Smoked Tuna Cakes

Last Thursday we headed to California for a long weekend getaway. Taking the kids to Disneyland, swimming in the pool, and a quick trip to Knott's Berry Farm. The trip was fun, but completely exhausting. I watched my kids have this amazing experience seeing their favorite characters, riding on rides, and eating too much junk food. Which quickly led to several meltdowns, both by my children and myself. Don't get me wrong, Disney is great. I can have appreciation for seeing the joy in my kids eyes. But in all honesty, it's also really hard. Hudson, who does better with structure, probably threw himself on the ground crying about 19 times during this trip. Yes, he had fun, he had a great time. He also had a really hard time. And it is so hard on us, as the parents to survive these moments. To come out the other side. 

During our trip my cousin sent me this article, which I have since seen all over facebook as well. I literally read this article in the bathroom at Disneyland, half-way crying, at the happiest place on earth. It hit home. Why is it that if parents, specifically mothers, talk honestly about parenthood, sharing the really, really hard times, they are looked down upon. It has happened to me so many times. I'll be the first to say my children are my everything, they have changed my life for the better and I am so grateful for them. But they also wear me down. Having your child be the one kicking and screaming, hitting you in the face, all while you are in line to take THEM to see Donald Duck, is crazy hard. I love being a mom AND I miss my alone time. Our trip was great. It really was. But next vacation, sand, beach, sun, margaritas, and no children. Because it's ok to be selfish as a parent. You have to be to survive. 

Now...these smoked tuna cakes. I made these right before we left for our trip. They are one of my favorite things to make, as you make a big batch and have leftovers for days. Here I used canned smoked tuna as I had some leftover from our trip to the Oregon Coast. But feel free to use regular canned tuna, that's what I normally do. And if by chance crab is on sale, use crab. The recipe was adapted from a restaurant in Portland that makes really good crab cakes. When I was in my 20s I use to happy hour there as often as possible just to get these cakes and a good gin and tonic. 



NOTES: When we are low on groceries, I have often times made these without the celery and green peppers, just use 2 small onions. 

1 1/2 pounds smoked tuna meat (regular tuna or crab)
1 cup + 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I really like Panko for these)
2 celery sticks, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced (optional)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce of choice (I prefer one on the more vinegar side)
1 large egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire 

Set aside 1/2 cup bread crumbs onto a small plate. Mix all ingredients into a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, grab a handful of mixture at a time, first squeezing it together between your hands, and then shaping into a patty cake shape. Place into bread crumb plate, flip, and set aside onto baking sheet. Continue until all cakes have been formed. If you are having trouble keeping the cakes together, adding a little bit more wet ingredients, specifically mayonnaise will help.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cakes, as many that will fit into the skillet with still giving you room to flip them. Cook about 4 minutes per side until golden and crisp. Place the cooked smoked tuna cakes into a 200 degree oven while you continue to cook the remaining cakes. 

I love to eat these served over a simple salad that has been tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. My husband prefers them made into a burger. Either way, add hot sauce and enjoy! 

Ashley Martituna, fish, celery, onion