|Salmon salad as I run out of tuna... :)|
In 2001, when I just moved from New York to Seattle, I was desperate for any job, and when the opportunity to work in the renovated food court of University of Washington came, I was on board the very next week. I was a prep cook before we would open, and then I served the food to a thousands of hungry students in exchange of their cash.
If you ask me which part I liked better, I couldn't tell you as both experiences were joyful. I loved watching our chefs at work (there was an Italian section called At Home, where all meals were prepared from scratch every morning), from whom I've learned some tips and tricks around the kitchen, including my knife skills.
I also loved the atmosphere during serving time: cheerful, bright, and smart.
Few years later, when my language skills improved and I got all my educational papers translated and in order, I left the HUB (that's how we called our food court) to pursue my career goal at other job. But the sentimental feeling of my years in the crazy yet delicious and fascinating student environment never left me.
I started with a simple tasks in the kitchen, and with my skills improving, responsibilities grew. My proud moment was when I was asked to make a tuna salad, following the recipe. I did it one morning, then the next, then morning after that. Then I decided to play with the recipe, just a tiny bit (nothing can hurt a tuna salad, right?)
On our huge spice/herb rack I found a jar with rarely used dry dill. It took me a second to think of my tuna salad. I felt like a kid who just found a jar of candies: my eyes were shiny, my face was stamped with a big happy smile. The basic recipe for tuna salad had just a few ingredients: tuna, celery, pickles, red onions, black pepper, and mayonnaise. I added dry dill, and reduced amount of mayo (to me the salad didn't look pretty, swimming in all that mayo). Customers loved it, and it came to the point when I had to double the amount of salad for the day.
That's when the Chef came in with the recipe check. Oh, no! Busted! I was standing in the corner, head down, making myself as invisible as possible. Zillion excuses run through my head before he started to talk to me.
He was standing there, smiling: "Let me try the best tuna salad everyone is talking about", he said.
What? Did I hear it right, "the best tuna salad"? "Everyone is talking about"? I knew it was popular because we sold more and more of it, but the best?! and to hear it from the Chef? I was so proud, I was so happy! it was my little victory and one of the best awards.
I told the chef what I did to the original recipe. He approved it with a smile. Then he asked me if I want to learn how to make pastry, but for this I would have to come to work two hours earlier in the morning. Who could refuse such offer? Not me... The very next morning I came to work two hours earlier, to make pastry, then to continue later with my tuna salad.
|Pickled watermelon rind (recipe in the next post)|
250 gr canned tuna (or salmon )
100 gr diced pickles (experiment with pickled watermelon rind)
1-2 tablespoon dry dill (it has more aroma)
1-2 tablespoon Vegenaise
2 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In large bowl combine all ingredients, and you don't have to measure exactly (can of tuna, 2-3 pickles), taste to adjust seasoning. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours and eat!
|Cheese muffins (come back for the recipe!)|