Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Food In Literature: The Redwall Books

     I know this is a seemingly odd topic, but I've been without NHL hockey for a while now, and it's making me crazy. Bear with me. I read a lot of fantasy books. In that reading I have found one trope in almost every fantasy book: excessive descriptions of food. Not just simple stuff like "the hot ham and cheese sandwich sat steaming on the plate." I'm talking food porn. Crazy stuff like "the trays of sweetmeats lay splayed on the table like the sweaty thighs of a nubile young concubine." Lavish descriptions of food and drink go on literally for pages.

     One of the guiltiest perpetrators of fantasy food porn is not surprisingly one of my favorite authors. Brian Jacques is best known for his Redwall series of books, which delve into the lives of anthropomorphic animals that live in and around Redwall Abbey in the Mossflower wood. I can really only describe it as Watership Down meets Saving Private Ryan.  The books feature whimsical characters, clever riddles, fun songs, heroic deeds and mortifyingly graphic descriptions of animals being run through with spears or shot through the neck with arrows.

See that guy in the background? Decapitated.

     As much as I enjoy reading about little fuzzy animals hacking each others limbs off, what really keeps me coming back to the Redwall books is the food. Feasting is an integral part of Redwall life. When the Redwall Abbey throws down a dinner party, you're looking at like half a chapter of reading. Here's a smaller excerpt of Jacques' classic fantasy food porn from the book Redwall

"Brother Alf remarked that Friar Hugo had excelled himself, as course after
course was brought to the table. Tender freshwater shrimp garnished with 
cream and rose leaves, devilled barley pearls in acorn puree, apple and 
carrot chews, marinated cabbage stalks steeped in creamed white turnip with nutmeg."

Even simple meals left you gnawing at the pages. Take this quick bit from Mariel of Redwall.

"Friar Alder and his young assistant, Cockleburr, had made crusty country pasties,
and these were being served with melted yellow cheese and rough hazelnut bread."

     Every single Redwall book is like this. All the characters eat these tremendous feasts until they are fit to burst, then they wander off and start hewing off each other's limbs. Come to think of it, Redwall is a lot like Asgard. The food in the books has its own fan following. The internet is chock full of fan sites dedicated to replicating the classic recipes from the book. It got big enough that Brian Jacques actually released The Redwall Cookbook in 2005. In addition to having a fairly cute story devoid of animals murdering each other, it does give recipes for some of the fan favorites. Deeper'n'Ever Turnip'n'Tater'n'Beetroot Pie? It's in there. Shrimp'n'Hotroot Soup? It's in there. October Ale In The Skull of a Murdered Stoat? The October Ale part is in there. As soon as I have the time, I'm going to have my own Redwall feast. Pictures shall be posted.

Good times!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sriracha Stuffed Banana Peppers

     I know I've been on a Thanksgiving kick for the past couple of weeks, but I wanted to get this recipe out there. I made it once to burn through some spare peppers and it was a hit. We made a bunch of these yesterday and have frozen them for later use. It is super simple for use as an appetizer or side dish. You can swap the pork with pretty much any ground meat. Feel free to swap out the cheese, too. Pepper jack cheese would give even more kick to this recipe. As always, any notes (there won't be changes since this is entirely my recipe) will be in blue.

Sriracha Stuffed Banana Peppers
  • A dozen or so large banana peppers (use Hungarian Wax peppers for a little extra kick)
  • Bottle of Sriracha sauce
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Cut the tops off the peppers and carefully core out the seeds and pith
  3. Brown the pork in a frying pan on the stove top (I sadly realized that if I didn't specify stove top, somebody was going to throw the pork in the oven and hope for the best). Drain excess grease.
  4. Add shredded cheese to pork and mix until cheese is melted
    This is the consistency you're looking for.
  5. Put a squirt of Sriracha in each pepper (use more or less according to how big of a stud/wuss you are)
  6. Pack the pork/cheese mixture in each pepper until just barely overfull
  7. Put peppers on a greased cookie sheet
  8. Put tray in oven and cook until peppers start to get soft and/or char (about 15-25 minutes)
  9. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes
These also freeze well for later use. Simply stop at step 6 of the directions and store in a freezer bag or container.

I originally didn't have an actual photo of the dish, so I provided this whimsical picture of
 beloved  British animated character Peppa Pig.
Good times!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Companies I'd Be Glad To Sell Out To

     As much as I enjoy writing this blog for the six or seven people who follow it, I really only am doing this for the remote chance that I will get famous. I am putting it out there that I would be more than happy to whore myself out to any company that would provide me with cash or material goods. Drive that dump truck of money and kitchen supplies to my door. I'm not made of stone. Remodel my kitchen, I don't care. In the event that anyone with the power to make those things happen is reading, I have a wish list of companies I would be glad to shill for. If I can get it for nothing, I will gladly wear or use the product.

Just like this, but with cooking.

I already own a Kitchenaid stand mixer, and I love it. I would love an endless supply of attachments. Or knives. Hell, I'll take an apron.

Misono Knives
These knives are so beautiful and could cut a cow in half in one swing. They're also outside of my price range. If anyone is listening, I would be more than happy to post endless pictures of me swinging this knife around the kitchen to my Facebook page. Those 37 likes could make a big difference.
UPDATE: I'm up to 1,196 likes if that makes any difference in a potential sponsorship.

Viking Range Corporation
I could do so many wonderful things with one of their ranges in my kitchen. They are hugely awesome and powerful. The thought of a six-burner powerhouse cranking away gives me tingly feelings in my private places.

Royal Doulton
If it's good enough for my close friend, Gordon Ramsay, it is certainly good enough for me.

Land Rover
While it is not specifically cooking related, I certainly would be much happier picking up groceries in a Range Rover. Just saying.

Good times!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nutritionally Irresponsible Cooking: The ALDI Fishwich

     Once again I delve back into my apartment days for another horrifyingly irresponsible meal that was served with alarming regularity. The wife and I knew it was bad. It couldn't be anything but. However, we loved it. It was hot, crunchy, cheesy and decadent. It was the ALDI fish sub. Cobbled together entirely from items available at ALDI, the Fishwich was truly a force to be reckoned with. It's no Burger King Whaler (people under the age of 20 have no idea what I'm talking about), but it was a gastric bludgeon.

Am I the only one who still misses these?
     We stopped serving these about five years ago after an unfortunate incident where I did not cook the fish quite long enough. The aftermath is still something we don't like to talk about. Suffice it to say we challenged the plumbing that night.

Good times!


  • 1 loaf garlic bread
  • 4 frozen breaded fish fillets
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2-4 tablespoons tartar sauce (depending on how much you like)


  1. Cook fish fillets according to package directions
  2. Put cheese on open garlic bread and cook according to package directions
  3. Put fish on cheesy garlic bread
  4. Slather with tartar sauce
  5. Eat and get wretchedly ill

Nutritional Information (Approximate if you eat the whole sub):
Calories: 2290
Fat: 122.17g
Sodium: 4554 mg

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Recipe: Gratin of Greens via

     I'm going to stick with Thanksgiving-related recipes right through the holiday. Today's selection is another well-received side dish. Gratin of Greens. It's not a terribly difficult dish to cook. The only substitution I made was to replace the chard with leeks. For whatever reason, chard just tastes dirty to me. I think the leek gives a nice flavor. Basically you've just got six pounds of assorted greens. You could fairly easily swap in and out. I imagine kale would work well in this. In any case, it's a nice change from the traditional green bean casserole and is a visually appealing dish as well. Good times!

Gratin of Greens via 
  • 2 pounds spinach, chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, chopped (Leeks can be substituted)
  • 2 pounds zucchini, diced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup hot cooked rice 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 6 eggs, well beaten 
  • ¼ cup fine bread crumbs 
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

    1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. Wash and dry spinach. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When hot, add spinach and cook just until wilted. Remove spinach from pan. Cook the chard in 1 tablespoon oil until just wilted. Remove from pan. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil; add zucchini and cook until just tender.
    3. Stir cooked vegetables together with salt, rice and garlic. Transfer to a well-oiled heavy baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.

    4. Remove pan from oven and stir in eggs. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese. Return to oven and cook about 15 minutes, until eggs are just set. Serves 8.

    Nutritional Information
    Per serving: 220 calories, 11g fat, 160mg chol., 13g prot., 21g carbs., 6g fiber, 610mg sodium.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tools of the Trade: Rice Cookers

     I only recently discovered the magic appliance that is the rice cooker. Up to that point, I had made my rice in one of two ways. I either cooked it on the stove top, where I burned it, or I cooked in the microwave, where it foamed over and made a huge mess.  The rice cooker is a simple and elegant appliance. Once you get the hang of it, you can even use it to make entire meals.  Much like any other appliance, rice cookers vary wildly in price and features. I'll give you examples at the low, middle and high end.

Aroma 8-Cup Rice Cooker and Steamer $19.96 at Wal-Mart
     This is what I have in my kitchen. It's about as easy as can be to use. Put in the rice and water, hit the button, and wait. In about 20 minutes you have cooked rice. Virtually idiot proof. Fair warning, it does occasionally overcook the rice on the bottom of the pan.

Zojirushi NHS-18 10-Cup Rice Cooker/Steamer/Warmer $64.52 at Amazon
     In the mid-range there is this Zojirushi. Some models from this company are much costlier, so a mid-range model is a really good value. There are lots of people who swear by Zojirushi and would never consider another model. It has a large capacity, a steamer tray and warms for up to five hours.

Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker $233.00 at ThinkGeek
    As I mentioned, Zojirushi makes more expensive models. This is one of them. In the high-end, we have the Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker. It does not cook fuzzy rice. Fuzzy is referring to the logic used by the machine to cook your rice. This machine will more or less take all the guess work out of rice cooking. White, brown, sushi, it doesn't matter. The machine will make sure it's perfect. 

    If there is any one resource you pick up for making the most of your rice cooker, it is Roger Ebert's book,  The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker.  This is like a manifesto on the wonders of this device and has a lot of recipes and ideas. If you get a rice cooker, get this book.  And if Roger Ebert should find out I am plugging his book, an autographed picture or copy of the book would be outstanding.

Good times!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comfort Foods

     Earlier, on Facebook, I mentioned Zombieland. In the movie, the character Tallahassee spends a lot of time looking for Twinkies. Those golden delicious cakes are his last connection to a better time. In the end, they bring him comfort and solace.

Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain't over yet
     This brought up an interesting discussion of comfort foods. Sometimes you just need access to that little something that can get you through the day. It could be you've moved somewhere that doesn't have what you're looking for. It could be a zombie apocalypse. In any case, I asked myself what foods could make it all tolerable.

Lou Malnati's Sausage Pizza
If you're not from the greater Chicagoland area, you probably don't know what I'm talking about. This is what pizza is supposed to be. Not the floppy New York slice. Not the St. Louis  ketchup sauce pizza. I'm talking thick buttery crust, thick cheese, chunky roasted tomatoes and a slab of sausage the size of a manhole cover. There are no Lou Malnati's where we live, so we have to have them shipped in dry ice. Totally worth it.

White Castle
You either get White Castle, or you don't. There's no middle ground on sliders. The entire world could be crumbling around me and as long as I had a Crave Case, I'd be fine.

Peanut Butter M&M's
When it comes to candy, this trumps them all for me. This is the perfect blend of chocolate and peanut butter, and the shell prevents chocolate from melting on your hands. I could eat these until my pancreas shut off.

Jim Beam
All right, technically this isn't a food. It is, however, comforting. Given enough Beam, any situation is tolerable.

Good times!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Maple Braised Butternut Squash with Fresh Thyme (via Bon Appetit)

     As we close in on Thanksgiving, I figure the logical thing to do would be to give you some of my favorite recipes for the big meal. For me, side dishes are everything. Don't get me wrong, I love turkey. I have pretty much nailed down my turkey recipe. However, that bird doesn't shine without a brace-load of good side dishes. You know what I'm talking about. The potatoes, casseroles, stuffings, and such that are really where the damage to the waistline gets done.

     While I do have plenty of the standard side dishes, I do like to entertain other options. This butternut squash recipe is one of them. The wife is a huge squash fan, and when I found this recipe, I knew I had a winner. This really is an easy recipe, and fairly inexpensive. I used dried thyme and had no complaints. The dish is a good substitution for sweet potatoes. I will say you need to watch the time and temperature while you're cooking this or it can get a touch mushy (I have kindly included a picture of said mushiness from the first time I made it). Either way, it's simple and tasty. Good times!

Maple Braised Butternut Squash with Thyme (via Bon Appetit)

¾ stick (6 tablespoons) butter
1 3-3 ½ pound butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1” cubes
1 ¼ chicken broth (low-sodium)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
¼ teaspoon (or more) black pepper

  1. Melt butter in heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add squash, saute 1 minute.
  2. Add broth, syrup, thyme, salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 8-10 minutes, until squash is almost tender.
  3. Using slotted spoon, transfer squash to large bowl. Boil liquid until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Return squash to skillet. Cook until tender, turning occasionally, 3-4 minutes. Season with more pepper, if desired.
Good times!

Friday, October 12, 2012


     Well, it's getting to be that time of the year again. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I have now cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the last nine years. Each year it gets a little easier. Cooking Thanksgiving does not have to be a traumatic ordeal. It likely still will be, but I am about to regale you with several handy tips that have proven extremely useful in my Middle Class Kitchen. These tips may save you a few bucks, your sanity and possibly the lives of your guests.

Set the menu in advance
Figure out what all your side dishes and desserts will be and stick to that menu. Make your list of ingredients and stick to it. You will not be needing anything else because of the next step.

Set your guest list in stone
Know who's coming well in advance. You have a vegetarian relative come in from out of town at the last minute? Too bad. They can get a nice salad at Denny's. You're not making special dishes at the last minute.

Hold out for a sale/giveaway on turkeys
This is a yearly tradition. Usually if I wait long enough, I can find a grocery store that will give you a 12-15 pound turkey if you buy $50 in groceries. You know damned well you're going to spend that much on ingredients so just wait. Contrary to popular belief, no store is going to run out of turkeys.

Prepare as much as you can ahead of time
We do a number of dishes that can be done a day or so in advance. Most casseroles will hold up just fine. Rolls can even be done days ahead and frozen.  Get those pies done the night before.

For the love of all that is holy, give the turkey enough time to defrost. Don't be that person soaking a frozen bird in a sink full of hot water. A completely defrosted turkey is important.

Especially if you're deep-frying it
And while you're defrosting, don't forget to take out the baggie of spare parts. I actually managed to forget and leave it in there while the bird cooked. No harm done. I think.

Keep your family out of the kitchen at all costs
I don't care what you do to keep them out of there. They are going to want to help and they must not be allowed to do so. Send them away. Let them watch a parade. If they enjoy watching large college students run into each other on television, have them do that. Just keep them out. They'll want to make slight adjustments or offer advice.

Manage the clock
Figure out how long each dish will take to cook. Make a little chart. Put in the dishes according to the chart so they come out all at once, or close to it. You'll thank me for this tip some day.

Just used canned cranberries
Nobody has ever said how great the home-made cranberry sauce was. Just open the can and dump it out. One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is that cylinder of cranberry sauce with the can ridges still in it.

Keep a couple of bottles of wine handy. Maintaining a nice buzz is critical to making it through the Thanksgiving dinner prep. You say you're starting cooking at 9am? Great! Zinfandel is a great accompaniment to bagels and cream cheese. Plus, if you're half in the bag, you're much less likely to stab an in-law in the head with a carving knife!

Good times!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cooking Vocab: How You Know You're In Trouble

     Cooking has an extremely extensive vocabulary, one which I'm not motivated to learn in its entirety. In fact, there are certain words that let me know if a recipe is likely to be a colossal pain in the ass. Words that indicate the slightest error will result in a gut-wrenching nightmare. Those specific words that indicate a recipe is likely to be, as they would call it in the Old West, "Highfalutin." I find recipes with many of these words are often meant to impress, and that impression often costs more than I am willing to spend. This list is by no means comprehensive:

Aioli: I use aioli on my BLT's all the time. IT'S CALLED MAYONNAISE. Yes, I know that aioli can be more than that, but slapping an "aioli" on a recipe makes it sound freakishly pretentious. "Please, try my fried baloney sandwich with honeyed kohlrabi aioli."

Best Ever: These words indicate a recipe that will be made in a slow cooker and is not, in fact, the best ever.


Deglaze: Not a terribly time consuming or difficult process, but if done with wine, is a great chance to set your stove on fire.

Emulsification: Pretentious. You're just mixing stuff that doesn't want to be mixed. Like salad dressing. Or hollandaise sauce. Or your family. Just call it mixing. Nobody is impressed.

Foam: Foam should be in your beer. Period.

Gremolata: While gremolatas are usually nothing more than lemon peel and some chopped herbs, something about the word and it's placement in a recipe strike me as needlessly pompous. "Chicken with Gremolata." What's wrong with "Herbed Chicken?"

Slider: My good friend Rachael Ray is horrifically guilty of using this term. It seems any small sandwich is a "slider." Please take this simple quiz before applying "slider" to your small sandwich. Is your small sandwich actually a hamburger you bought from White Castle? No? Then it's just a small sandwich. Knock it off.

     That's enough for now. Join me next time when I actually post about something useful! Good times!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Recipe: Pistachio Basil Pesto

     Sometimes all you need to put together a nice meal is a good jumping-off point. Some simple ingredient that can be used for dozens of different purposes. One of my favorites is pesto. Pesto is so simple and versatile. Now, you could be lazy and go buy a pre-made pesto from the store, but there's really no reason for that. Pesto is super easy to make. It only has a handful of ingredients and you don't need to actually cook it.

     I like this recipe a lot because I'm not a huge fan of pine nuts. I do, however, love pistachios.  Fair warning, if you make more than one batch at a time, you're likely to develop repetitive stress disorder from shelling all those pistachios. You could just buy them already shelled, but that's a bit more expensive. A two pound bag of shelled pistachio costs a dollar more than a four pound bag of unshelled. And shouldn't "shelled" mean the shell is still on, not off? Just saying.

     There's a lot you can do with this pesto. If you want to be lazy, just toss it with a little melted butter and pasta. Add some shrimp. Crust a piece of salmon. Or tofu. Throw it in some tomato soup. Eat it straight from the container with a spoon. 

     For the life of me, I can't remember where this recipe came from.  I either picked it up from Bon Appetit or my good friend Rachael Ray

     I don't have a picture of the pesto handy, so I'll include a grainy screencap of Pesto from the Animaniacs. Try to imagine him tossed with shrimp and rotini. Good times!


Pistachio Basil Pesto (via Bon Appetit or Rachel Ray)

2 garlic cloves
½ cup shelled pistachios
2 cups loosely packed basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmigiana/Romano cheese

  • Pulse garlic in food processor until chopped
  • Add pistachios, basil, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped
  • Add olive oil gradually through food chute and process until well combined
  • Add cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times

Makes about 1 cup.
Per tablespoon: 70 calories, 7g fat

Thursday, October 4, 2012

So You Want To Try Canning?

     From what I've seen, canning has seen a big resurgence of popularity lately. Why is this? What's the draw  of canning your own food? It's a ton of work and there is a very real possibility of injuring or poisoning yourself if you don't do it right. Honestly, I have no idea. I don't even know if there's a resurgence. I just enjoy using that word. Resurgence. Feels good. Give it a try. Resurgence.  Sorry. So, the draw of canning? Well, it's certainly popular among the Doomsday (November Election) Preppers. It's also popular among us practical rustic folk.

     At its core, canning is just a great way to sock away surplus produce without just letting it go off, or Heaven forbid, leaving it in a plastic bag on the table in the break room. I hate doing that. It feels like I'm just throwing it away. When people do that where I work I just take all of it. I don't even check if anyone wanted any. It's gone. I take it home and can it.  And how does one can, you may ask? You have two options for canning:

Option 1: Pressure Canning
     This basically is loading your product in a jar and putting it in a boiling water bath, sealing the lid, and subjecting it to around 10 pound of pressure or so for some time. The jars will reach a temperature that should kill everything bad in them. Except when they don't. Or the jars explode. Or the canner explodes.

Sauce is done!
   In the end, I'm basically too big a wuss to try to pressure can, even though I own a pressure canner. I just use it for Option 2.

Option 2: Boiling Water Bath Canning
     This is very much like pressure canning, but without the pressure. You are boiling sealed jars of product to kill off bad stuff. Unfortunately, you don't hit the temperatures you need to kill everything.  If the food is naturally acidic (like apples) the acid will take care of the rest. Not everything (like cucumbers) is acidic so you have to pack the foods in something acidic, like vinegar. You make pickles by boil canning. Tomatoes on their own are not acidic enough, so I add lemon juice. I'm not going to bury you with specifics, there are plenty of resources on the internet to help you out. If you only go to one, go to The National Center for Home Food Preparation.

     Are there downsides to canning? Yes. For one, it's a total pain in the ass. It's messy and time consuming. Sometimes jars break. Lids pop off during the canning. Jars don't seal. Jellies don't set. You burn the hell out of yourself with steam and boiling water. Visitors look at each other uncomfortably when they see you have a commercial sized wire rack shelf full of cans for a household of two people.

      Regardless of all that, the wife and I love canning. It's just nice to open a can of summer-time food in the middle of winter. Peppers, jellies, tomatoes, chutneys, relishes, we have all sorts of good stuff waiting for us. And in the case of a zombie apocalypse, we are totally prepared to hunker down and live on the supplies for months!

The fruits (and vegetables) of our labor.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nutritionally Irresponsible Cooking: Fauxganoff

     When I lived in my first apartment, my culinary concerns were more focused on simply filling my belly. My cooking was fairly limited. Ramen, pasta, frozen pizzas, that sort of thing. Mostly this was due to the fact that I was counting every penny. Sometimes I got creative. Things didn't always go well, but there was the occasional success.  One of the less offensive dishes the wife and I regularly ate was something we called "Fauxganoff."

     It's pretty much what you think it is. I cobbled together a mock Beef Stroganoff from stuff I bought at ALDI. That stuff did not include fresh ingredients. This was put together from prepackaged and canned foods. I'm working from memory here, but the recipe went something like this:


  • 1 can Roast Beef with Gravy
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pound egg noodles


  1. Open cans and pour contents into saucepan.
  2. Add cheese
  3. Bring to a simmer
  4. Boil noodles and drain
  5. Put noodles in saucepan and stir
     What's truly irresponsible about this meal is the level of salt you're going subject yourself to. 

If only, but no.
     A can of the beef has something like 2000mg of sodium. If you didn't have high blood pressure before, you will. If you already did have high blood pressure, this is liable to kill you outright. But man, was it good.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Recipe: Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

     As much as I prefer to use an existing recipe as is, or even play around with it, sometimes I feel like going completely on my own in the kitchen. This was one of my first freestyle efforts and it took a couple of tries to get it right. It leaves a lot of room for personal interpretation, which I like in a recipe. As with most of my recipes, I attempted to keep costs and calories down as low as possible. The cost can be kept fairly low, since almost all of the ingredients can be found at ALDI.  I figure these run no more than $2 per serving, assuming you have to go out and buy staples (mayo, eggs, flour, etc). You can cut the cost further by leaving out the lox, but I really like what they add to these cakes.

     Some of my variations of this recipe add panko bread crumbs, some chopped basil, or other simple swap-outs. As far as the hot sauce goes, take it out or leave it in. I just happen to like spicy. When I make this I use my own home-made pepper paste. I also traditionally serve these on English muffins with a slice of tomato. Enjoy!

Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayonnaise 

  • 1 14.75oz can Alaskan Pink Salmon (skin and bones removed)
  • 2 oz. smoked salmon (lox), chopped 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper sauce (or Sriracha if available)
  • 1/2 cup  breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • Grape seed oil for frying
  • Tomato slices for serving
  • English muffins for serving
  • Basil leaves (optional)
    Spicy Mayo
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise 
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (regular paprika is fine if smoked is not available)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper sauce (or Sriracha if available)
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning     
  1. Clean canned salmon of bones and skin
  2. Add first 11 items to a large bowl. Mix well (use your hands if you're not a squeamish baby) 
  3. Form mixture into patties big enough to cover an English muffin
  4. Put enough oil in the bottom of a non-stick pan to cover in a layer. Set to med-high heat.
  5. Fry the patties in the grape seed oil until brown on both sides (3-5 minutes per side). Add oil as needed to keep bottom of pan coated.
  6. Place salmon cakes on paper towel to absorb excess oil
  7. In separate bowl, mix all ingredients for spicy mayo
  8. Toast muffins
  9. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the muffin. Place a slice of tomato on the muffin, place a salmon cake on the tomato. Add a dollop of mayo and a basil leaf for garnish.