Tag Archives: Red Cabbage

A Riff on a Masterpiece…….Sandwich

Downtown Denver has so many great places to eat and there is a deli that has enamored my taste buds for several years.  I don’t get to Masterpiece Deli  that often – maybe once or twice a year – and that’s why it’s such a treat when I do.  This is my riff on a sandwich that they have perfected, the Seared Ahi Tuna sandwich.  They make it with fresh, seared Ahi tuna slices that are piled on an English muffin with wasabi mayonnaise and Asian slaw made with green cabbage.  It’s a simple combination that delivers with tons of flavor.  The English muffin adds a slightly sweet and soft bite, the coleslaw gives some crunchy texture and the wasabi mayonnaise ties it all together with a spicy zing.

Here’s how I changed things up for my version:  I love red cabbage and always use it for my coleslaw – it has great flavor, fun eye appeal and lots of nutrients. The coleslaw also has carrots, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, mayonnaise and scallions.  To recreate the wasabi mayonnaise, I used some of David’s homemade horseradish because we always have it on hand and it has the same flavor zing without any dyes – stir a dollop into some store-bought mayonnaise and you have an instant spicy spread.

When buying tuna, get the freshest available, from a reputable source and buy it the day of your meal; I bought mine from my local grocery store.  You only need 8 ounces (half a pound) of meat for two sandwiches, and the trick is a smoking-hot pan to sear just the outside, with a rare inside.  After the tuna cools use a serrated knife to make slicing easier.  Don’t worry if some of the meat falls apart, it will get covered up with the other ingredients on the sandwich.

If you are strolling through the Denver Lower Highlands (LoHi) neighborhood and near the Highland pedestrian bridge, be sure to stop by Masterpiece Deli to enjoy their delicious, creative spin on sandwiches.  And then stop by another one of my favorites, Little Man Ice Cream  for a scoop (or two) or the best hand-made ice cream.

Eat well and share the love!

Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwich (print recipe)
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Prep Time: 15 minutes/Cooking time: 13 minutes/Total cooking time: about 30 minutes

¼ cup mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/16 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 scallion, thinly sliced (both green and white part)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2¼ cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and grated
Horseradish Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
Seared Tuna
8 oz. filet of Ahi tuna
Olive oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 English muffins, split and toasted

ColeslawAdd the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar, scallion and cilantro to a medium bowl and mix well.  Add the cabbage and carrots and mix together with a fork until the mayonnaise mixture and cabbage are well incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches. The coleslaw tastes best if allowed to sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to develop and cabbage to soften.

Horseradish Mayonnaise:  Add the mayonnaise and horseradish to a small bowl and mix well.

Seared TunaAdd 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a medium skillet and heat to medium high heat. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the tuna steak and season with salt and pepper. Turn steak over and repeat with the olive oil and seasoning.

When the oil in the pan starts to develop slight ripples – about 3 or 4 minutes – it is hot enough: the pan should be very hot to get a good sear on the tuna. Place the tuna steak in the pan and don’t move it. Let cook for about 2 minutes and turn steak over. Let cook for another 1½ to 2 minutes for rare doneness and remove from heat. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool completely, about 5 minutes. When cool, slice the meat into thin slices using a serrated knife.

Assemble SandwichesToast the English muffins until they are just golden brown and add some mayonnaise to both sides.  Add half the tuna slices to the bottom piece of each English muffin and top with about ½ cup of coleslaw.  Place the top on sandwich and serve with your favorite potato chips or fruit.

  • Cover and refrigerate and leftover coleslaw for up to 2 days

Rotisserie Chicken + Black Bean Salad = Tacos

Whoever invented the rotisserie chicken is a genius, along with the roasters that are now in most grocery stores; these succulent whole chickens provide us with instant dinner, and leftovers for another meal. Whether you want to whip up a delicious dinner to enjoy while watching the NCAA Basketball tournaments or just make a satisfying homemade meal, the moist rotisserie chicken allows for quick, easy and tasty weeknight meals. Here the shredded chicken has been put to good use in Chicken Tacos with Black Bean Salad, Red Cabbage & Chipotle Lime Sauce. My infamous Black Bean Salad has been featured on Foodie for Two before, where it was paired with seared ono, and today the ingredients are slightly modified to give the taco a makeover with light yet hearty flavors.  It works fabulously in soft tacos with some warm corn tortillas, shredded chicken, thinly sliced red cabbage, sliced jalapeño and finished with a chipotle lime sauce. The sauce is rich and creamy and brings all the other flavors together with just enough earthy spice from the chipotle, and brightness from the lime.

The versatile sauce is made with some mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest and juice and dried chipotle pepper powder – my secret ingredient.  Chipotle peppers are just fully-ripened, dried jalapeños and available in either whole dried peppers (seeds, stems and all) or dried pepper powder.  I find the powder in the spice aisle of my grocery store (or from Savory Spice) and the whole peppers in the Mexican food aisle.  The spiciness from the jalapeño is concentrated and it has a wonderful earthy, smokiness that adds a surprising depth of flavor to dishes or sauces.

To make dinners super easy, I like to remove all the meat (yes, the dark meat too) from the bird when I get it home and then store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator.  This time I selected the colossal bird, which was only a dollar more than the regular size, and it yielded about 5 cups of shredded chicken – plenty for this meal.  If you aren’t going to use the chicken within the week, just bag it up in one cup measurements and freeze for later use. How could delicious homemade dinners be any easier?  This is also a great recipe for a small crowd: double or triple the amounts (depending on the number if people) and set everything out buffet style. Enjoy!

Eat well and share the love!

Chicken Tacos with Black Bean Salad, Red Cabbage & Chipotle Lime Sauce (Print Recipe)
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies

Black Bean Salad
1 can (15 oz. – no salt) black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
3 tablespoons finely diced bell peppers (about 3 baby sweet
peppers, or ¼ of a red, yellow or orange bell pepper)
1 cup baby spinach, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon grated lime zest
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons finely diced Poblano pepper (about ½ of a small Poblano)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon finely minced garlic clove (about ½ of a small clove)
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Chipotle Lime Sauce
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/8 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
Pinch of kosher salt and ground pepper
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
3 to 4 corn tortillas, warmed
½ cup of very thinly sliced red cabbage
9 to 12 slices (thinly sliced ) jalapeño for garnish
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves for garnish

Black Bean Salad: Add the black beans, red onion, bell pepper, spinach, lime zest and juice, cilantro, Poblano pepper, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and gently stir together with a spoon so the beans don’t break up. Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors develop; can be made up to one day ahead – the beans will break down a bit from the lime juice but the flavors won’t be affected. Store leftover salad covered in the refrigerator, makes about 2 cups.

Chipotle Lime Sauce: Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix well.  Let sauce sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to develop. Can be made up to 2 days ahead; store covered in the refrigerator, makes about 1/3 cup.

Assemble: For the rotisserie chicken, remove all of the meat off the bone and reserve 1 cup for the tacos. Store the remaining chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or bag the shredded chicken in 1 cup servings and freeze for later use.

Heat the oven, or toaster oven, to 350º and wrap the corn tortillas in foil.  Let them heat in oven for about 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the red cabbage and jalapeño slices and gather all of the ingredients on the cutting board to start assembling the tacos.  

When the corn tortillas are warm, fill each of them with about ¼ cup of the black bean salad, 1/8 cup of shredded red cabbage, ¼ cup shredded chicken, a few small dollops of chipotle lime sauce, garnish with the sliced jalapeño and cilantro leaves and serve immediately.


The Tulip Fence:  Last September I planted over 100 tulip bulbs in planters and in the backyard (my first time ever), and they are starting to come up. Not surprisingly, I found a mule deer munching on the tender shoots this weekend and chased her away; David put up a quick fence for protection and it worked!  Thanks, honey!
Here you can see she has returned and is trying to figure out how to get to them.  No tulips for you, my deer!