Salmon Cakes

Living on the Northern California coast blesses us with abundant access to everything from freshly picked fruit (wild olalliberries) to fish from the sea. We recently drove to the harbor and one of our fishermen were selling salmon. I couldn’t resist buying a whole salmon – one that was way bigger than my little family of four could eat in one sitting. On our way home, we stopped at our local hardware store to buy out first Food Saver knowing we would need to freeze a lot of fish.

I then donned on my apron and set up a table outside. I brought parchment paper, a sharp fillet knife, a pastry cutter, roll of paper towels, and my phone. My hubby pulled up a “how to fillet a whole fish” video tutorial on my phone by Jaimie Oliver and I began to fillet a whole 11 lb salmon for the first time. Generally, it went well. Note: descaling fish with a pastry cutter works super well.

I was lucky last night to have a very gracious guest over for dinner – my mom! We are “like kings” as she would say. Salmon was just one of the protein on the menu. So, we had leftovers. Tonight, we made salmon cakes.

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Salmon Cakes

Inspiration from a dear friend

  • 1/2 lb of cooked salmon, flaked and deboned
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp mayo
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the last two. Mix with your fingers until it looks like an uncooked crab cake.

Let it sit.

In a separate bowl, add Panko (should be shallow as you’ll add the cakes to coat soon.

Once the salmon has sit for 10-15 mins, form into silver dollar, 1″ thick discs.

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat on medium heat and add olive oil.

Lightly pat salmon patties into the Panko until they have an even layer. They will not be completely covered.

Slide these into the hot oil and cook until golden on each side.

Serve with a wedge of lemon, avocado slices and Pepper Plant hot sauce (it any hot sauce of your choosing).

I have 2 more cakes leftover and I plan to make salmon cake Benedict’s tomorrow. NBD

ENJOY!!

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Peach Cobbler

I was waiting to post this recipe because I wanted to see how it freezes. Oh mah japles! It turned out so well. A couple weeks ago, when I had sooooo many peaches from our harvest, I made this recipe to every step but the final baking. I froze it and then vacuum sealed it. I was worried about the topping because frozen uncooked cobbler does not look promising. I defrosted the cobbler by putting it on the counter for a couple hours in the morning. Around noon, I put it in the fridge. Then, i put it back on the counter while cooking dinner to come to room temp. When dinner was served, I cranked up the oven to 400 degrees and cooked it for 30 mins. It came out perfectly – especially served with the nectarine Ice Cream.

 

Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Gonna Want Seconds

Filling

  • 6 medium peaches, peeled and sliced into 12 wedges
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • A couple passes over the grater of whole nutmeg
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Toppin

  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into pea sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp sugar reserves for top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, fold the peaches, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch until all ingredients are well combined. Don’t over mix or you’ll smash the peaches.

Pour fruit mixture into a round tin sue dish.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.

While peaches are in the oven, mix together all the dry topping ingredients.

Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

Pour in the boiling water and stir just until the mixture comes together and is just mixed through.

After the peaches have baked the 10 minutes, pull them from the oven and drop large spoonfuls of the dough topping over peaches. If you’re going to freeze, let the filling cool first.

Evenly sprinkle the top of the dough with the 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Put the tin on a baking sheet (to catch any filling that bubbles out. Then bake for 30 mins or until the topping is golden brown.

Your house is going to smell delicious!!

Minestrone

One thing we can count on, living in Northern California on the coast, is a few foggy days during the summer. Ok, a lot of foggy days. Today was one of those days. So, that calls for some heart-warming soup. This one came out so good.

Minestrone

Serves 6

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 3 carrots, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in half then in 1/2″ thick 1/2 moon shaped pieces
  • 1 large red potato, diced
  • 1 handful of green beans, cut in2″ lengths
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 handfuls of dried conchiglie or penne pasta
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and potatoes and about 2 tsp salt. Cook for 5 mins. Add thyme, oregano, zucchini, bell peppers, pasta, 4 cups of stock and tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins. Add green beans, cabbage and kidney beans. Cook until pasta and potatoes are tender. Add stock if needed and salt to taste. Once cooked, add fresh basil and top with Parmesan.

Enjoy with a buttered baguette.

Nectarine Ice Cream

“A perfect after dinner palate cleanser,” says the hubby. David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop has my favorite ice cream and sorbet recipes. Since I had pounds and pounds of nectarines recently, I made his Peach Ice Cream recipe with a few minor adjustments (like the fruit exchange).

Nectarine Ice Cream

  • 1 1/3 pounds ripe nectarines (about 6 medium nectarines) peeled, cut into chunks off the pit
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Cook nectarines with water over medium heat, stirring until soft (about 15–20 mins).

Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let this cool to room temp.

Blend the cooled nectarines with the other liquids until almost smooth. Leave some pieces of fruit visible because that’s delicious.

Chill the mixture overnight. Then put it in your ice cream maker (I have a cuisinart) for the time required by the manufacturer. Mine calls for 15 mins.

It then needs some time in the freezer. It’s usually ready in a few hours but we eat it the next day.

If you’re fancy, eat it topped with whipped cream and granola or toasted coconut.

Enjoy!

Lamb Stew

Do you like lamb? I’ve found that lots of people I know don’t like lamb. Although, I would definitely choose a fish dish over lamb chops at a restaurant, I actually crave this stew at least once a month in the winter and spring. The tang from the olives and the sweet, roastyness from the red bells perfectly compliment the slightly gamey shredded lamb.  Mmmmm. Before I was glutenless, I would serve this with Israeli couscous and a side salad. Now, the gluten free Barilla penne will have to do. 

  
Lamb Stew

  • 2 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBS corn starch slurry (2TBS corn starch and 2TBS water mixed)
  • 1/2 cup pimento green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1 TBS parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 TBS oil until shimmering. Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to pan in batches. Do not over crowd. You want to wear all sides to a pretty golden brown. Remove to a plate and continue until all the lamb is browned. 

Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and turn down a bit. Cook until tender. Add tomato paste and cook until paste is slightly browned. Add wine and deglaze, scraping up brown bits. Stir constantly until wine is evaporated. Add water and bring to boil. Add lamb and any juices from the plate. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until lamb is fork tender. (Be sure to check the pot after about 2 hours and every half hour after. Add more water if it’s starting to get too dry)

Shred the lamb. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil on the stovetop to thicken (stir, stir, stir). Add olives, pepper and any addition salt and/or pepper to taste. 

Serve over favorite noodles or Israeli couscous. Sprinkle with parsley. 

Enjoy!!

Eggs in a Spinach Nest

Make this! Make it just for yourself or make it for a family gathering. It is so delicious and comforting and simple and lovely. It says “spring time” on your plate and delivers sunshine to your belly. 

  
Eggs in a Spinach Nest (adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

• 12 eggs

• 2 lbs fresh spinach

• 1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced

• 8 roasted garlic cloves in oil

• 1 shallot, sliced thin

• 4 TBSP unsalted butter

• 1 cup heavy cream

• a pinch of salt

• 1/4 cup grated parmesean 

Add a bit of olive oil to a large frying pan. Heat and add half of your spinach and wilt, about 30 seconds. Add the rest of your spinach and wilt again.  Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Then chop.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in frying pan and cook shallots and mushrooms until soft. Stir in cream, salt, and chopped spinach. Remove from heat and place in 9×13 baking dish. Stir in parmesean.  (You can cover and put this in the fridge to cook the next morning or go ahead to the next step if you’re eating it today.)

Make 12 wells in the spinach/mushroom mixture. You’ll crack each egg into each well. 

Straight from SmittenKitchen: When you’re ready to bake the dish, or about 30 minutes before serving, put oven rack in upper third of oven and heat oven to 450°F. Crack an egg into each well. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still runny. Takes anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. The range is long due to different ovens and baking vessels. It’s better to have to check more often than to let them overcook.

[Cooking note: It is nearly impossible to get all 12 eggs to cook evenly. The ones in the center will be more runny; at the edges, they’ll be more firm. But don’t fret. I’ve found that almost all people have an egg preference (more runny vs. more firm) and each egg manages to find the right home. Just ask people their preference as you serve them.]

Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, plus grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Everyone loved this one!!

Gluten-free Breakfast

I think the worst thing about trying to be gluten-free is breakfast options. I was a pastry every day girl. Now? Well, now it takes a bit more effort. But in truth, it’s delicious. Like cold cuts, pickles and hard boiled eggs. Or yogurt with granola and chocolate sprinkles. But this has to be my favorite concoction. It’s a little like chiliquiles and huevos rancheros. It’s super satisfying both in taste and texture and is so darn delicious even my gluten-full family members love it!   

 Gluten-free Cal-Mex Breakfast

  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 1 egg, fried
  • 1 slice of bacon, fried and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans, heated
  • 1/2 zucchini sliced and cooked with a bit of cumin and olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • A dollop of salsa
  • Chopped cilantro

Tear apart the corn tortilla and put on the bottom of a plate. Add beans then bacon then zucchini. Top with your fried egg then salsa and avocado and cilantro. 

Enjoy!!