Tag Archives: tuna


Monday, February 27 –

Chaos – barely controlled, wine fueled mass of people in the kitchen. That’s what last night was. It was LightsOn’s birthday mixed with a blog dinner and it ended up being thirteen people total. The attendees were: LightsOn, WingWoman, CannonBall, Amine Chef, Hot Momma, Mr. Hero, Baby Bear, Grandpa Bear, MoneyShot, SlotMachine, Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, and me. Whew! That’s a lot of people.

I made two of the dishes from this country but I left off the dessert (to make birthday cheesecake instead). So the two parts I will go over are the tuna and the potatoes. The tuna was fresh, pink, and delicious. I made the marinade by putting all of the ingredients into a food processor and letting it all mix together. Coated in the mix and left to sit for about an hour and a half, they looked like heaven every time I glanced at them. I doubled the amount of oil (because I was cooking 10 tuna steaks instead of 4) but I tripled the other marinade ingredients. I just like more flavor, and this was an easy way to keep everything in the right amounts.

The potatoes ended up doubled in some aspects and not in others. I peeled and boiled nine regular russet potatoes. Then added one bunch of spinach. I then transferred pans to the one with the oil, of which I only used one cup. I figured that was plenty, even though I had doubled the amount of potatoes. Then in went two drained cans of garbanzo beans. Then things got more crazy in the kitchen and Roommate Extraordinaire took over prepping the veggies. He chopped one red bell pepper, one green bell pepper, and one onion. In those went along with a liberal sprinkle of the oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. This mixture was left to simmer on low until the tuna steaks were done and everything was ready to dish up.

Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire shared the grilling duty, and even ran to get more propane when we ran out in the middle of everything! The fish ended up different levels of done-ness because of how hurried they were, but the flavor of the fish was wonderful anyway.

On the side I made garlic green beans, because I felt like the meal needed a little touch of green. Just simmer the beans until cooked but still firm. Rinse in cold water to stop them cooking. Put them back in the warm pan. Add some butter, salt, pepper, and a whole bulb of crushed garlic. Cover with the lid to the pan to keep them warm.

The tuna was firm and lightly flavored with the marinade. The center was just slightly pink (I wish it had been a little more pink, actually). The potatoes were mashed goodness with a punch of flavor. And the green beans were just the right break in flavor. I would definitely make this dinner again.

Things I have learned: Be more firm about shoo-ing people out of the kitchen if I need more elbow room. When there is a party everyone wants to be in the kitchen (closest to the wine, of course!). But it’s just too hard to dodge people from the stove to the sink and back again.

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.alws.s3.amazonaws.com)

Grilled Tuna with Herbed Aioli

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 4 Tuna steaks (each about 3cm thick)

Method: Whisk together first 6 ingredients in shallow dish for marinade. Place Mayonnaise in separate small bowl. Whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons marinade. Set aioli aside. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Place fish in marinade in dish, turning to coat evenly. Marinate 1 hour at room temperature, turning fish occasionally. Oil grill rack. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Top fish with aioli and serve.

Spinach Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes (peeled)
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves(minced) (or teaspoon of garlic powder )
  • 2 cups garbanzo Beans
  • 1 red pepper(seeded+ diced)
  • 1 green pepper(seeded + diced)
  • 1 medium Onion (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Sprinkle of red pepper powder

Method: Boil potatoes 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain pot. Heat oil in large, deep frying pan until lightly bubbling. Add potatoes, spinach, Beans and remaining ingredients (except red pepper powder). Sautee (stirring with spatula) until potatoes become slightly creamy and ingredients are heated through. Sprinkle all over with red pepper powder. Cover pan; simmer at medium heat 3 mins.



Monday, November 7 –

This dinner was a wonderful success and attended by friends that are new to my blog! So exciting! We had a total of 7 people: Hot Momma, Mr. Hero, Baby Bear, WingWoman, Roommate Extraordinaire, Wonderful Boyfriend, and myself. (At this rate, the names I’m coming up for people will be one of the biggest highlights of this project!)

I started with the marinade for the tuna steaks (minus one for my WingWoman because of the soy – I made her a custom marinade) and let them soak in the sauce while I put together the rest of the dishes. I actually got 2 papayas and a mango, because I thought it would be a good idea to tie all of the flavors together with something sharp, bright, and citrus-y. The salsa was made with: papaya, mango, lime juice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, and seeded jalapenos. I let that sit in the fridge to let the flavors mingle while I put the rest of the dinner together. I put rice in the rice cooker for this dinner, and knowing that most of us like white rice more than brown rice I picked that instead of what the recipe called for.

Next I made the papaya and black bean recipe exactly as it was written (which required much Quality Control by Hot Momma, to make sure it was perfect…). I let that continue to simmer on the stove while I got a pan nice and hot for the tuna steaks. I quick seared the steaks so that there was the lightest of brown searing on each side of the fish, and then dished it up with each of the sides. It was quickly decided by most everyone that the flavors were best when smooshed altogether onto one forkful. So if any of you decide to make this dinner, make sure that you take at least one bite with the 4 different flavors in one bite. I would definitely make any of these recipes again, and probably will!

Things I have learned: Serving something like seared tuna to a whole bunch of people requires a big enough pan to fire them all at the same time, or else some people end up with cold/lukewarm fish. Fortunately I had a pan big enough, so it worked out just fine, but it is definitely good to keep in mind. Also, the more the merrier, and the more the mmmmmmms and aaaaaaaahhhhhs I get the more successful I feel about this project. I hope that all of the people who would like to try a dinner get a chance to. So please, check out the upcoming countries and let me know if you want to join us!

Also, I will try to remember to get an updated map photo for you next time. The lines are starting to show how much fun we are having with this, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when I’m all done.

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.islandflave.com)

Grilled Tuna Steaks

  • 4 Tuna steaks
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:  Place tuna in dish in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard & sugar Pour marinade over tuna, turn steaks until well-coated on each side. Cover, let stand in refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Heat the grill. Remove tuna and reserve marinade for basting. Grill tuna for about 5-10 on each side and basting often with reserved marinade.

Papaya Black Beans Rice

  • 1 Medium papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 Large finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 Large finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups brown rice, cooked

Directions:  In large skillet heat oil over medium heat, add the onion, red, and green peppers. Add remaining ingredients except beans and rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans, stir and cook about 5 minutes. Serve over rice.


Monday, August 22 –

First of all, let me just say that Anguilla is so small that it doesn’t even show up on the map, however, their recipes are AH-mazing. This dinner was a race to the finish to make sure that it all came to the table (and warm) at the same time. I only had two recipes, so it should have been a piece of cake, right? Not hardly. My Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire were told to go to the dining room table and stay absolutely out of the way or food might have gone flying.

I started with marinating the tuna in the wasabi and olive oil mixture, then covered it and put it back in the fridge. Then I got the oven going for the pita bread and set a timer for it. Next I started on the dough for the johnny cakes and covered it with a kitchen cloth and let it rest on the counter. I moved on to the tomatoes, heating them in the boiling water. I managed to chose really, really big tomatoes so it took about 20 minutes instead of just 10. They started to split apart and the skin started to slide off, but I figured it would taste good anyway. Once the tomatoes were on the counter cooling I got the veggies in the wok with the peanut oil, cooking them until just wilted and not mushy. The veggies went into the tomatoes and got set aside. The johnny cakes were next and I got them rolled out and into patties, placing them into the frying oil in batches. When I was about half way through with the cakes but the rest were ready to go I got the fish out and the oil hot in another pan. I put the fish in and used a timer for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the other side, making them nice and seared on each end but still beautiful and pink in the middle. I set the johnny cakes on a paper towel to drain as I took them out and the fish onto a cutting board to rest for a minute. As the last of the cakes were cooking I got the arugula out and coated with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. I got the pita on the plates, the arugula on next, then the fish sliced and placed onto the top. The tomatoes were at room temperature by now but I was sure it would work with the flavors of it. The johnny cakes went into the middle of the table for everyone to share.


The parts that I have to admit, simply because they are the hilarious part of cooking with an audience, are that I apparently have a “happy cooking dance” that I do when I’m racing with timers and trying to get everything together and perfect. The guys tried to get a video of it, but I caught on quickly and managed to not have a ridiculous debut for YouTube. If you want to see the dance you have to come enjoy the cooking and the show at the same time. And I also apparently shouldn’t wear black to cook in, at least not when I’m making something with flour. I ended up wearing some and after some sass, so did my Wonderful Boyfriend. *insert wicked laugh here*

The plate of food without the johnny cakes could have been a complete meal all on its own. I didn’t realize it when I picked them that it would be so filling. It was very, very filling. The tuna had zing but wasn’t really spicy. It was also tender, flaky, and delicious. The arugula and the pita made a nice bed to pick the tuna up with and complimented the flavors really well. The veggies were really good, and you could taste the sesame oil really clearly. It was like a stir-fry in a tomato. I wish I had picked tomatoes that were just a little smaller, but for the amount of sauteed veggies they were perfect. The johnny cakes were like little biscuits of fluffy goodness. I think they would be really good as a breakfast food with some eggs and bacon on the side. I think I’ll keep the left overs and do exactly that. I would definitely recommend any of these recipes for people to try, they made all three of us groan in sated happiness.

Things I have learned: Sometimes having help is a wonderful thing, and I don’t ask for it nearly often enough. Sometimes it’s just better to kick everyone out of the kitchen and let them watch the show from a distance. Also, getting kicked out at the end of the meal so that someone else can do the dishes is a wonderful thing to experience and if it happens to you, remember to say “thank you” more than once (and maybe it’ll happen more than once!). Having recipes like this that require specific timing can be a fun challenge as long as you read the recipes thoroughly before you start cooking. I tend to start the recipe and then get to the end saying, “Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to look like!” Probably not the smartest way of tackling this sort of time-crunch. Must read the recipes the day before so that I know if I have to thaw something, marinade something, and also to know what it’s supposed to look like at the end!

Thoughts about wine: The wines that our Roommate Extraordinaire brought were a perfect pairing for the meal. They were both French, and were crisp and tart in a green apple sort of way. They added a brightness to the dinner that helped cut through the lingering oil on the different dishes. I only got a photo of the first bottle, but the second bottle was a riesling and was a really good flavor as well. These dishes would have been overwhelmed with anything that had a stronger or darker flavor, so definitely choose something like the ones we had if you choose to cook any of these recipes.

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.epicurious.com and http://news.ai)

Spicy Tuna “Tarts” with Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (8-ounce, 1-inch-thick) tuna steaks
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pita breads, preferably whole-wheat
  • 2 tablespoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely julienned
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces and julienned
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, and julienned
  • 2 stalks celery, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces and julienned
  • 4 cups (loosely packed) baby arugula (about 4 ounces)

Preparation: In small bowl, whisk together wasabi paste and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Rub wasabi marinade into tuna steaks, then cover with plastic (or place in resealable plastic bag) and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut thin slice from stem end of each tomato and set tops aside. Bring large saucepan water to boil. Add tomato bottoms and boil, uncovered, until warm and starting to soften, about 1 minute. Drain. Using small spoon, scoop out and discard seeds and pulp from tomatoes. Sprinkle tomato cavities with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Slice each pita bread crosswise into 2 round halves and transfer to baking sheet. Bake until crisp and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In large skillet or wok over moderate heat, heat sesame oil until hot but not smoking. Add ginger, bok choy, carrots, and celery, and sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables just begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stuff hollowed tomatoes with sautéed vegetables and top with reserved tops.

In large skillet over moderate heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot but not smoking. Sprinkle tuna steaks on both sides with ½ teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and sear until crusty and slightly browned but still pink in center, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and slice, against grain, into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In large bowl, toss arugula with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Divide pita halves among 4 plates and top with arugula. Fan tuna slices atop arugula and place stuffed tomato alongside each “tart.” Serve immediately.

Johnny Cakes

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • ¼ Cup Cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1-1/2 Cups Water
  • 1/3 Cup Frying Oil for Cooking

Sift together flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Mix together with salt, sugar and margarine. Make a well in the flour mixture and add vegetable oil. Add water slowly. Mix carefully until mixture is not sticky. Knead into a ball until smooth. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Roll dough into a long strip and cut into small pieces. Knead each piece into a small ball. On a floured surface, flatten each ball with a rolling pin or your finger tips and palms. Add about 1/3 frying oil into a frying pan or enough oil to cover bottom of pan. When oil is hot, add flattened cakes. Fry on one side for 2-3 minutes, turn and continue with other side until both sides are golden brown.

Caribbean Potluck Success… (and the map is up!)

Sunday, July 31 –

Our first potluck was a HUGE success. We had 13 people show up to our house and everyone made amazingly delicious food. I made pulled pork, mango and avocado salsa, rice, grilled peaches with honey and honey-nut cream cheese, and lime cheesecake with mango coulis. Other people brought two different kinds of ceviche, one that was shrimp and scallop based with tomatillos and lots of other fun veggies and spices, and the other was tuna based with cucumber and coconut milk. There was also mojito shrimp and grilled veggies, banana bread with zucchini and coconut, pasta salad, a spicy okra dish, and rum – lots and lots of rum. We managed to work around my crohn’s intolerance to food as well as a gluten and soy intolerance, and an amine intolerance. Talk about pretty talented cooks! (The photo below doesn’t really do the table justice, because people showed up in stages so food got devoured and more food got added to it. But it’s a good picture of the ceviches and dips.)

A quick glance at the beginning of the party.

I’m keeping track of the ideas that we came up with for our potlucks, including all the stuff that I wish I had time to make. Potluck Ideas.

Pulled Pork: I used pork shoulder, because the lady at the meat counter thought that it would be better than my usual tenderloin choice. I put the pork into the crockpot with enough rootbeer (yes, rootbeer) to cover it and I put it on high for four hours. At about half way I flipped the meat over and checked to see if the meat was ready to start pulling yet. It wasn’t, and seemed really tough still. So I waited until I had a half hour left and I checked again, and still no pull. So I grabbed a cutting board, cut the pork into bite sized pieces and put them all back into the pot. I finished out the four hours, strained the rootbeer from the meat, and put the meat back into the pot and covered it all with premade BBQ sauce. I love Sweet Baby Ray’s personally, and I use it when I don’t have time to make homemade sauce. I let that simmer on low until people showed up and it was ready to serve. Even though it wasn’t “pulled” as I had hoped it would be, the pork was amazingly tender and flavorful. It wasn’t what I expected it would be, but I’m very pleased with the outcome none-the-less.

Mango Salsa: I used two tomatoes, half an onion, one avocado, one mango, juice from one lime, garlic salt, black pepper, seeded jalapeno, and a handful of cilantro. Delish. It was like the best of salsa and guacamole and mango all smooshed together.

Cheesecake: I took three different recipes and blended them all together to make a lime cheesecake with mango coulis. It was a firm, baked, zested New York style cheesecake with the coulis on top. It almost vanished as soon as I set it down. Definitely a recipe that I will make again.

Things I have learned: Left to their own devices, people will usually bring side dishes to potlucks. I need to focus less on the fun little things for the side and make three times as much protein as a main dish. The pulled pork was gone in less than a half hour! Also, asking specific people to bring drinks was definitely genius. Hoping that enough people bring drinks with the food can be a very hit-or-miss issue. This way, they got to eat lots of yummy food and the cooks got to drink yummy drinks and most everything was well divided. And finally, one of my friends recommend that when serving cheesecake it is easier to cut it into squares than slices, and that way there was less mess and everyone got a chance to try it. Absolutely the way I will serve cake to large groups of people in the future. So easy and so smart!

Also… the map is up! I have the first three pins in it with strings leading to tags that say what I’ve cooked so far. I hope to have all of the pins leading to the tags all the way around the cork board by the time I’m done… 229 countries to go!

Next up for this week is American Samoa: marinated ahi tuna, veggie ceviche, and banana doughnuts.