Archive for December, 2010

Now I know you’re thinking, “Shrimp cocktail?  Is she lazy, nuts, or both?”  There is a twist here.  You all know how to buy fresh cooked shrimp and a bottle of cocktail sauce.  This recipe goes further so you can make your own cocktail sauce.  I know personally I never go through a whole bottle of that sauce and then it grows moldy before I ever think about using it again.

This recipe contains normal household ingredients (especially if you love Bloody Mary’s like I do) and you can make it in a pinch.  And you don’t have to worry about wasting your money on a bottle you’ll only use a smidge of!

Cocktail Sauce – 1 Knife


  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1-2 tablespoons horseradish
  • a few dashes of hot sauce (to taste)
  • a pinch of celery salt (also to taste)


  1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.  If you like horseradish a lot like I do you can add more then listed above.
  2. Adjust hot sauce and celery salt to taste.  Best to start with less as you can always add more.

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I was grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s the other night and happened upon a happy little bag of what they called “teeny tiny potatoes.”  Somewhat smaller than fingerling potatoes, they can substitute for finglerings when necessary, so I decided to buy some .

That night I found a great recipe adaptation by David Latt of José Andrés’s “Salty Wrinkled Potatoes” recipe.  I have made some minor tweaks to the recipe to help simplify (and keep you from accidentally setting fire to your kitchen), however keep mostly true to Latt’s easy adaptation.

What I like best about this recipe is the crispness and striking flavors.  The salt on the potato, the fresh parsley and cilantro with an added bit of fresh garlic creates a great burst of flavor.

Salt-Crusted Fingerling Potatoes – 1 Knife  (Adapted from David Latt‘s “Men Who Like to Cook”)


  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes (or teeny tiny potatoes)
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup Kosher coarse salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Italian parsley leaves and stems (flat leaf parsley, as opposed to curly)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Combine in a pot over high heat the potatoes, water and salt.  Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour off most, but not all, of the water.  The original recipe says to keep salt in the pot however I found that all of my salt dissolved.  So just be sure not to lose any potatoes when draining the water.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the potatoes continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes.  If the water fully cooks off remove the potatoes from the heat.
  4. Strain the remaining water from the potatoes and set them aside to cool.  I found that my potatoes had a nice light crust of salt.  If you think it’s too much salt to your taste you can lightly dust the salt off with a clean towel.
  5. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and cut them into quarters.
  6. While the potatoes cool combine in a small blender or food processor the cilantro, parsley, garlic, olive oil and black pepper.
  7. Pulse or puree until a nice, smooth sauce forms.
  8. Pour the sauce into a small bowl to serve along with the potatoes.

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For New Year’s Eve, sometimes a special dinner is in order.  Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a rousing dinner party, you want to be able to cook to impress on such a special evening.  This tuna dish is super easy to make and the salad to serve with it is light and flavorful.  If you want more on your plate you can also serve it with Jasmine (or just white) rice.

My quantities for this dish are for serving 6 people.  If you have fewer you can divide and conquer accordingly.  I recommend cooking the slaw first.  The flavors from the dressing can soak into the veggies while you are preparing the tuna.  One last thing: I’m rating this only 1 Knife, since each dish on its own is only 1 Knife and to rate it 2 Knives as there are two dishes would be cheating.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Asian Slaw – 1 Knife

Tuna Steaks Ingredients:

  • six 4-6oz. tuna steaks (both Ahi or Yellowfin work fine)
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 3 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Slaw Ingredients:

  • 1 head of green cabbage (or half a bag, if you’d prefer pre-shredded)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 green onions (also called scallions)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 lime
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Slaw Prep:

  1. Cut the cabbage in half.  Thinly slice the cabbage into small pieces similar to coleslaw.
  2. Peel the cucumber and cut it in half.  Julienne the cucumber into thin slices.  I tried to figure out how to explain this process, but I think this super short video explains it better than any rambling instructions I could give.
  3. Peel the carrots and shred them.  If you don’t own a grater buying the pre-shredded matchstick carrots is ok.
  4. Rinse off the green onions and cut off the roots.  You want to cut the scallions the same as you did the cucumbers.  Make sure to only use a few inches of the greens or what I like to call the “light greens.”  The darker tougher greens toward the top can be thrown away.
  5. Grate one tablespoon of fresh ginger into a small bowl and set aside.

Cucumber Slaw Cooking:

  1. In a bowl combine all of the vegetables.
  2. In the smaller bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and garlic and whisk until combined.  If you don’t own a whisk you can stir using a fork, this will have a similar effect to a whisk and is easier to clean.
  3. Add the dressing to the vegetables and stir until the vegetables are coated.

Tuna Prep:

  1. On a plate combine both kinds of sesame seeds, salt and pepper.  For this recipe I used ground pink Himalayan salt since I had it around.  Regular coarse salt or even regular table salt will work if that’s what you have in your pantry.  Also I couldn’t get my hands on black sesame seeds and only used white, which is also fine if you only have one kind.  Just be sure to use the full quantity of sesame seeds.
  2. Wash the tuna steaks under cold water.  Pat the steaks dry with paper towel to remove excess liquid.

Tuna Cooking:

  1. Roll all of the short edges of the tuna in the sesame mixture.  To do this, simply place the side on top of the mixture and press down.  You can use your fingers to press on the seeds.
  2. Put the oil in your sauté pan and place on the burner and heat on high until the oil begins to bubble.  An important note: To serve six it’s best to cook the steaks in two or three batches so you don’t crowd the pan.  Also since the Tuna cooks up quickly you want to make sure you can attend the steaks in a timely fashion.
  3. Carefully place fish in the pan on the large flat side and sear for about 1 minute.
  4. Flip the fish carefully and cook for another minute.  If you or your guests prefer rarer fish you can reduce the cooking time.  If you prefer a more well-done fish cook for 2 minutes on each side.
  5. When finished remove the steaks from the pan and plate with the slaw.

A note on the sesame crust: For two steaks you would need 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper.

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Tuna Ceviche

When I polled my good friend Kitty about the foods she associates with a good New Year’s party, the first word from  her fingers was “ceviche.”  She couldn’t have been more right.  Ceviche makes an easy addition to any party spread, and – wait for it – it’s actually a fairly healthy dish.  Not to mention, if you have a reputation for not being much of a cook bringing ceviche to a party will impress people.

This truly is ceviche for the beginner.  Instead of using raw fish this uses cooked fish that is beyond unintimidating.  You can serve it with corn chips, and sit back and enjoy the tangy goodness.

Tuna Ceviche – 1 Knife  (Adapted from www.cevicherecipe.org)


  • 2 cans of solid white tuna packed in water (no salt added)
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional for garnish)


  1. Peel the onion and dice into small pieces.  Onions and I don’t get along when cooking (but I LOVE eating them), they make me cry like a baby and my chops wind up inconsistent.  This video should help you figure it out.
  2. Cut off the stem of the jalapeño.  Cut the pepper in half and clean out the seeds and discard.  Dice the flesh of the peppers into small pieces.
  3. Remove the skin from the garlic and mince it into small pieces.
  4. Cut each lemon in half and squeeze the juice into your mixing bowl.  Be sure to pull out any seeds that get into the bowl.  To get the most juice out of my lemon I like to use a fork to act as my juicer.  To do that I twist the fork inside the lemon’s flesh while squeezing the rind at the same time.
  5. Open each can of tuna and strain out all of the liquid.
  6. Cut the stall of celery in half.  Save one half for later or other uses (like garnishing a Bloody Mary or dipping into peanut butter).  Cut the remaining celery stalk down the length of the stalk into thirds.  Then group those parts together and dice the celery into small pieces.
  7. Seed and dice both tomatoes.  You want to cut your tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds, and then dice them.  This video shows you how in less than 30 seconds.


  1. In the bowl with your lemon juice add in the onions, jalapeño and garlic.
  2. Gently add the tuna to the bowl, breaking up the tuna with a fork and mixing with the onions and peppers.  Let this mixture sit for a few minutes.  During this time I recommend working on steps 6 and 7.  The time it takes to cut up the tomatoes and celery is short, and will allow the tuna to “rest” for just the right amount of time.
  3. Add to the bowl the tomatoes, celery and olive oil.  Stir to mix all of the ingredients together.
  4. Add in salt and black pepper to taste and stir to incorporate.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips and optional garnish and enjoy!

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Preparing for a successful New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be daunting.  Over the course of this week I’ll be featuring recipes for entertaining whether it’s a big party or just a few close friends and family members.

To kick things off let’s talk about the most iconic part of any New Year’s celebration: bubbly.  Sparkling wine is a central part of ringing in the New Year.  It can also be intimidating if you don’t know anything about it.  So please, put down that bottle of Andre and read on.

For Sparkling Wine 101, I will defer to the experts.  My own recommendations are below.

My friend Lisa and I did quite a bit of leg work the other week and attended a Grand Champagne/Sparkling Wine Tasting at my favorite wine shop.  Here are the wines that we enjoyed most and would serve to our own guests, starting with the least expensive:

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The key to any good stir-fry is the sauce.  Without good sauce you have bland, or worse super salty, limp veggies with some sort of meat.  This sauce recipe comes from my dad, and works fantastically with chicken and an assortment of vegetables.  You could also use fried tofu if you are of the vegetarian persuasion.

For this recipe I will list the sauce, and also some ideas for what would go well in a stir fry with it below.  For stir-fry content quantities you can be the judge depending on how many people you are serving, and how much you like certain ingredients.  I for instance don’t like baby corn and choose to omit it when I make stir fry for myself.

Easy Stir-fry Sauce – 1 Knife


  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, stirring well so they are all incorporated.
  2. When you have finished frying all of your meats and vegetables add the sauce and stir in.
  3. Cook for a few minutes to bring the sauce to a boil.
  4. Let thicken in the pan for a minute.

Suggested Stir Fry Ingredients:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small (½-1 inch cubes) – For this cook about one breast per person you are serving.  Also remember when handling the raw chicken to follow the Food Network Rule and wash your hands!
  • Bok Choi – Cut off the blunt end and discard.  Chop into bit size pieces, including the greens if you like them.
  • Shredded or matchstick carrots
  • White mushrooms or oyster mushrooms – Oyster mushrooms are most easily found canned
  • Baby Corn – Again easiest sometimes to find in a can
  • Water chestnuts – Look for cans of these in the “Asian” or international aisle
  • Bamboo Shoots – Once again, a can in the “Asian” or international aisle is the way to go
  • Celery – Chop into thin slices
  • Green Pepper – Remove the stem and seeds and chop into small strips or 1 inch chunks

Cooking your stir-fry:

  1. Cook chicken first in a few tablespoons of canola oil.  As you see sides turning white you can stir the chicken to make sure it cooks evenly.  You will know the chicken is cooked when it starts to turn lightly golden on the outside and you see absolutely no pink meat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Add all of the vegetables to the pan and sauté until they are wilted and cooked through.
  4. Add chicken back into the pan.
  5. Add in sauce, following the directions above.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Let’s talk about chicken.  Poultry is a staple of the American diet, but is also one of the riskiest foods you can bring into your kitchen.  Chicken purchased from your average grocery store comes with the threat from salmonella bacteria and other food-borne illnesses.  The USDA has a phenomenal page on chicken handling, storage, diseases, and cooking temperatures.

When preparing chicken it is important to make sure you do not cross-contaminate your other food.  This means touching other foods with hands or kitchen tools that have come directly in contact with raw or undercooked chicken.  There are a few easy steps we can take to make sure this doesn’t happen.

  1. Use different knives and cutting boards for meat and non-meat foods.  As they say at the USDA: Be smart.  Keep Foods Apart.
  2. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling poultry, meat and other foods.

My father pointed out to me a few years ago that he started noticing that every time he watched a Food Network show the chef would always wash their hands after touching chicken.  His impression was that the network was trying to set an example.  This is an example that we in the I Can Boil Water kitchen follow, and you should too when working with poultry and other meats.  So be sure to follow the “Food Network Rule” and wash your hands when working with chicken.  Cross-contamination is no fun, trust me.

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