August 31, 2015

What we cooked last week:

Monday: Roasted sausage and peppers, caprese salad, cole slaw – app of cheese, pickles, pears
Tuesday: Sweet corn soup, white pizza, arugula with lemon and oil – app – cheese, walnuts, raisins
Wednesday: Turkey burgers (in honor of SWMBO), Summer salad of nectarines, grapes, cucumbers, carrots and sweet onion
Thursday: Stuffed zucchini and peppers
Friday: Seared Tuna with avocado, bagna cauda
Saturday: Maque Choux
Sunday: Labor Day Bash – Fresh ricotta with baguette and crudités, pickle, cheese, salumi plate   Smoked brisket (Fette Sau style), barbecued ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, caprese salad

I beg you, for the sake of your family, friends and community and your very soul to plan on seared tuna with avocado as soon as you can fit it into your schedule, your budget, or your mouth. The recipe is from Tyler Florence and has always been a favorite, but Billy and Barbara and I were reminded on Friday that it is an absolute killer, as befits a recipe for one of the ocean’s top predators (tuna, sharks and seals kill more fish than my friend, the genius fisherman, JCD)

Soy, ginger, lime, garlic, salt and pepper make a sauce for the tuna that is so good, you will want to put it on everything, including pancakes and waffles.

Now, listen up: It is very important that you get a good sear on your tuna. And searing means heat – serious heat – don’t-touch-that-pan–or-you’ll-be-scarred-for-life-heat. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I needed to get your attention.

Here is how to sear: Heat a skillet over medium-high for at least 5 minutes (if you have an oven that is over 5 years old, go for 10 minutes). Open your windows, turn on the fan, get spatter guard ready, remove any articles of clothing that you don’t want to ruin, send the children, the elderly and other breathing-challenged people to the basement or the fall-out shelter (those of you who have old ovens, may have one of those.) Now you are ready to sear the tuna with a little oil – and do this for just one minute per side. At that point you can pour TF’s sauce over the fish and heat it a bit. But be ready to remove the fish to a platter within 10 or 20 seconds after the second side is seared.

Call the children, the halt and the lame back to the ground floor and serve them a wonderful meal.

Note: It was horribly hot and muggy last week. So we had been living in a bracingly air-conditioned house and it made sense to me to ignore the weather outside, in lieu of the weather inside which was winter-like. So, to go along with the tuna, I heated up a bagna cauda and we dipped celery, carrots and bread-sticks into this earthy treat, as we ate our tuna. Please do not think of the ingredients when putting together a bagna cauda – trust me, you will thank me, if you don’t already know about this dish. Along with peanut butter and Bloody Marys, it is the only foolproof method for getting people to eat their celery.

Extras: The Maque Choux is a wonderful vegetarian dish – a sort of vegetable stew. Paired with some crusty bread or a simple white pizza, which we did – a great light meal. The sweet corn soup uses corn cobs to bring super-corn flavor to what amounts to a corn chowder. Finally, if you don’t know how to cook up peppers and sausage, you need to correct that immediately. Not as simple as the tuna, but not to much more involved, and just as tasty.