Open Sesame!

Last night I had first dinner at 3:30pm. Then I had second dinner at 11:45pm. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant probably understands what we did here, because it tends to be a typical night, especially on weekends. Unfortunately for our attempts at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we simply can’t have our meals at normal times because EVERYONE ELSE does. A typical restaurant lunch shift starts between 10-11am and goes anywhere from 2-4pm depending on how busy it is, and the dinner shift can start around 4-5pm, sometimes going as late as 10-11pm (or even later for bartenders). The busiest times of days are mealtimes (12-2ish and 6-8ish) for obvious reason, it’s when we all want to eat. What that does is force the people who are working those mealtimes to push their own meals either ahead of or behind the general rush (or we can be one of those horrible employees who doesn’t care about anyone else including their guests, and stops to eat food somewhere during the busy part instead of taking care of the people who basically pay our bills).

So, I’ve become a hobbit. Luckily I love food, so although I hate to admit it, I really enjoy eating multiple meals at random times! If you have no idea what these words mean, I’m referring to the characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings who ate six meals a day. Now, last night’s second dinner consisted of liquor and Del Taco, so we probably don’t need to spend much time on that one (gotta’ love those buy 1 get 1 coupons in the mailer!), but first dinner… ah first dinner…

Light, different, and delicious! I was flipping through my Cooking for Two or More cookbook ($14.75), and honestly it has so many great dishes that I may just do a whole month’s series of posts straight out of the one cookbook (VERY Julie/Julia Project, but much smaller cookbooks with ridiculously simple recipes). Anyway, I found the Seared Ahi Tuna with Sesame-Ginger Glaze and immediately knew in my heart it was calling out to us, begging to be enjoyed! We don’t have a lot of places out here with incredibly fresh, sashimi grade fish (restaurants yes, grocery stores, not so much), so I figured the next best thing was the frozen ahi tuna steaks from Trader Joes. I trust their quality, and though I’d MUCH rather have a fresh bright rosy tuna, multiple websites said that cooking the frozen tuna medium rare would be okay (yes, I looked at many, many, mannnnnny opinions. No point in being laid out for 2 days for 6 oz. of momentary satisfaction). The recipe said to use Teriyaki baste and glaze, but I have our Teriyaki Sauce with Honey ($12, was created sometime after the cookbook came out), and that worked perfectly.

I bought normal sesame seeds because I heard that you get more flavor when you toast them immediately before using, and it was really easy to just heat them and turn them in the pan once or twice. No crazy flipping like all the pros do, and when I did finally try to be cool like that, I ended up with a burner full of sesame seeds. Okay, so just a little swirl does the trick too. Note: when you roll a fish or meat in anything, don’t forget the sides! If you notice in my pic the tuna slices look like “sesame sandwiches,” and that’s because I got the top and bottom, and conveniently forgot the edges. Almost split one of the pieces in half while I was searing it because I grabbed it wrong with the tongs and had to rescue it with my hand before losing it to the shark-like cats circling below waiting for just one false move (I’ll try a spatula or something more user-friendly in the future). Be careful when you first put the fish in too – the combination of oil, heat, and semi-toasted sesame seeds creates a fun little 4th of July complete with sparklers and popping seeds.

I also attempted drizzling the sauce with a spoon, which is why you simply see a “teriyaki wash” in my finished pic. Once I realized some parts had just a few haphazard drips and others had smears of sauces, I basically gave up and threw a teriyaki tidal wave over the whole thing and told the locals to run for their lives. I’ve made a makeshift piping tool out of a ziploc baggie by cutting the corner off before, so I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to try that this time with a smaller hole. Oh well. I played around with a cucumber to get the cool little pile on the side, and finally settled on swiping the cucumber lengthwise on the 1st (thinnest) mark on my Simple Slicer, and we actually even ate the cucumber rubbed with a little wasabi and dipped in the sauce. The wasabi is from an itty bitty can of powdered wasabi that you get to mix, and I’ve found it has a more serious heat than the tube of wasabi “toothpaste” sold next to it. And I’m sure you noticed that one color was missing – the pink of pickled ginger. NO NO NO!!! I will never put pickled ginger on MY plate because it’s evil! Well, maybe not evil, but I don’t like it, and it’s my plate so too bad. There was freshly grated ginger in the sauce, and that was plenty for me.

I debated on rice or a salad or something underneath, but the truth was I simply didn’t have time. We couldn’t find wasabi or sesame seeds at Walmart while we were buying the other ingredients, cat food, and fish filters (might as well have gotten tires and throw pillows to make the random shopping spree complete). Oddly enough, Ralphs has lots of options in the foreign foods aisle. I got home and raced through the recipe, which luckily really only took like 10 minutes, and then had to run over to Ryley’s new dance class to sign a paper and go straight to work. Hence the second dinner after work. Next time it will be served as an appetizer or in combination with other items to make a complete meal. I think I might also do less sesame. I like sesame, but this was UBER-SESAME!! So perhaps I’ll either substitute soy sauce for the sesame oil in the drizzle, or do a blackened seasoning or something else around the tuna. It was delicious with the original recipe though, and I’m quite proud of my first fish-searing adventure. Close sesame.

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