September 25

Scallops, Okra and Tomatoes in Coconut-Curry Sauce

Active time: 40 minutes; start-to-finish: 50 minutes

Makes 4 servings

1/2 pound small fresh okra

1 pound plum tomatoes


1 small onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1-inch piece peeled, fresh ginger, chopped

2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno chile (including seeds)

1 cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth (divided use)

1 1/4 pounds sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each ifnecessary

black pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil (divided use)

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably Madras)

2/3 cup well-stirred, canned, reduced-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Trim tops of okra, being careful not to cut into pods.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and immerse tomatoes in a 2-quart saucepan of boiling water for 10 seconds. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon (save boiling water) to a bowl of ice and cold water to cool, then peel.

Add 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water, then add okra and cook, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain okra in a colander, then plunge into same ice water to stop cooking. Drain okra and pat dry with paper towels.

Quarter okra lengthwise and seed, then cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

In a blender, puree onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno (to taste) and 1/4 cup chicken broth.

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon oil and heat over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke. Brown scallops in 2 batches, turning once, about 4 minutes total. Transfer scallops as browned with tongs to a plate and keep warm, covered with foil. (Scallops will not be cooked through.)

Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to skillet and reduce heat to moderate. Add puree carefully (it may splatter), then add curry powder. Boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and remaining 3/4 cup broth and bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes and simmer, stirring frequently, until tomatoes are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Stir in scallops and okra and simmer until scallops are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Divide scallops, vegetables and sauce among 4 plates and sprinkle with cilantro.

Per serving: about 239 calories, 8 grams fat

Angel Biscuits

Makes roughly 2 dozen biscuits, depending on size of biscuits.

1 package dry yeast

2 to 4 tablespoons warm water

5 cups all-purpose flour

8 to 10 tablespoons sugar, to taste

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

2 cups buttermilk

melted butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water until the yeast begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Cut in shortening, until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal. Stir in yeast mixture and buttermilk. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.

Roll dough out 1/2 inch thick on a floured board; cut biscuits to desired size. Brush tops with melted butter and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Allow to rise for several hours.

Bake at 400 degrees until lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks or serve slightly warm. Biscuits freeze well, baked or unbaked, and the dough will keep in the refrigerator for five days.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "These are ethereally light and airy, with a nice, crumby exterior, perfect with butter and jam and equally delicious with a slice of ham in the middle.

"If you plan to use these with sweet condiments such as jam, the 10 tablespoons of sugar is reasonable; otherwise, cut the sugar down to 5 or 6 tablespoons.

"I chose to make rather small biscuits, using a juice glass to cut them out, but the dough works equally well with larger biscuit shapes. The finished biscuits keep a day or two if sealed in an airtight tin."

Cuban Steaks With Marinade and Orange-Onion Salsa

Makes 4 servings

4 top round or flank steaks (5 to 6 ounces each)

3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil


2 large, sweet oranges

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro


black pepper

Preheat the grill.

Meanwhile, prepare the steaks. Trim any excess fat or connective tissue. One at a time, place each steak piece between two sheets of waxed paper and hit with a meat pounder until they are flattened to a thickness of about 1/2 inch.

Press the garlic cloves through a garlic press and put into a large, shallow dish. Add the orange and lemon juices and the olive oil and stir well. Add the steaks, turning them in the mixture to coat them, and leave them in the dish at room temperature.

To prepare the Orange-Onion Salsa: Segment the oranges. Using a sharp knife, first cut off the peel at the top and bottom of each orange, cutting thickly enough to remove the outer membrane of the orange segments as well.

Then stand each orange on a cut end and cut off the peel in strips in the same way. Holding the peeled orange over a bowl to catch the juices, free each segment by cutting between it and the membranes on either side; cut the freed segment crosswise in half and let the halves drop into the bowl.

Add the sliced onion and cilantro and toss well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully oil the grill rack. Remove the steaks from their marinade, pat them dry, and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Place the steaks on the rack and cook, turning once, until done to your liking, 12 to 15 minutes total for medium.

Serve the steaks, passing around the Orange-Onion Salsa for guests to spoon alongside the meat.
--From "The Quick Grill Artist: Fast and Fabulous Recipes for Cooking With Fire," by Norman Kolpas (Clarkson-Potter, 2002, $22.95)

Orzo Salad With Chickpeas, Dill and Lemon

Makes 4 servings

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

one 19-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cold water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat and salt. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Combine pasta, onions, cheese, dill and chickpeas in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. Combine juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.

Chopped Romaine With Mint

Makes 4 servings

4 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine thinly sliced romaine lettuce and chopped fresh mint in a bowl. Combine fresh lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over salad; toss to combine.

Per serving: 327 calories; 10.4 grams total fat (2.9 grams saturated fat); 13 milligrams cholesterol; 10.8 grams protein, 47.6 grams carbohydrate

Baked Coconut Shrimp With Curried Apricot Sauce

Preparation time: 30 minutes; bake time: 10 minutes

Makes 6 servings

24 fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp in shells

1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 tablespoons apricot preserves

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 slightly beaten egg whites

Thaw shrimp if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

For sauce, in a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, apricot preserves and curry powder. Cover and chill until read to serve. Spread the oil in the bottom of a 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch baking pan; set pan aside.

In a large shallow dish, combine the coconut, cornstarch, sugar and salt. In another small shallow dish, place the egg whites. Dip shrimp into the egg whites; coat with coconut mixture, pressing the mixture firmly into the shrimp. Arrange shrimp in prepared pan.

Bake in a 400-degree oven about 10 minutes or until shrimp are opaque and coconut is golden, turning once. Serve with sauce.

Per serving: 545 calories; 42 grams total fat (11 grams saturated); 172 milligrams cholesterol; 585 milligrams sodium; 19 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams fiber; 23 grams protein

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