Baked Scallops

I'm always delighted to see fresh scallops in the supermarket. Nothing beats the simple elegance of scallops as sweet as the summer breeze, served sizzling with butter, bubbling with kesong puti, interspersed with aromatic chives in between.

There is so much to be thankful for that sometimes, all we need to do is sit back and reflect.

We’ve had good years, and we’ve had bad years, but despite the torrential challenges we faced as a family, I’m glad someone up there saw me through it all.

When the going gets tough, I am told to humbly stride toward the kitchen, where it is quiet, where I can think, where I can get through the day one recipe at a time, where I can use my gift of cooking. Instead of frantically, aimlessly marching back and forth, instead of letting the madness of the moment get to my head—I retreat to my refuge and devote my time and energy into doing something worthwhile. It is an exercise of patience and composure.

The kitchen is where I sort through my thoughts, where I solve what needs to be solved, shelve what needs to be shelved, and leave the rest to my one true confidante. All while my hands calmly prepare one dish after another. After all, it can be said that your loved ones need proper nourishment more so during times of disorder and distress. ­­

Although we’ve had a few tumultuous years, we’ve had plenty of wonderful years as well. It is with certaintly that we look forward to even more joyous years ahead of us. Faith is what keeps our family hopeful and strong.

This Holy Week, my family will have a solemn staycation. It is the perfect time to ruminate, to bond with each other, and to give thanks for all the blessings we have received.

For Lent, the blog will feature simple, seafood specialties that anyone can make in no time at all.

Allow me to help you make your staycation extra special as well with easy-peasy recipes for Asian salad, baked scallops, baked salmon, mango lassi, and chilled honeydew and melon soup with fruit kebabs.

The kids can never get enough of lassi. I make ours with Guimaras mangoes, yogurt, honey, ice, and make it even more authentic with a good sprinkling of ground pistachio.

My family’s version of Asian salad consists of baby spinach, crunchy sugar snap peas, carrot sticks, tangy mandarin oranges, toasted Palawan cashews, and a healthy dollop of Kewpie Roasted Sesame Dressing. We sometimes add canned tuna or kani sticks, but it is already flavourful and filling as is.

I am always delighted to see fresh scallops in the supermarket. Nothing beats the simple elegance of scallops as sweet as the summer breeze, served sizzling with butter, bubbling with kesong puti, interspersed with aromatic chives in between. Scallops taste best when you let its natural succulence shine through. This is why the subtle creaminess of butter and kesong puti complement it perfectly

Wild Alaskan salmon is excellent by itself, but it goes well with a myriad of aromas and textures. I bake salmon with lemon zest, orange zest, grated ginger, lemongrass, and parsley to give it a fresh, bright, citrusy note. I then brush it with a glaze made of Kikkoman soy sauce, lemon juice, grated ginger, and a bit of sriracha for a rich, umami finish with a little zing. I serve it with a generous sprinkling of scallions and black sesame seeds for crunch. It’s great with salad, noodles, or tucked inside a nori wrap with rice.

The meal is capped off by a simple bowl of chilled honeydew and melon soup with fruit kebabs. Enjoyed by kids and adults alike, it is a soothing summer soup to quench the heat and uplift one's spirit.

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You can use any kind of cheese--from cream cheese to parmigiano reggiano.

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I would eat this everyday if I could, but it's usually only available on weekends.

Baked Scallops with Chives, Butter, and Kesong Puti

Ingredients:

500 g scallops
½ pack kesong puti, cubed
½ stick butter, cubed
1 bunch chives, chopped (any herb will do)
Sea salt
Black peppercorn

Procedure:

BEFORE BAKING: Line a baking tray with parchment paper; set aside. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1.    Remove excess beard from scallops. Remove top shell. Wash and drain.
2.    Arrange scallops in a baking tray. Put 2-3 cubes of butter and 2-3 cubes of kesong puti per scallop. Season with sea salt, freshly cracked black peppercorn, and chives.
3.    Bake for 5-7 minutes, until kesong puti melts.
4.    Remove from oven. You can sprinkle the scallops with chili pepper flakes or parmesan cheese.
5.    Serve!

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