Peanut Noodles with Shrimp


I'm still on a "fast and easy" kick (a la my salad post last week), but variety is the spice of life, huh?  And so Boyfriend and I have been on a mission to create a quick, but flavorful - ethnic, even! - dish to satisfy all of those requirements.  Behold our collaboration - a Thai-inspired peanut-y, noodle-y, spicy bowl of yumminess topped with some fresh greenery and crunchy shrimp, too!  And our "veggie" friends just need to bypass the shrimp and throw some tofu in the sauce while it cooks - easy!

TIP:  The peanut sauce can also be used over salad or as a dip.  Bonus!

Tools needed: 
Large saucepan and pot
20 minutes
Peanut Noodles
8 oz. spaghetti or rice noodles (we used rice noodles for gluten-free)
1 - 4 oz. can cooked shrimp (we used Trader Joe's Wild Pink Shrimp)
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 tbs minced garlic
1/2 tsp hot chili pepper
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs rice vinegar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
1-2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro or basil (or both!)
1-2 chopped green onions, white and green parts
Lime juice (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a blender combine sesame oil, onion, garlic, and hot chili pepper; blend for 1 minute.
  3. Empty the mixture into a large saucepan and place over low heat until the mixture starts releasing aroma.  Add peanut butter and mix well over low heat.
  4. Add water and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Stir in vinegar and sugar; continue to simmer for another 1-2 minutes.  Tast and add more vinegar and sugar if the mixture does not have enough sour or sweet taste.
  6. Pour sauce over noodles, and mix to coat.
  7. Add basil, cilantro, green onions and shrimp; toss and place in serving bowl.
  8. Optional: Squeeze fresh lime over the top just before serving.

Note to vegetarians/vegans: replace shrimp with cubed tofu - just cook the tofu in the sauce while heating.TIP: The peanut sauce can also be used alone as a salad dressing or a veggie dip.


Sesame Seared Tuna


When Boyfriend was in Mexico last month, he got to go fishing with some friends for a day just outside of Puerto Vallarta.   Apparently the pros running the boat were really good, and they caught A LOT of fish!  Boyfriend actually caught the biggest fist: a 130-pound yellowfin tuna!  He brought a lot of tuna home, and it's a good thing we LOVE us some tuna! 

The first time he made this, I nearly died and went to heaven, it was so delish!  The key to really good seared tuna is having fresh, sushi grade steaks and it should just melt in your mouth when seared.  We like this particular seasoning, but you could add teryaki to sweeten the flavor a bit, too.  Experiment!  Enjoy!

Tools needed: 
non-stick frying pan
Sesame-Seared Tuna
1 pound of fresh, sushi grade, tuna steaks (about 4 steaks)
2-4 tbs sesame oil
For the seasoning:
4 tbs wasabi powder
2 tbs sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 fresh lemon
  1. Wash and dry tuna steaks.
  2. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.  Spread dry ingredients evenly on a plate.  Roll or lay tuna steaks on plate with wasabi/sesame seed mixture until all sides of the fish are coated.
  3. Heat non-stick pan until hot.  Put enough sesame oil in pan to coat it evenly.  Heat until just starting to smoke.  Place tuna steaks in pan.  Cook for 3 minutes on each side.  Add more oil if necessary.  Remove from heat immediately, you want most of the center of the tuna still pink.
  4. Squeeze fresh lemon over fish (if desired), and serve over salad or rice.

First Date Pasta


I named this what I did for two reasons. One - it really is what I made my boyfriend for lunch on our first date. A bold choice, but I was in a bold state of mind at that point in my life. (Hello, this is what I eat!  Love me, love my food.) Two - if someone devours this with you on a first date, he/she either LOVES you or LOVES flavorful food, or both. But it's probably both. What more could you want in a relationship?

45 minutes
First Date Pasta
4 cups (1 lb. dry) rigatoni, penne or macoroni pasta
2 cans tuna (7 ounces each) in water
2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
6 canned anchovy filets, drained
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and heat gently until hot.
  2. Add the garlic and fry until golden.  Stir in the tomato sauce and tomatoes, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until thickened.
  3. Drain tuna, place in a bowl and flake.  Cut the anchovies in half.  Stir into the sauce with the capers and chopped basil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water according to the package instructions.  Drain well and toss with the sauce.

Seared Tuna Salad


Seared tuna, when done properly is, the most decadent flavor you'll ever encounter.  It's very important that you buy fresh, sushi-grade tuna and not overcook for the best taste.  The trick is to not over-do anything - the seasoning, the cooking - so as to enjoy the mixture of fresh tastes.

Tools needed: 
cast iron skillet, shallow dish for seasoning fish
45 minutes
Seared Tuna Salad
3/4 lb sushi grade, fresh tuna steak, rinsed and patted dry
1 tbs olive, grapeseed, or untoasted sesame oil, for cooking
1/2 tsp wasabi powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 oz. spinach or greens of choice - arugula, spring mix, rinsed and dried
1 avocado, pit and skin removed, sliced into bite-size slices
olive oil for tossing salad greens in
Juice of 1/4 lemon
  1. Place greens in a bowl.  Toss with olive oil and lemon juice.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.  Sprinkle evenly into a shallow dish about the size of tuna steak (or each steak, if you have two).  Lightly coat tuna steak in dry seasoning on all sides, including edges.  Smooth on evenly with your fingers, if necessary.
  3. Heat cast iron skillet until smoking hot. (NOTE: Do not get a teflon pan smoking hot, or it will release all sorts of bad stuff into the air, not to mention your food!  This recipe is for cooking in a real, cast iron pan.)  Pour oil in once it's ready, and swirl gently to coat the surface of the pan.  Carefully place tuna steak in pan.  Cook 1-2 minutes on each side, including edges.  Use a fork with the spatula to help turn and hold the steak on its side. 
  4. Immediately remove from pan, set onto a plate or cutting surface and slice into 1/4" to 1/2" slices.
  5. Divide salad greens evenly among serving bowls.  Arrange avocado and tuna on salad greens as shown.

Thai Fried Rice


We were wondering how to get some excitement out of our leftover rice the other day.  A quick Google search and we came upon this yummy recipe.

Tools needed: 
wok or large cast iron pan
30 minutes
Thai Fried Rice
2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled to room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup diced red or yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 tbs sesame oil (or oil of choice appropriate for high heat)
2 tsp soy sauce (preferably mushroom)
2 tsp fish sauce (or just salt a bit more if you want this to be vegetarian)
1/2 tsp chili paste (optional)
1/2 tsp tumeric or paprika
pinch of ground pepper
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 green onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tomato, thinly sliced (optional)
chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  1. Fluff rice with fork
  2. Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and swirl to coat surface.  Add red or yellow onion, celery, garlic, tumeric/paprika, chili paste; stir fry until onion is tender.
  3. Stir in fish sauce and soy sauce; mix well.  Stiir in cold rice' cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until through.
  4. Push rice mixtrue to side of wok and pour eggs into center.  Cook eggs 2-3 minutes or just until set, lifting and stirring to scramble.  Stir rice mixture into eggs.
  5. Stir in green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to serving bowl; sprinkle with cilantro, squeeze on lime juice and serve with tomato, cucumber, and lime wedges. 
2-4 people, depending on whether a side dish or a meal

Cornmeal Crusted Rockfish


Girlbert gets a hankering for fried fish once in a while, and this satisfies without being too bad for you.  The tartar sauce or chipotle mayonaise I use on the side may be pushing the limits a bit..

Tools needed: 
non-stick skillet, two shallow bowls big enough to lay fish filets in
30 minutes
Cornmeal Battered Rockfish
1 lb. rockfish, 2-3 fillets
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
olive oil
  1. Whisk egg in a shallow bowl.
  2. Mix cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper together in another shallow bowl.
  3. Wash fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Heat skillet to medium heat.  Put 2 tbs. olive oil in pan right before fish.
  5. Thoroughly coat fish fillets (one at a time) with egg, then bread on both sides with cornmeal mixture.
  6. Fry fish fillets until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes on each side.

Easy Fish Tacos


I was craving a tuna sandwich the other day, but no bread in the house!  Just as I has resolved to eat it with a fork, I spied the corn tortillas in the fridge, and thought, "Yummy."  When I put it all together with some onion and cilantro, it was very nearly the best fish taco I'd ever had, much less made at home!

20 minutes
Tuna Fish Tacos
1 6 oz. can tuna in water
2 tbs. of mayo of your choice (I LOVE Lemonaise)
1 stalk celery, diced
1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
4 corn tortillas or taco shells
shredded cheese of choice, optional

Mix tuna, mayo, celery, green onion and cilantro together with a fork until well incorporated.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Warm or toast tortillas or taco shells according to package instructions.  Put 1/4 of tuna salad mixture in each shell.  Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.  Devour!

Girlbert original

Tom Ka Soup


This soup is a luxurious meal for the ease of cooking and cost per serving. As our budget has been tight recently, Boyfriend and I figured we could make this soup for around $2 per serving, and feel like we were having an exotic meal in our favorite Thai restaurant!

30 minutes
Tom Ka Soup
4 tbs fish sauce
1 12 ounce can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 cups water
2 sprigs lemongrass
1 lime, juice of
4 garlic cloves, chopped (or more to taste)
1 8-ounce package of silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp red chili paste (or more to taste)
1 tbs grated fresh gingerroot
2 heads of baby bok choy, chopped
1/2 cup shrimp (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish, optional)
1 kaffir lime leaf (optional)
1/4 cup Thai basil (for garnish, optional)
  1. Throw everything in a pot and boil for about 10 minutes. Save the shrimp and bok choy for the last 2-3 minutes.
  2. Garnish and serve as is, or with rice or noodles.

20 minutes to make, 10 minutes preparation.  This soup can be made vegetarian by replacing the fish sauce with salt to taste, using vegetable broth, and leaving out the shrimp.

4-6 servings
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