Posts Tagged ‘appetizers’

Whenever I serve these tuna tacos to friends, I always get requests for the recipe. It requires a bit of setting up, but you can put it together right before serving to your guests…or yourself.

I use sushi grade tuna for this dish, which is easily found in small frozen “bricks” at Whole Foods or similar stores.

 

The marinade…
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili oil

The topping…

¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

Other Ingredients…

½ lb. sushi grade raw tuna, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
Tortilla chips
Finely chopped scallions

Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl, and place it in the fridge. Mix the marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Chop the tuna into ¼-inch cubes, and marinate it in the soy/oil mix for just 10 minutes, then drain. (It will be really salty if you let marinate any longer.) Keep it cold!

Just before serving, take a tortilla chip, place 1 tablespoon of the tuna on top, top this with ½ teaspoon of the sour cream mixture, and then garnish with the finely chopped scallions.

Serve them immediately, and eat these quickly, before the tuna makes the tortilla soggy!

 

This is a great side dish for any special occasion. And you can substitute to suit your needs. Goat cheese not your speed? Try Gruyère or smoked gouda. Need it to be gluten-free? Use GF breadcrumbs. Don’t like mushrooms? Okay…I can’t help you there…

 

image

 

 

1 package large white mushrooms
olive oil
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, through a press
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
fresh goat cheese
bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

 

 

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the mushrooms in cold water to clean them. Remove the stems of the mushrooms and set them aside. Rub the mushroom caps with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet, open side-down, in a 400-degree oven for a few minutes.

In a pan, sauté the shallot and garlic in a little olive oil. Chop the mushroom stems finely and add them to the pan. Add the thyme and pepper flakes.

Reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees after removing the mushroom caps. Flip the mushroom caps over so that they look like little bowls. Break off a small piece of goat cheese and place it in each mushroom. Top each with the sautéed shallot mixture. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and sprinkle parsley over that.

Return the baking sheet to the oven, cooking the mushrooms until they are lightly golden in color, and the cheese has melted.

 

image

 

Mushroom myth: Soaking mushrooms in cold water makes them mushy. Not true! Alton Brown, on an old episode of “Good Eats” on the Food Network, showed that mushrooms do not soak up any water when left to soak for even 30 minutes. So use your mushroom brush…use your kitchen towel…whatever you like. But I prefer to get them clean simply with cold water.

 

 

When I first told my friends that I grew up in a Lithuanian family, that we only spoke Lithuanian at the dinner table, that I went to Lithuanian Saturday school for 8 years, that I was a Lithuanian boy scout…they looked at me with a bit of disbelief. On the surface, I looked just like any other American-born kid that grew up in the suburbs. But the home life was vastly different.

Few things were stranger to my friends than the food we ate. While all my “American” friends had PB&J’s for lunch, I had a liverwurst sandwich on dark Lithuanian bread. While my friends struggled with broccoli, I was force-fed beets. And while my friends ate macaroni with jarred tomato sauce, my Mom served macaroni with sour cream and butter. (Nobody called it pasta back then.)

img_0048

Few things prove you are a true Lithuanian more than an appetite for herring. (Silke (sil-keh) in Lithuanian.) I loved it at an early age. Didn’t matter if it was in a cream sauce with onions, in a tomato casserole with chopped boletes, or perhaps my favorite: an appetizer my Mom prepared only twice a year when my Dad’s buddies came over to play rounds of bridge all night.

There are a few basic ingredients that make this appetizer work…

First and foremost, you need a bottle of good vodka in the freezer. Despite their lack of love for anything Russian, Lithuanians knew a good vodka when they saw one, and Stolichnaya has been the favorite for many years. Even now, with hundreds of vodkas to choose from, I still go to the red labeled Stoli bottle for this dish. I get a plastic juice pitcher, place the bottle of Stoli inside it, and fill with water just below the brand name on the label. I have a deep freezer that allows me to keep the pitcher right-side up until frozen.

Obviously, good quality herring is essential. Though I can get fresh when I’m back home on Long Island, the usual choice is from a jar. For me, there’s no better quality than Acme products out of Brooklyn, NY. (If you saw the episode of “Bizarre Foods America” with Andrew Zimmern where he visited a salmon processing plant in Brooklyn, that was Acme Smoked Fish.) You can find them in many supermarkets. Blue Hill Bay herring in dill marinade (an Acme product) is wonderful and can be found at Whole Foods.

Next: hard-boiled eggs that have cooled in the fridge. Get out the old egg slicer that’s been sitting in the kitchen  drawer for the last decade and use it for this appetizer.

Red onion, sliced thin. How much you use is up to you. But it’s gotta be red and it’s gotta be raw.

And finally, Lithuanian bread. Yes, there is such a thing. It’s easy to find in most Polish or German food stores in the New York area. I buy a loaf when I’m home and then keep it in the freezer to enjoy throughout the year. Lithuanian bread is like the lovechild of rye bread and pumpernickel.

img_0051

To make the appetizer, simply place a small piece of Lithuanian bread, about 1 1/2″ square, on a plate. Place a slice of hard-boiled egg on top of it. On top of that, some red onion. Then finally, a piece of herring.

 

img_0046

Pop the whole thing in your mouth, and wash it down with a small amount of frozen vodka. No shots–this isn’t a frat house. Besides, you won’t make it to the end of dinner. Then again, you may not care at that point!

I never learned how to play bridge, but I’m sure my Dad would be proud that I remembered this treat.

 

Whenever I serve these tuna tacos to friends, I always get requests for the recipe. It requires a bit of setting up, but you can put it together right before serving to your guests…or yourself.

I use sushi grade tuna for this dish, which is easily found in small frozen “bricks” at Whole Foods or similar stores.

For the Marinade…
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper oil

The topping…

¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped fresh scallions

Other Ingredients…

½ lb sushi grade raw tuna, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
Tortilla chips
Finely chopped scallions
Assemble…

Make the topping in a bowl first, and place in the fridge. Mix marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Chop tuna into ¼-inch cubes, and marinate in soy/oil mix for just 10 minutes, then drain. Keep it cold!

Just before serving, take a tortilla chip, place 1 tablespoon of tuna on top, top this with ½ teaspoon sour cream mixture, and garnish with chopped scallions.

Eat these quickly, before the tuna makes the tortilla soggy!

 

The Thanksgiving countdown begins!

This is a great side dish for any special occasion. And you can substitute to suit your needs. Goat cheese not your speed? Try Gruyère or smoked gouda. Need it to be gluten-free? Use easy-to-find GF breadcrumbs. Don’t like mushrooms? Okay…I can’t help you there…

image

Ingredients:

 

1 package large white mushrooms

olive oil

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, through a press

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

fresh goat cheese

bread crumbs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

 

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the mushrooms in cold water to clean. Remove the stems of the mushrooms and set aside. Rub mushroom caps with olive oil and place on a baking sheet, open side, down, in a 400-degree oven for a few minutes.

In a pan, saute shallots and garlic in a little olive oil. Chop the mushroom stems finely and add to the pan. Add thyme and pepper flakes.

Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees after removing the mushroom caps. Flip the mushroom caps over so that they look like little bowls. Break off a small piece of goat cheese and place in each mushroom. Top each with sautéed shallot mixture. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and sprinkle parsley over that.

Return baking sheet to the oven, cooking mushrooms until they are lightly golden in color, and the cheese has melted.

image

 

Mushroom myth: Soaking mushrooms in cold water makes them mushy. Not true! Alton Brown, on an old episode of “Good Eats” on the Food Network, showed that mushrooms do not soak up any water when left to soak for even 30 minutes. So use your mushroom brush…use your kitchen towel…whatever you like. But I prefer to get them really clean with cold water.

 

 

Whenever I serve these tuna tacos to friends, I always get requests for the recipe. It requires a bit of setting up, but you can put it together right before serving to your guests…or yourself.

I prefer to use sushi grade tuna for this dish, which is easily found in small frozen “bricks” at Whole Foods or similar stores.

SPICY SOY MARINATED TUNA ON TACO CHIPS

Marinade…
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper oil
Topping…
¼ cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped fresh scallions
Other Ingredients…
½ lb sushi grade raw tuna, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
Tortilla chips

Finely chopped scallions

Assemble…

Make the Topping in a bowl first, and place in the fridge. Mix marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Chop tuna into ¼-inch cubes, and marinate in soy/oil mix for just 10 minutes, then drain. Keep cold!

Just before serving, take a tortilla chip, place 1 Tablespoon of tuna on top, top this with ½ teaspoon sour cream mixture, and garnish with chopped scallions.

Eat these quickly, before the tuna makes the tortilla soggy!