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Ya, I know, I am writing about a tuna salad sandwich. Cring! I’m pretty sure everyone knows how to make one and everyone has a special ingredient they add to give it that little something extra. Well, I have to confess that I love tuna salad. I was the girl in middle school, in the lunch room, with the smelly lunch. Yup, I was always slightly embarrassed, but the taste made up for the red cheeks. So, here I am telling you about a tuna sandwich – albeit a jazzed up one.
If you hate fish, etc, then this sandwich is not for you. See you next time you drop in 🙂 But, if you like the tuna, then stick around because this one you can actually serve to friends. It isn’t just tuna salad smashed between 2 slices of bread. Oh, no. This is a baguette stuffed with tuna salad hiding a special treat on the inside.
This sandwich is another one of my Mom’s concoctions. Now that I think of it – maybe she should be writing this blog. Geez I am always stealing her ideas! Anyways, she came up with it either from a cookbook or just in her creative mind, but I loved it from the start. I always love food that looks well put together and looks like it took some effort, when in reality it was quite easy. Maybe because I am a snob or maybe it is because making food look nice for others shows that you care. I like to think it is the latter, but I did live in Calgary for 10 years, hehehe!
What goes better with tuna salad than pickles. I must dare say that nothing does (please comment if you disagree!). The surprise in the center of the stuffed french loaf is an emerald line of crunchy garlicky pickles. Sliced on the bias and the emerald center is exposed and gives the dainty sankdwich a jazzed-up look. It would be nice for a picnic, to take for lunch or even at a wedding or baby shower.
Jazzed-Up Tuna Salad Sandwich – Mother Foodlova’s play on a classic
2 cans tuna in water
0.5 cup Miracle Whip (because of the tangy zip people! but regular mayo is fine)
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 french baguette
5-8 Garlic Dill Pickles (Store bought or homemade)
salt and pepper to taste
Start by cutting the baguette in half lengthwise. Pull out the soft center of the bread on both sides. Rip that soft bread up into bite-size pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. You should now have two hollowed out halves (like 2 canoes). You can butter the bread or just leave it dry, whatever you prefer.
In the large mixing bowl with the bread pieces, throw in the drained tuna, the mayo, the chopped green onion and some salt and pepper. Mix together until the mixture is well combined and sticks together. If you need more mayo, go ahead and add more now.
Separate the tuna mixture into 2 halves. With one half, line the bottom part of the baguette. Now line the pickles up the middle of the “canoe”. Take the other half of the mixture and cover the pickles. Top it off with the top half of the bread and squish down. Chill in the fridge.
To serve, cut pieces like you are slicing a loaf of bread and lay on its side. The sandwich slice will have a pickle in the center surrounded by the tuna. Enjoy!
Do you know what this is? It’s another Ukrainian baba’s recipe. Yup, I just called my Mom a baba. Oh my, is she gonna be mad! But, really, she does have grandkids, but maybe we should wait to call her a baba until she has great-grandchildren… Anyways, back to the topic. Perogies are basically a little potato dumpling. That is what everyone says they are, but why are all these people more in-the-know of dumplings than actual perogies. I guess I would call Chinese dumplings, meet filled perogies, but that is just the small-town Sask girl in me.
This is one of those dishes that I had every single religious holiday meal, every single time I went to my Granny’s and every single time I wanted something to remind me of home. My Granny, my Aunts and my Mom all make them a tiny bit different, so you can always tell who they belong to. I knew I had eaten a few perogies in my day when I could grab a bag out of my tiny-university freezer and with the first bite know if they were a gift from Granny or sent lovingly from my Mom. I have an Aunt who lived close to me while I was in Calgary and she would always serve me some when she knew I needed a touch of home. One time she asked me if I would like some and then when she heard my exclamation of “Yes, of course!” she proceeded to make them from scratch right then and there. This is just to really make you understand that perogies are part of my core.
The best memory of my Mom cooking when I was young was of makin’ petaheh (that is my attempt to spell out what my Granny calls them). Mom would announce sometime during the week that she was having “the girls” over to make perogies. I would instantly tingle with excitement. Who was coming? How many women? What would they talk about? At this point, I was not so excited about making the perogies, I was excited to be part of a hen party. Yipee! Why at the age of 10 I wanted to sit and watch grown women make perogies while gossipping and sipping on flour marked rye and cokes, I have no idea. But, I really wanted to.
When the weekend came and the ladies were pinchin’ away, I would sit there and listen in. Mom would be pinching tens of perogies per minute, while the other ladies just might have been there for the same reasons as me. They would talk and pinch, talk and pinch, ice clinking in their glasses. A few hours later there would be trays and trays of perogies and I would be the one making the runs down to the basement to put them in the freezer. I maybe made 5 perogies the whole time, but I knew the technique by heart just by watching the skillful hands of my mom (check them out making cabbage rolls).
Finally, now that I am older, I have began making them for myself. They are no where near the beautifully identical packages of my older family members, but I try. I have to carry on the tradition, right? Now all I need is a bunch of women to pinch with me. Oh yeah, and a rye and coke.
Perogies – Mother Foodlova’s recipe
Serve these along side some good ukrainian sausage to make the meal complete. Dolop some sour cream on top for the final touch.
Makes 120-140 perogies. To half the recipe, beat the egg in a bowl and pour in half of it. Half the rest of the ingredients also. The recipe is also easily increased if anyone is that gutsy!
2 7/8 cups luke warm water (from the tap)
4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp salt
6-5 cups flour
1-2 cups cheddar cheese
a dutch oven full of peeled and chopped white potatoes (who cares if you have left-overs, they are delicious!)
Salt and pepper
+ Butter and Onions “sauce” – melted butter (1/3 cup) with 1 chopped onion in it. Simmer on stove while you are boiling the perogies. It is ready when the onions are soft and translucent.
Ok, start by boiling the potatoes until they are easily mashed by a fork. Drain, keep them in the same dutch oven and begin to mash. Keeping them in the pot they were boiled in evaporates any left over liquid. Nice tip for making mashed potatoes! Halfway through the mashing, add the cheese and salt and pepper. Continue mashing until they are a thick and sticky substance.
While the mashed potatoes and cheese are cooling, start making the dough. Start with the egg and whisk in the water, then add the dry ingredients. Bring it all together with a wooden spoon and continue to add flour until they are not sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it is a homogeneous ball of dough. Take a quarter of the dough and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cover the rest of the dough, back in the bowl, with a t-towel. Find a water-glass with an opening of about 3 inches. Dip the open side in some flour and start pressing out the dough rounds. You can use a regular round cookie cutter, but that is not the real traditional way, hehehe!
Take one round into your left hand*. With your other hand wielding a spoon, scoop just under 1 tbsp worth of potato onto the round. shape into a rough ball. With your right hand, fold the dough, pinching it together, around the potato. Make sure not to pinch any potato between the dough as this will cause them to open up while boiling. When done pinching, it should look like a half a circle. This is not super easy right away. Do not get discouraged! You will find a good technique for yourself and in no time be churning these out.
Prepare a cookie sheet with a t-towel. Begin to line the perogies along the cookie sheet while making them. If the t-towel is big enough, fold it over and begin another layer and so on. You can put them in the freezer to freeze and then bag them up or you can boil them right away. This recipe makes about 120-140 perogies, so I’m sure you are going to want to freeze and bag most of them. When cooking – I always estimate 5-10 per person.
To cook, bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Drop in around 15-20 perogies at a time. Stir gently and never let the water come to a wild rolling boil. When the perogies float, let them boil for 5 more minute and then take them out with a slotted spoon. Cover with butter and onions “sauce”. This prevents sticking and adds a je-ne-sais-quoi to the wholesome dish. Now you are in on the secret recipe of perogies!
*this is for right handers, but if you are left like me, you know the drill about changing the wording.
What’s that zingy-zip? What’s that citrus cool? Well, it’s lime of course! And what goes better with lime than salt? Not much. Think lime margarita with a salty rim. Now you’re talking.
This slaw is perfect for a BBQ or a summer spread. It has that cool zip of lime mixed with the saltiness of feta. The combo is unreal. This slaw must be hard to make – you think. Nope. Easy-peasy. Actually, it is only 5 ingredients. Yup, just 5 wonderful, find-in-your-own-home ingredients. Now this is an easy one to whip up. Especially if you forgot about that BBQ you were invited to and promised to bring a salad. Not like that has happened to any of us. Well, instead of buying that suspect potato mush salad from the deli at the local grocery store or grabbing some chips and dip on the way (lame), whip this up. Even your husband could figure this one out (sorry, that was a little kind-hearted jab).
I know I just posted an awesome beet and blue cheese salad, but I had to post another salad to even up the score for those two dessert posts of Dutch appeltaart and rustic pear pie in a row. Don’t worry, I am watching out for your waistline. Austublieft! (translation = you’re welcome).
Feta and Lime Slaw – adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
thinly sliced small head of cabbage (you can even buy it bagged if you want)
0.33 cup feta cheese (seriously, just crumble as much as you like. You know I used more than this :P)
3 tbsp oil (she suggests more, but I like an even ratio of oil and acid)
3 tbsp lime juice (I used 2 small limes)
1 tbsp honey
s + p to taste
Thinly slice up the cabbage (or open the bag) and throw into a large bowl. Crumble the feta cheese on top. In a small container (I usually have a saved glass jar from something or other to shake up vinaigrette in) combine the oil, lime juice, honey and salt and pepper and shake. Pour over the salad and toss. Done. Cover with Saran wrap and take to your BBQ party.
***When you let it sit for a little while (meaning about 30 mins) the cabbage will soak up some of the vinaigrette and wilt a little. Don’t worry, it tastes better this way.
Y’all, I could not keep this to myself. This post had to be shared. Hopefully you get a good laugh out of it like I sure did. I could picture it all so easily and funny enough, I could picture myself doing all those weird things before a running race. For your reading pleasure, here it is – Running and Roca by Cookies and Cups.
This was the first thing Mr. Foodlova made for me. Yup, our first stay-in dinner date. He was poised to impress and he sure met the mark. He began the evening with saganaki – yup, he lit cheese on fire and then put it out with a squeeze of lemon juice. He had me at “cheese”.
He then escorted me out to back yard where he had a picnic table set up. He barbecued some sort of meat – can’t remember, but I’m guessing it was buffalo, and he also made a big salad. This big salad. When he set it down and I took a peek I realized that there was blue cheese in it. I was shocked! Oh…no….I hate blue cheese……what am I going to do?! What I did was take a small amount and hope that I could eat at least some of it. I had only tried the stinky cheese once before and hadn’t touched it since.
Mr. Foodlova was very proud of his spread and was confident that I would rave and fall madly in love with him. I, on the other hand was about to try some of the salad. I do love beets, which gave him major points. So I went in and prepared my self for the worst. Yum? YUM! Was this really blue cheese or some delicious cousin? It was perplexing, but I took some more and the rest is history.
Now this salad is a regular in our home. We even planted beets in our flower bed so that we would have fresh ones for this very purpose. I am not kidding you when I say that this salad is unreal. You gotta love beets and if you do, the flavours are the perfect complement. Sour and creamy from the cheese, acidic and bright from the lemon juice and fresh from the parsley. The beets round out the flavour with sweet earthiness. The presentation is dark and luscious and if you add the beets warm, the cheese melts a little and mingles with the vinaigrette. Trust me – try this!!
I just linked this recipe to It’s a Blog Party. It’s a fun website that gets the blogging community together for the specialty of the day. Tuesday is Delicious Dishes, so head on over and check it out!
Beet and Blue Cheese Salad – adapted from Moosewood
It says to use spinach, but we have used many different kinds of leaves; beet leaves, kale, arugula, swiss chard. I think fresh beet leaves are the best! This serves up nicely with a steak because, of course, it goes great with blue cheese.
3 medium sized beets, chopped into cubes and boiled or steamed
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
0.5 bunch Parsley
Salt and Pepper
Chop up the beets into 1 inch cubes and thow into boiling water or steam them. I just thought of broiling them…that would probably be really good. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! Boil/steam/broil until you can easily pierce with a fork.
While the beets are doing their thing, mix together the vinaigrette, throwing the parsley right in. Put the spinach in a large bowl. You can add as much as you like, but I usually add 2 handfuls for every person that is eating.
When the beets are done, toss them over the spinach. Crumble as much blue cheese as you like right over the steaming beets. Then coat it all with the vinegrette. Toss and serve to your special someone!
Do you know what this self-proclaimed Foodlova loves more than food? My husband! Do you know what my husband loves more than anything? Pie! So, since it was his birthday yesterday I got baking (again…). I didn’t just want to make a plain-old pie, I wanted to make something that would blow his mind, something special. I found that something special on Piece of Cake.
This recipe caught my eye because it is filled with almond paste (aka frangipane). Turns out that everything is filled with said goodness over here in the Netherlands. You have gevulde koeken (filled cookies), filled pastries and we even bought a loaf of raisin bread and were delighted to find a tube of almond paste right down the middle! You can’t really go wrong with frangipane.
I set off to the market to find some sort of fruit to top it with. A person could use any sort of fruit to top this baby. I chose pears because they are in abundance at the market right now. By the way, the markets here are so amazing! I can go 3 times a week, as opposed to once a week in Canada. Here, the produce is cheaper than the grocery store. In Canada, having fresh produce at a farmer’s market is an excuse to jack up the price, but that may just be Calgary’s MO (read: mode of operation – sometimes I think I’m a gangsta)!
Now, moving on, the recipe calls for coarse sugar to sprinkle on top. In the grocery store here there are tons of different sugars. Some that I have never heard of before. They have fine, coarse, soft, ones specifically for hot drinks (kandij), etc. The funniest one is called Basterd suiker. Basterd?! I can’t help but laugh every time!
This pie or “galette” is so simple and looks so pretty. The taste is rich, sweet and the crust is flaky. I usually hand the job of making the crust over to my husband, but I wasn’t going to make him make his own birthday “cake.” No way! This style was easy for me because you only have to make the bottom and then just fold the edges over. Oh yeah, and I got my rolling pin in the mail – fiiinaaallyyyy! – which made the job even easier. Goodbye wine bottle (well, not goodbye per say, I will still drink you later…). Placing the pear slices in concentric rings takes a bit of time, but it just makes the finished product look so professional – you really should do it!
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 cup unsalted butter (chilled)
6 tbsp cold water
100 g (4 oz) almond paste, crumbled
1.5 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp almond extract
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
4-6 pears, peeled and slices lengthwise
4 tbsp coarse sugar
Start with the pastry – combine flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter, a fork or your fingers to work in the butter. If you have a food processor – giddy-up! When the butter is pee-sized, add all 6 tbsp of cold water and combine until the dough starts to come together. Remove from the bowl and pad into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
Next the almond filling – put sugar and flour in a mixing bowl (you can use your fancy processor here too – can you tell I am jealous?!). Add the crumbled almond paste and almond extract. Combine. Add the butter and mix until well blended. Finally, add the egg and mix until smooth.*
Now, peel and slice up the pears. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit (190 degrees celcius). Roll out the dough into a large round on parchment paper (bakpapier). It should be about 30 cm (14 inches) in diameter. Spread the almond filling evenly over the pastry, making sure to leave a 4cm (2 inch) border. Lay out the pear slices in concentric circles starting at the outside and working in. Fold up the edges of the pastry all the way around. Sprinkle with your coarse sugar of choice. The recipe calls for brushing the crust with melted butter, but I thought that this recipe had enough butter already :).
Slide into the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour or until it is golden brown. Remove from baking sheet (with paper intact) and let cool on a rack. Eat the entire thing in one glorious birthday evening!
*I used a fork for all steps! Nothing like living-it-up old school.