Seared Tuna and Avocado Burgers

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A twist on the classic lobster roll, these seared tuna salad burgers are easy to pull together and perfect for summer nights. Make sure your tuna is fresh- it shouldn’t be brown and instead, a bright red. Specks of white are okay, and a little black is too. I did the unimaginable and actually purchased two frozen half-pound steaks from an Asian grocery store. They looked much better than the supposedly fresh stuff. Let defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

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Seared Tuna and Avocado Salad Burgers

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Adapted from Ina Garten

Olive oil

1 pound tuna steak

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lime, zest grated

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

6 dashes hot sauce

1 avocado, diced

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon scallion, minced

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

8 hamburger buns

2 cups arugula

Heat sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. While heating, rub olive oil on tuna steaks and season with salt and pepper. Place tuna in pan and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared. Remove from heat and cut into small cubes.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime zest and juice, wasabi powder, soy sauce, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the avocado. and then the tuna, red onion, scallion, and sesame seeds. Line the buns with arugula and fill with tuna mixture.

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Pistachio Pesto Flatbread

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What it is: Pistachio Pesto Flatbread

Where is it: Garces Trading Company, Philadelphia, PA

Price: $10

What’s in it: Thin cracker-y flatbread with pistachio pesto and mozzarella, topped with arugula and (who would have guessed?) horseradish

Why you need it: you can choose between vegetarian pizza dough or dough made with duck fat. The vegetarian dough is perhaps too matzo-like but the toppings are what made this delicious. A hint of zing! from the horseradish sealed the deal.

Vegan Quinoa Chili

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This vegan quinoa chili has become a common dinner – easy to pull together, and makes great leftovers [plus 17 grams of protein per serving]- it’s hard not to love it. My meat-eating boyfriend devours this, apparently not missing the meat. Head on over to DailyBurn for the recipe.

Mom’s Greek Salad

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This past month has been one of the most tumultuous months of my life, from a terrifyingly close call at the Boston Marathon to my graduation from *gasp* college. The vast number of uncertainties and changes in my life is daunting. One thing that will always be a constant in my life is this Greek Salad with Hardboiled Eggs and Homemade Croutons.

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Greek Salad with Hardboiled Eggs and Homemade Croutons

Salad

4 cups romaine or butter lettuce

1 bunch scallions, chopped

4 cherry tomatoes, chopped

3 button mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 hardboiled eggs, sliced

Black pepper, to taste

Dressing

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

1.5 tbs neutral oil

Croutons

Stale bread, such as ciabatta or French baguette

Olive oil

Sea salt

Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice and cut bread into cubes. Place in a large Ziploc bag and drizzle olive oil over the bread. Close bag and shake croutons. Place bread onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For Salad, place vegetables in large salad bowl. Spoon feta on top, and then add hardboiled eggs and croutons. Grind black pepper on top. 

In a small dish or salad dressing container, mix lemon juice and oil. Pour over salad.

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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

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Winter is depressing; this chili is not.

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A warm bowl of Hearty Vegetarian Chili is the perfect solution for a winter meal. Besides the chopping of vegetables, this chili comes together in no time. The recipe makes several servings, but let it be known that the leftovers are just as good as the freshly made still-in-the-pot chili. If you can’t find fire roasted diced tomatoes, regular canned diced tomatoes are a fine substitute. If jalapeños aren’t your thing, choose another pepper with less heat (or more!). For a complete meal, top with cilantro and sour cream, or shredded cheese.

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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

2 15oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 14.5oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbs chili powder [I used Hot Mexican chili powder]

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup frozen corn

In a stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook 5-7 minutes until tender, stirring frequently.

Mix in black beans, tomatoes, water, chili powder, cumin and salt; heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 more minutes. 

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The Simple Things: Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

Sometimes it’s the simple things that matter. I’m at a point in my life (i.e. one year until I graduate from college) where suddenly it seems like the “big things” take precedence. And then I take a step back and I see this:

…a still pond on a perfect summer’s day…

…a surprise thunderstorm…

…Robin’s egg blue nail polish…

…and a fabulous, fresh, seasonal, and simple dinner.

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus is a new favorite of mine, despite the fact that my pee smells after eating asparagus. Nonetheless, roasting fresh asparagus with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and a spritz of balsamic vinegar is a way to showcase this vegetable.

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

1 lb. asparagus, cleaned and trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup  balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place asparagus in a Ziploc bag and pour olive oil into bag. Shake until the asparagus is coated. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle the cheese on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for minutes 12-15 minutes until asparagus is tender but crisp. Remove from oven and drizzle vinegar before serving.