I think we food bloggers could all stand to be a little more transparent on the truth of what our lives are actually like (I mean, we don’t actually eat sweet potato fries out of newspaper cones or take a bite from a cookie and put it back on the cookie sheet like the photos say). I don’t actually eat small portions of salad on fancy rectangular restaurant plates like you see here. That’s just for good blogging decorum. I wouldn’t want you to see the actual tupperware I ate this HUGE salad out of. This little confession is coming from an e-mail exchange I had with another food blogger this week (Little Red Bird Kitchen, check her out!) about food photography. I told her I take 80% of my pictures on the floor because it makes it easier to get even lighting, block out background “noise” and get better shots from high up, and even though no one openly says it, I can’t be the only one to do that. Let’s be honest, you can see the wooden floorboards in more than half of the pictures on foodgawker :) And since I’m in a truth-telling moment, I might as well say it flat out, my meals are not nearly as exciting as this blog might have you thinking. I’m a very routine person when it comes to food. On most days, I will eat exactly the same thing for lunch (omelet, avocado and salad), cook dinner twice or three times a week and eat leftovers on the other days. Most of the recipes you see here are recipes that I’ve tested and made for friends or family, for specific occasions, when I’m on vacation and don’t have much going on, almost always when there are other people around to try the food. You can be sure, if you see a muffin recipe on the blog, it’s because other people ate it and approved it. Recipe testing method.
When I’m by myself, I’m surprisingly demotivated to cook nice meals. So since I’ve been in Peru, I’ve been experiencing food blogger’s “block”, it’s just not the same when there’s no one else around to enjoy it. Initially I thought that now that I’d have an apartment to myself, I’d go all out in the kitchen and take insane pictures without being bothered by anyone (floor pictures… I generally try to do it when people aren’t around… I just get self conscious if someone sees me go all paparazzi on a muffin while crouching on the floor). But most of the fun in cooking is sharing what you make with other people, and living alone has kind of been a downer in the kitchen. I can’t wait to have roommates again, that’ll get my blogging juices flowing. So there you have it, a couple of truths about what really goes on in my kitchen… and on my floor.
So I’ve had a pretty sporty weekend. For the first time, I tried Crossfit on Saturday. I have been taking a functional training class here three times a week, which is already pretty intense. It focuses on the same kinds of movements as Crossfit, but the routine is different, lower in intensity and done over a longer workout time. I’ve been loving it, but it also sparked my curiosity about Crossfit even more and so when the trainer said we could do a test workout on Saturday, I immediately said yes, thinking it would probably be similar to the functional training workouts I had been doing. The gym has a sauna, so I mentally made plans to treat myself to a 30 minute session after the work out in case I’d be a little sore. Well, I wasn’t a little sore. I was completely and utterly annihilated. Blasted. Wrecked. I literally cannot feel my shoulders since yesterday. And then to my despair, I discovered the gym sauna apparently closes on Saturday afternoons, so I had to drag my aching and resentful ass back home without so much of a pick me up. But I really loved the feeling of challenging myself to that high a level of intensity, doing such full body movements, and how short the workout was overall. And then on Sunday I went on a gorgeous hike in a place called Cumbe Mayo, about an hour outside of Cajamarca, 3600m altitude where you can observe incredible natural rock formations and traces of pre-colombian habitats (about 1500 years B.C., way before Incan times). The air was so pure and the natural space so well preserved, with little sheep and goats happily sauntering about in the highlands. I took it all in, I was just so happy. Here are some pictures before getting on to the recipe.
So yes, I began this post by saying how I don’t generally post a lot of “everyday” recipes, but today I’m posting a recipe for just about any and every day, and I’m thrilled about it because it tastes insanely good and is a great way to use leftovers, in this case, leftover broccoli. Not soggy, bland, boiled broccoli. Please. Why make things taste plain when they can be finger-licking cripsy, roasted, garlicky with that slightly burnt taste. I made a big batch of crispy roasted broccoli this weekend, which is my favorite way to eat this ridiculously nutritious vegetable. You can’t go wrong with roasted broccoli. I even had to restrain myself from eating it all because I knew I’d need some calories after the hike and this salad was going to be perfect. It’s packed with protein and omega-3s from the tuna, healthy fats from the avocado, olives and almonds and loaded with greens. You could add a hard-boiled egg to it for extra protein, some colorful veggies, some chopped celery or apple for crunch, whatever you please, but I kept it rather simple, mostly because I was starving and anxious to eat when I made it.
Recipe: Roasted Broccoli Tuna Salad
2-3 cups leftover roasted broccoli (see instructions below), chopped into small florets
1 5 oz. can of tuna, drained (go for tuna canned in water, wild-caught if possible)
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 of an avocado, mashed
1 tbsp dijon mustard
6-8 green olives
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Optional: 1-2 oz. mozzarella or feta cheese, diced
1. To make the roasted broccoli, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Chop broccoli into medium sized florets and wash well in a colander. Pat completely dry with paper towels and transfer to a roasting dish large enough to hold all the florets at the same level. Add two tablespoons of olive oil or your fat of choice, salt, fresh cracked pepper and 1-2 teaspoons of dried garlic. Toss with your hands to coat, making sure the oil and seasonings are evenly distributed. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes depending on the level of crispiness you wish. Stir the broccoli around halfway through cooking. You want the tips of the florets brown, crispy and slightly sticking to the bottom of the dish but not burnt so watch it carefully towards the end. To store as leftovers, let cool at room temperature, transfer to an airtight sealed container and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
2. Drain the tuna from water and crumble it with a fork in a bowl. Combine with the dijon mustard and mashed avocado and season with a pinch of salt.
3. Take your leftover broccoli and cut into smaller sized florets or chop coarsely into pieces. Sauté in a pan for 2-3 minutes without any added fat to give it extra crispiness. Add cheese (if using) toward the end and let it slightly melt in the pan over the broccoli. Remove from heat and combine with the tuna.
4. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to the broccoli and tuna, along with the olives and almonds. Add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and cracked pepper and stir to combine. Serve.
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