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Scallops, Pesto, Homemade Bread, and Blueberry Pound Cake

Nonna wasn’t here for dinner tonight. That means we get to reach back into our creative minds and do some fun things she probably wouldn’t like or be able to eat. Her tastes really are changing and while she’s never been what one would call and adventurous eater, she’s starting to dislike a lot of things she used to love. I kinda figure what the hell – she’s 90 and can eat what she wants – but it does make cooking a bit of a challenge, at times.

So with her not here, we get to be a bit silly in our approach to dinner.

I had scallops thawing and went to La Cucina Italiana website for a bit of inspiration. The site is in Italian – I use the Google translate – and one of the first recipes I saw was for an appetizer with a halved scallop and a quail egg on a brioche toast. Earlier today, my sister who knows how much I love eggs on things had posted a picture of a sweet potato hash with a poached egg on top that she made. It had me drooling on my keyboard. When I saw the scallop and quail egg appetizer, I knew I had a great idea for dinner.

I made a loaf of Pepper and Cheese Bread this afternoon and knew a couple of thick slices of that toasted would sit in for the brioche. Whole scallops for halves, poached eggs for quail eggs, and dinner was set. Almost. I wanted something to take the toasted bread up a few notches… Victor’s Pistachio Pesto was the clinching ingredient.

It was really simple. I sauteed the scallops in a bit of olive oil and butter, added a splash of white wine, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt & pepper. They went on top of the toasted bread I liberally spread with homemade pesto. The scallops went on the plate and the egg went on top. I chopped some pistachios for garnish but forgot to use them. Oh well.

The bread was a take on a recipe I’ve made before.

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Pepper Cheese Bread

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 or more hot peppers, minced
  • 1 egg

Mix yeast with water and cream to proof. In a stand mixer, add half the flour and begin to mix. Slowly add the grated cheese, the peppers, and the rest of the flour, mixing until it all holds together. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes or until a firm, smooth dough is made.

Form into a ball, rub a bowl with oil, coat dough, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled.

Punch down, turn out to counter, and form it into a loaf – round, long, or braided.

Place on a baking peel liberally coated with corn meal. Cover, and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven with baking stone to 375ºF (190°C).

When dough has risen, brush with an egg. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until nicely browned and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Cool on wire rack.

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And just because, Victor made dessert – a Blueberry Pound Cake.

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Blueberry Pound Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Slowly add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in blueberries.

Spread into a standard loaf pan and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake 55-65 minutes. Cool about 15 minutes in pan and then remove to cool completely on rack.

My stomach is smiling!

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