Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sake Marinated Tuna with Sesame Crust and Peppercorn "Yum Yum" Sauce

Well, I'm back.  I haven't been cooking much that's exciting lately but as it's a Friday night I felt like being creative.  

I love seared tuna.  This recipe is simple yet elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.  Just double or triple the recipe as needed.

I like to serve this with a little Napa cabbage braise/sauté and Forbidden Rice.   It makes for a beautiful plate and a delicious dinner for two.   

The Peppercorn "Yum-Yum" sauce takes a little help from the store.  It's okay to cheat now and again, both with your diet and your cooking shortcuts.  Hey, everyone is super busy, right?

Oh, and I like to plate this with a little bottled ginger sauce.  Not only do you get both flavors of the ginger and the Yum Yum sauce like you do in the restaurants, but it looks pretty on the plate. 

BTW - try adding a little soft honey butter to your rice and water when cooking your Forbidden rice.  You'll be glad that you did. 

Enough chit chat.  Here you go!


1/4 cup dry sake, divided
2 teaspoons light soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon bottled minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste (fresh garlic, chopped and smashed into a paste)
2 center cut tuna - about 5 1/4 ounces each - cut about 2 inches thick
1 ounce Sesame seeds                                  
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns, crushed
1/4 cup green onions/scallions sliced, for garnish

Canola oil for coating skillet
Bottled ginger sauce for plating (optional)


Pat tuna dry.

Combine 1/4 cup of the sake, the soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a non-reactive container.  Whisk to combine.

Add the tuna steaks, cover, and shake to coat.  Refrigerate until ready to prepare; marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

Remove tuna from marinade and pat dry. 

Place sesame seeds into a pie pan.   Coat all sides of each tuna cut, pressing the seeds into the flesh of the fish.

Coat heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, with canola oil.  Heat to smoking hot.

Sear tuna on both sides, about two minutes each main side and thirty seconds on ends for a rare center, three minutes each main side for medium rare.  

Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Mix peppercorns into the bottled Yum Yum sauce. 

Want a zippier sauce?  Add more peppercorns!

Enjoy and I'll see you soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Marinated Grilled Lamb Chops with Spring Pesto and My New Blog Concept

Marinated Grilled Lamb Chops with Spring Pesto

Welcome to My New Blog Concept!

Life continues to be crazy, but I haven't forgotten about sharing my recipes with you.  Unfortunately, yes, I'm still dealing with my knee issue.  Please send me prayers or thoughts for getting this resolved.  I hate having my exercise routine interrupted.  I like to eat, if you haven't guessed.  So exercise is vital!  For me.  Because I eat so much. 

You don't want to hear about my middle-aged aches and oh da pains!  You want to see what great and simple recipe I posted. 

BUT, if you've been following this blog for a while, you'll notice I branded it with another name.  I think change is good.  

The reason I did this is that I realized that while I'm a good cook during the week, I've been so busy and preoccupied that I only have a chance to be a great cook on the weekend.  I know some of you are in the same boat.  You love to cook, but only really have time to devote to it on a Saturday or Sunday. 

I have said, I'll never post just to post.  All of my recipes are kitchen tested, tasted and approved.  I never want to post anything that you can't recreate and get the same great results.

All of my old recipes are still here.  You just need to look back in the archives. 

Now, for this weekend's recipe.   I found this pepper seasoning in my supermarket.  I don't often do this, but I am incorporating this store bought seasoning into my recipe.

I am addicted to the Pero ® Pepper seasoning.   I am actually showing this recipe with a side of these peppers prepared with the seasoning, but I used it in the marinade, too.  It's no salt added, and you will not miss the salt at all.   There is enough salt in the pesto. 

And speaking of the pesto -

You'll want to prepare that pesto first -

For the Spring Pesto:

2 scallions, green and white parts, top removed and chopped
1 bunch (1 ounce) fresh basil
1/2 cup salt and pepper slivered almonds
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup good quality Extra Virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
2 pinches pink salt

For the Lamb Chop Marinade:

For each 3 or 4 lamb loin chops you will need:

1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Pero  ® Seasoning for Peppers
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil


To make the pesto:  Add the chopped scallions, basil, almonds and lemon juice into a food processor.  Pulse until combined.   Add in the cheese and continue to pulse until a smooth. 

Drizzle in the oil through the top of the food processor and continue to pulse until the pesto emulsifies.  Add extra oil as needed.  

Note: This pesto will be thick.  I like to add in a little extra olive oil before serving the pesto.  This way you can freeze the leftovers and add extra oil after defrosting.

Mix all ingredients together for the marinade (fresh chopped herbs, lemon juice, seasoning and olive oil).

Add chops to marinade.   Turn to coat.  Let marinate for at least 1/2 hour.

Brush grill with oil or use cooking spay for the grill. 

Preheat grill to 450 degrees F.

Remove chops from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel (lightly).

Grill chops about 4 or 5 minutes each side for medium rare.  I like to close the lid during the cooking process, but be careful for flare ups.  Adjust cooking time accordingly and for your grill as grill temperatures do vary.

Serve the chops with grilled baby peppers and cucumber salad made with Greek yogurt and fresh dill.  

Note on the seasoning:  No product was given to the blogger.  

You can also add a little fresh lemon juice over the dish at the end.   I like to add some torn basil too.  You can play with the garnishes as you like.  Mint might also be a nice garnish for this dish.

I know you're going to make this recipe over and over again. 

Tell me what you think of my new blog concept.

As always, enjoy and "I'll see you soon."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cedar Planked Arctic Char with Lobster and Crab Bisque Sauce

Cedar Planked Arctic Char

Well, I'm back.  The first part of the year was a bit stressful.  We had a slab (pipe) break in the kitchen - fun fun - repairs, and a host of other issues.   I haven't forgotten about you.  I'm just getting back into the swing of cooking.

Here is a great weeknight recipe.   Now that the weather is getting nicer we can all drag out the grill.

I love planking salmon.   I've tried this method with trout with success.  This was my first attempt with Arctic Char.

If you're not familiar with Arctic Char, the taste and appearance are somewhere between salmon and trout. 

For the sauce I cheated a little.  You take your favorite store-bought lobster bisque - preferably fresh or frozen, not canned, and you add a little cornstarch, sherry, and claw crabmeat to make a yummy sauce.     That's it.  Super easy. 

The nice thing about this dish is you can dress it up a little.   You can add more fresh herbs to your platter, or lemon slices.   Go nuts!

Just make sure that you soak your cedar plank for several hours in water so it doesn't go up in flames on you.  

Note:  I cook the char with the skin on the one side. 

Here is the recipe:

1 lb. fresh Arctic Char, skin on
1 teaspoon olive oil for brushing fish
1/2 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
Pinch Cayenne
Lemon slices (for topping fish while cooking and for garnish)
Fresh herbs (as you like)

Again, if you didn't catch the sauce recipe:

2/3 cup prepared lobster bisque
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dry sherry wine
2 ounces crab claw meat, picked through for shells
Fresh chopped chives, optional


Lay the fish on a platter, skin side down.  Mix the olive oil with the garlic and herb seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning and cayenne.  Brush evenly over the fish. 

Top fish with lemon slices. 

Preheat plank on the grill, about five minutes until it begins to crackle. 

Carefully place the salmon onto the plank.    You'll need to watch this and keep a spray bottle available for possible flair ups.  

Grill fish for about 18 minutes - 20 minutes.

While the fish is cooking, heat the lobster bisque mixed with the cornstarch and wine.  Fold in the crab right before serving.  Top with chives.

Serve the fish with more lemon and the sauce. 

I like to serve this with a rice medley and steamed green beans.  

Enjoy!  I'll see you soon. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chicken Riggies

Chicken Riggies

I am back.  I know I fell down on the number of posts that went up last year.   I have to confess, work and life has been hectic and on the weekends I've been working on finishing up  two screenplays.  I hope to get those out to be read very soon.  
I have this little problem in that when my creative side of my brain is turned to creative writing, I don't feel much like cooking.   I guess my brain just doesn't have the energy to go all out creative in the same day.  But I never stop watching shows about food or reading recipes.  As I mentioned before, I read recipes like most people read novels. 

I have to confess, I'm a Food Network junkie.   I was watching Diners, Drive In and Dives the other evening and one of the restaurants featured Chicken Riggies.   Chicken Riggies is a New York classic dish.   I've made it a couple of times but I never thought of adding more heat to the sauce.  Let me tell you, it worked!

I used store bought pasta.   One of my goals in 2016 is to get more adventurous in making my own pasta.   I am going to try making it hand cut and rolled.   Okay, I might use the food processor.  But as it was a weekday and I didn't have time for it -  not to mention that we had a pipe break in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago and we're still awaiting the repairs - making homemade pasta wasn't on the menu.   But, I am finding that stores are carrying better quality dried pastas.  

As with most good pasta dishes, the secret is in the sauce.  It's true here.  You can feel free to adjust the heat level. 

So, enough chit chat -  here we go!

Serves 4  - Oh, who am I kidding - my husband and I ate the whole dang thing ourselves in one sitting  -  Serves 2 ;.)


For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, enough to coat a large pan
2/3 cup sweet onion, diced
2/3 cup (about 2) sweet baby bell peppers, diced - any color
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Pinch dried Jalapeño flakes
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, no salt added 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pasta:  1/2 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente

For the chicken:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb. chicken tenders,  cut into bite sized pieces  
1 teaspoon salt free table seasoning
2 tablespoons white wine -  for deglazing 


Grated fontina cheese, for topping
Chopped green onion, for topping


Add olive oil to pan. 
Sauté the onion and peppers about three minutes - do not brown.

Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and Jalapeño flake.   Sauté an additional minute to let the flavors release into the pan.
Deglaze with the Sherry vinegar. 
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, covered with the lid cracked open to release some of the steam - this will help the sauce to thicken and reduce.  
Add the parmesan cheese and the cream to the sauce right before serving. 

Note:  If you plan on freezing any of the sauce, leave the cheese and cream out and add it when you're ready to serve the sauce. 

Cook pasta per package directions. 

Add the olive oil to a sauté pan. 
Add the chopped chicken seasoned with the salt free table seasoning. 
Cook over medium heat until browned, about six or seven minutes, until chicken is completely cooked.
Deglaze with white wine.

After the chees and cream is added to the sauce, portion it out.  The recipe is enough for extra sauce.  I would reserve at least a cup of the sauce for serving on the side.   You don't want over-sauced pasta -  toss in the pasta and the chicken in the remaining sauce.  


Top with grated fontina and green onion.  

I like to serve this with Texas toast and a side of roasted broccoli (not pictured).

As always, enjoy and I'll see you soon!