Monday, June 10, 2013

Salmon patties my kids actually liked, or: save your kid's bread crusts

It all started with a jar of stale bread. A half-gallon ball jar sitting on my kitchen counter full to overflowing with stale bread: crusts, heels of homemade bread that nobody ate, and the occasional lonely hot dog bun. It drove my husband crazy. Sometimes it even drove me a little crazy as I would wipe down the counter and bump the jar, sending precariously perched pieces of bread toppling all over the clean counter. Which I would then have to wipe again.
See it in the background? (salad unrelated to this post)

So why would I keep such a thing on my counter? To have homemade breadcrumbs of course! Have you looked at the ingredients in your average box of breadcrumbs at the store lately? It is crazy. Anyway, all I had was one of those little nut chopper thingys to make my bread into crumbs. It took a long time and I could only do small amounts. It was frustrating but I did it anyway because I didn't want to pay money for a box of mostly chemicals and other things I couldn't pronounce. Then a couple of particularly petrified heels of bread broke my little nut chopper. I was sad and I could no longer make breadcrumbs. And yes, I know I could have just used a rolling pin and towel or plastic bag to pound my bread into crumbs. Buuuuut... it is just too messy and loud for me to do it that way. Crumbs everywhere, half of them stuck in the towel, or the sharpness of the bread crumbs tears holes in the plastic bag and they escape all. over. the. counter.  Also, the amount of crumbs that would be wasted from all towel sticking and crumb escaping drove me completely crazy. Whatever, I have issues.
Then I got a food processor. Oh magical day! Nothing fancy but it made my whole overflowing jar of stale bread into beautiful, glorious, crumbly breadcrumbs in a very short time. These breadcrumbs, now so abundant when before they had been so scarce, have starred in two whole meals this week. And it is because of them that I can share this recipe, which also happens to be what we ate for dinner tonight.

The First Salmon Patties My Kids Actually Like

Okay I sorta play it fast and loose in the kitchen sometimes so my measurements tend to be more like estimations. Sometimes. Or a lot. That being said this is what I used:

-1 can (14.75 oz) of wild caught Alaskan salmon (drain, put in a bowl and mash the heck out of it with a fork and/or potato masher in order to break up all the bones and pieces of skin... mmmmmm. -not- but it IS good for you)
-About 2 cups of breadcrumbs
-About 1/2 to 2/3 cup of chicken stock. Start with 1/2 cup and add more if it seems too dry. I really don't know exactly how much because I just poured some in until it seemed like enough. You want all of the breadcrumbs to be moist. (could substitute water or milk or cream if you like)
-2 or 3 eggs (I used 2, depends on how dry your mixture is and whether it sticks together well, if it does not add more egg or liquid)
-Juice from 1/2 lemon
-Various spices.  I used onion powder, garlic powder (I am out of both onion and garlic at the moment), dill (very yummy), and parsley. How much? Meh, I don't measure but maybe 1/2 tsp of each?
-Salt and pepper to taste
-*SECRET INGREDIENT*- (shhhh, don't tell my kids) about 1/4 (after chopping) cup finely chopped greens from the garden. I planted a mesclun salad mix which is super yummy but a bit strong flavored for the little ones when offered alone. However, when you cut them up really tiny and put them in stuff they just look like spices and the flavor is pretty subtle.

Procedure: Mix breadcrumbs with chicken stock in a large bowl and let that sit while you are mushing up your salmon. Add eggs, spices, salt, pepper, and salad greens to breadcrumbs and mix well. Mix in the salmon and add the lemon juice. Form into patties in your hands. If they break apart when you set them down add more egg and mix thoroughly, or you could try adding more liquid. Melt some oil in your skillet (I used palm shortening from Tropical Traditions) and brown on each side over medium heat.

I served these with pearl barley and raw baby carrots on the side for the kids and switched out the carrots for a salad from the garden for my husband and I. Easy and yummy and the kids scarfed them down!

*Disclaimer* This post was not sponsored in any way by anyone.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Garden ramblings

We got a much better start on the garden this year than last. Instead of one measly little deep bed and some pumpkin seeds hastily thrown in the ground in July, we have 3 deep beds this year and were able to till half of the rest of the garden so far. I hope to get some planting done there this week. We have plans for more pumpkins as well as sunflowers, beans, cucumber, summer and fall squash, and some flowers for cutting. Last weekend I was able to sow some herb seeds here and there at the ends of the deep beds. I planted basil (seeds saved from last year), cilantro, parsley, chamomile, and garlic chives. The spinach still isn't doing that great for me despite sowing it waaaay back in early spring. Maybe I would have more luck with a fall crop. We have been harvesting the radishes this week and some lettuce here and there. I earthed up the potatoes over the weekend as well but I think I didn't get enough dirt on them so I may do that again. The landscaping is proving a little overwhelming to maintain. We are trying to avoid buying mulch every year but I think we might have to for a few years until we get enough ground cover type plants established to fill in between the bushes and ornamental plants. I am also putting in herbs here and there to fill in the spaces.
 Needs new mulch
 Here too
 Deep beds
 Another view of the deep beds
 Almost blueberry time!
Look at my poor asparagus bed. Full of weeds!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yarn Along

Yay another Yarn Along! I finished my hat! it is a bit tight around the crown of my head but it will stretch out with use, I am sure. Reading The Fine Art of Italian Cooking. My copy is a bit older than this one. I found it at a used book sale last summer. I have been in quite a cooking rut lately and cracking this book open has provided me with some much needed inspiration.