Salmon Cakes

Salmon cakes. Who am I kidding? These are salmon patties. But cakes sound so much chicer than patties, so I’m going with cakes. This recipe is from Julia Turshen’s new cookbook, Simply Julia, which I’m really enjoying. It’s an approachable, warm book with loads of healthyish takes on comfort food. I’m all about uncomplicated recipes that are satisfying and quick to throw together these days. I love Julia’s personal essays and really enjoyed all the recipes I’ve tried so far – sticky chicken, cornmeal cobbler with frozen fruit, crispy smashed turkey burgers, and a great all-purpose soy saucey/tehina dressing. Other things I’m dying to try from the book: the green spaghetti, kale and mushroom pot pie, and the sled dog muffins!

This recipe, called ‘ricotta and potato chip fish cakes with peas’ in the book, includes a creamy pea sauce which really took me back to childhood. My Aunt Jean made the most delicious salmon patties (pan fried in lots of butter) and always served with a creamy pea sauce. I didn’t know it was really a thing. I butchered the pea sauce here, unfortunately. I had neither enough peas or milk. The salmon cakes don’t really need it though… I also used crushed Ritz crackers instead of sour cream and onion (!) potato chips (which are undoubtedly fantastic). The ricotta adds a whipped lightness to the patties and lemon zest and Old Bay Seasoning give them tons of flavor. Don’t forget to hit these with a generous squeeze of lemon before eating, it really brightens it up! I served these with an easy stovetop mac and cheese and roasted broccoli. This trifecta of fish, mac and cheese, and broccoli is my comfort food love language.

Salmon Cakes

Adapted slightly from Simply Julia

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans of pink salmon packed in water, drained
  • 2 ounces of Ritz crackers (half a sleeve-ish), crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter

In a large bowl, add the cracker crumbs, salmon, ricotta, lemon zest, chives, and Old Bay Seasoning. Stir mixture really well breaking up the salmon as you go. Form into 8 patties.

Place the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once butter melts and begins to bubble, place the fish cakes in the skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom. Flip each one over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Try not to crowd the pan, you can fry them in batches adding more butter as you go. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Cut the zested lemon into wedges and serve with the fish cakes.

Seared Tuna Bowl with Spicy Mayo & Ponzu Sauce

My saved posts on Instagram consist mostly of weeknight dinner inspiration. Not the glossy, overly-styled food photos shot by a professional, but the hand-in-the-shot, poorly lit (but delicious looking) dinner plates of both the strangers I follow and the people I actually know. This relatable content helps inform my weeknight dinner repertoire on the reg.

Here’s a window into my saves – there’s baked chicken tenders with homemade ranch sauce, a 15-minute veggie lo mein and a Mexican-inspired rice bowl with black beans and Trader Joe’s corn salsa. Real meals by real people is what sparks inspiration on my feed because ‘what am I having for dinner tonight?‘ is a question that plagues me from the moment I wake up. #dinneranxiety

One such dish that inspired me recently was a seared tuna rice bowl with spicy mayo that’s a go-to for my friend and cooking mentor, Pam aka @potsandpams. She shared a pic of her dinner plate and I immediately saved the photo and asked for the recipe.

This dish is super simple, healthyish and full of flavor. Cook the tuna to your preferred doneness or you could even chop it up and serve it raw, poke style. The veggies lend a fresh, bright crunchiness to the dish and the two sauces are so good you could drink them with a straw. You could opt for just one of the sauces, but you’re going to want both – they’re that good.

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Seared Tuna Bowl with Spicy Mayo and Ponzu Sauce 

Serves 2, with leftovers for work tomorrow  

Tuna

  • 1 pound sushi grade tuna
  • 1/4 cup of black and white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil

Spicy Mayo

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tbs sriracha
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar

Ponzu Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 2 cubes of frozen minced ginger!)
  • 1 tsp sriracha

Bowl toppings

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice*, cooked
  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped

Rub tuna with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place sesame seeds on a large plate and dredge tuna in the seeds covering completely on both sides. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place tuna in the skillet and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove tuna from the skillet and let it cool slightly and then thinly slice it.

Whisk all ingredients for ponzu sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk all ingredients for spicy mayo in a small bowl and set aside. To assemble, divide the rice among bowls and top with sliced tuna, cucumber, radishes, avocado, cilantro, scallions and drizzle with spicy mayo and ponzu sauce to your heart’s content!

*Short grain brown rice is a recent addition to my life and I’m obsessed and never going back to non-short grain brown rice. 

Rice Noodle Bowl

What do you make for dinner when your apartment is hotter than a sweatshop but the thought of eating cereal and milk as a meal erodes your soul? Cold rice noodle bowl to the rescue! Full disclosure here – while this has the semblance of being a cool oven-free dinner, I did in fact turn on both my burner and oven to make this dish.  But, once those were turned off and I was sitting pants-less  in front of the AC unit – it was cool sailing! Aside from the oven usage – this really is the perfect summer dish. The rice noodles keep things light, the mint, basil, and cilantro add a delicious herby-freshness and who doesn’t love a peanut sauce? All you need to do is cook the chicken and some noodles and it’s din din time.

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IMG_1893Rice Noodle Bowl 

Adapted from The New York Times

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (I subbed worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli 
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut in half moons
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in thin matchsticks
  • Small handful basil sprigs
  • Small handful mint sprigs
  • Small handful cilantro sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons slivered scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts 
  • Lime wedges

For Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (again I subbed worcestershire sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1-inch chunk ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Puree the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and chili garlic sauce in a small food processor. Place chicken thighs in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Whisk together the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a small bowl.

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Grill or broil the chicken thighs until browned. About 5-6 minutes a side. Let cool and slice into strips. Reserve the pan juices.

In a small bowl,  place a nice handful of noodles in the bottom of your bowl. Spoon some of the chicken pan drippings on top of the noodles. Top with cucumbers, carrots, and sliced chicken. Add the basil, mint and cilantro. Drizzle peanut sauce on top of everything. Sprinkle with the scallions and crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.