When I set out to start this blog I had a goal in mind to each week rotate between topics, but everything has been SO serious so far. I have pages for my chickens, and my writing, and will eventually have more to try and keep myself organized. One of the many topics I will touch on is cooking. In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I almost went to a culinary school in San Francisco in 1998 instead of getting married (yeah we know which one I ended up doing). There were many foods that D refused to eat, so there was no point in making something for just myself (if this is your life – just treat yourself and tell them to starve – or cook their own food) so Cream of/Creamed Anythning was no longer on the menu, except Cream of Wheat – for some reason he liked that – until it was discovered that I liked it to and he never wanted to eat it again…
I know, lots of folks wouldn’t miss that, but I did. Growing up at home we had Cream of Tuna and sometimes even Hamburger Gravy (essential Cream of Ground Beef). At school the cafeteria would frequently serve Creamed Chicken over mashed potatoes. I loved them all. At least I think i did. If I’m going to be honest, I probably balked at the peas at home, but at them at school. I was a teenager, what could I say. But – needless to say – I didn’t get any of that when I was married. The mashed potatoes and gravy to an extent but it was all either stuff from a packet, or at a restaurant. So, today I want to share our family Cookbook version of Creamed Tuna.
Now the base of this recipe is a simple white sauce as you’ll see in the picture that can be used for anything. Seriously, we use it for the base of our cheese sauce in Macaroni and Cheese and I’ve even used it for a base of sausage gravy.
It’s not that difficult and what causes me the most trouble, is that unlike my baking, a take a cooking recipe (yes there is a difference between cooking and baking) as a general guideline and improvise.
While the butter is melting I like to get the rest of the ingredients set up (well not really, but it does make it easier. I honestly usually forget and do something else and suddenly the butter is bubbling and I’m trying to remember where I put my flour)
Once you mix this together you have created a roux. I honestly didn’t know what a roux was until I was watching some cooking show. Equal parts fat to flour. There – now we all know what a roux is. But keep whisking until it is all smooth and bubbly otherwise it will burn and that is not good.
Once it is bubbling and is thickening up a bit you add all the milk at once while whisking. Being as I only have two hands and my cats couldn’t really help and I was using my phone – I had to multitask.
Check out the spiral in that milk as it is poured. It’s the little things that make me smile. Now, whisk that all together until it is nice and smooth and well blended.
Now, whisk away keeping it from burning and as you do, add in your desired flavors. I added pepper, a bit of celery salt, and some sea salt. As you whisk you will feel it change texture, which is kinda weird because that’s sciency and I can’t explain the way it feels but you’ll feel it – trust me.
Now it is time to make your decision. What is this going to be? Tuna or Chicken? To add Peas or not to add Peas?
Now mix it all together and it will thicken a bit more. Now when Dad makes this, he actually follows directions (he’s really good at that) and boils the peas first and then adds them. I didn’t do that (notice the ice crystals on those green pearls?). Do whatever works for you. For me? I’m lazy and didn’t want to have an extra dish to was.
Normally I would slather this deliciousness over a fresh made (or reheated) homemade biscuit, but I had red creamer potatoes leftover from last night, so I decided to use those.
Now before you actually sit down to eat, make sure any “helpers” are distracted.
Now, I’m not going to lie. This is not a pretty dish. It’s not. I’m sure people have lots of things they could say about it other than “yum”.
Milk did offer complementary dish washing services being as my dishwasher is down to my two hands, but, she lacks certain sanitary abilities.
And there you have it. Cream Tuna on Red Potatoes, just like Mom (or Dad) would make, kinda, because I can’t follow directions. 🙂
I enjoy this meal anytime I possibly can. Food always tastes better at Mom and Dad’s. I’m sure that’s really a thing, I just don’t know the sciency things behind it, but it does. Of course I don’t have my furry foursome trying to help me eat at Mom and Dad’s either.
I have made this without dairy in the past using almond or coconut milk. Be warned to NOT use the vanilla (even unsweetened) flavored because it WILL carry into your dish. Not horrible, but vanilla is a desserty thing, not a main mealy thing. I haven’t tried making it gluten free, but it could work. No idea on the suggestions for it though.
In the end, I made a food I wasn’t “allowed” to make for 15+ years because he wouldn’t have liked it and in all honestly he would have made comments about me making it for myself. No it is not the healthiest of meals. I’m sure there’s all sorts of things to be said about what isn’t healthy in the milk, the flour, the butter, the tuna, heck even the frozen peas (but hey I did get sea salt in there, that’s a health-food now right?), but let me tell you what is worse. Living in a relationship where you couldn’t eat what you like. That’s unhealthy.