Showing posts with label Marx Foods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marx Foods. Show all posts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Iron Foodie 2010: My Entry--Two Pepper Seared Ahi with Avocado-Dulse Yogurt Sauce, Porcini-Dulse Brown Rice & Smoky Lotus Chips

My mom, wise woman that she is, gave me the title of "Procrastinating Perfectionist"--meaning that I put off doing certain things until the very last minute and then give myself the extra stress of not only jamming it out, but expecting it to go perfectly. It's true... I can't deny it. It's not that I don't want to get things done early, I just have to analyze it repeatedly, change my mind a dozen times, and strive to get whatever it is I am working to it's best possible state. It would probably be better if it didn't actually work for me, but I do seem to do my best work under pressure be it a work assignment, a home project or a cooking task, like the Marx Foods / Foodie BlogRoll Iron Foodie 2010 Contest and my entry, Two Pepper Seared Ahi with Avocado-Dulse Yogurt Sauce, Porcini-Dulse Brown Rice & Smoky Lotus Chips.

Not surprisingly, I was in the kitchen the afternoon before the deadline (which is today), coming up with my dish and the recipes for the four components. It's not that I haven't thought about what I would make ever since I got the box of secret ingredients, I just kept changing my mind and changing direction up to the last minute.

The objective of Iron Foodie 2010 Contest is for the 25 bloggers selected to take at least three of the eight secret ingredients we were sent by Marx Foods to create an original recipe and a dish that is Iron Foodie-worthy to compete with.

The Eight Secret Ingredients:
  • Dried Aji Panca Chilies
  • Bourbon Vanilla Beans
  • Fennel Pollen
  • Dried Wild Porcini Mushrooms
  • Tellicherry Peppercorns
  • Dulse Seaweed
  • Maple Sugar
  • Smoked Sea Salt
An interesting list which first begged the question of doing something savory or something sweet. Since I went sweet with Kabocha Cupcakes with Maple-Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing for the last challenge, I decided to go savory this time. Once I determined that I was choosing savory, I knew I wanted to work some local ingredients into the mix, namely ahi and avocado. I also wanted to do something with an Asian flair and maybe get some lotus root in there somehow, because I have been wanting to cook with them.

I went with an appetizer or small plate dish (or pupu as we call them here in Hawaii) and used five of the eight ingredients: Aji Panca Chilies, Dried Wild Porcini Mushrooms, Tellicherry Peppercorns, Dulse Seaweed, and Smoked Sea Salt. Some of the items are used in more than one component of the dish and all the secret ingredients used are highlighted in the recipes below.

Notes/Results: The dish may seem complicated, with a lot of steps and ingredients, but it goes together pretty quickly--cooking the rice takes the longest and you can prepare everything else while the rice cooks. The ahi should be cooked about 10 minutes before serving so it can sit for a few minutes before slicing and the lotus chips made right before serving so they are hot and crispy. (BTW--the ahi is cooked about 4 minutes so just the outside is seared--perfect in my book, but if you really need your fish cooked, buy a cheaper grade of ahi ;-) rather than the sushi-grade and cook it longer.)

The flavors all work well together--you get hits of spiciness from the chili (I left the seeds for grinding in but it is still a rather mild chile) and the black pepper in the ahi, which is cooled by the creamy-tangy yogurt sauce. The mushrooms and dulse add an earthiness to the nutty brown rice, and the chips give good textural contrast. A little (the flavor goes a long way) smoked sea salt in three of the four dishes also ties the flavor together. Sure, from a plating standpoint, having something like a green veggie would have looked nice but overall I am extremely happy with my entry. I would make all of these recipes again in combination or as separate components in different dishes. "Procrastinating perfectionism" works again Mom! ;-)

The Recipes:

Two Pepper Seared Ahi
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 2 Servings)

1 dried Aji Panca Chile
1/2 tsp Tellicherry Peppercorns
1/4 tsp Smoked Sea Salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 sushi-grade ahi tuna block (about 10 ounces)
olive or canol oil

De-stem chile. In a small pan, dry-toast the chili over medium heat until fragrant, about 7-8 minutes. Let cool and chop into small pieces. Place the chile pieces and peppercorns into a spice grinder or coffee grinder until a fine powder and pour into a bowl. Add smoked sea salt and sesame seeds to powder, mix thoroughly and pour mixture on a plate.

Preheat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile dredge ahi block in the pepper mixture, covering all sides and shaking off the excess. When pan is hot, add tuna and sear for 1 minute on each side (for a total of about 4 minutes). If you want a less-rare tuna, you can sear it longer. Remove ahi block from the pan and let site for a few minutes. Slice into 1/4 inch slices and serve.

Porcini-Dulse Brown Rice
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 3 1/2 Cups Cooked Rice)

about 1/3 cup dried Wild Porcini Mushrooms
1 cup brown rice
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp Dulse Seaweed, chopped into small pieces
Smoked Sea Salt (1/2 tsp or to taste)
1 heaping Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 2 1/2 cups hot water for about 20 minutes. Take the mushrooms out of the broth, squeezing out the excess liquid. Cut porcini into small pieces.

Use the 2 cups of mushroom liquid to cook the brown rice in your preferred method. When rice is cooked add the soy sauce and brown rice vinegar and fluff with a rice paddle or fork.
Add the chopped porcini and dulse and season with smoked sea salt to taste Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


Avocado-Dulse Yogurt Sauce
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, pit removed, and cut into chunks
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp Dulse Seaweed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
water, if need for blending
salt and pepper to taste

Place yogurt, avocado, lime juice, dulse and sesame oil into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water if needed to get dressing to the proper consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Smoky Lotus Root Chips
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen

1 medium lotus root (about 6-8 inches)
peanut or canola oil (enough to fill wok pan for deep-frying)
Smoked Sea Salt

Peel lotus root, slice into 1/8" slices with a mandoline, and pat dry with paper towels. Meanwhile, heat oil (about 2 inches deep) in a large wok or deep-sided pan. When oil is hot, add lotus root slices, a few at a time and cook until golden brown. Remove from oil. place on a plate covered with paper towels and while lotus root is still hot, quickly sprinkle with a small amount of smoked sea salt. Serve immediately.

On December 7th the polls will open for voting on the Food BlogRoll to award one person the Iron Foodie 2010 title and a $300 credit to Marx Foods, so I will post the link when the poll is up and if you like the looks and description of my dishes (remember I used 5 ingredients lol!), I would really love a vote from you.

BTW: On a Marx Foods related note--although I am tempted to keep this secret so I have a better chance of winning, Marx Foods is offering a Specialty Sausage Giveaway, giving away a pack of 12(!) varieties of Specialty Sausage. Click on the badge to go check it out.

Win Twelve Varieties of Specialty Sausage at

Happy Aloha Friday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Want to Be the Next Iron Foodie 2010!

When I saw an email about the Iron Foodie 2010 Contest, sponsored by Marx Foods and The Foodie BlogRoll I knew I had to enter. 25 challengers are selected to receive a mystery box of 8 wonderful secret ingredients hand-picked by Marx Foods. The object is to use 3 of those ingredients in an original, creative, Iron Foodie-worthy winning recipe. It gets both my creative and competitive juices flowing! To enter, all interested participants need to answer five fun and thought-provoking questions for the judges to select the 25 challengers by... so here goes!

Why do you want to compete in this challenge?

I am a junkie for cooking competition shows--Iron Chef, Iron Chef America (Morimoto crush alert!), Chopped, Top Chef and I love to watch what the chefs create with the ingredients they are given and try to determine what I would have done with the same ingredients. I recently had a blast in the Marx foods and Joanne Eats Well With Others Recipe Impossible Winter Squash competition. (My entry of Kabocha Cupcakes with Maple-Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting is here.) Getting that box of mystery ingredients was a total thrill and call me greedy but I want more--more challenge, more mystery and of course more of Marx Foods great ingredients!

Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?

Although Julia Child and James Beard would be right up there, the sheer fascination of spending the day with Ferran Adria would have to win out. I have spent many an hour salivating over his "A Day at El Bulli" book at Barnes & Noble and I would love to spend a day in his workshop watching him create and perfect his "deconstructionist" recipes and then get to enjoy his 30 course tasting menu.

What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?

I'm not too proud to admit that I will swipe an endless variety of food items off of my family and friends' plates when they aren't looking and even when they are. (I do usually ask first!) Being a complete food lover with a Libra's inability to make decisions, I am happiest having dinner with you if you are willing and eager to share bites from our respective plates--the more different tastes the better. Also I tend to try to order side salads with my burgers and sandwiches in order to feel better about myself, so if you got the fries, beware...I am stealing some! ;-)

Sum your childhood up in one meal.

My mom's Chicken Fricassee with mashed potatoes and her warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies for dessert congers up childhood to me. Making simple, homey, comfort food is something my mom excels at and her fricassee with it's moist chicken and creamy gravy was/is my only choice for my Birthday dinner. She also makes the best chocolate chip cookies--soft, chewy and addictive.

The one mainstream food you can’t stand?
OK, I may actually get kicked out of America for this but I really can't stand pumpkin pie. There is something about the pureed pumpkin and the combination of spices that just doesn't work at all for me. It is everywhere this time of year--lattes, teas, even smoothies--yikes! It gives me the shudders just thinking about it.

Keep your fingers crossed that I get selected for the challenge round please! ;-) Even if I don't, answering the questions was fun. I'll keep you updated...

BTW: Judges--I tried a bazillion times to get the badge to look right but it doesn't seem to want to work on my blog. It looks fine in preview. ;-( I assure you my cooking skills are better than my technical skills!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll