Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Herbed Summer Breeze

The challenge was great. It would take no small effort to succeed.

For one thing, we were hot and bothered, more than a little. And a hot dinner prepared in a hot kitchen was not what was on our minds. So we were sitting by the pool, keeping cool in the late afternoon heat, ostensibly trying to think of something cool for dinner.

For another thing, we hadn’t done a lot of shopping. Heat. Produces lethargy. Fuels inaction.

So, in an inspired parental moment, I gave TeenGirl the task of creating a cool dinner. With the things at hand. And slipped back into my heat-induced stupor. (I know, I know, but don’t call child services just yet!)

Till the cool evening breezes began to blow, and my mind cleared. Hmm. Late. Didn’t shop. No dinner. Natives unhappy. Chef tossed in large pot and boiled, fed to now happier natives. Yikes!

I stormed into the kitchen, mind racing on what could be made, quickly. With the things at hand.

And there was TeenGirl. With a good part of the dinner done. She was just sampling the result.

Now, I’m really not much for tuna fish from the can. Sort of bland. And what with the dolphins and mercury and all. It’s become complicated as well. But there is no doubt that it is low fat, and does not need cooking.

So TeenGirl found the most amazingly tasty recipe for Herbed Tuna on Epicurious. I have to admit, it was really good. Tons of flavor, what with mint, lemon juice, shallots and cumin. And low fat (of course, as her bikini has a built in fat detector that causes her to scream loudly into my ear at the first sign of danger).

Plus a nice salad – arugula, grape tomatoes, baby peppers, in a tarragon vinaigrette.

So inspired, I thought about what we needed to round this out to a dinner. Starch, some kind of carbs.

Well, the thing we have a lot of at the moment is herbs. Parsley, mint, sage, chives, savory, basil, oregano, and more.

So I made a simple but tasty paste with fresh herbs. Just pasta, cooked, and tossed with olive oil and a few cups of various fresh chopped herbs. The herb flavors and aromas combine, and the result is fresh and light. We served it basically at room temp, after the flavors had combined for a while, and it tasted great.

And just like that, a great summer dinner, and a breeze to make – Tuna and Pasta with Summer Herbs. The recipes seem simple, but they really pack a lot of flavor!

Herbed Tuna
Recipe from Epicurious
Serves 4

Four 6 ounce cans of tuna in water, drained
1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
½ cup minced shallots
½ cup chopped mint
½ cup chopped parsley
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt, pepper

With a fork, flake the tuna in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients, and mix well. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Let sit for 30 minutes to let flavors combine.

This can be stuffed into tomatoes, cucumbers or zucchini, spread on toast, etc. We just had a scoop of in placed on some salad, with the pasta on the side.

Pasta with Summer Herbs
Recipe by surfindaave
Serve 4 to 6 (depends how many teens are eating)

2 pounds dried pasta, such as Penne Rigata
2-3 cups loosely packed mixed fresh herbs, chopped – we used parsley, basil, savory, sage, mint, oregano and thyme
olive oil
salt, pepper
Grated parmesan or pecorino, for garnish, if desired

Cook pasta in boiling slated water. Drain, and place in large serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add chopped herbs, and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add additional olive oil as necessary. Sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired. Serve. Enjoy!

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