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06/07/2013

~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (6/07/13) ~

Culinary Q & A #2TGIF.  I don't usually start my Friday Culinary Q&A's with this cliche, but, in the case of today, I mean it: Thank God It's Friday.  Joe has decided to come home from the office early, it is going to rain off-an-on all weekend and we are going to relax after a most hectic, but productive week:  I shot my 42nd Kitchen Encounters episode for WHVL-TV, Joe planted both of our vegetable gardens, cut and lined our tennis court, and, we got the HVAC for our house fixed!

PICT4679Executing all of these tasks in the span of 4 1/2 days took quite a bit of schedule juggling and with them behind us, we are now looking forward to some fun Summer tennis get-togethers and the fresh produce those gardens are going to supply. Now, before I put my feet up, watch a few movies and listen to the raindrops fall, this question got e-mailed to me from a reader and I chose it for this week's Friday Q&A!

PICT3963Q.  Audry says and asks:  I'm not a highly-skilled cook, but, I like to cook and because of your step-by-step pictures, I would try to make almost anything you post.  My in-laws are coming for Father's Day. They love seafood and my father-in-law loves scallops. I've never bought or eaten them.  What should I buy and how should I cook them?

Also, why don't more websites post step-by-step photos?  Don't they know what a big help it is

PICT3972 PICT3467 PICT3494A.  Kitchen Encounters: Thank-you for the nice compliment Audry.  I've always believed that a picture is worth a thousand words, and, when it comes to cooking, step-by-step photos are worth much more.  They are an essential tool for teaching and learning.  Sites that do not post them often times do not post their own recipes, or worse, don't want to take the time to take the photos.  Then, there are others (usually published authors) who whine about bloggers like myself who do the work their publishers won't pay for (step-by-step photos), which is stealing their thunder (and losing them revenue because, nowadays, people want more than just a pretty picture, a list of ingredients and a few vague directions to accompany a recipe.)  Photos don't cost money, photographers do.  Bloggers don't hurt published authors, published authors who have never done anything but churn out cookie-cutter recipes with no heart and soul attached to them hurt themselves.  Photographing the actual cooking process of a dish is very time consuming, and, a lot of extra work, but, it pays off in the end.  It's gratifying to know that going the extra-mile for my readers is appreciated!

Bottom line:  Tested recipes with step-by-step photos are indeed a higher-end publication.

PICT4056Scallops are shellfish, mechanically similar to clams, and the round part we all eat is the abductor muscle that hinges the two shells together. Because they do not survive long out of water, they are sold shucked.

Bay scallops, (the small ones) are about 1/2" in diameter and come about 100 to the pound.  Sea scallops, about 1 1/2" in diameter, come about 30 to the pound.

They both range from pale ivory to creamy pink in color, and, when properly cooked produce sweet, succulent meat, with the small bay scallop being slightly sweeter.  As with all fish and shellfish, they should be kept refrigerated and used within one or two days of purchasing.

PICT4032Scallops are at their best when cooked as briefly as possible and are best suited for simple cooking methods like sauteeing, broiling or poaching, although breading and deep-frying is quite good too.

I like and use both bay and sea scallops, but (for the most part) don't ever use them interchangeably:

I add the small bay scallops to seafood soups and stews or poach them and serve them chilled on or in seafood salad.  

As for the large sea scallops (pictured here), I like to broil or saute them and serve them as a main course.  My general rule is "keep in simple", meaning:  no heavy breading or overpowering sauces, which, in my opinion, just mask their delicate, sweet flavor.

Audry, since this is your 'maiden voyage' cooking scallops, might I suggest you make your father-in-law my recipe for ~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~.  You can find the recipe in Categories 3, 20 or 21.  This recipe is easy to prepare and elegant to eat!

PICT3574Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away... or e-mail me directly!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipes, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)

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