Seared Tuna with Wasabi Crème Fraîche and Ginger Soy reduction

seared Tuna with Creme fraische
I cherish every minute I get to spend with my 17-year-old son, especially in the kitchen. He is so brutally honest when it comes to critiquing my food that it has made me a better cook. (He actually could be an amazing professional food critic). I have to credit him with this creation, I was just the executor! Searing the tuna took about 6 minutes, but the prep for the sauces was a little more labor intensive. Be sure to let the fish sit out at room temperature for about an hour, as you will only be searing the outside of the fish, inside will remain rare, and you don’t want the inside of the fish to be cold.

Ingredients for Soy Reduction:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger

Ingredients for Wasabi Crème Fraîche:

  • 1 cup Crème Fraîche
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tsp wasabi paste (use less if you do not want it too spicy)
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Tuna:

  • 2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp of pureed ginger
  • 4 – 6 oz pieces of Tuna
  • salt

Directions for Soy Reduction:

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, medium heat, cook down until sauce reduces it becomes thick and syrupy. Prior to pouring, strain through a sieve to remove the chunks of garlic and ginger. Pour over seared tuna.

Directions for Crème Fraîche:

Stir the Crème Fraîche together with the sour cream and salt. Add in the wasabi, one teaspoon at a time, until you’ve reached your desired potency. Spoon onto each plate. Place tuna on top of the wasabi cream.

Directions for Tuna:

Using an iron skillet, heat the oil, garlic, and ginger on medium heat. Saute until garlic is cooked, but not browned. Remove garlic and ginger with a slotted spoon, leaving any remaining oil in the pan. Increase the heat to high and add the tuna, searing each side. Once you all sides are browned, remove the fish and place onto the wasabi cream, then drizzle the soy reduction, and garnish with cooked garlic and ginger. Serves 4 people. Paired nicely with sushi rice.

Channa Dal (Dahl)

Channa Dal

It’s finally winter, and I really wanted to something that was hearty, healthy and warm. It’s been years since I’ve made this Ayurvedic dal (Dahl), but it has always been one of my favorite dishes. I learned this recipe over 18 years ago when my husband and I visited the Deepak Chopra Center in La Jolla, Ca. We stayed there for a week and attended spiritual classes, yoga classes, daily massage treatments, and Ayurvedic cooking classes, and even had a chance to meet Deepak in person! A truly “life-changing” experience! The recipe we made at the Center was a mung Dal, but I could only find Chana Dal at my local grocer. Channa Dal is a small relative of the chickpea and has a yellowish color. Its flavor is slightly sweet. If you can’t find channa dal use yellow mung dal, or yellow split peas. In preparing Dal, it is important to soften it well and cook it long enough so that it takes on a creamy consistency. ( I ended up soaking mine for 2 hours, then cooking for 2 more hours).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry Chana Dal
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp pureed ginger
  • 2 tsp of mustard seed
  • 2 tsp of coriander
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • salt to taste
  • a sprinkle of asafoetida (helps with digestion) – get online or Indian Market
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Wash Chana Dal; drain. Soak in water for 2 hours. Cook Chana dal in water in a medium-sized saucepan covered over medium heat until soft, about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the dal! In a small frying pan heat the ghee and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add in the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, making sure not to brown the garlic. Add it all of the spices, and stir so the onions are covered. Then add the spice-onion mixture to the chana dal pot and stir. Add salt and asafoetida. Cook for additional 10 minutes. The texture of the dal should be creamy. Serve with a garnish of cilantro. If not concerned about paleo, you can serve with garlic Naan or basmati rice.

Here are some other great resources for Ayurvedic Meals:

“The Ayurvedic Cookbook” – by Amadea Morningstar

“Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living” – by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda and Johnny Brannigan

“The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well” – by Kate O’Donnell and Cara Brostrom

Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Stew (Paleo)

paleo moroccan chicken and vegetable stew

After a traditional Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to make some aromatic, and spicy ethnic food. I pulled out a “somewhat Paleo” recipe book, written by Dr. Mark Hyman called “The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook“, based on his book “The Blood Sugar Solution“. It’s basically a healthy cookbook with a lot of Paleo recipes. This dish called out to me with all of the aromatic spices, like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. I made some slight modifications and spiced it up a bit. Warning: It did take a while to prep, approximately 40 minutes as I like to chop the ingredient a bit smaller than Dr. Hyman recommended, but was well worth it. I did not include the recommended eggplant, as my husband “claims” that he is allergic to it. (What REALLY happened: when he was in college, after a dinner of eggplant parmesan, and bit too much to drink, he threw up, and now claims it was the eggplant he was allergic to). Ha! Anyway, you can always add one chopped eggplant to this dish. Oh, and this dish is also called “Tagine”. Also, if you want to go vegan, substitute the chicken for firm tofu and reduce cooking time by 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp pureed ginger (I use this one)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (powder)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp for less heat)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ pieces and trimmed of fat (if going vegan use firm Tofu)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half circles
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth is going vegan)
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a dutch oven or heavy stock pot (I used a cast iron dutch oven), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and saute gently until the onions begin to caramelize, 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat to low, and add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the dried spices. Saute the spices and onions about 2 minutes. Salt the chicken (or tofu) with the remaining salt, and add to the pot. Turn heat up to medium, and saute for 3 minutes, until all of the chicken (or tofu) is well coated with spices. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes. Then Add the bell peppers and zucchini, and saute until they soften about 5 minutes. Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer the stew gently, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables are tender and the liquid is thickened and reduce approximately 15-20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in olives. Plate and serve with cilantro garnish. Serves 4

paleo moroccan chicken stew

Pasta Alle Vongole (Spaghetti with Clams)

Spaghetti and clams - pasta con vongole

Traditional “Pasta Alle Vongole”, spaghetti with clams, is almost impossible to make here is the US, as “vongole” (the small, Mediterranean Wedge Shell, also known as the Tellina or “bean clam”) are hard to come by in Boulder, CO. So, in this dish, I used little neck clams, which are slightly larger and have a thicker shell. My mother-in-law adds ginger to this dish, which makes it a little different than the traditional version. The following recipe serves 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti 
  • 40 littleneck clams in the shell (scrubbed)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp pureed ginger
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, soak clams in cold water and make sure they are scrubbed clean.
  2. Add spaghetti to boiling water, and cook until slightly underdone; pasta will finish cooking in sauce. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan over medium-low heat, and add olive oil, garlic and ginger. Sauté gently, reducing heat if necessary so garlic does not brown.
  3. Add wine and clams, and cover. Clams should open in about 2 minutes. (If pasta is ready first, drain it and toss with a small amount of olive oil.) Add hot drained pasta, cover, and shake pot gently. Allow to simmer for another 1 or 2 minutes until it is done to taste.
  4. Discard any clams that have not opened. Add half the parsley, and shake pan to distribute evenly. Transfer to bowls, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
  5. Other versions add peperoncino flakes (1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes for a little kick). Serves 4

Green Smoothie – Spinach, Apple & Ginger

green-smoothie

I try and start most mornings off with a healthy antioxidant green smoothie that has a balance of veggies, fruits, and protein. As I get older, I realize my body is not recovering from exercise as quickly as it used to, so I make it a point of including antioxidants into my diet that have anti-inflammatory effects, It may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and brain function decline. Here is one of my favorites; not too sweet, and has a little bite to it.

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach: high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.

Green Apples: a great source of fiber, vitamin C as well as minerals – iron, zinc, copper, manganese & potassium and high in antioxidants.

Ginger: helps with inflammation and digestion.

Cinnamon: contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of disease.

Hydrolyzed Collagen: Great Lakes Gelatin has my favorite type of Collagen powder, it provides 11 grams of protein, is non-GMO, water soluble, and unflavored, so will not change the taste of your smoothie. It has claims that it “helps regulate the body’s metabolism by providing protein of low molecular weight that is quickly absorbed in the digestive tract. It contains amino acids such as glycine, lysine, and proline, which are important amino acids and can be used by the body to build connective tissue structures to support the functions of the cells.  Collagen is important to nitrogen balance, and may prevent age related cartilage damage and collagen loss.”

Vanilla Stevia: Just 5 drops is as sweet as 1 tsp of sugar, with the added taste of real vanilla extract.

Asian Cole Slaw

Asian Cole Slaw with Sesame Oil and Cilantro
Asian Cole Slaw with Sesame Oil and Cilantro

Okay, I’ve honestly had enough of this summer heat! With 90+ degree weather for the past couple of months, I thought I would share a light, refreshing coleslaw recipe, to cool you down. This dressing is a little sweet and pungent. Pairs nicely with a Panko Crusted Tuna.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh pureed ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp Mirin*
  • 2 tbsp Toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Organic Canola Oil

* Mirin is a rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol and higher sugar content.

Directions: In a mixing bowl, place soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and Mirin and whisk until brown sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the oil to the mixture in a slow stream, waiting for the oil and mixture to begin thickening before adding a little more oil. This is to ensure emuslification. Add to the slaw and refrigerate, this can be made a few hours before serving.

For the Cole Slaw:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 3/4 cup julienned carrots
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds

Directions: If you don’t have the patients to hand slice/chop all of the ingredients, you can use a food processor with the slicing or julienne blades. Mix the cabbages and carrots into a bowl, slowly add in the dressing, tossing to cover. Add in the cilantro and sesame seeds and toss. This can be served with a nice panic crusted seared tuna and sushi rice. You can also make a bit more of the above dressing and add it to the Tuna and rice.

Orange Chicken

orange-chicken

My husband has always loved a tangy Chinese-American Orange Chicken. I found some great recipes online, and made some slight modifications. I’m mainly adding this one to the blog, so I have quick access to it, but beware, it does take a few steps so it might not be for everyone.  Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • About 2 cups canola oil for frying

For the orange sauce:

  • 2-3 oranges
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (from 1-inch piece)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Chinese Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoon rice vinegar (not seasoned) or cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 scallion/green onions (thinly sliced for garnish)
  • Cooked rice for serving

PREPARATION

Prep the chicken:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the wine and soy sauce together. Toss the chicken pieces with the sauce and let stand while you make the sauce.

Make the orange sauce:

  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 orange and finely chop it.
  • Squeeze 2 oranges to make at least 1 cup of juice (use additional orange if necessary). In a small bowl, whisk together the juice and 2 teaspoons cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  • In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat, add the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and orange zest and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, wine, vinegar, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 seconds. Stir the orange juice–cornstarch mixture then add it to the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside while you fry the chicken.

Fry the chicken:

  • Once the chicken is fried, place the skillet of reserved orange sauce over moderately low heat and bring it to a simmer, stirring and thinning the sauce with a little water if necessary. Add the chicken, and stir until thoroughly coated in sauce.
  • In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until a thermometer registers 365°F. Or you can use a deep fryer if you have one, which is easier to program the temperature. Meanwhile, coat half of the chicken, a couple pieces at a time, in cornstarch, making sure they are well coated and gently knocking off any excess, then transfer to a plate. Carefully add the coated chicken to the hot oil, making sure to space the pieces apart from each other, otherwise they clump together. Fry the chicken, turning it once or twice, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. While frying, adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at 365°F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Continue to coat and fry the remaining chicken in the same manner, returning the oil to 365°F between batches.
  • Once the chicken is fried, place the skillet of reserved orange sauce over moderately low heat and bring it to a simmer, stirring and thinning the sauce with a little orange juice if necessary. Add the chicken, and toss until thoroughly coated in sauce.

To serve:

  • Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately with rice.

Another photo: (added some sesame seeds to the recipe)

orange-chicken-detail

Soy-Marinated for “Open Blue’s” Cobia

soy-cobia

What is Cobia you ask? Cobia is a mild flavored white fish, and a great sustainable substitute for salmon or sea bass. It has also been called black kingfish. Open Blue’s Cobia fish are carefully raised in deep pristine waters and is always sourced from the open ocean. Open Blue Cobia is pure, healthy and safe – free of contaminants, hormones, colorants and pesticides. They raise their fish in a stress free, low density and high-energy environment. This results in healthier fish that is naturally high in protein and very rich in Omega 3 (DHA & EPA), with levels almost 2X as high as farmed Atlantic salmon. There is a great story about Open Blue and their founder Brian O’Hanlon, by Daniel Stone of National Geographic (click here to read more).

Open Blue Cobia is a truly versatile fish that offers a world of culinary possibilities. I have had some amazing Cobia dishes created by one of our favorite restaurants in Boulder, Centro Latin Kitchen on Pearl street.  If you want to buy Cobia you can find it at this website: http://www.chefsfreshfish.com/Cobia-Fillet-p/e725a.htm

I will be posting my own recipes for Cobia, starting with this one:

Soy Marinated Cobia

For the Fish:

  • 1 ½ pound of Cobia cut into 6 even pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry, divided
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

PREPARATION

For fish:

Rinse fish and pat dry. Mix green onions, ginger, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon oil, and soy sauce in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Add fish and turn to coat. Let marinate 1 hour at room temperature (but no longer as you will loose the taste of the fish).

For sauce:

Bring first 6 ingredients to boil in heavy small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes.

Remove fish from marinade and place on several layers of paper towels to drain; reserve marinade. Pat fish dry. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a iron skillet, then fish pieces, spreading evenly. Cover and cook 30 seconds. Uncover and loosen fish pieces with metal spatula. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute. Turn fish pieces over; cook 1 minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons rice wine and reserved marinade from fish. Cover and cook 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat; let fish stand covered until just opaque in center, about 1 minute. Using metal spatula, transfer fish and sauce from skillet to plate. Spoon sauce over fish; sprinkle with green onions.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Perfect wood planks background with nice studio lighting and beautiful vignetting to draw the eyes into the picture

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 pork tenderloins

Directions:

In a mixing bowl whisk brown sugar with soy sauce until brown sugar dissolves. Slowly add in the olive oil, whisking to prevent emulsifying. Add in the garlic and ginger. Place all ingredients into a large ziplock bag and add the tenderloins to the bag. Make sure all parts of the tenderloins are covered with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for up to 2-3 days (but not longer than 3, as the pork will get too salty). Remove Pork from the bag and place the reserve the sauce in a sauce pan. Grill the pork on high heat (on BBQ Grill) or broil the pork, to get a nice crust on the outside. You can also sear the pork in an iron skillet to get a nice crusty outside, then bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 140. I like my pork medium rare, so I normally pull it out at 135 (internal temp), and let rest 5-10 minutes until it reaches 140. This is great served with Asian Slaw and Sesame Sushi Rice with Cucumbers and Avocado, or sautéed ginger carrots. Optional – Slice meat on to each place and sprinkle with apples (instructions below).

Sauce:

  • remainder marinade from above
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp water

While the pork in cooking, cook the marinade on medium-high heat, so you cook down any of the raw pork juice. Add in the broth, and cook down till reduced by half. In a cup combine the flour and water, mixing so it turns into a paste, making sure there are no clumps. Slowly whisk in the flour to pan, making sure there are no clumps. Your sauce will be come thicker, if it becomes too thick, add some more chicken broth. Pour over sliced pork loin.

A little added accouterment: Sautéed apples with butter and brown sugar.

  • 1 apple chopped into ½” cubes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Place butter in iron skillet until it bubbles, add in the apple and toss in pan for 4 minutes, add in the brown sugar until melted and covering apples. Add the apples to the pork.

 

Sautéed Ginger Carrots

Ginger carrots

One of my favorite side dishes is Ginger Carrots. It’s a simple but delicious side for any dish, fish or meat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bunches of fresh baby carrots Julienned
  • 1 tbsp of pureed ginger
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Place the butter in a preheated sautè pan. Add the julienned carrots and ginger, and cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes until tender and browned. Add honey to pan and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then add the parsley to each individual plate. This dish can pair well with any asian, ginger or soy based protein.

pealed baby carrots Julienned baby carrots