A summer dinner and dessert

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market in Bedford, MA. 

When my friends over at Whole Foods Market asked me to put together a dinner and dessert featuring their fresh ingredients I couldn’t say no! Michael loves to cook and I love to bake so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to team up for a delicious summer dinner.

Sea scallops are on sale this week for $14.99/lb. so we definitely wanted to include those. I love scallops but they can be expensive so we tend to only get them when they are on sale. It’s awesome that they are on sale over the holiday weekend- they are great for grilling and scream summer to me! These were tender, and full of flavor.

Michael prepared scallops over pasta with grilled asparagus, peas, and a white wine sauce. We paired this with a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc a friend gave us. It was delicious. To round off the meal I made a healthy summer berry crisp for dessert. Serve it up with some vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and you have a festive dessert for 4th of July!

Seared Scallops with asparagus, peas, and a white wine cream sauce

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. sea scallops sliced in half
  • 1/2 a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 lb. fettucine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2/3 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Ingredients

Prep

Cook the fettucine in a pot of salted water for about 5 minutes, until almost al dente. Add the peas and cook for 2 more minutes until the pasta is al dente. Drain in a colander, then transfer to serving bowl, and cover with foil to keep warm.

While the pasta cooks, turn on the grill. Season the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill for approximately 10 minutes until asparagus is tender. Then slice on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the serving bowl.

While noodles cook, pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then add scallops. Increase heat to high and sear scallops, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 2 minutes total. Transfer to serving bowl with noodles and keep covered.

Add wine to skillet and deglaze by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in water and cream and boil until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chives and pour sauce over scallops and noodles.

Dinner and Wine

Dinner came together so quickly and was really tasty. You could substitute olive oil for butter, and use non-fat milk instead of half and half to make it a bit healthier. You’ll end up with a thinner sauce but the flavor will still be there. We often do this when making dishes like this.

scallops

Summer Berry Crisp

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 package of strawberries, stems removed and halved
  • 1 package of raspberries
  • 1 package of blueberries
  • 1 package of blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 lemon zested

For the topping

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

Berries

Prep

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Combine the ingredients with your fingers. Then drizzle the warm oil and fully incorporate it to make a crumble.

Next, wash all your berries in a colander. Then add to a large bowl and mix in the cinnamon, cornstarch, sugar, and lemon zest.

Spray a 9×12 pan with cooking spray. Pour in the berries. Next add the crumble to the top. Be sure to slightly press down on the crumble when covering the berries. Bake for 40 minutes.

Summer berry crisp

Serve with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

crisp and ice cream

I love crisps, especially when they include fresh summer berries! You could easily make this gluten-free by using gluten-free flour. You can also substitute stevia for the sugar as well.

Crisp

A big thanks to Whole Foods in Bedford, MA for providing all of the fresh ingredients for our summer dinner. Be sure to check out the sales and specials like the sea scallops!

Enjoy!

Lemon Lime Layer Cake

In my last post I talked about my recent obsession with making layer cakes. I think they are really fun to make because they are challenging and require quite a bit of patience. They force me to make my time and focus on the task of baking, and only baking.

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I made this cake a couple of times now, and each time I’ve made it those seated around the table love it. It’s perfect for summer parties as you are still serving a beautiful cake but it’s light and refreshing. Your guests are sure to go back for seconds.

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I also love that it’s on the healthier side. We always try to serve healthy meals for our guests so desserts loaded with butter and fat never make it to our table.

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Lemon Lime Layer Cake

Ingredients

CAKE:
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup egg substitute
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk

 

ICING:
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (about 10 ounces)

 

Prep

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg substitute and the next 3 ingredients (through 1 tablespoon juice); beat well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pans; tap pans once on countertop to remove air bubbles.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper. Cool completely on wire racks coated with cooking spray.

To prepare icing, place 1 teaspoon lemon rind and next 3 ingredients (through cream cheese) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth (about 1 minute). Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup icing. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Chill 1 hour. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

Tips

  • I like to make my cakes the day before I assemble the cake. I wrap them in saran wrap once cool and place them in the refrigerator. I’ve found they firm up a bit and assembling with them cold makes the frosting go on easier.
  • Refrigerate the frosting for about an hour before you frost the cake to let it cool down and firm up.
  • The frosting is really loose, like a glaze.  Once you are ready to assemble the cake you have to move quickly. I don’t do a crumb coat. I’ve done it with and without and it didn’t seem to make a difference. I’d also recommend keeping your middle layer of frosting on the thin side to keep the cakes from sliding or shifting. Keep the frosting on the sides light, so it barely covers the cake. Otherwise it slides off.
  • Once the cake is covered with the frosting I immediately put it in the refrigerator and let it set up over night. Prior to serving I smooth the frosting and put the lemons and limes on.

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I love that the frosting is like a glaze and as a result it really soaks into the edges of the cakes and makes them so moist and delicious- even if it’s a bit difficult.

Enjoy!