple.  Then I added in a few splashes of 100% pure apple cider from the farmers market and a heaping spoonful of organic white miso.  I let the mixture braise on low heat for a bit until the greens wilted.  Meanwhile, I cooked up the whole wheat penne pasta.  I used the apple and chard mixture to dress the pasta, adding a bit more olive oil, and topping things off with some grated Gruyère cheese and more freshly ground black pepper.

Yum!

Seared Scallops – Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad – Miso-Lemon Dressing

I think my mind is still in California, or at least my palate.  Maybe it’s this warm sunny weather we have been having.  The theme of this meal is Japanese-meets-Mexican-in-California.  In any case, this was a fantastic dinner for a warm night.

First make the corn mixture: Cut the kernels off a couple ears of fresh sweet corn.  Sauté them up in some olive oil with some chopped onions, bell peppers and/or chili peppers.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Let cool.  Or do this in advance and have it ready in the fridge.

Miso-Lemon Dressing: Whisk together 1 teaspoon of light miso, 1/2 teaspoon of honey, juice of one lemon, and about 1.5-2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Season to taste.

Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad: Mix together some of the cooled corn mixture with some chopped up cherry/plum tomatoes, half of an avocado cut into chunks, some scallion, and a handful of cilantro (fresh coriander).  Add some of the miso-lemon dressing and mix.

Scallops: Choose “dry” diver scallops, which means that they have not been soaked in a phosphate solution that bulks them up.  Also, they are kinder on our oceans than scallops that are caught with chains dragged across the ocean floor.

Rinse the scallops, and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Season and sear on both sides until medium-rare.

Assembly: Put some of the salad mixture on a plate.  Top with some seared scallops.  Put some of the remaining dressing on top of the scallops.  That’s it!

Variation on a theme: Corn, Plum Tomato and Gruyère Omelette

Take some of the corn mixture, add some cherry/plum tomato slices, green onion and gruyère cheese.  Toss it all in an omelette.  The corn mixture also works great by itself as a side dish.