I woke up to a cool, drizzly Sunday morning and decided the best thing to do after having had a fantastic birthday yesterday was to relax today and finally post this recipe on my neglected blog. This spring has been one of the busiest I’ve had in years, rivaling my undergraduate days …only with less exam stress and more long-distance driving. It was great to unwind a bit, have fun with family, and do what I do best: climb and eat! haha
I began the day by grabbing coffee and negotiating crowds at Burlington’s newly-reopened Farmer’s Market with my mom and my brother’s girlfriend. It’s already obvious it will be a busy season for the park: only the second day the market has opened and nearly half the grounds were occupied with white tents and a variety of tables. Food vendors seem to be staking their turf early this year and after drooling over vegan baked goods, Tibetan lunches, African samosas, maple desserts, and a good old-fashioned American grill we nabbed a few grapefruit-sized stuffed dumplings from the Tibetan vendor, plopped ourselves down on the grass, and ate breakfast.
Then, threading our way out of the market and onto the cobbled Church Street strip, we did some celebratory shopping before meeting up with my two brothers for an afternoon of climbing at the gym. The only thing that would make the day more perfect would have been climbing some actual rock, but with record rains this season that wasn’t an option. Still, I was able to stick a previously-failed 5.8+ route, so my muscles are slooowly but surely starting to come back and I’m hoping to regularly climb a respectable 5.9 by summer. I can’t decide what’s harder about returning to a sport you love after years of absence: the actual physical rehabilitation or the mental teasing that comes with what you know how to do but physically can’t anymore.
Finally, to round out a perfect day with a perfect evening, the rest of the family joined us for dinner at Asiana House for some excellent food. We took turns swapping maki rolls for bites of tempura, a slurp of udon, or a spoonful of bibimbap (our favorite dish name of all time). My grandmother’s taste for Asian food has grown over the years since my return from Japan – and multiple birthdays at such restaurants – and she can now add green soba to her list of enjoyable meals. My aunt learned the best way to eat edemame and, while I still have to convince her to use chopsticks, she was the only one to order sashimi so I forgave for her for the fork, haha.
I suppose my real single regret of yesterday was leaving my camera at home. I would have loved to share the photos of both family and food with you, but it says something when an amateur photographer is having so much fun she forgets the camera. It was a great birthday.
Tuna, Artichoke, and Basil Stuffed Potatoes
(from Eating Well‘s April ’11 Edition)
4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 5 – 6 oz. cans of chunk light tuna, drained*
¾ C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
½ C plus 2 T chopped fresh basil, divided
1 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (~ ½ C)
2 scallions, chopped
1 T capers, rinsed (optional)
¼ t salt
½ t freshly ground pepper
¾ C shredded provolone cheese
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
* Note: Please see the Seafood Watch program by Monterey Bay Aquarium for how to buy sustainable tuna. Along with sustainability, you can look here to find cans that are BPA-free. I took Eating Well‘s suggestion and used the brand Wild Planet. Finally, if you may become pregnant, are pregnant, or are feeding young children you should limit your consumption of tuna to 12-oz. a week for light tuna or no more than 6-oz. for albacore tuna due to the risk of mercury contamination. Yellowfin tuna is considered a “light” tuna but has higher mercury levels similar to albacore so please take note. More seafood safety information here.
- Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave on Medium, turning once or twice, until soft – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tuna, yogurt, ½ Cup basil, artichoke, scallions, capers (if using), salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully cut off the top third lengthwise. Scoop out the insides and add to the bowl with the tuna mix. Place the potato shells in a microwave-safe dish. Mash the potato and tuna mixture together with a fork or a potato masher until well blended.
- Evenly divide the tuna filling among the potato shells – they will be very well stuffed. Top with cheese and microwave on High for a few minutes until filling is hot and the cheese has melted. To serve, top each potato with some tomato and a little of the remaining 2 Tablespoons basil. They will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, just reheat thoroughly before serving.
I don’t eat seafood as often as I’d like, but for some reason I find myself posting two seafood recipes in row. My body is probably trying to tell me something… Anyway, these stuffed potatoes are really great. They’re incredibly easy to put together, quick to cook, and very filling! They should please children and adults alike with their mild but flavorful stuffing and adaptability (scratch the capers for bacon, add some chili powder, or do a 3-cheese blend with some diced pickles instead of herbs for tuna-melt twist). Their only weakness is also their strength: they are huge. With a salad as a side, I could only eat half a potato at once. I want to work on a mini-boat version of this recipe using fingerling potatoes for an appetizer spin.
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥