Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paper Chef #41: Tuna, Artichokes, Asparagus & Vodka

The ingredients for this month's Paper Chef wasn't an issue for me. The cost of the ingredients was very interesting though: 75 centimos for 6 artichokes, 99 centimos for a bunch of asparagus and 15 euros for 850 g of tuna. Vodka? Well we have it lying around in here so I just used some of this.

Based on the cost of the ingredients, I decided that 'tuna' was going to be the star of my show. After all, it cost exponentially more than the other ingredients.

Other than that it could be the increasingly warm weather but I haven't had much of an appetite these days, which is maybe why I've been less inspired to cook. Warm weather just drains energy out of me and to be productive I need to keep the temperatures in my room under 24C. I guess this is why in Asia, the offices have pretty strong air conditioning to make sure people are working during the horribly humid and hot months of July, August and September instead of dozing off on their desks and being unproductive.

Enough of my excuses for being uninspired - and uninspired my executions were. Yes, I tried out three different ones and Ronny said they were all good, and I felt they were all kind of OK but nothing fantastic.

Anyway here they are:

The first one was very straight forward. I just braised the artichokes and asparagus in some olive oil with salt, pepper, guindillas and garlic, and served them with tuna braised in more of the same stuff. I used the juices from braising the tuna to make a sauce with vodka, sugar, soy sauce and wasabi.

In the second execution, the ingredients were braised in olive oil, with salt, pepper and guindillas again, and it was served with pasta. The tuna was marinated in vodka, lemon juice, salt and pepper prior to cooking.

The third execution was just watered down Japanese cooking. The artichokes and asparagus were braised in olive oil and seasoned lightly with salt only and set aside. The tuna was braised and then cooked in something similar to Teriyaki sauce, except instead of Mirin, I used vodka with lots of brown sugar, seasoned with soy sauce and spiked with freshly grated ginger. This was served with a nice portion of thinly sliced leeks on top to give it an additional zip. What was surprising about this last execution was how delicious the artichokes tasted with this sauce. The tuna flavored Teriyaki sauce spiked with ginger seemed to bring out all the good flavors in the braised artichokes more than before.

There's still time to send in your entries. Please go here to the Alison's lovely blog: Local Lemons.


Lori said...

Oh sometimes I dont know what to make for Paer Chef. You- you just dive right in and come up with something amazing. Great job.

Trish said...

Pretty incredible! I think that you are QUITE THE chef here and these presentations are stunning! It may be hot where you are...but you pulled off an even 'hotter' recipe and post. Wonderful...could be in a magazine for sure!

Oh I was wondering where you were all these days. We have had it toooo hot here too...32 and 33 every day this week. I expire when it is this hot...yes expire...grin. My staff I mean I mean expire. And our house does not lend itself to cooking then.

Justin said...

the first one is a work of art, but I want to be eating that third one right now

Elra said...

I am sure Ronny was right, they tasted good. They look delicious, and nicely presented.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Lori,Trish,Justin,Elra: You are all SO NICE. I feel like a zombie from the heat but I feel better now. :)

Dorte said...

You are right about not being inspired to cook when the weather is so warm ... and the vodka as ingredient in a hot meal on a hot day is a tough one I think ... Your three dishes, however, look delicious and especially the first one sounds like a version I would really like :-)
By the way, I live close to Torrequebrada, but I don't think it is called that here. The area is newly developed (2-3 years) and not even my street is on google map yet :-) The Torrequebrada golf club is in walking distance from my place.

Marta said...

This recipe looks perfect for the warm weather you talk about, although... doesn't alohol make you warmer?! hahahah regardless, it looks fresh and tasty!
I'm with you on the heat intolerance thing. I grew up in the tropics and I just remember the melting sesnsation every afternoon, gosh, I didn't even want to think, let alone do homework :) Now in Canada it's much better, I actually like the cold weather and, unlike most Canadians, kind of dread the hot-sticky summers... yuck!

Ilva said...

They sure LOOK fantastic, you deserve to win this month I think!