Tuna Salad with Pears, Pecans, and Mint


Welcome back CSA members and other readers around the world! I’m excited for another season of delicious produce and I will be focusing on some great, healthy recipes to keep those new year resolutions working!
Tuna Salad with Pears, Pecans, and Mint

2 cans of tuna, drained (see note below)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 d’anjou pear, cut into cubes
1 rib of celery, thinly sliced
2 tbsp yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and lightly crushed

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together tuna, mayo, pear, celery, onion, mustard, lemon zest and juice until well combined.

2. To serve: Create a bed of lettuce in a serving bowl or individual bowls. Place tuna salad on top of romaine, then top with chopped mint and pecans.
**Note: Our oceans are being depleted of fish at an alarming rate. This is partially due to unsustainable fishing practices being used across the globe. Seafood is, of course, a staple of our cuisine in the Pacific Northwest and so I believe it is important to be responsible consumers and be sure we know where our seafood is coming from and how it is being harvested. Because canned tuna is often unsustainably caught, it is especially important to be informed as to where and how it is being sourced. In the northwest, we are lucky to have the Fishing Vessel – St. Jude, a family owned and operated tuna fishing boat. By exclusively trolling for tuna, the St. Jude eliminates bycatch and waste while controlling the quality of tuna they catch. St. Jude tuna is available at many local grocery stores and farmers markets and I encourage you to seek them out. Another great option is the Wild Planet brand of tuna which is available at PCC and Whole Foods. For more information about sustainable seafood, please visit http://www.seafoodwatch.org.

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Chamomile Poached Pears

 

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This recipe calls for d’anjou pears, though any firm pear will work nicely. Poaching firm pears softens them without causing them to fall apart too easily. I plan on enjoying these over my morning granola and yogurt, though I may deviate and use them to top a pound cake later in the week.

Chamomile Poached Pears

2 d’anjou pears, peeled, halved, and cored
2 cups water
2 tablespoon dried chamomile blossoms (if you don’t have any on hand, a bag of sleepy-time tea would work nicely)
4 tablespoons sugar or honey

1. Boil the water, add chamomile, and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.
2. Strain out the chamomile, then return the tea to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
3. Add the pears to the sweetened chamomile tea and reduce heat so the pears are barely simmering. Cook covered for about 8 minutes, until the pears are easily pierced with a fork.
4. Remove the pears from the syrup and allow to cool. If you’d like, place the syrup back on the heat and allow to reduce by half. This would be nice drizzled over the pears however you choose to serve them.

Shrub

Shrubs are a beverage that go back to colonial times as a way of saving the season to enjoy throughout the year. Shrub refers to a sweet and sour syrup that can be enjoyed as a sipping vinegar or diluted with club soda. Historically, these beverages were related to the medicinal cordials of medieval England. Today, they are used as aperitifs or ingredients in cocktails. They involve fruit and herbs or spices that steep in vinegar and are later sweetened with honey or sugar. Throughout the year, I make several batches to enjoy diluted as a carbonated treat. Here are a couple of recipes to try out. Feel free to play with the amount of sugar you add or the type of fruit. In summer I make batches with different types of berries, but fall and winter are great with apples, pears, quince, or persimmons. I recommend using Bragg’s apple cider vinegar as it is unfiltered and not too acidic to be enjoyable. There are also some sources that claim apple cider vinegar may aid digestion, adding to its allure as an aperitif.

Apple-Cinnamon Shrub

Ingredients:
2 apples, cored and cut into small pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup or 2/3 sugar

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a quart sized mason jar or other comparable container. Give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge. After a week or two, strain the mixture, pressing on the apples to extract as much juice as possible. Give it a taste and add sugar if you’d like. Keep in mind it should be pretty tangy. Enjoy about 2 oz of shrub diluted with 6-8 oz of club soda according to your own tastes.

 

Pear-Allspice Shrub

Ingredients:
3 pears, cored and cut into small pieces
6-8 allspice berries, whole
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup or 2/3 cup sugar

Method:
Same as above.

Kale Smoothies

Purple kale smoothieGood Morning Kale! We got the mother load of kale in our CSA boxes this week! I’ve covered the basics of massaging kale for a salad here, but this versatile veggie is also a great way to start the day. Here’s a simple recipe to jumpstart your morning with a kale smoothie. Feel free to switch things up depending on what you have available- I fashioned mine around the CSA box and the last bits of frozen fruit lurking in the freezer from last year’s harvests.

Smoothie

Ingredients:

3-4 purple kale leaves, de-stemmed
1 small apple or pear, cored and cut into smaller pieces
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen mango (pineapple or strawberry would be great too)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
Almond milk or water to thin as needed

Method:

Place everything in the blender and puree until smooth! This recipe makes enough for two!

Spiced Apple-Pear Sauce

spiced sauceApple-pear sauce is a wonderful treat as we begin to segue from fall into winter. It makes a great snack by itself, though I like to stir some into my morning oatmeal or yoghurt. I’ve also used it in various baking recipes to make moist muffins and cakes. This recipe is easily adaptable to your personal tastes. I prefer my applesauce smooth, so I use an immersion blender, but if you like a chunkier version, a potato masher or fork works perfectly. I also don’t peel my fruit because I think it adds more body to a smooth sauce. Feel free to peel everything, if you like. Play around with the spices too – a pinch of clove or cardamom would be nice or some ground fennel seed and chili flakes would make this great with pork chops, if you want to try something more savory.

apple pear sauceIngredients:

3-4 apples, cored and cut into cubes
2-3 pears, cored and cut into cubes
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon allspice
juice from half a lemon
pinch of salt
Optional: Honey to taste

Method:

  1. Combine apples, pears, water, vanilla, spices, and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Keeping your heat low, cook covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the fruit is soft and there isn’t much liquid in the pot, remove from the heat.
  4. Use a potato masher or fork if you like chunkier sauce or an immersion blender for a smoother sauce to break down all the fruit. Give it a taste… If you want more sweetness, add a bit of honey. Add a pinch of salt now to give the flavor a little boost. If the sauce is still a bit too liquidy for your taste, return the pot to low heat and cook off some of that liquid.