pints and pairings

lunchbox life: turkey and brie tortillas with kale and carrot salad

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Whew! I am totally worn out. After four days and four nights in Athens, I have attended a conference, run a half marathon, and eaten lots of delicious food, and while I’m not quite ready to forge ahead toward a five-day work week, it’s nice to be home. Tonight’s lunch prep is simple and features some of my favorite, tried and true ingredients. Pay special attention to the high fiber, low carb tortillas I’ve featured in this recipe as well as in previous entries. They’re a great way to mix up a sandwich, wrap, or Mexican dish because they’re full of fiber and very low in calories. I know that I just featured kale last week, but I couldn’t help but buy a bag of shredded kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts at Trader Joe’s this afternoon on our way out of Athens. What a great idea! I also bought a bag of multicolored carrots, so I thinly sliced a few of them and threw them into the kale melange for color and crunch.

Turkey and Brie Tortillas

10 5-inch high fiber, low carb tortillas

7 oz. brie, cut into slices

8-10 thin slices of deli turkey

Heat a grill pan or large skillet to medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. While pan is heating, assemble five of the tortillas with an even distribution of the turkey and brie and top each one with another tortilla. In batches, grill the tortillas for about 2 minutes on each side. Let cool, then slice in half.

Kale and Carrot Salad

about 5 cups of shredded kale, brussels sprouts, and/or broccoli (I used the Trader Joe’s cruciferous collection)

3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal (I used one purple, one yellow, and one white)

1/4 cup olive oil

4 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

Toss the kale mixture with the carrots. In a jar, shake the remaining ingredients together, pour over salad, and toss to combine. This salad can be dressed and refrigerated for a few days.

tasty tuesday: bbq seared tuna with beer and smoked cheddar grits, #pintsandpairings

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Welcome to another edition of a Pints and Pairings Tasty Tuesday for the Peach State Ale Trail, wherein we find a classic southern dish with a little twist. Fish and grits is the slightly less omnipresent brother of Shrimp’N’Grits, but it is a great dish on its own. And since fish is not just a single thing, you can really play with the flavors more than with the new Southern staple. A staple that is on display is the beer that is doubly featured here: Sweetwater’s Georgia Brown Ale. This beer is familiar to Georgians by now, finding its way to many bars and groceries. Like Terrapin, they have put Georgia on the national beer map and make many great beers, even if the first one I heard of was Blue…

Here, I decided to feature the beer in the grits. It makes sense that beer and grits would mesh well together, adding a nice layer of flavor to the sometimes monotone corn dish. Also, the beer flavor is completed by the use of a smoked cheddar cheese that makes a bold statement along with the sweet notes of the brown ale. I highly recommend this method for your evening grits dishes. 

Tuna was my fish of choice for this dish because I am not sure it gets its due as a versatile fish. Sushi or sesame are how you usually find tuna in these parts, which is great, but it also makes a great supplier of bbq flavors as well. Going with the bbq theme, I also made a sauce of roasted serranos and plums to top the fish. You always need a sauce to top the fish. Why not make a spicy sweet one. 

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BBQ Seared Tuna

Canola oil to lightly coat
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1 3/4 pound tuna steak

Cut the tuna steak in half, hopefully into strips depending on the shape of the steak. Coat the strips with the canola oil. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Rub liberally on all sides of the tuna steak. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 

When ready, heat a pan to medium high heat. Coat the pan with oil and sear on all sides, about 3 minutes for the broad sides, and 20 seconds each for the narrow sides. Let rest for five minutes and then slice into thin strips to serve. 

Ga Brown and Cheese Grits

2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup GA brown ale
1 cup real grits
1 cup smoked cheddar
additional 1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
salt, pepper, onion powder to taste

Bring milk and beer to a simmer over medium low heat. Add the grits and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the grits become tender, add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Allow to cook another five minutes. Leave on low heat until serving. 

Plum and Serrano Chile Sauce

2 Serrano chiles, roasted on a grill pan
2 plums, pits removed
1/4 cup honey
1 dash vinegar

Seed the peppers and put in a blender. Add the plums, honey and vinegar and blend until fine. Pour into a saucepan and simmer about 20 minutes until it is well married. Add honey if it is too spicy for you. (you can do only one pepper if you like as well) Sauce will be thick. 

Plate the dish with grits in the bottom of a pasta bowl and top with tuna strips. Drizzle the sauce over the tuna lightly. 

I served the dish with a basic pear spinach salad with a lemon-mustard dressing. It was a good light complement to the spicy and rich main. 

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Happy eating and drinking friends!