Salmon Patty Cakes with Tarragon Sauce

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At the food bank, we are given a can a pink salmon a couple of times a year.  Pink salmon is not as expensive as red salmon in a can.  One 15 ounce can will make 6 or 7 hamburger size patties or cakes. This can make a really nice meal and the left overs can be reheated or eaten in a sandwich.  I made a tarragon white sauce to go with the patty cakes but they are good with other condiments or just a little lemon juice.

I froze some tarragon last winter in little plastic wrap packages.  I was given a nice bunch of it.  All fresh herbs can be frozen for later use.  I like to freeze mine in measured amounts which I place on a small piece of plastic wrap and fold into a small package. Then I put the packages into a plastic bag to freeze.  I always label the bag so I know what herb is in it. It is easy to use package that will be ready to toss in a dish.

All the tarragon sauce is a basic white sauce of butter, flour and milk. To that was added some white wine, tarragon and chives.  The white wine was a inexpensive bottle that I picked up at a discount store for a few dollars. You never want to use a wine for cooking that you would not drink so stay away from cooking wines from the grocery.  Fresh tarragon can be found in the produce section.  Remember you can freeze what you don’t need to use for something else. Chives are available dried and can be found in discount stores for around a dollar. You can also use finely chopped green onion for this sauce.

The trick to making really nice salmon patty cakes is to chop the vegetables up fine.  The patty holds together if there is no chunks and don’t fall apart when frying and turning over. After you shape the patties place them on a tray and place them in them in the refrigerator to chill.  This gives the egg a chance to bind the ingredients together before frying. While they are chilling you can prepare the rest of the meal.

Salmon Patty Cakes

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper or green pepper
  • 1 can 14.75 ounces pink salmon(drained and large bones removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dill weed
  • flour to dip patties in before frying

In a large bowel mix celery, onion, pepper and salmon.  In a blender make bread crumbs by processing a half a cup of bread cubes at a time. Scraping out bread crumbs and repeat this process until you have a 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.  Add the crumbs to salmon.  In the same blender add egg, milk and seasonings. Blend for a few seconds. Pour the egg mixture over salmon and mix by hand.

Make flat patties and place on tray.  Chill for 30 minutes. This helps to hold the patties together. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add just enough flour to a shallow bowel to coat patties with.  Coat one patty at a time and place in skillet. Fry on medium low heat until one side is golden brown. You want to cook through the patty so the onion and celery are tender.  Then flip over and fry the other side.  It takes about 7 minutes for each side. You want each side to be golden brown.

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Tarragon White Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives.

In a small sauce pan melt butter over low heat.  Add flour while stirring to make a paste. Then add white wine while whisking to remove lumps. Add milk and continue stirring over low heat until smooth.  Now add spices and cook until thicken while stirring.

This is a wonderful sauce for fish and has a very mild flavor that does not over power the fish.

Apple Fritters

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When the English first settled in the New World they brought with them apples and began growing trees.  In the early cookery recipe books apples were called pippins. Fritter simply means food fried in a batter. The batter recipes that they brought with them used yeast for the leavening in the batter.  Yeast came from making ale.  The yeast was skimmed off the top of the ale and place in a bottle.  This bottled ale was then used for it’s yeast. So 18th century cookery books would call for ale in batters and bread making.  This was the ale they were talking about, the stuff that was skimmed off the top while the ale was fermenting.  This scum that was on the top contained yeast.

Today we have baking powder to leaven quick bread.  But the recipe is still basically the same that was made during the Colonial period just minus the ale.  It is a simple recipe that takes only a few ingredients.  There is very little sugar in the batter but the fritter can be dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar after frying. Sugar was a luxury food in the Colonies. This recipe yields about 18 fritters. It is a nice change from doughnuts and not expensive to make. This is a special treat when you are out of ideas and money.

Apple Fritters

Oil for deep frying

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tablespoons oil
  • 2 apples peeled, cored and chopped

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat eggs, milk and oil together and set aside.  Heat oil while preparing apples.

Oil should be at heated to 375 degrees.  If you don’t have an electric skillet or deep fryer you can use a heavy pot on the stove with a cooking thermometer to check temperature.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Do not over mix because you want your fritters to be soft and tender.  Add chopped apples and coat with mixture.

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Use a tablespoon or ice cream scoop to drop batter into hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides turning once.  It takes about 5 minutes depending on size of fritters. Remove and drain on wire rack or paper towels.

To finish them off just dust with powered sugar. You can also use granulated sugar mixed with a little cinnamon.

I save my oil after use by straining the cooled off oil into a jar.  Then I store it in the refrigerator.  I usually use it 3 or 4 times before it breaks down.  If you fry something strong flavored like fish or onion rings you will need to discard it afterwards because  the oil absorbed the flavor. The next time it is used it will pass that flavor to the food.

Chilled Cucumber Salad

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My mother always had cucumbers in her garden. She would not plant them until June in little mounds of dirt.  Then we would eat cucumbers everyday in late summer thru fall.  Of coarse she would can different kinds of pickles to eat all year. She would make this simple salad and put it in the refrigerator in the afternoon for our supper. It is an easy salad and it only takes four ingredients and a few minutes to make. It complements any type of meal. Great recipe when you are out of ideas and low on money.

Chilled Cucumber Salad  

1 Cucumber peeled and sliced

1/4 onion sliced into rings

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Layer cucumbers and onion rings in a bowel. Lightly salt and pepper cucumbers with onions. Mix vinegar and sugar in a bowel and pour over and cover salad. Chill at least two hour before serving.

Salade Lyonaise

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One of the great French salads named after Lyon, France. I always thought it was Italian because my high school girl friend’s parents always ate it after Sunday morning Mass. Her mother was a wonderful Italian cook. It is normally made with endive or frisee lettuce but they would enjoy this comfort food with other seasonal greens.  It would be dressed with a vinaigrette, onion and crumbled bacon, then topped with a poached egg   To complete it was plenty of toast from artisan bread.

It is a simple light salad prefect for brunch or lunch.  I used red frisee lettuce that I had on hand and green onions.  It is the perfect meal in the spring when eggs are plentiful and less expensive. The dressing can be made ahead of time or the night before by using a food blender to emulsify it into a creamy dressing. You can add any seasoning or herbs you desire to this basic mustard vinaigrette.

Basic Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbs (optional

In a food blender add vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth with the top on with the small shoot open slowly add oil in a thin stream while blending until all is added and thick.  Pour in a small container and whisk in your favorite herbs.

To assemble the salad:

Chop and fry bacon until crisp.  Drain and sprinkle on salad greens. Chop green onion and add to salad. Lightly dress salad with mustard dressing.

Poach egg.

While the egg is poaching toast some bread. When the egg is ready lift with a slotted spoon and place on the salad.  Sprinkle a little pepper, salt, paprika for color  and sliced green onion on the egg.  Cut toast in two for dipping in to the egg and serve. Yum…

Delicious Dried Cherries Salad Vinaigrette

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This vinaigrette is the best I have ever tasted. The dried cherries are so favorable that you will not go back to buying commercial fruit vinaigrette. The raspberry vinaigrette that you can purchase is weak in flavor compared to this thick rich salad dressing that clings to the salad. It will have your family and guest asking for more.  It turns a plain green salad into something out of the ordinary. Your guest will be asking for the recipe.

You can find dried cherries in your fruit section of your grocery. This is an underutilized dried fruit and is just gaining notice with gourmet cooks and healthy eating.

Dried Cherries Salad Vinaigrette 

  • 1/2 cup dried Cherries (soaked in a little hot water to hydrate them)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

To hydrate cherries measure 1/2 cup and cover with hot water and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to fluff them up. Drain some of the water off. They can still be a little wet.

In a food blender put the drained cherries , mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Take the small cap off the top to slowly pour oil in a thin stream while blender is on medium speed. This will emulsify into a creamy thick dressing.  Makes 1 1/2 cups and can be stored in the refrigerator.

I promise it won’t last long because you will love it.

 

Bean and Pork Soup

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After having a pork shank leg  roast, there was a large pork bone left over, that was just perfect for making bean soup. Good old fashion comfort food that is good anytime of the year. I always save my ham and pork bones from a roast to use for stock.  If I don’t have time to make the stock, I just freeze the bones for later use with a little of the left over meat scraps. The bones will store well for a couple of months. It is great to have on hand when you are out of money and meal ideas.

I keep in my pantry staples assortment of canned beans. such as navy beans, pinto beans. red kidney beans, black beans and chick peas. You can also keep dried soup beans on hand when you have time to spend on soup making and they are even cheaper then the canned beans.  The canned beans are great when you didn’t have time to soak over night the beans and several hours to cook them.

I sometimes cook dried beans in the crock pot overnight by themselves, then freeze them in meal size portions to use later. This will save you time.  You can also cook them the standard stove top method by following the directions on the package of beans. It makes soup more interesting when there is more then one type of bean, also you can serve them as a vegetable with meals. Growing up my neighbor’s husband would eat a small sauce bowl of beans with his supper every night. He grew up very poor and the was what his mother fixed as a side dish. He would ask where is his beans, if they were not on the table? To him the beans were just as important as bread.

A shank bone is large which requires a large pot like a stock pot or dutch oven pot. The best method for making soup stock is to start out with sliced or chopped onion in the bottom of the pot with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. To that you can add some shopped celery and a little salt. Let cook over medium heat stirring once in a while until the onions are soft. The celery and onions will sweat and caramelize a little. Then you just add your bone and enough water to cover it. This is also a good time to add some herbs that you might have on hand that goes well in soup. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and reduce heat to let the stock simmer.

Stock should take about 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours. You will know when it is ready because the joint will have fallen apart and the meat will have fallen off of the bone. Some people like to pour the stock into a strainer that is in another large pan. I don’t when the bone is big. I just pick the bone out and all the meat with a slotted spoon. I put the meat on a plate to cool so I can pick through it with a fork to remove any small bones and cartilage from it. I then return the meat to the stock.

Bean and Pork Soup

Prepare pork stock as described in the above paragraphs.

1 can white northern beans

1 can pinto beans

4 potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces

1 cup miniature bow knot macaroni (or any other macaroni)

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

Bring stock and vegetables to a boil. Add macaroni, salt and pepper and let gently boil until potatoes and macaroni is tender. That takes about 20 minutes. Add the herbs on top and serve.  Serves 6.

Serve with corn bread to complete the meal. This soup makes great leftovers for the next day. It also freezes well for a month at least that is all the longer it stays in my freezer because it is so well liked.

Carrot Cornbread(Heirloom Recipe)

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Cornbread is a family favorite. There is not many people who don’t like cornbread. Most of the time we just grab a box of mix at the store and follow the directions. It is not difficult to make from scratch. Cornmeal is an inexpensive staples that you should keep on hand when you are trying to stretch your grocery budget.

When you are looking for a side dish to go with a simple soup or a salad, this inexpensive carrot cornbread will have everyone telling you how good this meal was. You can also serve it for brunch.  It is not difficult to make, just takes a little more time then regular corn bread.

It is a tender and light corn bread with a texture that reminds me of grits. The beaten egg whites is what makes the cornbread light and tender. Before there was reliable commercial baking power and soda, beaten egg whites was used to make cake light. The air that was beaten into the egg white would expand while baking.  Yeast was also used in baking cakes.  So if you are lucky enough to have your great grandmother’s recipes, there maybe a few recipes for baked goods that use stiffly beaten egg whites or yeast added to the batter.

Carrot Cornbread

Combine and stir together in a large bowel:

  • 1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Add and mix well then let cool for 10 minutes:

  • 1 cup boiling water

Beat together in small bowel and add to corn mixture:

  • 2 egg yokes
  • 2 tablespoons water

Fold into corn mixture:

  • 2 egg whites beaten stiff peaks but not dry

Pour into a 9 inch square pan that has been prepared with vegetable oil spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Left over carrot cornbread tastes better when warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Note*  Originally this was probably made with stone ground cornmeal and was soaked in boiling water first or boiled first.  More eggs may have been used to leaven the bread. Many people had their own chickens. Molasses was probably used as a sweetener and bacon fat was used in place of the vegetable oil. White sugar was a luxury and only put out for coffee or tea when there was guest.  Cornbread was always cooked in a hot oven.

You may like to see another heirloom cornbread recipe in its original form here.

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