Tuna Tartare

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My friend Kim came to visit a few weeks ago from San Diego, and along with our friend Anna, we had a week full of amazing food and drink. We took a Sunday evening to put together quite an eat-in feast, stocked with delicious treats from Chelsea Market: cheese, olives, fois gras, bread, proscuitto and this amazing tuna tartare. It was the perfect night — a super easy, snack-y meal, wine and great company. I always say I could have a meal like this every night.

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This was my first recipe from a new cookbook I got from my BFF for my birthday: Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar. They have a cooking show of the same name that I have yet to watch, but hear is great. If this recipe is any indication, it’s amazing!

Not only is it delicious, with great flavors from the herbs (mint, basil) and lemon, on top of super fresh sushi-grade tuna — but it is amazingly easy and fast to make. We gobbled this up.

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TW’s Tips

  • Buy really high quality tuna. It’s worth it, and especially when eating it raw.
  • Serve with very basic crackers — nothing with a flavor to it, you’ll overpower the tuna.
  • I cut the recipe in half for three of us and still had some leftover.

Tuna Tartare

Ingredients

  • 10 leaves fresh mint, finely sliced (chiffonade), plus more for garnish
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, finely sliced (chiffonade) , plus more for garnish
  • 2 sushi-grade tuna steaks (1 1/4-inch thick), 1/4-inch dice
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, optional
  • Flatbread crackers, broken into bite-size pieces, for serving
  • Endive leaves, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces, for serving

Directions

Combine the mint, basil, tuna and lemon zest in a large bowl and stir gently. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, if using.
Spoon generous portions of tuna onto the crackers or endive pieces. Garnish with lemon wedges, mint and basil sprigs. Serve immediately.

Sun-dried Tomato Dip

DipWhen I was home for the holidays, we threw a baby shower for my sister-in-law, who’s due in February. I’m so excited for the arrival of my second niece/nephew! We made waaaay too much food, but it was delicious, and this sun-dried tomato dip was on the menu. It’s a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and it goes great with chips or a vegetable platter — it’s super creamy, with great flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and scallions and a nice hit of spice from the hot sauce. The best thing — this is super easy to make. I don’t even have any tips for you, except to make sure the cream cheese is room temp to make blending it easier. Quick and easy!

Dip 2

Sun-dried Tomato Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped (8 tomatoes)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 10 dashes, hot red pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

Directions

Puree the tomatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, red pepper sauce, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the scallions and pulse twice. Serve at room temperature

Slow-Roasted Spanish Olives with Oranges and Almonds

I’m going to let you in on a secret: quite possibly the most delicious olives you have ever tasted.
I haven’t always been a fan of olives. My parents have never really liked them, so it was one of those things we didn’t have in the house growing up. But my olive-loving friends converted me, and now I’ll eat them by the handful.

These are some fancy-looking olives, but they are SO easy to make. They’re perfect for a cocktail party, and I’ve made them for my best friend’s bridal AND baby shower, since she loved them so much. I’ll make them for myself as well, and keep them in the fridge to snack on. They are a Tyler Florence recipe — yet more evidence why I love that man.

Why are they so good? I think it’s the magic of slow roasting, which infuses the olives wtih the citrus flavor of the orange, the earthy thyme and a hit of spice from the red pepper, and makes them juicy and a little softer than normal. The sherry vinegar gives them the perfect acidic kick. The almonds are delicious, infused with olivey citrus flavor, and a great contrast to the olives themselves.

TW’s Tips

  • The recipe calls for mixing everything in a bowl, then pouring it into a baking dish. I just throw everything in the baking dish to begin with and mix it up. No extra dirty dishes!
  • I’ve had a hard time finding the specific types of olives that are called for in the recipe — but I’ve had great results just picking some of the green olives from the Whole Foods olive bar. Pick ones with pits, and not the ones that are stuffed with almonds or garlic or marinating in something weird that will throw off the flavors.
  • I take out the bay leaves and thyme stems before serving, as well as most of the oranges. But I leave a few because they give it some color.
  • These are best straight out of the oven. But they’re great either way. If you’re taking them out of the fridge, let them warm up to room temp before serving.

Slow-Roasted Spanish Olives with Oranges and Almonds

  • 2 pounds Spanish olives, such as manzanilla or gordal, with pits
  • 1 orange, unpeeled, sliced into 1/8-inch circles
  • 1 cup whole almonds, with skin
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 red chili pepper, halved lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the olives and the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours. Drain the oil out (keep it to use as a bread dip) and serve warm or at room temperature with assorted cheeses.

Caesar-Stuffed Eggs

Deviled eggs have a bad rap — and I’m here to prove that wrong! These Caesar-stuffed eggs are the upscale version of the white trash classic — a classic that I am still fiercely loyal to, I admit. I made these for my best friend Melissa, who is also a big fan of deviled eggs, for her bridal shower, and then just a couple of weeks ago for her baby shower. They were a HUGE hit at the party. Everyone will want to know what’s in them. When you look at the ingredients, you’ll think it’s crazy, but trust me on this one.

Why are they so good? The combination of the garlic, lemon and Worcestershire gives them a kick — they have a spiciness to them, and the lettuce works in a nice crunch. You won’t have the best breath after wolfing some of these down, but it’s worth it. They really do taste like a Caesar salad! People who bad-talk deviled eggs will be sneaking these from the plate by the handful.

TW’s Tips:

  • For most of my eggs, I opted to cut them in half instead of stuffing the whole egg, which can be frustrating and tedious. But they do look very cute that way. You can see some of them in the pictures.
  • Piping this filling into the eggs using a regular baggie is asking for a HUGE mess. I tried it. The plastic is too thin and doesn’t stand up to the pressure when you’re squeezing the bag. It might work in a freezer bag, but don’t bet on it. I had to get a pastry kit from Target (with the different tips that texture the filling as it is piped into the egg) and it worked much better. Even then, the bags stood up to only so much squeezing. I had egg yolk filling all over my hands and arms. Not cute.
  • I recommend using a food processor for the filling to make it extra creamy. The lettuce and cheese pose a difficulty if you are piping in the filling. It clogs up the pastry tip.
  • Hard boiling eggs so they peel smoothly is an art. Her recommended method below is pretty good, but I recommend putting the eggs in an ice bath when they’re done cooking so they peel better. Otherwise, they can end up looking “jenky.”
  • Expect to throw out/eat at least a couple eggs per dozen, whether they don’t peel right, the egg yolks hard boil off-center, or you mess up the cutting/filling job.
  • You can make these a day ahead, but cover them tightly so they don’t dry out, and wait to garnish until just before serving.

Credit goes to Rachael Ray for this awesome recipe!

Caesar-Stuffed Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1/2 small onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded

Preparation

Put the eggs in a saucepan and fill halfway with cold water. Set over high heat and cover the pot with a lid. When the water boils, turn off the heat and place the lid over the pot of eggs and let sit 10 minutes.

Place the pot of cooked eggs in the sink and run some cold water over the eggs until both the water and the pan feel cool. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, roll each egg on a work surface to crack the shell. Carefully peel off the eggshells and discard.

Place the eggs on a cutting board and cut a quarter off the egg from the fat rounded end to expose the yolk. Next, cut just a sliver off the opposite end, the pointed end so the egg is able to sit upright without rolling over. Once all the eggs have been cut, scoop out their yolks into a medium size mixing bowl. Place the egg white halves back into the egg container for easy transport and filling, making sure the holes are pointing up so that you are able to fill them with the Caesar mixture.

To the bowl with the yolks add the anchovy paste, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, garlic, onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mash up the yolks with a fork until the mixture is paste-like. Mix in half of the shredded romaine, reserving the rest for garnish.

Spoon the egg mixture into a plastic, re-sealable bag and squish it all into one of the bottom corners. Snip off the corner and squeeze out a bit of yolk mixture into each of the egg whites.

Once all eggs are filled, garnish them with a sprinkle of extra cheese and some additional shredded romaine. Close the container lid and you are off to that party!