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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marsbound by Joe Haldeman

MarsboundMarsbound by Joe Haldeman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was June's book group selection.

From  A novel of the red planet from the Hugo and Nebula Award �winning author of The Accidental Time Machine and Old Twentieth. Young Carmen Dula and her family are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, �they'�re going to Mars. Once on the Red Planet, however, Carmen realizes things are not so different from Earth. There are chores to do, lessons to learn, and oppressive authority figures to rebel against. And when she ventures out into the bleak Mars landscape alone one night, a simple accident leads her to the edge of death until she is saved by an angel�an angel with too many arms and legs, a head that looks like a potato gone bad, and a message for the newly arrived human inhabitants of Mars: We were here first.

What started out as an interesting premise: families winning lotteries and going to Mars colony; went somewhat flat in the middle with aliens that understood Earth language culture from monitoring our radio and TV signals. Toss in a teen coming of age romance and a story told from a young woman's point of view and I kinda soured on the book. It was a bit to reminiscent of Zoe's Tale by Scalzi, even though the stories are nothing alike.

For an author who usually has a nice blend of complexity and human interest, who can weave a story that pulls me along, this one was overly simplistic and had too many implausibilities for my taste.

Not my favorite Haldeman and I doubt I'll read the rest in the series.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Recipe Review from 6/18/2012

Not so many new recipes this week as I had anticipated.  It was a bit of a freezer reduction week, using up a pork shoulder roast (BBQ sandwiches), Lake Trout (grilled), four leftover chicken thighs (grilled), and some sweet venison brats (simmered and grilled) that a co-worker made and passed a couple on to us.  Must remember to send him a note to say thanks! They were really good.  

And then there was the Flood on Wednesday.  11" of rain in 24 hours.  Give me a blizzard any day.  Our basement is still dampish, but it's unfinished (house was built in the 1940's and the cement floor came much, much later) so the Husband just had to move all his military crap out of the way. 

However, as usual, I digress. The recipes I'm posting and linking to below are worth checking out!  Very simple, tasty, and nutritious sides.  Or in the case of one, a nice change of pace for breakfast.  I'm keeping these (and the others found on the link) in my rotation! 

Easy Quinoa Recipes for 250 Calories   from Cooking Light, July 2012

Still not sure about this little gem of a grain?  Check out this link:  The Worlds Healthiest Foods

You can generally find Quinoa at your local co-op, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joes, and in your markets "Natural" section if they have one.  Just follow the cooking directions on the package.  I made up a batch one morning and had enough for both of these recipes. 

Rise and Shine
photo by
Start with 2/3 cup  cooked quinoa and then add your favorite combos:

1/4 cup fresh blueberries + 1 tablespoon chopped toasted walnuts + 2 teaspoons brown sugar + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

My notes - I served this warm.  A dollup of yogurt would also be a tasty addition.

photo by
The Nutty Moroccan
Start with 2/3 cup  cooked quinoa and then add your favorite combos:

3 tablespoons cooked chickpeas + 1/4 cup grated fresh carrot + 2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts + 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cold Cash War by Robert Asprin

Cold Cash WarCold Cash War by Robert Lynn Asprin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From International conglomerates plot a complete domination of the free world, facing off against world governments, who want only freedom, in a calculated and vicious battle of wits and blood.

My notes said I read this about 2008, but had no recollection of doing so, so I read it again. It's an interesting take on war between corporations and governments with the use of mercenary fighters and the covert buying and selling of information and technology on a global level. Toss in a little 1980's communism and it's an interesting enough read for a lazy afternoon, hanging out in an airport or for a beach read.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Flood of 2012

Got a boat?

Duluth is experiencing a wee bit of flooding today due to 8" of rain in 24 hours.  Major and minor highways and road of all kinds  are being shut down.  Mayor Ness had declared a State of Emergency.   We have sinkholes, washouts, mudslides, creeks, streams, ditches overflowing.  Our aging infrastructure is greatly suffering today. 

I wish I had some before pics so you could really get a good idea how bad it is, but here are a couple of pictures I pulled from the Northland News Center website:  Northland News   (more pics there)

Krenzen Auto dealership.  Those little bumps are  cars...
(I did not take this pic.)

The Miller Hill Mall area.  I didn't take this picture, but I was here about
the time it was taken.  Yes, stupid me driving into work... 

Usually the Miller Creek, which is the source of this plethora of water, is about the size of a large drainage ditch.  It's actually a protected trout stream.  But where else is 8" of water supposed to go?  

It's about 12:00pm on Wednesday, and it's still raining.  Water will continue to rise for the next couple of days, so we're not out of the woods yet. 

This is a massive flood event that Duluth hasn't witnessed since the early 1970's, and I can safely say that nearly 50% of the businesses in the pictures above didn't exist then. 

A picture of what is left of the suspension bridge at Jay Cook St. Park
(from the Husbands FB page)

Give me a blizzard any day, don't like this flooding at all.  Very scary stuff.

Embassytown by China Mieville

EmbassytownEmbassytown by China Miéville

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #3 for the 2012 Hugo Nominee in the Novel category. After a rough start to this book in which I kept falling asleep - not the books fault! I was exhausted - I was finally able to get into the story and buzzed through it in a week.

From  China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.

In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.

This is a blending of the strange world Mieville created with The Scar, Perdido St. Station and Iron Horse and with last book The City and The City ("It's not a secret, it's not a thought." pg 168. echoing the concept of 'unseeing'). I found Embassytown absolutely fascinating. I know others are completely bouncing off of it.

This is a book about Language and understanding Language. Yes, with a capitol letter. A Language that can only be heard if something sentient speaks it, to be repeated through mass media has no meaning or context and is a garble of noise. A society that cannot lie, but understands the meaning of lies. A Language that when spoken by the right humans, is a drug more addictive than any thing that can be taken physically. And it's a story about language (yes, with a small 'L') and how stupid and ignorant people can be. It's about miscommunication, real communication, and trying to understand what is being said.

I hit a couple of minor issues: with all the world building that Mieville does, and in this book he moves into the larger universe with a wonderful set of aliens and technology or bio-ology, a couple of archaic and mundane items jumped out at me: a formal event with all the glam that Mievlle brings to his societies and he had a main character of the moment in a tux with a white rose. That kinda threw me. And we have a peoples far far removed from Terra Firma (they don't even know where Earth is anymore) and yet they were using "Christ!" and "Jesus!" as swear words. A bit anachronistic perhaps? Granted, the author did add on pharotekton, as in "Christ Pharotekton!" but it felt as if it was just that, an add on.

I thought this story was brilliant. I can't say that you will come to the same conclusion. It's one of "those" books that people either love or truly despise.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Recipe Review from 6/11/12

Garden is in! 
Coming up:  corn, beans, winter squash (second planting), peas, dried beans, and basil. 

Not coming up: winter squash, summer squash, two parsley varieties, and chives. 

I only planted cherry tomatoes this year.  Regular ones just don't seem to ripen before first frost, even when I'm buying larger plants.  I can get decent tomatoes from the farmers market if I really have a hankering. 

The weekend had a quick trip to Menominee to visit K2, Nephew 1 and her Husband before they make the big move to Madison, WI. Weather was absolutely georgeous, if you don't mind frequent and torrential downpours. Which we didn't. Took in some of the Nature Valley Grand Prix bike races, a little shopping, and a visit to a pottery place. Was still home in time to get the car washed, grocery shop, mow the lawn, putter in the garden and finish off the laundry.

A couple of good recipes this week:

Ziti with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese
Temps are hitting a very pleasant 80*+ up here now so it's going to be lighter dishes for a while.  This was a result of wanting to use up a box of pasta (pantry reduction!) and have a meatless dish. Toss in some goat cheese and I'm a very happy person.   I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to this because the flavors of the dish demanded it.  Very nice for a weekend lunch or supper. 

I made this pretty much as written, decreasing the onion, subbing rotini pasta for ziti (had it in the pantry), grilling the portobella, and adding a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end.

Recipe By: Food and Wine
Serving Size: 4

Meaty mushrooms are enhanced by sweet caramelized onions and just enough tangy melted goat cheese in this delicious year-round pasta.

2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, chopped  (1 to 1 1/2 onion) 
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 lb. portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 lbs. ziti
3 ounces soft goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

In a large frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from the pan.

In the same pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and brown, about 8 minutes. Add the reserved onions, the parsley, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the ziti until just done, about 13 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water and drain. Toss the ziti and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water with the mushroom mixture, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the goat cheese, and the Parmesan. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Chipolte Mayo
Friend Tess sent me the link to this recipe and it just screamed "make me! make me!".  So I did.  This is a make ahead dish!  Recommended to make the night before or early in the day so the patties will have time to freeze.  Which I should have done, but didn't, so mine only froze for about two hours.  These turned out to be some of the best bean veggie burgers I've had in a long time.  So glad a made a double batch!

Warning on the Chipolte Mayo - ours ended up flamin' hot.  I'm talking eyes watering, waving the hands around, do a little dance on your seat, hot.  I had took into account that chipolte's can be...warm, and even removed the seeds before dicing, but Yawowza!  Hot hot hot! 

For the Spicy Chipotle Mayo:
  • 3 1/2 tbsp light mayonnaise (Hellman's)
  • 1 tbsp canned chipotle in adobo sauce  (try 1 tsp...)

For the Black Bean Burgers:
  • 16 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jumbo egg
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (use gf oats for gluten free)
  • 4 whole wheat 100 calorie buns (Martin's)*
  • 1 small hass avocado, sliced thin
1) Combine mayonnaise and chipotle, set aside

2) Dry the beans well after washing, extra moisture keep the burgers from sticking. In a medium bowl, mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

3) In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, cilantro, onion, and garlic, then add oats, then eggs and spices. Then stir into mashed beans.

4) Divide mixture into four patties (using slightly oiled hands helps; K notes - I used my 1" cookie/meatball scoop) and place them onto a flat surface covered with wax paper. (If it's too wet, chill the mixture 30 minutes in the refrigerator or add another tablespoon of oats)

5) Freeze at least 2 hours before cooking or keep frozen until ready to cook.

6) Heat a lightly sprayed skillet to medium heat and cook frozen burgers about 7 minutes on each side.   If grilling, preheat grill over medium heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil; grill 7-8 minutes on each side or you can bake in the oven at 375° on a lightly oiled baking sheet

Friday, June 15, 2012

Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexsander McCall Smith

The Miracle at Speedy MotorsThe Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From In the latest installment  Mma Ramotswe discovers the biggest miracles in life are often the smallest.Under the endless skies of Botswana, there is always something Mma Ramotswe can do to help someone and here she finds herself assisting a woman looking for her family. The problem is the woman doesn't know her real name or whether any of her family members are still alive. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi is the recipient of a beautiful new bed that causes more than a few sleepless nights. And, at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has come under the influence of a doctor promising a miracle cure for his daughter's medical condition, which Mma Ramotswe finds hard to accept. Nonetheless, Precious Ramotswe handles these things in her usual compassionate and good-natured way, while always finding time for a cup of red bush tea.

In this 9th installment of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, we have Mma Ramotswe contemplating life and happiness more so than engaging in her usual sleuthing. For Mma Makutsi, happiness is a new bed. For Mr JLB Matekoni happiness is seeing if their foster daughter might walk again. For Charlie, a good looking woman. For Precious, it is the logical order of the world, a place of green vegetation and fat cattle in a Botswana that doesn't have to lock their doors. The reality is people who lie, doors that are locked, and broken hopes.

I enjoy this series for the simplicity and the setting. I love reading about life in Africa, the little nuances and mannerisms like calling ko! ko! before coming into someones yard, of a "proper" handshake and catching termites after a rainfall. I didn't feel this book was as strongly written as previous editions, again, more thinking and tea drinking, less detective work, it made for a pleasant afternoon on a sunny porch.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bimbo's of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb

Bimbos of the Death Sun (Jay Omega, #1)Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From  For one fateful weekend, the annual science fiction and fantasy convention, Rubicon, has all but taken over a usually ordinary hotel. Now the halls are alive with Trekkies, tech nerds, and fantasy gamers in their Viking finery *all of them eager to hail their hero, bestselling fantasy author Appin Dungannon: a diminutive despot whose towering ego more than compensates for his 5' 1" height . . . and whose gleeful disdain for his fawning fans is legendary.

Hurling insults and furniture with equal abandon, the terrible, tiny author proceeds to alienate ersatz aliens and make-believe warriors at warp speed. But somewhere between the costume contest and the exhibition Dungeons & Dragons game, Dungannon gets done in. While die-hard fans of Dungannon's seemingly endless sword-and-sorcery series wonder how they'll go on and hucksters wonder how much they can get for the dead man's autograph, a hapless cop wonders, Who would want to kill Appin Dungannon? But the real question, as the harried convention organizers know, is Who wouldn't?
 A light, fun, and entertaining murder mystery set at a fantasy convention that melded both genres quite nicely. Definitely not a "serious" read. Having been to scifi conventions, I could totally picture the setting and the cast of characters. If you haven't had the experience of a scifi or fantasy convention, it's pretty much like the book. The tongue in cheek references, character portrayals, activities, hucksters room were pretty spot on. Now this was written when computers were just starting to go mainstream, so the book is dated a bit technology wise, but not a detraction in my opinion.

If you need a book for vacation, a plane ride, or have some waiting ahead of you, this would be a great pick. Read and be entertained.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Recipe Review from 6/4/12

A rather uneventful week that ended with a Duluth Huskies baseball game.  Was a perfect evening temperature wise until the wind shifted and suddenly what was comfortable became down right cold.  (Living next to Lake Superior you get used to it).  Huskies were ahead by 8 runs at the bottom of the seventh inning, it was after nine,  a good a time as any to head home. 

Summer always brings a decrease in the number of new recipes as we grill more and rely on green salads.  This was for lunch: 

Greek Couscous  (Ckng Lght Bulletin Board)
Easy to prepare.  I noted my changes on the ingredient list, which, in hindsight, are quite a few.  Made 6-7 servings so we ran short of lunches toward the end of the week.  I enjoyed the flavor of this dish, it was light on "dressing" which I prefer, bright and flavorful, perfect for pack-n-go.  I had this with fresh fruit as a side, but some crackers would be good too.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked couscous  (I used Israeli couscous and followed cooking directions on pkg) 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes   (I used cherry tomatoes because they don't make things so soggy)
1 cup diced peeled cucumber    (I used  zucchini; not wild about cucumber. Doesn't make salad as soggy either)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup small ripe olives, halved
3 tablespoons diced red onion   (skipped; for lunches - no reason to offend co-workers with after lunch onion breath)
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/4 cup water    (really? 1/4 water? Are we trying to drown this recipe in blandness? I used 1/4 cup red wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons lemon juice  (omitted because I used vinegar)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in couscous and oregano.  Cook Israeli couscous according to direction on pkg.  Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork [AND LET COOL].   Combine couscous, tomatoes, and next 5 ingredients (tomatoes through chickpeas) in a bowl; set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup water [vinegar] and remaining ingredients; stir well with a whisk. Pour dressing over couscous mixture, tossing gently to coat.

Cooking Light, JULY 1997

Friday, June 8, 2012

Among Others by Jo Walton

Among OthersAmong Others by Jo Walton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This won the 2011 Nebula Award for novel category.

This is nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award.

I enjoyed this selection. It had wit, it was charming, it was engrossing, I enjoyed the 'memoir style and I'm *not* a dairy type person. The main character wasn't perfect - she was full of doubt, she struggled with "maths", she could be arrogant and conceited, but yet, stood firm in her beliefs. It didn’t feel like this was a ‘coming of age’ book, this young gal ‘came of age’ before the book even began, but adding in the teen angst of not fitting in, I think those of us who read scifi and fantasy growing up know the feeling and could relate to her character.

Science fiction, no. Fantasy, more so. But the reference to all those early science fiction books was nicely done. I did question more than once her ability to read that much, but I have to recall that when I was a teenager, that was all I did and I could read three, four books a week (this was when the 500pg tomes were starting to hit the shelves). However, I didn't find the weekly book group realistic with the number of books they were reading in addition to everything else she was reading.

Recommended if you like memoir style writing, light fantasy and frequent references to past science fiction.

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So, Among Others is the opposite end of the scifi spectrum from Leviathan Wakes so I'm not sure it’s fair or possible to compare the two. 
The 2012 Hugo Nominees
Leviathan Wakes    by James SA Corey   (click to see review)
Among Others       by Jo Walton
Deadline                 by Mira Grant
Embassytown       by China Mieville
Dance with Dragons   by GRR Martin

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Science of Yoga by William J. Broad

The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the RewardsThe Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards by William J. Broad

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gail's  (Disorganized As Usual) review here.

This book hit the yoga community much like a tornado does Oklahoma. Hard, unrepentant, and unforgiving. At the time of its publication, it was accompanied by an article - also written by the author - that fanned the flames of discontent in the yoga community. It basically said, yoga can cause injuries and nobody should do yoga. Oh my, in a group that supposedly teaches acceptance, the pitchforks and torches were being brandished.

But really, what activity doesn’t cause injury? I couldn’t think of a single one, and that was including Tai Chi. This was a book demanding to be read.

And I’m glad I did! I think the author did a methodical and meticulous job of researching yoga from a purely scientific standpoint, where current beliefs came from, and debunking quite a few of the yoga myths that seem to be perpetually cropping up. This is a book that will challenge how you look at yoga AND make you question what you are being told. It strongly illustrates that this isn’t the first time yoga has been looked at from a scientific side.

Mr. Broad breaks the book down into its components:
Prologue (History of Yoga pre-1900 and Krishnamacharya)
Fit Perfection
Risk of Injury
Divine Sex (oh yeah, baby! as Austin Powers would say)

I think the biggest yoga myth he kept finding scientific evidence to the contrary, is the belief that yogic breathing practices (known as pranayama) infuse the brain and body with oxygen. Medical studies have proven over and over just the opposite. Pranayama does not increase oxygen in the body. It increases Carbon Dioxide. You’ll have to read the book to find you why.

The next big myth debunked was yoga will increase your metabolism. Oh heaven’s, I see this one splashed across popular media, women’s health magazines, on supposedly reputable yoga literature; the “Get thin now by doing these five poses!” I could go on but the book does a better job than I. Simply put, over time yoga decreases your metabolism. The act of yoga is one of calming. A calm person does not need to eat more. They eat more mindfully. They eat less. But what about those CorePower classes? The high intensity Ashtanga? The Power Yoga's? Read the book and it will be explained.

The chapter on Moods was probably the most positive chapter in the book, science showing that a regular practice can have a positive effect on people who suffer from depression.

The chapter on Risk of Injury was spot on. People try and push themselves into postures that are not appropriate for their body, their fitness level, or their joints and they injure themselves. They are trying to emulate some Idea of Fit Perfection pushed at us from any given piece of printed media. You know what? 95% of the population does not have a dancers or a models or a gymnasts body. We live very sedentary lives on one end of the spectrum and on the other are the tri-athletes who have their own sets of issues. Further, studios are cranking out instructors by the dozens, often in 8 week or 12 week or 6 month programs that follow some nebulous framework as designated by a corporate entity. How much anatomy experience does that person really come away with? ‘Nuff said.

I think I’ve given enough of an overview. The last three chapters were just as good and I’ll let you read them and draw your own conclusions.

If you practice yoga, have practiced yoga, or are thinking of practicing yoga, you should read this book.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Recipe Review from 5/28/12

A short week (because of Memorial Day Monday) leapt right into a busy but fun weekend.  On Saturday we joined about 45 other people for National Trail Day with the Superior Hiking Trail organization and hiked 9 miles of newly built trail just north of Duluth.  So very nice not to have to leave at 7am for a two hour drive and 4 hours of hiking!   After the usual organization speech, we shuttled to our start point and were on our way by 10:40am.  This is a woodsy walk with minimal to no views of Lake Superior.  I found it to be delightful with gently rolling topography that went though various timber management and plantations, by flooded beaver ponds and the Sucker River, and followed a oak and red maple ridge for a goodly portion.  We were off the trail by 2:45p, my Folks came along a half hour later, and dinner was at our favorite post-hike restaurant, the Rustic Inn (for the pie, people, for the pie...).

Sunday was spent in the garden.  After 4" of rain the previous week, we could finally work the beds again.  Doesn't look like we lost any seedlings from the deluge.  Weeding, tilling, replacing frames,  planting, and mowing the lawn made for a nice but work-intensive day. 

Just one new recipe from last week.  An easy one that made three suppers for us.  Always nice to have supper made and waiting during the summer!

Penne and Tuna Salad  (Ckng Lght Bulletin Board, orig source unknown)
This was super fast to assemble, made enough for three dinners, and the lemon flavors are a great change from the usual mayo-pasta salad.  A bit of seasoned salt really made all the flavors pop.

6 ounces penne pasta  (I used medium shells)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves or more, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped (Italian) parsley
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved and drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved OR 8 slightly larger tomatoes, quartered2 (6-ounce) cans good quality albacore white tuna in water, well drained and flaked  (I used two 6 oz packets of the vacuum sealed tuna.  Just tastes better.)3 T olive oil (extra virgin olive oil if possible) -- divided use
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

Grate lemon rind so zest measures 1 tablespoon.
Squeeze half a lemon to yield 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.
Boil penne according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking:
In a large bowl toss together zest, juice, basil, parsley, olives, tomatoes and tuna.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and lots of ground black pepper; mix well.

When pasta is done, drain very well and add to salad together with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a good pinch kosher salt (or a little less regular salt); mix well.

Serve salad right away or refrigerate and serve next day.

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