Dill and Curry Tuna Salad

I always have tuna cans in the cupboards, so thought I’d share my new favorite way of making tuna salad:

2 cans of tuna drained
2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion flakes
2 Tablespoons of mayo

Let it sit in the fridge for 30 min – hour to let the flavors meld.


Cabbage Taco delight

sweet & sour cabbage taco

About to chow down on a Sweet & Sour Cabbage Taco

You called back today as I was making your Sweet & Sour Cabbage Taco recipe. I’ve heard you rave about it and now that I finally made it for lunch, I see why. I loved the asian infused flavors and how easy it was to make. I took your suggestions and added fresh minced ginger along with garlic, corn, red pepper and shiitake mushrooms that I had on hand. Like you said, don’t overdo the vinegar. Will be making this one again and again… Thanks!

Pear Pancakes

peeled pears
I can hear you now…. Pancakes?!! Pancakes?!!!! You shouldn’t be eating PANCAKES!

I had a late night sweet tooth going. I wanted a quick desert to satisfy and I came up with this genius idea which I’m quite proud of. It’s a good camping/boat dessert cause it’s easy like that.

  • Peel Pears and remove core from tops and bottoms with peeler.
  • Slice full length of pears for long 1/4″ thick slices. Place in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and toss with hands to coat evenly.
  • Place pat of butter in saute pan. Saute pears on both sides until they soften.

sauteed pears

  • Make up a batch of your preferred Pancake Mix. I used Krusteaz Buttermilk mix – 1 cup mix and 3/4 cup water was more then needed.
  • Place sauteed pears back in bowl and drop them with a fork into batter. Coat both sides and drop back into saute pan.

pear pancakes
What you get is a warm soft seasoned pear encased in a thin layer of pancake. More pear then pancake, pancakes. Apples would also work nicely with this recipe. You can eat as is, or of course be extra indulgent and top with walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Yeah, go for it. You know you want to.

pear cakes

For the Love of Mango Lassi

mango peeled
mango lassi glassI keep craving mango lately, I think it’s my body’s way of telling me I belong in the tropics. The key to eating mango is it has to be very ripe. So ripe, the outside looks a little ugly, but that’s when it’s at it’s prime sweetness. You’ll know it by its bright yellow flesh.

Peel and loosely chop mango. Blend with a little milk, add a few ice cubes (or without the ice cubes put in fridge for a while when finished blending). When it’s a creamy consistency add a few dollops of plain yogurt, a drizzle of honey and lightly pulse till mixed (don’t over blend yogurt).

One of the doctors in the condo told me that all you need to survive and get your daily nutrients is a mango and a glass of milk. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but here’s to survivin’!

This drink is traditionally from India and made in various forms and spice combinations which I found interesting.

Artichokes, the amazing edible flowers

Painting by Christopher Beaumont

Katt, I thought we could compare artichokes.

I heard someone once say that artichokes are to Italian food like collard greens are to Soul food. Being that I am a big fan of both, I can see the connection. When the heavy pastas, meats and cheeses that the Mediterranean’s eat start to clog the system up,they may eat an artichoke. Or better yet, an artichoke a month keeps bellyaches away. My grandmother use to make them this way; nix the mayo, which was a violent atrocity to the artichoke in her view. She served it with lemon juice, or melted butter.

Cut the upper tip of the artichoke off with a big sharp knife. Slice off the stem so it sits upright. Cut the tips of the leaves off with kitchen scissors. Open up the artichoke while running it under the faucet. Shake the water out and stuff the leaves with breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan and Olive oil. Stick the stuffed artichoke in a pot with an inch or so of water and splash of oil in the bottom. Cover and steam for 45 min. (if it is a sizable one).

Pick the leaves off and dip in whatever. Scrape the veggie meat off by biting down with your teeth. I can’t get enough of these.

                                                    Image by Lori Esposito 2011

Breaded eggplant with roasted peppers

Hey Katt, this is what I had for dinner which is not quite as healthy as your juice, but it hit the spot. Garlic in the pan with light virgin olive oil – a good amount. Slice the eggplant (1/2 inch thick) and dip in egg before tossing them into an Italian seasoned bread crumb mixture with Parmesan. Then toss into pan till golden brown. Before serving, dry them off on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Top with roasted red peppers from the jar (make them on the grill by burning the skins and peeling them off), add a spoonful of tomato sauce on each and who could resist fresh mozzarella cheese? Enjoy!!!

Good Morning Juice

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I’ve been juicing since the start of the month after getting a juicer for my birthday. It is a good way of getting extra vegetables into your diet and kicking off your metabolism in the morning; packed with nutrition it gives you energy. No cooking required, although it is a bit messy.

This mornings juice was a combination of 3 carrots, 1 beet, 1 apple, stem of arugula and a slice of ginger. These hard vegetables hold up well in the fridge. I sprinkled a little cinnamon into it as well and liked it.

Your fritter cakes inspired me to make vegetable pulp fritters with a little basil and cinnamon seasoning. They tasted like sweet potato or pumpkin. Really not my favorite, but it was worth a try.

sweet and sour cabbage taco

What up Katt?

Throw the garlic in the pan. Then throw in the finely sliced cabbage. Sautee in soy sauce, red wine vinegar, light brown sugar ( I used muscovado, a cane sugar and molasses flavor) and some red pepper flakes so the sweet, savory, sour, and spicy come into perfect balance. Add fresh corn toward the end. Pur out any excess juice and fill a soft taco shell ( I have a spicy red pepper flavored) with cooked and fresh veggies (like sliced radish, or tomato). Sprinkle sharp cheddar, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a dollop or plain yogurt.

This dish is packed with flavor and everyone so far has loved it. I like spicy food, as it thins the blood and raises the metabolism. The plain yogurt is a good sour cream alternative.

Here I am with my new special muscovado!

Grilled Portobello Stacks

Dang Lori, your recent posts have had me hungry!

What an influence you were in my grocery shopping yesterday. I bought bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms – your dish looks too good not to try. That, and some yucca and marmalade from figs from the ethnic foods isle. Oh how I love figs. I picked up some dried figs as well, still thinking of that Fig Almond Cake we had with Brie and apples on the Cape, I’d like to recreate it.

So I was working till dark last evening on re-bedding my leaky center hatch with new caulking. Yay, major fix! Afterwards, I turned the grill on for dinner and brushed both sides of 2 large Portobellos with a little olive and sesame oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Threw them on the hot grill, gill sides down for a few minutes, then flipped over for a few minutes on the other side. The gill side of the mushroom makes a nice platform for stacking toppings on, which I covered with slices of tomato, avocado and mozzarella cheese till melted. These beauties rested a top a salad bed of peppery arugula greens with yet more tomato and avocado bites thrown in.

Sorry the photo is blurry, the boat is dimly lit, it really doesn’t do them justice.

Fear NOT the beet

Now, there is a big difference in flavor between the red beet and yellow or golden beet. The yellows are brighter in flavor, and not quite as earthy. So, if you have written off beats because you think they taste like dirt, try a golden beet.

As an Italian girl, I know my way around a pasta. When I eat an Alfredo, I need something to break up the weight of all that cheese and pasta. The golden beet is the perfect candidate for this. Cut the beets in halves and boiled them till you can stick a fork in them. Wash cold water over them, or stick them in the freezer for a few minutes. This way the skins can just be pushed off with ease.

In a saucepan combine butter or oil with fresh garlic. When the garlic is cooked, add some cream or half and half. When that starts to simmer, add a hunk of Ricotta cheese (I posted some good grocery store stuff, nice and creamy). Add a half-cup of Parmesan (sharp) or Romano (sweet), some red pepper flake, a touch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper (white if you have it). Melt it all together and pour it over some pasta that you like. I used angel hair because it cooks fast. Check it out: I cooked the beets before the pasta so I could cook the pasta in the left over beet juice water.

Now finish it off with some chopped Italian parsley. My grandmother put this in everything. Bellissimo! Now say AHHHHHH…

Artwork and images by Lori Esposito