Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - Now Here's Something Different: Seared Ahi Tuna with a Chardonnay Wasabi Cream Sauce and some Chicken Wonton Tacos

Happy New Years! I guess it's only fitting to start 2014 off with a blog - I can't tell you how many half-written blogs I have from last year, tossed in a jumble on my blogspot.   I start with a fantastic idea and then lose steam halfway through.

In a brief recap, 2013 was absolutely amazing.  I had a fantastic work opportunity, am growing in my career, moved away from the lake and to a quieter neighborhood, took some great mini-trips, and am still surrounded by loving family and friends.  Chris came into my life at the tail-end of 2012, but getting to know him and what a fun person he is in 2013 was one of the highlights.   I'll save you all of the mushy stuff - half of which none of his friends would believe anyway.

So I'm starting out 2014 by doing something a little different - instead of ranting about previous dating experiences or my sarcastic observances about human nature (Seriously - there are a lot of idiots out there. I mean...come the fuck on), I'm going to focus on one of my biggest passions: cooking.

New Years Eve I was invited to a get together at a friend's house and since I can't go absolutely anywhere empty-handed, I made food.  And then I made more food.  And I went overboard.  Oops.

Besides bringing a bottle of wine, I made the following.  Sorry for the potato photos, just wanted to give you an idea of some of the steps involved and who doesn't love some good food porn?   I think I might try to look into getting a nicer camera if I join the other 3,859,267 food bloggers in the world. Also, I wanted to format the photos with the steps a bit differently; however, I couldn't get the layout just right so I pretty much said "fuck it" and decided to go order sushi.

Anyway, here's what I made.  Please keep in mind the beauty of cooking is that you can change up recipes to suit your tastes.  I do this almost every time I cook- my measurements may not be exact, so taste where appropriate and adjust.

Seared Ahi Tuna with a Chardonnay Wasabi Cream Sauce
I'm not a big fan of tuna; however, I absolutely adore this recipe. Marinated in ginger, soy, garlic, and lime juice, it's got great aromatics and flavor.  Bonus? It's surprisingly easy and looks fantastic served on a wonton crisp.  If you're doing the no-carb thing, simply serve over watercress or a seaweed salad.  You'll notice in the following photo that the tuna isn't rare in the middle - I prefer my tuna a little more underdone; however, since I was cooking for others, I wasn't sure how people preferred theirs.  So I made some more rare than others and others a little more done.

16 oz. ahi tuna steaks (3/4 to 1" thick)
4 T. Sesame Oil
4 T. Soy Sauce
2 T. Fresh Grated Ginger
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
2 Green Onions (thinly sliced)
1 T. Lime Juice

Chardonnay Cream Sauce
1 c. Chardonnay
1 c. Heavy Cream
2 T. butter (cut into pieces)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2-3 T. wasabi paste (more or less to taste)
1 tsp. salt

Won Tons
1 package wonton wrappers
vegetable oil
Salt (to taste)


1.Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, and lime juice in a bowl.  (taste here and see if you need to add anything - I added a pinch of honey to sweeten my marinade).

2. Using a very sharp knife, cut your tuna into 3/4" to 1" thick steaks.  Place in marinade, coat and cover with Saran Wrap.Toss in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.  You'll notice my tuna is a little uneven on the end. This was due to how the tuna was cut in the store.  If you are able, go to a fishmonger and have them cut the tuna to your liking - it might be a bit more pricy than a traditional grocery store; however, what you will pay for, you'll get back in quality and freshness.


3. For the cream sauce, heat chardonnay in a saucepan until it boils.  Allow to boil and reduce by half (about 5-10 minutes). Add the cream and boil until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, whisking occasionally to avoid burning the sauce.

4. Once the sauce coats the back of the spoon, add salt and lemon juice. Whisk.  Add butter in, piece by piece until the sauce is thick and glossy.  Add wasabi paste and whisk until incorporated. Taste and add more wasabi if needed.  Set aside and allow to cool.

5. For the wontons, cut the wonton slices into 4 smaller triangles. Fry until golden brown, remove from oil, and season with salt.

6. To sear the tuna, heat a pan over med. high to high heat. Depending on what kind of pan you have, you might want to spray the pan to prevent burning. Remove tuna from marinade and pat excess off.   Sear on each side for approx 1 min. 15 seconds for rare.    Let cool slightly and slice with a very sharp knife, 1/4 inches thick.

7. To assemble, place a slice of tuna on your small wonton chip, drizzle with the cooled wasabi cream sauce and garnish with a few thinly sliced green onions or chives.

Chicken Wonton Tacos
Soooooo I should probably edit the title a bit - these were originally wonton tacos; however, after working for half a day, cooking for a few hours and still having to get ready for the New Years Eve party, I basically said a big pile of "fuck it" and decided to just cut the wonton wrappers in triangles and fry those.  So consider this a "chicken wonton chip".  Either way, it was still delicious as evidence that I didn't have any left over to take home.  The Asian flavors of soy, sesame and ginger combined with the fresh bite of slaw and crunchy, salty wonton chip make these an easy favorite.  Again - doing the low carb thing?  This would be great seved as a salad - put the chicken over the slaw and nom away!

Chicken Marinade
1 lb. Chicken Breasts (diced into small pieces)
4 T. Stir Fry Sauce
1/4 c. Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 T. Soy Sauce
1 T. Lime Juice
2 T. Grated Fresh Ginger

Cole Slaw
1 bag coleslaw mix
4 T. Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (more or less to your taste - just remember to leave a bit of crunch and not overdress)
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. lime juice

Other Toppers
Red Onions (sm. dice)
Cilantro (chopped)
Green Onions (sliced)

1. Add diced chicken to gallon ziplock bag and add rest of ingredients.  Smush around to combine and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

2. To make coleslaw, dump slaw mix in a large bowl and add sesame dressing (add the dressing to the edges of the bowl and using tongs, incorporate inwards - it'll help coat evenly.  Do once around the bowl, coat and see if you need more - it's a great little trick to make sure you're not getting soggy veggies).  Add sugar and lime juice.  Taste and season where appropriate.

3. To fry the chicken, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a hot wok or large skillet.  Add the chicken and marinade to the hot wok/skillet ensuring not to overcrowd the pan (you want to sear your chicken - not boil or steam it!). Cook chicken, remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

4. Fry your wontons, remove from the oil and add salt to season.  Pile chicken on the chip topped with the slaw and some cilantro and onions.  Enjoy!

Dill Dip
What party is complete without a veggie tray or some dip?  Rather than buy a run-of-the-mill grocery store carrots, celery, green pepper, and ranch dressing, make your own. This dip is super easy and really yummy.  Bonus hint? It also goes really well served in a round loaf of rye with a side of the cut out bread to dip in.  And the spread goes amazing on turkey and Greek burgers. Oh and did I mention how ridiculously good this dip is?

2 c. Sour Cream
1 c. Mayo.
1 T. Dried Dill
4 T. Dried Parsley Flake
1 T. minced onion
Salt (to taste)

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Taste and season to your liking (adding more dill or parsley, more salt....more onion, etc.).  Let refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours for the flavors to incorporate.

Please let me know if you have any questions with the recipes and how they turn out for you.  Also let me know if you can think of any great incorporations - I love when people put a spin on something I may not have thought of.

And if you have any requests you'd like to see me cook/write about, let me know.  Nothing makes me happier than cooking for people and seeing people enjoy food.  I'm also curious if this is a blog-avenue that maybe I have been missing out on but am well suited for.  If so, I would be delighted to bring you all food that'll make you want to slap your mama.

I recently made chili that went over so well all of my leftovers were gone in a day and a half, and a crock pot chicken that's Paleo and Akins friendly (it's so easy, it's ridiculous).  Not only that, I have a recipe for egg rolls that are addicting and impressive to anyone you make them for.

Anywho...that's it for me for now.  I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing New Years. I hope 2014 is your best year yet - I look forward to seeing what's in store for me.

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