Monday, July 7, 2008

Healthy meals & kids getting cholesterol checks!

I just finished reading Cholesterol Screening Is Urged for Young at NYTimes online - a report that I had also heard about this afternoon on NPR.

In fact, I am sitting with a glass of red wine . . . contemplating my tasty but healthy dinner and wondering how our nation has become such an unhealthy and physically damaging place to eat. Admittedly, I can count myself lucky since I have access and means to procure the fresh and healthy ingredients that made my meal tonight . . . but I also wonder why people believe it is so difficult to create a healthy and tasty meal?

Case in point, I worked about 11 hours today and then went to the store and saw a lovely piece of tuna on sale - yeah! The rest of the meal came together in a flash. After literally 17 minutes, I had prepared seared sesame crusted tuna, with red chile, garlic and lemon broccoli on a bed of quinoa . . . topped off with a cilantro and ginger soy sauce. Seriously 17 minutes. Now, granted, if I hadn't made the quinoa last night it would have taken about 22 minutes. But why split hairs?

I have a number of well educated friends who have the luxury of spending lots of money on take out because they claim not to have the time or the know how to cook. WRONG.

I also hear and read stories of people who say it is too difficult, time consuming or expensive to cook something healthy. WRONG.

My opinion, lazy gluttons who like fattening food and know nothing else, are not willing to try something new. Sadly, that seems to be most of our nation . . . who are teaching their kids more of the same . . . while letting them sit around and play video games. It may sound cruel, but frankly, the stats disgust me. We can do better than that and we know it.

My contribution - I will post one new 30 minute recipe per week that has reasonable food cost and, in my eyes, is nutritious, delicious and reasonable in terms of calories/fat.***

So to close out tonight's post . . . more details on tonight's fabby dinner:

Seared Tuna with Quinoa & Spicy Broccoli in Cilantro Ginger Soy Sauce
  • .65lb Tuna (on sale for $9.99/lb - good deal I must say)
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds (keep em on hand, tons of flavor and don't spoil)
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • (2) Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • (1) tsp Fresh Ginger (or ginger paste)
  • (1) tsp Cilantro paste*
  • (1) tsp Garlic paste*
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • (1) Head Broccoli
  • (2) cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • (1) c Dry Quinoa**
  • (2) c Water

I do a lot of multi-tasking to make things quick . . . for me, it helps to think about the steps a bit before I start . . . and usually it saves about 15 - 20 minutes. In this case try the following.

Set quinoa and water in a small pot on high to bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down to low for about 20 minutes.

While you wait for the boil, trim the broccoli into bite size florets. Place them in a microwave safe container with about 1/2 inch of water. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, checking to verify doneness. You want to have a bright green color with still a little bit of firmness - not cooked all the way through yet. Remove, drain and let sit until the next step for the broccoli.

Meantime, unpack the tuna and rinse it with cold water. Place a teflon coated pan on the stove, medium high heat and put about 1 tsp of olive oil in the pan. Cut the steak into 4 or so pieces so that you can sear the edges nicely (in my case, the one steak made 5 nice pieces). Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the pieces and then spread to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then add sesame seeds and press them into the tuna so you have about 1/4 of the surface area covered.

Once the pan is hot, place the tuna steaks into the pan. While the tuna is cooking, smash the fresh garlic and chop it small, set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, garlic & cilantro pastes and fresh ginger. Mix and set aside.

After about 3 minutes or so, turn the tuna. Sear on the second side until it has achieved the desired doneness. I like it to be mid-pink and so sear it about 7 minutes total. I also love the edges to be seared, so I use tongs to pick up the tuna and place each edge to the pan for just a few seconds at the end of cooking. This helps seal in heat and juices as well. Remove the tuna from the pan, place on one dinner plate and cover with the other.

Add a tsp olive oil to the pan. Already hot, it is ready for your fresh garlic and the red chili flakes. Sautee for about 1 minute. Add the broccoli. Sautee for 2 minutes or so and then juice the lemon on top of the broccoli and cook until your desired doneness. I like mine a bit al dente but with sear marks.

Guess what. It has probably been about 20 minutes since you started the Quinoa . . . it should be done. So is the rest of your meal! Time to assemble.

Place a portion of quinoa on each plate (you probably won't use all of it), with broccoli next to it and tuna on top. Drizzle with sauce and serve!

Protein, fiber and vege-vitamins galore in this dinner. Tonight I even splurged with a good fat and added a slice of avocado to each (they were on sale too). But you can tweak this with so many different ingredients and make it your own. Either way - it is fast and super healthy:)

*Cilantro & Garlic Paste: so one of my tricks and favorites in the kitchen are these little tubes of herbs made by Gourmet Garden (plug because these are a godsend). I love to buy fresh herbs as much as the next foodie . . . but it isn't always in season or viable . . . so I have an assortment of my faves, Cilantro, Basil, Lemongrass, Garlic and Ginger, that I try to keep handy to allow me to create fab sauces and meals in a snap.


**Quinoa: this grain is amazing. More protein and fiber than virtually any other grain out there . . . totally versatile. Check out the stats:)

***I am not a nutritionist. I am a working professional who happens to have a little culinary training and loves to cook, experiment and share this love of food with others. I also like to stay healthy and work out . . . so I tend to create healthy fresh meals that lean towards the delicious. Enjoy . . .

1 comment:

David said...

This dish looks so delicious! I have bookmarked the page and plan on making this tonight, thanks for the great recipe!