07-03-31_0925_tuna.jpgIt’s time to treat ourselves to some nice tuna steaks. I halved this recipe, which was printed in the February 28, 2007, issue of The New York Times. I used two 6-oz. tuna steaks. I marinated my steaks in the refrigerator for 1 hour, 15 minutes. The result was a prominent soy sauce flavor.

The recipe suggests a cooking time of 3 minutes per side, but this is too long for the tuna steaks. You should have a pink steak when you’re done; 3 minutes thoroughly cooks the steak until it is totally white.

RECIPE: easy and impressive
PREP TIME:
you only need to marinate; cooking time is negligible
TASTE:
good-quality tuna = good taste

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Here’s a great side dish for the tuna steaks. It was printed in the April 2007 issue of Cuisine at Home. I’ve reprinted it here:

WHIPPED PARSNIPS AND POTATOES
Makes 4 cups; Total time: 35 minutes

SIMMER; DRAIN:
2 lb. parsnips, peeled, thinly sliced
8 oz. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

ADD; FINISH WITH:
1 cup half-and-half, warmed
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer vegetables in water until very tender, 25 minutes. Drain, return them to the pot, and crush with a potato masher.

Add the half-and-half and butter; mix with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Finish with remaining ingredients.

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I used 8 parsnips, 4 scallions, 2 Tbsp. of salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. of black pepper. To “warm” the half-and-half, I placed it in a glass measuring cup and placed that in the warm vegetable water, once the vegetables had boiled and were removed.

It’s fun to whip vegetables like this. I guess I don’t do it often enough. This version tastes creamy, delicious, and tangy.

RECIPE: a wake-up call for drowsy mashed potatoes
PREP TIME:
peeling, boiling, mashing … that’s all
TASTE:
yummy

The next recipes I want to cook are “Red Lentil Dal with Spinach,” from Nava Atlas’ February 2007 In a Vegetarian Kitchen newsletter (recipe follows), alongside the “Broccoli-Cheddar Loaf” from the January 2006 Vegetarian Times. Am I overreaching here? Come back to my site on Wednesday, May 9, to see what happens.

RED LENTIL DAL WITH SPINACH
Serves 6 or more

Dal, a sort of hot dip made of well-cooked legumes, is meant to be scooped up with freshly made Indian breads, such as chapatis. If you can’t find chapatis, try very fresh pita breads or any other fresh flat bread you prefer. Tiny red lentils, available in natural food stores and imported food shops, cook to an appealing orange-gold color. Spinach boosts the visual and nutritional impact of this dish.

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 tsp. each: freshly grated ginger, ground cumin, and turmeric
10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
salt to taste
fresh flat bread (chapatis, pita, etc.) of your choice

Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden.

Add the lentils, 3 cups of water, and spices. Bring to a simmer, then simmer over low heat, covered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are quite mushy. The texture should be that of a very thick soup. If need be, simmer uncovered until the mixture thickens up.

Serve at once with fresh flat bread.