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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My Days Off

Two days off from work left me with a little time to do a lot of things. I bought Marlene Koch’s new cookbook, Eat More of What You Love, and I’ve been wanting to try some of the recipes out of it. I had bought some blueberries from Sam’s Club that were begging to be made in to coffee cake (from her first book) and I had some bananas on the counter that really wanted to be made into banana bread. Well wouldn’t you know it, she had a recipe for that in her new book.

Let me just start by saying, sorry I don’t have a picture of the banana bread. When I took the picture, I couldn’t figure out why it was so dark. I later figured out that I hadn’t changed the exposure back since the concert this past weekend.

But this banana bread used molasses, Splenda, bran flakes and wheat flour instead of the normal sugar, brown sugar and extra stuff that’s no good for you. Given, one piece is still 120 calories, but that’s an after lunch treat I can afford. If you’re a lover of banana bread like I am and have some bananas sitting around that you should have eaten days ago, try out this recipe.

My dinner adventure also came out of her new book, though I altered it just a smidge. Its a chicken sandwich with barbecue sauce and bacon (and healthy?? What??), and instead of the lettuce, I used avocado. I also mixed some hot sauce in with my barbecue sauce.

A.Maz.Ing.

And so simple.

Chicken breast, pounded, and seasoned with salt and pepper then cooked (grill or pan, your choice). Cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, a wheat bun, lettuce, tomato, and a piece of bacon. Done.

Love this sandwich.

So an update about the diet. Weekends as of late, not so great for me. I get too excited about a Saturday and my honey being home and cheat too much on my diet. Or I have a really bad day at work and have a Jack and Coke or two. But during the week, I’ve been really good. Like eating salad every night, and only going over my calorie count by maybe 100, very seldom. Working out, I don’t run as much as I should, but when I do work out, I push it. And guess what? My little accomplishment this morning… I fit back into a smaller pair of my jeans. Not as well as I used to, but before the wedding I couldn’t even get them buttoned. Yay!

Perfect Picnic…almost.

A picnic wouldn’t be complete without the weather. Of course it had to rain on mine. The food tasted good though.

The key to a picnic is making food that is easily transportable and can sit for a little while. I made macaroni salad – which by the way mom, works well with regular macaroni too! I grilled some steak with a house blend, sliced it thin and put it on a baguette. I put some mayonnaise, spicy mustard and just a little steak sauce.  Mmmmmmm!

Yummy BBQ Sauce and Veggie Paninis

So who said that carnivores don’t like veggies? My boyfriend is notorious for ignoring the greens and isn’t so big on the cheese. But he liked my veggie paninis! And I don’t even have a panini maker. What I do have is a George Foreman Grill. Works just the same. Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese with a cilantro and basil pesto.  The trick is not to add too much salt to the pesto and to only grill the veggies until they are a little squishy. Pile it on a baguette and squish it in a George Foreman for a few minutes…presto! Scrumptious.

Just on a whim I made Neely’s BBQ Sauce after seeing the couple use it on the Food Network. Oh my goodness it’s delicious! It comes out really thick after simmering for an hour and 15 minutes, but it’s sooo worth the time. Unfortunately it reduces quite a bit, and I halved the recipe so there wasn’t much left at the end. But I’m betting it’ll taste really good on pork chops.

This is what it looks like when it's done...about 4 shades darker than when it started.

This is what it looks like when it's done...about 4 shades darker than when it started.