Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuna Salad

By Paul Briand

My original intent for today was to post a recipe for Beer Batter Chicken. I prepped, I cooked, I took a picture, I ate. And I didn't like it very much. So it's back to the cutting board on that one.

So here's one for Tuna Salad, devised for lunch the other day as I was thinking about a way to jazz up the typical tuna/mayo combination. I also wanted to stay away from serving the tuna on bread since I was making cheeseburgers (on buns) for dinner later. Shouldn't have too much bread in one day, or so my expanding waist tells me.

One 5 ounce can of solid white tuna
Heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise
Teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Tablespoon of sweet pepper relish
Bread and Butter pickle spear
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Two ripe medium size tomatoes

1. Drain water from canned tuna and break tuna up in large mixing bowl;
2. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and relish;
3. Dice pickle spear and add to bowl;
4. Add pepper and garlic powder to taste and mix all ingredients together;
5. Cut the top off the tomatoes, going in at a steep angle, then slice each tomato to create wedges but don't cut through to the bottom;
6. Top each tomato with the tuna mixture. The tomato will open up but should hold together.

I'm a big fan of tomato and pickles in my tuna. It's a required addition to any tuna salad I make or order at a sub shop.

The best tuna salad I ever had was in the U.S. Capitol dining room with the late U.S. Rep. Nicholas Mavroules of Massachusetts in the early 1980s. It was served in a whole tomato like I'm suggesting here. I don't recall what it was that made it so great, but I have a distinct memory that it remains the best tuna salad I've ever eaten.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Teriyaki Marinade

By Paul Briand

My sister Margaret invited us to dinner recently and served a flank steak marinated in a Teriyaki Marinade.

She says the marinade is for chicken and steak but she uses it for pork tenderloin too.

"Usually I cut this recipe in half but since I had two steaks on Saturday night I made the whole thing and split it between the two steaks," she said in an email after I asked for the recipe.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 mashed cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons sherry

Since Margaret had two steaks, she divided the marinade between two baking pans, one steak for each pan.

She seasoned each of the steaks with pepper before putting in the pans and dousing with the marinade. She pierced the steak extensively with a fork and let the marinade do its work for about three hours.

The steak, giving the piercing and the length of time in the marinade came off the grill moist, tender and incredibly tasty.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


By Paul Briand

Everyone should have a red sauce recipe at their disposal. If you want a variation on that theme, try a Bolognese sauce.

According to its history -- yes it has an official history -- the sauce originated in Bologna, Italy. The original recipe was issued in 1982 by the Bolognese delegation of Accademia Italiana della Cucina, which dictated ingredients of beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, meat broth, red wine, and (optionally) milk or cream.

But, as with red sauces, there are any number of varities of Bolognese that hold the rustic tradition of the meat and root vegetables. Here's one that combines beef and pork, with carrots, spinach, garlic and shallots. And, yes, I use cream ... well, in deference to my waist, light cream.

1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of ground pork
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup red wine
2 shallots
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
24 ounce can kitchen ready tomatoes
Handful of baby spinach
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon each of oregano, basil, parsley and cinammon
3 tablespoons of light cream

1. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and brown the ground beef and ground pork until no longer pink;
2. Season meat mixture with kosher salt and pepper;
3. In a food processor, pureee peeled shallots, carrots, garlic, spinach, oregano, parsley and basil;
4. Fold pureed mixture into skillet with meat;
5. Stir in flour;
6. Add wine and cook until reduced by half;
7. Stir in tomatoes, add light cream and cinnamon.
8. Serve over pasta, garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wrapped Brats

By Paul Briand

For my Super Bowl spread, I wanted pigs in a blanket. I figured if I was going to go whole why not a bit of pig in dough.

But I couldn't find any pigs in a blanket when I went shopping for my Super Bowl food. What to do?

I came up with Wrapped Brats -- basically cooked Bratwurst wrapped in tortillas.

Burrito size flour tortillas

1. Cook the Brats -- fry or grill -- and set aside;
2. Take a tortilla and trim from the edges in to the width of a brat, then cut that tortilla in half;
3. Take trimmed tortilla half and roll over the Brat, secure with a toothpick at each end;
4. Continue process until all Brats are rolled;
5. Arrange on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray;
6. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about five minutes or until the tortillas start brown at the edges;
7. Remove from oven and cut each Wrapped Brat in half;
8. Serve with your favorite dipping mustard.

A package of eight Brats will require four tortilla shells and will yield, according to directions above, 16 Wrapped Brats.

And don't throw away those trimmed tortilla edges. Cut those into halves or thirds to make them into chip size. Arrange chips on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Cook in the oven on a separate rack while the Wrapped Brats are baking. Remove the chips after a few minutes to check for brownness; use a spatula to flip to make sure both sides get crisp. Serve the chips with your favorite dip ... such as guacamole.
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