The Hungry Man Eats

Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Pan Fried Tuna with Cumin

Pan Fried Tuna with Cumin

I have always been a seafood fan and when given the option to choose to have seafood either while eating out or to cook up at home, I will take it. When I was a hungry boy growing up I ate tuna fish a lot, but it was always in the same style: homemade tuna fish salad to take in for my school lunches. It took a while for me to realize that a typical tuna fish was not a red-hatted, glasses wearing hipster fish. Some years later I came across a blackened tuna steak offered on the menu of some restaurant that I can no longer remember the name of, I tried it and was thrilled. Tuna steaks were immediately added to my short list of seafood dishes that I would try if seen on a menu. These days I prefer to cook tuna at home, I can usually get a better deal on it and you can do a lot with tuna at home (pan fry, grill, broil, just don’t overcook it!) though I will leave the sushi creation to the expert chefs at the restaurants.

This leads us to today when I stopped in at the market in my building after work:

The friend I stopped there with said “Tuna’s on sale this week.” I looked and lo and behold:

“Sale: $12.99 lb. Fresh Wild Caught Tuna Steaks from Florida” said the jaunty yellow sign in the seafood section.

“Well, looks like I know what I am doing for dinner tonight.”

I strode into my place with a tuna steak in my bag, and a lightness in my heart, because I had a tuna steak in my bag.

The phone rang and the friend I was at the market was letting me know about this excellent sounding tuna recipe she found on the Whole Foods Market app she had on her phone. She said that I should check it out since I probably had the necessary ingredients on hand already. The recipe was called Seared Tuna with Cumin, but I did not have all the ingredients needed. Fortunately I had all the ones that really mattered, I was only missing the cilantro, coconut oil and lime. You know how they say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, well there is an unknown (till now) saying that goes: When life doesn’t give you limes, use your squeeze bottle of lemon juice instead. As for the cilantro, some people will say that it should always be missing, I actually like the stuff but did not think I missed anything by not including it.

It turned out great, I served it on a bed of basmati rice with a cucumber salad on the side as seen above.

Here is my adaption of the recipe from Whole Foods, to see the original, follow the link above, and also here.

Pan Fried Tuna with Cumin
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 (6 ounce) tuna steaks
  2. 2 T ground cumin
  3. 1/4 t garlic powder
  4. 1/4 t Lawry's seasoning salt
  5. 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine the cumin, garlic powder, seasoning salt and cayenne pepper.
  2. Coat the seasoning mixture evenly over the tuna, covering it completely.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat until hot.
  4. Add the tuna to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn the tuna steaks over and sprinkle with the lemon juice.
  6. Continue to cook for about 3 more minutes till fish is opaque on the inside.
Notes
  1. Make sure not to overcook your tuna, it dries it up and toughens it!
Adapted from Whole Foods Market
The Hungry Man Eats http://hungrymaneats.com/

I Guess I’ll Have a Little Dessert…

Dark Chocolate Caramel Cream Dolcini

Piccoli Dolci: In Italian it literally means “small cakes” in the language of Olive Garden, it becomes a slightly more flowery phrase: “little dessert treats”. I was there a few nights back when I was down visiting my parents and we all decided to get a some dessert. They have five different “Dolcini” available on the dessert menu. You may think that the word Dolcini is the plural for dolci in Italian, but you would be wrong, it seems to be primarily a corporate word used by Olive Garden (unless you are one of the people with the last name Dolcini, or a trendy espresso joint with the word in your name).

Enough linguistic tomfoolery though, the Dolcini choices were: Chocolate Mousse, Limoncello Mousse, Strawberry & White Chocolate, Amaretto Tiramisu and Dark Chocolate Caramel Cream. The picture at the top is of a Dark Chocolate Caramel Cream Dolcini, it was my dessert pick. The Dolcini’s all cost $2.69 each or 3 for $6.79. The rest of Olive Garden’s desserts all cost $4.99 to $6.99. The serving sizes however are a good bit larger for the price, or should I say gigantesco!

The price does seem high for the quantity you get, the soup spoon you see above is standard size and it looks gigantesco next to the dessert, but it does cost less than lots of Starbucks beverages by comparison. Also, you are at Olive Garden and you have decided that even after all the salad and bread sticks, as well as however much of your entrée you consumed that you still want to satisfy your sweet tooth. Do you really want to order that full size tiramisu? The sweetness inherent in a dessert is often a contrast to the meal you just ate (the vastly different flavor profile is why you always seem to have room for dessert) but most people don’t know that it really does not take much sweetness to satisfy you. A Dolcini size portion is usually just enough.

Chimichurri: The Pesto of South America

Tropical Churrasco

I recently got back from a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This was an excellent occasion to try all kinds of different foods. A term I saw bandied about a little too frequently was “Floribbean”, which is a combo of Florida and Caribbean. Cuban sandwiches and Citrus Mahi with coconut and a sweet corn sauce, deliciously Floribbean, but a calling a basic burger served with mango salsa Floribbean is beginning to push it.  

I had only two goals in mind when I was thinking about what to eat: Eat seafood, and eat things unique to the area. Both goals at the same time would be extra great. I was not able to get as much seafood as I hoped, but some of the non-seafood alternatives were better than I expected.

This leads us to the dish pictured at the top: They called it Tropical Churrasco on the menu. It is described as rum & jerk marinated skirt steak served with chimichurri sauce. I had mine cooked medium with sautéed vegetables and jasmine rice. Unfortunately the picture does not do it justice. I had a dish similar to it at another restaurant with rice and black beans. Both times it was amazing, and it was the chimichurri sauce that made the meals memorable.

Now I knew what chimichurri was beforehand, Trader Joe’s has an excellent chimichurri rice that I wholeheartedly recommend, but I never had it in any other preparation till this trip.

It is a simple sauce to make, the basic ingredients include parsley, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon and oregano, there are lots of variations out there building on this basic combo. Soon I will find the most interesting chimichurri recipe and put it to good use and share the results with you all.

Avocado Turkey Burger from Ruby Tuesday

Avocado Turkey Burger

I recently had the good fortune to join some of my coworkers for a going away lunch at Ruby Tuesday. The only restaurant that screams coworker gathering more than Ruby Tuesday is Chili’s. It’s a great place for giving out awards…
Oh, but I kid, Ruby Tuesday has one of the better salad bars in this category of restaurant and reasonably good, inexpensive entrees, they are a graybeard in this restaurant category at 41 years old. They are also known for having decent hamburgers for a casual dining chain. Around four years ago they had a whopping 21 burger options, some of which were really stretching the concept of a burger (remember the Jumbo Lump Crab Burger? A crab cake in a bun is not a burger…) now it appears to be a more manageable nine options.
One of them is the Avocado Turkey Burger, as seen above. Per their description, it is topped with fresh avocado, Swiss cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, red onions, and pickles. I have tried my hand at making my own turkey burgers a time or two, and they have always turned out merely okay, the problem is that they never seem very juicy. The Avocado Turkey Burger was one of the juiciest turkey burgers I have ever had, and the flavor combo of the ingredients went together really well, avocado, much like bacon improves just about any sandwich/burger it is added to (oddly enough, neither helps a Fluffernutter).
I don’t always eat turkey burgers out, but when I do, I prefer Ruby Tuesdays.
Is there another awesome turkey burger out there that I have overlooked or not tried yet? Let me know and I will give it a try.
Hungry Man Eats Score: 81/100
Ruby Tuesday Traditional Gift Card

 

My Version of the Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich from Starbucks

My Chicken Salad Sandwich

A few weeks ago I tried out the Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich from Starbucks. It was a pretty good sandwich for a premade sandwich and I shared my thoughts about it in this post.

Chicken salad is one of those salads I had never tried to make up before as it involved a bit more effort than I was willing to put in for a salad. I consider it to be a level 4 salad on my salad difficulty scale (soon to be patented)

  1. Tossed salad (greens and veggies)
  2. Tuna salad (no cooking, just assembly)
  3. Egg salad (cooking the eggs then assembling)
  4. Chicken salad (more cooking and cutting, usually more ingredients then egg salad)
  5. Hot German Potato salad (lots of prep work and cooking)

I started thinking about how good the sandwich was and then the light bulb goes off. As I replaced the bulb that went out in the lamp beside me, I realize that I can go to the Starbucks website and get the ingredients off of their full ingredient list on the page for the sandwich. I will reverse engineer the recipe for the chicken salad sandwich!

So I did, check out the recipe below for my interpretation of the Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich from Starbucks.

This was my first ever attempt to create a recipe based on something I ate with only a list of ingredients (but no quantities).

 Ready to Assemble

After I mixed everything together, I let it sit till the next day’s lunch so the flavors could blend further.

All Mixed Up

For my first attempt at something like this it turned out well. I made only two changes to what I did, I reduced the amount of black pepper used in the dressing and added a bit of salt to the dressing as well. The recipe shows these adjustments.

Give it a try and let me know what you think or if you have any interesting variations you come up with.

My Version of the Starbucks Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich
Serves 2
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb. chicken (1 boneless chicken breast)
  2. 1 large strip Applewood bacon (or 2 small)
  3. 1/4 small tomato
  4. olive oil
  5. poultry seasoning
  6. lemon juice
  7. garlic powder
  8. salt
  9. pepper
  10. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  11. 2 T scallions (green onion)
  12. Lettuce or mixed greens
  13. 4 slices wheat bread
Instructions
  1. Poach your chicken breast, when done cooking, remove from the water and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, then lightly dust it with poultry seasoning. Cut it up into bite size pieces.
  2. Fry up your strip of bacon, and crumble when it is fully cooked, set aside.
  3. Roast your tomato until the skin just starts to blacken, chop up and add to mixing bowl, add a splash of vinegar and a dash of garlic powder.
  4. In this same bowl, add the mayonnaise, green onions, 1 t lemon juice, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper.
  5. Add bacon and chicken and mix thoroughly.
  6. Spoon half the salad onto your bread and use as much lettuce or mixed greens as you want.
  7. Makes two sandwiches worth.
Notes
  1. You can eat this right away, but you may prefer to let it sit overnight so that the favors blend more fully.
The Hungry Man Eats http://hungrymaneats.com/

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