"Grown-up" Tuna Noodle Casserole before baking
Time has slipped away from me lately. Seems I've been busy with things that have kept out of my kitchen more than I like. We've still had some great meals, but I haven't been taking photos. I just made one of the best risottos that I've ever eaten, but you know how it goes with risotto -- you want to eat it the moment that last ladle-full of broth is stirred into the pot. Plus, I had people (yes, you're correct in assuming it was family) who would openly voice their major discontent at not eating immediately. Stopping for a photo shoot would have been impossible, and possibly dangerous.
One dish I've made recently -- twice in the span of one week -- is this Grown-up Tuna Noodle Casserole. We are crazy for it! The "grown-up" must come from the wine that's added to the sauce and possibly the addition of capers to the recipe; adult comfort food, for sure. I substituted sweet sherry for the wine the first time I made it, and dry sherry the second. This tuna noodle casserole is also the reason I have been putting cremini mushrooms in just about everything lately (e.g. Potato and Mushroom Tortes)
. So, with an outlook of continuing to be busy with stuff -- a possible painting project, a requested hand-knit, and a new range installation this week [yay!] -- I will forward you to the recipe for Grown-up Tuna Noodle Casserole from the Kitchn. recipe >>> GROWN-UP TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
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I could easily say that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day; probably the result of my extreme fondness for eggs. From a simple soft-boiled egg to a baked strata or frittata loaded with vegetables and cheese, I am always content with an egg as my meal.
And I am now making breakfast during the week far more often than I ever did. Before, baked breakfasts were reserved for weekends when my family was home and able to relax. Weekdays, my husband and daughters were out-the-door before 7:30 a.m., never allowing enough time to fully enjoy a proper breakfast. Bagels with peanut butter, bowls of yogurt with granola, and fruit smoothies had to suffice.
But with my husband now home after taking early retirement a little over a year ago, I am more likely to prepare a substantial breakfast -- or, I should say, "brunch". I spend my early mornings with a cappuccino and the paper, then feed and walk my French Bulldog, Pipi. It's usually 10 a.m. before I get hungry enough to even think about starting breakfast.
Baked Eggs in Potato Nests were a recent breakfast-lunch for us. They are similar to the savory tarts and frittatas I often make; filled with whatever I find in the refrigerator. Bake, scoop out the potatoes, and store shells in the refrigerator the day before you plan to fill, twice-bake, and serve. Then, no matter when you start your breakfast, it goes together quickly.
Plan on 1 large or 2 small potatoes per serving
1. The day before you plan to serve the stuffed potatoes, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Wash, dry, and lightly rub the baking potatoes with oil. Pierce the potatoes, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from oven and cool briefly. When cool enough to handle, slice about 1/4-inch off the top of the potato. Scoop out the flesh of the potato to within 1/4-inch of the shell. Refrigerate potato shells until ready to finish.
2. You can be very creative with the potato filling and the amount of filling you will need depends on the size of your potatoes. I made 3 large potatoes and filled them with spinach, smoked salmon, Parmesan cheese, and an egg. I began by warming a drizzle of olive oil in my pan. To that, I added a large handful of fresh spinach which I sautéed until just wilted. I added about 1/3 cup chopped, smoked salmon to the spinach and divided the mixture between the potato shells. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add a good sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese to the salmon-spinach mix.
3. Crack 1 or 2 eggs (dependent on the size of the potatoes) over the filling and sprinkle eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the filled potatoes in a lightly oiled, ovenproof skillet or baking pan. Bake in the middle of a preheated 375˚F oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, until the yolks are just set, or done to your liking.
4. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.
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The reward of surviving a Minnesota winter, for me, is dining alfresco during the summer months. It means Salade Nicoise with my garden's haricot verts, roasted beets, French tomato tarts, and Insalata Caprese, just to name a few; and all served with a chilled French Rosé.
That type of dining has come to an end, for the most part. But there is always hope that one more day of Indian Summer will come along, and allow us one more relaxed meal on the patio before the fountain is drained and the outdoor furniture relegated to storage.
This Tuna Pissaladiére will make a perfect alfresco luncheon, along with a green salad, and that glass of rosé. A 70 degree day is predicted for early this coming week. I'll caramelize the onions and roast the red peppers this weekend, allowing a quick assembly of the pissaladiére, to enjoy on that upcoming (and hopefully not last) day of Indian Summer.
recipe Sunset Magazine | August 2012
• 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (14-ounce package), preferably all-butter Dufour
• 12 ounces roasted red peppers, cut into strips
• about 1/2 cup Nicoise olives, pitted
• 2 tablespoons drained capers
• 4 ounces good quality canned tuna in olive oil, drained
1. Cook onions in oil in a large skillet over medium heat until soft, stirring often for about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown. This should take about 45 minutes. Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper; set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the sheet of puff pastry on top. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until puffed and golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.
3. Spread the caramelized onions over the pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
4. Make a grid pattern over the onions with the roasted red peppers. Place 2 Nicoise olives in the center of each grid, then sprinkle the entire pissaladiére with the drained capers.
5. Flake the tuna and scatter inside the grids, and return to the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves and serve either warm, or at room temperature.
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Inundated with green beans today, I decided to make Tuna, Green Bean, and Potato Salad. (Text below originally posted May 2009. Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)
What a great salad this is! I will be making it often this summer when the green beans from my garden are ready. Be sure to use tuna that is canned in olive oil. Also, the recipe calls for orzo, but I substituted Acini Di Pepe. It's a tiny, tiny, tubular pasta. If you can find it (I purchased the DaVinci brand), use it in this recipe.
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 pounds thin green beans, halved
• 2 large Red Bliss potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
• 1 cup Acini Di Pepe, or orzo
• Two 4.5-ounce cans tuna in olive oil, drained
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/4 cup chopped basil
• 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic and oregano. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the beans to a colander. Add the potatoes to the pot and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to the colander. Add the Acini Di Pepe to the boiling water and cook until al dente; drain well.
3. Add the green beans, potatoes and pasta to the dressing and toss gently to coat. Fold in the tuna, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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I had never eaten fish tacos until a trip to Healdsburg, California, a little over a year ago. Yes, I know... it's hard to believe (should I even admit to it?). My daughter and I found a little Mexican restaurant right in the heart of Healdsburg where we ended up for lunch every day of our stay in that sweet town.
Now, whenever I'm at a restaurant that has fish tacos on the menu, I will most likely try them. None, however, seem to hold a candle to the tacos I ate in Healdsburg, forcing me to start making my own. This was my latest attempt. My family loved them and I thought they were pretty darn good.
+ an adapted recipe from Simply Recipes +
• 1 pound fish fillets (recipe recommends hailbut -- I used tilapia)
• Salt & pepper
• Olive oil
* 12 corn tortillas (3 per person)
• Salsa (I used a purchased Mango Salsa)
• 2 ripe avocados
• Red cabbage, thinly sliced -- about 3 cups
• 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
• Diced tomatoes
• Lime wedges
1. In a bowl, combine cabbage and vinegar. Add salt to taste, approximately 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon. Slice or cubes avocados; drizzle with lime juice and set aside.
2. To warm corn tortillas: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a tortilla and heat until air pockets form; flip tortilla and heat the other side. Remove onto a plate and quickly fold tortilla. Repeat with the other tortillas.
3. Salt and pepper the fish. Heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until just cooked through. Do not over-cook.
4. Assemble tacos with cabbage, avocados, salsa, fish, dice tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime juice.
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I was hungry for a soup I used to make often, many years ago. When I pulled the recipe I realized -- it was all butter! I reworked the recipe's ingredients and feel that now, it is a much healthier version.
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons minced onion
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 large bay leaf
• 4 cups chicken broth, preferably organic
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 2 (7 3/4 ounce) cans wild, red salmon, undrained (bones removed)
• 1 1/2 cups light cream *
• Homemade croutons, sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with kosher
1. Combine the butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is transparent.
2. Blend in the flour; cook until bubbly, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaf. Gradually stir in the chicken broth; stirring constantly, cook until thick and smooth.
3. Stir the wine into the sauce. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Discard the bay leaf.
4. Stir in the tomato paste. In a bowl, mash together the salmon and salmon liquid and stir into the sauce.
5. Purée the mixture in small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the saucepan and add the light cream. Heat thoroughly over low heat (do not allow to boil).
6. Serve immediately garnished with croutons.
* You may substitute whole milk for the light cream to make an even healthier version of the bisque.
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As much as I enjoy the holiday season, I am always ready for it to be over. I like the clean, sparseness of January. The decorations are down, the tree is removed from our living space, and there is usually bright, white daylight bouncing off the snow and illuminating the rooms; altho' that doesn't seem to be the case this year with our lack of snow cover and unwinter-like temperatures. Another change once we enter January -- fewer cartons of heavy cream in my refrigerator. I miss the baking, but not the consumption of rich desserts and meals that seem too common in December. Salads with crisp lettuces and citrus is what I crave.
These Salmon-and-Spinach Cakes are going to be dinner tonight, along with a salad of greens, oranges, red onion, and toasted almonds. I think they'd also be great as part of a brunch menu.
+ Salmon-and-Spinach Cakes +
recipe by Marcia Kiesel via Food & Wine
• 1 1/2 pound large Yukon Gold potatoes
• 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus additional for garnish
• 1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1/4 cup minced onion
• Vegetable oil, for frying
1. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water. Simmer over moderately high heat until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch dice. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of water over moderately high heat. Add the spinach in batches; cook until wilted. Drain, squeeze dry, and coarsely chop.
3. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, the jalapeno, and the chopped dill; season with salt.
4. Put the salmon in a food processor and pulse a few times, until chopped. Pulse in the cream until incorporated. Add the salmon to the potatoes. Stir in the spinach and onion and season with salt. Form the mixture into 12 patties.
5. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1/8-inch of oil. Add half of the cakes and fry over high heat until lightly browned on the bottom, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately high and cook until well-browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes, until browned. Repeat with the remaining cakes, adding more oil to the skillet as needed. Garnish the salmon cakes with the dill sprigs and serve with the sauce.
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I have just placed a cake on the back burner. A recipe for a Cherry + Almond Loaf Cake, that I'm very anxious to share, will come later this week. With a large portion of our country enduring record heat, this Tuna Dijon Potato Salad seems more timely. If possible, combine the vegetables and tuna with the Dijon dressing early in the day, allowing them to soak up the flavors. Scoop onto the lettuce greens when ready to serve... Keep Cool!
+ Tuna Dijon Potato Salad +
recipe from the Tuna Council of The National Fisheries Institute
• 2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained
• 3/4 pound small Yukon gold potatoes
• 1/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
• 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon capers, drained
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• 3 to 4 cups lettuces of your choice
Boil potatoes until just tender. Drain and cool immediately under cold water. Steam green beans until just tender. Cool immediately under cold water. Cut potatoes into quarters and place in a large bowl. Add the green beans, tuna, and tomatoes. Pour olive oil into a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar and mustard until thick and creamy. Whisk in capers and oregano. Pour dressing over potato and tuna mixture and toss. Serve over lettuce greens.
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This past weekend we had dinner with our small group that comprises what we refer to as "gourmet" -- the same three couples that get together every few months, as our busy schedules allow, to eat exceptional food and get caught up on each others' lives. As usual, this meal did not disappoint. I was assigned the appetizer -- a pizza on the grill loaded with sweet and salty goodness. The recipe by Todd English combines fig jam, prosciutto, Gorgonzola cheese, and fresh rosemary. I added dried figs, a gift to me last Christmas from the friends and neighbors hosting this dinner. I was surprised at how moist the dried figs were when I sliced them open. I had assumed I would need to rehydrate the fruit, but that was not at all necessary. We were served a refreshing "cocktail" to sip along with the pizza. Made with watermelon, lime juice, loads of fresh mint, and tequila, it was easy to down this drink quickly (a little too quickly) on a day hovering around 90˚.
We ate dinner in the garden where we were surrounded by herbs, flowers, and vegetables.
The main dish was Salmon and Pea Risotto with morel mushrooms that Paul, another member of our group, picked and dried this past spring. I don't think I have to tell you how good this was.
…Fig and Prosciutto Pizza…
adapted from a recipe by Todd English
• Pizza dough (recipe here
), divided into 4 balls• 1 clove garlic, minced• 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary• Salt and freshly ground pepper• 1/2 cup fig jam• 1/4 pound Gorgonzola
cheese, crumbled• 4 ounces sliced prosciutto • Dried sliced figs, or
halved fresh figs1.
Make the pizza dough; keep covered and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use2.
In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, rosemary, and salt & pepper to taste3. Prepare the grill. (I grill my pizzas on low heat, using a gas grill.) Remove
2 balls of dough from the refrigerator. I used to roll each ball of dough on a floured surface, but now I just take the ball of dough in my hands and start turning and stretching, letting the weight of the dough form the disc. When the dough is about 8-inches in diameter, place it on the grill. Repeat with the second ball of dough; place the cover over the grill When the bottom of the dough is a golden brown, flip, and begin adding the toppings.4. Spread the surface of the dough with a thin layer of the fig jam. Sprinkle 1/4 of the garlic-rosemary mixture evenly over each pizza; top with 1/4 of the Gorgonzola cheese. Take 1 ounce of the prosciutto and tear into pieces while scattering over the pizza. Add either dried sliced figs, or fresh figs, cover the grill and continue to "bake" the pizzas until they are puffed and golden brown. Remove to a cutting board and slice into pieces. Repeat this process with the remaining 2 balls of pizza dough.
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I am actually cooking meals again! Are you as thrilled as I am to see healthy greens and salmon instead of another dessert? Whenever I have a small piece of salmon left over from a previous meal, this risotto is often what I will make. If using fresh, uncooked salmon, cube and toss it into the risotto when there's about 2 minutes of cooking time remaining. If you have leftover salmon (baked, poached, roasted or grilled) add it right at the end, just before taking the pot off the heat. Risotto isn't a dish I usually serve in the summer, with the exception of the Summer Tomato Risotto I make using heirloom tomatoes from my garden. By the time tomatoes are ready in Minnesota, a bowl of risotto on a summer's evening will taste very, very good! This summer so far, it's been rainy without much heat. I can't recall many days, other than the one freaky day we hit 103˚in early June, that it's been uncomfortable in my kitchen with cooktop burners ablaze. So, risotto is still on the menu in my house, and Spinach and Wild Salmon Risotto has always been one of my family's favorites. Spinach and Wild Salmon Risotto• 6+ cups of organic or homemade chicken broth• 1 tablespoon butter• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil• 1/4 cup finely diced onion• 1/2 cup white wine• 1 1/2 cups arborio rice• 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, and puréed in a food processor until smooth• 3/4 to 1 cup fresh or pre-cooked wild salmon cubed and all bones removed• freshly grated Parmesan cheese1. Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.2. In a large, heavy saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the olive oil the diced onion. Cook the onion until softened and translucent. Add the arborio rice and stir until all of the grains of rice are covered in the butter and oil.3. Pour the wine into the pan and stir until the wine is absorbed by the rice. Begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time when almost all the broth has been absorbed, stirring constantly. The entire process will take about 20 minutes. When the rice is almost done, stir in the puréed spinach. If using raw salmon, add it now. If you have left-over, cooked salmon, add it just as you pull the rice mixture off the heat.4. Taste and add salt as needed. Transfer the risotto to bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan. Risotto is shown with my No-Knead Baguettes, recipe here.
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