Like many of you, I have probably for most of my life made tuna salad pretty much like my mother did. A can of tuna, a few spoons of mayo, one chopped hard cooked egg, a little onion, pickle and celery and — Fanny’s your aunt — hot weather lunch was served with little or no stove time. Over the years, though, as my cooking developed, so did my tuna salad. One year I was shocked to see that a happy little bit of lemon zest had slipped into the mixing bowl by “mistake.” Whoa! Another time a dab of perky horseradish became a sudden, but happy addition. Soon, though not always, cucumbers/fennel/carrots/bell peppers joined the party along with a good healthy spoonful of Dijon-style mustard, cornichons leftover from a wine and cheese event I catered, and —wait for it — a big splash of red wine vinegar. The biggest change was the consistent use of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, along with the occasional herbs, no matter what else I dumped in. Why didn’t I ever season my tuna salad before? (Mom, you didn’t tell me.) Of course I often ate it on toast, but sometimes I went with the old school ladies’ lunch counter lower-carb style: spooned into the middle of a quartered tomato, hopefully ripe. Other weeks, I thinned it out and ate it scooped up with potato chips or Triscuits (HELLO, TUNA DIP!!) — Triscuits being one of my most unknown addictions. (The rye were the best, but they discontinued them–sob, sob. Now I’m even more stuck on the organic thin variety. Try them and see. Nope, I’m not on Nabisco’s payroll.) After a while, my tuna salad was never the same twice in a row. Who knew what would happen next to my trusty, inexpensive summer fun food? And, by the way, how did we come to eat so much tuna fish??Continue reading
I don’t remember eating lentils as a kid. Even lentil soup — on many tables this week as it’s such a pantry-friendly meal — came to me in adulthood, albeit from a much-loved friend and oddly enough during a hot week at the beach on the Outer Banks. If I ate it earlier, I have no memory of the meal and more’s the pity. The “Lentil” I knew was the Lentil of Caldecott Award- winning author Robert McCloskey (MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS) fame since I’m a lifelong avid reader and also trained and worked as a school librarian at one time in my life.Continue reading
If you’re like me, there are some days you will not be going to the grocery store. Maybe it’s Sunday and you know how crazy the parking lot is or perhaps it’s a warm Thursday night and you’ve had it. (What is “it?”) Could be you’re too busy enjoying the irises blooming for the first time in eleven years – below. Or you’re avoiding the mama robin nested outside your back door so you can work in the garden without her defecating on you. (Second photo below: Yes, she did this to me.)
In reality, you unthawed nothing because you were, uh, working, reading a sleazy novel at the pool, running kids, on a hike, at a meeting, or watching movies. Could be you’re lazy, which is an admirable once-in-a-while quality. Do cultivate it. You are not lighting the grill and you’re not opting out by ordering pizza or Chinese. You could eat a green salad. Again.
Some of my loved ones are crazy about tuna. About old-fashioned tuna salad, in particular. While I do like it, tuna salad –the mayonnaise variety we eat on toast or stuffed in tomatoes — isn’t my totally very favorite forever salad. I do, however, adore Tuna Niçoise or a grilled tuna salad like the one below I often make in the summer: Continue reading
The last cooking class of the season at MOUNTAIN HIGH (formerly Shouse) is the SUMMER SOUPS class on June 18 and it’s full. You can drop me a note to put your name on the waiting list if you like. More classes come fall!
There might not be an easier, tastier, more adaptable, or prettier summer grilling meal than Salade Niçoise. Once warm weather begins in Colorado, I’m ready for this perfect fish and vegetable plate as it hits all the right notes for an elegant, simple, and healthy dinner. Did I say I love this quintessential French salad or that I’ve been making it for 35 years? That it’s as happy as food can be and just screams CELEBRATE the season? It requires little more than a decent bottle of wine for accompaniment, though a little baguette and a scoop of sorbet or gelato for dessert would be welcome. The addition of a cold soup starter, such as my Guacamole Soup with Grilled Shrimp, along with a frozen Margarita, are happy possibilities for larger meal. (Recipe for the soup on upcoming post.)
We served this up last Friday evening to a small group just before running down the hill into town to see a play together. (Colorado Springs folks, go see the Fine Arts Center’s GUYS AND DOLLS! Great show–WOW!) Since we were celebrating the summer visit of my sister (below with our favorite granddaughter–sorry for iPhone pic), I didn’t want anything elaborate or difficult; I wanted to spend the time visiting with her, while still serving one of her favorite dinners. Preparation was minimal, mostly done ahead, and the platter of vegetables was ready and waiting for the ahi tuna Dave grilled at the very last minute. In fact, the preparation was mostly making sure I had all the ingredients on hand. After the show, we returned home for a small, late bite of chocolate gelato served with a few berries. Note: If you use the linked Epicurious gelato recipe, read it through a couple of times before making and note that you’ll need to chill the mixture for several hours ahead of freezing. I’ve made it a couple of times and adore it, but always have to go over the recipe as it’s a bit convoluted. Continue reading
|Tuna Salad Quesadillas — a Recipe in a Title|
If you read both blogs regularly, you’ll be starting to feel like I’m hooked on this sort of salad. In fact, I’m not.
|Farro Salad with Canned Salmon, Basil, Tomatoes and Spinach on my Dinner Place blog|
Somehow, however, they end up in my cooking-for-one lineup fairly regularly because they’re easy to make for lunch or, more likely, because my husband adores them. He’s pretty much a sandwich fiend ( just watch him eat a great sub), but give him egg salad, tuna salad, etc., and he’s beyond a pretty happy guy. Add pickles? Chips? That’s a thrilling lunch full of smiles to see.
|Here he is in Montreal last June. Waiting for a sandwich, of course.|
The other day I thought we’d have some tuna salad and crackers:
|This is actually salmon salad.|
But in the frig were some high-fiber tortillas that needed to be used. I’d make a wrap, I thought. Then I remembered some hot tuna sandwiches we often had as newlyweds. Tuna salad on a hamburger bun with cheese that was then wrapped in foil and heated in the oven for 45 minutes! (It must have been cooked to death.) And the next thing I know, I’m making tuna quesadillas. They’re my new go-to for a tuna sandwich. And, well, I guess this sounds somewhat pedestrian, doesn’t it? But once you’ve made it, I think you’ll be happy I took the time to write it up.
You go ahead and make tuna salad any way you like (or buy it at the deli), but if you need a recipe, I’ll put one at the bottom. Meantime, here’s the story in a few pics, which goes just about how you’d think it would: