Friday Fare

28 02 2009

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As I’ve read through the blogs of some of my fellow Wednesday-Whiskers, I’ve noticed several of them also participate in Tuesdays with Dorie (Greenspan) and Fridays with (Tyler) Florence.  I simply cannot bake yummy goodies every week.  There are only 2 of us.  Neither of us need full recipes of yummies tempting us, so that’s out…but I sure do love to read the posts!  Once in awhile, I’ll add one of her desserts to the week, but…I just can’t do it every week.  And now, I’ve noticed Tyler Fridays…oh my.  A little less formal…darn tasty looking Friday foods…  The only problem was that I’m totally out of the Tyler Florence loop.  I know he’s part of the FN group, but I’ve never seen his show and never read one of his cookbooks…hadn’t even thumbed through one…  Still, the ladies were happy with their fabulous looking dishes, so…why not?  I ordered a book.   You know that song…. “Just one look….”  That was it.  A few pages in, and I was totally smitten and ready to COOK!!

I’ve also been trying to get my act together to participate in The Leftover Queen’s Royal Foodie Joust.  I like the idea of working with a set group of ingredients as a challenge.  I wanted to participate in Paper Chef too…but calves liver isn’t going to happen in my world.  I was extremely excited to see the ingredients for the March 1st Joust… Satsumas, shallots and edible flowers.  Interesting…that leaves the protein out there and up to one’s imagination! Yes!!

So…this is a double post.  It’s my first Foodie Joust and my first Tyler Florence Friday post at the same time.  However…I didn’t follow Tyler’s recipe completely.  I subbed out a couple minor characters and added a couple to suit myself.  The end result, however, came out fabulously.

Our cast of characters:

cast

Fresh satsumas…which are grown here.  Those mandarin orange segments were hand-peeled, and while it was time consuming and a little messy, it went a lot easier than I expected.  A pair of either cuticle scissors or embroidery scissors would have made the task a little neater.  I cut along the core edge of the segment (of the already peeled mandarin) and peeled back the membrane.  The membrane pulled off the outer (peel) edge much easier than I anticipated.  That little task wasn’t half bad!  The shallot is obvious…I sliced it into very thin rings to garnish the salad, and minced about a teaspoon for the vinaigrette.  The edible flowers I chose are fresh rosemary blossoms. They had a lovely lavendar color to go with the light purple of the shallots.  The flavor of the rosemary came through as another layer of flavor in this dish.

Seared Tuna with Chinese Salad and Ginger-Soy Viniagrette

Vinaigrette

3 T low sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime (I used juice of 1 mandarin)
Splash of rice vinegar
2 t fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced (my addition)
1 t shallot, minced (my addition)
4 t Chinese Mustard (I used 1 T honey
1/3 c canola oil
1 T sesame oil (I used toasted sesame oil)
Freshly ground black pepper

Salad
1/2 head Chinese cabbage (I used napa)
1 bunch watercress, torn (I omitted)
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced (I only used half of one)
2 green onions, sliced diagonally (I used 1, and half a large shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings)
2 radishes, thinly sliced (oops…forgot those!)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 c radish sprouts (I used 1/2 cup mixed tiny sprouts that included radish and broccoli-sprouted at home)
1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 c mandarin orange segments, drained (used fresh, no draining)
1/4 c rosemary blossoms (my addition)

Tuna
2 sushi quality ahi steaks (6-8 oz.)  (I only used 1)
2 T sesame oil
Sea salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 c sesame seeds
1 T canola oil

Here’s the end result, plated…

feb-09_joust

We truly enjoyed this meal.  It was a great Friday night, dinner for 2 salad.  We hate to rush Friday evenings, but…we don’t care to eat anything heavy late in the evening either.  This was a perfect way to end the week.  We had the lovely ahi steak,  quickly seared, just enough to form a sesame crust, and loads of flavorful crunch in the salad.  The mandarin was a fabulous touch.  It worked well in the dressing as well.  The shallot provided the same slightly warm crunchiness that radishes would have.  I wondered if the rosemary was going to overpower the other flavors, but the blossoms didn’t carry quite as much punch as leaves do, and they blended in exceptionally with the cilantro and sesame flavors.  I’d do this again in a heart-beat!  Next time I think I’d like to add some white wines to see what goes well with this.  My first instinct is to pair it with a Reisling.  But then…sake comes to mind.  Hmmm…what about a Chardonnay?  Too buttery?  We’ll have to see next time!

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Whisk Wednesdays Winter Gift Exchange

28 02 2009

One of our group suggested we do a gift exchange to help pass the Winter.  What a great idea!  We found we were spread all over North America…wow!  I think everyone decided to participate, so little packages have been flying about for the past month.  My package is currently winging it’s way to…… in ……..  I can’t tell you….it’s a surprise!!

In the meanwhile…my package from ……….. has arrived!  Woo-hooo!!  What special gifts I received!  And how incredibly appropriate too!  See?

winter-09_shari1

There was a gift bag from the Le Cordon Bleu Boutique.  I’ve never heard of such a place!! Oh how FUN!!!  Here’s what was in the bag…a LCB apron, and LCB tea towels.  They’re sparkling white with the blue LCB logos.  Thank you so much!!  We also found boxes of silicone muffin cups…regular and mini sizes. I didn’t have any yet, so I can hardly wait to try these out!  There’s also a liquid measure…looks like a great tool! And a silicone spatula…who can have too many of those?  This one is curved….love it!  My sender sent a couple of clues along…regional food treats…Honey Tarragon mustard (yumm!) and a can (how interesting!!) of pure maple syrup!  She also included a recipe for a Big Pancake…a favorite at their house.  Thanks so much!!  I’ve never made one, but I’ll have to give it a try!  Now, there’s no way that _____ could know that I stick small recipe cards to my fridge with magnets while I’m cooking, but there’s a magnet from LCB to help me out with that!  How fun!! I love it!!  And last, but certainly not least, is a little whisk.  Who could ask for a better gift??  Thank you soooooo much!!  I love every single thing and can’t wait to get back into the kitchen this weekend!!   *BIG hugs**

3/5/2009 ~

Finally…All the packages have arrived and I can thank SHARI (now how COOL is that???) for all the lovely gifts…especially the items from LCB!  I’m so enchanted!!  But, I’m betting I use the little 1/4 cup measure most.  It just has that sweet feel to it!  Shari, everything is so fabulous!  I can hardly wait to try out the little silicone muffin cups! I’ve put the silicone spatula to work already.  I have 2…flat ones.  This is my first curved…LOVE it!!  I’ll cherish the apron and towels…how special!!  The magnet has jumped to the front of the refrigerator!  I’m saving the maple syrup…canned…what a CONCEPT!  I love the tarragon-honey mustard!  I’m hunting for just the right sausage for that!!  I’m looking forward to the next rainy Saturday so I can fix the BIG Pancake!  I’ve never made anything like it…but it sounds marvelous!  And a whisk…LOL!  How appropriate!  Thank you SOOOOO much for my lovely gifts!  It really made my day!