Hi, there. We’re back from vacation. Is it just me or is the Sunday night/Monday morning post vacation just the WORST?! Ugh. Talk about being bummed out. I’m just starting to feel like my old self again today. Getting back into the routine……
How do you eat your Oreos? Or, rather, how did your 10-year-old self eat his/her Oreos?
Do you pop them in your mouth just the way they are? Or do you dunk the cookie sandwich in milk first? Or do you separate the top cookie from the cream filling and eat the filling and cookies separately? Or do you separate the top cookie from the cream filling, dunk that in milk, eat it alone, and then proceed to dunk the remaining cookie with the cream filling in milk?
The last one is my method of choice. It’s all very technical, you know.
Oreos were not a HUGE part of my childhood (thanks to my health-conscious parents), but they are definitely a fond, nostalgic memory for me. They were the best kind of treat because they involved a PROCESS. At least in my world it was a process. Clearly.
Every once in a great while, I’ll snag a bag of Oreos at the store (Double Stuf, because the cream filling is really the best part) for my husband and I to munch on and dunk in big glasses of icy cold milk. It takes us back to our childhoods, and because it’s only once in a great while, it’s pretty special.
Given our love of these iconic sandwich cookies, incorporating them into a grown-up dessert was pretty much inevitable.
These little parfaits are layered bites of heaven. As if Oreo crumble wasn’t exciting enough, we’ve also got Nutella mousse in the mix. Swoon. Nutella is one of my most favorite things, and it makes an appearance in my kitchen far more frequently than Oreos do.
To tie the two together, I added some crushed hazelnuts to the crumble…and OMG, the result was fabulous. Layers of creamy, nutty, chocolately mousse and buttery, crunchy nut-cookie crumble…there’s no way it could be bad!
Eating layered desserts like this is fun, too. Lots of flavors and textures going on with each spoonful…and everyone gets their own! No sharing involved. Now, THAT’S fun.
It’s almost as fun as eating Oreos as a kid. Almost.
20 Oreo cookies (I used Double Stuf)
½ cup chopped hazelnuts
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Pinch of fine sea salt
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup nutella spread
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the cookies and hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. With the machine running, stream in the melted butter and add a pinch of sea salt.
Spread the crumbs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Whip the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat to incorporate. Transfer the whipped cream to another bowl.
Add the cream cheese, remaining sugar, and nutella to the bowl of the stand mixer and whip until completely combined and smooth. Whisk in the milk and a pinch of salt.
Using a spatula, fold the whipped cream into the nutella mixture.
Add a few tablespoons of the crumble to the bottom of your serving dishes (I like serving these as individual parfaits, but you could definitely assemble this as one large parfait in one dish). Add a layer of the mousse, about ¼ cup. Repeat the layers a couple times (depending on the size and shape of your serving dishes) and garnish the last layer of mousse with the crumble. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Adapted from here.
This dish is basically my riff on a dish we had at a restaurant in Philly that is super amazing and one of our current faves: Serpico. Everything we’ve eaten at this place is FAB-U-LOUS. The restaurant has a cool vibe, too. It’s dark and hip with all-chalkboard walls, located on the infamous South Street. It’s definitely too cool for us, but we love it anyway. We were lucky enough to get seats at the chef’s station. We watched the them create incredible dish after dish less than a foot from our plates for the few hours we were there. Very cool experience. Highly recommend!
Anyway. This dish is my version of their summer seasonal scallops dish. I put my own spin on it and simplified it for home-cooking purposes. I also chose to sear my scallops rather than serve them raw (ya know, for preggo reasons). I prefer scallops seared anyway. There is nothing better than that caramelized, super-crisp crust you get from a properly seared scallop. Yum.
Scallops are one of my favorite types of seafood. Actually, they may be THE favorite. Tender, slightly sweet, clean, and very versatile. I adore them. This dish is light and fresh and best served as a small “starter” course. I made them as an appetizer for my husband and me, and they were the perfect two-bite treat before the main event, which consisted of seared ribeye steaks and chipotle-honey butter. Yeah. It was a good night at our house.
Echoing the flavors of Serpico’s scallops, I served mine with a fresh chive oil and a creamy but slightly salty, slightly sour sauce. While I don’t claim to come even close to the restaurant’s version, these were pretty stellar for an at-home attempt. The chive oil and white soy sauce really do a number on the subtle sweetness of the scallops. Flavor bomb central.
The best part: a dish like this seems really impressive and difficult, but it’s NOT. Make the chive oil and cream sauce ahead (both only take minutes). Sear the scallops in a screaming hot pan coated with a little oil and butter, slap it all together on a plate, and you’re done. Easy peasy…but seemingly fancy schmancy.
The best of all worlds!
Seared Scallops with White Soy Cream & Chive Oil (makes 2 servings)
For the Chive Oil:
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 bunch of chives, chopped
Salt and pepper
4 dry scallops (See note**)
1 tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon white soy sauce
Salt and pepper
For the Chive Oil: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Strain, if desired. Set aside.
Sear the scallops in the butter and oil, about 2 minutes per side, over very high heat so that a crust forms. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool just slightly before serving.
Whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream until smooth and pourable. Stir in the soy sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
To Serve: spoon a thin layer of the cream mixture over the surface of a serving plate. Place the scallops on top and garnish everything with the chive oil and additional chopped chives. Serve immediately.
**NOTE: It is very important that the scallops you use are “DRY.” You will never get a good sear on the scallops that have been preserved/injected with saline. Ask your fish monger specifically for DRY scallops. It makes a huge difference!
I’ve never been big on gazpacho. It never appealed to me. I blame that, however, on sub-par gazpacho….