that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Posts Tagged ‘tuna’

pesto change-o!

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 3, 2013

pesto tuna tomato

Quickly snapped substandard lunchtime photo. Didn’t need judgment from co-workers.

Despite being fairly busy in the kitchen, I’ve been lax on the posting. I won’t make excuses; I’ll just shut up and post something good for you to make: pesto tuna-stuffed tomatoes.

This was the brainchild of weeknight leftovers and a bread detoxification. I whipped up some homemade pesto to make pesto chicken wings (recipe to come), and when I had 1/4 cup left over, I started searching for uses. ‘Pesto and… tomato goes well together — yeah!’ It just so happened I decided to throw out all the bread products in my house at the same time, and was looking for creative ways to eat enjoy my meals sans the “evil” bread. If I can’t use bread or crackers as a vehicle for the tuna, maybe I can use a tomato? Lo and behold — it worked! And I didn’t miss the bread too much…

♦2 c. basil leaves
1/3 c. pine nuts (or almonds if you prefer)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 c. EVOO
1 can tuna
2-3 tomatoes

Combine all dry ingredients in food processor. (I used an immersion blender.)  Slowly add olive oil to achieve desired consistency. Add to dry tuna (no mayo needed!). Carefully slice a cone shape out of top of tomato, angling knife so you’ll be able to scoop out top and leave hollow to hold tuna. Fill with tuna. Slice and enjoy!

Calories? The pesto recipe will yield way more than you need. For one serving, I used half a can of tuna (45 calories), one large tomato (33 calories) and 1/10 of the pesto yield (90 calories).
Total time? 10 minute for pesto, 5 minutes prep for meal.
Cost? $1 tomatoes, $1 tuna, $6.99 pine nuts (won’t use entire jar – store in fridge!), $2.99 basil
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. If you’re a bread fiend, this isn’t going to satisfy you’re craving, but if you’re weaning yourself off stuff, then this is a good alternative. You don’t need to add any mayo to the tuna — just the pesto — so you save calories there, and even though that alone isn’t as dry as you’d think it is, using the tomato adds some juiciness to the meal. Overall, this is a nice summer dish, and can open the doors to more tuna add-in and/or non-bread experimenting.

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sunshine and picnics

Posted by culinaryneophyte on August 30, 2011

So I survived the hurripocalypse with little incident. I know there was some widespread damage farther down the East Coast, and my heart goes out to those affected, but in New Jersey, Irene was severely overestimated. Shouldn’t complain, though; I had a lot of food in my fridge and freezer I would have been pretty upset about losing. But seriously, I hope everyone is safe, and that those affected this weekend are getting back to routine.

I don’t have a good segue for this recipe other than it reminds me of picnics and sunshine, and that’s what we’re left with in the wake of Hurricane Irene. I give you: pesto and sun-dried tomato tuna salad (adapted from one of my favs, The Curvy Carrot)!

Like Shanon, I’ve always been a plain tuna salad kind of girl — canned tuna, little bit of mayo and some chopped celery — but I was feeling a little adventurous one afternoon, and ended up with a heavenly little lunch.

The one minor hitch in the plan was the cost. I wished I had a basil plant at home. I didn’t have pine nuts in the house either, but knew I couldn’t make a pesto without them. For the record, pine nuts are expensive. And for the record, they are not easily located in a supermarket. I spent literally 15 minutes walking up and down aisles before finally breaking down and asking a ShopRite employee. Looked in canned vegetables, olives, olive oil, International foods… Nothing. You know where they were? In the baking aisle. Sigh. By the time I got there, I was too proud to not buy a jar, despite them being $6 for a 1.75 ounces. Eesh.

Still, it’s worth it, and it’ll motivate you to make pesto more often! Helpful hint: Keep pine nuts stored in the fridge or freezer; otherwise, the high oil content quickly makes them turn rancid. (And at $6/jar, you want these babies to last.)

FOR PESTO BASIL
1/2 c. basil
1 clove of garlic
2 tbl. pine nuts
1/4 c. olive oil
1/8 c. Parmesan cheese

In a food processor (I used Magic Bullet), combine basil, garlic and pine nuts. Add olive oil, scraping down mixture from sides as necessary. Once done processing, add Parmesan cheese.

FOR TUNA SALAD
♦1 can tuna, in water
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. basil pesto
2 tbs. mayo
salt & pepper to taste
Croissants

Combine drained tuna, sun-dried tomatoes and mayo in a small bowl. Add basil pesto, salt and pepper. Serve on croissant or bread of your choice. Makes two sandwiches.

Total time? 15 minutes.
Cost? $6 pine nuts (enough for many more pestos), $2 sun-dried tomatoes from the farmer’s market, $2.50 bunch of basil, $1 can of tuna, $1 for two croissants.
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out 10. The flavor in this tuna salad blew me away. Somehow, every delicious bite seemed new, which is pretty hard to achieve. The croissant is a must, in my opinion, but if you have some tuna salad left over, it’d be great on some crackers. Every time I think of this sandwich, I want to go on a picnic. Don’t let the cost of the ingredients deter you — this is a must-make!


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‘ATAboy

Posted by culinaryneophyte on June 26, 2011

Tuna’s a good go-to option when I get tired of my boring (yet-almost-always-satisfying) cheese sandwich, but now that I’m packing my lunches more often, I figured it’d be fun to switch it up a bit; thus, the ATA — Apple, Tuna, Arugula. I found a gigantic container of arugula for cheap at my local farmer’s market, and thought the peppery taste might be a nice substitute for bland iceberg lettuce. The apple added a fantastic change of texture, as well as a sweet spot in an otherwise savory sandwich.

Makes two sandwiches
♦4 slices of bread (I used white)
1 can of tuna
3 tbs. mayonnaise
1 Golden Delicious apple, sliced
Arugula
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Spicy mustard (optional)

Toast bread. Combine drained tuna with mayonnaise, olive oil, salt and pepper. Slather a bit of spicy mustard on one side (if desired), scoop tuna mixture onto bread, layer apple slices on top and add a handful of arugula. Easy peasy.

Total time? 5 minutes prep, 3 minutes to toast and assemble.
Cost? $1 tuna, $1 arugula, 50¢ apple.
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out 10. I was a big fan of this sandwich. Cheap, easy and a winning combination of sweet and savory. I think the only thing that would make this better is to serve it as a tuna melt — add some Swiss cheese and toast it in its entirety.

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