ris
In Print

November 5, 2012

Squash Ravioli with Sherried Onion Sauce, Walnuts & Cranberries

by Ris Lacoste

A great Fall recipe to share with your family for Thanksgiving! If you don’t want to make your own pasta dough, wonton wrappers (or "pasta wraps"), found in the grocery produce section, give excellent results and are quick and easy to work with.

(Yields about 40 ravioli.)

 

For the filling:

1 large or 2 small butternut squash or 1/2 cheese pumpkin (2-1/2 lb. total), to yield 2-1/2 cups cooked purée

5 to 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup maple syrup or 2 Tbs. brown sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup ricotta

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the sauce:

2 large onions (14 to 16 oz. total), thinly sliced

3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more if needed

1/3 cup dry sherry

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1-1/2 cups homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth (or a total of 3 cups broth if not using cream)

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage

 

To assemble the ravioli:

Cornmeal for dusting

80 wonton wrappers ("pasta wraps")

2 eggs mixed with a dash of water

 

For the garnish:

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries

2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives

3 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with a vegetable peeler into shards

 

Make the filling

Follow the master method for roasting squash (see photos) using the amounts for the squash, butter, maple syrup, and orange juice above. After peeling the cooked squash, put the flesh and any juices from roasting into a large heavy-based sauté pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes, to further dry out the mixture and intensify the flavor. To smooth out the squash somewhat, break up lumps with a spatula, a potato masher, or the back of a wooden spoon. Put the squash in a bowl and set aside until cool. When cooled, mix in the ricotta and grated Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper. The mixture can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

 

Make the sauce

Sauté the onions in 3 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat until very soft and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the sherry to deglaze, raise the heat to medium high, and cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Add the cream and broth (or all broth, if you prefer) and the chopped sage, and reduce by half or until the sauce is the consistency you like. You'll have 2 to 2-1/2 cups sauce. Season with salt and pepper. If using broth only, whisk in 1 to 2 Tbs. butter at the end to give the sauce a bit of body. (If making the sauce ahead, reserve the butter until reheating. If using cream, reheat the sauce very gently.)

 

Assemble the ravioli

Lightly dust your work surface with cornmeal, lay out the wonton wrappers (10 to 12 at a time) and brush half of them with egg wash. Place 1 scant Tbs. of the squash filling in the center of each piece of egg-washed pasta and flatten slightly (a pastry bag works well here). Quickly and gently cover each with a second wrapper (without egg wash) and with the tips of your fingers, press tightly around each mound and out towards the edges of the pasta to create a tight seal. (Start pressing around the filling first to avoid creating air pockets). If you like, trim the ravioli with a cookie cutter or knife. (Alternatively, if using homemade pasta sheets, space the filling 3 inches apart on first sheet, cover, seal, and crimp as desired). Arrange the filled ravioli in a single layer on a sheet pan lightly dusted with cornmeal. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

 

Cook and serve the ravioli

Warm the sauce and have the garnishes ready. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add a touch of olive oil, and drop in 4 to 6 ravioli at a time. When they rise to the surface, boil for 4 minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a strainer (or a cooling rack set over a pan) to drain. Arrange 3 or 4 ravioli on a large plate for an appetizer (6 for a dinner portion), cover lightly with the sauce (about 1 Tbs. per ravioli), and sprinkle with the walnuts, cranberries, and chives. Add a few shards of Parmigiano and serve.

 

January 26, 2012

Orange Layer Cake

Orange Layer Cake (posted today for Chef's Birthday!)

by Ris Lacoste

This is my mother’s recipe, which I always requested (and got) for my birthday. I love to eat this cake with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Leave yourself plenty of time to frost the cake; it works best if filled and then refrigerated before frosting. Remember to zest your oranges before juicing. Serves eight to ten.

For the filling:
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 large or 4 medium oranges), without pulp
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbs. salted butter

For the cake:
2-1/4 cups (101/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup salted butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp. grated orange zest (from about 1 large orange)
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 large or 4 medium oranges), without pulp

For the frosting:
6 oz. (12 Tbs. ) salted butter, at room temperature
4-1/2 cups (about 18 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
Dash salt
1 tsp. grated orange zest
5 Tbs. fresh orange juice

For the garnish:
1 or 2 small oranges, sliced thinly, slices cut halfway through on one side, laid on paper towels to drain
7 or 8 sprigs fresh mint (pick pairs of leaves)


Make the filling: Combine the sugar and the flour in a heavy-based saucepan. Whisk just to mix. Add the orange juice and egg yolks and whisk vigorously again to combine. Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils (3 to 4 min.). Cook another 1 min., stirring constantly (the mixture will thicken noticeably and become less cloudy). Be sure it boils for 1 min. so that the filling will thicken enough to support the cake. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (lay the wrap directly on the filling’s surface), and refrigerate. Chill thoroughly before using.

Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Grease two 9x1-1/2-inch cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of kitchen parchment. Lightly flour the sides and bottom of each pan.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and zest. Gradually add the sugar, creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions and scraping down the sides.

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating well on low speed after each addition. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Tap the pans on the counter before putting them in the oven to remove any air bubbles and to even the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 28 min. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 min. and then loosen the layers by running a knife between the cake and the edge of the pan. Remove the layers from the pans and put them on a rack to continue cooling.

Make the frosting: Cream the butter in the mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and combine thoroughly. Add the orange zest and mix to combine. Add the orange juice and mix on high speed until well blended, scraping down the sides. It will be light and creamy. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Assemble the cake: When all the components are cool, put one cake layer on a cake stand or a cardboard cake round. Spread the orange filling over the cake to make a 1/4-inch layer. You’ll have about 1/3 cup extra filling; serve it alongside the cake, if you like. Put the second layer on top of the first and refrigerate the cake until the filling has chilled again and firmed up, about 45 min.

Spread the filling.

Loosen the frosting by beating with a spatula (if it’s very stiff, beat it with an electric mixer). Using an icing spatula, spread just a very thin layer of frosting over the whole cake (this is called a “crumb coat” because it secures loose crumbs) and refrigerate the cake to let the frosting firm up, about 10 min. Put on the final coat of frosting, taking care to work gently, as the top layer of the cake tends to slide around ever so slightly because of the filling. If it slides, just push it back. Create a pattern on the frosting using the icing spatula (heat it up under warm water and dry it). Transfer the cake (on its cardboard or by lifting it with spatulas) to a cake plate or pedestal.

Apply a thin layer of frosting with an icing spatula.

Create a pattern on the final coat of frosting.

Garnish the cake: Twist the orange slices into “S” shapes and put seven or eight around the top of the cake. Tuck a pair of mint leaves into each orange twist.

 

December 28, 2011

Cranberry Sauce with Vanilla, Maple Syrup & Cassis

6 cups (about 1-1/2 lb.) fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over and rinsed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
1/3 cup crème de cassis (black-currant liqueur)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
Half a vanilla bean, split and scraped

Put 3 cups of the cranberries and all the remaining ingredients in a 3- or 4-qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and broken down and the juices look slightly syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 cups cranberries and cook until these have popped, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla bean, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate if not serving right away.

December 21, 2011

Individual Beef Wellingtons by Chef Ris

 

 

Chef Ris shares her recipe for Individual Beef Wellingtons with Mushroom, Spinach & Blue Cheese Filling. Treat your family for the holidays!

Prepare the components of the Wellingtons the day before or the morning before you intend to assemble them. Once assembled, freeze them for at least six to eight hours (ideally overnight) and up to a week. Make sure you have plenty of room in your freezer before starting. Serves six.

For the pastry:
3 packages (1 lb. each) frozen puff pastry (6 sheets total), such as Pepperidge Farm brand
Flour for rolling

For the mushrooms:
2 large portabella mushrooms, stems removed
6 Tbs. olive oil; more for cooking
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped
1/2 tsp. very roughly chopped fresh rosemary
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the onions:
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 medium onions (about 6 oz. each), thinly sliced
1/2 cup medium-dry sherry (I prefer Amontillado)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spinach and cheese:
12 cups tightly packed spinach (about 14 oz.)
Pinch ground white pepper (optional)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 oz. Maytag blue cheese (or other good-quality blue, such as Roquefort)

For the filets:
6 portions beef tenderloin, 5 to 6 oz. each (choose equal-size center-cut portions)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 3/4 cup olive oil; more as needed

For assembly:
2 eggs, whisked together lightly with 1 tsp. water
Flour

To cook the Wellingtons:
2 eggs, whisked together lightly with 1 tsp. water


Prepare the pastry and fillings:

Roll and cut the pastry—Roll out each of the six pastry sheets to about 3/16-inch thick and, using a sharp knife, cut out a 10-inch round from each. From the scraps, cut out 12 leaves or other shapes to use as decoration. Layer the pastry rounds (and the decorations) between pieces of waxed paper or parchment, wrap the bundle well in plastic, and freeze again.

Cook the mushrooms—In a shallow bowl, toss the portabellas with the oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove the portabellas from the marinade (they will have soaked up most of it) and season with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a thin film of oil, and sear the portabellas on both sides until they've softened and browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer them to paper towels and turn them once to drain both sides. When cool, cut them in half and cut the halves into strips about 1/2 inch thick.

Caramelize the onions—Melt the butter in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until well browned, soft, and sweet, 30 to 40 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until the pan is dry. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Put the cooled onions in a colander set in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the spinach and cheese—Wash the spinach well and remove any stems. Prepare an ice-water bath. Put half of the spinach in a large sauté pan with a touch of water, 1 Tbs. of the butter, a pinch of salt, and a little ground white pepper if you like. Toss over medium-high heat, just until wilted and immediately put it in the water bath to shock the color and stop the cooking. Scoop it from the ice water and put it in a colander to drain. Squeeze the spinach, a small handful at a time, as much as you can and set it aside on paper towels to continue draining. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Divide the blue cheese into six 1-oz. portions. Try slicing the whole piece into six slices; if it crumbles, just evenly divide the cheese. Cover and refrigerate.

Squeeze and squeeze again—until the spinach for your filling is as dry as it can be.

Sear the filets—Season each portion of meat very generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning into the meat to keep it in place. Pour 1/8 inch olive oil into a heavy sauté pan and heat it until just smoking. Sear the filets over high heat for 2 minutes on each side until brown and crisp on the outside. Be sure your pan is very hot so that you just sear the meat and don't overcook it, and don't crowd the pan or the meat will steam rather than sear. (Check the sides to be sure the filets are still red in the middle.) Work in batches if necessary. Refrigerate the meat until chilled or until ready to use, up to 24 hours. Sear the beef filets for a nice crust but a still-red center—once wrapped in pastry and baked, they'll cook to medium rare.

Assemble the Wellingtons:

Arrange the mushrooms, onions, spinach, cheese, and filets on your counter. Divide the portabella strips into six portions. Make sure the caramelized onions are well drained (they tend to collect liquid as they sit) and divide them into six portions. Squeeze the spinach again, divide it into six portions, and leave it on paper towels for any further draining. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet (that fits in your freezer) with kitchen parchment. Have a ruler, a small sharp knife, a pastry brush, and the egg wash on hand. Lightly flour one area of your counter (the cooler the area the better).

Pull a pastry round (and two decorative pieces) from the freezer and set it on the floured surface. Work quickly to maintain the integrity of the pastry. Lightly score a 4x3-inch rectangle in the center of the round; don't cut through the pastry. Extend the lines of the rectangle and cut out the corners of the round created by the line extensions, leaving a cross of pastry with a 4x3-inch center.

Cut a cross shape out of the pastry round. Save the scraps to cut out decorations.

Give a spinach portion one last squeeze and spread half of it over the rectangle of pastry. Follow with a portion of blue cheese, a portion of onions, a filet, a portion of portabellas in one layer, and the rest of the spinach portion. Spread each layer as evenly as possible. Brush a light coating of the egg wash on each of the four panels of dough.

Layer spinach, blue cheese, onions, a filet, mushrooms, and more spinach in the center of the pastry.

Check to be sure that the pastry is now pliable enough to fold without breaking (wait a minute or two if necessary). Fold each side panel onto the top, stretching the dough a bit if necessary to make the ends meet, or slightly overlapping if necessary. Follow suit with the top and bottom panels. Seal the panels together by pressing in the top panel where it meets the bottom panel and by pinching each of the four sides together where the panels meet. Don't worry if the package doesn't look gorgeous; it's more important that it's well sealed so the juices don't leak out.

Fold up the longer sides first and then the ends.

Hold the package upright in your hands, securing all the seals and smoothing the rough spots to make the package into a neat, rounded block. Set it seam side down and gently press the top and sides to make them as even all the way around as possible. Brush the top and all sides with egg wash. Put the decorations on top and brush with egg wash. (You'll be cutting the package in half, so separate the decorations.) Set the Wellington on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the pan in the freezer to set and chill the pastry. Repeat with the 5 remaining Wellingtons, adding each to the pan in the freezer as you go. After they chill for an hour, wrap them well in plastic individually and return them to the freezer.

Cook the Wellingtons:

Heat the oven to 400°F. Make another egg wash. Remove the Wellingtons from the freezer (do not thaw) and brush them with a fresh coat of egg wash. Put them on a lightly greased rimmed heavy baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and cook until the internal temperature is 110°F (be sure the tip of the thermometer is inserted in the center of the package), another 35 to 40 minutes. Set them aside to rest for no longer than 10 minutes. The tightly enclosed beef will continue to cook out of the oven, so if you have to wait for more than 10 minutes, trim the sides of the pastry to let out some of the hot steam and reduce the internal temperature. Cut each Wellington in half, arrange on warm plates, and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 1070; Fat (g): 82; Fat Calories (kcal): 730; Saturated Fat (g): 27; Protein (g): 48; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 42; Carbohydrates (g): 35; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): 1080; Cholesterol (mg): 285; Fiber (g): 4; 

September 5, 2011

Endive, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad with Port Vinaigrette

Serves 6

3 heads endive

1 head frisée, separated from thestem, cleaned and spun dry

1 small head of radicchio, cut into 1/2” bands

6 oz port vinaigrette(seerecipe)

1mediumred onion, cut into julienne

1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped and dusted

9-12 ozMaytag BlueCheeseOR bluecheeseof your choice, crumbled

3 Bartlett or Bosc pears, raw or poached (seerecipe)

Toast the walnuts in the oven until lightly colored, about 10 minutes. This will activate the nut oils and help bring out their natural sweetness. When cool enough to handle,

coarsely chop thenuts and then placein acolander or largeholed strainer and shake until most of the bitter skinsor “dust” is removed. Set aside until ready to use. The nuts can

also beprepared ahead and kept well covered.

 

Arrange 4-5 spears of endiveacross the top of each plate. Toss together thefrisee, radicchio, onions, walnuts and someof the port vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Taste and adjust to your liking with more vinaigrette, salt or pepper. Be careful not to overdress. Place a fluffy cluster of the salad mix in the center of each plate at the base

of the endive spears, letting a bit of onion and walnut fall on the spears. Drizzle a bit of dressing on each endive spear. Arrange fanned slices of pear wherever you likeand

sprinkle with a generous amount of crumbled blue cheese, making sure to let some fall on each of the endive spears. Delicious.

Port Vinaigrette

Makes3 cups

2 cups port

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 T Dijon mustard

2 oz honey

2 shallots, diced

2 cups peanut oil

4 oz walnut oil

Reduce 2 cups port to 1/4 cup. Combine reduced port, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallots in a non-reactive bowl. Place a wet towel under the bowl to keep it in place, allowing you to have both hands free to whisk. Whisk ingredients together and then emulsify with a steady drizzle of peanut oil and then walnut oil. Taste for balance beforeall of theoil is added. Moreor less oil may beneeded depending on the acidity of the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. taste and adjust to your liking. The vinaigrette will last at least a month, covered in the refrigerator and is best used at room temperature.

Poached Pears

3 firm but ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, stems left on

2 cups port

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

Combine the port, water, sugar and scraped vanilla bean in asmall, non-reactivesauce pan, just large enough to hold the pears. The poaching liquid should reach half way up the pears (adjust with more port/water/sugar if necessary). Bring to aboil and then gently simmer, turning the pears occasionally so that all sides are coated. Cook until the pears are soft, about 45 minutes. Store pears in their poaching liquid to continue the coloration. They can be prepared 2-3 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. The poaching liquid can be saved and used again or reduced to make a syrup or sauce for other uses.

December 24, 2010

RIS’ Chicken Pot Pie

“In my humble opinion, there should always be plenty of light, flaky crust in a chicken potpie. At my house we would fight over my mother’s flaky pastry lining the bottom of the pyrex baking dish.
Make plenty of your favorite pie dough or buy 100% butter puff pastry, rolled to 1/6” and cut to cover and/or encase individual ramekins or larger casseroles.”
—Ris

 

For the roux
4 ounces butter
1 cup flour

For the filling
makes 3-4 quarts, 6-8 servings

8 oz mushrooms, quartered if large and roasted until golden, seasoned with S&P, fresh thyme and olive oil.
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and roasted until golden seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and olive oil.
2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups
2 large stalks celery, large dice, about 1 cup
2 carrots, large dice, about 1 cup
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 qts chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 large potato, large dice, about 1 cup
1-2 cups or to taste root vegetables that are available: parsnip, celery root, sweet potato, or all of the above, large dice
1 cup frozen English peas
2 cups roasted chicken meat, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Sherry vinegar

Roll out your pastry to suit your needs and keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the roux: Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan. Whisk in the flour stir constantly, spreading the paste over the bottom of the pan to lightly color and cook the flour, for about 5 minutes. Set aside in a warm place until ready to use.

Roast the mushrooms and pearl onions. Set aside when done until ready to use.

In a heavy based 2-gallon soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter and add the diced onions, celery and carrots. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme and sage and cook until the onions are barely soft, stirring occasionally, just enough to release the aromatics from the vegetables, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Let simmer for another 5 minutes to meld the flavors and season the stock.

Add the potatoes and any additional root vegetables. Season lightly with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bring just to a boil and add the peas, roasted mushrooms, roasted pearl onions and chicken meat. Bring back just to a boil again, keeping in mind that you have about 5 minutes to finish from this point before the potatoes are overcooked.

Thicken with the roux, whisking in a bit at a time and dissolving each bit, not to leave lumps. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and a dash of sherry vinegar for brightness. Remove from the heat.


Prepare your pastry to accommodate your vessel. Fill with the potpie filling and cover with more pastry. Filling can be hot if put in the oven immediately or chilled and can be kept in the refrigerated until ready to use. Cooking time will be in a 350 degree oven, but will depend on size of pie and whether or not filling was hot or cold. Individual portions take 20 minutes or so. Larger casseroles may take up to 1 hour.

November 24, 2010

Yvonne Lacoste’s Cranberry Orange Bread

“ My mom's recipe. Great for breakfast, sliced, toasted and buttered.” - Ris Lacoste
 
 
3 cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tbsp salt
2 medium eggs
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of orange juice
1 ½ cups whole cranberries
¾ cup walnuts, chopped
 
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream together the sugar and the shortening.  Add the eggs.  Add the zest and orange juice and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients.  Fold in the cranberries and the walnuts.  Bake in a 9x5x3 greased pan  at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Test with a toothpick for doneness.

Photo by Laura Padgett

December 11, 2009

Scallop Margarita with Tequila Ice

Serves 6

 Tequila ice
 1 cup sugar
 1 cup water
 1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lime juice
 1 Tablespoon lime zest
 ½ oz tequila
 Ancho chili paste
 2 ancho chilis
 1 cup orange juice
2 seedless oranges, sectioned
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb + fresh, dry scallops, cut into 1/2 “ chunks
1 small red onion, julienned
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves picked and kept covered with a damp cloth
1 jalapeño chili, seeds removed and finely julienned
1 poblano chili, roasted, peeled, seeds removed and julienned
1 avocado, cut into cubes
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup of the best extra virgin olive oil you have.  (I use Tuscan Laudemio)
1 cup sour cream
3 limes, 2 cut into 6 slit rounds, the rest for squeezing
tortilla chips
6 martini or margarita glasses

This scallop ceviche is very easy to make.  There are only two small projects to complete the day before:
Tequila Ice:  Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy based sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, zest and tequila.  Stir well and pour into a flat container the proper size to allow for a layer of liquid about ¾” thick.  Put into the freezer and allow at least 6 hours for it to be well iced.  Pass a fork throughout the ice about every hour to loosen the mixture and help create ice flakes. 
Ancho chili puree:  Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho chilis, place in a small sauce pan and cover them with orange juice.  Heat gently until the chilis are soft.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Puree all in a blender and pass through a sieve.  Mix the orange sections with 1 tablespoon of the ancho puree, 2 ounces of the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Keep covered in the refrigerator.  The extra ancho puree can be frozen in small packets for later use.

Mise en place is the key to the rest of this quick dish.  One hour before serving, mix the diced scallops, ½ of the red onion, a few sprigs of cilantro and a few slivers of jalapeño together and cover with 1 cup of the lime juice.  Cover and keep in the refrigerator.  Toss the scallops every twenty minutes to make sure they are being evenly marinated with the lime juice. 
During that hour, prepare all of your ingredients as listed above. Also, prepare your margarita glasses by rubbing the edge of each glass with lime juice and then placing each glass upside down into a plate of kosher salt.
After 45-60 minutes, check your scallops for doneness by tasting a piece and seeing if it is too your liking.  Keep them in the lime juice longer if they are underdone or marinate them less the next time if they are overdone.  When ready, drain the lime juice from the scallops and pick out the onion, cilantro and jalapeño.  Place the scallops into a large bowl and add the poblano chili, jalapeño, red onion, scallion, cilantro, avocado, salt and pepper.  Add a good drizzle of the olive oil and the juice of the remaining lime.  Mix gently and taste for acid/fat balance and adjust with more oil or lime juice or salt and pepper, if necessary. 

To arrange, separate the scallop mixture into six even portions.  Place half of each portion in the bottom of each glass, spread a tablespoonful of sour cream over the scallops, followed by some marinated orange sections and then the rest of the portion of scallops.  Top with a small scoop of tequila ice and place a lime round on the edge of each glass. 

Serve with tortilla chips on the side.

DEEEEEELICIOUS!