Seared Sea Scallops with Collard Greens "Noodles" Sauteed in Pancetta-Lemon Butter

My cooking law for collard green is: you either cook it for three minutes or two hours. In Brazilian cuisine, you will often find the three minute collard greens, which is simply sautéed with garlic and bacon. We usually enjoy it as a side for the Brazilian national dish, Feijoada! In American cuisine, collard greens are often slowly simmered for 2 or more hours, with spices and meats, such as hamhocks. The two different ways of cooking collard greens really yield a unique and delicious result.

Yesterday, I found myself craving collard greens. Since I didn't have two hours to spare, I made a new version of my sautéed collard greens. I removed the stems from the greens and sliced them into thin slices. I chopped and sautéed some pancetta, until browned. I drained most of the fat and added diced garlic and butter. I then added my collard greens to the sauté mixture and sautéed it for about two minutes. Then, I added some fresh-squeezed lemon juice and continued to sauté for about a minute.

Wanting to keep things quick and simple, I paired my greens with seared sea scallops. As usual, I seasoned the scallops simply with salt and pepper-cumin - equal parts toasted ground cumin and black pepper. Then, I seared them over high heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Perfecto!

The bright flavors of the slightly bitter collard greens, was a delicious contrast to the simple and delicate scallops. So, if you are in a crunch for time , but still want to enjoy a delicious and exotic meal, this is definitely great idea.

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Avocado Crème Brûlée

One of the things I remember most about my first six years of life in Brazil is our old backyard. I grew up with banana trees, palm trees, and avocado trees steps away from the back door. Our neighbors had mango trees and papaya trees, and every so often we would find a mango or papaya on our ground.

Though you might not guess it now, I used to be a horrible eater back in the day. I barely ate and was very picky. My parents, being the typical Brazilian parents, would always worry about me not getting enough vitamins and nutrients, and being too skinny. So, every morning they would make me a fruit smoothie packed with our fruits and veggie right out of our backyard! Back then, I wasn’t particularly fond of “smoothie time”. The flavors varied from banana-chocolate to beets! Yes, beets, the veggie! Although I was deeply traumatized by “smoothie time” – to this day I cringe at the thought of bananas and beets- I sometimes find myself craving our delicious and fresh selection of fruits and veggies.

One fruit that I miss very much is avocado. I not only miss the huge, shiny green fruit, but I miss the way we enjoy it in Brazil. You see, in Brazil we treat them as a fruit. We make sweet avocado cream, avocado shake and even avocado ice cream. I even remember my parents slicing them open and just simply sprinkling sugar on top. When I came to the U.S. I was really grossed out by the fact that avocados were used in savory dishes, like guacamole. But, after bravely giving it a try, I got over that hump!

Even though I now die over some chunky, freshly-made guacamole, my favorite way to eat and enjoy an avocado remains as a sweet treat. I particularly love making avocado “crème brûlée”. Unlike the usual crème brulee, which happens to be my ultimate favorite dessert, this one requires no baking. Avocados have such a smooth and buttery texture, that just by blending them with a couple other ingredients will result into that creamy, buttery taste and texture the typical crème brulee has.

I usually make these in a simple white ramekin and brûlée the sugar all over the top. But, this time I decided to serve them up in its own skin! I also added a little fun touch by having the caramelized sugar only in the middle, as if it was the avocado seed. This also allowed the beautiful green color to be seen around the brûlée.

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