Monday, October 26, 2009

Tuna Salad with Cranberries

Nothing prompts retrospection like a good meal. Reflection: I generally like to think about all the great elements of the meal that worked so well together. Critical Analysis: Then, I think about how I could have improved the overall dining experience. Conclusion: In an effort to savor the moment, I might sit in solitude or listen to some soulful music.

As a matter of fact, I've been conditioned and instantly salivate when presented with such memory inducing foods. Tuna salad usually does not fall into this category. However, I had an urge to make a gourmet tuna salad while at work food running over weekend. This was prompted by our chicken salad sandwich at Factory that is made with chunks of chicken, slivered almonds, green onions, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and served on brioche bread. I've never tried it due to my dietary restrictions but I have ALWAYS been intrigued by the almonds. Afterall, I'm a texture guy and I love crunch.

A great sandwich begins and ends with the bread. Please DO NOT use light bread. I am not above eating it but I understand why so many people think it's disgusting. I usually go for a crusty French bread, but I also have a love obsession with focaccia that will always overshadow other breads. It's so herbal! Today, I decided to go with focaccia. I also decided bean sprouts would be appropriate and some nice green leaf lettuce. For the tuna salad, I went to the always reliable There was something about the Tuna Salad with Cranberries that won me over. I modified the recipe and used the ingredients I had on hand. It's so easy! No eggs and very little mayonnaise.

Tuna Salad with Cranberries
-2 (6 ounce) cans solid white tuna packed in water, drained
-2 tablespoons wasabi mayonnaise (Trader Joe's)
-1 tablespoon fresh dill weed*
-3 tablespoons dried cranberries**

Place the tuna in a bowl and mash with a fork. Mix in mayonnaise to evenly coat tuna. Mix in dill and cranberries. Enjoy on focaccia bread with bean sprouts and green leaf lettuce.

*If using dried dill, use 1/3 teaspoon
**I used orange flavored dried cranberries that I found at Trader Joe's. They are quite scrumptious.

I had the tuna salad with homemade cucumber salad and a wine pairing of Orvieto Classico Ruffino. Absolutely delicious! I highly recommend this wine to lovers of white. I usually drink red but reds do not pair well with spicy food (i.e. wasabi mayonnaise). The wine has good body with an aftertaste reminiscent of citrus fruits.

Possible additions to the tuna salad: chopped pecans and chopped celery.

Dessert: Yogurt covered pretzels

Soundtrack: Fantasia, Free Yourself

Sunday, October 25, 2009

i HEART southern food

i HEART southern food!
i love to cook it.
i love to eat it.
i love to smell it.

the university of mississippi did something novel. they decided to study it: southern foodways alliance. they have scholarly symposiums about southern gems like pimento cheese, fried chicken, mint juleps, boiled peanuts, mississippi delta hot tamales, tabasco sauce, boudin, and gumbo. this makes me warm inside because i HEART southern food.

so, imagine this. i happened upon this website, nola cuisine, and completely lost my mind. i think i spent about 5 hours on this website because i get obsessive like that sometimes.

i fret not. i can now have sweet dreams of my grand culinary tour in The Big Easy. That's right, a whole vacation devoted to eating. BREAKFAST... snack... LUNCH... snack... DINNER. each restaurant well researched, each meal meticulously chosen, each spirit carefully paired, and each coma definitely worth it. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I always find time to cook! It's my therapeutic escape from my stressful life as a 20 something life adventurer/restaurant server/graduate student/urbanite. It's particularly rewarding when the meals are as scrumptious as this morning's feast.

I inherited an angel food cake from a potluck this past week. When I went in the kitchen this morning, it was yelling, "Eat me! Eat me!" I had a frozen berry mix in the freezer that I decided to sauté with butter, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg as a topping. Of course, I had to have eggs. Me love my eggs! I'm an adventurous eater, too. I've had eggs poached, basted, over easy, and sunny side up. The runny yolks just don't do it for me. I like my eggs over hard with a nice crust. The crust makes life worth living.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cooking Class

Who's a master chef in training? Well, I had my first cooking class today! If that counts. It was taught by a sous-chef from a local Italian restaurant. The class focused on basic knife techniques and quick snack recipes. The chef illustrated the julienne and brunoise vegetable cuts. He then made a caprese salad and two different types of trail mix. Even though the class wasn't interactive, I was so engaged and really didn't want the class to end when we wrapped up after 1.5 hours. I'll definitely be doing this again! I have already found a class nearby at the Viking Cooking School in Bryn Mawr. Who wants to join me?


Alpha Post

Sometimes life comes at you hard. It's your reaction to these tough situations that matter most. Instead of reacting right away, take time and process the situation. It usually helps to have a little talk with God. In the end, you will find that serenity, courage, and wisdom will get you through any situation. It is with this modus operandi that I initiate my alpha post.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

-Reinhold Neibuhr
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