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Another Year, Another Birthday

Today the fan club and I along with close family celebrated my recent birthday. As you might guess by now,  I just love to show my love by preparing special dishes for friends and family.  Well,  I am friends and family too. So today I got a to eat some really tasty  food, and make it too.

Here's the love I came up with for all us. Seafood was heavy ingredient again in observance of Lent 2011.

Tonnarelli al Nero di Seppie con Frutti di Mare
(black squid ink Tonnarelli pasta with    fresh seafood)

Tonnarelli al Nero di Seppie

1/2 lb of  medium scallops
1/2 lb of calamari rings (no tentacles please !)
1 lb of medium shrimp
1 large yellow bell pepper
a handful of grape tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
Small shallot 
pignoli nuts as garnish

When cooking the seafood, make sure to observe the right timings was you add the ingredients. I added the Frutti in this order -  calamari , scallops, and shrimp. Cooked over low heat with a lid to keep the moisture from escaping , The base sauce of EVOO , and herbs was prepared as a first step.

Tonnarelli Pasta
Thought I would also share the brand of Tonnarelli pasta that I used this time.  Glad to say that "La Nonna del Monello" brand from the region of Puglia n the heel of the boot of Italy gets my thumbs up. One important tip. When buying any kind of pasta that is weaved into nests, carefully inspect your packages making sure that pasta is not crumbling apart. Intact nests will yield intact strands of pasta.

Grouper Steak in Garlic Sauce

Grouper Steaks in Garlic Sesame Sauce
This dish owes some inspiration to my many friends from the far east.  Asian cuisine, like Italian can do wonders with few and simple ingredients. In this case, the technique of spooning the hot oil and juices over the seafood steak while cooking,  manages to infuse deep flavors to the fish flesh while keeping it intact. Grouper does hold up well as it cooks, but it is still fish, and when kept very moist it can also break apart.  The spooning technique seems to make the dish both in flavor as well as compatible preparation technique.

Did you happen to notice some fish scales her ?  My  technique left some of scales on the bottom of the steaks for two reasons. To add some flavor as well as protect the fish as it cooked and steamed.

By the way , there was more Antipasto and desserts such as espresso cheesecake. But the were not the stars of this feast.

Happy Birthday To Me.!


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