Tuna Salad

This is the one tuna salad that Brian will eat. The canned stuff makes him gag. This is another adaptation from Ina Garten.

1 lb of fresh Albacore Tuna steaks
1 avocado cubed
1 cup of arugala
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1 tsp of celery seeds
1 tbsp of sesame seed
1 tbsp of wasabi mustard
1 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of hot sauce
2 limes juiced
salt and pepper
hot dog rolls

Sear tuna to your liking. I do medium well.
Cube the tuna.
Cube the avocado.
Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour the dressing on the tuna and avocado. Toss gently. Serve in hot dog rolls topped with arugala.

Yum. So light and healthy.

Roasted Shrimp Scampi with Sauteed Baby Broccoli

Roasting food always brings out the sweet flavor of the ingredient…or so that’s what Ina Garten says because she loves to roast stuff.  I decided to try her roasted shrimp scampi recipe from her latest cookbook – Back to Basics.

The recipe calls for 2 lbs of shrimp, but I had to cut back since there are only two of eating.  Also, I didn’t want to serve this with pasta, but instead opted for something light such as sauteed baby broccoli with toasted pine nuts.

Anyway,  here’s the recipe…I’ll have to update later with our review since I haven’t started cooking yet.  This is the original recipe so feel free to adjust:

  • 2 lbs of shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tbls of evoo
  • 2 tbls of dry white wine
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 tbls of butter (yipes, I used nowhere near that)
  • 4 tsp of minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cups of minced shallots
  • 3 tbls of minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp of minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp of grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbs of squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra large egg yolk (i skipped this)
  • 2/3 cup of panko (i used plain breadcrumbs)
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  1. mix shrimp with olive oil, wine, and salt and pepper
  2. mix remaining ingredients
  3. cover a gratin dish with a single layer of shrimp, pour remaining marinade over the shrimp
  4. spread butter mixture over the shrimp
  5. bake 10-12 minutes or until hot and bubbly
  6. if you like a darker crust, simply place the dish under the broiler for 1 minute
  7. serve with lemon wedges

Here’s the recipe for sauteed baby broccoli

  1. toast 1/4 cups of pine nuts
  2. in a heated pan, heat up 1 tbl of olive oil
  3. toss in pieces of baby broccoli until it’s cooked through – about 5 minutes
  4. toss in pine nuts and sprinkle on some grated parmesan

Okra and Rice

I like Okra.  Unfortunately the only time I eat okra is when it’s deep fried or in gumbo.  I wanted something fresh and lighter, since I’m trying to get us to eat heathier.

We went to Central Market yesterday and I found some really good fresh okra.  Of course I bought them not knowing what to do with it.

I found this recipe on Allrecipes and adjusted it to my taste.  Brian even liked it, go figure.

This recipe serves 6 and is fairly simple to make:

1 lb of fresh okra
1 cup of uncooked rice
1/2 chopped onions
1 leek chopped
1 clove of garlic minced
salt and pepper
dash of red peppper
dash of thyme (use
2 cups of chicken stock

1. saute the onions, garlic and leeks until wilted
2. add the sliced okra and chicken stock and let simmer for 15 minutes until okra is cooked through (breaks apart)
3. add the rice, salt, pepper and thyme reduce heat to low.  Let cook for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through.

30 Day Shred – Day 1

I survived day 1 of the 30 day shred video. Yesterday I popped the video in after doing cardio for 30 minutes and didn’t make it past 8 minutes. Not that it was difficult (it was kinda), but I was tired and hungry.

I think I’m going to do the videos in the mornings and do my cardio workouts in the evenings.

As for food, I already record my intake on www.myfooddiary.com but here’s what I had:

breakfast – bowl of banana nut cheerios with skim milk
lunch – leftovers half a chicken breast with mashed potatoes and broccoli slaw.
dinner – italian soup made with ground turkey

Tuna Steak with Soba Noodle Salad

I bought a bag of frozen tuna steaks from costco. I would have to say Mahi Mahi/Tuna is one of my favorite fish, namely because it’s meaty when cooked.  Salmon is just too darn fishy and I can only eat a small bit at a time.  Catfish is good, but only good fried.  Other than that, I haven’t experience much.  Fish can be pretty expensive, and you have to watch what you buy otherwise, it’s old and gross.

So anyway, last night, I wanted to use up some of the tuna steaks I bought.  I wanted some relatively light, so what better way to prepare than some asian inspired dish.  I’m not sure where I got the recipe or idea from. I perused my cooking light cookbook and saw some ideas.

I an “Asian” wet rub for the tuna before pan searing it.  To go along with that, I made some “Asian” noodles using soba noodles.

Brian’s comments while cooking – “Baby, that smells :-(”
Brian’s comments while chowing down – This is actually pretty good, it’s a bit salty but has just the right amount of spice.

Tuna Steak:
1/3 cup of low sodium miso
1 tbs of ginger
1 tbs of honey
1 tbs of red pepper flakes
1 tbs of Asian Chili sauce
1 tbs of rice wine vinegar
2 6oz tuna steaks

Rub the marinade on the tuna steaks and let sit for 30 minutes.  Pan sear in a tbs of hot vegetable oil to your liking.  I like mine medium, and I cooked it all the way for Brian.

For the noodles:
3 cups of cooked soba noodles
1 tbs of all natural peanut butter with some extra oil that sits on top for the dressing
1 tbs of lite soy sauce
1/2 tbs of grated ginger
1 tbs of rice wine vinegar
1 tbs of lime juice
2 tbs of sesame seeds

Toss the hot cooked noodles in with the rest of the ingredients and serve room temperature.

Note: I suggest adding edamame or cooked sugar snap peas to the noodles.  I didn’t have any on hand.

Sorry for the bad picture.  Took it with an iPhone as an after thought while we were eating.

Ceviche Tacos

I wanted to keep eating clean and fresh since I ate like crap yesterday.  And since it was 100 degrees outside according to my car thermostat, I wanted something light.  I decided on ceviche.  I made ahi tuna and shrimp ceviche.  It was great and even Brian liked it.

  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp
  • 1/2 lb of ahi tuna steak
  • 4 limes
  • 3 lemons
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 a small red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • salt and pepper
  • habenaro or serrano pepper
  1. cut fish and shrimp into tiny bite sizes
  2. juice the limes and lemon
  3. dice onion and tomato
  4. mix all ingredients and let sit for 1-2 hours until the fish is cooked by the acid
  5. garnish with salt, pepper, and cilantro
  6. serve with crisp lettuce and guacamole

I actually stuffed into tacos using whole grain tortillas.  We ate it before there were any to take pictures of.  Sorry!

Maybe I’ll try to get some pictures of the leftovers.

March Daring Baker’s Challenge

db.jpgI was supposed to spend all of March studying for my PMP exam. However, since I had Good Friday off, I spent the morning whipping up this challenge. The cake itself was easy to make, but I am no cake decorator. In fact I am such a failure at it. I’m not sure what it is, lack of tools, lack of patience. Whatever it is, the cake turned out delicious. The consistency was dense yet light. It was almost like a dense angel food cake. Not sure how to describe it. It almost tasted like our white cake from our wedding. The icing itself was perfect. I’ve tried making my own icing before, but it just turned out lumpy regardless of how I followed the recipe. This was light and not too sweet. Brian asked if it was a meringue. It starts out as one, but it’s actually a buttercream. I wasn’t a fan though of the lemon flavoring in the icing. The slight sour taste made me think it was spoiled. Maybe I should substitute the lemon flavor with coconut extract or better yet, some almond extract. We did enjoy the cake on Easter weekend. Each of us having a slice. I ended up throwing the rest away to keep us from devouring the entire thing. What a shame and waste, but it was certainly fun to make it. Hopefully we’ll have some company to share it with the next time I make the cake.

photo.jpgAnyway, here’s the recipe of Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake. I didn’t follow it to the tee. The only thing I didn’t do was layer it with rasberry jam since Brian doesn’t like rasberry. Next time I will try it with fresh strawberries. I did however layer it with shredded coconut. And please don’t hate on my cake decorating skills. I’ve got a ton to master.
For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour (updated 25 March)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake

  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
  • Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
  • Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
  • Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
  • Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
  • Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
  • Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
  • Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
  • Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream

  • Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
  • The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat.
  • Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
  • Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
  • During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
  • On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
  • You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake

  • Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
  • Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
  • Spread it with one third of the preserves.
  • Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
  • Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
  • Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
  • Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

Salmon Piccata and Spinach stuffed Crepes

salmon.jpgIt was more like 2 meals in 1. Originally I was going to make salmon stuffed crepes, but I saw this on Monika’s food blog so I thought I would try it. It only took 45 minutes to make the entire meal so it wasn’t bad. I have to say it is quite different from my usual meals but I loved it. I even took it to work today, but a lunch outing at an Indian place was much more enticing. MMM Indian food.

Anyway, check out Monika’s blog for the Salmon Piccata recipe.

As for the spinach crepes, all I did was make the crepes and stuffed it with some thawed out frozen spinach mixed with a bit of asiago cheese. I then rolled it up and made a bechemel sauce to go over it.

The recipe for the crepes are below:
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Blend together eggs, water, flour, and salt in a blender until smooth.

Lightly brush a 10-inch nonstick skillet with melted butter and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Ladle about 1/4 cup batter into skillet, tilting and rotating skillet to coat bottom, then pour excess batter back into bowl. (If batter sets before skillet is coated, reduce heat slightly for next crepe.) Cook until just set and underside is lightly browned, about 30 seconds, then invert crepe onto a clean kitchen towel in one layer to cool. (It will be cooked on one side only.) Make 5 more crepes with remaining batter in same manner, brushing skillet with butter as needed and transferring to towel as cooked, arranging them in one layer.

Daring Baker’s Challenge

db.jpgI am proud to be a member of the Daring Baker’s Challenge. This is my first challenge, and needless to say I was quite intimidated. Julia Child’s french bread. I remember growing up watching her on the weekends and thinking how odd she was. I never really saw her as an icon for cooking shows, I suppose because I was young. But nowadays her and Jacques Pepin are the best of the best. I wish foodnetwork can have more genuine cooks on the show.  Anyway, here’s this month’s recipe.

img_4265.JPGI have to say that I didn’t do so well with this challenge. I mean seriously 8 hours of breadmaking?? On top of that, I think my yeast is old because it didn’t seem to rise properly. AND being the impatient person that I am, I undercooked it. I did after all make a big ole loaf. I should have just made little baguettes or rolls. Anyway, I stuck it back in the oven for a few more minutes. We ended up making sandwiches out of it, and it’s certainly tasty when it’s warm and fresh. Brings me back to the days when my mom used to bake bread. For now I will stick with the breadmaker, but I certainly would want to refine my breadmaking skills. My mom would be proud.

The Best or Worst Fish

This is cited from the Weekly Spark articles I get. Some of it is surprising, although I don’t know too much about fish. I always thought shellfish was bad, I guess Oysters are actually good for you, although I don’t even know if oysters are shell fish. I’m also surprised that Bluefin Tuna is bad for you. Anyway, we need to eat more fish in our house.

Best Fish
Anchovies (all varieties)
Atlantic Herring (U.S. and Canada)
Oysters (farmed)
Alaskan Sablefish
Black Cod
Alaskan Salmon (wild)

Worst Fish
Chilean Sea Bass
Orange Roughy
Rockfish (Pacific)
Rock Cod (Pacific)
Atlantic Salmon
Sturgeon (wild)
Swordfish (imported)
Bluefin Tuna