Posts from March 2014

Salmon Cakes with Homemade Mayonnaise



This past week, my parents came down to escape the Never Ending Winter in the Midwest. For lunch one day, we whipped up a quick and healthy meal of salmon cakes in nearly 15 minutes flat.

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In my Cupboard of Wonderfulness, I found a hidden jar of canned salmon made from Oregon Kokanee made by my relatives that I forgot about! Happy day! No I have never canned fish, but someday I intend to learn. If you have access to fresh salmon, you can find a guide to how to do it here. If not, canned salmon (or tuna) bought from the store will work just fine.


1 pint of canned salmon (or 2 tins of store-bought salmon or tuna)
3 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1/4 c bread crumbs, chopped (or crushed gluten-free crackers will work, too)
1/8 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 T Dijon mustard
1 egg

1 egg yolk
1/4 c olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T water
1 T Dijon mustard


To make the cakes, combine all ingredients and form into patties. Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, and heat to medium-high heat. Put in the cakes. Grill each side for 3 or so minutes, or until golden brown.

While the cakes are grilling, (or you can do this step right before you grill the cakes, if this is your first time making mayo), crack an egg yolk into a small bowl. Discard the white part of the egg. Add the tablespoon of mustard, water, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix vigorously with a whisk. Put the 1/4 c of olive oil into a measuring cup with a pouring spout. Pour the olive oil SLOWLY in a very small stream while at the same time mixing. (Melissa Clark, from the NYTimes, has a good video tutorial that you can see how she does it here.) The mayo just adds an extra zest to the cakes.

We ate the cakes on a bed of lettuce, and drizzled the mayo over both the salmon and used it as a salad dressing. You can also eat the cakes in a bun and put the mayo on the bread as well. Do make sure that you eat the mayo immediately, however–don’t keep any as leftover–since you are using a raw egg.

Fulford Style Fish


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Gary and I spent a lovely weekend down at Anna Maria Island visiting relatives. On Saturday, the men went out to catch our dinner. They caught sea trout and snook, which they prepared for our meal later that evening.

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Cousin John with a snook.

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The “Fulford” style is named after a notorious Anna Maria Islander who loved the egg-wash and pan-cooked method. We ate fish prepared this way, too, at the Blue Marlin in downtown AMI–a wonderful restaurant with great fish, ambiance, and hosts. The key to this dish is fresh fish. When it’s fresh, you can’t go wrong any way you prepare it.


4 eight-ounce fish fillets
2 eggs
1/4 c milk
2 c flour
1 T lemon juice
3 T butter


Beat eggs and milk together in one bowl. Add the flour to another. Dry off the fish fillets, and salt and pepper both sides. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter to the skillet. While the skillet is heating, dunk the fish into the egg wash, coat completed, and dredge in flour. Shake off excess flour. Put in the hot skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes each side, or until the exterior is golden brown. Garnish with lemon wedges or a sprig of parsley, and eat it with good company.

Savory Kale Tart


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Last night, my friend Deborah had a belated St. Patrick’s Day gathering of wonderful ladies and green food. There was grasshopper pie, pesto Gouda cheese, pistachio bread, spinach dip, and other delectables shared in Deborah’s beautiful new kitchen. I made a kale tart with kale from my never-ending garden patch.

This recipe is from Food52. I omitted the sausage due to the vegetarians among us, but next time I’ll add it for some extra goodness.


1 1/2 c flour*
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
3-4 T water

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 c onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1/4 c white wine
1 egg
1/4 c goat cheese (or ricotta)
(optional: 1/2 lb Italian sausage)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To make the crust, put the flour in a food processor. Cut the cold butter into chunks, and add it to the flour one part at a time while the processor is running. Slowly drizzle the water. When the dough begins to stick together, you know you’ve added enough water. The original recipe calls for putting the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes in order to chill it; chilled dough is easier to roll out into a crust. If you have time, go ahead and do this. I never do–the dough was still cold from the butter so it was easy to press into the pan for me. If you want to roll it out and put it in a 10 in. tart pan to make it look lovely, though, go ahead.

Once in your pan, poke with a fork. I pressed foil into the crust before I put it in the oven so it wouldn’t get too brown. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the foil off, and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden.

While the crust is baking, make your filling. Heat the oil and butter together. Add the onion and garlic until they’re soft and brown–about 7-10 minutes. Remove from pan. If you want to use sausage, cook that now. Remove from pan. Add kale to pan. Pour the wine over the kale. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted. It should be fairly dry.

Remove the kale, and add to the onion mixture (and sausage, if you’re adding meat). Let cool for 5 minutes or so. Add the cheese and egg and S&P. Fill the crust with the mixture, and cook for 10-15 minutes.

*Gluten-free flour can be used instead of regular flour as well. My friend Lauren tried it this way and reported back that it works just fine. It may need a little less salt, and it should be rolled out thin, but everything else about the recipe should be the same.

Beef Burgundy with Carrots



Beef Burgundy, or Boeuf Borguignon as it is known in France, is a fabulous French recipe that is simple to cook, but is packed with flavor. In my opinion, what the French do best in their cooking is having easy-to-cook meals that are absolutely delicious. Also, they’re great at coming up with dishes that you make ahead of time, so when guests come for dinner, you’re not still slaving away in the kitchen. The dish is hot, fresh, and delicious as soon as your company arrives. AND you have time to clean up your mess before hand, too. Brilliant!

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1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes
2 T olive oil
1/2 fresh parsley, minced
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 red potatoes, chopped
1 c cheep red wine
1/2 c beef broth


Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge the beef cubes in the mixture. In a skillet, over medium heat, heat the oil. Sear the beef until it’s browned on the exterior (don’t cook it all the way through; all you want is a nice sear to keep the juice inside the meat.) Place the beef and remaining ingredients into a crock pot or slow cooker, and mix. Cover, and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Rustic Meyer Lemon Tart



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Back when our Meyer Lemon tree was producing in December, we picked 80 pounds of its fruit! With my handy dandy Kitchenaid juicer, I juiced probably 90% of them, and froze it in small containers for later use. I did keep back two crisper drawers full in our fridge, and surprisingly, here in March, the fruit is still good.

This recipe comes from the incredible Martha Stewart. The butter crust and the curd filling makes it divine.


1 c flour
2 T sugar
1 stick and 6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 t vanilla
2 large eggs and 3 large egg yolks
1/4 c and 2 T sugar
1/4 t cornstarch
3 T finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1/3 c fresh Meyer lemon juice


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. To make the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, 1/2 t salt, and a pinch of the lemon zest in a large bowl. Put in one stick of butter that has been cut into chunks, and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to mix the dough. Add 1 T water and the vanilla to the dough. Once mixed, shape the dough into a disk and put in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Once the dough is cool, take it out of the fridge and press evenly into a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (or a pie pan, which is what I used.) Martha says to freeze the crust for 30 minutes here. I’m not the perfectionist that she is, so I skipped that step. I put it right into the oven, and baked it for 25 minutes until it was golden.

While it’s baking, make the lemon curd. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 7 minutes). Remove from the heat and add the remaining 6 T of butter, one chunk at a time.

Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell. Bake until the filling is browned, or about 30 minutes. Top with home-made whipped cream and strawberries, if you’re so inclined.

Alligator Gumbo



In honor of yesterday’s Fat Tuesday, I thought it would be appropriate to post something New Orleans related: Alligator Gumbo. But truthfully, the times I open my freezer in search of something for dinner and think, “I’m really hungry for some alligator tonight!” is never. HOWEVER, I will admit that when spiced right, a rubbery chunk of gator can turn out quite tasty.

I made this recipe with alligator jowls and the alligator sausage I made back in October, the gator being caught by Gary, Sam, and Jason. If you happen to be in the Mardi Gras mood, and have some extra gator in your freezer to use, this is the recipe for you! If not, chicken and sausage will work just fine.


3 T olive oil
3 T flour
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 10 oz. package okra, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 t dried thyme
1 t dried oregano
2 t salt
1/4 t fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 t cayenne
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1 quart chicken broth
1 lb alligator (or 1 lb chicken)
1/2 lb alligator sausage (or 1/2 lb smoked sausage cut into slices)
3/4 c rice


First, start the rice. Add 1 1/2 cups water to your rice, and turn the heat on high. Turn down heat after it comes to a boil. Next, in a large stainless-steel pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Whist in the flour and cook until the mixture starts to brown, about 4 minutes. (This is a rue, and it should look like the consistency of peanut butter.) Reduce the heat to moderately low, and throw in the onion, celery, and pepper. Cook until it begins to soften, or about 7 minutes. Add the okra, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and tomatoes.

In a separate dish, cook the chopped gator (or chicken) and sausage. It’s best to cook them separately. Once each is done, throw them in the gumbo.

Once everything is done, it’s ready to eat (although, like all soups, it increases in flavor if it’s left to simmer for an hour longer or so.) Serve by adding a mound of rice to each bowl.

Salmon and Sriracha Kale on Rice



Could we be any trendier adding sriracha to kale? Hardly. However, those who are skeptical of the vogue might have their opinions changed with this. I found this recipe on the Food52 blog; they had a competition to come up with the best kale dish, and I will say this is a winner. And due to our over-abundance of kale at the moment (this plant DOES NOT DIE! It’s still growing strong now after being planted in September!), I’m picking out those kale dishes and going to town with trying them.

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1 c jasmine white rice, uncooked
1 c coconut milk
1 c water
1/2 t Kosher salt
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
2 T soy sauce
1 T sriracha
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and sliced in strips
1 lb salmon


Rinse the rice with cold water and then drain. Add the rice to a sauce pan with the water, salt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, still covered, until ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a lidded jar, add the melted coconut oil, soy sauce, and sriracha. Shake vigorously. Place the kale and salmon on a baking sheet, and drizzle the mixture over everything. Massage the kale to make sure you get the leaves covered. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the kale become crispy (careful to not let the kale burn.) Place the kale and salmon on the rice, and and extra drizzle of the sauce.

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