Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken of the Sea Saves the Day

Dark pantry corner
What's this behind the canned peas?
It tastes like chicken!

Sleep schedules aren't the only adjustments to make when clocks abruptly move life ahead one hour. I have trouble springing the dinner routine forward. All of a sudden, it's 6 pm and I need to cook something. I could have sworn it was only 4 o’clock. Time to get creative -- or at least industrious -- and I can only hope there is food to work with.

Finding myself in this predicament last night, I realized I hadn't been out to pick up supplies. Fortunately, my husband could drop by the store and get chicken and a few vegetables for a stir-fry. Unfortunately, he forgot the chicken.

All turned out well; I made a tuna stir-fry of sorts. My emergency can of 365 Everyday Value Chunk Light Tongol Tuna Packed in Spring Water was there in the back of the cabinet. I'd purchased it from Whole Foods after reading that this tuna ranked highest in a canned tuna taste test on (Check it out here.) It's touted as firm and flaky, not mushy, moist but not watery.

So I put it to my own test. Albeit, I didn't have much of a choice. But as it turned out, a stash of tuna is great to keep around for mealtimes that show up sooner than I expect.

Tuna Nicoise Plate For Two
1 cup cut fresh green beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (6-ounce) can chunk light tuna packed in water, drained
1/2 lemon
3/4 cup baby arugula leaves
8 to 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 hard-cooked egg, grated or finely chopped (optional)

Cook beans in boiling, salted water until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse until cold water; drain well and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, and beans; sauté until hot and onion is just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tuna; cook just until hot, turning carefully to keep the chunks of tuna intact. Remove from heat; squeeze lemon juice over mixture, drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and toss gently with arugula and olives. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle egg over mixture, if using.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Magic of Lemon Stilton

Hidden treasure lies
Deep in the back of the fridge.
You just have to look.

A couple of nights ago, I suggested that my friend and partner-in-blogging, Debby, and I get together for a glass of wine. I suggested that we do it at her house, since she was temporarily sans children. Then I suggested that we drink her wine, since I was all out.

I almost suggested that she cook me dinner, too, but I knew not to push my luck.

Having arranged all of this, I began to feel a wee bit guilty about not contributing anything to our little gathering. I also knew I had nothing in the fridge to share, in light of days and days of snow and winter holiday break that kept me from stocking the shelves. But I desperately dug through the refrigerator wreckage anyway, only to discover — Ah Ha! Treasure!

The treasure was half a wedge of stilton cheese with lemon rind, or lemon stilton. It's delightfully refreshing and light-tasting because of the lemon, yet satisfying because it's - you know - cheese!
As an added bonus, it keeps in the fridge for a long time. (Because Debby reads this blog, too, I can't say how long it had been hiding back there. Let's just say it wasn't opened yesterday...)

I coupled the cheese with an unopened box of water crackers I found in the pantry (leftover from a party at Debby's house) and I was good to go!

I've also found it to be delicious with sliced pears — either red bartlett for a sweeter taste and some color, or with bosc, for a crisper finish.

For those of you who simply MUST have things in recipe format, here you go:

Sliced Pears with Lemon Stilton
One red bartlett or bosc pear
One small wedge of lemon stilton
water crackers (optional)

Slice the pear and the cheese. Top pear slice with cheese slice. Place on cracker if desired. Eat, smile, repeat.