sunshine and picnics

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.)

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.

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

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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