Football, Allergic Reactions, and Sesame Seed Encrusted Tuna

God, what a weekend.

Friday night we went to the MBA/Ensworth football game. Two rival private high schools here in town that had huge stakes in the game. Both teams were undefeated. The Ensworth head coach was the MBA coach for years until he left about 6 years ago to defect to Ensworth, which added the high school to it’s K-8th grade lower school. My friend’s son plays for Ensworth, so we went to support them. Ensworth wasn’t favored to win, but they pulled it out in an unbelievably close game. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill sat in the section next to us…they’re huge supporters of the school. At one point, cute Faith walked up the stairs, right towards me, smiling her cute little smile, looking a little more confused with every step, until she stopped next to me and realized she’d come up the wrong section. She had no makeup on, her hair was up in a bun, and she still looked radiant. Oh well.

J had a couple of clients in town for the weekend. We had dinner reservations to take them out Saturday night, but our very close friends were having a huge party that night as well. She was kind of passive-aggressively giving us a hard time, pretending she was kidding, but not really, about us not being there for the party. So we went by there early, had a drink, then took the clients to dinner for many bottles of wine and champagne (and a little bit of food, I think), then went back to their house for the end of the party. I was a little cold, so I grabbed this yummy blanket that my friend had knitted and wrapped myself up in it. A few minutes later, my eyes started itching. I had the sinking realization that her cat probably liked this blanket, too. I forget that I have developed this really weird allergy to cats that makes my whole face, eyes, mouth, and cheeks swell up like a balloon. And itch. Like you wouldn’t believe. As I started clawing at my face to relieve the itching, my eyes swelled almost shut. I went home to take benadryl and put cold compresses on my face, and by the morning it was almost back to normal. But I feel like I was put through a meat grinder. I wish I had taken a photo to document my loveliness, but here’s reasonable likeness to what I looked like. Pretty.

Last night we had the clients and their wives over for a small dinner party. The weather this weekend was so glorious. Low 80’s during the day, high 70’s at night, clear skies and no humidity. The clients are from Oregan, and this was their first visit to Tennessee. Now they think we have this weather all the time. It made Nashville look good. I made sesame seed crusted Tuna (seared on the grill), Israeli couscous salad, green beans, and a romaine/cranberry/toasted pecans salad with feta cheese and strawberry basil vinaigrette. It was probably the best meal we’ve cooked all summer. J’s roses were in full bloom, we made a fire in the fire pit, and it was the perfect end of the summer evening.

Here’s the way to make this tuna. It’s basically fool-proof, except that if you like it rare, it only needs to be cooked for a minute or two, or it becomes medium or medium-well, since it continues cooking after you take it off the heat. You can sear it inside over the stove, if you want, but cooking it outside helps keep the spattering oil mess to a minimum.

Black and White Sesame Seed Encrusted Tuna with Wasabi Citrus Aioli

One large jar Black Sesame Seeds
One large jar White Sesame Seeds
Salt and Pepper
Two large Tuna Steaks (the best quality you can get)

Unwrap Tuna steaks, but do not rinse (otherwise the sesame seeds won’t stick)
Place in large Ziploc bag, cover with sesame oil and marinate for 30 minutes or more.
Mix sesame seeds in shallow bowl, take tuna steaks out of oil and press into seeds, making sure they’re completely covering the tuna and pressed in.

Heat grill to high, place large skillet on grill and heat. Add a couple swirls of olive oil, and sear the tuna on both sides. Serve with wasabi aioli and pickled ginger, if desired.
*If your pan is hot enough, it should only take a couple of minutes to sear the tuna on both sides, if you want it rare.

Wasabi Citrus Aioli

1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Paprika, Smoked
1 1/2 teaspoons Wasabi Powder
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Cover.
2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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