I thought I was done blogging. I thought I’d finally had enough of the self-imposed stress and enough standing on chairs, photographing my dinner. I’d thought I was ready put the project on the shelf for good.
The first couple of weeks were fun and it was certainly refreshing to cook without a notepad and a camera at my side. I drank wine while I made dinner and didn’t worry about low-lighting or measuring cups. I ate the same thing for days on end because, dang it, I felt like it and it wasn’t like I needed to come up with fresh content for a blog anymore.
But then it started making me feel kind of sad. And lonesome. I missed the game, missed putting a little piece of myself out in the world. So I’m taking it on again, with more of a relaxed approach. I’m not going to feel bad if I don’t post every week, if my pictures aren’t perfect, if I don’t blog my way out of my day job. I’m not going to worry that someone might not think something I post isn’t creative enough (who wants “creative” food all the time anyway?). I’m going to remember why I started a food blog in the first place: because I love to cook and eat and my home kitchen is one of my happiest places.
And speaking of relaxed approaches to things, relaxed is exactly how I come at summer, especially summer cooking. The past few weeks, I’ve been taking it pretty easy when it comes to cooking and eating. I’ve making the most of my garden greens, letting other people cook for me, and making big batches of pasta salad that I can graze off of for days.
Most of my pasta salads are made in the same vein –about half pasta, half “good stuff”, normally dressed with a perky vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise. This one takes on a kind of Niçoise theme with flakes of tuna, blanched green beans, halved grape tomatoes, and a handful of capers. Chickpeas add enough substance that this could definitely pass as dinner, not just a side.
I hope you all are having a great, low-stress summer and carving out plenty of time for dangling toes off docks and backyard barbecue. I know that’s what I’ll be focused on. Well, that and figuring out what to do with a tree full of sour cherries–stay tuned!
- ¼ # Green Beans
- ½ #Orecchiette Pasta
- ½ pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
- 1 15 oz. can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 5 oz. can Olive Oil-Packed Tuna, flaked
- 3 Tbsp. minced Red Onion or Shallot
- 3 Tbsp. Capers
For the Vinaigrette:
- 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil and prepare an ice bath. Drop the beans in the boiling water until they turn bright green, 1-1/2 minutes, then remove with a large slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Allow the beans to cool completely, then remove, towel dry, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Meanwhile, return the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to stir the pot a few times as orrecchiette like to nestle into each other and stick. Drain the pasta very well and place in a large bowl.
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar and shake until well combined. Pour about half of the vinaigrette on the still warm pasta and toss to coat. Chill the pasta for 30 minutes or so before continuing.
- Add the sliced green beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, tuna, onion, and capers to the pasta. Toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with plenty of black pepper. The salad holds up well for a day or 2 and can be freshened up with a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar before serving.
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