Homemade parmesan peppercorn shrimp salad and Nat King Cole!

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
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Whisk together, season with a pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Shrimp Salad: 

serves 2

  • 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.

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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 Cooking Show, don’t you think? 😉

Seared Bay Scallop/Baby Clam Scampi: Improvising in the kitchen

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
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Handful fresh parsley chopped
Method: 
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.
Adi’s Tips:
  • 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!
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Here’s to one of my favorite improvisers, Sonny Rollins!

See you, Australia! Hello, Fish Tacos and home!

Thank you so much Australia and New Zealand! It was yet another incredible leg of the Mrs Carter Show with Beyonce. I can’t wait to visit again, but dang what a long flight! I just got back last night after traveling for 30 hours and to my surprise I was actually able to sleep through the night and so far, (thank goodness) I’m not really that jet lagged! (*knocks on wood*)

I hit the ground running back in New York, running errands and taking care of business today. I went super market hopping today (one of my favorite past times), lugging around my brand new mortar and pestle from Sur La Table, picking up a whole bunch of ingredients for some upcoming recipes.. I could not wait to get back into the kitchen after being away from mine for a month! The first thing that popped into my head was fish tacos with a homemade sweet chili sauce. The tacos are light and fun and the chili sauce is sweet, zingy, and packs a serious punch.. Kind of like the perfect track to pair up with this recipe.. Christian McBride’s “I’m Coming Home” from his “Family Affair” album. It just seems oh so fitting.

Check it out!

You’re going to need a mortar and pestle for this. If you don’t have one, it’s seriously a great investment for the kitchen. Great for grinding up spices, making pesto, guacamole, and much more. (Mine was $25 from Sur La Table)

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Recipe makes 4 tacos

Sweet Chili Sauce:

  • 2 red chilis deseeded and chopped (see Adi’s Tips below)
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

Method

Combine chilis, garlic, sugar, and salt in mortar and grind with pestle until smoothish. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, lime, onions, and cilantro. Taste. Season accordingly.

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For the Fish:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb firm white fish (I used 2 basa fillets)
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • Shredded radicchio
  • 1 small red onion sliced finely
  • Squeeze of lime
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • any other garnishments you like

Warm tortillas in a 300 degree F oven while fish cooks. In a pan large enough to fit the fillets of fish, heat olive oil over medium high. Season fish on both sides. Place in pan lying the fish down away from you so the oil doesn’t splash you. The fish should sizzle, if it doesn’t you need to wait longer for the olive oil to heat up. Cook fish 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip for an additional 1-2 minutes. Once cooked through, cut fillets into 4 servings and construct tacos with sweet chili sauce, radicchio, onion, and lime.

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Can you tell how excited I am to be home and cooking again!? haha

*Adi’s Tips: 

  • In order to de-seed a chili pepper you can pretend you’re the most killin’ drummer on the face of the planet and they are your drum sticks and jam out on your kitchen counter. (I’m serious) By tapping the pepper against a surface you release all the seeds, so once you cut the top off they will all pour out.
  • If your fingers start to burn because of touching the inside of the pepper rinse them with lemon juice. It’ll relieve the burn.

You can improvise:

  • Experiment with different garnishes like cabbage instead of radicchio, or by adding sour cream or guacamole, etc.
  • Use a different type of fish
  • Bread the fish with japanese bread crumbs by first dredging it in beaten eggs, flour, and then panko bread crumbs, then sear.

Stay tuned for more recipes! I’ll be cooking and playing up a storm the next 2 and a half weeks!

Episode 2 “Jam Session” Featuring Hailey Niswanger

Sweet Potato French Fries
  • Sweet potatoes cut into wedges (the smaller they are the quicker they cook)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheets with foil. Toss sweet potato with generous amounts of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and enough olive oil to lightly coat the potatoes. Spread them out evenly amongst the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or more depending on the size of the pieces.
 Salmon Sandwiches with a garlicky herb aioli
Serves: 6
For the aioli: 
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 cloves garlic made into a paste
  • 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil combined
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • squeeze of lemon
Whisk together yolk, salt, and water in a medium sized bowl. Add garlic. Line a pot slightly bigger than the bowl with a towel so your whisking bowl stays put, or have someone hold the bowl. Slowly whisk in oil mixture. A squeeze bottle is ideal for this, if not a cup with a spout. Continue whisking while mixture emulsifies. If mixture breaks you can start over and pour in the previous mixture. Continue pouring oil and whisking until it reaches desired consistency. Season accordingly. If aioli is too thick, you can add water to thin it out. Add a tbsp full of thyme, a tbsp full of chopped basil, and fresh lemon juice.
For the salmon:
  • 2 lbs salmon cut into fillets
  • Salt
  •  Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 challah buns (or your favorite kind of bun/roll)
  • 3 plum tomatoes sliced
  • 1 head Boston lettuce
  • 3 roasted shallots (roasted with the sweet potato french fries)
 Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On baking sheets season fillets with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes until they are cooked through. 5 minutes before you take out the salmon toast the buns in the oven. Take everything out of the oven and construct your salmon sandwiches!

 

You can improvise:

  • adding different fresh herbs to the aioli
  • adding different herbs/spices to sweet potato fries like rosemary
  • Dressing the sandwiches with your favorite toppings

Bye South America, Hello New York! (roasted butternut squash soup)

Now that I’ve been home for a day or so, I’ve really been able to reflect on my tour to South America with Beyonce. I have to say, it was really rough! Not a lot of sleep, lots of traveling, the life of a musician. Fortunately, the pros outweighed the cons! Just the people alone that I met in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico were so beautiful and incredibly inspiring! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that I came across! You have a place in my heart forever and I’m so grateful for all of you! Here’s a little video after our last show in Puerto Rico:

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in New York (besides seeing my family of course) was the fall time! These 2 weeks will be the only fall I experience this year since we’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand next! So the next 2 weeks are all about me making my favorite fall dishes! First one’s up!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled, deseeded, cubed (the smaller you cube it the faster it roasts)
  • 2 shallots halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp plain green yogurt (with extra for garnishing)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season squash and shallots generously with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil until coated evenly. Spread squash and shallots out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until tender all the way through (30-45 minutes) flipping every once in a while. Meanwhile,  toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat (watching carefully to not burn the nuts!). Once squash is tender put in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from blender and pour into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cardamom powder and greek yogurt. Pour into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with a toasted baguette.

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Improvise

  • Try toasted almond slices instead of pine nuts
  • You can use heavy cream instead of greek yogurt
  • Try roasting  root vegetables like parsnips or carrots as the soup base

This recipe is so warm and comforting. Perfect for the autumnal season in New York! All we need left is that air outside to get a little colder and crisper! (why does it still feel like summer, NY?!) The perfect song to go with this recipe is none other than, “Autumn in New York” performed by Joe Lovano and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (this is a throw back to my Jailyard days.. that’s me on baritone)

Ciao!

A

“South America and Duke Ellington” Ep 1 Pt 2 Sofrito

Sofrito and rice

Yield: serves 2

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What you need: 

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 8 aji dulce peppers (can be found in Latin food markets)
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • handful cilantro
  • handful culantro (recao) (can be found in Latin food markets)
  • pinch salt/pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil to drizzle into food processor

For the rice:

  • Box of yellow rice (follow directions)

In a food processor, process all ingredients until you reach a chunky consistency. In a stock pot sautee 1 1/2 cups of sofrito for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add rice and cook according to directions.

Stay tuned for part 3!!

A

Adi’s Jazz Kitchen Episode 1! Pt 1 Ceviche “South America and Duke Ellington”

Ceviche

Yield: 4 servings

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What you need:

  • 1 lb fresh grouper (or monkfish, or red snapper) cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 limes squeezed
  • 1 grapefruit squeezed
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 serrano pepper deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro chopped
  • pinch salt/pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 mango diced
  • 2 avocados diced
  • tortilla chips for serving

Combine all of the ingredients except for mango and avocado.  Marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours, until all of the fish has turned opaque white. After marination, add mango and avocado.

Improvise: 

  • Try a different kind of fish
  • Use different citrus juices, like lemon
  • try different herbs or seasonings

Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3!!! 

A