Friday, July 11, 2014

Grilled ahi tuna and war veterans


Grilled ahi tuna steaks in Asian-style apricot glaze on rice is a recipe just in time for a Memorial Day.

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Asian-style apricot glaze | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
Grilled Ahi Tuna with Asian-style apricot glaze | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

Ahi tuna, also known as yellow-fin, is used in a variety of cuisines, both traditional and modern bistro. Among its more well-known historic uses is traditional Japanese hosomaki sushi or sashimi. In traditional sushi, the fish and vegetables are chemically cooked, or fermented, in a rice and vinegar mixture. Historically, the rice was discarded, since its primary use is to preserve and ferment the fish and vegetables while the rice itself spoils.

Many nutritionists laud ahi tuna for its nutrients, especially its rich proteins and high Omega-3 content. However, many pathologists and micro-biologists warn of consuming ahi tuna raw, especially in modern sushi. Modern sushi is not fermented as thoroughly as traditional sushi, many times counting on spices and sauces to kill off the bacteria, microbes and parasites. The problem is many sushi consumers do not use all of the condiments such as ponzu and wasabi.

Ahi tuna is not the same as the grey, cat-food scented substance we find in cans. It is a deep red fish that is enjoyed a variety of ways. For those not inclined to consume raw fish masquerading as traditional Japanese cuisine, here is one offering just in time for a Memorial Day grill.

Grilled ahi tuna steaks in Asian-style apricot glaze on rice

Ingredients (per serving):

Ahi tuna steak – 6oz
Apricot, fresh – 1/3-1/2
Ginger, grated – 1/2 tsp
Wasabi powder – 1/2 tsp
Orange juice – 1 oz (1/8 cup)
Honey – 1 tsp
Coconut flakes – 1 oz (1/8 cup)
Jasmine rice – 1/4 cup
Quinoa – 1/8 cup
Water – 2/3 cup
Saffron – 1-2 threads
Butter, unsalted – 1/2 tbsp
Nutritional quick facts: (figures are approximate and may vary depending upon quality of  ingredients) 50g protein, 420 mg Omega-3, 65g carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber (information derived from Self Nutrition Data)

Directions:

Soak a cedar cooking plank according to directions, at least 2 hours. You can soak it in clean water. An alternative is to soak it in a large casserole dish in a mixture of 1 tbsp ponzu, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, the juice of one lime, and enough water to cover the plank.

Slice the apricot and remove the pit. Place the slices in a food processor or a sturdy blender. Using a micro-plane or fine grater, grate fresh ginger root and add it to the food processor. Powdered ginger will work as well. However, the fresh ginger produces a fresher, more enjoyable taste. Add the wasabi powder (alternative, you can grate or micro-plane fresh horseradish), orange juice, honey, and coconut. Blend in the food processor until it is the consistency of a chunky marmalade. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Place you ahi tuna steak(s) on the cedar plank. Coat the top and sides with the apricot mixture. Let stand for 15-30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat your grill to a medium heat. If using coal or wood, start the grill and let burn until you have a base of glowing gray coals and even, medium heat.

Cook the tuna steaks over medium heat in a covered grill for 15-20 minutes. Remove from grill and let stand 2-3 minutes before serving. The fish should be a light to medium pink in the middle when cooked.
Place the rice, quinoa, saffron and butter in a sauce pan (small to medium). Cook at medium heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Asian-style apricot glaze | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
Grilled Ahi Tuna with Asian-style apricot glaze | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

War Veterans

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those valiant patriots who fell defending our great republic and our way of life. Those who fell in foreign lands did so defending our liberty by fighting tyranny in other lands, keeping its poison for infecting our nation. It is a solemn day often celebrated, instead, as the unofficial start of summer.

These days, in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more families are taking picnics to cemeteries to honor their fallen loved ones. However, the majority of Americans still do not reflect upon the day’s true purpose. Instead they flock to Memorial Day sales at department stores, hit the beaches with grills, or invite friends over for a day of barbeque and beer drinking. Many of the fallen may find such celebrations proper, since the freedom to enjoy the fruits of liberty and earned prosperity are among the greatest they died protecting.

Memorial Day is not about our living veterans. However, every day should be. Systemic problems with the VA date back to its inception. These days, instead of being more improved, the VA seems to be worse. There are many success stories, today, of veterans that received health care and other benefits that launched them into successful civilian lives. Programs such as the GI Bill and disabled veterans’ vocational rehabilitation create education opportunities that may springboard veterans into new, successful careers. The programs work when managed effectively. When a bloated bureaucracy, which worries more about more pay for less work and wasting taxpayer money on “professional development” conferences to teach bureaucrats how to dance so they aren’t embarrassed at future conferences, administrates these programs; America suffers. Our veterans don’t get the benefits they earned and are owed. Our nation doesn’t get the benefits of what these veterans may achieve. Taxpayers get stuck with the bill, paying for services not rendered.

Then we have at least 40 veterans die while waiting for treatment at a clinic in Arizona. Revelations of bureaucrats “gaming” the appointment scheduling system at at least five other facilities come to light. As the audits and investigation continue, more facilities fall under scrutiny for the “unofficial” scheduling policies created in reaction to the official “14 day” policy. It is negligent. It is fraudulent. It is criminal. Those in charge of the VA are responsible and need to be held accountable, from the top of the pinnacle to the head administrators of each and every VA medical facility.

So far, the only so-called “leader” to fall on his sword was Dr. Petzel. He “resigned”. It was an empty gesture as it amounts to his retiring seven months earlier than planned. He’ll still get his pension and retirement benefits, thanks to the government bureaucrats’ union. He won’t want for healthcare. He won’t wait in line as a routine injury or illness turns critical and life-threatening.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical doctor nor currently a registered dietitian. The information provided in this article is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to be interpreted as medical, nutritional or health advice. Please seek the advice of an expert before starting any new diet or exercise program.

So, as you celebrate your Memorial Day next weekend, keep the fallen in mind. Keep the living veterans in mind. Keep in mind what they fought to preserve. If you ask what you can do to thank them, then write your senators and congressmen demanding they hold Eric Shinseki and his minions accountable. That is the best way to thank our veterans and honor our brave fallen heroes.