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Sunday, February 28, 2010

guest blogger: my mom!

Cena di Sicilia


Golden Risotto
with Shrimp

Seared Tuna
with Sweet-Sour Onions
Salad Greens in
Olive Oil Vinaigrette
Semolina Bread

Regaleali Bianco,
Tasca d’Almerita

Blood Orange and
Kiwi Composition
Almond Thins

I am Drew’s mother, and therefore, Kaytie’s mother-in-law. First of all, that’s fun because I love their medley of wonderful traits and talents, and second, because they love to cook and I love to eat. I like to think that I taught Drew everything I know about cooking, and maybe I did plant some seeds and a few family recipes, but the truth is, he and Kaytie take cooking to new levels as they add their own touches to existing recipes and invent new ones to share on this blog.

So when I told them about a recent “theme” dinner at our house, Kaytie invited me to be a guest blogger on Tiny Biscuits!
For Christmas our friends Cynthia and Bob gave us a copy of a newly-released cookbook written by their sister-in-law. Seafood alla Siciliana, by Toni Lydecker, is a beautiful book, so when I planned an evening with our dinner group (4 couples, including Bob and Cynthia) I thought it would be fun for each of us to cook a dish from Toni’s book. (We may be baby boomers, but our husbands do cook).
I planned the menu and my friends enthusiastically chose the part they each wanted to make. Chris and David started us off with the Antipasti. Their homemade crostini was especially perfect for the eggplant spread, and the herbs and olive oil they added to the mozzarella balls were delicious!
Gail made the Risotto with Shrimp, page 122, once she arrived so it could be served immediately when prepared, and we all licked our plates, partly because the orange zest made this dish so good.
My husband and I chose to do the Seared Tuna, page 183; the sweet-sour onions were a perfect complement to the tuna, along with the mint garnish. This dish was delicious, though next time we’ll be more generous with the sea salt and pepper when we season the fish. I also made the Semolina Bread which was fantastic - so well-worth the time. We found the semolina flour at Jimmy’s, a great Italian grocery store, as well as several of the wines that Toni suggests in her book.

We ended with Cynthia’s dessert – Kiwis and Blood Oranges, page 248 – fresh, light, and authentic since January is blood orange season in Italy, even though to buy them in Dallas in January you have to live with the guilt of carbon footprint. She planned on making the Almond Thins, page 245, but arrived with the Sesame Seed Cookies, page 246, as well, thank goodness! It’s OK to eat all the cookies if you eat your fruit – right?

We ended our gourmet dinner with dessert wine and espresso, ready to get together again with some more of Toni’s great recipes!

Seared Tuna with Sweet-Sour Onions

1 large tuna steak (about 1 lb), cut into 3-4 portions
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper (optional)
5 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs sugar (or to taste)
1 large red onion, cut in wedges
extra-virgin olive oil
several mint leaves, snipped into ribbons

Season the tuna on both side with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt with ¼ cup water. This is the sweet-sour mixture.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, combine the onion with a little olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sweet-sour mixture, stirring often as the liquid evaporates and the onions caramelize. Transfer to a bowl.

Wipe the skillet clean. Add 1 Tbs olive oil, and raise the heat to medium. Sear the tuna until well browned. Turn the steaks over, and pile the onions on top. As soon as the second side is browned, reduce the heat and add a little water. Simmer a minute or so for medium rare.

Transfer the tuna to dinner plates. Deglaze the pan by adding a little water, and cook until thickened. Drizzle over the onion-topped steaks. Sprinkle with mint.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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