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tuna tomato salad
        How's your summer going?? A HEAT WAVE has settled over Woodstock, melting everything in its path, including me. (You may notice alot of my home state referenced here. Refineries are notable, but there's alot of getting BACK TO THE GARDEN there too. )So, with no further adieu, on to the second half of my list, which my summers, no matter how hot, are never without.

6. ONE HOMEMADE PEACH PIE I never had these growing up, but I can't imagine any summer without at least one. Sometimes this can be challenging, because the weather is so critical to a great peach. Mushy and mealy is not acceptable. But stellar fruit over the last few years will hopefully lead to more this year.
7. Summers at Grandma's house always included a version of her TUNA AND TOMATO PASTA SALAD with a ton of Hellmann's mayonnaise and celery salt. And the only tomato allowed in this dish is a big, juicy beefsteak from New Jersey. After all I AM A JERSEY GIRL!.
8. ONE BLUEBERRY GATEAU,--my sweet, tender coffeecake bursting with over the top blueberry flavor-- which must be eaten for breakfast. WANT TO MAKE IT? It's in my recipe section.
9. ONE GRILLED CHEESE. I know what you're thinking--- what's so special about a grilled cheese in the middle of July?? But it's that damned iconic, vine ripened, NEW JERSEY TOMATO that makes it a summer necessity.
        Place one slice of the best white bread, buttered side down in a heated frying pan. Top with slices of Velveeta cheese to cover the bread. I know- Velveeta? not some fancy gruyere or farmhouse cheddar? Well, I just like it. And to me-- it's pure childhood comfort food.
        Now, top with thick slices of tomato to cover the cheese. Then more Velveeta to cover the tomato. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side up. And cook it over a medium-low flame until the bread is browned and crusty with the bottom layer of cheese starting to ooze out of the sides. Then, very carefully flip it over.
        This can be a dangerous thing to do. So be prepared to possibly reconstruct it once you've flipped. Another couple of minutes to crisp up the second side and .... Heaven.... any way you slice it. By the way I don't slice it in half. You don't want to risk another structural calamity. I just eat it whole. YUM!

. And last but not least,
10. FRESHLY PICKED CORN ON THE COB---THE JERSEY SHORE VERSION. Spike your 4-6 quart pot of boiling water with about 1 cup of MILK, a couple of Tablespoons of BUTTER and SUGAR, and a big pinch of SALT. If the corn is fresh from the farm, you won't need more than 3 or 4 minutes to cook them. Then slather and slather them with lots and LOTS OF BUTTER, FLAKY SEA SALT and FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER. That extra butter at the bottom of the plate? don't worry---it never goes to waste.
        So there you have it---my annual top 10 summer food craves all laid out in plain sight.


LESSONS Learned:
1. Make sure the pasta is thoroughly cooled and dried off somewhat to prevent melted mayonnaise and a watery salad.
2. Stirring the mayo into the tuna and pasta separately makes it easier to combine the ingredients without over mixing.
3. I always serve this on a bed of romaine lettuce for the crunch and it allows me to eat more with less calories.


1/2 pound of rotelle pasta
1/2 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
2 5 ounce cans of water packed solid white tuna
4 medium size tomatoes, cut into about 3/4" dice, about 4 cups.
1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt or to taste

        Boil the pasta according to package directions. Rinse the pasta in cool water until no heat remains, and dry with a paper towel to remove the excess water, and place in a large mixing bowl.
        Open up the cans of tuna, drain, and cut into small pieces. In a medium bowl, stir half of the mayo into the tuna to coat and stir the rest into the pasta. Combine both in the pasta bowl, and gently stir in the tomato and celery salt. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.

Makes 6-8 servings or one for me. YUM!!
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