Wednesday, February 29
Tuna steaks can be one of the easiest meals to create on a short time frame. Searing them off only takes a few minutes per side and they can easily by marinaded ahead of time. Making tuna a great weeknight meal.
Full time: 2 1/2 hours to 8 1/2 hours (based on how long you marinade)
You will need:
2-4 tuna steaks, 1 per person
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp dried cilantro
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Let us begin:
In a large zip-top bag place all marinade ingredients, shake bag lightly to mix
Carefully remove tuna steaks from bag and place in remaining sesame seeds, push lightly to encrust.
Flip over and repeat on second side.
Place tuna in hot pan and sear 4-6 minutes
Flip over only once tuna is freely moving on its own and sear second side 4-6 minutes
Remove tuna from pan and serve immediately to avoid cooling off too much. This will be a nice medium-rare steak
Throw out any remaining marinade
Saturday, February 25
Full time: 30 minutes
You will need:
1 1/2 lb pink salmon fillet
1 lb frozen green beans
4 celery ribs, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 bunch fresh tarragon, divided into thirds
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
Let us begin:
Preheat oven to 400
On a large sheet of aluminum foil take your butter and coat half the sheet with a thin layer
In a saute pan, add 1/2 of the butter, 1/2 of the onion, 1/2 of the celery, and the lemon juice. Saute over medium heat until vegetables turn translucent
Add in 1/3 of the tarragon and wilt.
Now carefully fold aluminum foil and crimp edges to create a nice package (en papillote). Place package on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes
While this bakes, in the saute pan place remaining butter, onion, celery and seasoning. Saute over medium heat until vegetables turn translucent.
Add in frozen green beans, cook on low heat until fish is ready.
Remove fish from oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes
Add 1/3 tarragon to saute pan and wilt. Move bean mixture to a large serving platter
Carefully open foil package and unveil your fish
Place fish on top of bean on the platter and top with remaining tarragon
Thursday, February 23
This will make 6-8 servings
Full time: 1 hours 15 minutes to 3 1/2 hours (based on desired cooling/firmness time)
You will need:
1 can (14.5 or 15 oz) coconut milk, not coconut water or beverage
1 1/2 cup water
5 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp tapioca starch or corn starch
Let us begin:
Start by putting coconut milk in a sauce pot, you may notice the solids have separated from the liquid, if this has happened you'll want to stir the milk and fully incorporate the liquid back into the solids
Add in the starch and stir continuously until mixture has thickened. (Photo is not so easy to see the difference)
Tuesday, February 21
A day ago, I posted a blog about Bento Boxes and answered a few questions concerning them. Turns out this is a very popular subject, in fact if a recipe was included in the post it would have already taken over the number one spot on the most popular list. So I decided to give a few simple ideas and how to(s) for your bento.
Monday, February 20
To begin with a bento box is really a lunch box, a Japanese lunch box to be exact. Japanese mothers tend to express their love by preparing elaborate lunches full of color and texture. These lunches have a basic food balance which is delivered in a clever little package. Knowing that people, especially children eat with their eyes first, bento boxes are designed to make the meal look like mini works of art. Now, I should probably pause and say that bento boxes are not just for children. Many wives, fiances, and girlfriends also prepare bento boxes for their counterparts. In tradition a bento box is a way of showing how much you care for the person, by expressing it through the care and preparation you put into a box.
Sounds extremely labor intensive, doesn't it. In truth traditional bento boxes can take hours to prepare and those preparing them get up in the early morning hours to start. But, let us be honest, I don't have the energy or time for that, do you? No-well it's okay because bento boxes are actually very easy to make. You can still be extremely creative and artistic by mildly editing what you put in the box. And it can be done in the same time it normally takes to pack a lunch.
Now lets talk about the contents of your bento box. It is wise to remember the main factor behind bento boxes. Artistic representation of a well balanced, healthy, portion controlled lunch. With obesity and over eating on the rise these days, looking at this traditional formula will really help fix some diet concerns. Most bentos have a balance formula 4-3-2-1, which means 4 parts vegetables, 3 parts proteins, 2 parts grains, 1 part fruit or dessert. It may seem like a difficult balance but, it really isn't. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it becomes hard to decide what you use and what to save for the next day.
In traditional boxes the top layer is reserved for hot foods, much like a thermos would be. This is usually your rice which is considered the grain part. But, I don't actually like eating rice everyday and some don't like it at all. So here is a great fix, substitute 1/2 cup small pasta. Since bento boxes are colorful, small amounts of food coloring are added to boiling water when cooking the rice, allowing the rice to absorb the color. And guess what, it works with pasta, in fact I use the Quick Cook pasta and food coloring, making this step take less the the time it takes to actually boil the water!
I pair this small amount of pasta with a basic sandwich, such as turkey or ham with cheese. It gives it a great counter balance and allow for the protein to sneak in. Other great ways to get the protein in are hard boiled eggs, you can easily slice them, dye them, or even mold them into different shapes. Just be aware of your spacing when packing the lunch. Leftovers also work great for this, how about a slice of turkey you cut into a fun shape? Or chicken slices that can be rolled with cheese?
Now, on to the next part the vegetables. Unless, your really lucky most people don't like eating straight wedges of vegetables. Grape tomatoes, baby carrots, or pepper slices are about the only vegetable which don't look weird when put in a container. However, if you want to be able to expand the vegetable assortment, this is where traditional boxes have it down. They use cutters to punch out pieces of vegetables and cookie cutters work perfect for this. Different vegetables lend themselves to using cookie cutters. Cucumbers are the easiest. Peppers need a little extra love, use a metal cutter and press hard from the skin side of the pepper.Now, just tuckyour vegetables in along side your protein or sandwich and this is ready to go.
For a few bento ideas or if you want to know how to do what you see in my photos try my beginner bento post: