Sunday, July 31, 2011

At First Sight: Grilled tuna with crispy gluten free hush puppies

Wait! Don't let the "gluten free" part scare you away! They really and truly were amazing, and even the rest of my family, who usually turn their noses up at all my gluten free pastas and bread and such, really, really liked them. Trust me. But first, a little background:

At First Sight picks up Lexie and Jeremy's story where True Believer left off. (Here I'll reveal the ending of True Believer, because I can't really tell the rest of the story otherwise. If you REALLY don't want to know, then I suppose you can scroll down to where the recipes are...) Lexie and Jeremy have known each other for about a month, having met when Jeremy came to Lexie's home town of Boone Creek from New York to investigate some mysterious lights in a cemetery. (If you want a little more about True Believer, you can visit my earlier posts about it--here's the first one, and the second one, and the last one. Come on back here when you're done.) Anyway, Jeremy and Lexie have had a falling out of sorts, and Jeremy goes back to New York to get on with his life. He doesn't stay long, though, because one day Lexie's grandmother Doris suddenly shows up at Jeremy's apartment (she's flown to New York from North Carolina just to see him mind you) and announces that Lexie is planning to marry her friend Rodney the sheriff, and if Jeremy knows what's good for him he'll get his butt down there to stop them. Because Lexie doesn't love Rodney--she loves Jeremy, and Doris knows it. So Jeremy flies to Boone Creek, finds Lexie, and of course she doesn't marry Rodney. (Rodney's in love with someone else, anyway, so now everyone is happy.) The last thing Lexie says to Jeremy at the end of True Believer is, "It's a girl."

Well, now, that's a setup for a sequel if there ever was one. At First Sight follows Lexie and Jeremy through the nine months of her pregnancy (during which time they have a lovely wedding on the beach at Cape Hatteras), and as they are anticipating the birth of their daughter, they're just getting to know each other, too.

It was a little tricky deciding what to cook for this one, because there really isn't a scene where the guy and the girl cook together like in most of Nick's other books. There is one funny scene in a restaurant, though--the nicest one in town, actually--where Jeremy wants to order a porterhouse steak, and Lexie scolds him because that's fattening and too much meat and SHE'S getting chicken, and maybe he should get the broiled tuna. At first he is defiant and says he's ordering the steak, darn it, and she says, fine, go ahead, see if I care; in the end he ends up ordering the tuna.

I was browsing the Internet for a recipe for grilled tuna (Jeremy gets broiled tuna. Forget it. We're grilling.) and I found one on a cooking website with the perfect name: Spark Recipes. That must be destiny, I decided. Here it is:



1-1/2 lbs fresh Ahi Tuna (frozen/previously frozen is not the same)*
Juice from two limes (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro

*I used yellowfin (I think) instead of ahi, since that's what was available at our favorite fish market. I'm sure almost any type would be delicious.


Combine ingredients for marinade, put in plastic bag with fish. Marinate the tuna for 30-60 minutes. Remove from marinade and place on grill. Grill to desired doneness. We prefer medium rare and it is delicious. It is easy to overcook tuna. You can always cook it a little more. A thick steak should take no more than 8 minutes for medium rare.

1-1/2 lbs tuna usually serves 4. You eat a much smaller piece than you would a steak. Leftovers are good the next day on a sandwich or salad.

Number of Servings: 4

(Source: SparkRecipes)

(Dang, I forgot to take a photo of Joe grilling the steaks. Again.)


At Herb's Restaurant, not only does Doris make the best chicken pesto sandwich, she also makes lots and lots of hush puppies. I've already made hush puppies twice for this blog, (for A Walk to Remember and A Bend in the Road) and since I've started on my gluten free diet I've wanted to try making some hush puppies I could eat. Now I had the perfect excuse! Here's the one I decided to try:


1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 cup rice flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 teaspoons seasoning salt (I used Old Bay seasoning, and it worked great)

chives or green onion top (I skipped this)

1 medium onion

1 egg*

milk or water or apple juice, to make doughy (I used a combination of white wine and some chicken broth I had left over from the corn chowder.)


1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, break up any lumps.

2. Stir in onions, green onions, and chives.

3. Add egg and blend well.

4. Add liquid until batter is thick enough to form into balls, but not runny.

5. In a large skillet or deep fryer, heat 4" oil to 350°F or 180°C.

6. Form batter into 3/4" to 1" balls and drop into the hot oil (use two spoons to form them with).

7. Do not crowd. (Why is this a step all by itself? Seems obvious to me...)

8. Cook until dark golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes.

9. Drain on paper towels.


*Up until now when a gluten free recipe called for egg, I used egg. Since Moe is allergic to egg, I asked him if I made gluten free hush puppies, would he want to try them? He said yes, he would; so instead of egg I used 1 1/2 teaspoons Egg Replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water.

I didn't tell Larry and Curly the hush puppies were gluten free at first. Larry came in and saw what I was making and said, "Yum! You're making hush puppies!" I had him and Curly both try one, and after they gave me their approval, I said, "Guess what?" That's when they realized what I had done, and they said, "Well, they're good!" We ate most of them, and the rest I put in the freezer for later. (I think I liked Paula Deen's just a teensy bit better, though; next time I'll see if I can figure out how to make HERS gluten free.)

With Bobby Flay's coleslaw (to see what else we were eating the first time I made it, click here), corn on the cob, and a nice thick slice of in-season tomato, it makes a perfect summer supper!

Up next, we'll have stuffed chicken, loaded with fat, salt, and cholesterol. I don't think Lexie would approve.

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