Friday, February 27, 2009

Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos with Avocado Salsa

Many years ago I never used to eat any fish. Slowly, over time, I started to try a few new things here and there. I started to eat some sushi and found out that I liked it. One day I tried seared ahi and it has become my favorite fish. I decided to see if I could prepare it at home. I searched the internet and finally landed on the Food Network website. I found this recipe and it sounded good so I gave it a shot. It is one of my favorite meals. I have made it for friends who raved about them. This was the first meals that I made for my husband and he loves them as much as I do.

Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos with Avocado Salsa1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
12 ounces ahi (or albacore) tuna, cut into 1-inch-thick steaks
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
8 taco shells (available in most grocery stores)
2 limes, halved
Avocado Salsa, recipe follows
In a small bowl, combine cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and coriander. Rub spice mixture generously on both sides of the tuna. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for the taco shells. Heat a nonstick pan on the stove over high heat. When pan is smoking hot, add olive oil, wait 10 seconds, then add tuna. Sear for 1 minute per side, or until fish is cooked on the outside, but rare on the inside. Transfer to a plate. Separate taco shells and place them in the oven for 4 minutes (timing is everything here, since they go from perfectly done to burned after about 1 additional minute). While the shells are heating, dice tuna into 1/4-inch cubes. To serve, fill all 8 taco shells halfway with salsa. Spoon tuna over salsa and squeeze a spritz of lime juice overtop. Serve immediately.
Avocado Salsa:
2 ripe avocados (ripe means it indents with the firm press of a finger), pit and skin discarded, diced into 1/4-nch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, stems discarded before measuring
1/4 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a medium-size bowl. Toss gently. DO NOT MASH AVOCADO. I don't add cilantro to the salsa because I am not a fan. My husband loves it and adds it after I put in the salsa. If you like cilantro I would add it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bacon Cheeseburgers

One of my husband's favorite fast food items is the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr. We don't eat these because they are not good for you. I have been trying to come up with healthy versions of some of our favorite foods. This was attempt at one of his favorites. This is the second time I have done this and they really are good. They have a lot less calories and a lot less fat than the original. I have a feeling I will be making many more of these in the years to come. I realize that they still have quite a few calories but it's much better for us.

Bacon Cheeseburgers
4 oz of very low fat ground beef per burger(we use 7% or 4% if we can find it)
Lean center cut bacon (2 or 3 slices per burger)
1 0r 2 slices of fat free cheese singles per burger
2 Frozen Onion Rings per burger
Your favorite bbq sauce
Whole wheat hamburger buns (I buy the smallest ones I can find to cut back on calories)

Start the onion rings in the oven per bagged directions. Cook the bacon, then the burgers, and then add the cheese just before done to melt. Toast the buns and then add bbq sauce. Top with bacon, onion rings and the meat patty. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

California Roll

I have been making sushi and sushi rolls at home for over a year now. We used to live close to a store where we could get fresh sashimi grade fish. Now our only option is to make California Rolls. We did find a store that sold masago (the orange eggs on top) which really adds a nice touch. These were by far the best rolls I have ever made.

California Roll
Sushi Rice (Rice, Water, Sugar, Salt, Rice Wine Vinegar)
Imitation Crab
Cucumber (neither of us like cucumber so I left it out)
Nori (1/2 sheet)

Make and cool sushi rice. Lay sushi rice on surface and then put nori on top. Add slices of avocado and crab and then use bamboo mat to roll and seal. Top with masago. I use a wet knife to cut because it prevents the rice from sticking to the knife.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lovely Lemon Tea Cookies

I got a bunch of lemons from a friend of mine who has a lemon tree. I made some fresh squeezed lemonade but still had some left over. I saw these cookies on the website Good Things Catered. They looked so good so I gave this recipe a shot. They were so good and refreshing. I usually like my sweets really sweet. These are just perfect even though they are not overly sweet. I froze some of the dough balls and cooked them later and they were just as good. For some reason my cookies flattened more than hers did but they were still delicious.

Lovely Lemon Tea Cookies
Cookie Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Icing Ingredients:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon

In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine well; set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer, combine butter, sugars, lemon zest and beat in high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add lemon juice and beat to combine well.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add dry ingredients.
Slowly turn mixer up to medium to incorporate all the of the dry ingredients into the dough (this will take a couple minutes, but it will come together well - if you live in a dry climate, you can add 1 Tbsp water to make it come together).
Remove bowl from mixer and roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls (no bigger).
Place cookies onto a large plate or cookie sheet and place into fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.
Remove cookies from fridge, place on lined baking sheets and place into oven to bake for 10-12 minutes (do not cook anymore - they may look underdone but they are not, do not them them brown).
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets.
Once cooled, make icing by placing powdered sugar in a small bowl and, add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.
Stirring constantly, add 1/2 tsp lemon juice at a time until icing just comes together and is barely pourable.
Using spoon, drizzle a small amount of icing over each cookie and let run down sides.
Garnish with zest of lemon, if desired and serve.
Makes about 30 cookies.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Carmelized Onion Dip

I saw this recipe on Cooking Light and wanted to try it. It was so good. If you like onion dip and really like onions you will love this. I wanted a healthy dip that I could eat with some vegetables and this was perfect.

Caramelized Onion Dip
Cooking spray
3 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream, divided
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) block-style 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened (I used fat free)
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground red pepper
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool.
Combine 1 tablespoon sour cream and cream cheese, stirring well. Add remaining sour cream, mayonnaise, and remaining ingredients, and stir well to combine. Stir in onion. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Nutritional Information
Calories: 30 (54% from fat)
Fat: 1.8g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.1g)
Protein: 0.7g
Carbohydrate: 3.3g
Fiber: 0.5g
Cholesterol: 3mg
Iron: 0.1mg
Sodium: 53mg
Calcium: 11mg
16 Servings (1 serving is 1 Tablespoon)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pork and Cabbage Dumplings

I saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen and they made these dumplings. They looked delicious and easy to make. I was looking for a new way to cook the lean pork we have grown to love. They were a little time consuming and for some reason my batch made twice as many as the recipe said it would. It was worth it. They were so good even with the extra lean pork. I froze the rest of them and will give them a try sometime soon. We used a sweet chili sauce for dipping instead of the recommended sauce and it went great with the potstickers.

3 cups minced napa cabbage leaves (about 1/2 medium head)
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 pound ground pork
4 minced scallions (about 6 tablespoons)
2 egg whites , lightly beaten
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
24 round gyoza wrappers (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water , plus extra for brushing

1. For the filling:: Toss cabbage with the salt in colander set over a bowl and let stand until cabbage begins to wilt, about 20 minutes. Press the cabbage gently with rubber spatula to squeeze out any excess moisture, the transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
2. For the dumplings: Working with 4 wrappers at a time (keep the remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap), follow the photos below to fill, seal, and shape the dumplings using a generous 1 teaspoon of the chilled filling per dumpling. Transfer the dumplings to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling; you should have about 24 dumplings. (The dumplings can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once frozen, the dumplings can be transferred to a zipper-lock bag to save space in the freezer; do not thaw before cooking.)
3. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels; set aside. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet and arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, with a flat side facing down (overlapping just slightly if necessary). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the dumplings, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to low, add 1⁄2 cup of the water, and cover immediately. Continue to cook, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more. Slide the dumplings onto the paper towel-lined plate, browned side facing down, and let drain briefly. Transfer the dumplings to a serving platter and serve with scallion dipping sauce (see related recipe). Let the skillet cool until just warm, then wipe it clean with a wad of paper towels and repeat step 3 with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.
Choosing the Right WrapTasters preferred the slightly chewy texture of gyoza-style wrappers to thinner wonton wrappers, but both styles produced terrific potstickers. Although we developed our recipe using round wrappers, square or rectangular wrappers can be used as well. Here's how to adjust filling amount and steaming time. Because the smaller wrappers yield more dumplings, you'll need to cook them in multiple batches. (For wrapping instructions, see instructions below.)WRAPPER
Round gyoza (3 3/4 inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 10 minutes
Round wonton (3 3/4 inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 6 minutes
Square wonton (3 3/8 inches square), fill with 2 rounded teaspoons, steam for 6 minutes
Rectangular wonton (3 1/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches), fill with 1 rounded teaspoon, steam for 5 minutes

Wrapping Potstickers The instructions below are for round wrappers, our preferred shape. If using square wrappers, fold diagonally into a triangle (step 2) and proceed with the recipe. For rectangular wrappers, fold in half lengthwise.

1. FILL: Place rounded tablespoon of filling in center of gyoza wrapper.

2. FOLD: After moistening edge of wrapper, fold it in half to make half-moon shape.

3. PINCH: With forefinger and thumb, pinch dumpling closed, pressing out any air pockets.

4. FLATTEN: Place dumpling on its side and press gently to flatten bottom.
Recipe Testing
Clearing the Air During testing, we discovered that air left between wrapper and filling can cause "ballooning" during steaming, as the wrapper puffs up and away from the meat. The result? A messy first bite. Once we were mindful to press the air out before sealing the wrappers, our potstickers came out right every time.
Here is the link to the recipe. There are pictures to go along with the instructions. You need to be a member to see this.