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Florida isn’t called the Sunshine State for no reason. It truly lives up to its name because here we live a sweltering heat for most of the year, very much so that at times, it feels like living in huge oven. It really does.

So rain in a place like this is truly refreshing. Its cooling effect is certainly much needed. It is a welcome respite to the daily humdrum of our lives, at least for me. There is something about rain that is soothing. In the bible, rain means a blessing. Rain symbolizes a fresh start, a new beginning.

Where I originally come from (Philippines), there were only 2 seasons – the dry (summer) and the wet (rainy) season, with the latter being longer because really, it rains even in the middle of summer.

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As a teenager, I looked forward to the rainy season. For me, it meant curling up in my bed to read a good novel; and when my eyes grew tired, I would sit by the window to look at the rain drops drenching the ground while the sun-stroked leaves of the trees and plants are being quenched by its refreshing shower.

It was during those rainy times that I learned how to daydream. Yes, as a girl, I’ve done my share of daydreaming. The steady sound of the rain pounding the roof, the occasional lightning that strikes and the roll of thunderstorm thereafter had a hypnotic-like effect that caused me to drift away into the land of fantasy. Most often than not, those fantasies were related to the romance-novels that I’ve read where I usually was the story’s heroine, or the love-interest of a gorgeous young Prince.

(In those days, we didn’t have computers, video games and cellphones.)

Oh well, those were the days. Now back to reality.

I made this dish a while back but I did this after a day of incessant raining. I felt that a warm soup getting home after work would be good for my tired body. And I happened to have these mussels, which I originally purchased because I planned on making “baked tahong” (baked mussels) – a popular dish in the Philippines with these mussels. But then, since I wanted soup, I guess the “baked tahong” will have to wait for next time. Afterall, a girl is entitled to change her mind, isn’t she?

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Mussels Soup In White Wine
1 lb mussels
1 c white wine
1 c chicken broth/stock
1 pc shallot, finely chopped
2 pcs garlic, finely chopped
1/3 c spinach
2 tbsp parsely*, chopped
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Rinse and scrub mussels. Using a pairing knife, remove the strings that hang from the shells and discard.
2. In a pot set over medium heat, combine wine, shallots, garlic, and salt.
3. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the mussels.
4. Cover and increase heat to high. Cook until mussels are open.
5. Stir in spinach, parsely (or whatever herbs you want) and butter. Remove from heat. Discard any unopened mussels.
6. Serve immediately with a crusty bread. Garnish with chives.

*NOTE: You can use whatever herb you like such as basil or tarragon.

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Compared to what we have from where I come from (the Philippines), everything in America is super-sized, or is geared to being one. And I mean, everything! That includes houses, cars, buildings, clothes, furniture, grocery items, fast food items and all things you can think of. I believe this is one of the results of a free enterprise. Competition is tough, that’s why every company there is has to fight tooth and nail to get their market. And how? Well, by catering to one of human nature’s weakness -greed – and sending messages that inculcate within us “the bigger, the better” mentality.

But I have to say though, in fairness, that this mentality is NOT unique to America. It’s happening all over the world, wherever free enterprise thrives. But you know what, in other places such as the Philippines, their concept of “BIG” is definitely not the same as what’s considered as such here.

Just to give you an example …. say for instance, clothes…. Here in the US, I buy my shirts usually medium (if I want it to fit well) or large (a little loose). But in the Philippines, my size is an XL (on a good day) or XXL (that’s really a bad day)! Whew! Can you understand the frustration I have when shopping there? ( That’s why I maintain that America got it right with clothing sizes… Lol!)

Relatively, food portions / servings in America are also huge. That’s why eating in a restaurant is always an experience to me..everytime. I never stopped being amazed at the portions the customer gets! It’s humongous! I’m telling you, one serving they give you here can already feed two Filipinos, at least. I am not kidding.

So when Mr. J came to the Philippines, it was also the reverse experience for him. The servings are much smaller back in my homeland, comparable almost to a kiddie portion here. Imagine my hubby’s surprise when we ate at a local pizza place in Cebu (the city where I come from) …. we ordered a large pizza, and what came was the size of a round 8″ plate. He looked at the pizza and at me in confusion and said, “that’s it? This is personal size!” Yep, that’s the size of the large pizza in the Philippines. One gets a much smaller small portion there, commensurate to the Filipino’s tiny frames, maybe?

Why am I talking about this? Well, because the dish I have for you today is actually something meant for a smaller portion – it was originally an appetizer in a popular restaurant. This dish was without the pasta; just the saucy shrimps and scallops served with bread so we can dip it, and soak up all that wonderful goodness in a bite. I like it so much that I decided to experiment to try to re-create it, and turn it into a main course by adding pasta.
So, here it is. I am also sending this dish out as my entry to Presto Pasta Nights being hosted by Gay of A Scientist In the Kitchen.

Shrimp & Scallop Mediterranean Pasta

4 oz linguine or thin-style spaghetti
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
15 kalamata olives, half peices
4 tbsp sundried tomatoes (in olive),julienne
1/2 lb shrimps, small or medium
1/2 lb scallops
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbsp (or more) feta cheese, crumbles
2 tbsp chopped parsely or torn basil, for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a pot bring water to boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente.
2. In the meantime,heat butter and olive oil in a saute pan. Add garlic and green onions. Saute until the aroma fills the air.
3. Add kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes – cook for 30 seconds.
4. Add shrimp and scallops, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until firm. Do not overcook. Remove shellfish from pan but keep warm.
5. Add chicken broth, white wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce until half the amount.
6. Return shellfish to pan. Add the pasta. Mix well.
7. Add the lemon juice, feta cheese and parsley.
8. Remove from heat. Serve garnished with torn basil and more feta cheese, if preferred.

NOTE: The measurements I have given you for the spices are all in estimates, as I was eyeballing everything. Pls. feel free to reduce or increase the amounts, according to your preference.


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Today’s dish can’t get any simpler. I wanted to have a dinner that is both light and flavorful. Since I got shrimps , then shrimp it is. Grilled shrimp. We have not had this in quite a while.

Now, I still need to think of something to go with the shrimp. I wanted the skewer to look, not only pretty but tasty as well. My initial plan was to grill some onions and bell peppers with the shrimp, but I changed my mind. I wanted something else, something different.

As I was contemplating on this, the mangoes on my kitchen counter caught my attention. Hmmnnn…. I have a couple that need saving, as I never want to throw anything away. I’d have to use my mangoes then. My initial thought would be to make a mango salsa, but I thought of something else. How about grilling the mangoes with the shrimp? Well, there’s only one way to find out… And that’s
how this dinner came about.


grilled shrimp with mangoes served on a bed of shredded lettuce & carrots

It is such a simple recipe. I rubbed the shrimp real good with the spices and let it rest for a while, allowing a little time for the shrimp to soak in those spice-goodness. But my anxiety lies in the combination of the shrimp and mangoes. How would they come out, I wonder? I’ve never had grilled mangoes before, so there was an element of suspense in this dinner. (Watch the skewers closely as shrimp cooks in no time.) We shall see (or taste, in this case) the result.

And.. drumroll… well, the mangoes tasted real sweet and smokey. It balanced the spicy shrimp very well. I like it. But best of all, I got a thumbs up from the hubby. It’s another successful experiment.

Spiced Shrimp With Mangoes

1-1/2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
2 pc ripe mangoes
10-12 skewers, soaked in water for 2 hrs.
Lime wedges
Chives, for garnish

1. In a bowl mix sugar and the next 5 ingredients (thru oregano).
2. Add shrimp to bowl and make sure that all shrimp are coated with the rub mix. Set aside.
3. In the meantime, peel mangoes. Cut the flesh into 2-inch pcs.
4. Thread shrimp and mango alternately into skewers, 2 pcs of shrimp and mangoes.
5. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place skewers on grill rack and cok for 2 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp is no longer gray.
6. If preferred,drizzle a bit of lime over the shrimp. Serve immediately garnished with chives.

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Restaurant menus, most of the time, have dishes under the appetizer section that are enough to serve as an entree, for me that is. And I do order those appetizers as my main meal once in a while, especially when I am trying to save enough room for dessert later.. ;o).

The dish I have here is actually meant as an appetizer,usually served as is, or with bread. But to have it for our dinner, I had to pair it with something substantial. So I served the scallops with pasta in alfredo sauce.

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Seared Scallops With Parsley And Garlic
1 lb bay scallops (or 16 large scallops)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pcs anchovy fillets
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

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1. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
3. Add scallops, saute 2-1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Set aside and keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining scallops. Wipe pan clean with paper towel.
4. Add butter to pan; reduce heat. Add anchovies and cook, stir until fillet has dissolved and melded into the butter.
5. Stir in garlic and parsley. Cook 15 seconds. Return scallops to pan. Toss to coat. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and juice.

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I used my favorite bottled 3-cheese alfredo sauce with garlic for the pasta.

NOTE: To perfectly brown scallops, I suggest that you cook them in batches. Add the scallops a few at a time so that the pan will not lose heat. Wait until the oil is hot (when you see ripples in the pan), then add the scallops – do not move them anymore until it is time to flip. The key to browning the scallops is – patience!.

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