Brassicas Bowls

When I make birthday dinners for friends I always aim for new recipes. I was flipping through a Bon Appetit and there was a recipe at the very beginning that was from a chef or that somebody had submitted. It just sounded great and was definitely up my friend’s alley based on ingredients — you can’t go wrong with stuff like hummus, kale, Brussels sprouts, avocado (a lot of green here) and more… It was Brassicas Bowl.

Ingredients
4 Servings

4 large eggs (I didn’t use these as I opted to serve the dish with pan seared tuna)
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
½ bunch curly kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup unsalted, roasted sunflower seeds, divided (great to grab them from salad bars if you don’t want a whole bunch)
½ cup hummus
1 avocado, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)

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Preparation

Cook eggs in a large saucepan of boiling water for 7 minutes (whites will be set and yolks still slightly soft). Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cool. Drain; peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 500°. Toss broccolini with 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Roast, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender and charred in spots, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Whisk shallot, vinegar, mustard, and remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl (large bowl is key because of all the other ingredients you’re going to add — I had to change the bowl several times because of the volume of greens!) until emulsified; season with salt. Add kale and Brussels sprouts and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Massage kale until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add roasted broccolini and 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds; toss again.

Swipe some hummus along the inside of each bowl with a spoon. Divide salad among bowls and add an avocado wedge and 2 reserved egg halves to each. Top with chives, sesame seeds, and remaining sunflower seeds; sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

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This salad was delicious. So many flavors and very hearty. The tuna on top was great, so much more flavor than an egg! Will definitely be making this again. And it was enjoyed with a bubbly red (one of my favorite types of wines, and hard to find sometimes). It was the I Quercioli Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco DOC.  Some nice bubbles, not overly sweet and some nice fruit notes.

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Tartare…touché

I love seafood, and next to the ceviche, I love tuna tartare. I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but I make it quite often. It’s so simple and so good. All you have to do is cube the tuna, then toss all the other ingredients with it. At the end, drizzle some lemon juice on top and garnish with the fennel fronds if you really want.

  • 1 lb tuna or yellowtail, cubed
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tiny capers
  • 1 T finely chopped shallot
  • 1 T finely chopped Sicilian green olives
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or 1 small chile pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 t pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)

Good places for the seafood is Costco, if you’re a member.  Also, if you can find the fish flash frozen, such as places like Trader Joe’s, it’s just as good. Enjoy!

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Tuna Steaks, Ginger and Broccollini…oh yeah!

Dinner time, new recipe, bring it on.  Found something with some Asian flair that had to be tested recently.

Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Ginger Vinaigrette, from Food & Wine

Ingredients

5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
5 tablespoons sake
2 1/2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 bunch of Broccolini, trimmed
Two 1-inch-thick yellowfin tuna steaks (grabbed frozen Ahi from Trader Joe’s)
2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
Lemon wedges, for serving

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Directions

In a small saucepan, simmer the soy sauce, sake, mirin and shallot until the liquid is slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the ginger. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
In a steamer basket set in 
a large saucepan of simmering water, steam the Broccolini until tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plates.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat until golden brown but still rare within, about 30 seconds per side. — Ok, I actually had a BBQ to use to I did this thing called grill the tuna.  Short, sweet, to the point.  Delicious!

Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. (So didn’t have to do this part).

Slice against the grain and transfer to the plates. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Serve with lemon wedges and the remaining vinaigrette.

IMG_3840To be honest, I almost forgot the brocollini because there was so much going on in the kitchen and I don’t serve stuff just like the recipe, but then I realized something was missing.  This was a great combo of flavors, and I often forget about brocollini.  Was pretty quick to make, too.  So, give it a try if you’re looking for something new.

Poke Tuna

I love tuna, I love sashimi, but then was told about Poke Tuna — new one to me.  Hmmm…time to check this stuff out.  Of course had to google this term and millions of things came up.  How to narrow this down?  Was tough to pick one, but it did have to happen.

Ingredients

1 pound Ahi tuna loin cut into 1/2 inch dice — used the frozen stuff from TJ’s after some recommendations because it’s flash frozen
1/4 cup minced maui onion
1 teaspoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons scallions thinly sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of half lime

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Whisk together all ingredients except for tuna. When ready to serve combine dressing with tuna and squeeze a half lime over top.

IMG_3628[1]So good, so easy…and tough not to keep eating and eating!  Great for summer (though, yes, I know it’s about over), since it’s a no-cook meal.  Have some this weekend as we head into Labor Day and the hot temps are still around.

Salt Block

Got a salt block from Salt Works for Christmas a few years back and decided to put it back to good use.  Salt blocks can be used for either cooking food or serving cold food on to get a bit more flavor (without heating it up).  I normally do the former.

IMG_1733[1] To do that, you heat it up very slowly over the course or 45-60 minutes.  You can do it on a gas or electric stove, with some considerations in mind, based on what the salt block makes contact with, so that it doesn’t crack. Over the course of heating the block, we increased the heat on the (gas) stove incrementally over the course of about 45 minutes, in 10 minute intervals.

IMG_1732[1]When you put the meat on the block, it picks up just a hint of salt on the exterior and then you get the balance of the meat flavor on the inside.  We decided to cook a nice tuna steak the other night.  When we felt the block was hot enough, we brought it to the table and threw the tuna steak on there.  Of course, after you spend all this time prepping this piece of salt, it takes zero time to cook the meat.  But, that’s why we love cooking — the prep!  Took less than a minute or two to get the tuna to where we wanted.  Even cooked a bit more than (I) wanted, but it was fun to watch.

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Zentan

Was treated to a very nice lunch the other day at an Asian restaurant near Thomas Circle in DC.  The venue, Zentan.  Per their own description, they are a modern Asian restaurant featuring award-winning cuisine, focusing on Japanese-inspired small and shareable plates.

The restaurant is very ‘sharp’ — that’s the best way I can think to describe it.  Lunch was at 1 on a Thursday, so it wasn’t packed but busy enough.  Nice decor, cool tables, overall good atmosphere.  We get the menu.  What to order?  Too many choices!  (sorry for the shadow on the picture, odd light in the restaurant)

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I finally opted for the Rainbow Don Bento Box — tuna, salmon and whitefish sashimi, cooked shrimp sashimi (I can’t quite get why it’s sashimi if it’s cooked), sushi rice and seaweed salad.

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I don’t really like seaweed and this salad was a knockout!  Wow, so good.  The whitefish was unreal.  The waiter said what it was and I can’t totally remember the Asian name he mentioned.  Melt in your mouth.  Absolutely amazing lunch.  Will totally have to check this place out for dinner, too.  Add it to your list if you’re looking for a new restaurant to try in DC.

Veggies, grains, fish and nuts

I continue to enjoy little-to-no-cook meals, and my next great chance came when my friend gave me some cucumbers from her garden the other day.  Can’t let those go to waste.  So I debated what to do with them.  Normally I like to cover them in hummus but decided I could expand my horizons. I decided to go for a simple quinoa and veggie salad.

 

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Quinoa is just a powerhouse for us, if you hadn’t heard.  Need a quick cheat sheet? Check it out here.  It’s also great for those who are gluten intolerant.  My favorite one is the Tri-Color Quinoa from Trader Joe’s.  I cooked that first (the nice 15 minutes, including boiling time).  While that was underway, I cut my cucumbers into big chunks and found the other ingredients I wanted to throw into the salad.  I opted for grape tomatoes, canned tuna, some walnuts and just a simple oil & vinegar dressing, oh, and S&P.

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This was perfect!  So refreshing, healthy and very filling.  There are so many variations you can make to it, too.  Any veggie, any meat, any nut.  So, what are you making for dinner tonight?