Friday, August 5, 2011

Rachel Ray's Pumpkin-Peanut Curry Noodles with Five-Spice Seared Scallops and Shrimp

This is Rachel Ray's Recipe for an incredible Pumpkin Peanut Curry. It is slightly adapted because I did not have pumpkin puree so I substituted Butternut Squash puree. 

Now, I am a person that likes a combination of flavors when I eat. I like salty, savory, sweet and spice all in one. This dish has all of that and more.

 The 5 spiced scallops and shrimp add a sweet and savory taste element. The firm texture of the seafood creates the perfect contrast to the pasta. The butternut squash and peanut butter are like a match made in heaven. They fuse together and make an unbelievably delicious sauce. 

What I love most about this dish is that it's super easy to make and whether you make it for a date night or family dinner it is very impressive. It is one of those dishes that will please most palates and if you want to try something a little new and different with spaghetti, it's perfect. This is definitely a keeper in my recipe repertoire. 

Rachel Ray's Pumpkin-Peanut Curry Noodles with Five-Spice Seared Scallops and Shrimp

Serves: 4

Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 inches ginger root, minced or grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tamari dark soy sauce, eyeball it
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cooked pumpkin (I used Butter Nut Squash puree)
  • 2 rounded tablespoonfuls mild or hot curry paste (recommended: Patak's) found on international foods aisle
  • 3 tablespoons five-spice powder
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 diver scallops, trimmed and patted dry
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces, then thinly sliced lengthwise into matchsticks


Heat a large pot of water for noodles. When water boils, salt it and add pasta to cook to al dente or with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil. Add garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, and pepper flakes to the pan and cook together a couple of minutes, then add peanut butter and melt it. Whisk soy into peanut butter, then stir in pumpkin (or in my case butter nut squash) and curry paste. The sauce will be very thick. Turn down the heat to low. Add a ladle or 2 of pasta cooking water to thin sauce a bit and simmer over low heat. Adjust salt, to taste.
Heat a small to medium skillet over high heat. Pour the five-spice powder onto a plate with some salt. Press both sides of the shrimp and scallops into the powder. Add 3 tablespoons of remaining oil to hot skillet. Place the shrimp in the pan and cook 1 minute, flip and sear the other side until just opaque. Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat back up to smoking. Add the scallops and sear on both sides until opaque. Remove scallops and add to the plate of shrimp.
Drain pasta and return pasta to the pot. Add the curry-pumpkin sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve noodles on 4 plated and top with scallions and seafood

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Home Grown Review

I was back home in Atlanta, GA and my best friend Sia took me to this restaurant, called Home Grown, that she wanted to check out. When we walked in we were seated right away. The restaurant had a homey, diner feel but was cleaner and more streamline/ zen-like in its atmosphere. 

The artwork on the wall created a fun atmosphere. To me it showed that they support their local artists and their unique voices. It also said to me that they care about their restaurant and customers. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things - Lucy's Whey Dried Strawberries Review

Lucy's Whey Dried Strawberries

My friend Kim put me onto these. She got them one day downstairs in the Chelsea Market. Once I had a taste of these little sweet thangs, I was hooked. They are absolutely delicious. They taste like little bursts of strawberry jam but have the consistency of a fruit snack. 

The only problem I have is that they're a little pricy. Especially since I can eat a whole bag in one sitting. But sometimes you have to treat yourself and these little strawberries are perfect for that occasion. They also make great presents or additions to a food gift basket. 

My precious (said in Gollum's voice) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bloomberg Party Event

Ana and Me

My friend Ana invited me to come to the annual Summer Bloomberg party on Randall's Island. Mayor Bloomberg rents Randall's Island and turns it into an awesome day of food and fun for his employees and their guests. We met on the west side around 60th street and were whisked over to the island by water taxi. 

View of the Bloomberg Party from the Water Taxi

I thought this signage was so cute on the walk towards the entrance to the party

Entrance to the Bloomberg Party

We entered through this massive, lit up entrance and were welcomed by a marching band and cheerleaders. I was excited. It was like a huge carnival for grown up and kids alike. 

The Marching Band that Welcomed Us

Notice the Trampoline Artists above the pink tent in the upper right corner

They had trapeze artists, contortionists and concerts going on in the main area of the island. 


Concert Stage in the Main Area

Sand Castle Display

As you continue to walk around the island there are all kinds of delights for the eyes and stomach. Above is a beautiful sand castle that was on display. 

Ladies on Stilts

Jamaican Beef Patty

They had Jamaican beef patty stands, freshly made kettle corn, fish and chips but my favorite one was the Crepe stand. The Crepe stand came in very handy too because even though for the most part it was a sunny day, at one point it started torrentially raining and I was able to seek refuge under the crepe stand. 

Freshly Popped Kettle Corn

Fish and Chips

Crabcake Sliders with Coleslaw

They also had a crab and shrimp bowl. We waited in line for about 30 minutes. This was the most popular part of the party. It was nice though because while we were waiting in line they had people bring us little sliders to munch on. 

My friend Ana and I waiting patiently for our crab and shrimp boil. 

The waiter pouring the first serving onto our table. Yummy!

Yes we did ask for seconds. 

This was the refreshment tent. Their speciality drink was a Pimm's Palmer. 

Ahhh! I was so stuffed I had to relax for a minute. At this moment I was thinking "Now this is the life."

They had lots of games for families to play. This is an oldie but goodie, bean bag toss. 

Here you could make your own ice cream sundae.

My second favorite part of any carnival, after the food--- the games. People were really getting into the Shoot the hoop game. 

After we were well rested, we went to the roller skating rink but they were closing it up, so they could turn it into the disco. Instead of rolling around, we danced the night away with an awesome dj and some sugar crazed little kids. 

I saw my girl's peach cobbler and I had to get one for myself. You know. Being a Southern peach and all. 

Peach Cobbler with whipped cream

Me and the girls

Monday, August 1, 2011

Strangest Thing I Ever Ate - Fried Shrimp heads

Left to Right: Yellowtail Jalepeno, Salmon and Tomato, Red Snapper, Chopped Eel Avocado,
Yellowtail Jalepeno Sauce

Left to Right: Yellowtail Jalepeno, Salmon and Tomato, Red Snapper, Chopped Eel Avocado,
Yellowtail Jalepeno Sauce

During the summer months up until the beginning of August one my favorite sushi restaurants, Sushi Seki, has a unique and unusual treat. They have live sweet shrimp that they --- this is kind of gruesome -- kill in front of you and make a sushi piece out of. A few minutes later they bring out the head of the shrimp, coated in a light panko batter and you have to eat it. 

Live Shrimp

When I first saw the live shrimp I was like, Awww how cute, I didn't realize what was about to happen. Before I was even able to utter the last syllable of cute, the sushi chef ripped off the head and the body started wriggling. My mouth dropped. 

Live Shrimp 
(left to right) Nao piece, Yellowtail with Jalepeno Sauce, Sweet Shrimp

He then put this beautiful sushi piece of sweet shrimp in front of me and the flesh was still twitching. I paid my respects to the little guy and then ate the piece. It was unbelievable. It was fresh and the flavor was so pure and wonderful. It melted in my mouth.

Shrimp Head
Then out came the head on a platter. I looked at the sushi chef and said "what is this?" He looked at me and said ,"It saw you before it died, so now you have to eat it's head." I looked at my friend who had also ordered the shrimp and together we had out first taste of shrimp head.

Shrimp Head
Honestly, as I bit into it I was a little scared. I was not sure what to expect. The first sensation I had was crunch, then as I continued my bite, the flavor of was out of this world. I had never tasted such an intense shrimp flavor in my life. I was hooked from the first bite and every summer I look forward to a taste of one of the strangest things I ever ate. 
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