pink and green

tuna noodle

We made it up to the Bellingham Farmer’s Market last weekend, always a welcome activity when spring is making itself felt but our local market won’t open for weeks yet. We placed an order for half a cow from Skagit Angus Beef, bought an astonishing quantity of leafy greens, two chunks of goat feta and some fresh, purple-tipped asparagus, then swung by the Bellingham Pasta Company’s table and picked up a pound each of lemon pepper linguine and nettle fettuccine.

nettle fettuccine

I love fresh pasta, but seldom make it myself (perhaps because it often turns into a drama-filled production complete with tears and recriminations), so it’s always fun to have some different noodles in the house. The nettle pasta we used immediately for lunch.

tuna sauce

One of my standby there’s-nothing-in-the-house-to-eat meals is pasta with canned tuna, capers, olives, chile pepper, and tomato. There are endless variations depending on what’s in the pantry, and it’s always good. I wanted to use tuna with the nettle pasta,┬ábut this time I didn’t want such a pungent sauce, for fear it would overwhelm the delicate green flavor. After a quick consultation with a few cookbooks, I tossed together a sauce of mashed tuna (the really good locally-packed albacore from Island Trollers) mixed with raw garlic, fresh chives from the garden, and a splash of cream to moisten it. The noodles, after their three minutes in the boiling water, went into the bowl with the uncooked sauce, and I swirled it all together. It was delicious – light, garlic-scented, but still highlighting the fresh noodles. One of my better ideas.

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tuna & beans

black-eyed pea salad with tuna

Last week there were rather a lot of things I was frantically trying to get done. One of them was to take some pictures to enter in the Leite’s Culinaria food photography contest, which involved making a recipe from their website and taking a photo of the finished dish. I am very bad at following recipes closely, so it was a little hard for me to find one that I thought I could remain mostly faithful to. I ended up choosing a salad of canned tuna and black-eyed peas, a traditional Portuguese dish with many possible variations.

The recipe is incredibly simple, just cooked black-eyed peas tossed with tuna, onion, garlic, olive oil and vinegar, with some parsley stirred in. I was a little dubious at the initial smell of the black-eyed peas (which I had never cooked before) – they seemed unpleasantly grassy and stunk up the house remarkably. But when I had mixed in the other ingredients and let the salad sit for a little while, it took on a whole new level of flavor that was compellingly good. We ate it plain for dinner the first night, then stuffed into pitas with lettuce for two more lunches. Delicious.

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