Tuna Salad

tuna-salad

Credit: Pinterest

Today I went to a friend’s house to show/help her learn how to make my Bread & Butter Pickles.  I was thinking of all the ways I use these versatile preserves, and one of the things that came to mind is tuna salad:  It can be eaten straight as a main lunch dish, or on bread, or in a tortilla for a sandwich wrap (just top with a bit of torn lettuce and you’re good to go), as a side dish for other main dishes, or even as a dip with crackers as a simple apéro.  The pickles make a lovely addition to this salad; I usually take a whole jar of the pickles, dump it into a blender on high for a couple seconds, and wha-la, a jar of pickle relish!  The relish and juice make the tuna salad snap with taste.

The great thing about this mix is that it can be kept in the fridge for several days; it makes a great, healthy & quick lunch (for adults or kids), a healthy nibble when you just need a bite or two, and can be served in so many ways.

So here’s my recipe for this simple mix; the amounts are really about taste, but I’ll give you an approximation of what I do, and you can add or subtract according to your own tastes.  Word to the wise:  The tuna juice is best used by dividing it evenly into small bowls and given to your cats. 🙂

Tuna Salad

2 cans of tuna in salt water, drained & mashed apart with a fork.

~1/2-3/4  C. mayonnaise (whatever your favourite kind is)

1-2 shallots, finely chopped

~1 Tbs. lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

1-3 Tbs. pickle relish with juice

Mix all together in a glass or plastic bowl (not metal – the citric acid, and vinegar from the pickles will react with that).  That’s it!  Add a sprinkle of fresh or dried chives for a contrasting colour as a garnish if you want to dress it up a bit for company.

Enjoy!

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Quick & Easy Potato Salad

DSCN5023There are probably as many potato salad recipes out there as there are picnic baskets; everyone has their preferences.  I like a salad that is simple, allows the flavours to meld into one that support the main ingredient, the potato.  This goes well with any kind of grill meat, from bratwurst to beef to chicken, or with any vegetarian meal.  I make this any season I feel like it, so there!  You only need potatoes and either cream or plain yogurt on hand – chances are that you’ve already got everything else in your cupboard.

Quick & Easy Potato Salad

6-8 medium-sized potatoes, diced into bite-sized bits

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

1-2 tsp. Vegetable bouillon

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are edibly soft (~10 minutes).  Drain, allow to cool.

In the meantime, mix the following:

200 grams crème fraiche or plain yogurt

A sprinkle or three of chives

~2 tsp. Dijon mustard

~2-3 Tbs. Mayonnaise

A bit of pickle juice, or relish (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix in a bowl; when the potatoes are fairly cooled-to-warm, toss into the cream mixture, then spice to taste.  Serve either warm or chilled.

The following day, the potatoes will have soaked up the liquids; just add a bit more cream or yogurt.

En Guete!

Nutty Salad Topper

It’s summer time, which means it’s salad time – at least in this household!  Recently at a street market, I came across a Persian stand and bought, among other things, a mixture to put on salads.  It’s delicious, and highly self-make-able!  I won’t give amounts, as only you can say how much you want to make up ahead of time, how much of each ingredient you prefer, and whether you want all or something else – so it’s simply a guideline:

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Nutty Salad Topper

1 part sunflower seeds

1 part pumpkin seeds

1 part pine nuts

1 part coarsely chopped almonds

1 part coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

For a Persian flare:  1 part dried (organic – not sprayed with pesticides!) rose petals

If you want a different taste, add 1 part dried chive blossoms (chive flower heads, rinsed and shaken dry, pinched apart, the individual flowers spread out on baking paper and dried in an oven at low temperatures for a few minutes, until the flowers are dried)

Be creative and toss is other items – dried chives, dried onions, puffed grains, etc.

Mix it all together, store in an air-tight container, and sprinkle on your salads, soups, or eat as-is as a healthy snack!

En Guete!

 

Copycat Ranch Dressing Dry Mix & Dressing Recipe

For those of you who live in the States, you may be able to go out to the store and buy a large container of this; but if you read the ingredients list, and look up those chemical codes, you might be surprised to find out just how little that concoction resembles anything your grandmother would have recognized as “food.”  I prefer to mix it myself; then at least I know what I’m eating!  If you want to go all natural, grow and dry your spices yourself (here in Switzerland there are no added preservatives to most spices I buy), and try to find powdered milk that is just that – milk that has been dehydrated and pulverized, with no added sugar or chemicals.

I keep a large container of this at hand; it makes a great salad dressing (obviously), but can also be used in Bisquick biscuits, soups, or any meal that wants a quick zing added.  Mix it up and keep it in an air-tight container.  To mix up the dressing, make sure you use a generous-sized bottle as it will thicken, and you will likely need to add additional milk to bring it to the consistency you want.

Ranch Dressing MixRanch Dressing Mix

½ C. powdered milk (unsweetened!)

1 Tbs. dried parsley, crushed

1 tsp. dried dill weed

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried onion flakes

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend at high speed until it forms a consistently smooth, fine powder. Store in an air-tight container.

Ranch DressingRanch Dressing

Combine

1 Tbs. mix

1 C. mayonnaise

1 C. milk; if you want a buttermilk taste, add 1 Tbs. lemon juice to the cup of milk.

Stir well.  It will thicken up because of the powdered milk, so make sure you use a large container or bottle.  If you want a “Lite” dressing,  I assume you’re smart enough to figure out the changes to ingredients on your own… 😉

Otherwise use 1 Tbs. in any recipe calling for an envelope of ranch dressing mix.

Easter Menu: Italian Rustica Pie with Spinach & Walnut Salad

Italian Easter Pie

You can’t go wrong with cheese, eggs and sausage in a pie!

I first made this recipe back in 2004, and it was a huge hit.  This is a traditional Italian menu that is served around Lent and Easter.  Below the main recipe is a salad recipe to serve as a side dish that will compliment the smoked ham and cheeses of the pie.

ITALIAN PIZZA RUSTICA (EASTER PIE)

 

 

CRUST

[If you are pressed for time, instead of making the dough from scratch you could use a purchased ready-made pizza dough.]

4 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. (15 ml.) granulated yeast

¼ C. olive oil

1 ½ C. hot tap water

Place flour & salt in large bowl. Combine hot water, oil, & yeast in measuring C. with a fork. Add to flour & mix well. If dough is dry, add water as necessary. If dough is too sticky, add flour, one Tbs. at a time. Knead until dough forms ball. Leave in the bowl in warm place to rise until double in volume. Punch down before rolling.

Divide dough in half & roll to fit a large pie pan or 15 inch (35 cm) pizza pan. Place one circle on bottom of pan. Top with the filling, pressing out all air pockets. The pie will look too full. Top with remaining dough. Trim around pan with knife leaving about 1 inch (2 cm) extra all around. Press edges to seal & tuck sealed edge in all around pan. Prick top with fork several times to make air holes. Bake @ 200°C for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 180°C & bake an additional 30 minutes.

FILLING

2 C. cooked, smoked ham, cubed

2 C. cooked Italian sausage, sliced

250 gr. Mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded

½ C. chopped parsley

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled & chopped

1 C. Ricotta cheese

3 eggs

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all chopped ingredients in large bowl. Place uncooked eggs & Ricotta cheese in blender container & mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add to the chopped ingredients & combine well.

BABY SPINACH & WALNUT SALAD

Serves 4-6

 

SALAD

 

Fresh baby spinach leaves, enough for 4-6 servings

4 – 6 green onions, sliced thinly

1-2 C. walnut halves & pieces – as much as you like

8 oz. (225 gr.) Feta cheese, crumbled

2 or 3 tomatoes, cut in wedges or cubes

 

DRESSING

 

¾ C. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 C. cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed

1 Tbs. soy sauce

2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill weed, or 1 Tbs dry

1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, or 1 tsp. dry

salt & pepper to taste

 

For the salad, rinse the spinach leaves and drain well. Toast walnut pieces in a pan on the stove – no oil, just a dry roast, stirring to make sure they don’t burn; you’ll know when they’re done as they’ll smell wonderful.  Allow the nuts to cool before adding them to the salad, or they’ll wilt the spinach. Combine the spinach, nuts, onions, cheese & tomatoes, pour dressing over & toss to coat.