For pasta making classes and more, find her at:
For pasta making classes and more, find her at:
When I tell people I meditate, the response is almost always the same: “I could never meditate. It’s too hard to quiet my mind and sit still.” There’s still a very pervasive idea that meditation can only happen while sitting cross legged with a beatific smile. And if a state of nirvana is not reached, it’s somehow a failure, a goal not reached.
But meditation is simply about being as fully present as possible for everything good, bad and mundane. Or better yet, it is to not apply words like good or bad, and instead see layers in every experience outside of the simple terms we use. To look at them in a different way so that we no longer ascribe words like good, bad, and mundane to them, but instead see complex layers to all experiences.
Cooking can easily fall into that same result-oriented categorization for me. Eating the food is good, cooking is mundane. And certain tasks, like peeling potatoes and washing dishes, are bad. But what if I stop the mind that can only see those carrots and sweet potatoes in their future form of North African Peanut Stew, and instead see them in their current form and all the acts involved in their transformation as necessary and valid? How can that change my cooking experience, my cooking on a micro level, and the way I look at all parts of my life on a macro level?
I pick up my bright orange bowl on the kitchen island, full of potatoes, garlic and bananas. There’s a large chip on the side, exposing the chalky white ceramic beneath. An old roommate hated the bowl and tried to hide it, but I found it and put it right back where it belonged. The bowl has been with me for many years and we’ve both stayed (relatively) bright despite our imperfections. OR, maybe because of them.
The garlic skin crinkles in my hand. I pick it up and deeply inhale, pungent aromas hitting my nose with bitter sharp force. My old white knife begins chopping, dulled edges pressing as much as cutting the garlic. Putting it aside I quickly start chopping the onion, knowing the burning will soon begin but also accepting that discomfort will ease as it always does. I try to be present for the tears, to feel it outside of the concept of “pain,” and notice the underlying sensations that make up that word: Tension. Tightness. Throbbing. The way my mouth tightens in response to the burning.
The onions and garlic are placed in the peanut oil that is warming over high heat and the three commingle, creating a soft warm smell in my kitchen. My saliva glands begin to activate as I think about the meal I’ll be eating. But that is not now, so I stop and close my eyes, the smells bringing me back to the present. If I am already eating the meal in my mind, imagining how delicious it will taste, then I’m concentrating all my joy and happiness on the future, whether it be minutes, a week, or a year away. What about now? What am I doing right now that I can look at and not think of as work but part of the creation of something, be it a meal of the parts of my life that all seem so frustratingly random but will hopefully gel into something wonderful, a recipe not yet created?
I breath them in deeply. I focus on that breath, how my chest rises as I inhale and belly relaxes during the exhale. My breath is with me wherever I go and is the easiest way to bring me back to the moment. In the kitchen it also takes in all that.
Salt and pepper are added to the cooking alliums. I think of watching my Southern mother prepare fried chicken and seeing her add salt and pepper to the white flour, how all those ingredients came together to make my favorite dish. She always seemed to have all the time in the world when she was cooking, even though she was raising and feeding two children and three step-children. But when she was cooking everything was slowed down. She never used measuring cups but somehow everything always tasted exactly the same and it always tasted perfect. No fried chicken will ever be as delicious my mother’s.
Crushed red pepper and thai chili sauce are added. I can taste the slightly sweet heat in my mouth even though I’m only smelling it, deep in the back of my nostrils. All the senses are connected in such an overlapping way, combined with memories. Why do I love mayonnaise but not mustard? Why do I eat carrots almost every day but red cabbage makes me nauseous? What other experiences are combined with the memories, like the garlic chile mixture cooking on the stove?
Vegetable broth and sweet potatoes are added and brought to a boil, then reduced to simmer. I look around my kitchen. I’d love to say I follow the “clean up as you cook” rule, but I rarely do. There are knives and cutting boards to wash, counters to wipe, and ingredients to put away. Cleaning isn’t in my natural DNA and it’s a challenge to not rush through it as quickly as possible.
At my first meditation retreat I was told to bring mindfulness to everything I do, washing my face in the morning, brushing my teeth, mopping the floor, everything. Each of us had an assigned chore and we were told to fully concentrate on the task. And since the retreat was completely silent, we could bring all our senses to the act with no escape from a TV in the background, a telephone, or Facebook. I now bring that to cleaning.
I watch the water run into the sink, noticing the feelings in my body when I want the sink to fill at a faster rate. What does impatience feel like? I can feel it in my temples and in my jaw, one throbbing and the other clenched. Awareness of emotions that are uncomfortable is like Kryptonite. They lose their super abilities and are made human. The water sounds like a waterfall, like Bash Bish Falls in Western Massachusetts where I grew up. What first appeared as an almost solid stream is now made up of shapes, bodies slowly dancing for an audience of one. I turn off the faucet.
Tomatoes, collard greens, and peanut butter are added to the broth mixture and then it’s back to cleaning. Different sponges or scrubs create different sounds. What if I apply pressure here instead of there? The texture of the cooling water has changed, the silkiness of the dish liquid less noticeable.
Edamame is thrown into the pot, the last ingredient. A few beans miss the pot and I pop them in my mouth, biting down on the chalky hardness. I don’t like raw beans but whenever something misses the pot, I have to pop it in my mouth, one of my kitchen quirks. Where did it come from? Why do I always bite one corner of a bread slice before making it a sandwich? I don’t know. Maybe it’ll come to me one day when I’m cooking.
I’m finished cleaning and take out the cilantro to wash and chop. Cilantro is such a divisive herb, few people are ambivalent about it. I love it with a passion and add it to much of my Thai cooking. When I was in Chiang Mai, I took a cooking class with my best friend, Ryan. It was incredibly hot and humid in the outdoor kitchen – one woman fainted. But we were so deeply happy ’cause we were young and backpacking around a foreign country with no worries. The only thing we had to focus on was listening to our teacher explain how to chop cilantro.
When we returned home, Ryan became very lethargic and within a week was diagnosed with leukemia. He died three months later. I’m still sad, deeply sad, about his death, but as I write this I am also smiling while thinking about us chopping cilantro and laughing. Later, the students all sat on picnic tables eating our different versions of green curries, papaya salads and mango with sticky rice. I don’t remember what anything tasted like but it was one of the best meals of my life.
The cilantro is finished and my kitchen is full of spices and herbs dancing with each other: tomatoes on top of garlic and peanuts up against collard greens. I’m happy. Even before taking one bite of the meal, I’m happy. Now I eat.
“I love the flavors in this African Peanut Stew so much, especially in the colder months. It has a perfect balance of acid, fragrant spice, earthy richness and heat. Some African Peanut Stews have chicken but I prefer to let the vegetables take center stage in my version. It’s also a vegan meal that carnivores enjoy as much as non-meat eaters, which is good for dinner parties or potlucks. It’s a good recipe to play around with: Add chickpeas, roasted butternut squash, zucchini, etc – get creative and make it your own. Hope you have fun making it and even more fun eating it.” – Delano Burrowes
I recently went through a breakup with my boyfriend of 4 1/2 years. There was no anger – just the sad realization that we are on different life paths (I want to get married and have kids someday, while he doesn’t know if he even believes in the concept of marriage or when/if he’ll ever want a family). Fortunately, we realized that before any bitterness or resentment built up. I’d say we are some of the lucky ones to be able to end things on amicable terms. I’m grateful for that because I’m left only with happy memories from our time together. It doesn’t change the fact that the sadness was, and still is, overwhelming at moments. It digs a hole into your soul, and the only way to get out is to embrace it and push through the pain. Definitely easier said than done, especially when the only sense of relief you have is time, which feels like both a blessing and a curse…on my best days, I choose to see it as a blessing.
This wasn’t a perspective that I came to immediately. The first week I was a complete wreck. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much consistently. The day after our breakup, six people (essentially, half my class in culinary school) asked me what was wrong with my eyes. Not surprising given the fact that I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but what was actually surprising was the unexpected kindness and sense of comfort from my fellow chefs-in-training. First, let me acknowledge that I’m so blessed to have a wonderful group of friends outside of culinary school – not all from the same group, but a cherished assortment of personalities that I have collected over the years and love dearly for individually different reasons. I’ve relied heavily on a number of them during this tough time, and I can’t thank them enough for enduring the endless text messages, phone calls, and meet-ups to listen to me vent and watch the free-flowing tears without judgment. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some amazing new individuals through culinary school, whom I can now proudly call friends, and I owe each of them so much gratitude and thanks for helping me to cope. When you’re in the kitchen, there’s no time to think about anything else other than the daily – or in our case, nightly – menu. Life issues and distractions become obsolete, and the only thing that matters is the food. All parts of it – the recipe, the story behind the dish, the technique, the food preparation, cooking the dish so that it tastes as delicious as possible, assembling the dish and plating it on time, and, last but not least, enjoying the finished product family-style.
That first week, I lost all joy, including my joy in cooking. As much as I didn’t want to, I forced myself to find the motivation to go to class and, despite my puffy eyes, I’m so glad I did. Little by little, with each passing day, I found bits of joy coming back, and I thank culinary school and mainly my classmates for that. The kitchen is both an intimate and uniquely impersonal environment (at least in a classroom setting – I can’t speak from experience in a professional kitchen yet, but I suspect it to be the same); you get into a natural rhythm of moving around all of these other bodies and, in very close proximity with one another, you learn what makes each person’s personality tick, you come to know their food allergies and taste preferences, and you deal with tensions running high as the dishes pile up – all this without really knowing who they are as people because, in the kitchen, nothing else matters except for the food. That truth is strangely enough what I’ve found comfort in. It is nice to be asked how I’m feeling and if I’m doing ok, but at the same time, I appreciate the absence of it and being completely distracted with life in the kitchen. For those few hours in class, I’m able to forget about the sadness and suppress the pain of a broken heart.
The decision to attend culinary school was mine, but I owe my former boyfriend a lot of credit for helping me come to that realization. Our relationship was rooted in food from the beginning, something we both found happiness in and loved to explore and share with one another. We went on a culinary journey around New York City and were fortunate enough to have multiple opportunities to continue that journey around the country and abroad. I first discovered zapote on our visit to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, shared some of the best dim sum I’ve ever tasted in Vancouver, tried duck confit for the first time together in the Berkshires, got lost in the mountains of Puerto Rico while on the hunt for Lechon in Guavate, drank port in the streets of Lisbon, had my favorite bite of an egg at at gem of a tapas place in Seville, and learned to love braised lamb shanks thanks to Elote, one of our favorite restaurants in Sedona. Every dining experience at home and abroad was an excuse to taste new foods and share in that experience together. We were adventurous eaters, always eager to try something new, but one cuisine we always reverted back to and continually found comfort in was Italian. Sadly, we never made it to Italy together. I still plan to go someday (maybe with a new partner who loves food as much as I do), but until then, I’m taking a trip there in the only way I know how to right now: through my grief. With all things in life, change is inevitable, and the only way to survive it is to embrace it. In an effort to accept and embrace my new life path, which I still can’t quite see clearly, I ventured down memory lane and recreated a favorite Italian meal of ours, but with a unique twist, because I believe that’s what relationships are: familiar but ever-changing in an interesting and hopefully positive way. I leave you with my take on Tuscan ragu and tiramisu. To love and food! Enjoy.
Servings: 1-10×8 inch serving dish, roughly 10 – 12
I am always cooking something, and rarely do I follow a recipe. I like to create my own. Hence, why I am in culinary school. I find my inspiration by studying cookbooks, perusing recipes from chefs I admire, and reading food memoirs. A light is always shining brightly in my head whenever I’m deep into a cookbook, twisting ideas around to make a dish work for me. This dish took 2 days in the making. I balance working as a server at a restaurant, cooking school, spending time with my husband, making time for friends and time to work on this project. Not to mention cooking, eating, reading, and writing for pleasure. It’s a chaotic juggle sometimes. But I love it! Here you’ll find a roughly drafted recipe of this dish, in which I hope to come back to it and refine it so that you can recreate it at home. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Rehydrate the salt cod in cold water in a bowl. Leave in the fridge overnight. I did this for two days, changing the water once and switching to almond milk for the last night. Please note, you don’t have to do this for two days as it will dramatically reduce the salt content. I wanted a less salty brandade, which is why I soaked it longer. When ready to cook, remove the salt cod from the bowl and begin to shred it into pieces into a colander so that any remaining liquid strains. Keep aside in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch any liquid. Rough chop the onion and sauté in a skillet in canola oil, just until it starts to get some color – not looking for caramelization, just softened onions with a little crisp. Add the salt cod and now you’re just looking to get it hot. This should take no more than 5 minutes. In the meantime, dice the potato into medium to large chunks and boil in salted water for 15 minutes, or until you can crush easily with a fork. Strain and set aside. You do not need to reserve any of the cooking liquid. Now in a large cast iron skillet on low heat, sauté two cloves of thinly sliced Russian Purple garlic in a generous amount of olive oil. Keep this on low heat so that the garlic really infiltrates and infuses the olive oil. A wonderful aroma of garlic should fill up your house. Pay careful attention to not brown the garlic. There shouldn’t be any color, so if you start to see it brown, turn off the heat and let it sit in the oil for 10 – 15 minutes. This would be a good time to preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Now, with the skillet still on low heat, add the potatoes to the garlic infused olive oil, crushing the potatoes gently into the garlic cloves with a wooden spoon. Add the salt cod and onion mixture. Mix everything together with your wooden spoon and drizzle a small amount of heavy cream over the top, less then 2 tablespoons. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sour cream. Thoroughly mix everything together, tasting as you go. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of lemon zest, and a sprinkle of cayenne. Mix, taste, adjust seasonings as needed. When you’re satisfied with how your brandade tastes, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and with your wooden spoon, make 5 small holes over the top, drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the holes, then crack an egg into each hole. Sprinkle the eggs lightly with salt and a touch of any remaining breadcrumbs. Put skillet in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. When finished, take the brandade out of the oven. Add a dash of cayenne for color and extra heat, and garnish with a few parsley leaves. Serve with crusty bread.
Play up your sides, dress it, add little niceties to refine a simple vegetable’s elegance. Coax out the crunchy quality of an otherwise incomplex green bean with habanero harissa and crispy red onions. Texture and spice are the “make-up” to a plain bean, like what eyeliner and red lipstick are to a clean, bare face – except here it’s all about the flavors, not only the look. Julienned Persian cucumbers step into the scene, and when doused in a lime vinaigrette, a perfect balance to a citrus closing is guaranteed. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Cut ends off beans to create uniform pieces. Keep some of the cut off ends to garnish the plate later. Boil a pot of water, enough to fit two handful of green beans. Set aside a bowl of ice water. When the pot of water begins to boil, blanch the green beans for 30 seconds then transfer immediately to the bowl of ice water. When sufficiently cooled, drain and set aside.
In the meantime, heat up the canola oil and dredge thinly sliced red onions in flour, tapping off excess flour. Fry in canola oil until golden and crispy. Remove from oil and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Sprinkle lightly with Maldon sea salt. Now, using a papaya peeler, julienne the Persian cucumber and place in a bowl. Add halved grape tomatoes to the bowl. Add a generous swig of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lime. Mix together, add Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let that sit for a minute. Now, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and quickly sauté the green beans for one minute on high heat, stirring frequently. You just want to coat lightly with butter to add flavor.
Spread a generous spoonful of habanero Harissa across the plate. Place the green beans on top diagonally. Grab some of the julienned Persian cucumbers allowing the excess lime vinaigrette to drip back into the bowl and put it on top and across the green beans. Top off with crispy red onions. Sprinkle plate with red chile flakes and garnish with the chopped off ends of green beans and tiny lime wedges.
After a harrowing panic attack at my desk on Wall Street – that desk: glossy, impervious, solid oak – the doctor ordered me to stop drinking coffee. It was “working my nerves.” Since that time in 2006, I transitioned from being coffee-less to a hated by everyone decaff drinker to an obnoxious half-caff drinker to finally ditching all caffeine modifications and going full throttle and returning to a healthy caffeinated state in 2016. I start my day with with a coffee brewed from a French press, then I pick myself up later with a macchiato.
The espresso is liquid art. Foamy and dark, it reminds me of loosely melted chocolate or like the velvet coat of a strong, majestic horse. And it’s créma, lending the appearance of wet-slicked sand on a stoic summer night.
The espresso is powerful, too. Try having a short espresso on an empty stomach. If you’re especially susceptible, it’ll buzz straight through your veins, leaving you jittery. Even still, my relationship with coffee is especially strong. It’s a sacred moment that first sip, like a junkie getting her fix.
When I think of great big cities like Paris and New York City, I envision warm, cushiony cafes. You have your bustling cafe and your lazy days cafe. Whatever rhythm of said cafe, they carry one thing in common: a promise of a state of bliss, a smile, stimulating chatter with strangers. Or, a state of hell. It is incorrigible to receive a watery, lukewarm poor excuse of a coffee and not instant happiness, like you expected. Coffee these days can easily run you approximately $5. For that price, I expect nothing less than greatness.
It was midsummer of 2011 when I started my research in coffee trends. While I’m not going to write about brewing techniques, I will mention that I discovered that a good cuppa Joe was not always contingent on the coffee bean or roasting method, but more often than not, contingent on the hands of the barista. A barista will give you what you ask for. A good barista is worthy of venerable praise. A poor barista just doesn’t care.
I’ve noted this by observing the barista. Allow me to elaborate – but before I do, I ask you to assume two things: 1) I always tip the barista, and 2) my order is always simple.
A good barista takes care of the espresso machine. They keep it clean, wipe after every use. They stick to the standard: calibrate the grinder to set the bean to water ratio for the day, use a scale to measure the amount of ground beans in grams, taste the espresso shots to ensure a good balance. This is known as dialing in. A good barista will handle the act with ease, grace, proficiency. They deliver with a smile. Even if they’re not the smiling type, the good barista understands that you appreciate a proper coffee beverage and will deliver just that.
A poor barista just doesn’t care. They will get annoyed if you ask for anything “superfluous” like decaff, soy milk, almond milk, etc. A poor barista won’t always greet you, much less smile, and will probably stand there, stone cold, expecting you to read their mind insinuating they’re ready to take your order. They will be bothered if you’re being specific about what you want. They will not wipe the steamer handle after each use, will brush you off if you try to make any conversation, and then watch with eager eyes to see if you tipped. The good barista can’t be bothered with all of that because they’re too busy being good at their job, perhaps envisioning opening their own cafe in the future.
When I was working at Bocca Cafe, all of 18 year old me didn’t understand the popularity of coffee. After a Finance degree followed by a Wall Street gig, I began to understand the high. Later down the road, when I’m sitting deep in my seat at my desk – that desk: glossy, impervious, solid oak – a co-worker said I didn’t look happy working in an office, that my personality seemed better suited for a cafe. I shot him a dirty look and thought of those late nights at the university library cramming for exams. I thought of ratios, formulas, excel sheets and the egregious student loan that haunted me. He was my peer and seemed to know me better than I knew myself. I scowled. I furrowed my brow and ignored him and slammed my fingers on the keyboard. Heart raced. Whirl of thoughts over my head. Embarrassed, blushed, cheeks ablaze. He found out. I’m not happy. I hate my job. I hate my life as long as I’m working on Wall Street. I didn’t understand why being nice to people, asking about their lives, and why laughing at things made me appear less professional. It was a deal breaker for me to stay serious all the time and to give in to that motto I’ve come to abhor, “perception is everything.” But still I caved in each time someone walked by my desk. In favor of that motto, I leaned into my computer and squinted my eyes.
Not anymore. Now I say to the doctor, “No coffee?! How about no Wall Street?”
On a warm, sunny day in August, I visited with Sarah Bode-Clark in her Crown Heights kitchen, where she whipped up a “hot bath”, also known as Bagna Cauda, to dip fresh vegetables in. Drawing influence from one of my restaurant favorites, I chime in to create my take on the popular dish known as Ricotta Gnudi. Sarah goes the length by combining two celebrated desserts in sundae form, creating her interpretation of a Tiramisu Affogato Sundae with Chocolate Espresso Liqueur. Watch it here on Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Ricotta Gnudi with Tarragon Pesto, Pine Nuts, Brown Butter, and Lemon Zest
Kelly Torres | Host, Producer, and Director at Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Sarah Bode-Clark | Photographer & Food Writer at Sarah Bode-Clark Photography
David Alan Horowitz | Lead Singer & Guitarist at The Above
Eugene Faber Green | Radio & Television
Jim Chandler | Drummer at Twin Guns
Soundtrack by The Above
I am lucky to live in a neighborhood that is conscious of quality foods. Prior to The Meat Hook’s opening in November of 2009, I would take the subway to Union Square to purchase meats from Whole Foods. I get criticized on occasion for not buying meat from local supermarket chains and, to be honest, I feel slightly pretentious for not doing so. But when it comes down to it, I ignore the critics and continue to support the shops that are trying to make a difference in how we eat food and treat animals.
Here is a Bratwurst purchased from The Meat Hook. Made fresh daily, their brats are a mixture of pork, cream, eggs, and caraway. I prepared this by first poaching the sausages in a shallow pool of water on high heat in a cast iron skillet. When the water has fully evaporated – which happens rather quickly – I then drizzle some olive oil over the sausages, turn the heat to medium, and let them grill on each side for a few minutes, until browned evenly. I usually cover the brats on the second turn for about 1 1/2 minutes to allow the sausage to steam, thereby cooking it gently inside. Then I uncover to finish grilling. What I love about this method is the sausage doesn’t get overcooked. It browns evenly outside and stays juicy inside. Serve with caramelized fennel and onion (see recipe below) and end enjoy with warm, buttery garlic bread. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add yellow onions, fennel, and jalapeno and saute in oil, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until slightly caramelized.
Heat olive oil in a deep skillet on medium heat. Add butter, let it melt into olive oil. Add onions and thyme, saute until a slight caramelization begins. Add pancetta and render fat. Stir onions and pancetta regularly to integrate flavor and keep from turning too brown. A little caramelization is great, but since it’s on medium heat, you don’t want it to burn – which is what will happen if you let it sit far too long. Add sweet potatoes and the sprig of rosemary. Saute for 1o minutes and then add dried yellow lentils. Let that toast for a few seconds, then add vegetable stock. It should sizzle immediately and you should be proud of yourself. Let the flavors of all the ingredients integrate in a nice bubbly stew for about 3 – 4 minutes, then turn heat to medium low and let cook for 40 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Do not cover.
When lentils and sweet potatoes have softened to taste, your soup is ready. Remove the sprigs of thyme and rosemary and discard. If you want a smoother pureed soup, have 2 cups of vegetable stock warm and ready. Pour soup into a food processor and puree until smooth, adding the 2 extra cups of vegetable stock as needed. Now, pour the puree into a sieve to reduce chunks and create a nice glossy looking soup. Garnish with parsley or fried bits of pancetta. Serve with crusty baguette and whipped butter sprinkled with Maldon seat salt. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Shallow-fried Red Bananas (made like tostones)
Peel the skin off the bananas. Chop each banana into 3 diagonal, but even-sized chunks. Pre-heat canola oil in a frying pan on medium high heat for about 2 minutes, do not over-heat. Fry chunks in canola oil for 5 – 7 minutes, until golden brown. Do not flip bananas for the first 2 minutes to avoid them sticking to the pan. After 2 to 3 minutes, flip pieces whichever way necessary so that all sides are golden brown. In the meantime, place a piece of paper towel onto a plate or a cutting board. (I used a cutting board.) When bananas are golden brown, take them out with a tong and place onto the paper towel to drain excess oil. Turn off heat.
Now, place another cutting board onto your countertop and remove one piece of fried banana from the pile with tongs and place it in the center of the cutting board. Press the bottom of the first cutting board onto the fried banana so that it flattens. Don’t press too hard, you don’t want to mash them. Just use enough pressure to flatten. It will probably stay stuck to the cutting board, that’s normal. Just use your tong to gently ease it off in one piece and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining fried banana pieces until you have only flattened bananas left.
Now, pre-heat the canola oil again for about a minute or two on medium high heat. Refry the flattened banana pieces for 1 minute on each side. When bananas are fried to desired crispiness, remove piece by piece with tongs and allow to rest on a fresh paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.
Pour 1 can of light coconut milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Madras curry powder. Whisk thoroughly. Using the same canola oil used for the fried red bananas, lightly fry thinly sliced onions, smashed garlic cloves, and jalapeno rings on medium high heat. Stir frequently until they are crisped at the edges, 4 – 5 minutes. Add carrots and lightly fry for 1 – 2 minutes. When all ingredients are lightly crisped, add the seasoned coconut milk and heat until it starts to bubble. Then, turn down heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will reduce and thicken into a deliciously rich sauce.
Now, while the coconut curry sauce is simmering, pat dry 6 pieces of scallops. (I took the extra step of wrapping the scallops in paper towel and kept it in a bowl in the fridge beforehand to drain all excess moisture. Then I took the paper towels off and sprinkled some salt to further drain out excess moisture. Then I pat dried the scallops, and re-seasoned with a little salt and pepper.) Make sure scallops are at room temperature before searing. In a small cast iron skillet, melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter. (Clarified butter would be better, as it has a higher smoking point, but that’s not what I used in this recipe.) After the butter has fully melted and foam reaches the surface, add the scallops. Do not let the scallops touch each other. Sear each side for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with tongs and place onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
Pour coconut curry into a shallow bowl. Place seared scallops in the center, flip them over to cover in sauce. Pair with basmati rice using the instructions on the packaging of the rice. Place rice in a bowl and top it with another bowl, flip it over so that you have a nice mound of rice. Enjoy with fried red bananas. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!