food amongst family and friends

Seared Tuna and Mango Salad May 12, 2015

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Salads — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:50 pm
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I keep digging into this meal so fast that I've yet to capture a good image

I keep digging into this meal so fast that I’ve yet to capture a good image

Earls used to make a salad that inspired this creation – it is easily one of my favorite meals.

Start with cooked sushi rice. For 3 of us I typically cook 1 cup (dry) rice and let cool. You can toss a bit of rice wine vinegar in this too.
Next top with a mixture of a crispy lettuce (e.g. romaine) and a spring mix.
Then I add a series of veggies that I cut into matchsticks: carrots, cucumber, yellow and red peppers, green onion, avocado.
Next goes mango. I find the mango is key to deliciousness.
Put some nori (toasted seaweed) in there. I like it just on the side around the salad.
Finally, top with your seared tuna. Buy a good, sushi grade steak and sear it in a really hot pan with sesame oil until it just begins to creep white up the side – about 2 min on first side and a min on the other. Thinly slice and top with a few toasted sesame seeds (you can toast this in the pan you did the fish in while the tuna cools a bit).
Finish it off with a White Miso Vinaigrette.

White Miso Vinaigrette

2/3 c orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons white miso
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
salt to taste.

Enjoy! Ren


Leftovers, anyone? Salmon in Vodka Dill Sauce August 15, 2012

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:56 pm
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I love when I can designate leftovers from one dinner for another one; it makes my week of meal planning soooooo much simpler. And nothing about this feels like leftovers, except for how quickly it comes together. This is a fresh tasting meal, the dill and lemon bringing out everything you love about salmon, and the cream and vodka making it rich and fancier, somehow.  No surprise then that this also comes from my Gourmet Weekday cook book. Keep this in your back pocket for the next time you have some leftover salmon, or be like me and go out of your way to plan on having leftover salmon, just so you can try this!

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup cream (I used coffee cream, but whipping cream would be amazing)

1/2 cup good quality vodka

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fresh ground pepper to taste

2 cups leftover cooked salmon, flaked

Pasta to serve on – I used spaghettini, but if you could find some fresh angel hair pasta, that would be ideal

1. Heat oil in a large (3 quart) heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, cream, vodka, and salt to taste, bringing to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 10 -12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and get your pasta started, timing it to be done when the sauce is – if using fresh pasta, don’t add until after the salmon has been stirred in. Dried pasta will need to start sooner.

3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in dill, lemon zest and juice, and pepper. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce to toss with the pasta, then add the salmon to the pan and cook over medium low heat until fish is just heated through, about 2 or 3 minutes.

4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and toss with reserved sauce and cooking liquid. Divide equally between 4 bowls and top with salmon. Serve immediately with extra pepper.




Roast Salmon in yogurt dill sauce on a bed of Israeli CousCous and cherry tomatoes July 21, 2012

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:14 pm
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First, just writing that titled sounded complicated and this is not; the whole meal came together in 40 minutes, and a lot of that time was waiting for the salmon and pasta to cook. This is one of those great recipes of simple, yet flavourful ingredients, that just tastes like summer come to life (thank you Bon Apetit, you never let me down). That said, it is definitely fancy enough to serve to your snootiest guests. So feel free to serve it to your family for a quick and healthy weeknight meal, or to a dinner party of strangers you need to impress, you won’t regret this one.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt

2 – 4 Tbsp milk

3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

1 Tbsp lemon zest

salt to taste

Combine yogurt with dill, chives, lemon zest and salt. Stir in just enough milk to thin to the consistency of a thick gravy. Set aside to allow flavours to blend while you make the salmon.


4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 bunch dill fronds

1/2 bunch thyme

1, 3lb piece of centre cut salmon

8 oz of cherry tomatoes, on the vine if possible

Preheat oven to 325.  Pour 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a roasting pan just large enough for the salmon. Make a bed of the herbs on top of the oil, and top with salmon (skin side down if it has it). Drizzle remaining oil on salmon and season with salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes. Bake until salmon is just cooked in centre 22 – 30 minutes (my salmon was closer to 2 1/2 lbs and 22 minutes was perfect).


2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes

4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

2 Tbsp za’atar (a middle eastern seasoning I couldn’t find, so I substituted an equal combination of oregano, marjoram, summer savory, and thyme, plus some sesame seeds, and I subbed one of the Tbsp of olive oil for sesame oil)


2 cups Israeli couscous (I think orzo would work pretty well here if you can’t find the Israeli couscous, but try, because its texture and flavour is hard to replace)

1 Tbsp butter

Toss tomatoes with 3 Tbsp of oil, parsley, and za’atar in a medium bowl, season with salt. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook couscous like you would pasta, about 8 minutes or until al dente, then drain. Stir in 1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil, the add in the tomato salad.


To serve, slice the salmon into portions (6-8, depending on your salmon and appetites)  and serve each on a bed of couscous, topping with dill sauce.




Greek prawns over orzo November 7, 2011

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:10 am
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Prawn and orzoOne of my undergrad go-to meals was prawns sautéed in lots of butter and garlic thrown over Rice-a-Roni.  This is basically the grown-up version.  The gal at alwaysinthekitchen has convinced me that orzo is also my new best friend, and I’ll post that separately, ’cause I know you’re going to want to access it a lot…

The topping

2 c of frozen, peeled prawns (I just used a whole bag – you really can’t go wrong with too many prawns…)
1 c of halved grape tomatoes
1 crushed garlic clove
4 T of Greek-style vinaigrette (I used Renée’s Greek Feta dressing), divided
6 kalamata olives, diced (yes, 6.  I found them to be a very powerful flavour, so I would keep them to a minimum)
1/4 c torn basil, or a couple of shakes of freeze-dried basil
1/4 c crumbled feta

Thaw prawns under cold water, strain and pat dry with paper towel.  Mix with 1 T of the vinaigrette.

Throw prawns in an oiled skillet on high heat and sauté for about 3 min., or until prawns have just turned pink (don’t overcook).  Remove prawns and set aside, and combine in the skillet the tomatoes through olives.  Cook until heated through, about two minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the prawns back in the mix, combine it all together and serve it over the orzo, topping with the basil and feta.  Dig in!  Ren


Broccoli Cheddar Risotto AKA Risotto My Kids Will Eat March 27, 2011

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:44 pm
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I ran across a recipe over here the other day that made me think there was still hope for getting my family to like risotto. So I decided to give it a whirl and adjust my fallback risotto recipe into something a little more family friendly and it turned out really well and everyone ate it up. However, if I was making it for just me, or for other fans of risotto, I would make a few changes. First, cut half a cup of the broth and replace it with a dry white wine or vermouth; I missed that flavour a lot, but I think it is a bit strong for my gang. Second, and I would even try this for my family, a nice, old white cheddar here would really kick the flavour up a few notches. So, if you have some unsure risotto fans, try it as is, or if you are already a fan, add in the wine and stronger cheese and dig in!

1 small onion

4 stalks of celery

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp each, olive oil and butter

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

4 – 5 cups broth (chicken or vegetable), kept warm, but not simmering, on stove

2 cups broccoli florets, cut quite small

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 tbsp butter (optional)

1. Finely chop onion, celery and garlic; I use my food processor so everything is really quite fine. Then heat oil and butter over medium heat in a fairly large, heavy bottomed frying pan that has a lid (or a way to cover it for a few minutes at the end), and saute the veggies until soft but not brown.

2. Add in the rice and saute for 1 or 2 minutes, until translucent. Then add a ladle full of broth and stir until absorbed (if using wine, add that first and then start on the broth). Add another ladle full, stirring until absorbed, continuing until all broth is absorbed. The first few additions usually absorb fairly quickly, at which point I lower the heat a bit (1-2 dots on my stove), and then it usually take a minute or two to absorb each addition.

3. While the rice is cooking, lightly steam the broccoli until just tender, then add it into the risotto about 2 or 3 ladle fulls before the end.

4. Once all broth is absorbed and/or the rice is cooked the way you like it, remove from heat and stir in the cheese and, if you wish, an extra tablespoon of butter, then cover and let it sit for about 5 min.

5. Remove the lid, stir one more time and serve.

We had this with some glazed salmon that I found over at my friend Meagan’s blog, Deanna’s Daughter, that was amazing and very simple. I used chipotle powder instead of black pepper, but other than that I followed the recipe to the letter and it was fantastic; cooked to perfection and wonderful flavour. I will make that again for sure, so check it out.