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Cooking With Myra: Tuna Nicoise Salad great summer meal

Sept. 6, 2010 at 4:06 a.m.
Updated Sept. 7, 2010 at 4:07 a.m.

Tuna Nicoise Salad

By Myra Starkey

With looming Labor Day holiday deadlines, I racked my brain for a recipe.

Ordinarily the pace of our week is frenzied with work and all the other activities of maintaining our empty nest.

We were busy when we had our kids here, and we have remained busy with them gone.

It is holidays, such as this, when we can all get together and catch up and catch our breath and just relax. It is just the quick formalities of "How is school?" "Fine." And in return, "How is work going?" "Fine." And then we can just proceed with plans for meals, between meal activities and more meals.

It is sort of funny that people often ask me how Taylor and I stay so slim because they assume that I must be preparing magnificent meals every night.

First, let me admit that I appreciate their thought that I am slim. The truth is that no one would stay thin if they frequently consumed the plentiful bounty for supper.

In reality, we often eat only cereal for our evening meal since the kids are gone. We are both tired after work, not all that hungry and a bowl of cereal is plenty. And after a long day, it is nice to not have to clean up the kitchen mess that the preparation of a full meal creates.

This light evening meal only is going to be adequate if you have eaten a good breakfast and lunch. Otherwise you will likely be starving by night fall. I am not saying that we always have cereal for supper. In fact, just last night we went to the movies, so we shared lightly buttered popcorn for our meal.

When we have guests over, I never serve cereal. I bet that would surprise them if I did. "Would you like Kashi Go-Lean Toasted Berry Crumble, Fiber One Honey Clusters or Raisin Bran? And for dessert, you'll have a choice between Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops."

When I do choose to cook after work, I am always looking for easy meals to put together.

Since the temperature outside resembles an oven ready for bread baking, I am usually craving something cool, like a summer salad. I came across an old favorite and thought I would share it with you. The salad is fancy enough for company, but requires only a last-minute grilling of the tuna. All the other ingredients are readily available or can be prepared ahead.

I am also including my Focaccia recipe since it is frequently requested by friends. The smell of this bread baking is divine.

Pair the salad with this bread and you'll have a summer feast fit for a king.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail myra@vicad.com.

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