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Archive for the ‘Sauces/Dressings’ Category

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!

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Basil Salt

What do you do when you grow more basil than you can use? Well I dried some; I have a freezer full of pesto so I decided to try a recipe I saw in a magazine – basil salt. Hmm – makes sense to me. It couldn’t be easier. Combine equal portions of kosher salt (I used sea salt) and basil. Pulse together in food processor; spread on a pan and heat at 225 degrees for about 30 minutes or until dry…toss salt about 1/2 way through cooking. Let the mixture cool – then put back in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is fine.  Use to season tomatos and other summer veggies – I also figure I can use it in pretty much anything that calls for salt – I haven’t tried it on anything yet, but I am excited about it…it smells deliciously basily.

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I have recently discovered black rice. I saw it in a magazine and then found it in a local spice store. It is so tasty and made for a wonderful stir fry meal. I cooked the black rice like I would any rice – in my steamer. For the stir fry I made a new sauce:

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

juice of 2 limes

3 tbsp of soy sauce

3 tbsp of honey

2 tsp of sesame seeds

3 tbsp of Sriracha sauce

2 tbsp of peanut butter (you can omit this, but I was cooking for some sensitive pallets and the peanut butter cooled off the sauce a bit)

In a pan – stir fry broccoli until almost done – add shrimp and sauce when shrimp is done, toss in cooked black rice and heat  – serve immediately – it is WAY yummy.

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Enchilada Sauce

I wanted to make dinners for the week – I already made a goulash which I have blogged about before as well as a Mexican lasagna that I have also blogged about before. The problem was even though I was well inspired to cook I was too lazy to leave the house to get the ingredients I needed. Then I thought – heck, I could make an enchilada sauce. So to google I went and I found one that sounded good. I made it and the lasagna. I haven’t eaten the lasagna yet, but I am sure it will yummy because this sauce is delicious! Give it a try.

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Mahi stir fry

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

I had a bit of mahi left in my freezer and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Once it was thawed I saw that the fillets were quite uneven so I decided it would cook more evenly if cubed than as a fillet. So in began this yummy stir fry. I marinated the fish in soy, honey, ginger and garlic. I then strung and chopped snow peas and tomatoes and then I set those aside – in the meantime I had my rice steaming away (2 cups cooked). I heated my stir fry pan, added a bit of olive oil and put in the vegetables. When they were about 2/3rds cooked, I added in the fish and the sauce. Cooked all until done. I went for presentation here so I packed the rice in a round bottom cup and put it in the center of the plate – normally I would just throw the rice into the stir fry, but I was feeling creative. All in all, this was delicious, though in my opinion the fish was a little salty – I think it could marinate for way less time as it absorbed the salt from the soy, but it still tasted delicious and I will definitely try it again. I seem to stir fry a lot more in the summer as it is a good way to use lots of vegetables together and it is super fast.

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Shrimp Curry stir fry

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

Okay – this is delicious and a very light, summery dish.

You’ll need one can of coconut milk (I used the low fat) and some red curry paste. Heat the coconut milk until it simmers and then add a tablespoon of red curry paste, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a couple of dashes of soy sauce. Let the sauce thicken a bit and then add your veggies. I used snow peas, shredded carrots, and broccoli. When the veggies are almost done, add in 1 pound of pealed shrimp and 2 cups of cooked rice. Simmer and stir in all ingredients until the shrimp is done. Top with chopped fresh basil.

The beauty of this meal is not only in the flavors, but you only need one pan to prepare the meal. This made three servings – so we had dinner and one left over for lunch.

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This was a great dinner if I do say so myself – and easy too – I promise.

Dice 1 small to medium onion
saute in a tablespoon of vegetable oil
add 8 oz of chopped chicken and lightly brown
add three heaping tablespoons of curry paste – I use Patak’s
blend together – add about 1/4 cup of water
add 1 can of chopped tomatoes blend together and let it come to a boil
lower heat to simmer and add chopped fresh broccoli
Simmer for about 25 minutes uncovered – stirring occasionally.
Serve over cooked rice – I used white basmati rice – it would work well with brown or short grain rice as well.
This was a nicely spiced, but not spicy dish and a lovely way to end the week! I will definitely add this dish into the rotation. I think next time I might try chopped potatoes instead of the chicken…I’ll let you know how that turns out.

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