Stir-fried Scallops with Strawberry Spinach Salad

Merideth and I are big fans of  MasterChef and their “stunning” dishes, including the signature “me on a plate” entries. In honor of the newest season, Merideth and I made our own signature dishes! For me, it’s scallops and a spinach strawberry salad. Probably not MasterChef worthy in its complexity, but tasty, light, and protein rich! Scallops and spinach are also high in iron, which I am usually low in due to my exercise.

There are two types of scallops you’ll commonly find: bay and sea scallops. Usually, I get sea scallops, as they are larger and better for pan-searing, but I didn’t pay close attention and got bay scallops for this dinner instead. No worries though – bay scallops are well suited for stir-frying! In both cases, seasoning with salt, pepper, and some lime juice is all you need.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 lb scallops (about 25)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime juice
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Vinegrette: red wine vinegar, olive oil

Instructions

  1. Lay out scallops on a cutting board or plate and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for about 5 minutes. Pat dry again.
  2. Heat canola oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and add scallops. If using the larger sea scallops, sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the top and bottom are caramelized. If using smaller bay scallops, stir fry for about 5 minutes or until scallops feel more dense.
  3. Meanwhile, slice strawberries and use to top spinach salad. Dress with oil and vinegar!

Wine Pairing: I usually prefer red wine, but this goes well with a Sauvignon Blanc or, if you’re feeling fancy, some bubbly!

Tropical Layer Cake with Guava and Lime

I blame Netflix and The Great British Bake Off for this recipe. Merideth has been a longtime fan and I’ve finally caught on. I can’t help but crave sugary goodness after watching an episode (ok, many episodes).Since I’ve never been great at baking (so many precise measurements!), I decided to start with a basic layer cake. Excited about my upcoming trip to Miami for a long weekend, I decided to go with some tropical fruit flavors. Plus, it has juice so its healthier too, right?

Besides being patient during the cake-baking process, the biggest challenge was molding the fondant – the candy dough that I chose to decorate with. I bought this premade and dyed the fondant myself. My first note to self – make cuts in the fondant to insert the dye, rather than mixing it directly on the surface. I came away with pink hands! Second, and something I wish I had Googled before starting – the fondant can get sticky, especially as you work the dyes in. Like flouring your hands for bread dough, you can use powdered sugar to prevent stickiness.

Ingredients

Guava Cake

  • 1 cup guava nectar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 5 egg whites

Guava Jelly

  • 2 cups guava nectar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Lime and Coconut Frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs regular or coconut rum
  • 1 tbs lime zest, optional
  • 3 drops food coloring, or as needed

Instructions

Guava Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pans.
  2. Combine guava nectar and vanilla and, separately, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter until creamy, then gradually adding sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Alternate adding nectar and flour mixture in small portions, beginning with flour, to the butter mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition until fully combined.
  5. Beat egg whites until still peaks form and fold into batter.
  6. Bake until toothpick dipped in center comes out clean, or about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks and allow to cool.
  8. To assemble cake, set aside two layers. Spoon guava jelly into center of bottom layer. Top with second layer and smooth edges with bread knife as necessary.
  9. Spread frosting over the top layers and top with shredded coconut or your preferred decoration. Enjoy!

Guava Jelly

  1. Dissolve sugar in guava nectar in saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Make a paste of the cornstarch by adding a bit of water.
  3. Remove nectar from heat and stir in cornstarch.
  4. Once blended, return to heat and boil for 1 minute. Cool in refrigerator before use.

Lime and Coconut Frosting

  1. Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Stir in vanilla extract until combined, then lime juice and rum, as well as food coloring and lime zest if using. Beat with a mixer until spreadable and fluffy.