{Seared Tuna with a Broccoli Radish Slaw}

Seared Ahi

When our CSA box was delivered last week, I must say I was a bit intimidated when I saw the fish: bluefin tuna. We’ve made so many fish tacos with our past fish deliveries, so I guess it was good that we were forced to make something else, but since I’d never cooked tuna before, I was a little unsure about what exactly to do with it. I did know that you just needed to sear it on each side which seemed easy enough, but as you can see from the picture, my tuna filet definitely turned out a little uneven and crispy in places…oops! Still, I’d say it was a pretty decent first attempt! I think I just left it a little too long on one side–it just seems weird not to cook it for longer! Prior to searing, I had just marinated the tuna in a little teriyaki sauce. I had also planned to bread the tuna, but forgot that we were out of panko so that was a no-go.

The best part of the dinner was the broccoli and radish slaw. I love using my food processor attachment to create quick, even slices–and because its just fun to watch the blade in action! Then, I just tossed the slaw with a little white vinegar, salt, and pepper, and it was the perfect compliment to my beginner’s tuna.

And while Jeff wouldn’t eat it, the flavors were definitely good enough to make again. Now, I just need to master my fish searing technique!

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{Clam Chowder in Bread Bowls}

Clams

Happy week before Thanksgiving–only 5 more days of work till I get a week off!

As I mentioned on Saturday, my parents were in town for the 3-day weekend. Since it was raining on Friday, we decided to stay in and cook a warm, comfort food dinner at my place, and to me, nothing says comfort food like soup in a bread bowl. Neither Jeff or I had ever made clam chowder before, so we decided it would be fun to make for the first time.

While we were in Morro Bay earlier that day, we stopped at the fish market to pick up some fresh local clams. Only, we ran into an unexpected problem–apparently they don’t have the type of clams you use for chowder (Little Neck Clams) in Morro Bay–they said all of the local restaurants import their clams from New England–so much for local clam chowder! Since we had trekked all the way out there, we bought a pound of fresh clams and a can of shelled clams to take home with us.

To complete the meal, we also had picked up bread bowls for $2.50 each from Splash Bakery, a wonderful little bakery and cafe in SLO. Funny enough, their original location, Splash Cafe, is located in Pismo Beach and is known for their award winning clam chowder–with New England clams I suppose!

Now, onto the chowder itself. The guy working at the fish market had told us that if we just leave the clams on the counter, they would gradually open up on their own. However, after about 4 hours of waiting, the clams were still firmly closed. Maybe they need a warmer temperature or just more time? To solve the problem, we just placed the steam basket on top of the pot of boiling potatoes and let the heat of the steam open them for us which seemed to do the trick just fine.

Apparently, you’re supposed to soak the clams in cold water for about 40 minutes after they open to remove the sand, but we learned about that step a little too late… Unfortunately, this meant we did have to cut some of the sandy bits out, but it didn’t hurt us too much. Also, I highly recommend buying a can of minced clams–ours were whole and were a bit too large in the soup even after cutting.

Overall, the soup was delicious and a fun meal for a rainy night!

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl

Clam Chowder in Bread Bowls Recipe

Serves 4-5

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

4 sourdough bread bowls

1 pound fresh clams (could substitute with another can of clams)

1 6.5 ounce can minced clams in juice

2 large russet potatoes

1 cup half and half

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup celery, diced

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 bay leaves

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Olive oil

Steps:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, bring potatoes to a boil and cook until soft. If using fresh clams, steam in basket. Remove clams (still in shell) and soak in cold water for 40 minutes to clean. Remove clams from shells and mince when clean. Drain potatoes and set aside.

Meanwhile, add olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onions and celery until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

Add onions, celery, half and half, clam juice, and potatoes in soup pot and combine. Mash potatoes slightly. Add smoked paprika, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and stir occasionally. Cook for about 15 minutes.

In a small sauce pan, combine butter and flour into a roux and add to soup to thicken.

Finally, add all clams, and cook soup, stirring occasionally, for about another 15 minutes.

Warm bread bowls in oven for about 5 minutes. Remove, ladle in soup, and enjoy!

{Beer Battered Fish and Chips}

Fish and Chips

As I think I’ve mentioned before, Jeff and I get freshly caught fish out of Morro Bay with our CSA box every other week. We normally use the fish to make fish tacos but this week, I was really in the mood to try cooking something I never had before–fish and chips. Of course, any time Jeff gets to deep fry something he’s excited and throw beer into the mix and he’s one happy guy! He even told me that he was this was the first dinner he’d really been looking forward to making in awhile…is that a good thing?

When making something new, we always turn to food guru Alton Brown to get the basic steps mastered. His recipe called for brown ale, so we picked up some Sierra Nevada Tumbler to help us out–in more ways than one!

Tumbler

There are 3 recipes for this dinner–one for the fish, one for the fries, and one for the tartar sauce. Each one takes a bit of prep work but the overall skill level needed is pretty basic. The biggest thing to keep in mind is the oil temperatures. We heated the canola oil in our Le Creuset cast iron pot and used a thermometer to get an exact temperature. Also, we made our fries first and then kept them warm in the oven while we cooked the fish and made the tartar sauce which seemed to work well.

On a side note, while studying abroad in London 2 years ago, we learned the difference between chips and fries: chips are thick potato wedges while fries are thin strips like you would get at McDonalds. And what we would refer to as potato chips, they call crisps!

First up, the chips!

Chips

Beer Battered Chips Recipe

Makes 6 servings

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

10oz brown ale, cold

2 large russet potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1.5 cups flour

1/2 gallon canola oil (for frying)

Steps:

Heat 1/2 gallon oil in cast iron pot to 325 degrees.

Cut potatoes into large wedges and place in ice bath for about 2 hours. (This helps remove the starch from the potatoes).

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly add the beer until the mixture forms a pancake-like batter. Refrigerate batter for 15 minutes.

Dip each fry into the batter and then place into oil for about 2-3 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Raise temperature of oil to 375 degrees and fry the chips for a second time.

Sprinkle with a dash of salt and enjoy!

Now onto the fish!

Fish

Beer Battered Fish Recipe

Makes 4 generous servings

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bottle brown beer, cold

1.5 pounds white fish like tilapia or cod (we used red snapper)

Cornstarch, for dredging

Lemon wedges

Steps:

Heat oil to 375 degrees (or maintain from frying the chips).

Combine dry ingredients, except the cornstarch, in a large bowl. Slowly add the beer until the mixture becomes a pancake-like batter. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

De-bone your fish, if necessary, and dredge in cornstarch.

Coat each piece of fish in the batter and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Serve with chips and lemon wedges and enjoy!

And finally, the tartar sauce!

Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce Recipe

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons relish

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Steps:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Serve with your beer battered fish and chips and enjoy!

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

All recipes adapted from Alton Brown: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chips-and-fish-recipe/index.html

{Fish Tacos}

Fish Tacos

These fish tacos are sooo good! Since Mexican food is a staple at our house, it’s nice to switch up the usual black or refried beans with some meat (and by meat, I mean fish!). The best part of these tacos was coming home after a long day at work expecting to start cooking and finding that my husband already had everything made–I guess I’ll keep him around for awhile. ;)

Fish Tacos Recipe
Makes 4 tacos

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

4 corn tortillas
1/2 pound fresh cod
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 cups green cabbage
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 trader joe’s guacamole kit (or make you’re own!)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
flour, for breading
canola oil, for frying
Hot sauce

Steps:

In a medium bowl, combine mayo, cabbage, red onion, and salt and pepper to make coleslaw. Mix until combined, cover, and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.

Over medium heat, place oil in frying pan. While the oil heats up, coat fish with flour then fry in pan until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Break fish into smaller pieces with spatula.

In a small bowl, add guacamole ingredients and combine.

Toast tortillas directly on the gas burner (or in the pan if you don’t have gas) until slightly crispy.

Assemble tacos: spread guacamole over each tortilla (helps fish stick), add fish, coleslaw and enjoy!

Fish Tacos

Oh, and the second best part of these tacos–homemade margaritas! I was craving pina coladas, but these definitely hit the spot for now. Don’t worry, I’ll post the margarita recipe soon!