Tasty Tuna & Bean Salad

On a sunny weekend, you can likely find me at the Art Gallery Cafe’s patio with a group of friends, munching on salad and enjoying a cheeky glass (or two!) of wine. Today’s recipe is inspired by a salad I’ve had there before and I’ve been meaning to recreate it at home for some time now.  Cut from relaxing weekends on a patio, to chaotic weekdays and make way for a grab and go lunch! The mornings in our house can be haphazard at the best of times, and having a nutritious lunch on hand that’s quick and easy makes everyone’s life easier. The man of the house has a pretty physical job, so a filling lunch that’s packed with protein is ideal. This salad is refreshing from the liberal use of lemon and dill, while still very hearty from the beans, tuna and potatoes. It’s a great meal any time of year.

Serves 8 (hungry men) to 12 (lighter appetites)

You will need:

  • 2 tins of tuna (I like to use wild albacore that’s line caught)
  • 2 tins of white beans (I used 1 navy and 1 white kidney)
  • ¼ cup of red onion (Add more if you like lots of onion)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional, I just felt it was missing something without this)
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 – ½ cup olives, pitted and roughly chopped (amount based on your preference)
  • 1 roasted yellow pepper
  • 1-2 cups of boiled fingerling potatoes (again, depending on how much potato you want)
  • A few liberal glugs of good olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter leaf lettuce
  • Fresh dill (my fridge froze mine, AGAIN! So, I sprinkled in some dried tarragon instead. Amount is up to your preference. The man shook the tarragon for about 15 seconds, if that’s any indication for how much we used.)

Rinse and drain the beans and place into a bowl. Rinse tuna and break apart and put into the bowl with the beans. Tuna and beans!Now, throw in everything else (onions, celery, roasted yellow pepper, olives, parsley, potatoes, lemon zest, mustard, lemon juice, dill/tarragon, vinegar and oil) and season with salt and pepper.

Fixings

Mix it up really well and don’t be afraid to be a little rough with it. Spoon onto a bed of butter leaf lettuce and enjoy! This will keep for a couple of days, so consider your lunches ready!

If you have capers on hand, a few of those chopped and added in would also work. Or, fry some and use them to garnish the salad.

Serve and enjoy!

What’s your favourite go to salad that you can make ahead and enjoy for a few meals?

Celebrate!

You know when you crack open a bottle of bubbles, take that first sip, savor the tingles that spread across your mouth and think “Fuck yeah! I wish I could make this stuff.” Well, some of us have friends that ARE making bubbles. If you live in British Columbia, keep your eyes peeled this summer for Bella Wines bubbles – soon to be released! Not soon enough though for our celebrations the other night. You see, every artist has their first big sale and today is that day. So, it would be rude not to celebrate in (modest) style. I call this dinner “The Full Artist”.

I was in the market for some fresh halibut, seeing as it’s in season and all. Luck would have it that every other person in the Yaletown/West End vicinity also had it on their mind. No fresh halibut. All was not lost, and I spotted some frozen Wild Ocean Fish that was on sale (uh, ya).

I like Wild Ocean Fish because it’s all caught off of BC’s shores and is Ocean Wise – meaning the fishes are being caught in a much more sustainable way. They’re wild and caught by hook and line, or traps from the ocean, and that’s where my rant ends. Nets. Fish farms. Trawling. Barf.

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Back to cooking. Miso halibut it is! The recipe kind of goes a little something like this:

Miso Halibut

  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tsp Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 pieces of halibut (or sablefish) that would satisfy each person. 112 grams in this case.

Mix and all together and brush a generous coating over your (in my case, thawed) halibut (or sablefish) pieces. I’d remove the skin if your fish has it, but that’s just me. If I was getting halibut from the fish monger, I’d get them to remove it. Halibut skin makes my skin crawl.

Turn your broiler on, making sure your rack is at least 6 inches away from the broiling ring. After you have smeared on your miso mixture onto your piece of fish, place it onto a baking tray and into the pre-heated oven. Let the first side broil for 4-5 minutes. Take it out and turn the fish over. If you have some of the miso mixture left over, smear that baby’s other side. Put back into the oven and broil for another 3 to 4 minutes.

We had ours with some simple sauteed wild mushrooms, bok choy (sauteed in coconut oil – for flavor and health), steamed quinoa and a fresh Thai salad of shredded cabbage, carrots, fresh mint, cilantro, birds eye chilis and avocado in a dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and more chili.

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I dream of a vacation

A Fair friend and I have been dreaming of a beach in Crete for months and months and if I won the lottery, I’d book a flight for her and I in an instant. Once there, we’d set up shop on the beach, buy some cheap wine (yes, even millionaires do that…I think? I hope.), stock up on olives and nuts and gaze at the beautiful men, I mean azure blue ocean and clear skies, while beads of sweat trickle down to remind us that we’re not in Kansas anymore. Kansas being rainy Vancouver. Or, temperate Toronto.

What does that story have to do with this post? Nothing, actually. But, these grilled vegetables, hummus, cured meats and cornichon can certainly be found in lands yonder. I dare you to say cornichon only once. See, you can’t do it. It’s a fun word. Cornichon, cornichon, cornichon.

Shoe bread! It's always 3:99 at my house.

Making bread may cause blurred vision. I’ve always wanted to give ciabatta a go and the first time wasn’t so bad. I should have let it sit much longer, but time was of the essence. It was basically a mix of

4 cups of flour (I used all purpose because that’s all I had, but next time I’ll use bread flower)

1 sachet of yeast

1tsp salt

1tbs honey (those little yeasties are hungry little turds!)

2 cups of warm water (I think…can’t remember)

The beautiful thing about this bread is that no kneading is required and the consistency is very peculiar. I used a spatula to mix everything together into a gooey slurry bowl of goop. It was strange because it looked like it would be super sticky, but it wasn’t. If I could imagine what the texture of sea cucumber would be like, this was it. You should let this sit for about 12 or so hours and in that time it will bubble away into something beautiful. When it’s ready, you can pour it out of the bowl onto whatever you want to bake it on. It doesn’t hurt to flour your sheet. And, if you think it’s too soupy or gooey, add more flour. Or, Google a real recipe. I baked this at 400 C for I think 40 mins.

Hello, gorgeous.

And then that happened.

I later made a meat panties with the leftovers.

Here we have some kind of hard cheese, olives, CORNICHON!, beef Bresoala and cured bison from the French charcuterie place in Granville Island. As someone that doesn’t eat pork, it’s hard to find smoked/cured meats, but this beef Bresoala (an Italian air cured beef) and bison are great. Not to mention, bison is super good for you and more lean than chicken.

Hummus, houmus, whatever.

To get our veggies in, I blended some chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice and finished it off with a little paprika and olive oil. I like my hummous to be a little on the thinner side, so I add some water to make it lest paste like and reduce the amount of oil that a lot of recipes call for and just do a small drizzle sometimes on the top after it’s made. To go with the hummous, we had some endive, peppers, grilled eggplant and zucchini. A little olive oil, salt and pepper touched the eggplant and zucchini before I used a cast iron grill pan to cook these babies.

Oyster Bay Merlot, surprisingly flavourful.

The main purpose of this impromptu Sunday dinner was because Dr. G and her beau were on their way back from Fanny Bay (yes, you Brits can insert your crotch jokes here) and came with a bunch of oysters. A simple mignonette, lemon juice and hot sauce were sloshed on them.

Sunday dinners, they’re a good thing!

Peas!

In university I had an obsession with peas. I would eat a bowl of peas for dinner, much to the confusion of my roommates. Salt and pepper made a dusting appearance too! I suppose people just don’t understand how you can love something green, so much.

A few weeks ago I had a fresh, but hearty mint and pea soup for dinner at Burgoo and I’ve been craving it ever since. As an English flower, I grew up eating minted peas with a Sunday roast, so the flavour of this soup evokes my childhood.

Sometimes when I miss my mum (which is quite often) I think about things she would cook for us; minted peas, curries from scratch, potato and leek soup and banana-chip muffins.

In high school, Alexis' friends called her a yummy mummy...

Or, how her dewy skin would smell when she would come into my room in the morning and wake me up after just showering. I sometimes buy body wash that reminds me of my mum so that my skin smells just like hers. My mumma is nice.

We like to shop in Bath

So is Heather’s mum! We like it when Charlotte comes to stay with us. She makes us laugh our heads off until our stomachs hurt and our eyes water.

They sure are easy on the eyes.

This afternoon I weeded the garden and separated my growing beets. My mum told me to wait until they had four leaves before separating them; now they should all have enough room to get nice and fat. We have some new additions to the garden; sage, lavendar, purple basil, parsley, green basil and a field of mint.

Mint. Mint was in our soup tonight. For dinner I made us a mint and pea soup and a berry and apple crisp.

The soup is easy peasy (pun not really intended) and goes like this:

1 russet potato
2 celery stalks
a couple cups of stock (I use organic Better Than Boullion chicken)
1 white onion
1 bag of summer peas (if you can use fresh, that’s the best!)
3 cloves of garlic
a handful of fresh parsley
a dozen or so mint leaves (really it just depends on how minty you like it, I like it minty!)
salt
pepper

Fresh English peas

Saute your onions until they are nice and sweaty. Add celery and crushed garlic and continue to cook until softish. Add your diced potato and cover with stock. Simmer until potato chunks have cooked through. Add a little salt and pepper and throw in your peas with the chopped parsley and mint. Throw into a blender and blitz until your desired texture. I like it to be pretty smooth with a scattered amount of plump peas that will pop in your mouth.

Garnish with sour cream/creme fraiche and a few strings of mint and a squidge of lemon juice.

Eat me.

Sit on your back patio and enjoy in the evening sun.

Then, eat this.

Feeling peckish yet?