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Spring Nicoise Salad

Spring Nicoise Salad

Spring is made for salads, especially those tossed with asparagus fresh from the farm. Nothing beats a topping of crisp radishes, too, to compliment the butteriness of the season’s lettuce.

Spring Nicoise Salad

This season – which I long to never part – let’s us rethink our salad bowl – which I love. Love. Love. With it, it brings endless light options for lunch that would be a disgrace to label as boring.

Salad can be fun. And this one more than proves that to be so.

Spring Nicoise Salad

Here, asparagus takes the place of the green beans in a classic Nicoise salad. Aside from that, the make-up is pretty straight forward. Hardboiled eggs? Check. Tuna? Check. Thinly sliced onion? Check. Radishes? Check.

For the asparagus, a simple steam actually works well with this salad, given the complexity of the other flavors. However, if roasted spears are your absolute fav., by all means, get the oven going and go for it.

SpringIf you want to get fancy, you could sear some fresh tuna instead and add it on top. Or reserve that fanciness for the olives and bread you may wish to serve alongside this.

Bright, light and easy to assemble, this is spring at its best.  Cheers.

Spring Nicoise Salad

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Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Tuna

I was never a pasta junkie in college. Sure, I loved smearing spaghetti sauce all over my face when I was five (and still do, to an extent). And I loved packing my 5th grade thermos with ramen noodles, despite the condemning looks my mom would give me. And I really loved boxed mac & cheese once I hit high school, a period where my friends lived off of the creamy convenience. But once I hit college, I really started getting into my cooking groove, and while pasta and sauce was cheap and quick, I began preferring a little more experimentation. (Hence, my blog was born!)

However, lately I’ve rediscovered a love for noodles, especially in the form of thin, whole wheat strands. You can read more of an explanation about this here, but basically, by keeping the noodles on the skinny side, that nutty taste of using whole wheat becomes pleasant, rather than overbearing. With the pungent components in this recipe, the slight nuttiness is actually ideal for balancing out of all the flavors.

I’ve kept this one simple because I do think that’s the best part about pasta. It’s an easy base that lends itself well to so many flavor combinations. With the notes of sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, and tuna, you really don’t need to add too much else. A few simple seasonings and a hit of freshness from diced spring onions, and this becomes a meal that comes together in no time. Filling and delicious…I.e., what makes pasta and sauce a college kid’s dream team, although this one’s just a tad bit spruced up. A perfect step up for what I forgot to mention… I graduated from college on Thursday!! Goodbye four years of j-school. Whew and woohoo!

Click here for recipe…

Tuna Casserole

The words leading up to the recipes in a majority of my blog posts center around what inspired the meal.  Whether it’s a special ingredient, flavor, person, or memory, I’m frequently inspired to write about what inspires me.

One of my greatest and perpetual inspirations in life is my mom.  She’s always been my biggest fan and wholeheartedly supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to do in life.  From wanting to be an artist to a chef to a journalist, my mom’s always pushed me to pursue my dreams—even if none of them have ever involved making any considerable amount of money. She encourages me to work hard, never close my mind to opportunities, and always keep an optimistic attitude—all very essential characteristics for which I’m grateful she continues to teach me.

In terms of driving my culinary pursuits, my mom was the first person to introduce me to the kitchen.  Growing up, she’d always have dinner on the table. Day in and day out, despite all the childhood pickiness, complaining, and never-ending varying schedules, she was always there to fuel my growing body and to emphasize the importance of a family meal.  She has taught me that while you can make cooking a chore, all you have to do is flip your attitude to turn it into an enjoyable hobby. Which is what it has become for me today.  Who knew I’d turn out to be another foodie in the family?

So today I dedicate this post to my mom. (…Who probably won’t read this until a week from now, considering she has yet to get addicted to the Internet…something I can certainly appreciate as well).  She is both the inspiration for this recipe and the one who taught me how to make it. And she is the one who inspires me every single day.

Growing up, tuna noodle casserole was always a favorite of my brother and I.  It’s a cheap meal too, so I’ve carried it with me to college.  There’s just something about its simplicity that makes it good.  The sweet creaminess of the milk paired with the natural saltiness of the tuna mixed with the staple ingredient practically everyone has in their cupboard, pasta, creates a meal that’s incredibly effortless.  We’ve always used whole wheat pasta and soy milk in my household, naturally creating a healthier version of standard tuna casserole that tastes just as good.

Click here for recipe…