Grilled Seafood Salad with Tiger Shrimp, Scallops and Calamari

brunch, lunch, salad, seafood | May 11, 2016 | By

The warm summer days are here, and our taste buds reflect it.  The Atlanta weather has been soooo beautiful and enjoyable!  This means much more time frolicking, and less time indoors.  We’ve been camping, road tripping, and basking in the sun…while cheffn’!  Lol

One of Chef Fresh’s favorite things is to eat outdoors when the weather is warm enough.  So, today we did just that!  He wanted to make a salad inspired by a menu item from one of our favorite brunch spots called Dune Deck Café.  We absolutely LOVE this place because it’s a low key Diner that’s right on the ocean in Lantana, FL.  It’s a popular place because the food is really good, and the view is ridiculously breathtaking!

 dune deck2

They serve a grilled calamari platter with pita bread and various sauces that has me questioning why I’ve been eating fried calamari my whole life!!!!!

dune deck1

 With the calamari as his inspiration, Chef Fresh decided to make a salad filled with all of the things that he loves….SEAFOOD!!!!  This required a trip to our Farmer’s Market because he wanted fresh calamari, tiger shrimp, and scallops.  Our local Farmer’s market is amazing!  You can literally find anything you need, and the prices are truly reasonable.     

Some days we stroll through trying to look for unfamiliar and peculiar looking foods.  The weirder it looks..the more intriguing it seems to be to them.  But on this particular day, we had a time constraint, so Chef Fresh made a Beeline to the seafood stand. 


 Although Calamari is the star, Chef Fresh also wanted the other components to “compliment the dish.”  He decided to keep the seasoning simple so to not overpower the sweetness in the scallops and shrimp.  He rattled off his chore list then put in his earbuds to jam to some rap song.  sigh…  I’ve been trying to brainwash him into loving my kind of music.  It’s proven to be futile…for now. 😉 


My task was dicing garlic and cilantro, and tossing the jumbo shrimp with lemon juice.  I was told to “correctly grill the shrimp.”  He must have forgotten that I taught him how to…”CORRECTLY GRILL THE SHRIMP!” smh




Chef Jess was put on asparagus duty! After trimming the stems, she lightly coated the spears with EVOO and dusted with salt and pepper.  Then she seared them on the indoor grill.


 Chef Fresh skewered the marinated calamari, then cooked them on the indoor grill.  He also sautéed the scallops in a little butter, lemon juice, and a touch of salt and pepper.


The beautiful thing about this salad is that you can include whatever your favorite seafood is.  Substitute the shrimp with lobster or crab, or add them all!

salad dressing

Chef Fresh asked me to make the vinaigrette recipe that I typically make for salads. It has the perfect balance of lemon, garlic, and oregano flavor, and you can use it on any type of salad that requires some type of vinaigrette and/or dressing.  It’s a recipe that I learned from my mother because she rarely ever bought salad dressing when I was younger.


The key to this salad is improvisation, and being open to adding whatever ingredients are available to you.  The goal is to create a fresh and light salad that is exploding with flavor.  With all the seafood, the kids actually don’t realize that they are chowing down on healthy vegetables.  🙂


Faith, Family, Food…    In that order

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Bon appétit,

Grilled Seafood Salad with Tiger Shrimp, Scallops and Calamari
A refreshing salad that's perfect for the warm summer months.
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  1. 10 large tiger shrimp
  2. 1 lb small scallops
  3. 4 whole squid with heads, cleaned and sliced into 1 1/2 in rings
  4. Cherry Tomatoes
  5. Sliced English Cucumber
  6. 1 lb asparagus, with ends trimmed
  7. Chopped Romaine Lettuce
  8. Thinly sliced fennel
  9. 3 Hard boiled eggs (halved)
  10. 4 Lemons (2 for juicing, 2 for garnishing)
Calamari Marinade
  1. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. ½ lemon, juiced
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 sprigs thyme
  5. 2 tsp Cumin
  6. 1 tsp Paprika
  7. Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  8. Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  3. 1 lemon, juiced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  6. 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, cumin, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl.
  2. Place calamari in the bowl and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour or two.
  3. Remove from the fridge and return to room temperature.
  4. Skewer calamari (About 3-4 on a skewer)
  5. Preheat grill to high. Oil the grill before grilling.
  6. Remove the calamari from the marinade, and discard the marinade.
  7. Grill until done (Apprx. 3 minutes per side)
  1. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. Gently run a small knife down the center of the backs to butterfly the shrimp.
  2. Put in glass bowl and mix in 2 cloves of chopped garlic, juice of a 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Let marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Heat grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Do not overcook.
  1. Heat 2 pats of butter in a pan and add scallops. Squeeze juice from a half lemon, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. It cooks quickly, so make sure not to overcook them. Set aside when done.
  1. Sprinkle with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and salt and pepper. Grill them on a hot grill, and turn to make sure to make beautiful grill marks. Remove when the are cooked through.
  1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar or any type of container with a top. Cover and shake vigorously until combined. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Cover and store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Stir before serving.
To assemble salad
  1. Lay Romaine lettuce on a large platter, and arrange the tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, and fennel on the lettuce leaves. Next, add the shrimp and scallops side by side, and lay the calamari skewers on top. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the platter, and finish by adding the boiled eggs, and lemon quarters.
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Grilled Pork Chops with Basil and Garlic Rub

dinner, pork | May 4, 2016 | By

We are in the midst of state testing, and things have been quite hectic!  On the other hand we are ready to do back flips because the school year is almost over.  I don’t know who is happiest that summer vacation is just a couple weeks away…them or me. 🙂 

Despite the chaos, Chef Fresh and Chef Jess have still managed to throw down in the kitchen.  Clearly, they don’t care that  I have to fit into a bathing suit at some point in the next few weeks.  lol  I guess I could refrain from piling a man’s portion onto my plate.  Who am I kidding?  I have absolutely no will power when eating my young chefs’ creations.  Tonight’s meal was no different!  Chef Jess designed the menu….Grilled thick cut and marinated pork chops served on top of a warm baby asparagus and cherry tomato salad. Yum! 🙂
    pork next

As usual, the conversation was lively as we prepped the food.  This time we spent quite a bit of time talking about the high points and low points of this past school year.  Chef Jess quickly added that her favorite moment was being elected School Council President.  When asked why, she giggled and said because her grandfather now refers to her as “Madame President.”  This is the point in the conversation when Chef Fresh groaned. 🙂 He eventually shared that his high points were getting countless A’s, and making the decision to get baptized on August 30, 2015.  I couldn’t agree more!  I cried like a baby…..

justin baptized

Both chefs agreed that the worst part of the year was losing our grandmamma.  They had an amazing bond with her, and no longer being able to see her has been impactful.  We recalled our favorite memories, and laughed out loud.  My mom was quite a character, and her energy fills our hearts.  In fact…she’s the reason why we each have such a love for cooking.

pork new

It’s been quite a year, filled with tears, love, laughter…and cooking.  In fact, cooking has been our therapy through it all.  Hmmm…. Wait a minute!!!  Cooking therapy sounds like a really fun group that I should be running with students.  Huh.  Let me work on those logistics, but in the mean time….please enjoy Chef Jess’ pork chops and asparagus.  ♥

Faith, Family, Food…    In that order

latest faviconBon appétit,


Grilled Pork Chops with Basil and Garlic Rub
An easy recipe that is truly a crowd pleaser! The garlic and basil marinade infuses the pork chops with endless flavor notes.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
For Pork Chops
  1. •4 bone-in pork loin chops, 3/4-inch thick
  2. •6 garlic cloves, peeled
  3. •1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  4. •2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. •1 teaspoon cumin
  6. •1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. •1/3 cup ketchup
  8. •2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  9. •1 teaspoon coarse salt
  10. •1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For Asparagus
  1. •1 bunch Baby Asparagus
  2. •2 pats of butter
  3. •3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  4. •2 Shallots
  5. •juice of 1/2 a lemon
  6. •1 tsp grated lemon skin
  7. •1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  8. •salt and pepper (to taste)
For Pork Chops
  1. Use a food processor to mince garlic. Add fresh basil, and process until chopped. Add lemon juice, cumin. ketchup, oil, salt, and pepper and process to make a thin wet rub. Spread both sides of pork chops with basil mixture. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes...OR more.
  2. Light grill and heat. Make sure to oil grate. Grill for 6 minutes per side, and let rest for 3-5 minutes.
For Asparagus
  1. Wash and trim asparagus. Warm butter in a skillet and cook garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add asparagus, lemon juice, grated lemon, salt and pepper. Toss, and cook until asparagus is slightly tender. (approx. 10 minutes) Add sliced cherry tomatoes to warm through.
To Serve
  1. Place a mound of the asparagus salad on a plate and top with a pork chop.
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