barefoot thursday: tuna salad

>> May 14, 2009

i'm SO GLAD to be done with school for the year. the end of the semester and finals pretty much took over my life for the past month. i did manage to eat well, though:

individual edamame packets (spongebob for some humor), a veggie-laden brown rice risotto, dark chocolate pudding made with green & black's organic dark chocolate with cherries, and pesto eggs in a blanket with mango and blueberries provided just enough fuel to keep my brain charged. i'm happy to report that i ended up with a's in everything (YES! EVEN STRATEGY -- which is the mess sprawled out under my eggs up there) and an a- in mass comm law, leaving me with a whopping 3.98 cumulative for the past 3 years. i'm proud. very very proud.

and now no more school for 3 months. yay. and what a better way to celebrate than with a lovely barefoot thursday!

i was totally stoked that kate of warm olives and cool cocktails chose ina's tuna salad for the first may recipe. i didn't use the whole tuna steaks that the recipe calls for, going for the more economical air-packaged kind. i like ahi tuna, but regular tuna steaks don't do it for me. my version was thus considerably cheaper and less work (not that the original was really all that taxing). i used only 1 teaspoon of oil to make the dressing with all the other ingredients listed, and then mixed it in with the tuna, red onion, and scallions. i chilled it in the fridge for an hour to let it "develop," and then served it over a bed of a butter lettuce with the diced avocado (a bonus MUFA for my mom's "flat belly diet") and grape tomatoes. my mom loves that i'm in this blogger group. ina is her favorite, and she gets a great dinner without doing any work =). i like getting to share it with her, too. with my dad traveling a lot, it's nice to spend time with my mommy.

yesterday was a pretty taxing day. i had my spring appointment with dr. parkman, and it really didn't go very well. i haven't gained (or lost, i'd like to point out) any weight since december, and that really worried him and vanessa, the other doctor on my "case." she mentioned the words "j-tube," which sent me into an emotional whirlwind. i basically burst into tears. the thought of something in my stomach totally and completely freaks me out beyond words. my dad, who is the biggest wimp when it comes to his girls, couldn't handle it either and got really upset at the sight of my breakdown. it was an emotional visit.

after that episode, vanessa pretty much forced dr. parkman to do SOMETHING for me, since he really hasn't treated my symptoms and just runs a lot of tests. he upped the dosage of my enzyme pills, added nexium to "maximize" the enzymes (we don't know what this means, since he doesn't explain what he's doing), and prescribed an antibiotic to treat the intestinal bacterial overgrowth that he found A YEAR AGO with the lactulose test. ridiculous that i was never treated for that before.

it's incredibly irritating to sit there and say over and over again how much i actually eat. my plates are as full as my moms' are; i eat 3 regular meals and 2 or 3 large snacks everyday; i obviously don't throw up or take diuretics. i only exercise 20 minutes 3 times a week, and even that is just light elliptical or a slow, easy "run" (people can walk faster, for real). he doesn't ever come out and say that he thinks i have a problem, but i know it's in the back of everyone's mind. so now i have to drink these strange "enlive" protein drinks, eat a clif bar everyday, and document what i consume to prove to him that i'm trying to gain weight. 5 pounds would make a world of difference, and i'm now on a mission.

and the first step in my mission was a HUGE plate of onion strings, warm crusty bread, and angel hair with marinara at maggiano's immediately following my appointment. i also went home with 3/4 of my pasta and a large vat of sauce, thanks to a very generous waiter. king of prussia shopping is really the only good thing about going down to the hospital. to prove even further that i'm not starving myself, we made some ridiculously good crab cakes for dinner.

the recipe was straight off the tin of old bay seasoning: 2 slices of bread, cubed and moistened with a little milk. mix in 1 egg, 1 tablespoon each of mayonnaise, worcester sauce, and dried parsley, 1 teaspoon of old bay, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 pound of crab meat. i added in a few dashes of hot sauce and a little lemon juice, mixed it all up with my hands, and made 8 hearty-sized patties. we grilled them on the stove-top pan with no oil. my mom and i were a bit concerned that they would stick, but the trick is to let them cook until they're completely seared on one side before flipping. once that brown crust forms completely, they don't stick at all. it's like a built-in timer. i made a mayo-dijon-horseradish dressing for mine and spread some mushed-up avocado on the other side of the bun. they tasted just like summer, especially with the corn on the cob as a side. we're definitely having the leftovers tonight.

the one thing i can count on when i'm home is that my mom will buy bananas and they will go bad. it never fails. we buy them every week, and then we never eat them. obviously, this presents the perfect opportunity for banana bread, and since the over-ripening happens often, we've tried a lot of recipes. this low-fat version i mushed together is so moist and full of nuts and raisins that you'll never know the difference. next time i make it, which will seriously be like next week when the bananas go bad again, i'd like to try a mix of whole-wheat and white flour and sub in brown sugar for some of the white. but for now, go out and buy some bananas RIGHT NOW and let them ripen. you definitely need to try this out:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup golden raisins
2-3 very ripe bananas
6 ounces vanilla yogurt*
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1-2 tablespoons milk
cinnamon and sugar for dusting

*if you can't find vanilla yogurt, use plain and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the wet ingredients

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" loaf pan with parchment and grease the sides uncovered in parchment.

Toast the walnuts over medium heat in a skillet until brown and fragrant. Once cooled, chop the walnuts and whisk with the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas. Add in the yogurt and eggs, and stir in the raisins with a wooden spoon. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. I only had 2 bananas, so my batter was a little bit on the thick side. If it looks too thick, add in 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for 3 months.

that little fox tester has been a kitchen staple for as long as i can remember. i have no idea where it came from or why we have it, but it's been stuck in every pan of magic brownies, every white birthday cake before the chocolate frosting, and every quick-bread. i'm convinced that it makes all baked goods better. it's never let me down.

i added a bunch of photos to my flickr pools; check it:

now i have to go through the daunting pile of crap that has accumulated from 3 trips home from college. part of me just wants to throw it all away, but i doubt that would be a good idea. sigh. fun looms ahead, i'm sure.



Kate May 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM  

Thanks so much for giving this a try and adapting it to make it work for you. I was really hoping the bloggers would not skip it all together but instead "make it work" and try something new -- a new way to eat tuna -- and I'm so glad you did. Your tuna salad looks GREAT.

Deeba @Passionate About Baking May 16, 2009 at 12:35 AM  

Love the fox tester & love the banana loaf! mmmmm

Karen Harris May 22, 2009 at 8:41 AM  

I love your blog. My daughter just finished her freshman year at college. Since she'll be cooking on her own next year, culinary class in our kitchen begins this summer. I hope she enjoys it as much as you. Best of luck in your classes and cooking!

Rania May 22, 2009 at 8:37 PM  

Everything looks so delicious!

Kevin June 8, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

Nice looking banana bread! I like the use of the vanilla yogurt.

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