Stress tip #432: Bring Italy to you.

Years ago after a massive heartbreak, I was faced with the decision on whether or not to go to Italy. After all, this was the runaway-together-to-Italy type vacation that my ex and I were supposed to go on together. After a crushing breakup, a bunch of ugly cries later and wasted mascara, I decided to go alone. It was quite possibly the best decision I had ever made.

Years passed and I’ve found that I was comparing myself to that time whenI travelled, was free, drank wine and everything was, well…bellisma. Problem is, now being smacked with reality, late nights and multi-tasking that would put an octopus to shame, I feel like that stress-free ideal is a distant memory…or is it?

So in my stress detox quest, I figured, why not bring Italy to me?  And believe it or not, I found out how.

Before I go on, please let me preface this and say that I am a cookbook junkie.  Like, juice those pages cover to cover, slap my inner arm and inject it into my veins type junkie. **Burp!** So when I discovered Fabbrica by Chef Mark McEwan, I literally almost fell over.

Aside from the handsome cover photo of the Chef I was over the moon since Fabbrica represents great Italian recipes made easy for home. From stuffed cherry peppers to delectable pizzas with wild mushrooms and truffle cream, I was in love.  So I decided to make my very own spin off of a crostini creation…inspired by the man himself.

Don’t get scared by the ingredient list…it actually is quite simple

Flaked Tuna with White Beans & Olive Salsa

*Recipe found in the Fabbrica cookbook – except the crust

1 cup (250ml) canned or jarred cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp (30ml) fine olive oil

1 tbsp 15ml) aged wine vinegar

¼ tsp (1ml) cane sugar

Se salt and cracked pepper

½ cup (125ml) brined green olives, rinsed, drained, pitted and chopped

6 halves oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tbsp (15ml) capers, rinsed, drained and chopped

1 small clove garlic, minced

Leaves from ¼ bunch parsley, chopped

12 leaves basil, torn

2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15ml) red wine vinegar

½ tbsp. (7ml) lemon juice

1 cup (250ml) flaked tuna (with oil)

1 cup (250ml) baby arugula

In a blender, combine the beans, olive oil, aged vinegar and sugar. Season and then puree. Taste, correct seasoning and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the olives, tomatoes, anchovies, capers, garlic, parsley and basil; mix well with a spoon. Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice; mix again. Season – but salt lightly in deference to the anchovies and capers. Mix, correct seasonings and set aside.

Spread the white bean puree on the “crostini” (see below for recipe). Mound with tuna flakes and top with a generous sprinkle of the olive salsa. To finish, sprinkle with a little of the reserved tuna oil, and top with the arugula.


2 cups almond meal

2 eggs

3 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp baking soda

1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together and take a golf ball size of the dough and begin to flatten it out into mini pizzas or “crostini’s”.  Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins or until edges become golden. Top with crostini topping.

Being a little sensitive to wheat, I thought I’d make a little alternative here. Now while there are wheat recipes in Fabbrica, there are plenty of other incredible recipes without it. And honestly, you can get creative here – that’s the joy of cooking.

You see, we often turn to our food in times of stress and generally it’s dirty fake Frankenfood. What I loved about Italy was the passion that the culture exuded for life, love and REAL food. So instead, why not use real food as a healthy outlet during peak times of stress? Why not take that distant place and bring it your kitchen? We can become inspired, get creative, drink a little wine, dance in our kitchens and turn a stressful experience into a pleasurable one. After all, other than sex, there is no other art form that utilizes all five senses. Fabbrica is certainly an inspiration to that.

Now that’s amore.

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