Simple scallops with tangy orange sauce

scallops

When it comes to scallops, I like to keep it simple. I don’t remember where I first came across the recipe for the orange sauce, but it’s one of the few I have memorized.

Scallops can be tricky to cook. If you overcook them, they get a rubbery texture. They should be cooked all the way through, but not so much that they crack all the way through. I prefer to quickly sear them. I went through the trial-and-error process when I first tried making them, and it took a few sacrificed scallops to get it just right.

This orange reduction sauce is my favorite thing to have with scallops because, though it adds a flavorful punch, it complements the scallops instead of overwhelming them.

Enjoy!

Ingredients
8-10 sea scallops
1 cup orange juice
Dash of white pepper
Pinch of salt

Pour orange juice into a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and let simmer until juice is reduced to about 1/2 cup. It should have a slightly syrupy consistency.

Meanwhile, put a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add scallops. Do not crowd. Sear for about two minutes, or until scallops are lightly browned on one side. Turn over and sear for another two minutes, or until scallops are opaque all the way through. Turn off heat.

Add salt and pepper to orange juice. Stir.

Serve scallops with sauce.

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The easiest loaf of bread you’ll ever make

Asiagobread1

I tend to shy away from making bread at home. Sure, I’ll make sweet breads such as Oatmeal-strawberry bread or Pumpkin-chocolate chip bread, but a real, hearty bread? I haven’t had much luck with those, and the added challenges that come with being at high altitude tend to make such recipes discouraging. Until I stumbled upon this little gem.

I found it hard to believe that such a delicious-looking loaf of bread Asiagobread2could be made so easily. I had my doubts, but the recipe didn’t require kneading or multiple rounds of rising, so I could try it without being too disappointed if it didn’t work out. That turned out to be a good life decision because, instead of tossing out a failed attempt at bread, I got to devour a successful one.

The first time I made it, I added a chopped head of roasted garlic and some minced rosemary right before shaping it into a ball. I didn’t chop the rosemary finely enough, a mistake I won’t repeat. The flavor was good, but not quite what I wanted. The second time I made this bread, I decided to throw in some cheese. Asiago is my favorite cheese for breads because it holds together well. I prefer the Asiago version, but I noticed the blogger of the recipe also has a cranberry-orange version that I may have to test in the near future.

For those of you who worry your home may be too cold for the dough to properly rise, try this little trick, which was shared with me by a former coworker: turn your oven to the warm setting. Once your oven has warmed and you’ve mixed the dough, turn the oven off and put the plastic wrap-covered bowl of dough in the oven. It works like a charm and gives bread dough a better chance of reacting as expected.

Many Dutch oven instructions advise against heating the pot while empty. Mine carries a similar warning, but it has been OK both times I’ve done it. I put my pot in when I turn the oven on to preheat so it gradually warms with the oven, and I take it out as soon as the oven has preheated. I’ve never done the full 30 minutes, just as a precaution.

The moist inside and beautiful crust have made this my new favorite bread recipe. What type of variations will you come up with? Post yours in the comments.

IngredientsAsiagobread3
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup asiago cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and stir until a shaggy mixture forms (mixture will be loose and sticky; this is what you want). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours (up to 24).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast-iron Dutch oven with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the dough. Meanwhile, pour the risen dough onto a heavily floured surface (mixture will be sticky) and lightly shape into a round loaf.

Remove hot pot from the oven and carefully set in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove bread from oven and from pot and place on a cooling rack.