Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fabio's Lazy Tuna- Cosmo Hippie Chef Alert!

I didn't realize until this morning that this dish is like a one dish fish cake! Fish cakes are like crab cakes that have potatoes in them, and probably the reason this is called Fabio's Lazy Tuna is because you make it in one big dish instead of individuals cakes. Maybe I shouldn't be drinking Dirty Martini's when I'm eating dinner, these things would come to me sooner.

Anyways this dish comes from one of my favorite shows on the Cooking Channel, David Rocco. David and his wife live in Florence, Italy and sometimes he's at home cooking or sometimes they are out road tripping and he'll make a dish the is special to that region. I saw him make this this twice and thought it looked interesting, and it is.
I think this dish would be a great to entertain with, it's easy, fresh, lighter than a traditional fish cake, delicious and something new and fun. I hope you'll try it. Enjoy!
-Fabio's Lazy Tuna-
6 potatoes, boiled, peeled and finely chopped (mine were organic, local cal whites, similar to russets)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 T. chili peppers (I used dried)
bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped (I used about 1/2 c.)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2c. olive oil
1 T. fennel seed, crushed (I used my mortar and pesol)
2 T. lemon rinds or zest
bunch of basil, torn (I know basil is not in season but I was able to find organic basil at the store)
8 peeled plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used my own canned tomatoes, but I used a little less because I added 1/4 c. roasted red bell peppers as well)
1 1/2 lb. fresh tuna, thinly sliced (Lucky for me my buddy Dave owns a sushi restaurant- Sushi Groove, so I was able to get a pound of fresh ahi from him. But you can just hit up your favorite fish shop)
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I used a baguette that was leftover, I pulsed it into crumbs in the food processor and then toasted it for a minute in the oven to make them extra dry)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, add potatoes, garlic, chili peppers, half the parsley, salt, pepper to taste. Add 3/4 c. olive oil and mix well. Spread the potato mixture on an ovenproof pan, packing the mixture so it serves as a solid bed for the tuna.
3. Spread half of the fennel seeds, lemon rinds, basil and pieces of the plum tomatoes sparingly (roasted bell peppers ,if using) on top of the potato mixture.
4. Add the tuna slices on top covering the baking dish.
5. Spread the remainder of the fennel seeds, lemon rinds, plum tomatoes (bell pepper, if using)
and the rest of the parsley on top of the tuna.
6. Generously sprinkle the bread crumbs, and drizzle the remaining olive oil on the top.
7. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (Depending on how well you like your tuna) Serve!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tomato Vinaigrette

This is one of my go to dressings for salad, marinates or whatever you want. It's great when your craving tomatoes in the winter, you can use organic tomato sauce or your own canned tomatoes, pureed and strained. It's easy, throw all the ingredients into a jar and shake. Enjoy!

-Tomato Vinaigrette-
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 t. dry thyme, basil, oregano
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
1/4 c. tomato sauce
*optional- fresh chopped garlic

1. Pour all the ingredients into a jar with tight fitting lid. Place the lid on the jar and shake all the ingredients together until well blended.
2. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Ready to use!

In the summer when fresh herbs are available you could swap them for the dry herbs.
P.S. I use my mortar and pesol to grind all the herbs, salt and pepper and onion powder together before adding them to the other ingredients.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Cheesecake- For My Love

Everyone knows how spoiled my husband (Billy) is when it comes to the food department at our house. I take full responsibility for the monster he has become, but all the cooking I do for him is out of pure love. I warned him when we started dating that I was a handful, but I also said I would be worth every bit of it. Cooking for him is my way of saying I love you, I cherish you and thanks for putting up with me. I think he would agree it's a perfect trade off. When Valentine's rolls around I usually make him something naughty, this recipe definitely doesn't fall under our eating for health plan but Valentine's is about showering those whom we love with a little extra love. So honey, this ones for you. ENJOY!


1/2 (14 oz) box graham crackers (2c.)
1/2 c. salted peanuts (I used macadamia nuts because I have a surplus of them)
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet vegan choc chips)
4 T. soft unsalted butter

2 (8oz) bars cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 c. superfine sugar (I used sucant)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. creamy peanut butter

1 c. sour cream
1 c. milk chocolate chips (I used the semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips)
2 T. light brown sugar (I used sucant)

9-inch spring form pan

Cook's Note: All of the ingredients should be room temp. before you start.

1. Preheat the oven to 325.
2. Process the crackers, nuts, chocolate and butter in a food processor. Once it comes together in a clump, turn it into a spring form pan and press into the bottom and up the sides to make a crunchy crust. Put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
3. Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth mixture. Pour and scrape the filling into the crust and bake for 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes. (Iactually cooked mine for only 45 min.) The top should feel set and dry.
4. Take cheesecake out of the oven and set aside while you make the topping. Warm the sour cream and milk chocolate with the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Gently whisk to blend in the chocolate as it melts, then take pan off the heat.
5. Spoon and spread the topping vety gently over the top of the cheesecake, being careful to not break the surface. Put back in the oven for a final 10 minutes.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely. Slice and serve.

**This recipe comes from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. As seen on Cooking Channel

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cranberry Relish

I was introduced to this delicious recipe at a recent book club meeting from my fellow Slow Food Utah book club buddy Kate Holbrook. I asked her permission to share the recipe with all of you and she told me she got the recipe from a friend- who got it from a friend. Isn't that the way it always go?! Let me tell you that this dish was a big hit, and the fact that it is easy makes it even better.

It is very hard to find fresh cranberries at the market this time of the year, probably because they are in season during the holidays. Normally I would not do a recipe like this with produce that is out of season but I was able to find frozen cranberries at the market. I feel good about buying these because they come from a Sustainable Farm in Oregon called Stahlbush Island Farms. These cranberries are flash frozen, so they are super fresh and there is nothing added to them- just cranberries! This company also uses their remaining fruit and vegetables material to produce green energy, naturally chic. Enjoy!

-Cranberry Relish-

10-12oz fresh cranberries
1 green onion, chopped (I forgot this time to get green onions, so I used 1/4 chopped purple onion)
1 medium jalapeno, chopped (seeded for those who can't handle the heat)
3/4 c. sugar (I use sucant*)
1-2 T. cilantro leaves (I actually used more)
1/4 tsp. cumin (I used 1/2 tsp)
pinch of salt
block of cream cheese, or log of goat cheese

1. Blend all the ingredients (except the cheese) in a food processor until blended, but still chunky. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
2. Serve over cheese of your choice with a fresh sliced baguette or crackers.

*Sucant- Minimally processed sugar made by pressing the juice from the cane, clarifying, filtering and evaporating it, then crystallizing the resulting sugar. Sucant retains many of the minerals, vitamins and trace elements found in sugar cane.