I love sushi.
I love wasabi. (It is basically horseradish after all, and you all know how into horseradish I have been lately.) I learned the hard way, to keep my distance from wasabi.
The first time I tried sushi, I was at a work lunch. I tried to act like I knew what I was doing, when in reality I was really nervous about what was in store for me.
Luckily, one of my co-workers stepped up and ordered a few rolls and appetizers for the table. Phew.
The food arrived at the table. Never before have I seen such beautiful and intricate pieces of food. (BTW learning to make sushi rolls and sticky sushi rice is on my list of things to do in life before I die.)
I kind of sat back and watched for a little bit to see what everybody else was going to sample before I dove in.
I grabbed a few of the basics: California Roll, Spicy Tuna, Philadelphia Roll, etc.
As I stared down at my plate, I noticed this green lump of…what is this clay? I thought to myself. I involuntarily turned my nose up at the sight of it. Then I quickly glanced around, to see if anybody had noticed and was ready to call me out as a fraud. Good, nobody saw me (as far as I know).
Down the table I heard a debate going on about wasabi. Ding! Lightbulb! That must be wasabi. Ok, mystery solved.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw an older co-worker next to me going to town. He was sticking that chopstick into the wasabi and then swirling it around in the soy sauce.
Hmmm…I don’t get it. There is no way that is what you are supposed to do with that stuff.
I felt ashamed of my trepidation. So I did what came natural. I took a chunk of the wasabi and slathered it all over the entire top of the innocent little California Roll.
I then dipped the edge of the roll into the soy sauce. Next stop my belly!!! Yum, yum, yum! My fear began to dissipate and instead, I began to feel proud that I was trying something new…
Call a paramedic! No, forget it call a fire truck! My mouth, throat and sinuses must literally have fire shooting through them!!!
Water was streaming out of my eyes. I could feel my face was getting redder and redder. I looked down at my plate stifling a cough, and praying nobody had seen what I just did.
I kept my head down, and eventually the pain went away.
Three positives from that day: one, I now know to respect wasabi, two, that old man was not wrong and it is impolite to judge somebody based upon their age, and three, I fooled everybody into thinking I knew what I was doing when in reality I had not a clue…
But, no one was any the wiser…until now…oops.
Ingredients for Wasabi Avocado Mayo
½ an Avocado
Juice for ½ a Lime
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
2 Teaspoons of Wasabi Paste
Salt and Pepper
Ingredients for Two Burgers
2, 8oz Pieces of Yellowfin Tuna
1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
¼ Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
Juice from ½ a Lime
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
First make the mayo: Add the avocado, lime juice, mayo, wasabi paste, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth and a light green color.
Next make the burgers: Slice the tuna steaks into small cubes.
Add the cubes to a food processor along with the sesame oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, and garlic powder. Pulse the cubes on low until they reach a ground consistency. NOTE: Once the lime juice is added, you need to act quickly otherwise the acidity will start to “cook” the tuna and turn it a whitish color.
Remove the tuna from the food processor and place it into a bowl. Divide the ground tuna in half and form two large patties.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the tuna burgers. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes if you like a medium rare tuna steak.
Cook the burgers longer if you like them well done or cooked all the way through.
Assemble the yellowfin tuna burgers with whatever toppings you desire and top with either a dollop of the wasabi avocado mayo if you like to live dangerously…
Or, just a drizzle if you are more on the cautious side.
What is the whole point of comfort food?
To be comforted!
Not to worry about searing, finely dicing, grating, mincing, blah, blah, blah… You catch my drift.
You want to know that these ingredients are going to take care of you. All you have to do is throw them in a pot (or a crock pot in this case), and let them do their thing.
I have made a more intense beef stew before. Yes, in the end, it is rewarding going through all that prep work and taking time to work with and cook to perfection each and every ingredient. But, seriously, you don’t always have time for that!
So I present to you, the never-fail, super easy, slow-cooker beef stew.
This baby is going to jump out of the crock pot and into your heart. It might even give you a foot massage, if you play your cards right!
Ingredients (serves 4-5)
3 Cups of Low Sodium Beef Stock
1 Cup of Guinness
1 Cup of Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons of Corn Starch
1 Tablespoon of Cold Water
2 Sprigs of Thyme
2 Teaspoons of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Pepper
1, 16oz Piece of Beef Chuck Flat Iron Steak, cubed
4 Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Large Russet Potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Stalks of Celery, roughly chopped
¼ lb. Fresh Green Beans, trimmed
Add the beef stock, Guinness, thyme, salt, and pepper to the crock pot. In a small dish, mix the corn starch and cold water. Add that to the liquid in the crock pot. Make sure it is mixed well.
Toss in the vegetables and beef. Make sure all the ingredients are covered by liquid. If they are not, add a little bit of water.
Cook the stew on low for 9 hours. (If you are home while making this, it is the perfect times to curl up on the couch under a blanket and catch up on some quality reality TV…cough, cough…Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.)
When it’s done cooking, remove the sprigs of thyme.
Serve up a hot bowl of stew and freeze the rest for another snowy/rainy day!
Yesterday my recipe was very spicy, so now for something completely different. Something sweet.
What comes to mind when I say Key Lime Pie?
For me, it’s images of summer. Days spent without a care in the world.
It’s a nice bite of acidity from a lime wedge in an ice coldCorona, the perfect reward after a long day at work.
It’s like a day at the beach. It is that relief you feel when your toes hit the cool water after taking that long painful walk across the sand.
It’s like coming in from a day of basking in the sunlight and sitting down in front of a fan with a tall glass of ice water. Sigh…
Well…Not to bum you all out, but unfortunately that is not the climate we are currently entrapped under.
So, have a piece of pie and for just a moment, transport yourself to the middle of summer. Bet you think it wasn’t all that hot now don’t you?
Ingredients for the Crust (you will also need a 10” pie dish or if you don’t have one of those, like me, you can also use a springform pan)
6 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, melted, plus more for greasing
1 Cup Chocolate Graham Cracker Crumbs, from 9 whole crackers
1/3 Cup Sugar
Ingredients for the Filling
1 ¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice, preferably key lime juice (from 25 key limes)*
1 Teaspoon of Finely Grated Lime Zest
2, 14oz Cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Large Eggs at Room Temperature, lightly beaten
Ingredients for the Whipped Cream
½ Cup Cold Heavy Cream
½ Cup Cold Sour Cream
2 Teaspoons of Sugar
Key Lime Slices for Garnish*
*I used about 12 regular limes, no worries.
MAKE THE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 375° and butter a 10-inch glass pie plate. In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar until thoroughly blended. Add the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened.
Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the side of the pie plate or springform to form the crust. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let the crust cool to room temperature
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING: In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, condensed milk and eggs until smooth. I used the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer instead of a hand mixer for this process.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake for about 20 minutes, until set around the edge and slightly jiggly in the center. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.
MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM: In a bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream and sour cream until soft peaks form, 2 minutes.
Beat in the sugar until stiff peaks form, 1 minute.
Mound the whipped cream on the pie. I cut the corner off a plastic bag and sued that to make the pretty swirls around the edges of the pie.
Garnish with the key lime slices and serve.
Cue the Bob Marley music. Ka-Zam! Instant summer! You’re welcome!
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine
The reasons you should eat, and love, this dish:
It has just the right amount of kick. It won’t leave you begging for a glass of milk to douse your tongue in after you take the first bite.
It will clear your sinuses out! During these cold weather months, we all get a little stuffed up. So keep the sauce from this dish handy and use it as a topping or a burger, chicken, or even some noodles when you start feeling those winter sniffles. One bite, and then POOF! Free and easy breathin’.
You get a great blast of vitamin A and Vitamin C from the red peppers and carrots. We are all trying to be healthier, so why put yourself through the ringer with work outs and diets, when you could just eat this recipe I came up with!
This is a seriously uncomplicated and easy recipe.
It gives you the fulfillment of ordering that greasy Chinese take-out without the MSG, calories, and heartburn! Know what goes in your food and into your body people! Trust me it is soooo worth it!