The other night was one of those nights where I just had no idea what I was in the mood to make. I settled on a dinner salad which actually turned out to be pretty killin’. This recipe was inspired by a steak and peppercorn salad recipe, but seeing as I wasn’t in the mood for steak, I substituted shrimp. While doing this, I was listening to Christmas music, of course.. which I’m so looking forward to since I will then have a month off from the road! Anywho, Here’s what I was checking out..
Homemade Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing:
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp sour cream
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground pepper
Whisk together, season with a pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.
extra virgin olive oil
12 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled roughly chopped
3/4 lb raw large peeled and cleaned shrimp
juice of 1 lemon
2 stalks romaine lettuce chopped
heirloom tomatoes cut into quarters
2 stalks celery chopped
In a medium pan over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. When hot add mushrooms. Leave untouched for 2 minutes. Stir, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, until softened. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Over med high heat add another 2 tbsp of olive oil with garlic. Season raw shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp (if you don’t hear the sizzle then you did it too soon). Cook for about a minute on each side, until opaque. Remember, the shrimp continue to cook even when you take them off the heat. Don’t overcook. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside. Construct salad and toss with homemade dressing.
You can improvise:
Instead of using shrimp, try a different protein like steak or chicken.
Add your own favorite toppings, like toasted nuts
Try using a different type of lettuce like boston bibb lettuce
Did you know?
Not only was Nat Cole an amazing singer and pianist, he was one of the first African Americans to host a television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show. His show debuted on NBC. If only he was still alive today! He’d be the most incredible guest to have on Adi’s Jazz Kitchen CookingShow, don’t you think? 😉
I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic all morning since listening to Pepper Adams play the baritone saxophone.. It’s made me miss my baby.. Unfortunately this whole time since I’ve been home, my horn’s been in the shop.. so, I can’t wait to get it back tomorrow and get back to it. In the meanwhile, I made something super warm and comforting to go along with an incredibly beautiful melody by Duke Ellington, ♫”Star Crossed Lovers”. Here’s my recipe for ginger spiced hot chocolate and a homemade cinnamon whipped cream.
What you need:
4 cups milk (any type your prefer- I used whole)
1 cup chocolate, chopped from the block (combination of dark and semisweet for me- but use whatever kind you like)
1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or nutmeg powder)
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
In a medium stock pot over medium heat, heat milk, stirring occasionally. Once hot, whisk in chocolate. Then, whisk in ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a stand mixer, mix heavy cream and the cinnamon until the whipped cream creates soft to medium peaks. Pour hot chocolate in your favorite mug, top with the whipped cream and enjoy!
Last night I put my improvisational skills that come along with being a jazz musician to the test in the kitchen. I decided to head over to New Jersey to surprise my parents for dinner. Without having stopped at the grocery store first, I took a look around the kitchen in search of something I could throw together, and it worked!
I put a twist on your usual shrimp scampi, due to the lack of shrimp, I decided to use bay scallops and baby clams instead. I wanted some texture on the little “flavor bubbles” of bay scallops so I seared them first then tossed them in with the pasta later.
What you need:
1 lb favorite pasta (I used a really fun fusilli lunghi bucati)
3/4 lb bay scallops
2 tbsp butter
1 lb baby clams
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic crushed, peeled, diced
1 medium spanish onion diced
2 tomatoes de-seeded. diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lemon juice
Handful fresh parsley chopped
Bring generously salted water in a large stockpot to a boil for the pasta. Add pasta when ready. Meanwhile, place scallops on a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium heat, sear scallops for 30 seconds without touching them. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss quickly then set aside. You might have to do this in 2 batches. In order to get a good sear on something, it needs space in the pan to do so.
With a little bit of water in a large pot steam clams until they open up. Discard any clams that don’t open. Set aside.
In a large pan heat 3 tbsp olive oil over med high heat. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add onion cook until translucent. Add tomato. Cook for another minute. Season well with salt and pepper. Add white wine. Cook down for 2-3 minutes. Toss in clams and clam juice. Be careful not to pour in any sand from the clams. Once pasta is al dente (firm to the bite) toss in pan with clams and sauce. Toss in juice of 1 lemon and taste. Season accordingly. Plate. Garnish with parsley and fresh extra virgin olive oil.
Prepare everything ahead. Get all the chopping out of the way, so you won’t be stressed about pulling things together at the right time. In food and in music, timing is everything!
You can improvise:
Try using a different type of pasta.
Want to make a red sauce instead of white? Try a touch of red wine and adding a can of San Marzano tomato sauce or canned whole tomatoes then crush them with your wooden spoon.
Use different seafood.
This just goes to show, that you can make a dish into anything that you want, given the ingredients that you have. Be creative and confident, and it’ll work out in the most delicious way!
Here’s to one of my favorite improvisers, Sonny Rollins!
Don’t waste your leftover rice! It’s just as valuable as those alternate takes the cats recorded in the 50’s and 60’s! Is it just me, or were there lots of alternate takes on those recordings? Like, all those Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Cannonball albums?
*Jazz Lingo: For those non musicians out there (an alternate take is when musicians decide to put two different versions of the same song on one recording)
The point is, is don’t let the rice or the alternate takes go to waste! Don’t skip over them. The alternate take can be just as good as the other version of the tune, if not better!!
Like this one for instance..
♫ Freddie Hubbard “You’re My Everything- Alt. Take”
With my extra brown rice from the Thai place, I made a stir fry with all the leftover veggies I had in my refrigerator. I started with 2 tbsp oliveoil in a pan over med heat. I added 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 1 red chili (thin slices- deseeded if you don’t like it too hot) But hey, I like it hot. Sidenote: Be careful what you do with your fingers after touching the chili. Don’t touch your nose.. err.. like I just did. It burrnnnns! Ok back to the cooking:
Cook for 2-3 minutes. Tear a handful of kale in the mix. Add a little water if too dry. Cook for a minute. Add rice. Make a well with the rice. Scramble 1 egg in the middle of the pan. Toss with rest of mix. Add soy sauce. Season to taste. Finish with fresh chopped spring onion.
Voila! Super fast meal in five minutes, and you didn’t waste a thing!
As I’m adjusting to this chilly weather (which I’m loving!) I decide to warm up the kitchen this morning with some oatmeal and Nancy Wilson! This oatmeal isn’t just any oatmeal. It’s baked steel cut oats! It’s a swingin’ twist on regular stovetop oatmeal. I prefer steel cut oats just because they are a bit healthier for you than the instant rolled oats. This breakfast is super healthy, satisfying, and delicious! Just like Nancy Wilson is for the soul:
What you need:
1 Cup steel cut oats (the 5 minute cooking kind- see picture below)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup cranberries
3 cups milk
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 bananas sliced
2 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir together oats, seeds, and cranberries. Whisk together milk, egg, apple sauce, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir oats into wet ingredients. Pour into a casserole dish (or in my case I just baked it in a skillet). Place sliced bananas on top, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 30 minutes, do a taste test, and check to see if it’s done. Once tender to the bite and golden, remove from oven and serve with more honey, cinnamon, or whatever you like. You can serve it just like this or put it in a bowl and add more milk.
You can improvise:
To make this healthy breakfast a little more sweet, top with homemade whipped cream.
Try adding different nuts or berries.
Use a different type of milk.
Beautiful morning selfie, if I do say so myself. :p