Seared Yellowfin Tuna over Creamy Coconut Lentils and Rice

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Sometimes, busy weeknights call for a delicious (yet effortless) meal that will instantly transport you to a distant land!  Something that SEEMS way too fancy for a weeknight, but only takes a few minutes to pull together.

When you are short on time, you should always take a shortcut when you can… just make sure you aren’t sacrificing quality for time.  I love lentils and completely appreciate their nutritional qualities; the only problem is that I don’t normally have the time to fool with them on weeknights.  This is when the shortcut comes in.  Something I tried at one of the food shows that we recently went to is a delicious Lentil & Rice Kit that is ready in 20 minutes.  It tastes like it has been cooking all day and the whole family loves it.  Plus, it has lots of protein and it’s Non-GMO.  We are carrying it in the store now.  I toasted the spices according to the package directions, got it going in a pot on the stove, covered it, and let it simmer for 20 minutes while I tackled the tuna.  It doesn’t get any easier than this!

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I gathered the ingredients I wanted for the tuna:  sesame oil, sesame seed seasoning, soy sauce, and wasabi sesame seeds.

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I had visions of curling up on the couch with a bowl and a fork, so I decided I would cut the tuna into chunks rather than sear the entire steak. I trimmed off the bloodline and cut the steak into 1″ squares.

About the tuna…  some people might think Bluefin is ‘the one and only’ tuna.  Bluefin is actually in danger of being overfished.  At Cod & Capers Seafood, we have “sushi grade” tuna (we call it #1 tuna in the seafood industry), but it’s Yellowfin.  It’s every bit as delicious, but it is just so much more environmentally friendly and affordable.  Some people also worry about mercury when consuming tuna.  Unless you eat tuna every day, you really don’t have anything to be concerned about.  All things in moderation!  Pregnant and nursing women are the ones who should really watch their tuna and swordfish intake and stick to consuming small quantities less frequently.

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I tossed the tuna with sesame oil, soy sauce, and some sesame seed seasoning that I like.  I let it rest for a few minutes while I gathered a pan and started heating it.

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Over high heat, add the tuna to the pan.  The oil it is marinating in is enough to keep it from sticking.  You want the pan screaming hot because you are going to sear and brown the outside and leave the inside undercooked.  This is completely a personal preference.  My son likes it cold in the middle.  I prefer it more along the lines of “medium”.  You might like it cooked all the way.  Keep a very close eye on this and keep it moving in the pan.  I cooked my tuna to medium and it took mere SECONDS!  As soon as you get it to the desired temperature, remove it from the heat.

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I went ahead and put some of the coconut lentils and rice in a bowl and topped it with tuna.  I didn’t think it NEEDED a sauce, but there is a particular Asian-inspired sauce I sort of fell in love with and I pretty much will find any excuse I can to use it.  If you ever have the chance to visit a Trader Joe’s, get this sauce.  It doesn’t disappoint.  I drizzled a little over the top of the tuna and sprinkled some Wasabi sesame seeds on it.  The sesame seeds have a great heat, but it doesn’t distract you from the meal itself.

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It only took twenty minutes and most of that was just me waiting for the lentils and rice to cook.  The actual tuna took maybe 5 minutes from start to finish.  SO easy and what a treat!

 

 

Channeling the Tropics with Rum-Glazed Shrimp

Well, it’s been raining a lot here and I am SICK of it!  I have been trying to imagine myself somewhere sunny and tropical every time I have to walk from my car to a store in the rain.  I have been wanting to try this Rum-Glazed Shrimp recipe I found on Pinterest for a while, but I knew I wanted to switch it up a little.  After some consideration, I made a plan and revised the recipe and set to work.  I chose the perfect rainy evening for it, too.

(Recipe adapted from the Cook Like a Champion blog’s Rum Glazed Shrimp recipe.)

I started with 1.5 pounds of Fresh White Shrimp for Fernandina Beach, FL.  These were Extra Large sized shrimp (about 20 to a pound, but a fairly rough count).  I tossed them with the juice of one lemon and two cloves of fresh minced garlic.

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I allowed the shrimp to marinate in this mixture while I prepared the glaze.

Now, in this recipe, I used Organic Coconut Palm Sugar.  I have really come to prefer it over Brown Sugar and substitute it whenever possible.  It has a rich and caramel-like flavor and (because it is less processed) it also has more nutrients than white or brown sugar.  It has the same number of calories as brown and white sugar, but the glycemic index is lower.  If you are watching your sugar or carbs, this is a great alternative!  (By the way, it is an even switch.  You can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio when a recipe calls for brown sugar, which makes it easy!)

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Rum Glaze:

  • 1/2 Cup Dark Rum
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar (you can use dark brown sugar)
  • 1 Stick of Unsalted Butter (cut into cubes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

Put all the ingredients for the glaze in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.  After it comes to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and let it go until it is thick and looks like a syrup.  It took about 10 minutes for me.  When it coats the back of a spoon and comes down in a thick ribbon, it’s there!

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Normally, I would have grilled these shrimp.  However, the weather was “raining on my parade”, so to speak.  Time to whip out the little-used grill pan and crank the gas stove all the way up.  No problem.  I skewered my shrimp so I would have more control over flipping them all at once, ensuring even cooking.

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We got a new product in the store called Jaali Bean.  It is a lentil & rice kit.  The “Warmly Spiced” version contains orange lentils and rice.  I thought the cinnamon and spices in it would pair nicely with the Rum Glaze, so I decided to test it out.  First impression… the packet of WHOLE seasonings is a major plus.  I highly recommend this item.  The aroma of comforting spices immediately filled my kitchen.  If you are like me, you know all about the health benefits of lentils but don’t have many great ideas for cooking them!  Ready in just 20 minutes, this could be the solution.

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I got this started while I skewered and cooked the shrimp and it was ready by the time the shrimp were finished cooking.  (This is also the perfect time to make yourself a cocktail, since you have the rum out already!)

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I sautéed the shrimp over high heat until slightly browned on each side.  I reduced the heat to low and brushed the glaze on each side before removing them from the pan.

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I plated the shrimp right next to the lentils and rice.  The result… a perfect balance between sweet and savory.  I could taste the rum but it didn’t overwhelm the shrimp.  The cinnamon and spices in the lentils and rice were wonderful with the shrimp.  Try this… either on the grill or in the kitchen.  It doesn’t disappoint!!

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