Cheap Eats (and Fast)

One of my “very important post-retirement careers” takes me into the rectory at out parish a couple/three times a week to splash around in the sink, make a lot of noise and throw something from the kitchen onto the dining room table for our pastor; a nice guy who deserves better, I sometimes think.

I’ve been at it for a little more than three years now.  Shortly after I started he came back from  wandering about the planet with a little plaque which hangs in plain view.  It goes something like this:  Many people have eaten in this kitchen and lived to tell about it.

It is a testimony either to my skill or his courage; maybe both.

A priest I ran into down in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts a couple of years ago said I was doing something worthwhile cooking for Father K.  “We don’t often have time, and most of us don’t have the skill.  Eating out at restaurants every night isn’t exactly the healthiest way to eat.”  I never thought of that, but feeding the hungry is a corporal work of mercy.

Enough of polishing my own horn, here.  I wanted to share something with you, a recipe.  I’ve got all the sympathy in the world for my mother and all of you ladies (and some men) who are the ones who have to figure out what to give the folks who sit down every few hours and say, “What’s for…?”  Some days it ain’t easy.  Days, did I say.  Some weeks it ain’t easy.  There’s times I wake up early in the morning, and instead of thinking about mowing lawns, or shoveling snow, I thinking about what to do in the kitchen for the next five days, and do I have this, and do I have that.

And, you guys don’t get a salary.

Anyway, here’s something I came up with a few months ago when most of what I wanted to use to cook with was either still in the store or on a shelf in someone else’s kitchen.  I guess it could be called Tuna patties, or Tuna Fish cakes, or something like that.

First you get a line and string….  No,  a couple of cans of white meat tune..or mix ’em…to start.  Here goes with the list.


2 eggs

1 can tuna in water (Drained and water set aside)

1 can white beans (navy or some other kind)

1 onion

1 shallot

2 scallions (mainly for color)

2T. chopped fresh parsley

1 1/4 c. bread crumbs

1/2 c. sour cream

juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix all of the above ingredients.  Add water back if the mixture is very dry and crumbly.  You want to be able to form patties, here.  On the other hand if it’s running through your finger wet, add some flour (or use duct tape?) to bind it..but don’t try to make tuna bread with it.

Form the mixture into several hamburger sized patties, I like to flatten them to about 1/2″ thickness.

To cook, you may put them on a baking sheet and bake, or saute them in a frying pan or on a griddle until crisp on the outside.  It makes about six patties.

Mariellen has concocted a very nice version of tarter sauce using mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, Dijon mustard and sweet relish.  Play with it and see what you like.  I’m wondering now if a little horseradish might not be fun.

Serve one or two per person with a salad, some good bread and a crisp white something or other.  A vegetable soup as a starter makes a well rounded meal.  It’s a quick supper, or nice lunch.  Cheap, fast and good.


3 responses to “Cheap Eats (and Fast)

  1. Kathy McGlaughlin

    What a delightful way of sharing a recipe.

  2. I love this recipe and make it all the time. Good to know someone else out there likes it, too! Lucky pastor to have you for a cook.

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