{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!

{Starting off the 3 Day Weekend Right}

Miss Lola's SouthSide Grill

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time and am so excited it’s finally here! Having an extra day off just seems magical and so needed this time of year.

My parents also had Friday off so they headed up to SLO to hang out for the weekend. Although it was raining, we met them in Morro Bay at Miss Lola’s SouthSide Grill which had a recent write up in Sunset magazine.

We all ordered warm sandwiches, grilled cheeses, and soups to stay warm. The food was traditional American with a few twists like my grilled cheese with tomato and avocado.

Grilled Cheese

Jeff and my Dad had a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Despite a few mix-ups in the orders, it was the perfect meal to kick off the weekend!

{Windows on the Water}

Windows on the Water

Photo from windowsmb.com

Jeff’s grandparents were in town visiting this week and on Tuesday night, we were lucky enough to meet them at Windows on the Water in Morro Bay, a restaurant we’d definitely not be able to afford on our own! We had walked past the restaurant a few times during our past visits to Morro Bay and had heard great things about it, so I was definitely excited to check it out. And excited to visit with family of course!

I am one of those people who always checks out the website of a restaurant before going and basically decides what I’m going to get before hand. Jeff always tells me I’m ruining the fun, but I’m a planner, what can I say? I was even more enticed when I saw the following message before their menu on their website:

For years I have been dedicated to providing our guests with organic, locally farmed produce. This commitment extends to our nearby farms and fisheries as I only purchase sustainably raised livestock and seafood. All our farmed products are free range, grass fed, or raised in healthy environments with no added hormones or antibiotics, which means it’s healthier for you.

All our seafood is either wild-caught, or farmed in ways that follow the guidelines of the Seafood Watch Program in Monterey Bay. I only purchase high quality products and receive deliveries everyday to insure freshness.

Now this is my kind of place!

We arrived just as the sun was going down and it was pretty obvious how the restaurant got it’s name–it’s located on the second floor of a small shopping area with gorgeous panoramic windows. It was almost worth going just for that view!

I decided to order the 3 course meal which was decently priced at $30, especially since most of the entrees were almost that price on their own.

First up was a bleu cheese and peach salad–it looked so amazing that I devoured it immediately without taking a picture. Sorry!

Up next was the main course: sand dabs and crispy potato cake with a lemon garlic caper butter and parsley oil. I must admit, I was a bit scared off by the name of the fish but was pleasantly surprised at the taste. Of course, the crispy fried outer crust helped!

Sand Dabs

The meal ended with a lemon mousse garnished with fresh strawberries which was also absolutely amazing.

Lemon Mousse

I completely cleaned my plate after every course which is a rarity for me!

If you’re visiting the area or looking for a romantic spot for dinner, I highly recommend you check it out!