I’m excited for today’s menu. The first recipe, Sesame Seared Tuna, is a no-brainer but looks very fancy. The second recipe, Oriental Pasta Salad, can be made as a side dish, but can also be used for an outdoor picnic, a main dish (just add some chilled shrimp or chicken) or whatever else you want it to be.

I have a new favorite food – soba noodles! I made a recipe from Cooking Light earlier in the week and couldn’t believe I’d been neglecting these delicious (and might I add healthy) noodles all this time! I document my education about soba noodles here.

I have so many friends that love to cook so I’ve decided to periodically ask them to be a ‘guest chef’ on Hillman’s Helpings. Next week, my good friend (who is also a personal chef and Baltimore-area caterer) Beej Flamholz will be lending his hand to Hillman’s Helpings. He’s really great – you don’t want to miss it!


Lauren Hillman

Sesame Seared Tuna
Serves 2

I has been my experience that tuna is one of the easiest fish to cook. Be sure to buy it from a reputable store (i.e. your local fish market and/or gourmet foods store) and you should be good to go.

Good tuna (yellowfin or bluefin) is usually around $20/pound but for this recipe you’ll only need 1/2 pound. Try and buy your tuna the same day you plan on making it, so it will be as fresh as possible.
Cut your tuna into two equal sized pieces. Place it in a marinade of your favorite teriyaki sauce (I use Yoshida’s sauce, which can be found in most grocery stores). Marinate the tuna for at least 30 minutes.

Put a combination of black and white sesame seeds on a plate (or paper towel), enough to cover both sides of both pieces of tuna, roughly 1/3 cup.

Heat 1 tb. vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the tuna from the marinade and press the sesame seeds on both sides so that they completely cover the tuna.

When the vegetable oil is hot, carefully place both pieces of tuna into the skillet. Don’t be alarmed if some of the sesame seeds pop out of the skillet – they are just reacting to the hot oil.

Keep a close eye on the tuna – you probably want to cook it for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how you like it cooked. For the “seared” effect, make sure to flip the tuna after 2 minutes to leave the middle of the fish raw and the outside cooked.

Bon Appetit!

Oriental Pasta Salad
Serves an Army!

This recipe comes from my mom. I believe she found it in a Bon Appetit cookbook a long long time ago. She’s been making it for years for parties, bar-b- ques, etc… and it is always a hit. Feel free to substitute soba noodles (my new favorite!) or whole wheat spaghetti if you’d like.

Cook one package of angel hair pasta according to the directions. In the last three minutes of cooking, add 4 heads of broccoli florets. Drain the pasta and the broccoli and run cold water over it to stop it from cooking any further.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the following ingredients in a bowl and whisk until incorporated.

1/2 + 3 tbs. soy sauce
3/4 c. rice vinegar
1/2 c. corn oil
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/2 tbs. ginger powder
2 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsb. salt
2 tbs. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/4 tsp. tabasco sauce

Combine the dressing with the pasta and broccoli and mix in 3 chopped scallions. Serve!