Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finally, dinner for two!

I've been in non-stop rehearsals for the show "Children of Eden," so naturally I haven't been home for dinners for the last two months. Well, now that the show has opened, my evenings are opening up again; which means DINNER WITH KEVIN! Don't get me wrong, I love to perform and the show is just great (read about it in the below post)....but I do miss having dinners with my husband.

Since today was pretty much a lazy day, we lounged around the house for most of it....we decided to stay in and have dinner at home.

For my birthday, my mother in law bought me a great cookbook, "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics." I've always loved Ina Garten's show on the Food Network, so I never worry about any of her recipes. I looked in the fridge and freezer to see what we could make. Garlic cloves, check! Fresh green beans, check! Hmmmm....we have bay scallops....Why not scallops gratin served with oven roasted green beans? Sounds delish.

I must preface this by saying it can be hard at times to find fresh seafood like scallops and other shellfish here on Okinawa. I know, I know, we're an island! But.... unless you buy fresh seafood off base or at a fisherman's market, it's not readily available.

The base Commissary (both at Kadena and Foster) has probably about the worst fresh seafood around. Most of it is previously frozen....Ick.... There is one alternative that I've found and this is Coleson's Catch in the frozen food section. All of the seafood is flash frozen and then vacuum sealed. All you need to do is defrost it properly and voila....perfect seafood. Just make sure you look at the packaging before want to avoid any seafood that might look freezer burned. This means the vacuum seal is compromised.

Anyway, back to our dinner..... Ina Garten's recipe for Bay Scallops Gratin is as follows. I made a few changes to it:

Bay Scallops Gratin
makes 3 gratins (we didn't make individual gratins, I just used a shallow casserole dish)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced (We didn't add of those food items we can't get here on Okinawa...)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish (we didn't have any fresh, so I used dried parsley)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of Japanese panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of dry white wine (If you don't have any white wine, use a white lager beer....sounds strange, but actually it adds a nice flavor...)
1 pound of bay scallops (We used Coleson's Catch frozen scallops)
Lemon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 3 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan. To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix until combined. With mixer on low, add the olive oil slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside. Place 1 tablespoon of the wine (or beer in our case) in the bottom of each gratin dish. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and distribute them evenly among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want a crustier top, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkling of parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

In our case, we served the scallops with oven roasted green beans tossed in olive oil and fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. We served the scallops with some plain white rice....

Dinner was great and it was wonderful to be able to spend the night with my husband! Finally, dinner for two!

Bon appetit!

~Chrissy :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Children of Eden.....

Well, last night was opening night, and we opened to a fairly large crowd! Usually, we have some problems filling seats on opening nights, but NOT last night....The show also went surprisingly well.

So on that note, let me just put in a brief plug and ask you all on island to come out and see it. We'll be performing Children of Eden for the next two weekends, so come out and see the show! For more information on show times, be sure to check out our website.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Okinawan Weekend

This weekend, Kevin and I went out to enjoy the sun. It's currently the rainy season here on Okinawa, so you really have to enjoy the nice weather while you can. With the sun in the sky, we headed north to Cape Zanpa to do a bit of exploring. We climbed around on the rocks, found a cave, and even enjoyed the sea spray in the air.

On our way home, we stopped off at the Onna Village market(off of Route 58 near the Renaissance Hotel). This market is unlike any other fruit/vegetable markets I've been to (it's open all year round) and they have the most AMAZING assortment of local produce. A friend of mine who owns a home based business delivering vegetables turned me onto this place. Funny thing is, I had no idea it existed until she took me here. Kevin and I are real lucky because, it's only about 15 minute drive from our house. So now, whenever we are in need of fresh local vegetables or fruit, we come here.

It's also a nice thought to know that Kevin and I are supporting our local farmers by buying the vegetables. And you can't beat the prices, especially when you compare them to the lousy produce we often find at the base Commissary. Today, Kevin and I bought some salad greens, tomatoes, and even some zuchinni. Last time I saw zuchinni at the Commissary, it was $6.00 for two. Yikes. Compare that to the $2.00 I spent for three of them today. Needless to say, we try to buy most of our veggies here. It's just much cheaper and better this way...

The best part of Onna Village Market, however, has to be the outdoor vendors/food stalls. They have an Okinawan soba food stall, a place where you can get the most yummy Okinawan donuts (known as "sata andagi"), an ice-cream stall, a place for other Okinawan goodies, as well as a fisherman's market, and a Parisian boulangerie. Sound strange?! Believe it! Actually, a local blog here on Okinawa called "Okinawa Hai" wrote about the boulangerie already, so I'll let you read about it there.

The Fisherman's Market is a pretty cool place. Most of the fish items are already cooked, but for those of you who like raw stuff, don't worry there's plenty of that! You can either buy the stuff to eat there or take some for the road!

All in all, we had a nice weekend. We even got home just in time to close all the windows before a huge rain storm hit. Whew...Did I mention how much I love the rainy season?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Emmy is here! And other news....

Okay, I know it's been a while since my last post....BUT please let me explain.

My term with University of Maryland was coming to a close, so my eyeballs were deep into my books. On top of that, rehearsals for the next POP's show I'm in, "Children of Eden" were really starting to pick up (we open at the Foster Performing Arts Theatre on March 27th by the way;) needless to say, I was a bit preoccupied. The good news is I'm here, I'm posting something now. So how about some updates?

Earlier this week, we heard from my MIL Donna (back in PA) that my Emmy statuette had arrived! Woot! Woot! For those of you who don't know, during my Discovery Channel days, I served as "supervising producer" for the channel on the game show "Cash Cab." In 2007, the show won "Outstanding Game Show/Entertainment Program" in the Daytime Emmys. As a member of the production staff, I was fortunate to be eligible to receive my very own statue! So flashforward almost 7 months--and the statue is FINALLY HERE! Okay, so it's not HERE in Okinawa, but hey, that's okay. My MIL Donna has promised to take very good care of it. :)

In other news, my very talented brother Julian, has a HUGE show/dance piece titled "Sound Memory" debuting in NYC this weekend. Unfortunately, Kevin and I will not be able to make the affair, but we send our love! Apparently, Julian's show is a good excuse for a family reunion of sorts...My mother has travelled all the way from Abu Dhabi to make the show and my MIL and FIL (Donna and John) are making a special trip from PA!

Knock 'Em Dead, Julian! We love you.

Love from Okinawa, Chrissy

Friday, March 6, 2009

Izakaya "Tonneau"

Last weekend, we went out to dinner with some friends at an "izakaya." An "izakaya" is Japanese for a bar/pub establishment where drinks are served along with heavy appetizers. Usually if you're in the mood to try your hand at a variety of different kinds of Japanese food, an "izakaya" is your best bet. You can order the standard pub fare of fried foods like french fries or you can even be daring and order stuff like sushi, yakisoba, grilled skewers like squid, chicken, etc. It's pretty similar to "tapas" where you can share the plates with your friends. "Izakayas" are quite popular in Japan and it's not uncommon to see places full with employees socializing with each other after work.

The "izakaya" we went to last weekend was a little unique. It's exterior is shaped like a gigantic barrel. Yes, that's right, a barrel. Don't take MY word for it, take a look!

The place is called "Tonneau" and despite the funky exterior, the food was delish! We were all surprised by how good the food was. They have quite a list of "awamori" so next time we go, we'll have to try some...

Kevin and I had a good time with our friends. Unfortunately, they are set to move back to the States in another month.

Thanks for a fun night, Natalia and Adrian!

~Chrissy :)
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