Asian Tuna

While out marketing a few days ago I came across three nice-looking tuna steaks, so I picked them up.  In the same 24 hours I received an email with a wonderful-looking recipe for Asian tuna: a sweet and syrupy pan sauce with thick slices of shitake mushrooms in it.  I figured that this was meant to be, so I tried it out.  Wow am I ever glad that I did!

Asian tuna, jasmine rice, and a side salad

Ingredients:

tuna steaks

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

1 cup minced scallion

3 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1 TBS minced fresh ginger

2 cups thickly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms (remove stems)

1 TBS chicken broth

1 cup orange juice

2 TBS tamari

2 TBS chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the grill
  • Rub tuna with lemon juice and season with a little salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a large skillet on the stovetop. Sauté the scallion, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms in broth for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly over a medium heat
  • Add orange juice and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the tamari and cilantro

shitake mushroom pan sauce

  • Grill your tuna steaks to your desired doneness

grilled tuna steaks

  • Place tuna on plates and pour mushroom sauce over each piece

This recipe was inspired by World’s Healthiest Foods.

I opted to serve this with some jasmine rice that I cooked in chicken broth, then added to some healthy-sautéed asparagus, celery bits, and ramps (whites and greens).

jasmine rice stir-fry

We also had a side-salad of spring greens and fresh tomato that was tossed in a dressing of:

ginger-lemon tossed salad

J

Sweet Potato & Kidney Bean Chili

This chili is a thing of beauty.  By beauty I mean that the flavor of the green bell pepper transforms from an underripe, sharp, crisp bite to something soft and sweet.  The ancho chili & crushed red pepper are balanced by the sweet potato and carrots.  The mushrooms provide a welcome texture contrast.  There is nothing boring about this dish.  Served with bread and, yes, a little butter (as there is almost zero fat in the entire pot) it is wonderful.  The bread is almost necessary to sop up the nice broth left in the bottom of the bowl.  You just can’t leave it there to be washed down the drain….

sweet potato & kidney bean chili

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 TBS fresh ginger, chopped

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 medium green pepper, cut in 1-inch squares

2 cups sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes

2 cups portobello mushrooms, quartered

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS + 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained

salt & black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Chop the garlic and onions and let them sit for about  5 minutes while you chop all of the other veggies

chopped onion, garlic, sweet potato, green bell pepper and carrot

quartered portobello mushrooms

  • Heat 1 TBS of broth in a soup pot. Sauté the onion in broth over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  • Add garlic, ginger, carrot, pepper, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently

veggies sauteeing in a soup pot

  • Add spices and mix thoroughly
  • Mix tomato paste and broth together, then pour over spiced vegetables. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add beans, salt, pepper, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat uncovered

cholesterol-lowering, fiber-packed kidney beans

J

Recipe adapted from a post on the world’s healthiest foods

Honey-Soy-Glazed Root Vegetables

If you’ve never eaten a cooked radish then you’re missing out.  If you’ve only ever had them raw and disliked radishes and written them off, again, you’re missing out.  When a peppery & crunchy radish is cooked its flavor and texture transform into something wonderful.  Something buttery.  Something smooth.  Something yummy.  Radishes are roastable, steamable, fryable, but I would start here where they’re incorporated with other flavors so that if, for some reason, you don’t care for them- you still have other tasty vegetables to eat.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound medium turnips, cut into 3/4-inch wedges

1 pound medium radishes, quartered

½ medium sweet potato, quartered & sliced

1 large carrot, sliced

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 pound Swiss chard, bottoms of stems discarded and leaves chopped

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons water

Salt

6 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps quartered

1/2 pound rice crackers, pulverized

Pulverizing rice crackers. Need I say more?

Directions

  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the turnips and radishes, sweet potatoes and carrots and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 10 minutes
  • Add the honey and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the vegetables are glazed.
  • Add the soy sauce and cook until syrupy
  • Add the lemon juice and the Swiss chard; cook until the chard is wilted. Raise the heat to high and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated; keep warm.

Chopped Swiss chard & quartered shitake

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the molasses with the water and season with salt. Add the shiitake and toss to coat.
  • Drain the mushrooms, squeezing out most of the excess liquid.
  • In a separate bowl, toss the mushrooms with the rice cracker crumbs to create a crunchy coating

Shitake coated in rice crackers

  • In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat, until golden and crisp

Crisping the shitake

  • Transfer to paper towels to blot off oil. Top the vegetables with the mushrooms and serve

We had our glazed root vegetables with some Asian pork tenderloin.  They would side well to almost any meat though, or could be eaten alone or over rice as a vegetarian dish.

Glazed root vegetables with pork tenderloin

J

Recipe adapted from an article in Food & Wine, recipe by David Chang

Chicken & leek stew

For a cool and/or rainy day this is a fantastic stew which manages to be thick and creamy, but not heavy.  The sour cream and Greek yogurt give this dish a delightful tang that keeps your mouth coming back for more.  The stew comes together easily, and does not take a ton of time for cooking.  If you have a food processor on hand, you can cut down on prep time too.

I opted to serve the stew over some brown rice that I’d done in a rice cooker with chicken broth, but it would also do well over egg noodles or quinoa.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into chunks

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Poultry seasoning

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

½ cup non-fat sour cream

½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions

  • In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened

  • Add the mushrooms & carrots and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender. Scrape the leeks and mushrooms onto a plate

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour mixed with poultry seasoning.

  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and cook over moderate heat until golden brown, but not necessarily cooked through

  • Add the chicken stock and thyme and simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the vegetables.
  • Simmer the stock over a moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken, leeks and mushrooms to the skillet and simmer over low heat until warmed through, about 1 minute
  • In a small bowl, blend the sour cream with the yogurt and stir into the stew. Remove the pan from the heat. Season the stew with salt and pepper and serve (over some cooked rice)

J

Recipe adapted from an article in Food and Wine, recipe by Jamie Oliver

Quinoa stuffed peppers

I can honestly say that I make stuffed peppers about twice each cool season, and I have never made them the same way twice.  Sometimes I stuff them with quinoa & veggies, sometimes with brown rice.  When I was a little girl my Mom stuffed green peppers with hamburger & rice and spaghetti sauce.  Some folks use sausage in their stuffing.  What I am trying to say is that there’s no limit to the flavor combinations you can make.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 rib Celery, chopped

½ of an Onion, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

2 cloves Garlic

½ small Eggplant, chopped

6 Mushrooms, chopped

½ of a Summer squash, chopped

½ of a Zucchini, chopped

Handful of Spinach, sliced into ribbons

½ can of Aduki beans

Parmesan cheese

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups Chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups Tomato sauce (half for the stuffing, half for the baking dish)

2-4 Red peppers (depending on how many you plan to stuff)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large fry pan heat the olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  • In a small sauce pan bring the quinoa & broth to a boil, then turn heat down to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes

  • To the fry pan add garlic, eggplant, mushrooms, summer squash and zucchini and cook for 6 to 8 minutes

  • Set a large pot full of salted water to boil, cut the tops off of the peppers and remove their seeds while leaving the peppers whole
  • Add to the fry pan the spinach and beans, and any seasonings you might care for (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne, crushed red pepper, parsley- for instance)
  • Add the whole peppers to the boiling water, making sure that they are totally submerged, and cook for 3 minutes

  • Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables into the fry pan, pour in 1 cup of tomato sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together, add Parmesan cheese to your taste

  • Pull the cooked peppers out of the boiling water and run under cool water to stop the cooking
  • Spray a loaf pan (for 2 peppers) or square baking dish (for 4 peppers) with baking spray and pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan
  • Stuff peppers with quinoa & vegetable mixture and place in baking pan
  • Cover baking dish with foil to prevent peppers from burning and bake for 20 minutes

Note: none of these ingredients are set in stone.  If you don’t like something- leave it out.  If you want to add things like artichoke hearts, olives, peas, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, anything– just add them.

We had the peppers as a second course, after spinach salads with blueberries & tomatoes.

J