Hi! Iím Jane St. Claire and SavorCalifornia.com is my way of letting the whole world know about the fantastic foods and beverages being made in California. On this video blog our group of foodies are going a step further to show you how to use them. Start with the best, and it gets even better!

Tuna & Bean Salad

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This is a delicious and colorful twist on the traditional Tuscan tuna and bean salad, using superb ingredients from California.

Pinquito Beans are a heritage variety of bean with a beautiful color and a rich taste: the perfect base for this salad. Theyíre so easy to prepare. You just pour the beans into a colander, remove the seasoning packet, and rinse them off. Then put them into a pot with 2 quarts of water and the contents of the seasoning packet. Simmer for two hours and bingo Ė perfectly cooked beans.

In the days of the Santa Maria Valley ranchos during the 1800s, spring cattle branding finished up with a big barbecue. The vaqueros enjoyed a traditional feast that included beef barbecued over a red oak fire, served with Pinquito beans and salsa. Susie Q's Seasoning is that same recipe. If you want to use it for other dishes, you can also get it in a separate jar.

The tuna we used is extraordinary. Wild Planet was founded with a commitment to the protection of wild fisheries and the health of their customers. The troll-caught albacore in the North Pacific fishery is lower in mercury because these migratory fish are smaller and younger than long-line caught fish. Naturally, the shorter time a fish lives and feeds, the less mercury it accumulates.

We combined a can of the Wild Planet tuna with a couple of large spoonfuls of the Pinquito Beans and added diced scallions, diced red pepper and chopped cilantro.

To dress the salad we took a couple more liberties with tradition and used Stella Cadente Olive Oilís Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and a dash of champagne vinegar.

Stella Cadente Olive Oil started out with pure extra virgin olive oil and citrus olive oils (Meyer Lemon, Persian Lime and Blood Orange), that have been a huge hit with chefs and home cooks. They have since added Rosemary Olive Oil and Basil Olive Oil, so lots to experiment with. The Meyer Lemon Olive Oil is perfect with the tuna and beans in this salad.

If you donít feel healthy and invigorated after eating this salad, well, we canít help you!

Lucky me, I got to enjoy this salad on the deck overlooking McCray Ridge Wineryís ranch in Sonoma County.

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