Simple Salmon Cakes

Prompt: Simple

salmon-cakes13-1

Guess what? I was making dinner tonight (I love to cook) and mulling over what to write for today’s prompt, simple. Guess what I was preparing? Simple Salmon Cakes. These are really easy and really good, so I thought I’d share.

Simple Salmon Cakes

Servings: 2

1 – 14 oz can salmon (preferably sockeye), drained
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 green onion, sliced finely
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
S & P
Panko bread crumbs
Butter or oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients except the Panko and butter in a bowl. Form into patties. If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes while you make a salad or have a cigarette on the front porch. Coat with Panko bread crumbs, and fry in a little oil or butter until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Serving suggestions: Good with rice or curried rice, a wedge of lemon, and/or a quarter cup of mayonnaise mixed with lemon, hot pepper, curry powder, or fresh herbs.

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Product Review: Hello Kitty Egg Ring

Prompt: Mystical

hello-kitty-at-window

There is nothing mystical about the Hello Kitty Egg Ring (though it has a mystical quality about it as it gazes out the kitchen window in the photograph above). It is a thingie composed of plastic/rubber, with the rubber part formed in a circle, that you crack your egg into to keep it in a nice neat circle as it fries. I understand you can also fry up some homemade crumpets in egg rings such as this— you know, those delicious crispy-on-the outside crumpets with the air holes that invite all that melted butter…

Anyway, are you tired of those random, spreading, Rorschach-shaped egg whites that fry up all unevenly? I wasn’t, but there you go. Things happen to your brain when you are in the dollar store.

Product: (Generic?) Hello Kitty Egg Ring, pink

hello-kitty-package

Purchased at: Dollarama, British Columbia, Canada

Price: $2.50 (I know right? At the Dollarama?)

Value: Seems expensive

How to Use: Clean all the Dollarama cooties off of it, dry, and then spray the inner part with non-stick spray, or grease it with butter. Firmly place it into a heated, non-stick frying pan. Crack your egg into a measuring cup, then pour into the ring. Press the ring down a bit, or watch the egg white escape through the bottom of the ring. When the egg is set, you can remove the ring and cover the pan to get a more even heat.

hello-kitty-pan

Did it work?: The egg was trapped inside a pink rubber cage. It did not like this and dug a tunnel to escape into the pan. Freedom! The egg was more compact in its little ring, instead of spread out, which meant it took longer to cook (I like firm whites and runny yolks), thus it burned on the bottom. The yolk was delicious, but Hello Kitty had nothing to do with that.

hello-kitty-final

Recommended for: People who can cook with egg rings and/or people who like burned eggs.

Stars: ** out of *****


Scorched and Day 20 of Nano

Prompt: Scorched

mr-bean-turkey

Are your memories of your first, really botched meals as pathetic as mine?

I rarely burned or scorched anything; in fact I had the opposite problem. On a long ago Thanksgiving I  roasted a turkey for my partner’s English boss and his wife. I was laying out a feast like the ones my mother used to do: the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, roast turnips– the whole shootin’ match.

It seems food takes longer to cook at higher altitudes, and we’d recently moved to Calgary, altitude 1050m (3445 ft). The damn turkey just would not cook.

Now at Thanksgiving, the appetizers are light and few, because of the massive feast to come, but our guests had eaten all the pickles and olives and neatly sliced celery. They were getting close to licking the dainty little plates they were served in. Everything else was mashed, buttered, stirred, plated, and bowled and inevitably getting dry and cold.

The turkey, about 7 kilos (or 15 lb) was gorgeous. Golden brown, glistening, plump– but mostly raw in the middle. Unless we planned to eat after midnight, we had to take it out of the oven. We put it on a platter and partner proudly showed it to our guests, by now sucking on the ice cubes from their drinks, and quite possibly biting their nails in hunger, before taking it into the kitchen to be carved.

The top part of each breast was cooked beautifully, so we carved that and put it on the platter. It was skimpy and would not feed four people. The drumsticks, thighs, wings, everything else were bloody at the joint, inedible, but they were duly carved and place decoratively on the platter. I put some parsley sprigs around it. Garnish is important.

We sat at the table and passed around all the delicious vegetables and stuffing to our guests, but when it came time to pass the turkey around, my partner and I were horribly rude. We picked what we wanted first! I took a drumstick and thigh and a wing, so did partner.  More meat than a reasonable person could consume. This left only a few perfectly cooked slices of white meat and several sprigs of parsley for our guests.

I remember the boss’ wife, let’s say her name was Vivian. Vivian could not hide how she felt– she tried, and said the right words, but her face always betrayed her. When they’d first arrived to our apartment that evening, she simply could not disguise that she found Calgary quite frigid and horrible, despite saying they were settling in “fine”.

So she looked at our plates heaped with turkey, and the meagre white slices given to her and her husband, and a look of horror and disgust briefly crossed her face.

“Dig in!” said my partner.

It was all very tasty, especially the gravy, and partner and I ate most of the skin from the drumsticks and thighs, and filled up on mash and stuffing.

We became friends with these people, but never told them about the raw turkey. Vivian just believes I am the worst cook and most piggish host ever.

Vegetables and Day 10

Prompt: Vegetal

poachedeggonavocadotoast-2

Don’t say yes to stress! How to have one day of peace!

I could have been a contender in the click-bait olympics, don’t you think?

Well, I’ve actually been fairly stressed-out this past while, what with NaNoWriMo and the elections and all that, and thought I would share yesterday’s diet and very simple routine that made me feel a LOT better, for at least a day and a half!

The routine: News-free day. No checking out websites for any kind of news, local or international. No newspapers. No TV news hour. No discussions except about how cute your dog looks when he sleeps on his back. Take a walk if you can. Pay attention to your breathing, and breathe in lots of cool, fresh air. Read something— a comic book or Mark Nepo or how about tinybuddha.com‘s Quote of the Day? Today it is:

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. ~Alan Watts

The diet: Avoid sugar, caffeine, and too much alcohol.

Breakfast: Avocado and Egg Toast for 2

2 pieces whole grain bread, toasted
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
Squeeze of fresh lemon
2 poached or fried eggs
Lots of salt and pepper
Mush half the avocado on each piece of toast and squeeze lemon juice onto each. Top with an egg, season well and serve with a hot cup of tea with honey. Note: this is delicious.

Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich, a banana, and a tall glass of cold milk.

Dinner: Grilled Salmon, curried brown rice and spinach salad with goodies of choice like feta cheese, tomatoes, cuke, sprouts, etc. (or make salmon cakes from a can of salmon mixed with egg, bread crumbs, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper). Have some dark chocolate for dessert, with a cup of milky chai tea or your favourite warming spice tea (I like Bengal). Avoid drunkenness.

Binge-watch a mystery series on Netflix, or channel surf for sit-com reruns (remember, no news). Play with your dog. Read Jane Austen or Jack London before sleeping; no mobile devices. After lights out consciously relax every part of your body, concentrating on your jaw, neck and shoulders. Have peaceful dreams.

It worked for me.

How to Grow Tomatoes You Won’t Want to Throw Across the Room

Prompt: Live to Eat
Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?

bloody mary

I was about to write that I am baffled by people who say they only eat to live. We in the West take our plentiful food supply for granted, and except for writing occasional cheques, most of us keep the knowledge of hungry or starving people tidily compartmentalized and out of mind. Let us always be both thankful for what we have, and do as much as we can to raise awareness and to support efforts to end hunger globally.

Since we have the resources to eat well, I think it’s imperative that we enjoy and appreciate what we consume. Think of the truly fine taste experiences you’ve had. Were they in a fine restaurant? A small town diner? At your grandmother’s table? From a street vendor?

A very small trattoria in a town in Italy that I’ve forgotten, served up pastas and salads with ingredients if not grown in their back garden, were sourced in the town market or nearby farms.

We shared an Insalata Caprese, which is simply a tomato and mozzarella salad, with fresh basil, drizzled with olive oil. Except that it isn’t really simple, because you need the freshest local ingredients, as this trattoria served: local vine-ripened tomatoes, soil-grown fresh basil, soft, fresh mozzarella, and a fruity extra-virgin olive oil.

It was one of the best plates of food I’ve ever eaten.

Every once in a while I’ll slice up a tomato for a salad, taste it, and want to throw it across the room. Because supermarket tomatoes have no damn flavour. I’ve been growing tomatoes in the summer, with spotty success, and recently did some research to see how I could grow delicious, juicy, sweet, flavourful tomatoes, before I completely forget what they actually taste like.

I’m sharing the fruits of my labour here. I’m going to work at it this summer. How about you?

How to Grow Tomatoes with Flavour

  • Plant in rich, preferably composted, and lightly acidic soil.
  • Don’t overwater.
  • Tomatoes with lots of bushy foliage tend to have better flavour. Heirloom tomatoes typically have a high foliage to fruit ration, for example.
  • Choose a variety that thrives in your area.
  • Look for disease resistant varieties.
  • Give your tomatoes lots of heat and sunshine.
  • Use a trellis or cage to allow more exposure of the leaves to the sun, and minimize the leaves touching the soil.
  • Fertilize steadily during the season, with a slow release fertilizer or a foliage spray.

My mother use to make tomato juice with all her leftover tomato crop at the end of the season, and can it. A bloody Mary in the middle of winter with fresh tomato juice is heaven. Just thought I would throw that in.

Hurry up, spring!