Nick Page and his wife Amber have transformed their 100-year-old house in the Union Hill neighborhood of Kansas City into a colorful oasis for their two daughters and infant son.
Both have degrees from the Kansas City Art Institute and Nick also has a law degree. He works as the director of estate planning and trust services for a large firm and Amber is a clothing designer. They both love to cook and enjoy providing nutritious meals for their family.
Q: How would you describe your family meals?
I love to cook and enjoy fixing dinner every night. Amber is the baker in the family and bakes cookies or other baked goods. I often cook fish or seafood and vegetables for dinner, while almost every Sunday, we have a roasted chicken. We avoid a lot of processed foods.
Our healthy meals are all my daughters have ever known, so they enjoy our dinner menus, too. Cooking for us is a family activity and my daughters like to help in the kitchen. Baking cookies with Amber is a favorite time. We will definitely include our son in the kitchen, too, when he is old enough.
Q: Do you eat out often?
No, we rarely eat out. If we are on a road trip, my daughters think it is a real treat for us to stop at a fast food restaurant.
Q: When did you learn to cook?
When I was growing up, my grandfather cooked a lot and I learned by cooking with him.
Q: You have a beautiful garden. What do you grow?
We grow a lot of herbs as well as kale, lettuce, onions, beets, radishes and other vegetables. We don’t grow everything we want, so we also shop at the City Market as well as at grocery stores and at a local butcher shop. We shop different purveyors for different ingredients.
Q: Where do you find your recipes?
I enjoy finding new recipes and have lots of cookbooks. One favorite book which I find inspiring is “Les Diner de Gala” by painter Salvador Dalí.
Q: What advice would you share with a novice cook?
Have fun, be adventuresome, and don’t worry so much about the final product.
Q: What recipe are you sharing today?
This recipe for sauteed scallops and cauliflower puree is a family favorite that we have every couple weeks. It is quick and easy to make after work for my family and is also great to serve when entertaining.
It is a versatile recipe that you can change a little, if you want. For example, fried capers taste great on top, or you could substitute another protein for the scallops and serve sweet pea puree instead of the cauliflower puree. It is easy to adjust the quantities in this recipe so you can serve the number of people you want.
Scallops with Cauliflower Puree
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ small head cauliflower, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 cup whole milk
Few drops cider vinegar
6 scallops, preferably sea scallops
Sea or kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Heat the butter and about half of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to caramelize. Stir in the cauliflower and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the milk and heat until it begins to simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. (It is OK if the milk looks a little grainy.)
Remove from the heat and carefully pour the hot cauliflower mixture into a blender. Vent the cover to allow steam to escape and puree until smooth. Return the smooth cauliflower mixture to the saucepan. (Alternately, use an immersion blender to puree the cauliflower mixture in the saucepan.) Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the remaining olive oil. Add the scallops. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until they have a golden crust. Remove from the heat.
To serve, spoon cauliflower puree on each warmed plate. Top with the scallops and serve at once.
Tip: Sea scallops are larger than bay scallops, and while slightly chewier than bay scallops, both are sweet and cook quickly.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants who make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over 14 cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com. Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com.