Thursday, January 20, 2011

Something borrowed, something new, something blue?

Sure, a steak has never touched my lips, but in no way does that make me a "vegetarian." In fact, I am proud to say that I have tried chicken and turkey, and I eat fish on a regular basis. I am what one would call a "pescatarian." (I love how we english-speakers need a word for everything...If there isn't one, we simply make it up by turning to our latin lovers. In this case, pescatarian comes from the latin word "piscis" or fish.)

I know growing up, getting me to eat fish was like pulling teeth. I wasn't a picky eater by any means, but when it came to certain foods I always enjoyed putting up a fight.

Well, that past is certainly behind me as I absolutely adore fish/seafood. The idea of becoming a real vegetarian almost seems impossible knowing that I wouldn't be able to indulge into a bowl of steaming mussels or a raw tuna steak...

Yes; raw tuna. I, myself, am quite surprised that this could quite possibly be my favourite meal as it was only four years ago when I choked back a few tears at my 16th birthday dinner. To celebrate the big day, my parents took me to the Eldorado, a restaurant/hotel that sits practically on the shore line of Okanagan Lake. Feeling a little luxurious, I decided to be adventurous and really indulge. For the first time, I was going to try blackened ahi tuna.

I sat anxiously waiting for my 16th birthday dinner, and then it came.

When I saw the bleeding flesh atop my salad, I nearly died. However, I didn't push my plate away...Not yet. I took one bite.

Not only was the texture unbearable, but the thought that my meal was only one stage away from still swimming almost killed me. I would have rather seen my own leg on the plate in front of me.

Tears flowed down my cheeks, and that's when mom came to the rescue...We switched dishes promptly. I don't remember what I ended up digging into, but whatever it was most certainly dried my eyes.

For four years, I didn't come into any contact with anything resembling that scarring dish...That was until last summer when I fell in love with it. As I sit here trying to remember what meal turned me on it again, sashimi keeps popping into my head. Even though I was simply trying to impress a date, I held back my detouring thoughts and down my just consumed fleshy slivers.

It was delicous, bloody delicious! The texture was not what I remembered; in fact, it was so buttery and easy to ingest that the tears previously lost made me laugh.

Since then I have had some incredible ahi tuna dishes, and whenever I see it on the menu, I am instantly sold.

However, being a student obviously restrains my eating out ability (especially right now in the dead month of January) and thus has forced me to learn how to prepare my favourite meal at home.

Ahi Tuna Steaks

You can find ahi tuna at essentially any grocery store with a deli. Most often I would suggest getting it fresh at the deli counter, but sometimes them deli clerks are a little low on the silver lined cuts or they aren't fresh at all...So that's when I suggest getting them frozen. I promise you that they still taste amazing, and are simple to defrost.

If frozen, thaw the steaks in the refridgerator for a few hours, or for a speedier process, place the packaged steaks in hot water.


(Adjust measurements accordingly)

2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbps. soy sauce
A squeeze of Sriracha, or more or less, depending on your heat scale
Ginger, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients and whisk together.

2. Place thawed steak into marinade and let sit for about half an hour.

To the frying pan it goes.

Yes, you can BBQ the beautiful cuts but when you live in a box like me and have no access to such a luxury, you must turn to your frying pan.

Because the tuna has already been sitting in sesame oil, you do not need to re-oil the pan...Especially if it's non-stick. Turn the element up to high, in order to ensure proper searing. When you think it's hot enough...or the element is resembling a burning coal, you know it's good and ready!

(My stove isn't usually that filthy...Be cautious of spattering marinade. She can really burn!)

Throw the steak on, marinade and all, and let fry for about a minute. However, I am not one to follow a clock as I think senses are a more effective tool when it comes to cooking.

When you can SEE that the bottom half of the tuna has turned to a shade of white/grey, it's time to flip. Then it's simply a matter of searing the other side to your liking and she's done.

I served my tuna with zucchini spears, broccolini (an appropriate accompaniment to an asian infused main) and ginger-fused quinoa.

It was absolutely delicious. The tuna just melts in your mouth.

On a side note...I have quite possibly the biggest sweet tooth around. It's also quite clear that it has become worse (or better?) over the past few months --- Thank you Christmas --- However, when I eat a real protein packed meal, the sweet tooth is dampened quite a bit...In fact, it really doesn't make me crave something sugary at all.

Could this mean that I really am just craving more fleshy meals?

No, not yet.

I caved...I had a chocolate chip cookie anyway...and then more chocolate chips after.

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