My title will make sense, I promise. Just keep reading. 🙂
This post actually has two purposes; the first is a link to Michigan State University’s Feeding America historical cookbook project. It’s a fascinating site where they are posting online versions of American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. They even have a special section for “ethnic” cookbooks, which include some old Creole cookbooks, and a Chinese/Japanese cookbook from 1914. When I have more time I think I’ll have a look at some of the cookbooks posted there and see if there’s anything that I’d like to make.
Now to the second part of my blog entry. Most food bloggers I’ve seen, when trying new recipes, are either searching for the tastes of their childhood and trying to replicate familiar foods, or experimenting with something exotic that they find exciting and new.
Growing up as the child of immigrants, I ate a mix of Chinese and Canadian foods, but ate items like rice and noodles more often than pasta. I can probably count the number of times I’ve eaten meatloaf on one hand. For me, the traditional North American comfort foods are usually the new “exotic recipes” that I’m testing.
My latest one has been the oh so mysterious tuna casserole. Oooh aaah. To be honest, my search for a good tuna casserole has more to do with an attempt to eat more fish than an urge to eat “comfort foods.”
The first time I made a tuna casserole, I ate it and then wondered why on Earth anyone liked it. This time, I made a simpler recipe from Kraft, found on the Food Network website. This one isn’t half bad. I’ve made some adjustments to the recipe though, based on personal tastes. And I think it needs more crunch; I’ve seen some recipes that say to add crushed saltines or breadcrumbs, so I may try that next time.
Family Favourite Tuna Casserole
1 cup frozen peas
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can (10 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can milk or soy milk
1 can tuna, drained
4 cups cooked elbow macaroni or whatever pasta you’d prefer to use (about 2 cups dry)
2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese, divided (I’ve made this using a slightly aged white cheddar and also using medium orange cheddar. I found the orange cheddar to taste actually quite strong, whereas the white cheddar has a more subtle taste that brought out the taste of the tuna.)
Pepper to taste (No need to add salt as the cheese and the soup will give plenty of salt to the dish.)
Stir together peas and celery with soup and milk in a large microwaveable dish. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. I actually microwaved it for less time and left my celery a bit crunchier on purpose. If you’re afraid of the soup and milk boiling over, microwave for a few minutes at a time instead of 10 minutes all at once.
Add tuna, cooked macaroni, pepper and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until hot and bubbly.