Spring is here and I’m read to grab the sunshine with both hands and run around like a crazy person. At the same time, it’s April in Vancouver and that means rain. Lately, it means rain-rain-rain-sun-sun-rain, often in the same day. Wacky weather rules and I’m trying to go along with the flow. Last week we went to Ikea and bought a couple of chaise lounges and yesterday we bought some reed fencing for our balcony. All of this is in the hopes of making our tiny slice of outdoor space more comfortable for the summer. I’m thinking about carnival lights after loving how many homes in New Orleans were all decked out in pretty lights. And since we face north, an outdoor heater is probably also in the works too. I recently spent some time getting rid of all the brown, dead plants and cried small tears over the clematis that effectively drowned (oops – forgot to drill out holes in my outdoor plant pot!) At the same time I was excited to see all the perennials come up green and bright, many with flowers in full bloom too! Oh gardening, you are a tricky beast and I fear I’ll always be on the outside looking in. Spring you are amazing anyway.
And so is this salad, which is more than a plain ol’ salad. It’s filling and bulky and it tastes amazing. When I first made it, I knew it would be a keeper. After every bite I’d exclaim to Cornelius, “wow, this is so good. Isn’t it so good?”. And it is! It is soooo good.
Bright with lemon and kale and you can use brown rice like I did or leave it out. I use the fancy Italian tuna packed with oil, but I’m curious how this would work with plain ol’ water-packed tuna. If you do give it a try, please let me know! It keeps well the next day for a leftover lunch. And it’s fancy enough to serve for a casual supper or lunch with a good friend and some cold white riesling or a bitter ale.
Another sign of spring is the Got Craft? spring show on May 10 + 11th. I illlustrated & designed the cute postcard above! It’s at the Maritime Labour Hall in East Van which is nearby to some of this cities best craft nano breweries and restaurants. If you’re in town, please come by! I’ve got some super cute mother’s day & father’s day cards along with some new spring prints. It’s a great show and I’d love to meet you :)
lemony tuna salad with kale, chickpeas & brown rice
This is such a good weeknight salad. It’s full of goodness and health and so full of flavour, it’s a keeper. I like combined with brown rice for added bulk, but you can choose to leave it out. When my garden starts producing I think a good handful of fresh parsley or dill would be a wonderful addition.
1/2 c brown rice (I love brown basmati)
1 bunch of kale (aka a big handful), washed & finely chopped with tough stems removed
1 can of Italian tuna in oil (don’t drain!)
1 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
2-3 green onions, diced
1 lemon + it’s zest
2 T olive oil
1 T whole grain or dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 t aleppo pepper
kosher salt + pepper
Prepare rice in your usual way, if using. Set aside.
With the kale you have a couple options – I’ve tried them both and they’re equally delicious. First option, is to pour the kale in a large bowl and man-handle it for a few minutes (aka give it a massage) with a touch of oil & salt so that it’s easier to eat. The other option is to sauté it in a little oil (maybe add in some garlic and a sprinkle of salt) and let it cook down for a minute or two until it’s dark green and shiny. Your call!
In a large serving bowl, add the tuna and it’s oil and smash with a fork to break up the fish. Add in the chickpeas along with the prepared kale, green onions, lemon zest and give everything a toss. If you plan on using the brown rice, go ahead and stir it in right now.
Make a dressing in a small jar by shaking the remaining ingredients (olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, aleppo pepper) and adding salt & pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and toss well. Serve immediately. Good warm or cold.