23 May 2007

Asian Salad and a movie

For the past couple weeks I've been craving some seared tuna (raw in the middle) sliced thin over a crunchy, crispy salad. I like a salad with seared tuna in two main varieties: Asian or Southwestern. Last night was the night and Asian was the style.

For the dressing I used a bit of yellow miso paste, a couple drops of lite soy sauce, fresh orange juice, a few drops of Chinese rice wine, a little minced garlic, a lot of grated ginger, freshly ground black pepper, a drizzle of roasted sesame oil. (If the dressing is too thick or too salty, add a little water.)

For the salad (4 dinner-sized servings):
1/2 small head savoy cabbage, shredded
1 medium heart of romaine
big handful of bean sprouts, stringy ends trimmed off
big handful of snow pea pods, julienned
1 small yellow bell pepper, julienned
3 scallions, green part only, cut on the bias
2 medium oranges, segments only, skins removed (What's the technical term for this method? I'll have to look it up.)
big handful of sliced almonds
big handful of julienned carrots (I buy them already done)
chopped cilantro (optional)
La Choy brand crunchy chow mein noodles for topping (find in the asian packaged goods aisle in your regular grocery, usually bottom shelf)

For the tuna, about 1 pound of sashimi grade should cover your 4 main course salad servings. I drizzled the tuna pieces with a little toasted sesame oil and then sprinkled a combination of a southwestern dry rub mixed with a mild chili powder. (Well, dinner was mostly Asian inspired but needed that little bit of southwestern zip.) Get a grill pan nice and hot to just about smoking and set each piece in. Leave for about 2 minutes before flipping and cooking another minute or so. Don't forget to sear the sides also. Remove from the pan and let it rest while you toss the salad with the dressing and put the crunchies on top. Slice the tuna and set the slices on the salad to serve.

On another note, I watched a quirky movie this past weekend called Everything is Illuminated, not a movie about food but nonetheless contains a funny food scene involving vegetarianism. The film itself is a very odd road trip with interesting characters all searching for their own stories and making new memories along the way. One of the best lines in the movie comes toward the end. The old Ukranian lady who collects items to remember the dead says something so truthful to the young man, Jonathan, who comes to find out about one of them. Holding a small jar containing a wedding ring, this lady says something like, "You are not here because of it. It is here because of you." This physical thing, symbol of a history, a memory, only exists because someone seeks out that history. Without a person or a society taking that journey back in time to learn the history, the thing/event doesn't exist at all, it has no relevance. The title is so appropo for this film on so many levels. If you've seen it, I'm interested in your comments. If not, I recommend you do!

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