so, i’ve taken waaaay too much time off from this blog. not that anyone reads it (it’s secret, so if you know about it, you’re one of like, 2 that do). after commencement happened in may, i lost my will to do ANYTHING at all that resembled work. i’ve often said i like the schedule of academia, but they do try to cram so much junk into 1 weekend – hence 14 events during two days. i guess i took the summer off people, and what of it? that’s what i thought. sit down. i was initially going to try and recap commencement weekend with a bunch of pics and posts, but i never got around to it. perhaps i still will at some point. and then, you will be able to see one of my crowning achievements: a catered luncheon for the prime minister of Belgium, yves leterme. well, have you ever served lunch to a Belgian PM? no, you have not. once again, sit down. however, an outsider nudged me about this blog, so here i am to revitalize it to it’s once former glory. eh..or something. short story: worked a 4am shift last sunday, so i hunkered down with some netflix and seafood for an early night in. i had this really super awesome stonewall kitchen espresso dry rub that i picked up at their store in portland, ME a year ago that i’ve been really meaning to try out, however the opportunity never arose. well, last night it did. whilst internetting, i saw a side sauce for a burnt orange sauce and it struck me that coffee and oranges are perfectly opposite on the color wheel of taste. it seemed perfect. oh, and it was. i picked up about 6 “meh” sized sea scallops from the store down the street and a can of OJ concentrate. the rest, per usual is winged. sauteed some shallot and garlic then i took half the can of concentrate, added savory herbs like oregano, bay leaf, parsley and let simmer for an hour. you want this to reduce, so get it on the gas and let it go. however, i also wanted to build this over a risotto base, which is equally time consuming. being in the restaurant industry, we have some wicked good shortcuts for a lot of menu items. one that i will totally stand by is uncle bens instant risotto. this stuff is already cooked off in a sealed foil pouch and actually makes a great risotto. alas, i had no UB’s instant, so i made mine the hard way. NB: making risotto is a bitch. straight up bitch, fo’ realz. step 1.) agonize over the fact that you are about to launch a 2 hour process that you cannot step away from (go pee now!). step 2.) put some butter (2tblsp) or EVO into a heavy sauce pot and heat on a medium flame. step 3.) say goodbye to everything for the next 2 hours. step 4.) toast your aborio rice for about 2 minutes. I add shallot/onion and garlic at this point. let it get translucent and add your stock. Oh wait! yeah, you need stock! i use a base i get through a supplier, but you can find a really good base on the shelves out there. keep that quart of stock warm, otherwise it will slow down the absorption process. step 5.) painstakingly add 4-6oz of stock to the rice as quickly as it can absorb it. you can see that when you draw a spoon through the rice, it leaves a clear trail. that is the time to add more stock. also, i like to toss in a cup of dry white wine and a squirt or two of lemon juice. also, i add a few dashes of orange bitters. there are numerous brands, so don’t stress about that. this is also a perfect moment to throw together an old fashioned, seeing as you have the bitters out and all. my holy grail recipe is stolen straight from the menu of the citizen wine, chocolate and cheese bar. dash of OJ bitters, cube of sugar, three drops of lemon oil. ice and your rye of choice. hold the salad. ok, so we have our risotto and sauce simmering. time to multitask. sip your old fashioned and get your scallops out and smear with the espresso rub. fire up a heavy pan (cast iron if you have it) and add a couple tblsp of EVO. let the pan get to smoking and then place your scallops in the pan. if you don”t get smoke and spitting oil, you’re doing it wrong. sear those little mollusks!!! i would say about 1 minute per side (yeah, gotta flip ’em) and then they’re done. at this point, your risotto should be all set and the sauce as well. 5 minutes before you plate, add a couple oz of heavy cream to the OJ sauce. it will thicken it and add a creamy texture to boot. spoon the rice and place your scallops, then drizzle the sauce. and ya know what? that’s it peeps.