It’s turned into a proper fall here in Southeast Michigan after a longer than normal, absolutely beautiful, Indian Summer. It was so warm last week that I spent three evenings at Gallup Park eating with the ducks and geese.
There’s a little spot there, you see, in front of a pond, where they just painted the picnic table a vibrant red, where I go when I need to get away from it all. And last week was all about the life-sucking after work meetings…but the geese, the ducks, and that perfect fall view saved me. So much so that I thought it might even last and planned a proper picnic for S and I, with something more than Whole Foods carry-out. But of course the weather conspired against me (it is fall after all), as that very day the wind and the drizzles arrived. When I realized we wouldn’t be heading to the park after all, I was uplifted, at least, by the thought of soup (I’m easy). The soup was something I threw together from leftover produce–a red onion, garlic, some chopped carrot and celery, roasted cherry tomatoes, chicken broth and a bit of curry powder. I whizzed it into a purée in about 30 seconds flat with my new toy, a Cuisinart immersion blender (which really did the trick, I must say). And it was good. Actually it was really good, but I want to perfect it before I post, so you won’t find it here. I will say, though, that a dollop of crème fraîche really poshed it up.
Not being a huge fan of sandwiches, there are one or two, with tangy and elegant ingredients, that suit me. This one resembles a pan bagnat, that Mediterranean tuna sandwich with olives, roasted red peppers and eggs. It also reminds me of a sandwich from a Catalonian fast food chain, Pans & Company, that I absolutely must have every time I go to Spain (which sadly is not very often these days). Rachael Ray calls it her “Everything but the Kitchen Sink Tuna Fish Sandwich”, which is a fairly appropriate name for it. I don’t follow the recipe anymore, rather I chuck in anything Mediterraneanish that I happen to have on hand. This time it was an impulse buy that really did the trick–Delallo’s Artichoke Bruschetta. Once I tasted it, I could have eaten the whole jar, and after two sandwiches, I’ll admit there’s not much left.
Everything but Mayo Tuna Salad Sandwich
adapted from Rachael Ray 365, serves four.1 baguette or rustic bread, the softer the better 2 cans Italian tuna packed in olive oil 1 roasted red pepper,chopped
1/4 cup niçoise or Kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup Delallo’s Artichoke Bruschetta or chopped artichokes packed in olive oil
1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
a handful of arugula
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
a drizzle of red wine or champagne vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon juice
Prepare the bread by cutting into quarters, slicing lengthwise and tearing out the middle so that it can hold the tuna filling. Spread a bit of anchovy paste on one side and top with a handful of arugula. On the other side of the bread, spread the artichoke bruschetta (if using artichokes, mix them into the tuna salad). Mix the tuna with the rest of the ingredients, through the chopped red onion and season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar until it’s a consistency that pleases you, about a tablespoon each (I don’t like my tuna too dry). Add to the dressed bread and enjoy. If traveling with these sandwiches, wrap in foil to contain the filling.
So I guess the silver lining in last week’s clouds was that I finally made the transition to soup, one of my favorite meals of the colder months. If it’s officially time to let go of summer (so say too those mistral-like winds blowing outside as I type), then bring on the fall favorites–the Mulligatawny, the Shepherd’s Pie, the Cider Vinegar Chicken, the Beans and Greens soup. I’m ready now.