Some of us “foodies” like to follow what’s cooking on the Food Network. If you have ever seen an episode of Chopped you know that four chefs compete for a cash prize and the competition gets pretty interesting.
All “foodies” are not likely to be professional chefs. Most are busy working people with crazy schedules and kids. We are striving to thrive in a difficult economy and some of us are dependent on outside sources for our food: SNAP, Angel Food Ministries, food pantries and food commodities. This time of year we may be eternally grateful for the abundance of garden goodies our neighbors share with us and we may be picking out produce to use with our Farmers Markets Coupons.
Just for fun, let’s pretend we are BigWig Home Cooks on our OWN television show. We have just been given a basket with-oh, let’s imagine FOOD COMMODITIES, just for an example. We might find farina, salmon and canned milk. Let’s take this drama one step further and imagine we have access to items from WIC. Oh, LOOK! We have eggs and a can of grape juice!
What shall we do to prepare a meal our family will actually EAT? Let’s take an inventory of what we might keep on hand. Is there some onion around? How about celery? Do we have some bottled lemon juice or even a real lemon or lime? Surely there is salt and pepper. We might even have some dried dill around!
Sometimes family members complain about fish because it tastes “fishy.” Well, HELLO? It is FISH! But you can minimize the strong flavor if you simply put your fish-in this case, salmon-into a strainer and gently pour cold water over it, right out of your tap. This takes away the liquid and some of the fishy flavor that offends some people. Then carefully remove the large pieces of bones that are not appetizing and toss that into your compost pile.
When you mash the salmon with a fork, you will crush the fine bones and they will vanish into the flesh of the fish. Then you can mix an egg or two-depends on their size-some farina and chopped onion and celery together. If it seems to be too thick, add a bit of the milk. If your mixture is too thin it’s easy to sprinkle in a little more of the farina.
SIDEBAR: Farina is the ‘filler’. If you have no farina, you can substitute whole grain oats or barley flakes. You could crush boxed cereal or use the “crumbly” stuff that’s left in the last of a box of cereal. Making a salmon mixture is a good way to use up the “heels” of bread or you might use crackers. We find soda crackers too spendy for our own budget, so that is not an option for us. END SIDEBAR.
By adding onion and celery you are adding texture. The onion also helps to diffuse that fish flavor; lemon will balance and enhance the fish flavor. Adding a bit of acid to it gives it a nice balanced taste. Lemons and limes make nice complements but each will be different from the other. Dill is famous for being great with salmon. Some people use both but I prefer one or the other. Your family will be vocal about what their preferences are!
Well, in this TV show that has not been aired, were you a winner? You were if you created a salmon patty or salmon loaf your family ate and enjoyed! Your ratings just went up!
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