Monday, July 9, 2012

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing

What can I say but YUM! Ahi tuna is one of my favorite things and you can get it at Kroger in their frozen section for a very good price. I topped this delicious salad with a traditional miso ginger dressing, which I have been trying to make forever. Although it is not completely like the restaurants I think I am getting close. As a note, you can find miso in the international section of most grocery stores in a bottle on the shelf.

For the cocktail lover: If you would like to enjoy a cocktail when making this salad save the juice from the mandarin oranges and mix it with any liquor you have in your house! Gin or vodka works best, tequila probably would not be bad either! I just put the juice and a shot of vodka in a shaker with ice and poured a nice martini…mmmmm!

Ahi Tuna Salad
Serves 2


1 tbs peanut oil, olive oil will work fine
1 large ahi tuna steak
2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
2 cup mixed greens, or greens of your choice
½ cup frozen, shelled edamame, cooked to package directions
¾ cup shredded carrots
1 can mandarin oranges in juice, drained (save the juice and see above)
½ cup Chinese crunchy noodles

  1. 1.     Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Coat the ahi tuna steak in sesame seeds. Once the oil is hot put the steak in the oil and sear on both sides, about 3 minutes a side.
  2. 2.     Divide the greens among 2 plates and evenly top with edamame, carrots, and oranges. Top with the tuna, noodles, and dressing (recipe follows). 

Miso Ginger Dressing
Makes about 1 cup


1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 tablespoons miso, yellow or white
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 inch long piece fresh ginger, cut into coins
Salt and pepper

Put all ingredients except salt and pepper into a food processor and run for a minute or so, until mixture is chunky-smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps

These are one of my favorite summer dishes to make! The shrimp salad is so light and refreshing, especially paired with the lettuce cups. You can serve this on bread instead if you are not a fan of the lettuce cups. They are also super easy to take as a packed lunch and assemble anywhere.


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound shrimp - peeled, deveined and chopped
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pesto
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or basil, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 head of bib or iceberg lettuce


  1. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook about 3 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat, stir in the corn and bell pepper, let cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, pesto, basil, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp mixture and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in the lettuce cups. 

Venison Tenderloin in a Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce with Garlic Red Smashed Potatoes

Last night Travis said this was the best venison dish I have ever made, which I think is a big statement since we cook with venison often. I served the venison with garlic mashed potatoes. This meal was anything but light!

Venison Tenderloin
Serves 4

1 lb venison tenderloin cut into medium thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
Mushroom Bordelaise, recipe follows
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley leaves

1.     Rinse and soak the cleaned and sliced venison in lightly salted water for at least 30 minutes
2.     Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the venison with the salt and pepper, and dredge in flour. When oil is hot, add venison and pan-fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.
3.     Remove from the pan and place on a warmed plate.

Mushroom Bordelaise

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped yellow onions
¼ cup finely chopped carrots
¼ cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1 ½ pound mixed mushrooms (I just used sliced portabella)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped sage
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
1 quart beef broth

1.     Heat the oil in a Dutch oven, or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook about 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, and cook, stirring to loosen any bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is reduced by half. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve with the venison.

Garlic Red Smashed Potatoes

1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds red potatoes, washed well and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup heavy cream

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.     Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Drizzle head with olive oil and wrap in foil. Place on a sheet tray and bake until tender and fragrant, roughly 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the cloves and mash with a wooden spoon.

3.     Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender and drain. Mash the potatoes until smooth.

4.     Meanwhile heat butter and cream until butter melts. Add the roasted garlic and potatoes and mash all together.

5.     Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

To serve, divide cooked venison among four plates, pour ½ cup of sauce over each, and top with mashed potatoes. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Whole Salt-Baked Fish

This is one of my all-time favorite fish dishes. It is fun to make and the fish comes out so moist and delicious. If you don’t like salt then I would suggest not making this dish. I served this dish with ricotta dumplings and a side salad. Recipe for the dumplings can be found here: Arctic Char with Cucumber-Feta Relish and Ricotta Dumplings

Serves 2
3 pounds kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
6 parsley sprigs, plus 1/2 cup finely chopped leaves
6 cilantro sprigs, plus 1/2 cup finely chopped leaves
6 rosemary sprigs, plus 1/2 cup finely chopped leaves
8 large egg whites
1 1 1/2-pound whole fish such as sea bass or tilapia, cleaned
1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus lemon wedges, for serving
1 orange, thinly sliced
Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the kosher salt with the chopped parsley, cilantro and rosemary. Add the egg whites and stir until the salt is evenly moistened.
  2. Fill the fish cavities with the herb sprigs and the sliced lemon and orange.
  3. Using half of the herbed salt mixture, form a mounds on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pat the mound into a rectangular bed about
  4. 1/2 inch thick and the length and width of the fish. Set the fish on a salt bed and cover with the remaining herbed salt, patting to enclose the fish completely.
  5. Bake the fish in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish behind the head registers 135°.
  6. Using a spoon, tap the salt to crack it; lift off the crusts in large pieces. Carefully remove the fish skin and lift the fillets from the bones. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.

Spicy Shrimp Tostadas with Jalapeno Avocado Dip

I made this dish on the fly last night by combing a few recipes I found online with what I had in the fridge. It was super easy to make and mostly everything can be substituted.

Spicy Shrimp Tostadas
Serves 2

4 corn tortillas
16 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Salt & pepper
1 can refried beans (heated before plating)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup lettuce (I used shredded iceberg)
1 Roma tomato diced

1.     In a small bowl combine shrimp, paprika, cumin, chili powder and a pinch of salt & pepper. Set aside.
2.     In a medium skillet over medium-high heat add 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil and pan fry each tortilla, adding another 1/2 tablespoon of oil with each tostada. You just want to crisp them up on each side.
3.     Set tortillas aside on a baking sheet and pre heat the oven to broil.
4.     Sauté shrimp in the same skillet with the lime juice until they just turn pink on each side, about 3 minutes total.
5.     To assemble tostadas start with the refried beans and a little cheese, put them under the broiler for 1 minute for the cheese to melt.
6.     Once the cheese has melted add the shrimp and top with lettuce, Roma tomato, and avocado dip (recipe below).

Jalapeno Avocado Dip

1/2 avocado
1/4 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tablespoon cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Cake (modified)

This recipe started as one thing... and turned into another thing in my kitchen. As many recipes are known to do. But now I can't remember the original and I'm going to give you my adapted version. This cake is perfect for making the night before and letting chill in the fridge... it soaks up the fruit juices and turns into moist delightfulness!

  • 1 boxed vanilla cake mix
  • 1 full sized can mandarin oranges, not drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1 container cool whip
  • 1 packet lemon pudding mix
  • 1 full sized can crushed pineapple, drained

1. Preheat the oven to the temp on the box based on what kind of pan you're using. Combine cake mix, mandarin oranges and juice, eggs and oil in a mixing bowl. Bake as directed.

2. Combine cool whip and pudding. Fold in pineapple. Refridgerate.

3. Let cake cool, frost, and garnish with something cute. Refridgerate.