Quinoa crusted tuna

Forgive my only reblogging the last few weeks.  I caught a virus (flu?) a few weeks ago and am only now getting my full strength back. Haven’t cooked much lately so I am relying on the amazing blogs that are out there with fabulous recipes.

This one is for Quinoa crusted tuna. The recipe sounded great and the pic made me want to make it.  Check it out by clicking on the name of the recipe above or clicking the URL here http://www.azestybite.com/quinoa-crusted-tuna/

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The recipe comes from a blog called a zesty bite which has some really nice recipes in it.

I hope to be back to regular blogging next week.

Cheers

Cindy

Memories of My Starving Post University Days and Kraft Dinner

I am sure I will get a number of people identifying with those days when you had no money, were trying to find yourself and a career after university (way back when….) and Kraft Dinner was a staple. No? Well you are the lucky ones (or should I say unlucky) 😉

There is something about Kraft Dinner that brings back tons of good memories. Now I know it is terrible food but bear with me as I did try to make it a touch healthier by adding a can of tuna.

I indulge in Kraft Dinner about once every 2-3 years so it’s not so bad and the things it makes me think about and remember are kind of fun so really how bad is that?

Here is my adult recipe for Kraft dinner (Did I say the box was on sale for 67 cents and made 3 meals?)

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1 box of KD cooked as per instructions. I only use 1 small pat of butter and a bit of skim milk just to thicken and moisten the orange powder they call “cheese”.

Once cooked and mixed, I add a tin of tuna drained, mix up and sprinkle bread crumbs on top with some sliced tomatoes. (I only had grape tomatoes so I used those instead). Then I bake it for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees till the edges get a bit browned.

All I can say is it was yummy, nostalgic and tasty all at once 😉

Fabulous Tuna Dinner

Well it was dinner with Ted and Judy again last night – my favourite “restaurant” ;-). I can’t get over the cooking that these friends do! So last night we had a starter of mussels which where so good I totally forgot to photograph them as we just dove into the bowls. Trust me they were delicious.

The rest of the meal was no exception. Actually I have to backtrack….I was starving when I got to T&J’s place as I had forgotten to eat lunch. Judy had some smoked salmon which she artfully put on top of a tiny dollop of hungarian cream cheese (made with paprika – yes it was awesome) on a  thin slice of left over roast potato. Topped with a couple of capers it was an appetizer fit for any restaurant.

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Later we had the mussels followed by a tuna dinner that was out of this world! Ted got some sushi grade tuna from a local fish monger and covered it in sesame seeds with a bit of black pepper ground on top.

 

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He seared it for 3 minutes per side in a hot cast iron frying pan. Prior to cooking, Ted made a small dish of sauce to go with the tuna. Mix the ingredients below and add to taste. It really does take on a different taste though once you drizzle it over the cooked tuna.

1 tbsp sesame oil

3-4 tbsp soy sauce

½ – 1 tsp wasabi paste to taste

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Along with the tuna Judy made her secret mashed potatoes – all I can tell you is there is some butter and her secret weapon is a mix master ;-). They are the smoothest creamiest potatoes ever.

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The salad Judy came up with (so creative) was made with the following ingredients:

Red tipped boston lettuce (beautiful looking)

Cubed field tomatoes (from the farmers market that day)

Cubed bocconcini cheese, 4-5 pieces

1 whole diced/cubed avocado

4-5 sun dried tomatoes chopped with a lime infusion (lime juice squeezed over to moisten)

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients (not the lettuce leaves) and pour the juice of one lime over them and mix/stir. Then put into individual boston lettuce “cups”/leaves

The tuna was timed perfectly for when the salad and potatoes were done. Plated, it looked fit for royalty. What an outstanding meal! I of course got to take home the leftovers. Thanks again to my favourite restaurant!

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More Party Food

In a continuation of the party I went to last weekend and catered as well – I am sharing the food that was prepared for 30 people.  First off the party was amazing – my friends Jay and Jonathan live in Cambridge Ontario and have a fabulous historic home on a huge lot so the evening was spent under a pergola on the deck and then on the grounds for a big bonfire as the evening got cooler.  Too much fun was had by all.

Last weekend I posted the stuffed dates and salad (truth be told the salad was for another event but I liked the way it turned out). This week are all of the foods I prepared.  Remember everything was to be finger food style so plates and cutlery were not a necessity.

Here was my thinking behind the choice of dishes I made. I wanted food that could be eaten with fingers (i.e. on skewers) and to cover the basics of salad, main course meat/fish, side dishes and then dessert.

The while I had the above order in mind – we put everything out together as it worked better for people to just come to the table and pick their choices.

The menu and recipes – this is a long list so stay with me on this…

First off salad skewers made with grape tomatoes, bocconcini cheese balls and chunks of baby cucumbers. Just before serving I drizzled some balsamic glaze over these skewers.

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Next on the list was smoked salmon with cream cheese on crackers with some crushed dried nori (seaweed strips) sprinkled over top.

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Then came Korean grilled beef skewers and the honey mustard chicken skewers.  Below is the recipe for the meat – the Korean Beef is now a new favourite – everyone went nuts over it.

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I did the prep work for the meat the day before and marinated for 24 hours in ziplock bags.

Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers

So the honey mustard chicken is simple – just mix about a ¼ cup of honey with about 1/4 cup of olive oil and about 4 tbsp of dijon mustard – adjust to suit your taste.  I also added a few crushed garlic cloves and some ground black pepper. I used 6 chicken breasts cut into thin strips lengthwise so there was enough to put on a skewer.

Korean Beef Skewers – I got this recipe from Food and Wine magazine but adjusted a bit:

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons dry white wine – I used the same amount of chicken broth as I didn’t have any white wine handy

2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 2 1/2 pound beef flank steak, cut across the grain into thin long slices

1/4-inch-thick slices 16 scallions – I didn’t use these

Vegetable oil, for rubbing

Salt – didn’t add this either as the soy sauce had enough salt

1. Combine the soy sauce, sugar, white wine, chopped garlic, toasted sesame oil, and crushed red pepper, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sliced flank steak and coat thoroughly in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the steak for at least 4 hours or overnight. 2. Working in batches, grill the steak over high heat (I BBQ’d it) until the slices are richly browned and medium-rare, about 30 seconds per side. Put pieces on a plate and let them cool – then put them on skewers just before serving.

Next was mini turkey meatballs in a sweet chilli sauce – this is my usual baked turkey meatball recipe but just made them smaller and tossed them with a store bought sweet chilli sauce instead of tomato sauce and put some into a cup for dipping as well.

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Next on the menu was my tuna and sweet potato cakes but made mini size and a cup of 1% yogurt for dipping.

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I then thought I needed something else that wasn’t meat and what do people love more than shrimp? Again I had a craving for shrimp and chorizo sausage so that was the next group of skewers.

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These are super simple – I sautéd the sliced chorizo and put aside – next I sautéd the shrimp in some garlic and put them in a dish – then it was just a matter of putting them together on bamboo skewers (they looked better on the shorter skewers than the long ones)

The side dishes were baby stuffed potatoes where you just boil the baby potatoes, then scoop out the centre leaving a bit of potato to hold the shape and then mix crumbled cooked bacon, chives and sour cream with the bits of potato you have scooped out . Once it is all mixed just spoon it back into the potatoes.  This was quite finicky but tasted good in the end so worth while.

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Last of the main course food was grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.  Simple and easy – just toss the asparagus in olive oil, then grill them (I did them on the BBQ) and then wrap a couple of stalks in a piece of prosciutto and you are done.

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Finally dessert – you saw the dates in my last post (I will put in again just so you see them). I put fresh fruit on skewers so they could be taken away from the table and you got several pieces at one without a mess. Each skewer had a slice of pineapple, a green grape, a strawberry, a purple grape and a raspberry.  You can make these with any fruit you like.

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And there you have it the whole party in food.  What I am not showing is the amazing evening we all had.  Great company, kudos to the hosts and all I can say is “when is the next party”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South of France Tuna – recipe from yesterday

Here is the recipe from yesterdays blog about seared tuna – The chef is Tracey Bochner – a fabulous cook along with her husband Chris who could open a bakery that would have line ups on a daily basis!

South of France Tuna
  • Sauté a bunch of sliced shallots in olive oil, add a lot of minced garlic
  • Toss in a big handful of fresh thyme –  leave some as whole twigs and some finely chopped (or just pull off the leaves and toss those in)
  • Cook this all on low until soft
  • Add a big pile of diced roma tomatoes (like, say, a dozen) and cook on high for a bit until tomatoes soften
  • Add about a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and about a third to a half of a bottle of heavy, full bodied red wine
  • Add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic plus salt and pepper – unless you are using super salty olives, in which case, don’t add salt
  • Toss in a lot of pitted black olives.  I like sun dried Moroccan the best but pitted Kalamata work too
  • Cook on a low simmer until tomatoes are really soft and everything reduces a fair bit
  • In the meanwhile, lightly coat fresh tuna steaks in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until desired doneness.
  • While the fish is cooking, add more red wine to the sauce to taste, more tomato paste if needed, and a bunch of trimmed green beans
  • Cook for another 5 minutes or so
  • Serve the grilled tuna on top of  a generous serving of sauce. I think this is best served in pasta bowls.  Definitely needs to be accompanied by a crusty baguette.  This is also good with frozen tuna steaks that aren’t fresh enough to be seared and served.  Instead of grilling, cook the steaks in the sauce. I’ve also done this with tilapia and it works, but isn’t as tasty as tuna.
 

Dinner with friends

I had dinner the other night with friends (who happen to be fabulous cooks) and thought I would share the gorgeous presentation and meal with you.  The main course was seared tuna on a bed of simmered tomato with green beans, pitted olives and I think sprigs of thyme.  I have asked for the recipe and when it comes I will share it and give the chef her due.  Meantime for dessert we had the most beautiful strawberry tarts homemade of course.  Everything was so delicious I am still talking about it days later.  See below for some pics of the meal.  Promise to forward the recipe as soon as it comes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the recipe – from the above meal…
South of France Tuna
  • Sauté a bunch of sliced shallots in olive oil, add a lot of minced garlic
  • Toss in a big handful of fresh thyme –  leave some as whole twigs and some finely chopped (or just pull off the leaves and toss those in)
  • Cook this all on low until soft
  • Add a big pile of diced roma tomatoes (like, say, a dozen) and cook on high for a bit until tomatoes soften
  • Add about a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and about a third to a half of a bottle of heavy, full bodied red wine
  • Add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic plus salt and pepper – unless you are using super salty olives, in which case, don’t add salt
  • Toss in a lot of pitted black olives.  I like sun dried Moroccan the best but pitted Kalamata work too
  • Cook on a low simmer until tomatoes are really soft and everything reduces a fair bit
  • In the meanwhile, lightly coat fresh tuna steaks in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until desired doneness.
  • While the fish is cooking, add more red wine to the sauce to taste, more tomato paste if needed, and a bunch of trimmed green beans
  • Cook for another 5 minutes or so
  • Serve the grilled tuna on top of  a generous serving of sauce. I think this is best served in pasta bowls.  Definitely needs to be accompanied by a crusty baguette.  This is also good with frozen tuna steaks that aren’t fresh enough to be seared and served.  Instead of grilling, cook the steaks in the sauce. I’ve also done this with tilapia and it works, but isn’t as tasty as tuna.

Tuna and sweet potato cakes

I make these as both a meal and a smaller version for an appetizer. Makes approx. 8-10 meal size cakes or about 20-30 mini appetizers. They freeze very well.

3 tins canned white or light tuna flaked (makes life easier if it is flaked already)

2 small sweet potatoes

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp chili and garlic sauce (optional)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup approx. bread crumbs (panko if you have) or I sometimes do half bread crumbs and half parmesan cheese (as a binder to absorb moisture)

2 eggs (I use egg whites so about 1/4 of a small carton

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel, dice and boil or microwave sweet potatoes until soft

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and mash until it is similar to hamburger consistency. Form into whichever size pancakes you want.  Fry in a light oil until lightly browned on one side – flip and do the same on the other side. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of yogurt on top or on the side for dipping.  For the appetizer version put on a platter with a small bowl of yogurt.