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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Crazy for Some Sushi!

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Sunday night has become watch party night for Walking Dead for my foodie friend and I. It’s a much anticipated night throughout the week as we’ve challenged each other to explore foods from different cultures. This past Sunday was Sushi night! Little did my friend know that I have a cheating contraption that makes it oh-so-easy. Used previously, it worked splendidly yet again. And our sushi was delicious. Both last night and today for lunch.

This contraption is about the oddest thing you’ll ever see. It looks like a caulking gun with a plunger on the end. Basically, you open it up, put the rice and your goodies in, then close it and push out the sushi on to your nori paper. Then roll it up and cut it up

. And it eliminates trying to make the perfect little roll by doing the hard work for you. It took a little bit of exploration to find the nori in this little southern town РI actually had to go to Nashville to get it, at Whole Foods no less. Then I got some wasabi paste and pickled ginger at Publix, along with the tuna and swordfish we used. The tuna was expected, the swordfish came from a suggestion from the fish monger there Рhe said it was commonly picked up by other customers because it was a milder fish with a flavor similar to Mahi Mahi (which I actually like). It was surprisingly delicious.

We did up the fish three ways – raw, with a tiny dribble of sesame oil for a smoky flavor, and with some lemon-garlic powder and sea salt. I think the third one took the cake in flavor. Although they all tasted great. Our other ingredients included carrots, cucumber, avocado, bell pepper and radish. All chopped in to little bitty slivers. It took some knife skills, let me tell you. And rice? Use the rice cooker – not the stainless pot. It burns when you don’t stir it up and you have an electric stove. Thankfully we salvaged a majority of it. And then make sure you mix in that dribble of rice vinegar for the perfect sushi flavor.

I also made a yummy asian slaw to go with this – though we didn’t get that far – I might have forgotten it in the fridge because the sushi anticipation was killing me and we had been munching on the sashimi already… I sent him home with some so that it didn’t go bad in my fridge and I had some with my lunch. I think letting it sit made it even better. It had some of the same ingredients: cucumber and carrot, with the addition of cabbage, bean sprouts and tangy green apple. I then dressed it with lemon juice (to keep the apple from turning brown), and a vinaigrette made with a tiny bit of mayo, agave, sesame oil, rice vinegar and spicy garlic mustard. Yum.

Zombies and sushi… how is that not the perfect combination??? Fish has the same texture as “BRaaIInnnsSSss!!!” And yes I know I’m an odd bird sometimes.

Tuna Casserole Mix-Up

Thanks Mom! I mixed up her recipe with Rachel Ray’s for Italian Tuna Casserole and the end result was fantastic! Definitely an easy weeknight dinner too. Few ingredients, little time to cook. I’m pretty sure the longest part was waiting for my pasta water to boil. I tasted the sauce while I was making it and I just kept tweaking it a little bit more. I didn’t measure anything. I cook like Mom too. I did take a little hint from Rachel though, and instead of trying to cut the garlic really tiny, I grated it into the pan. The trick with that is to not let it burn…

And who said that the Dollar Store is a bad place?? That’s where I got all the ingredients! Well, except the onions and garlic. I think that all those people who have to cook with $100 ingredients are pazzo! (That means crazy in Italian). Given, there are a few ingredients that are scrumptious that I might pay a little more for, but only on special occasions.

Here’s the recipe. And credit to Rachel is on the bibliography page.

This is the end result, well at least before I melted the cheese in the oven. Yum!

This is the end result, well at least before I melted the cheese in the oven. Yum!