mini meatloaf, corn with mushrooms


This is the second half of the ground chuck mixture prepared yesterday. Also steamed like the first half, but this time shaped as a mini meatloaf. The meat mixture prepared yesterday includes a very light bean and rice that was milled to powder and cooked with water to what amounted to a very gently seasoned hummus or a bean and rice polenta. The mixture also contains a single grated carrot. 

Corn with diced onion and sliced baby portobello mushrooms. 

I like mixing foreign elements into ground beef. I have not been enjoying straight ground beef no matter how fine the selection. I do not care for it fried. I do not care for it dried out. I've added water and I've added olive oil to compensate but nothing beats the original fat. So fat laden beef it must be if the hamburgers are to come out moist whether grilled or fried stovetop in a pan and then served dripping greasy wet.  I do not enjoy that so much, except when I do

This steamed mini meatloaf is moist and delicious.  Obviously it does not have the char that frying a burger or roasting a meatloaf would impart, it lacks the apparent caramelization on the surface that roasting imparts, more properly, the browning that results from the chemical reaction between amino acid and reducing sugar, known to us food geek types as Maillard reaction, a series of reactions that build up layers of flavor. So steamed doesn't have that. 

Grated carrot add sweetness and moisture, and in this case the long grated pieces contribute cohesion. 

The ground chuck that was prepared with dry bean powder hummus and carrot that was used 50% yesterday and 50% today, steamed both times, is gone now.  It came from a package of ground chuck that is quite large for a regular bloke. There is still over 2/3 of the ground chuck remaining.

I am thinking of blending in creamed tofu to adjust the texture and moisture. I am also eager to mill black beans and brown and wild rice, and try mixing in that.

Surely, things more interesting than straight up greasy hamburgers can be made of it.  

Come on! I am the product of a Hamburger Helper™ household. That is pretty much the extent of the culinary instruction that Mum, bless 'er, cared to impart.

Oh my God. I just now read the page and now I am sad all over again. I did not know all this product information. The page says that varieties are divided into groups of favorites. That surprises me. I had every one of the varieties grouped under 'discontinued,' and that is sad but not so sad as how much the product line has expanded since the time I was subjected to its influence. Imagine all these things made with your own ground beef. The boxes provide a measured amount of some kind of pasta, usually, and a flavor packet of unspecified ingredients. Well, they specify, but not in any way that is helpful to know exactly which spices are emphasized. The user is usually instruct to blend the ingredients with milk. Instructions usually include options to jazz up the product with one's own ingredients beyond ground beef and milk.


Homestyle Favorites

Beef Pasta (formerly called "Beef Noodle")
Beef Stroganoff
Potato Stroganoff (includes dehydrated potato slices)
Salisbury
Sloppy Joe
Patty Melt

Italian Favorites

Lasagna
Four Cheese Lasagna
Spaghetti
Cheesy Italian Shells
Italian Sausage
Tomato Basil Penne (Formerly called "Zesty Italian")

New Orleans Favorites

Cheesy Jambalaya
Cheesy Favorites
Cheeseburger Macaroni
Double Cheeseburger Macaroni
Three Cheese
Chili Cheese
Cheddar Cheese Melt
Philly Cheesesteak
Cheesy Hashbrowns
Bacon Cheeseburger
Cheesy Baked Potato
Cheesy Ranch Burger

Mexican Favorites (co-branded with Old El Paso brand)

Cheesy Nacho
Chili Macaroni
Cheesy Enchilada
Cheesy Beef Taco
Crunchy Taco
Double Cheesy Quesadilla (originally "Double Cheese Quesadilla")

Discontinued

Beef Romanoff (still available in Canada)
Beef and Garlic Potatoes
Beef Stew
Cheddar & Broccoli
Hash
Macaroni & Cheese
Meatloaf
Pizza Bake
Rice Oriental (Officially discontinued, but occasionally still available in some stores)
Wild Rice & Mushrooms
Wagon Wheels (also called "Barbecue")
Zesty Mexican
SouthWestern Beef

Now, why didn't I see this development in advance? The product list continues beyond that ↑ to Tuna Helper™ and Chicken Helper™, Asian Helper™, Whole Grain Helper™, Fruit Helper™, Pork Helper™, Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles™.

That does it. Tomorrow it will be tofu and ground chuck with milled black bean. Maybe a side-by-side comparison with a regular dripping greasy hamburger.

carrot hummus beef burger, creamed spinach


This is an experiment to steam a hamburger rather than fry it. The hamburger is 1/3 milled dry bean mixture previously whipped up into a mild-flavored hummus. Plus one grated carrot. The mixture of 2/3 ground chuck, 1/3 milled chickpea (and rice), and one carrot, is flavored very lightly with a generic curry, and spiced with mixed chile pepper flakes. The large half pound burger is steamed in a regular steam pot, elevated by metal basket steamer.


The central post is broken off my metal steaming basket which makes it possible to load with something flat in the center.

The spinach is marketed frozen. It is thawed, squeezed of its liquid and heated with a Béchamel sauce flavored at the end off the heat with Parmigiano and lightened with sour cream. The spinach sauce contains diced sweated white onion and one smashed and finely diced garlic clove and pecans. I forgot to grate nutmeg over the top.

This burger does not have anything in that resembles a meatloaf, like bread crumbs or crackers, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, catsup or BBQ sauce.

You know what? This might be unAmerican but I think I prefer burgers with things in them more than I like straight up beef burgers.

This mixture made two such oversized burgers. The second one will be steamed in the shape of a meatloaf instead of a burger.

maguro and ebi sushi


A flavorful rice is prepared with vinegar and sugar. The rice is pressed into the palm of one hand with the index and ring fingers of the opposite hand to form oblate sticky rice balls. 

A wad of wasabi is formed with water and real wasabi powder. The wasabi is smeared on top of each rice ball.

Shrimp is cooked in boiling water. That is, the water is brought to a boil and then removed from the heat source. Cold shrimp is placed in the hot water that is no longer boiling. The temperature of the water drops to approximately 180℉/82 as the shrimp quickly turns pink. The shrimp is removed immediately to ice water. 




Sushi chefs steam rice then dump it into a large shallow flat woven bamboo bin. An assistant fans the rice while the chef turns the rice with a bamboo paddle careful to avoid breaking the cooked grain while simultaneously pouring a thick sticky vinegar and sugar sauce over the rice. Eventually all the rice is cooled and coated with the sweet/sour sauce which imparts a golden sheen.

This sushi rice pictured here employes a shortcut technique that would guarantee the chef be promptly booted from the National Sushi Association of Japan that exists in my mind

One cup short grain white rice, one tablespoon white sugar, one tablespoon cider vinegar, two cups tap water, are all brought to a boil together at once. After the water boils and bubbles and clouds the pot bottom is scrapped to avoid sticking, covered and lifted from the heat source while the heat is cut way down to as low as possible. The steaming action is initiated and assured, the freedom from sticking is assured, the pot is replaced on the heat source, now greatly reduced. A timer is set for 25 minutes steaming action on low heat. Then without removing the lid and so retaining the steam, the timer is set for another 10 minutes with no heat at all. The rice absorbs the vinegar and the sugar while it cooks instead of being coated with a sweet/sour sauce after it is cooked, and that is not traditional and unacceptable in a proper sushi establishment. I should fire myself, but the truth is, I cannot tell the difference. 

Alas, for my seafood is frozen, but that is the best that can be done in any case this far inland. The tuna is kept in its frozen state, sliced in near frozen state, kept nearly frozen, even served still partially frozen. It never had a chance to fully thaw.

The shrimp is sliced lengthwise through the bottom, severing  the  connective tissue that runs laterally and causes the shrimp to curl. The shrimp is much easier to handle and tends to lay flat on the rice ball because the shrimp is barely cooked in hot water and because the curling tissue is cut from underneath, keeping the top surface of the shrimp intact. Some sushi chefs insert a wooden skewer from neck to tail before cooking the shrimp to prevent curling. 

I realize that I sound like a corrupted MP3 file, but wasabi is not Japanese horseradish. Wasabi is a plant different from regular horseradish. Wasabi requires particular growing conditions namely running water, wet sandy soil, shade, and cool temperature. Regular horseradish plant is much more forgiving with a tendency to run rampant wherever it is grown, so you can see the economic advantage of substituting horseradish for wasabi and dying it green. 

Both wasabi and horseradish produce isothiocyanate which is shown to inhibit certain bacteria growth, thus the suggestion for wasabi toothpaste, apart from the prank element and apart from the culinary paste marketed in toothpaste tubes, both wasabi and horseradish actually do contribute to healthy dental hygiene. Go on then, I dare you to add a little wasabi powder to your toothpaste.  Science

lemon beignets


These beignets pick up where the previous beignets left off. I can see why these simple doughnuts are so popular. They are easy to make, they are fast apart from the proofing period, and they are delicious. They are frightfully addictive and I can see how a careful diet can easily be derailed. If you were to pull this off for a small dinner party, and I do not see why not especially with participation, then the host will be hailed as hero and culinary virtuoso. 


There are eight of these ↑, four are underneath the upturned storage bin at the right. 

The custard injector is a miniature caulking gun. A piping bag will do as well. For mass production I would consider a sausage maker attachment to a kitchen mixer. 


The doughnuts are cooked in shallow oil 300℉ /150℃. First one side then the other.

 I learned that the beignets could be half this size. I also learned that lemon custard with egg yolk is better than without egg. 

For ease of transfer from proofing to oil and to avoid deflation, the dough is proofed on cut pieces of aluminum foil. The foil with the puffed up beignet on it is lifted directly into the oil. The beignet firms a little bit then the foil removed and discarded. 

The dough is very simple. No machine necessary. One cup of water determined the amount. Everything followed from that. An equivalent amount of flour by weight for a 100% hydrated dough adjusted with more flour until a stiffer workable kneadable dough was attained, approximately 1/4 cup additional flour. The dough also includes enough sugar to sweeten sufficiently at least 2 cups of flour, so 1/2 cup sugar. Yeast, of course, and a pinch of salt. 

You can see that one cup of water weighs 8oz. and so does 2 cups of flour, so this batch of dough will produce 1LB of dough. Eight beignets will be 2oz. each. That turned out to be fairly large beignets. The internal crumb is consistent with no large air pockets. When the beignets are filled with lemon custard then the custard stays put at the depth of the end of the custard injector. When eating the beignets the first bites are without custard because the custard is near the center. For filling purposes, then, smaller beignets will be better. Therefore consider 1LB of dough to produce 16 smaller beignets instead of 8 and each one will be satisfyingly filled. Plus you can eat more without regret. 

Dough:

*  1 cup hot water or milk (not in excess of 130℉/54℃)
*  1 level teaspoon dry active yeast
*  1/2 cup sugar
*  1/8 teaspoon salt

It is helpful but not necessary to get the yeast going first with a bit of fast food, sugar and flour. Yeast does better wet and it reacts well to being stirred. Mix up everything except for half of the flour and none of the salt. The mixture is loose enough to whisk. Whisk it well at first then a few more times through the course of 10 or 20 minutes. The slurry will foam and this will be a very good start for proper dough. Finally add the remainder of the flour and all of the salt and knead for a few minutes on a work surface. Divide out the dough however suits you. This dough was rolled out and cut like a square pizza with a bench scrapper. Of course, any shape will work. 

Lemon filling:

*  1 +1/2 cup water
*  1 large lemon, juice and zest
*  1 rounded tablespoon corn starch
*  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*  1/2 cup confectioner's powder sugar
*  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
*  1/8 teaspoon salt
*  1 egg yolk

This is so fast it is not even funny. 

A rasp designed for trimming wood works brilliantly for removing the zest from a lemon in seconds. The resulting zest particles are small enough to not interfere with the creamy texture of the custard. 

Whisk everything together while the water is still still unheated. This will ensure the cornstarch does nt lump and the egg yolk does not scramble, and it avoids having to mix the cornstarch separately then add it to the heated liquid, while also avoiding having to temper the egg yolk. Those techniques are helpful when the the liquid is already hot but we are beating it to the punch by combining these things before the liquid is heated, a savings of two extra jars or cups. Tricky, eh? The mixture thickens immediately when the liquid boils, and thickens further when it cools and even further when it is chilled, so ideal for a chilled pie filling. 

lamb and eggs


Lamb and egg, actually, I am down to the last egg and it turned out to have two yolks which always fills me with glee and makes me a little sad at the same time, two twinges that are quickly overtaken by the image of gigantic chickens. The double yolks always come out of the jumbo eggs. This dozen eggs had three such double-yolked eggs. 

This is the last of the lamb stew prepared earlier, now with a biscuit or a scone whatever you wish to call it. This time the scone collapsed but is no less delicious and intriguing with sour cream instead of buttermilk or regular milk. That is probably the reason why it tipped over, there was no real liquid to form a sticky paste component to the dough that would have better cohered. I debated with myself at that critical point whether or not to add a little more flour, which was all right there and already opened, in order to also add a little milk in addition to the sour cream. I decided against it, and the lofty scone tipped over while baking. I don't care. Biscuit tins for support are another option, or I could fashion an aluminum foil cup. But I did none of that. It was sort of fun watching it expand and tip over like a building and then keep right on baking and expanding. 



ARTS !






This was done a couple of times using a bench scraper to build layers and to square off the scone. . 





lamb with pappardelle



Mushrooms are added to the lamb stew from yesterday and the potatoes picked out and eaten separately, because what, you think I am crazy over here with double starches? No SRSLY, I thought it would photograph better. 

Pappare means to gobble up, a word that captures the fun of exuberant consumption much better than inghiotitre, therefore pappardelle rather than inghiotitrdelle. This concludes the etymology lesson for the day. 

The Atlas machine will roll out the pasta to the perfect thickness and it has an attachment that will cut pappardelle to perfect ideal width while simultaneiously imparting a fluted edge, and it is fun, but not as fun as rolling out the dough by hand and cutting imperfect widths. 


I saved the surplus flour from yesterday that coated the lamb chunks. The flour is heavily seasoned with salt/pepper/and fennel. So that flour was used here for the pappardelle along with 50% hard wheat semolina flour. Rolled thickly, this pappardelle is very flavorful and very sturdy. The two flour types are added to blended egg and water by the tablespoonful. Two tablespoons seasoned flour, then two tablespoons semolina, back and forth until a dough is formed, which turned out to be six tablespoons each, a little bit heavier on the semolina than the seasoned flour because right at that point I ran out of seasoned flour and didn't feel like dragging out a bag of all purpose flour just for a 1/2 tablespoon. I am lazy and careless that way. For that same reason it was semolina that dusted the work surface and the rolling pin. 

pasta dough:

*  1 jumbo egg or regular egg if that is what you have
*  1/2 egg shell of water (egg shell used as a demitasse) 
*  6 tablespoons all purpose flour
*  6 tablespoons semolina flour

The dough rests for 20 minutes. During this period of restful quiescence the wet flour undergoes autolysis, which is the destruction of a part of the cell or membrane by it own enzymes. So it turns out the rest period is quite dynamic and it is a step that is not to be skipped. You will notice the dough is much easier to knead or to roll out and tends to stay put when stretched. We dough-master types call that relaxed, relaxed from having rested.  


Charmingly irregular innit ↓.


Have you ever got a mouthful of seawater? That is how salty your pasta water should be. 

lamb with couscous


The boneless lamb leg was partially thawed by 25% , cut in half, and one half returned to the freezer. I could have easily used the entire leg without regret. 



The cubed pieces are coated with a single layer of seasoned flour. 

*  1/2 cup all purpose flour
*  heavy grinds of black pepper
*  3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*  1 teaspoon ground fennel seed

Additionally, the lamb chunks are salted and peppered directly, but only on one side because I didn't feel like getting in there and turning around all the pieces. A thin layer of oil coats the bottom of a stew pot. The flour dusted lamb chunks are seared on two sides in batches. This pile of chunks took two batches which left considerable fond on the bottom of the pot. 

At this point the lamb chunks are taste-tested. The lamb is impressively tender. The lamb chunks could be served just like this and they would be perfectly fine. As intended, the lamb is braised in shallow water of a mere two cups and only for as long as it takes for sturdy vegetables to cook. In this period of braising the fond is lifted off the bottom of the pot and the seasoned flour that coats each individual lamb chunk that is seared dissolves into the water forming a flavorful sauce. Three bay leaves are added to the braising water. Wine would be a good addition. 



The vegetables are added to the pot as a stir fry, sturdiest vegetable first, including garlic cloves. Sweet onion last. The lamb braised for as long as it took for the onion to cook through which was added last. 


The couscous is plain. 1 cup of dry couscous scooped from the bulk bins at Whole Foods to 2 cups water. This is 1/2 cup more water than customary. The water is seasoned with white pepper and kosher salt along with two bay leaves. 

You will notice the glaring absence of chile peppers. *becomes concerned* ,* takes temperature*, * feels pulse*, *makes doctor appointment* 

peach




It is approaching the end of August and the peaches are at their peak around here. I love it when the peaches are are just barely over the line ripe. I noticed that when the peaches are a just a little bit beyond the little bit beyond point, so doubly a little bit beyond, then they begin to ferment and that adds a layer of depth that is incomparable and fascinating. And then beyond that they are compost. 

After this peak period then peaches are a write off. Having them hanging around on the counter until they soften only turns them mealy. This is the one time of year that I can enjoy them. So it's peachy peach peach peach peaches until they're gone for another turn of the seasons. 

cod, Japanese omelet, lemon sauce


I invented this tonight by virtue of a struggle between conflicting forces in my mind.

The stack is amazingly delicious and easy to prepare. I offer it to the world. Go on then, have it. It is easy to eat. Your kids will love you for it. You can win accolades, awards and fame with this etherial plate, this heavenly light serving of refreshing nourishment. 

The lightness of the cod loin barely cooked and served cold is extraordinary, having soaked for two days in its flavorful cooking liquid, although all that time is not necessary. Here, it is just making use of leftover cod. The light flaky fish sits atop a Japanese style sweet omelet, itself set atop a lemon meringue cloud. The fish is draped with additional lemon sauce and garnished with sweet onion relish and a tuft of green lettuce. 

Truth is, the tuft of lettuce is only for the purpose of photography. The plate was served with 10x that much lettuce. It's how we food-stylist types roll. 

Lemon flavors fish nicely. This idea extends the lemon to a lemon sauce. 

The idea is to moderate the tartness of lemon with sugar or with mirin, or even honey. The liquid for the sauce is water thickened with cornstarch and fortified with butter. Additional fortification with egg yolk, and additional flavor with nutmeg but those two are not necessary for a delicious sauce. A tiny pinch of salt knocks off the saccharine edge and unifies the opposing taste sensations of tartness and sweetness. Both lemon zest and lemon juice are incorporated into the sauce. In a thicker form, the sauce will make a very nice lemon curd for a range of pastry fillings. 


The sauce was prepared first, discounting the cod which was prepared days ago here

I was amazed how fast the sauce thickened. It was finished like that *snap*. 1 full cup water was poured into a tiny sauce pot and set on moderate heat. An egg was separated, the yolk whisked directly into the water beginning to heat and the white of the egg into a glass mason jar and held separately to whisk later to stiff peaks. 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, a tiny pinch of salt, and one heaping round tablespoon of cornstarch was whisked into the water. BLAM! It thickened immediately because the water heated quickly. Too thick. The sauce is thinned with a squirt of tap water. Still too thick. Another increment of water. Still too thick. Another increment of water. Still too thick. Another increment of water. Still too thick, and so on for 5 increments until the desired thinness is attained. So, eventually nearly 2 full cups of water, way more sauce than I intended. All this before the lemon is added. 1 lemon is scraped for its zest for nearly 3/4 entirely scraped , then the juice of the scraped half lemon squeezed through an intervening wire strainer where a single seed is collected. The sauce is taste-tested. It is delicious but lacking something. What is it missing? Tastes again. Butter!


The butter is cold, whisked into the heated sauce last. Taste-tested again and deemed spot on.

Note, the egg yolk is not tempered. I have determined that with careful whisking, that whole back-and-forth tempering business is nonsense. 

Lemon sauce:

*  1 cup water
*  1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
*  1 tiny ity-bity pinch of salt
*  1 level tablespoon cornstarch
*  1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
*  1 egg yolk
*  zest of 1/2 lemon
*  juice of 1/2 lemon
*  1 tablespoon butter

But now I have an extra egg white. 

The lemon meringue cloud is the product of my chariness, my unwillingness to waste a perfectly good egg white or to store it. That, and the fact of excess lemon sauce that I would also just as soon not have around to store. If the heavily sauced-up lemon meringue cloud would fail, then no big loss then innit. I would still have the original lemon sauce in the original intended amount.

The single egg white is whipped inside the mason jar and stiffened with cream of tartar and sweetened with a scant teaspoon of confectioner's sugar. So now two layers have sugar, the sauce and the meringue cloud. 3/4 of the meringue mixture is plated and baked for 15 minutes at 400℉/ 205℃ convection. 


Baking the meringue takes the longest. You might as well do that first, but it needs to contain 50% lemon sauce, so that forces it to be second and not first. By 50%, I mean by weight or by original mass. Consider the amount of egg white that went into the jar before it was whipped then approximately match that amount by spooning flavorful lemon sauce. The sauce will sink to the bottom of the jar. Fold the sauce into the stiff meringue by tilting the jar and lifting the heavy sauce on top of the meringue until it nearly 100% combined without deflating the meringue too much, although some deflation is unavoidable. 

Japanese cooks us a square pan to form a rolled sweet omelet that is a national favorite in bento boxes, and also used for nigiri sushi, known as tamago


The pan, a fairly blatant uni-tasker, is available on Amazon for $20.00. Alas, for I am square pan-less, therefore, I must use a round pan.

A thin layer of whisked egg is poured into the heated pan. The egg is sweetened and otherwise flavored with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and such, the simple recipe varies. The egg rapidly congeals and is rolled using chopsticks or spatula to one end of the pan. The entire roll is pushed to one side of the pan and then refilled with another thin layer of liquid raw egg which also rapidly cooks. The original roll is rolled onto the new layer of cooked egg so that the roll doubles in mass. The new larger roll is pushed back to the starting point and more egg is poured into the pan, and so on, until the ever enlarging roll amounts to about a third or half of the pan. The roll is removed to a bamboo sushi rolling mat and pressed into a rectangular or ovate shape. The process can be viewed on Youtube, search [tamago] or search [dashi maki], both searches will produce videos of the square pan omelet, with similar but slightly varying techniques and ingredients. 

This folded egg is not a crêpe, and not an omelet, and not official tamago. It is none of these things, but rather, a simple sweetened egg that is flavored with hot capsicum chile flakes. 

Egg mixture:

*  2 jumbo eggs
*  1 teaspoon water
*  1/2 teaspoon refined cane sugar
*  1 tiny ity-bity pinch of salt
*  1 tiny ity-bity grind of pepper
*  1/8 teaspoon mixed chile flakes

So now three layers of this plate contain amounts of sugar.






I love it when a plan comes together.



There is the basic idea ↑, lemon meringue, sweet flat folded omelet, cold poached cod. That right there would work as far as flavor goes, but it needs eye appeal. We cook types are like that, we're always thinking in terms of, "What can I do to make this plate look like it is delicious so that the people who are served are immediately biased in its favor?" See? That there is what you call a psychological mind trick. I decide on sweet onion relish prepared earlier (the same time as the cod already referred to), entirely unnecessary except to enhance eye appeal.

So now four layers contain sugar, and that is why I am certain that kids will devour this with no fussing or coersion.

Additional lemon sauce in original form (without any meringue), and a tuft of shredded green lettuce, because that is what I have, which is actually a big pile of green lettuce but not photographed as such. Honestly, the tuft on top could be pretty much anything, chopped green onion, chives, mint, parsley, or basil, for example, or sliced cucumber or diced tomato, or even fruit or berries. 


breakfast eggs, bacon, melon, fruit


Ordinary American breakfast minus the customary coffee and toast, that is to say without a caffeine kick and without quick-start carbs. The fruit and melon are tossed in surplus Asian dressing prepared yesterday.

The pecans were heated for 1 minute while the pan was dry before the eggs were fried, so that little pan was used twice. Bacon in a separate pan. Bacon fat was lifted by teaspoon from the bacon pan into the small pan for the eggs to supplement and to flavor butter.

These eggs were supposed to be over easy but the first one went too long by about 30 seconds and ended up being over hard, which is fine with me. That's how I liked breakfast eggs when I was a little kid and couldn't deal with uncooked yolks. Plus it is easier to eat since there isn't any toast to lift it up.

fruit and melon salad with ahi tuna


Orange sections, watermelon, and cantaloupe, with thinly sliced raw ahi tuna tossed in a homemade Asian dressing.

The thing that makes this salad so amazing is the effect that the dressing has on each individual ingredient. The dressing changes the watermelon to something never tasted before. The same with all the other melon and fruit pieces. And then the ahi tuna contributes a refreshing cold protein, oddly matched with melon and fruit. Frankly, I've never had anything remotely like this. If I were ever served something similar to this in a restaurant, I would consider the chef to be a strange and adventurous culinary savant. 

The dressing is surprisingly good. I invented it a long time ago and only occasionally remember to use it. I stopped preparing it habitually because of its dark and somewhat unattractive color. The original version did not use any oil but did incorporate grated ginger and garlic. This version does use oil but omits the ginger and garlic. Nothing is measured. The amounts below are approximations to convey the idea. 

Dressing:

*  1/4 cup cold tap water
*  1 tablespoon soy sauce (this is what makes the unattractively dressing dark)
*  1 teaspoon hot Sriracha sauce
*  1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
*  1/2 teaspoon white refined sugar (anything sweet will work)
*  1 tablespoon strawberry coulis from here (only because I have it on hand presently)
*  1/2 lime (squeezed juice, otherwise 2 teaspoons rice vinegar)
*  1 tablespoon olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
*  generous grind of black pepper (but no salt, the soy sauce is salty enough)

Mix ingredients in a small covered jar and shake. The dressing is very watery. Pour over the salad and roll all the ingredients around in an oversized bowl until everything is fully coated then drain off the excess dressing, if there is any.


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