Tuna for the folks
My mother requested this dinner: sesame-crusted tuna steaks with wasabi mashers. E's a fan too. Very simple stuff: the tuna steaks, about 6 oz. each, are sprinkled with salt and pepper, dredged in sesame seeds (mostly white, some black just for show), and cooked for about a minute on each side in a smoking hot pan with a little bit of peanut oil to film the surface. They're pretty much raw in the center, which is how you're expected to eat tuna these days. To make the mashed potatoes, I peel and boil them, then pass them through a ricer. In a small saucepan I melt butter in some milk, add salt and wasabi, and pour this into the riced potatoes, whipping with a fork. I have no idea what amounts to tell you--I eyeball all of it.
The green beans were my own call, an improv/hybrid riff on Ming Tsai and America's Test Kitchen recipes. They're cooked with butter, soy sauce, mirin, and garlic. I warm up some garlic in melted butter, then add the soy and mirin, then the green beans. I toss to coat, add a bit of water, and cover the pan as the green beans steam. Then when they're almost done I remove the cover and let them bubble away on high heat until they're finished cooking and the liquid has reduced to only a couple of teaspoons. These were a big hit.
The glossy black stuff is a soy-lime syrup I made by reducing about half a cup of kecap manis and the juice of one lime in a small saucepan, perhaps by 1/3. It's sweet, salty, sour, and Asian, and little goes a long way. I'm sure I got this idea from Ming. A balsamic reduction might do a similar trick with a more Euroflavored meal.
We had this with a California wine called "Red Flyer." I was seduced by its cool label. And after that we watched last week's Curb Your Enthusiasm, the one with the Passion of the Christ nail in the mezzuzah. Such genius.