Saturday, January 22, 2011

Salmon Loaf - Revisited

It's fun sometimes to go back and revisit those classic recipes that you remember from childhood. We both have fond memories of our mother's making a pretty tasty salmon loaf (mostly on Friday nights). But when you really look at it, it's actually a pretty basic meal that was more likely made for its value and its ability to feed a family.

This web site, dedicated to preserving vintage cookbooks and recipes, has a scan of a salmon loaf recipe from 1942 (that included Rice Krispies!).

A few months ago, we noticed the canned salmon at our local supermarket and decided we should pick up a few and make that salmon loaf again someday. Well, that day came to pass recently.

I found lots of basic salmon loaf recipes online. But then I decided to take a different approach and do my interpretation of a recipe update. I'd keep the basics (canned salmon, eggs, bread crumbs) but up the herbs and seasonings. So that "dash of pepper" is updated to "generous." Many recipes call for only dried parsley so I broadened the list to add some variety. Then I decided to top it with something thoroughly modern - panko bread crumbs.

It's still a "value meal" and still quite tasty. Some roasted fingerling potatoes from the box and a bottle of Pinot from our cellar rounded out the meal. Our cat purred contentedly as we enjoyed it.

Salmon Loaf - Revisited

  • 1 can (16 oz.) salmon
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. minced onions (I used about 1/4 of the red onion in the box this week)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • generous amount of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Penzey's Mural of Flavor seasoning - or use any herb mixture: Italian Seasoning mix, bouquet garni, or whatever you have
  • dash of lemon pepper
  • pinch of "heat" - cayenne pepper, ground chili powder - I used Penzey's Arizona Dreaming seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Open the can of salmon and flake the meat into a bowl removing any skin and bones (Feed your cat the skin and water).
  3. Add all other ingredients except panko bread crumbs. Stir to mix but get your hands in there and really mix it up.
  4. Place the mixture into a buttered casserole dish.
  5. Form the mixture into a loaf with your hands.
  6. Press a thin layer of panko bread crumbs into the loaf.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until loaf is firm.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In the Garden: January 2011

It's been awhile since I posted an "In the Garden" entry. After I cleared most everything out of the garden, we have had weeks of cold, rainy weather. It was a disappointing year. We had a cool cloudy summer which meant that the plants didn't take off. We got no basil last year. Hopefully, this year will be better. Today, was a nice enough day to get outside and take care of a few things in the garden.

I harvested our first oranges! The tree was planted 3-4 years ago. It didn't produce anything for the first year or two. Then it produced something but they weren't oranges. Now it's starting to look like an orange tree.
I also harvested our first lemon as well. The peach tree got its first spraying of copper fungicide to prevent peach leaf curl.

Fall Garden
About a month ago I put two broccoli plants in the beds. They survived the few freezing nights we've had recently. Today I added a cauliflower. It says that in about 65 days I should have some cauliflower.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Night Before Going Back to Work

It was Sunday night after a busy two weeks of family, friends, and food. Our refrigerator was full with a wonderful variety of leftovers from the holidays: Heavy cream and mushrooms from a tart I hope to post someday, smoked salmon slices from an appetizer for relatives for the day after Christmas, leftover yellow onions from the box recently. I looked around the fridge and came up with the following dinner for the Sunday night before going back to work. This also represents how I cook most weeknights after work. I just try to use up what's in the fridge and not follow any particular recipe. Most of the time it works out.

The results here were delicious. I mixed in both cream and skim milk just so it wasn't a "heart attack" alfredo sauce. The salmon slices almost tasted like pancetta in the cream sauce.

All of the measurements are approximate as I pretty much just winged it with the ingredients I had on hand.

Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta

  • pasta; I used Cavatappi
  • butter, about 1-2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • mushrooms, about 2 cups, chopped
  • garlic, 3 cloves minced
  • smoked salmon, sliced thinly, about 2-3 cups
  • heavy cream, probably 1/2 cup
  • skim milk, probably 1/4 cup
  • pepper: freshly ground black pepper if you like it mild; a generous pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicy
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. As water boils, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in butter until tender.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Stir in cream and milk. Heat to just below boiling point and cook over low heat for 4 minutes.
  5. Toss in smoked salmon, and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve over pasta.