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Spring calls for light, delicious food

March 30, 2010
The Journal

I just hung up the phone after talking with my sister, Jessica who recently moved to New Ulm from Southern California. She told me that the temperature here might reach 70 degrees this week. I am not kidding; we were both giddy with excitement.

She and I were saying things like, "that's incredible" and "oh, I can't wait." Then, we had to laugh at our extreme enthusiasm, passion even, about a bit of warmth. How times have changed since we moved north. It is interesting how it takes a really long cold winter to appreciate the spring so much more. Yes, I mean that figuratively and literally.

Yesterday, my car wouldn't start... again. I sat in my car at the Cash Wise parking lot, ready to go teach my cooking class. I turned the car key and nothing happened. I'm pretty used to this by now; so, it didn't faze me. I have learned to give myself plenty of time in between destinations just in case this happens. I didn't need to be at the class for an hour. Jack and I went back into the store and I bought him a cheeseburger. I knew he wouldn't eat the beef bourguignon I was about to make in my class anyway.

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When we returned to the car, it still wouldn't start. I sat there looking at all of the other cars in the parking lot and listened to a few of them start up like there was nothing to it. I laughed and said to Jack, "Look at all of those fancy cars that start just with the turn of a key." He laughed too. I thought, well, next time I get a decent car, I will remember and appreciate each time it starts.

I think I used to take that for granted. Having a crummy car has really changed my perspective. I am sure to be giddy and passionate about a car that starts once it is in my possession. Right now, this is my automobile winter period: I am sure spring is right around the corner.

The real season of spring is actually here in full force and I am quite happy about it. I bought seeds and miniature greenhouses to get my plants going for the garden. I have planned a garden which will be three times the size of last year's. I hope I am not being overly eager and that I will be able to love it and tend to it like last year. I hope my friends are ready for lots more care packages this summer. If all goes as planned, the kids and I will be driving vegetables out to people as soon as we can (if the car starts). Claud has been working on our dock and can't wait to get the boat in the water. He has been chopping wood to pile by our fire pit. I think we are more anxious about this spring and summer than we have ever been before. It really is exciting.

Fact Box

Grilled Ahi tuna salad with creamy vinaigrette

Serves: 2

Time: 20 minutes

2 pieces ahi tuna steak

1/4 C. soy sauce

Juice from half of a lemon

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. honey

2 C. spring lettuce

2 tomatoes, sliced

1/4 C. roasted pepitas or pine nuts

1/2 C. creamy vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows)

Combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic salt, pepper, olive oil and honey into a small bowl. Completely coat the tuna in this marinade. You can marinate them an hour or two ahead of time. But, I made it without marinating ahead of time and it was still perfect. Turn the grill on medium high heat. While this is heating up, place the lettuce on the plate and top it with the sliced tomato and pepitas. Grill the ahi for about three minutes each side. You still want the tuna to stay pink inside. It will taste so much better if you don't cook it completely through. Set the tuna aside to cool. Pour the remaining marinade into a hot pan and add in the creamy vinaigrette. Mix together. Slice the tuna about 1/4 inch thick. Place the tuna on the salad and pour the dressing over the top.

Creamy vinaigrette dressing:

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. tarragon

1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

3 drops Sriracha hot sauce

Juice from one lemon

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 C. olive oil

1 C. hot water, added one Tbsp. at a time

Blend the egg yolk and Dijon mustard in food processor. Add thyme, tarragon, Worcestershire, Sriracha and blend. Add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly add in the oil. Once it thickens use the hot water to bring it to the desired consistency for dressing. Pour over your salad. This recipe can easily be simplified by cutting out the sauces if you don't have them on hand. It will still taste fantastic.

The spring festivities, for us, always start out with Claud's birthday which is this weekend. One of the dishes I plan to make is a char grilled Ahi tuna salad with a warm creamy vinaigrette dressing. This dish is easy and only takes about 20 minutes to make.

Ahi, or yellowfin, tuna has a delicate flavor and a meaty texture. It is light and perfect for spring and has a gorgeous color. It is also extremely delicious. The warm dressing is so flavorful by combining the soy marinade with the creamy vinaigrette. You won't believe how good it tastes.

Please watch a video of me making this dish on my blog: All of this delicious spring inspired food, the warmth of the sun and the excitement of boating, bonfires, and the garden far outweighs any car problems I may be experiencing.

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Happy spring.



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