Tag Archives: sunday dinner

Sunday Dinner: Sicilian Tuna with Marinated Fennel

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The only thing that lingers around The Wife’s family more than my family is Catholic Guilt. It strikes The Wife during the midway point of Lent, after multiple Friday dinners of burgers and another year without attending Ash Wednesday mass. To calm this, she will bring tuna salad for lunch on Fridays. She takes a can of tuna, mixes it with just enough mayonnaise to dirty a spoon, and eats it with crackers.

That’s a rather pedestrian blend for me. My go-to tuna salad mixes chopped black olives, chopped dill pickle, a little minced garlic, dill, salt, pepper, celery, red onion and enough mayo to bind everything. Slap that on a heel of Italian bread, crush some potato chips on it and we’re talking mana right there.

I was going to make that for dinner tonight, but decided to try something different. A few weeks ago, I run across a Sicilian tuna salad recipe in one of Tom Colicchio’s Wichcraft cookbooks. I decided that I wanted to use his recipe as the base of a sandwich but without the lemon confit, lemon mayo and, well, lemon. This was because, well, I forgot to buy lemons and lemon juice today. I’m terrible.

2014-08-24 at 17-09-47WHAT WORKED: Tuna in water. One might think that since we’re mixing tuna with oil that we should use tuna packed in oil. One would be wrong. You want to control the quality and quantity of oil that you are using here, so go with the stuff packed in water, drain it well, and go to town. I used an artisan hojiblanca olive oil from The Filling Station in NYC, which has a very herbal, grassy flavor that complements the rest of this sandwich. My point is that you should control the flavor here, not the tuna company.

WHAT DIDN’T: Lemons would have been nice, but I made up for the acid with red and white wine vinegar.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “I like this more than I thought I would.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: I think we have a new tuna variation to work into the rotation.

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Sicilian Tuna with Marinated Fennel
Inspired by ‘wichcraft: Craft a Sandwich into a Meal by Tom Colicchio

  • medium fennel bulb
  • 3-4 thin slices of red onion
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2-6 oz. cans solid white albacore tuna in water
  • 3 oz. cured Greek olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • loaf of Italian or crusty French bread

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Pick the fronds off the fennel bulb and reserve. Slice the stem off the bottom and, with a sharp knife or mandoline, thinly slice the bulb. Combine the fennel slices, fronds and red onion in a medium bowl and mix together with your hands. Drizzle 2 tbsp. of olive oil and white wine vinegar over the top, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Set aside for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

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Drain the packing water from your tuna and add to a mixing bowl with the olives. Add the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss thoroughly. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

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Slice your loaf of bread lengthwise and tear out some of the bread from each side. Add the tuna to the bottom of the loaf, followed by the marinated fennel. Place the top of the bread on the loaf and cut into the desired portions.

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Sunday Dinner: Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon

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My hypothesis was simple. A pizza shell would work better for grilling than dough because it would be less brittle or prone to tears.

I was incorrect.

The first thing the shell did when I put it on the grill was break nearly in half. The shell was rather thick and dried out much quicker than fresh dough. Worse, it pitched a tent, going convex on me and letting the toppings roll off onto the grill surface.

Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon

Sunday dinner: Grilled pizza II (pulled pork edition)

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The first grilled pizza had a problem. It was too thin and ended up with a char covering about 70 percent of the bottom. It stands to reason that more dough would provide a thicker base and absorb the heat better. Right? Right?

Well, sort of.

The first pizza was made on dough from Columbus Bakery and weighed in at 16 oz. Today, I went for the Wegmans dough that tips the scale at 28 oz. I thought about peeling some off and going for a 20 to 22 oz. pizza, but laziness and exhaustion from the chest cold combined with the unanswered question of what to do with the leftover dough got in my way. Continue reading Sunday dinner: Grilled pizza II (pulled pork edition)

Mother’s Day dinner: Lasagna bolognese

NOTE: We’re going with a replay for Mother’s Day. I opted out of the bechamel, but made this over two days to give the sauce more time to breath. It…well, it was pretty damn good.

The Wife had a two-stage proposition facing her.

First, she had to decided whether she wanted me to cook or if she wanted takeout. She chose the former. Second, she had to choose from a list of possibilities on my Pinterest wall of such things. She chose the lasagna. Intriguing.

When I think of lasagna, I don’t think of how awesome aunt Janice’s lasagna is/was. I don’t think about the time it takes to make. I don’t even think about the greatest restaurant lasagna in the world (Chef’s on Seneca and Michigan in Buffalo). No. I think about the single worst lasagna I have ever encountered. And I did it in the name of friendship.

Continue reading Mother’s Day dinner: Lasagna bolognese

Sunday dinner: Chicken parm paninis

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No big story here. I wanted something quick and dirty for my first dinner home.

WHAT WORKED: Not making my own chicken tenders. Not from a lack of want, but simply a matter of convenience. For something like this, frozen all white meat chicken tenders or filets work perfectly.

WHAT DIDN’T: I left it on the grill a hair too long and the sauce spilled on the grill plate, taking a little extra time to clean.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Not much. She wanted to hear about my trip and didn’t say much.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely. Continue reading Sunday dinner: Chicken parm paninis

Sunday dinner: Chicken pesto panini

2013-01-20 at 18-09-23We’ve talked extensively about my big Christmas present/kitchen addition, better known as the ice cream maker. Hell, I have an entire category devoted to it now. That said, it was not the only new item in the kitchen arsenal. I am now the owner of a 1,500-watt Breville panini maker, courtesy of my father and stepmother. It’s a handy little thing. I specifically chose this one because it could fit two sandwiches side-by-side, and it had the best Amazon.com reviews in terms of cleanup.

It took some getting used to. For instance, I was buttering the bread at first, but found that the sandwiches would transform into greasy messes. I’ve since switched to flavored olive oils. It works much better. Continue reading Sunday dinner: Chicken pesto panini

Sunday dinner: Garlic pot roast

IMG_0959“I’m feeling something pot roasty for dinner.” I was making the grocery list as The Wife supervised breakfast for The Kid and musing about the evening’s potential dinner candidates.

“So what are going to make?” She walked right into it.

“Uhhhh. A pot roast?”

She says that we should talk more, but she usually ends up in this spot. This is not new. I’ve been pulling this crap for the 26 years we’ve been together (okay, so it’s more like 17…who’s counting?). Continue reading Sunday dinner: Garlic pot roast

Sunday dinner: Turkey empanadas

Remember that Thanksgiving turkey? You know, the five-hour turkey? There was certainly no reason to let it go to waste, but I couldn’t stand to reheat and eat it. I was a little out on the idea of turkey sandwiches, as we had just done that earlier in the week (I made a turkey, in less than five hours, last Sunday. We turned it into sandwiches on Tuesday.).

The turkey empanada idea is not original. I picked it up from an issue of Bon Appetit, though their version uses puff pastry for the crust. I don’t have patience for that, so I went for the real deal. Apparently, empanada discs are a hot item at Wegmans Fairmount, because all of the plain variety were gone and I was left with the last package of discos con achiote. The flavor from the annatto seed was negligible at best.

Continue reading Sunday dinner: Turkey empanadas