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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Good Fast Food (for Biggles)

I got the idea of purchasing Italian-style olive-oil packed tuna from the estimable Meg formerly of ba.food, rec.food.cooking, and the like. She stated that she had it in her earthquake supply kit, because if she was going to have to eat cold food from cans, she wanted it to be good.

One summer day I got the idea of opening up a can as the centerpiece of a salade nicoise, and the rest was history.

Now I keep a supply around for "just eating". I appreciate that it makes mighty tasty tuna salad without mayonnaise; both better for you, and easier to keep under uncertain temperature conditions.

It forms the basis of one of my favorite emergency lunches, both of the "I need to take food to the office" (there was a period where if I didn't bring my lunch, I had trouble getting out to get it), and "If I don't get some protein NOW I might hurt something". The method couldn't be simpler: Dump the tuna into a container, add capers (I love capers and always have a big jar of them in the fridge), whatever else is around the house and compatible (cherry tomatoes, olives, and marinated artichoke hearts are good) and mix. Actually one of my all-time favorite combos was when Trader Joe's briefly carried an "Italian-style" salsa of tomatoes, olives, artichokes, capers, and basil; that was completely "spoon and go".

For dinner, the tuna-and-capers could be the centerpiece of a composed salad of some sort: nicoise-style with cooked green beans (cook the beans for 1-4 minutes, blanch, and dress with vinaigrette - some fresh basil in the vinaigrett), tomatoes, olives, and other items as desired, would be just grand.

But the photo is of my two-minute slap-together portable lunch I made today just before I went off to the regular Feed the Multitudes exercise at the church hall; I wasn't hungry when I left, but knew I would need something well before the finish, and knew there was no microwave for heating something else up. And I made it right in the travel container:

Lunch to go

(Tuna, marinated artichokes, capers, Sungold cherry tomatoes and a lot of basil; an interesting combo of tastes and textures.)

Dang, that's what I should have had for lunch !!! Thank you so much, I appreciate it. Even if it doesn't have bacon in it.

I have very fond memories of your tuna nicoise salad at Jeem's many years ago. I've made it several times since and I really enjoy it, when I can get the right canned tuna, of course.
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