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Chicken with Fig

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For the fig topping I halved about a dozen fresh figs and put to simmer in a pot with about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and the same of olive oil. When the figs got to a hard simmer I smashed the figs and let the liquid absorb. I then added about 1/2 cup of white wine and let that liquid absorb. I turned off the heat and then set to cook the chicken.

I simply salted and peppered chicken breast cooked in about a tablespoon of olive oil. I set some broccoli to steam and when it was all done I topped the chicken with the figs. It was a lovely somewhat sweet somewhat earthy flavor. I loved it. Too bad fig season is so short! I think I will get in one more batch of this before the figs are done for the year and it is definitely something I will keep in mind for next year when the figs come again.

On a side note – I have seen many recipes for dried fig glazes so don’t sweat it if you don’t have fresh ones.

I blogged earlier about the Ginger dressing recipe I got from Mimi. I used it as a marinade for a couple of wild caught Salmon filets. These are hard to get – we seem to get a lot of farm-raised color added salmon – I just won’t eat this anymore – I hold out for the wild caught, but it would certainly work on any salmon or tuna for that matter.

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I marinated the salmon for about an hour then used the same dressing for the salad. It is a wonderfully flavorful marinade/dressing…and I have since used it on chicken and on tuna steaks!

Mimi sent me the link for this Asian Ginger Dressing from allrecipes.com – I made a couple of slight changes

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (I used the gourmet garden prepared ginger)

I added 2 tablespoons of gourmet garden lemongrass

3/4 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of rice vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup of water

This is a terrific dressing or marinade. I used it as a dressing, as a marinade for salmon (will post later) and as a marinade for chicken – you can’t go wrong!)

Key Lime Pie

Made key lime pie for Fourth of July dinner, am just getting around to blogging several food joys..this is always a crowd pleaser especially when I can get fresh key limes.

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I don’t think too much about the proportions anymore. The key limes come in a bag with just enough key limes to make one pie. I juiced them, added on can of sweetened condensed milk, mixed thoroughly and poured into a graham cracker pie crust. No need to bake – just pop in in the refrigerator until chilled and serve.

Sweet Potato Hash

sweet potato hash

I made turkey burgers for dinner last night.  I can’t eat turkey burgers without sweet potato fries.
When I was making dinner last night, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, because I made way too many sweet potato fries.  So I popped them into a container and stashed them in my icebox.

Fast forward to this morning, when I was rummaging around looking for something to make for breakfast.

I saw the container of sad little sweet potato fries on the shelf.  I started thinking about what I could do with them… what about some kind of hashbrowns?  I had about 1/8th of a bag of regular frozen hashbrowns in the freezer… an idea began to take shape.

Here’s what I did….

Sweet Potato Hash

2 tablespoons bacon grease or olive oil or butter
A handful of leftover sweet potato fries, chopped up (any kind of pre-cooked sweet potato will do)
A handful of grated frozen hashbrowns (any kind will do)
Half a small onion, chopped
6 small mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
s/p

In an 8inch cast iron skillet (or non-stick if that’s what you’ve got), melt the bacon grease over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and let it cook for a few minutes.  Then add the sliced mushrooms, and again, let it cook for a few minutes.  When the veggies have cooked down a bit, throw in the cut up sweet potato fries and the shredded hashbrowns.  Stir it around, then let it sit for a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Don’t over do it, as you can taste it along the way for seasoning.  I don’t use much salt because the bacon grease has some already.  You want some color on the potatoes and veggies.  After 5 minutes or so, make a well in the center of the mixture and put in the extra tablespoon of butter.  Stir things around, and let it continue to cook until the other stuff you’re having for breakfast is done.

I served this to my husband with a couple of scrambled eggs.  The picture you see was my portion, which I topped with a fried egg.

This was really good.  I think from now on I’ll make too many sweet potato fries on purpose, just as an excuse to have this for breakfast again!

Tuna Two Ways

So I see that Diane made tuna for dinner last night.  It always amazes me how often we cook the same things, without even communicating with each other about it.  I also made tuna a few nights ago.

In my household (which only includes me, my husband, and my dog), tuna is one of those things I have to cook differently for my husband.  The dog doesn’t get tuna.  Unless it falls on the floor.  And even if it did, as expensive as it is, I’d beat him to it.  Another food stuff that falls into this category is eggs.  My husband will only eat eggs one way- scrambled.  I will eat an egg just about any way you want to give it to me.

Anyhoo- back to the expensive tuna…  Because I live in Colorado, I NEVER get fresh seafood, unless I want to sell one of my kidneys and fly it in.  I love seafood, but I love my kidneys more.  My one saving grace is that if I want to drive 40 minutes into Basalt, CO, I can go to Whole Foods.  I do this probably about once a month.  I usually buy organic dairy, bulk nuts, meats and seafood.  This last time I went, they had beautiful figs- so those had to come home with me as well. :)   They also have a frozen case where they sell sashimi grade fish.  The case  almost always contains tuna and salmon.  I came home with a single box containing two tiny frozen fillets of beautiful tuna. I paid around $12 for it.  Which, admittedly, considering the size of the pieces of fish, was expensive.  But you know, now that I’m well into my 40s, I realize that sometimes it’s worth the splurge.  I will never travel around the world, or live in New York, or fly off to dinner in Paris- I rely on much smaller things to make me happy.  Raw tuna makes me happy.  Raw tuna makes my husband dry heave.  Which brings me to the different preparation methods.

My Husband’s dinner:  Fresh Tuna Salad

fresh tuna salad

I love PicMonkey, don’t you?  My pics would suck even more than they already do if it wasn’t for the fine folks over at PicMonkey.

Ingredients:

Lettuce (whatever you want- we have lettuce in our garden, so that’s what I used)

Mushrooms (slice up some fresh ones- canned ones are gross and should be banned from existence)

Cucumbers (again, slice some fresh ones in whatever shape turns you on)

Pickled Baby Corn (not required, but cute and delicious!)

Tuna fillet (since I cooked his to medium, you don’t really have to fork out the bucks for sashimi grade if you make this)

Soy Ginger Salad Dressing (recipe to follow)

Mango Pico de Gallo (recipe to follow)

Okay- so I made the salad part first and arranged it ever so artfully on a plate (which I’m not sure why I do, because my husband eats in a very similar manner to our dog and I doubt he takes time to appreciate my culinary artistry).  Then I turned my attention to the lovely piece of tuna.

I defrosted the fillet in cold water in my sink.  It didn’t take long at all.  I dried it with a paper towel, then liberally sprinkled it with blackening seasoning.  My brand of choice is Tony Chachere’s, but Zatarain’s or a home made spicy blend would work as well.  What I really wanted to do was roll it in some toasted sesame seeds.  But you can’t roll tuna in sesame seeds if you used all of them before and never picked up anymore.  I left the fillet on a piece of parchment while I heated my cast iron skillet to nuclear.  Actually it was more like 8 on my digital dial.  But this needs to be done before the fish goes on.  The pan needs to be super hot before the fish touches it.  This keeps the fish from sticking and puts an awesome sear on it.  I let my pan preheat for at least 5 minutes.  And  I always use cast iron when I do this.  It gets super hot and evenly heats.  You can’t beat that for cooking any kind of protein.

When the pan is hot, I drizzle a bit of olive oil on the pan and put the fillet on.  I cooked my husband’s for about 3 minutes per side.  As you can sorta see in the picture, that leaves a tiny bit of pinkish red in the very center of the tuna.   This is a crime in my eyes, as tuna should be eaten as close to raw as the health department will allow, but because I love my husband, I went against my own personal seafood beliefs.  That’s what love is- in the kitchen, anyway.

I took the fillet out of the pan, let it rest a few minutes, then sliced it on the bias and placed it lovingly on top of the salad.  I topped the fish with some mango pico de gallo and drizzled it with soy ginger salad dressing.

Soy Ginger Dressing (frankensteined together from several online recipes):

Garlic Powder (I have some I need to use up- if you have fresh, please use it!)

Minced Ginger (I used my micro plane zester- probably around 2 tablespoons should do it)

Olive Oil (it’s a salad dressing, so I like equal parts oil to vinegar, but some people like less vinegar)

Rice Vinegar (again, in my dressing, the soy and rice vinegar were equal in amount to the olive oil- taste as you go and adjust to fit your taste)

Soy Sauce

Honey (probably about 3 tablespoons)

Lemongrass Paste (not required, but very delicious)

Whisk all of this in a bowl, or shake up in a mason jar.

Mango Pico de Gallo:

Mango- I used 1 whole one, chopped

Onion- I used one small Vidalia, chopped- any onion will do- even scallions!

Jalapeño- I used one large, chopped

Tomatoes- I used about 6 organic romas, seeded and chopped

Cilantro- I love this stuff, so I used a fistful, chopped

Olive oil- just a drizzle

Lime- I juiced one- but our limes right now are awful so I also added a dash of vinegar

Vinegar- I only use this if my limes aren’t very juicy.  I had some chive blossom vinegar, so that’s what I used.

Salt- more than you probably think you need.  Add it a little at a time and taste as you go

Throw all this in a bowl and mix it up.  Done.

Note:  Honestly, I make pico all the time using whatever I have lying around.  Be adventurous!  People will eat anything with tortilla chips… :)

My dinner: The Tower of Tuna Terror!

tuna tower

Ingredients:

Mango Pico de Gallo

Cucumber- diced

Avocado- diced

Soy Ginger Dressing

Tuna

So here’s the prep method for my tuna.  I followed the exact same set up that I used for my husband’s (in reality, I cooked both pieces at the same time).  Where his cooked for 3 minutes per side, mine cooked 1 minute per side.  And honestly, I wouldn’t have cooked it at all, but I like the look of the seared outside and raw inside.  Mine was still cold when I ate it.  Yum.

I sliced my very raw tuna on the bias.  I put the mango pico de gallo on the bottom, then added the diced cucumbers, then the diced avocado, then the tuna.  Then I drizzled the soy ginger dressing on the top.

I feel like I need to make a statement about eating raw fish.  You can’t do this with regular tuna.  You HAVE TO buy sashimi grade fish if you’re going to eat it raw.  You can get really sick if you don’t.  And you need to trust the place you buy the fish from.  Whole Foods is a great place to start if you want to try sashimi or sushi at home.  They are very knowledgable, and can give great advice and instructions on handling raw fish.  This isn’t the place to go rogue and feel your way through it.  Got it?  Okay- sermon over.

Try either (or both) of these.  You won’t be disappointed!

This was dinner tonight. Tuna Steaks with Pineapple, Mango Salsa. So good. this was one of those flavor profiles that was in my head and came out just as I had hoped.

I coated the tuna steaks in salt, pepper, chili powder, and old bay seasoning – seared both sides in the skillet until medium rare. As that was cooking I diced mango, pineapple, tomato and cilantro. When the tuna was done I deglazed the pan with pineapple juice in the pan with the salsa mix until just warmed through and then topped the blackened steaks. I served this alongside some simple steamed broccoli – delicious!

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