Recipes: 'Simply Organic'

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Get more recommendations from T. Susan Chang.

These recipes appear in Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool, Chronicle Books, 2008.

Asparagus and Scallops

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 whole canned chipotle chile pepper, puréed or minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 pound sea scallops

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Lime wedges for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic, chile pepper, and cilantro. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Remove and discard the tough muscle from the scallops.

In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Toss the scallops in the cornmeal mixture and set aside.

Pour 1/2 cup water into a heavy skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Wipe the skillet and add the butter. Place over medium heat to melt the butter. Add the scallops and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned and opaque.

Divide the asparagus evenly among 4 plates. Top with the scallops. Drizzle with the chipotle dressing, and garnish with lime wedges.

Kitchen Tip

Often scallops are soaked in sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) to help keep them moist. To avoid these chemical-laden scallops, look for scallops labeled Day Boat, Diver, Dry Pack or Chemical-Free. These scallops are more readily available these days and of course, are a much healthier choice. They may not be perfectly white and uniform in size, but those qualities are not natural to scallops; they are man-induced. As always, opt for the most natural products available. And as always, ask questions. The fishmonger should know exactly where the fish is from and how it has been treated.

Basil-Lemon Cake

Serves 12

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup coconut flour (see Kitchen Tips)

2½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups mixed berries, such as raspberries and blackberries

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until creamy. Add the eggs, basil, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Beat until blended.

Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk and beating on low speed until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.

Place the cake on a serving plate and top with the berries.

Kitchen Tip

This cake actually tastes better the next day. Cover well, but do not refrigerate unless you need to store it for more than 1 or 2 days.

If you can't find coconut flour, omit it, increase the all-purpose flour to 2½ cups, and reduce the buttermilk to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons.

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Simply Organic

by Jesse Ziff Cool

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