Archive for the ‘Seafood’ 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.


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


Mango Pico de Gallo

Cucumber- diced

Avocado- diced

Soy Ginger Dressing


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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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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I got a Himalayan salt block for my birthday so I decided to break it in on the person who gave it me by cooking their birthday dinner on the salt block.

This is not one of those things you can do on the spur of the moment. The block has to be heated up slowly starting at low heat and gradually increasing heat until it is hot enough to cook on – this took about 40 minutes for me. Once the block was hot it was just like cooking on anything else.

I marinated the tuna in honey, soy sauce, garlic and dijon mustard. Then I seared the tuna for about 4 minutes a side. The tuna tasted lightly salty, a nice accompaniment to the meatiness of the steaks.  Everyone was satisfied with the taste of the fish. I would do a couple of things differently next time, mainly adding a layer of aluminum foil under the stone. As you can see from the picture, the juices are just dripping off the side of the block. It made a pretty big mess on my stove, but I didn’t care – it was yummy!


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This is such an easy recipe and a real crowd-pleaser. Chop vegetables into bite sized pieces. I used zucchini, tomatoes, and onion. Preheat oven to 375 – and start a pot of water to boil for pasta. Put vegetables on a cookie sheet with garlic and olive oil. Roast vegetables for about twenty minutes. Add shrimp and feta or blue cheese and return to oven until the shrimp are done. Toss over pasta. I also added pesto to this and it was delicious.

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Shrimp and Fig Kebobs

This is probably the last of the fig fun for the season: what a short but glorious season it is. This was super simple. Skewer shrimp and figs on pre-soaked wooden skewers (so they don’t char) drizzle with honey and bleu cheese then bake at 350 until the shrimp are done. It really couldn’t be more simple. If you can get your hands on some fresh figs – do it!  It is an entirely different animal than the fig newton cookie (which I also love).

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Savannah summers can get pretty hot and steamy so this was a welcome alternative to having to cook and create heat in the kitchen.  I threw together this salad and it was delicious.

Mix together:

1 pound blue crab

3 avocados, cubed

1 mango, cubed

1 jalapeno

about 1/4 cup of lime juice

salt and pepper to taste.







I served this on a bed of fresh spinach with a bottle of pinot grigio. A tasty summer dinner!

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Catfish Tacos!

Despite the argument that catfish is inedible because they are bottom feeders and eat poo…I love it deep fried and in a taco. Soak catfish fillets in milk for about an hour – this will remove the “fishiness” and keep the fish moist. Cut the fillet into cubes. Coat in a mixture of flour, pepper, and old bay seasoning…deep fry. Serve with taco toppings. We had fresh avocado slices, greek yogurt, cheese, and salsa…Yummy!

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This uses the same blackening spices and technique as the Tuna I posted about earlier. The aspargus is sauted with garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The potatoes are red potatoes – skin on – boiled until tender and then mashed with roasted garlic, milk, butter and cheese. Yum!

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First let me apologize for being a bad blogger of late. It is not that I haven’t been cooking. My ever expanding waist line belies that theory. I have just been busy. We are all busy yes, but this busyness left me burned out for much of anything other than more busyness! That being said I will try to do better and catch up on some of the time I have missed.

This dinner was not that recent, but it is a favorite. Anytime I get a nice piece of fish it is a tough call as to how to prepare it. One of my favorite things to do with a meaty fish like tuna or mahi is to blacken it. I don’t have a standard blackening seasoning – I sort of wing it as I do with most of my cooking. In a bowl I mixed together about a tsp of salt; tbsp of black pepper; tsp of red pepper; 3 tbsp of old bay or similar seasoning; and about a tsp of paprika. Mix together well and then coat the outside of the fish with it. Put fish in a hot skillet (I would recommend turning on the exhaust fan as sometimes the blackening spices can catch you off guard).  Cook fish for about 4 minutes per side depending on thickness of the fillet.

I served mine along with steamed quinoa (cooked just rice) and fresh green beans also steamed and both lightly seasoned with sea salt.

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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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