Friday, June 8, 2012
Tuna Egg Mushroom Baked Sandwiches
One of the tasks I actually finished over the last couple of months was scanning in my great-grandmother's recipe box. What a joy to see her writing, my grandmother's and my mothers. What a shock to see the actual recipes. A few of them came from the days after canned food became available to the masses. Salads were mostly gelatins. Vegetable recipes were virtually non-existent. My guess would be that the vegetables cooked were in season and plainly seasoned. Or, doused in butter and bread or cracker crumbs.
As I recall, my maternal grandmother was a pretty darned good cook. My paternal grandmother was a fabulous country cook. Lemon meringue pie. Chicken and dumplings. Rolls. All the things you read about and think good farmhouse cooking. This recipe box has given me insight into how my great-grandmother cooked. Pretty plain stuff for the most part. One of the really cool things I own is one of her old baskets:
Only a couple of recipes actually piqued my interest. How would they taste made as written? Made to our tastes?
This past week was a bit chaotic. We left for Chicago on Tuesday morning and got back late Thursday afternoon. With most of last weekend spent moving Mom from her condo to independent living, we'd not had an opportunity to go to the grocery. One of the first things we did was plan a menu and write a grocery list. But, neither of us had any desire to go shopping.
Friday wasn't a horribly busy day - at least when you looked at my calendar it didn't look terribly busy. But, the phone didn't quit ringing and emails were once again stacking up. Oh, and we had the great bbq taste-off. You see, the end of July we're finally going to have our shredding/bbq party at the office. I've been threatening to do this for several years. This is the year. We ordered pulled pork, beef brisket, mac and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad from three of the barbecue joints nearby. I made a rating sheet. One of them quickly lost - Garrett's. The brisket was kind of like beef jerky. The cole slaw was watery. The mac and cheese was gummy. I'm sure you're getting the picture here :-) We were disappointed because we've had a couple of good sandwiches from there. Next up was GT South's. They're a perennial favorite. Their pulled pork sandwich is incredibly reasonably priced. And, they're about halfway between my friend Patti's office and mine. Perfect. The pulled pork was very good. So was the beef brisket. The green beans were straight out of a can. The mac and cheese was good as was the cole slaw. The baked beans were totally blah. They were in second place. Time for Black Diamond BBQ. Let's just say that we rated each dish on a 1-5 scale. Black Diamond beat GT South's by TEN points. You read that right. The baked beans were amazing. The beef brisket was the best I've ever had. The pulled pork and sauce were wonderful. The only clinker was the potato salad. It was ok but not great. We went there for the first time a couple of months ago and declared they were our new favorite bbq place. A taste-off proved that.
Do you think Reta's ready for the taste-off?
Well, now, back to Friday. We escaped at 6:00. And, once again neither of us wanted to go to the grocery. I could make Ina's weeknight bolognese. But, I needed broccoli for the chicken and rice and potatoes for the cabbage and bacon torte. I also had everything on hand for Katharine's baked sandwiches. Actually, it's a recipe that my grandmother gave to my great-grandmother. Here's a copy of the front of the card:
What did we think? Connie and I tasted as I went and found the basic recipe to be very blah. Some spicy rub went into the tuna. A bit of sherry and pepper into the eggs and a good pour of sherry and a can of mushrooms into the sauce. Once the sandwiches were out of the oven and onto our plates, I wasn't too sure about them. There was a lot more egg salad than tuna salad. I was concerned that the egg would overwhelm the tuna. That was kind of the case but not totally. We really enjoyed these sandwiches. While not something that I'll make with regularlity, they're a good go-to with mostly pantry ingredients.
Great-Grandmother Katharine's Baked Sandwiches
1 can tuna, drained
2 T mayonnaise
2 t minced onions
1/2 t spicy rub (I added this to the recipe)
3 hard-cooked eggs
1/2 c cream of mushroom soup mix
2 t sherry
balance of the can of mushroom soup
2 T sherry
1 4 oz can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1-2 T milk
6 slices of bread
3 T butter
Mix the tuna, mayo, onions and rub. Set aside. Finely chop the eggs and mist with the 1/2 cup cream of mushrrom soup, 2 t sherry and pepper. Set aside. Mix the remaining mushroom soup, 2 T sherry, mushrooms and milk in a small saucepan. Heat gently on low heat. Melt the butter in a small skillet. Trim the crusts offs the bread.
Dip the edges in the melted butter. Leave the remaining butter on very low heat. Put together the sandwiches. Put two slices of bread in a baking dish (Iused a 9x13 cake pan) and top them with the tuna.
Add another slice of bread to each. Top with the eg salad.
Top with the remaining bread slices. Brush the bread slices with the rest of the melted butter.
Bake the sandwiches at 325F for 30 minutes.
Serve topped with the mushroom sauce.