Saturday, May 2, 2009

5 Recipe #50: Seared Tuna Drizzled with Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce

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As they say, "When it rains, it pours." And it's pouring posts today. Here's another fun recipe for those days when you'd rather enjoy something a bit more interesting than "tuna salad" sandwiches. ;-)

Seared Tuna Drizzled with Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce

2 lbs. very fresh tuna steak, cut 1-inch thick
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
grated zest of 2 limes
6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/2 tsp. wasabi paste
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 ripe medium-sized Haas avocados, peeled, pitted & diced
1/4 c. scallions (about 2 scallions)
1/4 c. small red onion, diced
2 inches ginger, peeled & grated
1 c. fresh cilantro leaves

1. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil, & then season lightly with salt & pepper (to taste).
2. Be sure to use a pan that can handle high heat (i.e., wok or stir-fry pan). Set range to high heat & make sure pan is very hot before placing tuna steaks in pan. Place steaks in pan & cook for only 1 minute on each side. Set them aside on a plate to cool.
3. Combine olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, wasabi, lime juice, ginger, & soy sauce in a bowl. Then added diced avocado.
4. Cut tuna into small chunks & place into a medium-sized bowl. Add the scallions & red onion & mix well. Pour the soy sauce mixture over tuna & mix carefully.
5. Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve. Enjoy!

Optional ingredients: Toasted sesame seeds.

Alternate serving suggestions: Use an outdoor grill to sear the tuna, then drizzle with marinade, garnish with chopped cilantro, & serve. Yum!

Alternate fish suggestions: This recipe will also work well with salmon, if you'd like to use this fish as a substitute selection. IMPORTANT: The major difference is that you will need to sear salmon a tad bit longer i.e., 2-4 minutes, especially for thicker "steak" cuts. Searing for 2-3 minutes will produce a medium rare cut, i.e., golden exterior with a warm pink center (i.e., without any fleshiness). Searing for 3-4 minutes will produce a medium well cut, i.e., browned exterior with opaque interior slightly pulling away from bone.

ADDENDUM: If you are concerned about which species of tuna are ecologically safe to eat, please consult the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector.

0 Need Reinforcement Getting Back on Track with Your Eating? Join The "Healthy Eating Initiative"!

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I'd like to invite you to join our "Healthy Eating Initiative" at the motivational fitness site, Just Finish.

Here you will find support, motivation, & tips for eating & preparing healthy, tasty foods which will satisfy your taste buds, fill you full of energy, & make you feel fantastic!

I believe that the best way for people to get back on track with their eating is through constructive reinforcement & positive encouragement. By first focusing on what we're currently doing correctly -- in terms of both nutrition & portion sizes, & then moving onto what we'd like to realistically accomplish, we can then put ourselves in the proper mental state to squarely face what we need to improve upon, leaving behind our past attachments to ineffectual behaviors & unnecessary mental anguish.

The key to success, not only in nutrition & exercise, but as one of life's large philosophical precepts, is learning how to become aware again, reconnecting with our senses & the world around us, getting back to basics, letting go of attitudes & behaviors that no longer serve us, refocusing on what works for us as individuals, & lastly but certainly not least, remembering to live in the present. You must be able to see what's possible for you & believe fully in it and in yourself.

Once you get into the proper headspace, you are half-way there. Then the focus shifts to implementation, which doesn't have to be overly complicated in order to be successful. This is the point at which concepts go from the abstract & the philosophical to the concrete & the specific. Like a pole-vaulter visualizing him- or herself breaking new barriers, first you perceive, then you achieve. :)

To join the group, simply join JustFinish (if you haven't done so already) & then request group membership. After you join & sign in, I encourage you to read the "Welcome Message," because it contains important details about the scope & purpose of this discussion group.


More details about the group:

The "Cyberpenguin" & the "RunningHoosier" have joined forces to bring you the help & support you need to reach your health & wellness goals!

This is the companion program to Running Hoosier's fitness challenge, "Thirteen Weeks To A Healthier You," which you can join by visiting Thirteen Weeks To A Healthier You (Just Finish challenge group) & its parent site, Running Hoosier.

I encourage you to join both groups on Just Finish, as the two programs will be working hand-in-hand to promote total health & well-being via fitness, nutrition, & overall healthy living.

After all, even if you are currently maintaining a healthy weight, healthy eating & exercise are still important to maintaining good health! :)

Thanks for joining our groups! We look forward to helping you to achieve your fitness/nutrition/health goals! It's going to be a great group dynamic!


2 Making the Connection: Nature, Gardening, & Fresh Food

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As many of you already know, I'm a huge advocate of using fresh, seasonal ingredients, & staying away from eating/using overly processed, chemical-laden foods.

I believe that it is possible to live healthier lives & make healthier choices, even in the modern world, where time is of the essence, the twin forces of convenience & health seem to be in direct opposition to one another.

Or are are they really? Let's take a closer look at these ideas. What are we saying by choosing to blindly accept them as statements of so-called "fact"? Is "convenience" really a matter of perhaps making different choices that are, in fact, completely within our own control? Are we simply accepting the "cult of laziness" as inevitable conclusions because we think it's just a losing battle of "nature vs. nurture," & are convinced that our "convenience culture" has conspired against us & made it almost impossible for us to stand up for the forces of health & wellness?

Where is our sense of personality responsibility in all of this? Where is our indignation in all of us as a society having let it all go to "hell in a handbasket"? And why isn't this a more pressing issue, to be fought for & defended as a "sacred right" in our homes, in our school districts, in our local governments, and beyond?

I ask you: Why should convenience take precedence over health? What good will it do us if we take quicker steps to "make our lives easier," if these steps only lead us to a quicker demise? We owe it not just to ourselves, but to the following generations, to pick up the mantle of personal responsibility, and embody health in all that we do, & to advocate better policies in our communities -- locally, nationally, & globally.

However, it is not enough to fight against soda & junk food machines in schools, etc., or push for sustainable agriculture programs in our educational system. We must embody health -- & be healthy -- in order for our efforts to make any sense to the next generations. And then we must share our experiences with others.

One way to foster nutritional wellness is to start early in the home, educating our children, & teaching the next generation to appreciate the important of fresh foods & healthy eating. This is most effectively done -- NOT by pounding them over the head with "this is healthy, eat it," but rather involving them in the process of putting a meal together -- from gardening to cooking. Or, as it were, from picking to plating. (Grrr, I honestly find the use of the word "plating" to be highly irritating -- it's far over-used by the culinary community-- but there was too much perfect consonance in the expression to avoid its use. ;-) I don't care what other people in the foodie community say, the word "plate" should really only be used as a noun!!!! Anyhow, I digress.... ;-) ) Without preaching, you are literally showing them the value of these activities, by becoming involved in their growth in a fun & highly effective way.


Growing up in a rural area, I was exposed to fresh food, local farms, & farmers' markets, and -- thanks to the influence of my parents, maternal grandmother, & paternal grandfather -- became involved with gardening from an early age. We had a garden in our backyard growing up, & I have many memories of my grandparents taking me into the garden as a small child, pointing out the names of all the different plants & showing me how to care for them.

I was lucky enough to help take care of gardens as a small child, & it profoundly affected the way I saw nature & the world around me. Becoming involved in gardening & cooking as a child helped connect me to nature, & also to connect it to what I was eating.

However, you don't have to live in a rural area to appreciate the connection between nature & your kitchen table: Even in a city, you can still find a way to connect to nature. You can buy seeds & plant them in a community garden, become involved in taking care of public gardens, &/or grow plants on your window sill.

Likewise, I happen to live in a city, & have still managed to carve out space & a modicum of time for connecting with nature. I hike in the woods, visit the zoo, walk & run in parks & on trails, etc. And, to this day, I am still gardening, growing all sorts of non-edible & edible plants alike (herbs, fresh vegetables, etc.). Gardening is an immensely satisfying activity. I love nurturing plants & watching them grow. It's almost an indescribable pleasure.

Having these kinds of experiences is vital, especially as a child & young adult. Not only does it have a lasting effect on how the next generation will see nature & our planet, but it creates compassion & understanding that go well beyond surface components.

Even simple things like taking your child to feed the ducks at the local pond is certain to leave a lasting impression. I bet there are a lot of you -- who are now fully grown adults -- who still remember going to the zoo with your Mom and Dad, or the time you went hiking in the woods with your grandparents, etc.

These are just some of the ways in which parents & grandparents (as well as other family members, friends, & other mentoring figures!) can have an immediate effect on the way that (their) children perceive nature and health, & their social responsibility in context to both their own family units as well as the larger picture. These activities, while seemingly small or minor in scope, really do matter to children, & stay with them as adults, in unexpected & far-reaching ways. As the famous Mother Teresa quote goes, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

When children become involved with nature & the process of gardening & cooking -- putting their hands in the earth, planting seeds, watching plants grow & picking fruits, vegetables, & herbs with their own hands, & helping assemble these ingredients together for family meals -- they look at food in an entirely different way. The abstract concept of food becomes "tangible." It starts to make sense, because by doing & becoming involved in the process of growing & preparing food, they begin to understand their food in a deeply personal way. This is why children who are involved in growing fruits & vegetables have a much greater chance of appreciating & enjoying the fruits of their labor, in the most literal sense of the word. There's something to be said for becoming involved in this process; the experience changes us irrevocably. We can no longer be distant or uncaring. Once you connect to food in this way, there's no going back. And that is a sublimely beautiful thing.

So pay it forward my friends. And be well!


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