Tuna Cakes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

It was home reading prize day today in Room 4. I like to give a monthly prize to a student in my room who takes the time to read 15-20 minutes each day. Yes, I know it is a bit of a bribe to get kids reading…but the point is THEY ARE READING!

Frankly if it takes a bag of kitschy knick knacks, I’ll do it. Parents, don’t hate me.

On prize day, I pull out a book I have (I pick up a lot at garage sales and second hand stores), a bookmark or two and then I rummage through the prize box. My prize box is full of all kinds of stuff. I used to go to the Dollar Store and painstakingly pick out little toys and party favors that I thought the kids would enjoy to put in my prize box, but I’ve realized those are not the hot ticket items. Do you want to know what is?

All the swag Andrew brings home from trade fairs.

Yep, kids love trade show swag.

Easy release landyard? Yep!

Stress balls? You bet!

Notepads with names of companies I have never heard of? Absolutely.

Pens? Well any pen is a coveted item because you are not allowed to use a pen in Grade 3 (we make too many mistakes and can’t fix it when we use pen…)

Needless to say the kids could hardly wait till the end of the day. I showed them all the items in the prize bag, with many oohs, ahhs and gasps. One little boy actually said “This is the greatest prize EVER! I sure hope I win…”

I drew the name, and my prize winner looked like she had won the lottery. I think it did the trick too because everyone reminded me on the way out the door that they were going home to do their reading. Mission accomplished!

I was excited to try this recipe because, to me, it looked a bit like a crab cake. I’ve come to really love crab cakes…see my dad is a big fan of crab cakes, so they are usually ordered as an appetizer when we go out as a family. I manage to take a nibble here and there and love how crunchy they get on the outside…and the tartar sauce on the side…don’t even get me started. Maybe I just need to make crab cakes? I’ll have to look into that.

Anyways, I started by making the fresh tomato salsa first.

Tuna Cakes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

In a bowl I mixed together 6 small diced tomatoes, 2 green onions chopped, some garlic, about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lime juice, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. I let that hang out together while I whipped up the tuna cakes.

In a second bowl I mixed together

  • 3 cans of tuna
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustarf
  • a squeeze of sriracha
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tuna Cakes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

I formed the tuna mixture into 5 rather large cakes and one sort of baby cake.

Tuna Cakes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

I heated a little oil in a frying pan on the stove and started frying 2 at a time. The original recipe called for 2 minutes per side. Since mine seemed thick and I wanted a nice golden crust on the outside, I gave it a minute more.

When they were done I removed them from the pan, and let them drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Don’t they look delish?

Tuna Cakes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Yep, that’s right, the golden cake you see in the original recipe was not what I got when I started frying. In fact, that first flip was accompanied by a small scream of frustration.

I guess I should look on the bright side…there do seem to be some crispy bits in there…

Since the first two were such a big bust, I just threw the rest of the tuna mixture in, gave it a stir and let it crisp up on each side…making more of a tuna hash than cake.

I served my failure of a cake over rice and topped it with the tomato salsa.

Tuna Cakes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

The verdict- Though it was not a cake, it was still tasty. Next time I would half the amount of parsley in the salsa and add in some cilantro to brighten things up. I would also figure out how to hold that mixture together better…maybe more egg? more panko? Actually…who am I kidding? Though it tasted good, I probably won’t make this again. Maybe I need to go look up crab cake recipes instead.



Fish and (Sweet Potato) Chips

I ran into one of my previous students at the pool yesterday.

When students see you out of the school environment, they look at you a bit like they are seeing an animal outside of the zoo. They stare, they awkwardly wave and if you are really lucky they will come and talk to you.

This little boy was one of my favorite students over the last few years…not because he was an excellent student who listened and worked hard, but because he was a total character and a complete hot mess. He had a heart of gold and a great sense of humor.

I don’t miss teaching him, but I miss seeing him each day and hearing his funny stories.

I was enjoying the pool with Andrew and some of our friends when this little guy jumped in  next to me. I didn’t realize it was him at first until I looked over.

“Hey buddy, nice to see you!” I said when I realized it was him.

“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you are here! I did not expect to see you here!” he said in an excited voice.

I introduced him to Andrew (who knew exactly who he was once I said his name) and we talked a bit about school this year and his new teacher.

As he was leaving he turned and said “Bye Mrs. Skinner, I can’t believe I got to see you here, it was so great!”

It truly made my day. It’s a reminder to me the impact we as teachers have on the students we interact with each day.

Tonight’s supper is from the Wheat Belly cookbook. I didn’t read the book (I get it, gluten is bad for me…or at least I should try to eat less) but I did take a look through the recipes.

We enjoy fish and chips, but rarely eat it. I’m always looking for ways to health-ify those much loved, but bad for us recipes. This one seemed like a viable option.

I started by cutting up 2 sweet potatoes into fry-shaped wedges. I tossed them with some olive oil, rosemary salt and pepper. I baked them at 425 for 15 minutes, gave them a flip and baked them for another 20 minutes.

Fish and (Sweet Potato) Chips

Next I started breading my fish.

I dipped each piece of fish in 2 whisked eggs with salt and pepper, and then into some ground flax with a bit of rosemary.

Fish and (Sweet Potato) Chips

I baked the fish for 20 minutes and then broiled it until it looked crispy.

Fish and (Sweet Potato) Chips

The verdict- Not good…not good at all. I rarely throw out food, but we ended up throwing out the last pieces of fish tonight. I can’t imagine what we would have done if we didn’t have hot mustard to douse all over the top of it.

Andrew actually said to me “I think the breading makes the fish taste worse…”

And I couldn’t even argue with him.

I will not be making this again.