Tag Archives: tuna

Pan Bagnat

The last few days of our recent vacation, we stayed at Bay Cottage, a lovely retreat located on the shore of Discovery Bay near Port Townsend, Washington.  It seems like I’ve wanted to stay in a place like that forever — somehow making up for the lack of a family summer vacation rental that so many others seem to have had.  If I think about it, the others I’m thinking of were most likely characters in summer reads, or old movies which makes me idealistic, I guess.  No matter, because it was beautiful there and we enjoyed sitting in the old Adirondack chairs in the evening marveling over how long the daylight lasts at this time of year, or watching the fog slowly burn off the still water each morning.  Large blue herons  stand in the shallow water at low tide like statues, patiently waiting for a fish.  It was so peaceful.

We’ve enjoyed a variety of vacation rentals in our travels.  They’re much more relaxing than staying in a hotel because a television is usually absent, there’s a living room to sprawl out in just like home, and after the daylight is gone, we go through the cards and games usually stashed away in a cupboard somewhere to enjoy a few rounds of Rummy or Trivial Pursuit.  We also take the time to read for extended periods of time, enjoying the stillness.  Outside of the water lapping against the shore, not much else broke the quiet in the evenings, which is a rare thing to enjoy.

Having a kitchen available is another vacation rental perk.  It’s usually stocked with a variety of pots, pans, and utensils and even some pantry basics to add to the groceries we shop for soon after arriving.  I know that others often question cooking on a vacation, but honestly, it’s far less trouble at times than deciding where to eat — especially when money can be saved cooking for ourselves.  It also makes packing a picnic easier when planning a day trip because if you plan with that in mind as you hit the market, then you can enjoy some pretty tasty treats on your outings.

Pan Bagnat (pahn-bahn-yah) is the perfect make ahead picnic food because other than needing to boil a few eggs, open a can of good tuna, slice vegetables, and prepare a simple vinaigrette, all you need is bread and some bricks — or in my case, weights.  On the other hand, if you’ve got children, you might consider using the weighting technique mentioned in this version of Pan Bagnat published in the New York Times.

Each bite of this wonderful sandwich is a treat whether you’re enjoying it at home or otherwise — and it’s fun to make.  Have you had Pan Bagnat before?

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Spicy Tuna and Avocado Dip


Try not to shovel it into your mouth...

Halloween officially launches the party season as far as I’m concerned.  It’s not like we have a calendar full of swanky events scheduled…I’m counting zero right now…, but having any excuse to get together constitutes a party.  Why not?  Football, the holidays, and…..Election Night!  Whether it’s a raucous group of good friends, or a more tame cocktail get together, the occasion is always better if the food is excellent.

And speaking of excellent, what could be better than a dish that can be a dip or a salad?  It’s elegant, it’s healthy, and oh my goodness, it’s delicious.

The first time I made this, my brother dug in with a tortilla chip and popped it in his mouth, asking between chews and mmmming, “What is this?”

“Raw fish,” I responded.  “Good, huh?”

And he thought he didn’t like avocados or fish — let alone raw fish.

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Seared Yellowfin with Kalamatas and Capers

Yellowfin with Kalamatas and Capers

My husband has been on a diet.  Sitting at a desk most of the day catches up with you when you least expect it, right?  When we returned from Italy this summer, he decided he was going to do something about it, paying close attention to what he ate, and getting regular exercise.

Since I’m the resident cook, I suggested that he might consider not going back for seconds at dinner, and that I’d help by reducing the quantity of food I cook.  I also suggested that instead of having a protein, starch, and vegetable with bread, that I’d focus on only a main dish, and a side dish.  The only exception would be to add a salad — and even then, the salad could replace the side dish.

He’s done his part by going to the gym we pay for in our HOA fees between 4-6 times a week doing both cardio work on the treadmill or reclining bike and then some weights.  I’ve done my part as well, and last night he informed me that he’s lost 11 pounds.  In two months, that’s the best sort of weight loss since it will most likely stay off over the long haul.  Outside of the numbers on the scale, I did notice yesterday that his trousers are riding a bit higher than before, and that the tailoring he had done when he purchased them to let them out will now have to be redone to take them in.

We won’t discuss whether any of this food regime has had any effect on my body, but I will say that it certainly can’t hurt.  I try to do my three miles three times a week and limit my portions.

We’ve been eating quite a bit of fish lately, and he said this meal was exactly what he wanted after he’d finished it.  Since I’ve tried many variations on it, I’ll agree that this is excellent, and is extremely quick and easy to prepare.  Because I’ve also experimented with a variety of types of fish, I know that it will taste good with the type you enjoy best.

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