Sushi and Sandwiches

DSC_0003This post should have been done a couple days ago, but what can I say, life got in the way a little bit. Last week, we made sushi. And when I say “we,” I do mean WE! My hunny helped – he even made two rolls by himself! I was very proud! This time around for sushi, we got tuna and crabmeat, and we made a spicy crab with avocado and a cucumber tuna, and then mixed the two together. With some edamame, we were pretty much at our limit with three rolls. It was delicious.

DSC_0010Two days later, I made a delicious seared ahi sandwich. The idea came from when I worked at a restaurant in Scottsdale, and they made a very similar sandwich as one of the seasonal menu offerings. It is addictively good, and when I have fresh tuna on hand, I’d be silly NOT to try to make it! It’s creamy and delicious, with just a little kick and will leave you wanting to lick your plate. What I really like about this, is that I could probably make this a completely local meal. Oh, and on the side, I made the PRETTIEST oven baked fries that were so good.

DSC_0008I want to take a second and rave about a little spice shop that I stumbled upon in Key West, Florida. They are called The Spice and Tea Exchange, and they have a whole host of different spices and spice blends, as well as a whole wall of different kinds of salts and teas. I was in hog heaven in this store. I bought a “Pirate’s Bite” blend from them for my buddy who loves spicy food and he adores it, even if it does make him sweat. The spice I used on my fries is a garlic blend from these folks, and I think they are whole-heartedly deserving of some likes on Facebook – they even take orders online. Check them out!

Seared Ahi and Brie Sandwiches

Ingredients

Tuna filets – one per two people, cut in half lengthwise (through the thick portion to create two thin filets)

Really good quality bread, ciabatta is delicious for this, two slices per sandwich about the same size as your filets

1 tart green apple or a pear, cored and thinly sliced

Brie cheese, thinly sliced (make sure to not use the end with the wrapping on it, it doesn’t taste as good)

Fig jam (this is key to balance the flavors!)

A tangy, spicy aioli (For ours, we used mayo, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper – all mixed together until it tasted good. A little heavy on the mustard and hot sauce to balance the sweetness of the fig jam)

Instructions – this is so easy!

Make your aioli, to your tastes. It should be a little heavier on the mayo, mustard and hot sauce. You’re going for tangy with a spicy kick.

Salt and pepper both sides of your tuna. Preheat a pan on medium high heat, you want to create that delicious sear and not overcook your tuna. While the pan is preheating, toast your bread, just a little bit. You’re going to toast it again at the end.

Once your bread is toasted, coat one piece with a thin layer of the jam, and the other piece with a thin layer of aioli. Lay a couple slices of cheese in a single layer on the jam side, and the apple or pear on the aioli side.

Sear your tuna. This will only take less than a minute on each side. You don’t want it cooked all the way through, only browned a little bit up the edges. The center will be pink (see the pictures). Once it’s done, put it on your sandwiches and close them up.

Now the fun part. Take your closed sandwiches and put them in the pan, for just a couple seconds, starting with the cheese side and then flip. The goal is to melt the brie just a little and toast up the bread some more. Use your best judgement here.

Serve with your favorite oven baked fries. Sit. Eat. Enjoy.

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Taste of Summer

I went on a little shopping excursion yesterday, because the roomie and realized that while we had stuff in the fridge, freezer and pantry…we didn’t really have any food. There was a lot of stuff that was some good ingredients, but no complete meals to make. And it was either pork or chicken in our freezer…I needed a break from that.

Well, when I went to the store, I found some bratwurst on sale. Normally reserved for summertime parties, they sounded really good. The last time that I had watched them being prepared was at a friend’s house. He boiled them in beer first (hence the name beer brats?). Given as I’ve never been the one to prepare them…that sounded like a good plan.

Let me just say, beer at room temperature or hotter for long periods of time gathers some pressure. Those lids made a very loud pop when I twisted them off.

Anyway, so I boiled the brats for about 5 minutes in a mixture of 24 ounces of beer, approximately 4 ounces of chicken broth and 12 ounces of water. Just enough to balance out the flavors. I then threw them on a griddle, flipping a couple of times. By time it was all said and done, they were probably grilling for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they weren’t pink in the middle anymore.

Serve with some cheesy seasoned fries and top with mustard…voila! The taste of summer.

JDM Burgers

Stuffed burgers were the specialty tonight, and again, I scoured the web for something that sounded good and then adapted to my liking. And again, they were amazing. When the boyfriend doesn’t say anything while eating, you know it has to be good.

So we used a combo of ground beef and ground turkey, chopped up some green onions and mushrooms, and mixed that all together. Then we added in ground mustard and cumin to the meat. Form those into eight burgers. On four, put slices of havarti cheese (perfect for melting) and bacon, then put the other four on top and seal the edges so the goodies don’t come out.

Burger

Just looking at the goodies in this burger make my mouth water...

A smokin’ hot pan is essential for these, and I bet they’d be even better on a grill. Pop them in the pan and let them cook four to five minutes and then serve them. We used poppy seed hamburger buns that were an extremely good deal at one of my favorite grocery store. For condiments, we mixed some Jack Daniels Horseradish Mustard (JDM!) with a little bit of original barbecue sauce and just a splash of Worcestershire. We mixed about a tablespoon of mayonnaise in as well, but I think I would omit that next time. Spread that yummy mixture on the bun and then add the burger, some tomato and a piece of lettuce and you have one scrumptious and filling burger.

On the side, of course we had fries – it’s a burger and we’re Americans. But I did spice them up a bit with seasoning salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and just a bit of extra salt. Pop them in the oven and they are good and scrumptious. Because they have some of the same ingredients as the burger and condiment, they go quite nicely alongside such a hugely delicious burger.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fingers, Tempe, AZ

This place is a little mom-and-pop kind of establishment, but it is so good! The atmosphere is quaint and very rock and roll, considering LP’s act as a border for the room, there are pictures of Elvis, Jim Morrison and U2 on the walls, and let’s not forget their logo, the rock and roll chicken. He reminds me of Rockadoodle.

This is a map to their location. They are on the SE corner of Broadway and Rural, sitting next to the FYE.

This is a map to their location. They are on the SE corner of Broadway and Rural, sitting next to the FYE.

We went there just because I had seen it from across the street, and I’m in love. They make a special mayo-based sauce for their chicken, homemade Texas Toast,  and a tasty spice on their french fries. And the best part, you can get enough chicken for a hearty lunch for less than $10. Yay!!