Tag Archives: Seafood

Sesame Crusted Tuna

This meal is my idea of a pleasant surprise, meaning I had set aside an hour to cook dinner on Sunday and SURPRISE it took me 15 minutes. Also in my list of pleasant surprises: finding out my new sky-high heels are actually comfortable, and realizing I did not, in fact, drink all the wine in the house when I’m dying for a glass at 11am 5pm on a Saturday.

On the menu:
Sesame crusted tuna over arugula with ginger soy dressing
Serves 2

2 tuna steaks (around 1/2 pound each)
4 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of arugula (this is the bed if greens for your tuna so use as much as you like)

Dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp powdered ginger (or 1/4 tsp fresh ginger root, minced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water

With a paper towel, pat tuna steaks dry of any residual moisture. In a flat, shallow dish, pour sesame seeds in an even layer. Add salt and combine. Dredge tuna steaks in the sesame seeds so the steaks are coated on both broad sides AND the edges. In a medium sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear each steak for around 60 seconds on each side, including the edges (use tongs for this part). Remove from heat and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes before serving (yes, the inside will be raw and no, you won’t get sick from it).

Whisk all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for 1 minute so the honey melts a bit. Whisk again. Plate arugula over 2 plates, pour half the dressing over the greens, plate the tuna on top of the greens, and then top with remaining dressing.

NOTE: This recipe takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, a tiny bit longer if you’re slow in mincing the ingredients for the dressing. The clean up is minimal, the presentation is impressive, and the leftovers (should you have any…) are divine. Eat it cold so you’re not the smelly office girl.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Summer Means Lobster Rolls

We’ve had the wonkiest weather ever in New York for the past few months, and the warmer temperatures have definitely affected my appetite. Not affected as in like, I lost it (that is reserved only for the most traumatic of traumas, I assure you) but in the way that I’ve been craving summer foods before I’m supposed to. Case in point: the lobster roll. In the interest of full disclosure, I used to work very close to a little spot that sold lobster rolls for $10 and I used to go a sickening amount. Thank God I don’t work at that job anymore… my cholesterol can’t take it anymore.

Anyway, I was craving a lobster roll like I can’t even tell you, so I Googled “Best lobster rolls in NYC” and came up with the list of usuals: Luke’s Lobster, Red Hook Lobster, and one I’d never heard of: Ed’s Lobster Bar. I took a look at their menu… and I was sold. If you don’t like lobster or seafood in general, please don’t go to this place. You’ll simply clog it up for those of us who live for the stuff.

Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex, 25 Clinton Street (btwn Stanton St and E Houston St), New York, NY 10002. Ed McFarland, owner of Ed’s Lobster Bar, is a Staten Island Native who grew up in pizza parlors and later graduated from the French Culinary Institute. He worked all over, in esteemed kitchens throughout the city, until he opened up his own place. Ed’s Lobster Bar (the original) is located on Lafayette between Broome and Spring and offers a more refined menu of full lobster entrees. The Annex, where I dined last weekend, has more of a low-key, relaxed maritime vibe with menu offerings such as lobster meatball sliders, mini lobster thermidor pizzas, and shrimp tacos. During the summer months they have an outdoor patio where you can sit and sip a cold white wine with your seafood. Note: the annex only serves wine and beer.

On the menu:
Prosecco rose
Little Neck Clams
Lobster rolls with chips and housemade pickles

Verdict: Oooooh lobster lobster love of my life. This had to be one of the best, if not THE best lobster roll I have ever had. Three words: butter soaked bun. That’s right. Just in case you were thinking, “Oh no, where’s the butter to dip all the giant chunks of lobster in my lobster roll?” Ed’s has you covered. The bun is literally brushed and semi-soaked in butter. I had to stop myself from licking the plate. I could’ve even done without the fries… maybe substituted it with more lobster? And as a side note, they make their pickles on premises and they are spicy and sweet and I ate so many I burnt my tongue. …I’m not joking. In addition to the amazing food, the staff was super laid back, informed, and efficient. I’ll be back, Ed. I’ll be back.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York Restaurants

Flop

Guys, I did it again. Messed up a recipe. This is twice in two weeks, I want you to know. The first flop was when I thought I could make risotto without chicken stock. It was pretty disgusting. Not only did it taste bitter and weird, it came out a sick milky-purple color from the red wine I thought I’d try and use to flavor it up. This last mess up was bright green: usually attractive in a pesto, gross and bitter (once again) from lack of salty flavor. The risotto debacle was the result of me trying to “make do and mend” with items I already had in my house. The pesto travesty came from a shoddy recipe (or from someone who REALLY loves the taste of watered down arugula juice*).

The (lovely and patient) BF tried to force down both dishes, but in the end I think his response was, “I don’t know if I can eat any more of this…” I feel like I have some serious mac-n-cheese-ing to do to compensate for these lost meals.

In any case, the shrimp in that above dish were INCREDIBLE so I’m including the recipe here. Totally worth trying with a regular pesto recipe or your standard tomato sauce.

On the menu:
Garlic fried shrimp
Serves 2

1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and tails removed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Make sure shrimp are rinsed clean and patted completely dry. Sprinkle seasoning over the shrimp. Place shrimp in a plastic Ziploc bag, add flour, and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Shake excess flour off of shrimp and place in the hot skillet. Cook on each side for around 3 – 4 minutes, or until they are no longer gray and translucent.

Add to pasta and sauce and grate cheese over the top.

*In case you’re interested, the sauce in question was arugula pesto: 6 oz. of arugula, 1 garlic glove, 1/3 cup of asiago cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup heavy cream, all blended together.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion

Sometimes I wish I could carry you kids around in my pocket so you could have a real bird’s eye view of my meals. Some are really sad and would make you feel like a chef extraordinaire for frying up a grilled cheese; others would have you drooling. Earlier this summer I went to San Diego and ate the best.Mexican.I.have.ever.tasted. Hoooly mackerel. After a 3 hour drive back from LA, the only words I could utter were, “El Cotixan?” Alas, I did not take any pictures.

What I did take pictures of was an incredible Hawaiian fusion meal enjoyed while overlooking the marina on my last, blissful night in town. Roy’s has locations all across the country but I like to think the one in San Diego is more authentic because of its proximity to Hawaii. And the fact that I ate the meal with a Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish Hong Kong with Sizzling Soy Vinaigrette

Roy’s Hawiian Fusion Cuisine, San Diego Waterfront, California. The menu at Roy’s combines Asian cuisine with a Hawaiian influence, serving up delicious, warm, homey cuisine. Roy Yamaguchi opened the first restaurant in Honolulu and now has 31 locations all over the country, and the world. I don’t usually cover giant chain restaurants, but this one was worth the write-up.

On the menu:
Wood Grilled Szechwan Spiced Baby Back Pork Ribs with Mongolian BBQ Sauce
Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish Hong Kong with Sizzling Soy Vinaigrette
Shellfish Platter
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Shellfish Platter

The Verdict: Oh hello spicy sweet delicious tender juicy beautiful meal. The ribs fell off the bone and were perfect with a sesame seed crunch. The butterfish was reminiscent of Nobu’s black cod, the shellfish platter boasted fat lobster and shrimp, and even the cocktails were rich and delicious. Everything on the table was rich but never heavy, and the view was just spectacular; a cherry on the sundae. By the time the warm made-to-order cake came, you could’ve given me a pillow at the table and I would’ve taken a nap right there, full and happy and already missing sunny California.

4 Comments

Filed under Chefs, Travel

High Rolling

Hazelnut chocolate cakeI’m about to tell you a story of the good life. Or at least the good life according to Lauren E. Last weekend, as I mentioned, I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA to visit my fabulous cousin Casey and also attend the Lady Gaga concert (and can I just say… hooooly holy hell. Officially the most impressive concert I’ve ever been to.).

But enough about The Fame Monster herself. The weekend began with true VIP treatment. Casey is wine director at The Capital Grille in Pittsburgh and when I tell you her friends and I got the experience the Steelers get (although apparently, Polomalu rolls in in sweatpants) I am not telling you a lie. Below, a photographic journey.

The incredible meal began with cocktails at the bar, followed by our seating at a primo table next to the open kitchen. The table was already laid with huge cold seafood platters, chock full of crab legs, shrimp, and raw oysters (I don’t have a picture of this because I felt like such a goober pulling out my camera – Casey quickly yelled at me after the first course and told me to take as many pictures as I wanted… heeeey).

The platters continued (keep in mind, we hadn’t even ordered yet… these were just compliments of the chef). Next to the table was trays of poke (raw tuna and seaweed salad, Hawaiian style!) with salted chips that I ate heaps of.

Poke

After the poke came lamb lollipops and scallops wrapped in bacon. The picture I took of this dish was completely blurred, probably because I was so ready to dive into that scallop that was the size of my face.

After the lamb and scallop, the waiter told us he’d allow us a small break. A break? A break before what? Oh, that’s right… we hadn’t ordered dinner yet. That’s right. This was the pre-cursor.

When I was a kid my grandmother always used to say that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and in 25 years, not much has changed. I ordered the Filet Oscar, a steak filet with crab meat and bernaise sauce, with a side of lobster tail. I bragged to the guy sitting next to me that I was still STARVING and I’d probably eat the whole thing. I took a bite. Two bites. Two and a … half… bites… Done. I was done. “Thought you were gonna eat the whole thing?” the joker asked. (The following afternoon I had a lovely Filet Oscar sandwich). We were also served bowls of mixed mushrooms, green beans, and lobster mac and cheese that was to. die. for.

Filet Oscar

We weren’t done yet, friends. Dessert. “You have to try the coconut cream pie!” someone gushed. So I did. My review? This is probably the dessert they serve in heaven. Just saying.

Panna cotta and coconut cream pie

In addition to the unbelievable food (the so-tender-you-could-cut-it-with-a-fork steak, the buttery lobster, the impeccably fresh tuna, the creamy-dreamy hazelnut chocolate cake), I was afforded a tour of the kitchen. I watched a pastry chef removing panna cotta from the forms. I walked into the giant cooler with the dozens of hunks of aged beef. I shook hands/claws with a live lobster. I know I could never handle the schedule and the work load of a professional chef, but there is something that stirs in me when I’m in a real live working restaurant kitchen like that. I love it. The sounds, the smells, the characters. I could’ve pulled up a chair and watched the choreography for hours.

Thanks for the incredible weekend, Casey! I’ll be back real soon.

1 Comment

Filed under Travel

Bonjour, Tournesol

c/o Flickr

Greetings, readers! Apologies for the long hiatus. I bet you were sick of staring at that greasy pizza, eh? My new day job keeps me busy and I find at the end of the long day, all I want to do is read my trashy Glamour magazine and go to bed at 10:00. But I’ve been eating some incredible stuff lately, and it’s worth sharing.

I’m not ashamed to say that I have been single for most Valentine’s Days in my life. Ok… all of them. Every Valentine’s Day. I’m a nice girl! Seriously!

Anyway. This year, as I am finally not single anymore, I wanted to celebrate but also wanted to avoid spending $300 on prix-fixe menus set amid red balloons and roses. The Boyfriend and I decided we’d celebrate on Valentine’s Day Eve instead, when most restaurants are still serving their regular menus and half the amount of people are out foraging for romance in the form of eats.

Tournesol 5012 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY. Tournsesol is a tiny French restaurant settled in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, just north of Brooklyn. With a kitchen headed by Christophe Morvan, this simple but well executed menu has something for every taste, at prices that allow you to come back again and again. It’s a special occasion restaurant without the special occasion price tag. The entire staff is fantastically and authentically French, and incredibly kind and helpful.

On the menu:
Tartelette of brie with caramelized figs
Bouillabaisse
Beef Bourguignon with tagliatelles
Bread pudding with raisins and crème anglais
New Orleans style beignets with orange rum sauce, vanilla ice cream, and mango

Verdict: Friends… I think I have a new favorite restaurant. Never mind that it’s in Queens and I have a deep and profound love of my borough, this place is everything. It’s small but not crowded, intimate but unassuming, delicious dishes but simple fare, and a quality, high-class dining experience without Manhattan price tags. The tartelette was a bit salty but sweet, almost mozzarella like in flavor and consistency and perfectly complemented by the juicy figs. I adored my bouillabaisse, and the bread pudding was out of this world. But the real meal winner was the simple beef and pasta with pearl onions that tasted like it had all been simmering together in red wine for days, and God’s egg timer went off and he reached down into the Tournesol kitchen and said “Now! Now the beef is DONE!”

Ahem. So… in other words… I liked it. It was pretty good. You should eat there. Amen.

Apologies for the lack of original pictures, or pictures in general. It was Valentine’s Day dinner and I felt like a goober pulling out my camera. Just go see for yourself!

2 Comments

Filed under New York Restaurants

I’m Going (going) Back (back) to Cali (cali)

As many of you may or may not know, I feel that New York is played out. After living for 6 years in this little bubble where I miss out on little luxuries like driving in cars and walking barefoot through the grass and whatnot, I am pretty sure there are nicer places to spend the next 80 years of my life. I’m gonna go ahead and put Southern California on the top of that list.

Exhibit A: In ‘N Out
Do I really need to explain this? If you’ve never had In ‘N Out… just trust me. Two words: toasted buns.

Exhibit B: Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina
The morning before I went to Rockin’ Baja, The Boyfriend asked, “Do you like surf and turf?” I couldn’t even speak. Didn’t he know me at all? For lunch we got a bucket (yes, a bucket) of carne asada, shrimp, chicken, and lobster with tortilla shells and endless condiments to go with it. And a pitcher of margaritas… the rest of that day is blurry.

Exhibit C: Cousin’s Candy Shop in Old Town San Diego
I was like a kid in a candy store! (see what I did there?) All the candy is $2.80 a pound, and they have every kind of bulk candy you can dream of. I got 2 of everything I had never heard of, and multiples of those I had. Cousin’s makes their own fudge and caramels and I danced through the streets of Old Town (blame the margaritas, the sugar, whatever) eating my candy and basically loving life.

As you can see, I had a really, really nice time in California. In addition to this culinary tour of fats and sweets, I was treated to a homemade Hawaiian feast and then sent home with a loaf of Famous Kona Inn banana bread (thanks, BF’s grandma!).

On the menu:
Famous Kona Inn banana bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups ripe mashed bananas (about 6 bananas)
4 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans.

Stir together the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. In another larger bowl, mix together the shortening, sugar, mashed bananas, and eggs. Add the combined dry ingredients and stir only until the batter is thoroughly blended.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on a rack and let cool completely.

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel