Olive Oil Poached Tuna Rolls

I’ve always been intrigued by authentic poke, however, sushi-grade tuna in St. Louis, Missouri can be a roll of the dice unless you’re a sushi restaurant.  So for this light yet filling dish, I elected to first poach the tuna in olive oil until it was just pink in the center, then I finished the ‘cooking’ ceviche-style using rice wine vinegar and lemon juice along with aromatic and bold flavors like shallots, jalapeno, pickled ginger, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.  The delicate rice paper was the perfect vehicle to pull all of those wonderful flavors together.

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Chorizo Jalapeño Popper Mummies

Halloween for me always means spooky decorations and playful food.  I decided this year’s theme was going to be mummies so I took traditional jalapeño poppers, added spicy chorizo sausage meatballs and replaced the bacon wrapping with pizza dough.  The combination of the heat from the jalapeño and sausage with the cool creamy cheeses and savory pizza dough made these the perfect spicy Halloween party appetizer!

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Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry Puffs

I love the deep spicy flavors in Indian food, and for many years I was fortunate to have colleagues from India who would generously invite me to their annual Diwali celebration which is the Hindu festival of lights.  One of my favorite Indian delicacies they served was samosas which is a pocket of fried dough filled with a savory mixture of spiced potatoes, onions, peas, or lentils.

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Ratatouille

No, I did not have a ‘little chef’ helping me prepare this recipe. However, I did think about the movie as I was slicing and arranging the vegetables, hoping to achieve that colorful visual that makes ratatouille such a beautiful dish.

You may notice I haven’t included eggplant on my list of ingredients which is a common ingredient in ratatouille.  Baby eggplants work great in this dish, unfortunately, I rarely find baby eggplants where I live, only the larger eggplants which don’t scale well with the size of the squash and Roma tomatoes.  If you’re fortunate enough to have an abundance of baby eggplants in a store near you, by all means, slice a couple of them up and add them to the mix!

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Say It Isn’t Tso!

Americans love fried chicken.  The conundrum for anyone trying to eat healthily is the word ‘fried.’ This recipe is my healthier play on ‘General Tso’s Chicken’ using tempeh which is a fermented soy product. Tempeh’s fermentation process retains the whole soybean which gives tempeh a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins.  The outer crunchy coating on the tempeh is a mixture of cornstarch and aromatic ingredients like ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.  I kept the sauce fairly traditional to continue the deep flavors of the ginger, garlic, and green onions, plus a generous amount of chile paste for a little kick.

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Mexican Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Mac

Here’s one more chili recipe for the season, this time inspired by flavors of Mexico and just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. After slow cooking for hours, and filling the house with an amazing aroma, this chili is infused with smoky Mexican spices and the deep, slow roasted caramel malt notes from the beer.  The addition of the sweet potatoes adds a healthy dose of vitamins B and C, plus their inherent sweetness balances the heat from the poblano peppers.

The chili itself is very hearty and filling; however, if you have a noodle-head at home as I do, the addition of the pasta works great here.  Either way of serving, it’s sure to be a family favorite.

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Thai-Style Mussels and Prawns in Coconut Broth

I had a lot of fun creating this recipe because I had never cooked with fresh coconut before but had always wanted to.  I had no idea what to expect as far as the availability of fresh coconuts in St. Louis, so, fortunately, my local grocer sells whole coconuts which have been previously scored.  After only a few firm taps with a hammer on the score lines, the shells broke open, and the room was filled with the wonderful aroma of fresh coconut.  When I saw the gorgeous interior of the shells, I knew that was going to be the vessel for serving.

The flavors in this dish are classic Thai with an intricate blend of texture, color, strong aromatic components, delicate seafood, and a spicy edge at the finish.

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Fettuccine Aglio e Olio

This recipe is my daughter’s second favorite pasta dish.  In Italian, it’s called Fettuccine Aglio e Olio.  In the United States, we call it Olive Oil and Garlic Fettuccine It’s a simple yet very flavorful traditional dish comprised of garlic two ways; herb infused olive oil, fresh herbs, and tender cooked pasta.  And if you have your prep done ahead of time, you can easily have this dish on the table in less than 30 minutes.

There is a fair amount of spice here between the Serrano pepper and the red chile flakes so scale up or down according to taste.

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Vegetarian Malaysian Laksa

I made this dish right after the holidays to help make up for some of those less than healthy meal choices we ate between Thanksgiving and New Years.  This is an immensely flavorful vegetarian dish guaranteed to restore your body’s antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

If you haven’t had Malaysian food before, prepare your taste-buds for a treat.  Authentic characteristic in traditional Malay cuisine is first and foremost the generous use of spices closely followed by coconut milk which gives Malay dishes their rich, creamy flavor.

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