Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ladies BYO Gourmet Chapter II (UES)

I'm pleased to report that Ladies BYO Gourmet extravaganza has instilled a new chapter on the Upper East Side. My blog post last month prompted some interest, and a request from my friend Emily inspired Chapter II. (I've also been told that my Bostonian counterparts elicited a Ladies BYO Gourmet as well--I encourage you all to post your photos and comments here and on my personal Facebook page).

Now onto the fun! We did BYO Gourmet UES a little differently this time. Rather than voting on ingredients, we voted on a theme, Mexican, and then volunteered to make dishes. Here is the breakdown:

- Rachel - Two salsas:  
Mango Salsa: mango,  cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, onion, lime 
Original Salsa: tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, lime, garlic, olive oil 
- Laura - Gaucamole two ways

Original: avocado, onions, cumin, garlic, lime, tomatoes, kosher salt 
Spicy: avocado, onions, jalapeño, salt, pepper
- Emily - Fish tacos
Fish Tacos: tilapia, cilantro, cumin, ancho chile powder, oregano,olive oil, lime juice, served with a side of pickled red onions
- Marisa - Sides
Red cabbage slaw, caramelized red onions, and black beans infused with crispy shallots and cumin
- Sam - Quesadillas
Quesadillas: honey whole wheat wrap, grilled chicken infused with taco seasoning, salt, pepper, cheese, fresh corn right off the cob
- Katie - Hostess and wine extraordinaire
- Holly - "Churro-like" desserts

I encourage you to recreate your own BYO Gourmet evening. It's a wonderful way to get together with friends and bond over delicious food. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Special Sesame Seared Tuna

I would like to take a moment and highlight an amazing meal my father made for my birthday last month. The Olsen family has a tradition that the birthday-ee gets to choose his or her special meal. I usually go seafood-based--a big pot of steaming mussels with crispy frites or maybe spaghetti with clams. But this year, I took it a step up and requested seared ahi tuna. This is one of my go-to dishes when I dine out at a fancy establishment (and I’m not paying). I love both the taste and color of this dish. I love how when you cut into the tuna, you see the purple rawness of the fish that is perfectly encapsulated in a salty, seared outer layer. Yum. Well thanks to my dad, I had a phenomenal seared wasabi sesame tuna plated with hearty rice pilaf and sautéed sesame snap peas. Cannot wait for next year’s birthday! Click here to view the recipe my father used (note: avocado oil is quite pricey but worth the investment).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Greek-inspired Salmon Burgers

Last week I crafted an easy mid-week dinner that is light enough to eat during the recent heat wave we've been so fortunate to endure.  Whole Foods was having a special on salmon burgers for $2.99, which I couldn't resist (I'm a sucker for a protein-based meal in this price range). I ended up toasting a whole wheat pita and baking the burgers at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. I topped the toasted pita with the salmon burger, cucumbers, and drizzled with Whole Food's Tzatziki Sauce and fresh Greek feta. As a side, I sauteed broccoli and kale with olive oil, lemon juice, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  The entire meal was quite inexpensive and also paired nicely with a glass of chilled Rose. Keep a look out for these salmon burgers; they're quite versatile and tasty.