Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

Squished Tuna Baguette

Green Bean Cannellini Salad with Grilled Lemon Dressing

Maple Glazed Plums with Cookie Crumbles

The end of summer finds us with abundant produce for a good bit longer. Spinach, bell peppers, onions, green beans and plums all share a part in our monthly menu for the whole family. The entree sandwich is as great to make as it is to eat. You do need at least an hour to let it settle. Then you'll see how incredible the flavors become after they are compressed, or squished, a bit. All of the ingredients in the menu are readily available but just treated a bit beyond the norm.

Squished Tuna Baguette

Serves 4-6

  • 1 French baguette
  • 3 tablespoons chopped olives
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 (6-ounce) cans tuna in oil, drained
  • 1 cup roasted red bell peppers, blotted dry
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the baguette lengthwise leaving it attached along one side, like a book. Pull out some of the insides from the top half, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread the olives on the top half and the mustard on the bottom. Layer the spinach, red onion and tuna on the bottom side of the baguette. Add the roasted bell peppers and mozzarella cheese on the top half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Carefully close the baguette, pressing gently to compress it. Wrap loaf tightly in plastic wrap; place in a baking dish. Place a dish on top of the sandwich to weigh down. You want the loaf to be firm enough to slice without squashing it. Chill, 1-2 hours; bring to room temperature to eat. Slice into 4-6 individual servings.


Green Bean Cannelini Salad with Grilled Lemon Dressing

Serves 4-6

The grilled lemon dressing is truly a breakthrough here. I have some grilled citrus in The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up! so I know how the golden grilling hue adds flavor-certainly to fruit. You may want to double the dressing recipe and serve it topping lots of things, including seafood and poultry. The Grille Lemon Dressing will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.


  • 1 pound haricots verts or green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
  • 1 (14 ounce) can rinsed and drained cannellini beans


  • 2 lemons
  • 1 medium clove fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons virgin olive oil

Preheat grill to high.

Cut lemons in half and coat with 2 teaspoons olive oil.  Place on grill to sear until they are golden brown all over and soft - about 10 minutes.

Remove from grill and cool.  Gently cut off a few shreds of browned skin, coarsely chop and place in blender. Squeeze lemon juice and pulp into the blender; add garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. With motor running, drizzle in oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Place green beans and cannellini beans in a bowl and toss with a good bit of dressing. Serve immediatedly.


Maple Glazed Plums with Cookie Crumbles

Serves 4

Not only is this simple and tasty, it’s also fun to smash up those cookies. Do you think the younguns’ might want to help?

  • 2 large plums, washed, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup crumbled cookies, your favorite

Preheat the broiler to high.

Place the plum halves-well side up, on a baking sheet pan lined with a piece of heavy foil. Drizzle with the maple syrup and broil until just golden.

Let cool briefly and place on serving plate, drizzling with all juices. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs and serve.


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