I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn Cupcakes

Every year when the Oscars roll around I find myself scouring my cookbooks and the internet for great, fancy, delicious recipes to make for an Oscar party. I never can narrow it down and usually end up making something easy that I've had many times before. It's good to go with something you know will taste nice, but it's also a little boring.
So this year I finally made a decision early enough to buy my ingredients ahead of time and try something new and a little fancy. For a savory dish I made my own take on Giada's prosciutto wrapped scallops. I used bacon instead for a little more smokey flavor with paired so well with the sweetness of the scallops. For something sweet I made Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn Cupcakes that I found on Vanilla Garlic's blog. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to try them--I love the kick of the peppercorns with the richness of the chocolate. My cupcakes did fall when I took them out of the oven but regardless they were rich and dense and truly indulgent.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops
1/4 c. sun dried tomato pesto
2 TB capers
1 t. dried basil
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
16 scallops
8 pieces of bacon, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the sun dried tomato pesto, capers, basil and olive oil in a food processor. Clean and dry scallops, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub each scallop with a good amount of tomato mixture. Take 1 half of a bacon strip and wrap it around the diameter of the scallop. The bacon should be sticky enough to hold itself in place. Place wrapped scallop into a lightly greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining scallops.
Place baking dish in oven and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Raise heat to broil and move baking dish closer to heat source if necessary (In certain gas ovens, move baking dish to bottom of oven broil pan). Broil for 5 minutes. Serve scallops immediately after removing from oven.
16 Scallops

Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn Cupcakes
(from Vanilla Garlic)
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
What You'll Need...
200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao chocolate
3 sticks of butter, room temperature
2-1/4 cups of sugar
8 eggs, room temperature
1-1/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons of ground pink peppercorns

What You'll Do...
1) Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath.
2) Add sugar and stir, let sit for about 10 minutes.
3) Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
4) Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each one.
5) Mix the dry ingredients, and sift them into the mixture. Mix until just blended.
6) Stir in the ground peppercorns.
7) Scoop into cupcake papers and bake for 20-24 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache
What You'll Need...
8 ounces of 61% cacao chocolate bars
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns plus extra for decoration

What You'll Do...
1) Chop chocolate and place in heat proof bowl
2) Heat cream and peppercorns on stove over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge.
3) Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute then stir.
4) Let sit for 15 minutes, then dip and swirl cupcakes in the ganache. Decorate with pink peppercorns.


Emiline said...

Mmm, bacon.

I've never put peppercorns in cupcakes (oops, I just typed 'puppercorns'), but I'm not opposed to the idea.
I'm a pepper freak. I love the flavor and the heat.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I'll say yes to both of those, please... Do you deliver?? ;)

Kate said...

One day I really want to host an Oscar party. Until then I'll live vicariously through you.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Sarah, I have never had scallops, but I know that anything tastes great with bacon!

And for the cupcakes - luscious!

\Great Big Veg Challenge said...

bacon wrapped scallops...oh yes. I love that idea.
They look delicious.

\Great Big Veg Challenge said...

bacon wrapped scallops...oh yes. I love that idea.
They look delicious.