Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Chicken and the Egg

I was watching Good Eats on Food Network the other night.  My hubby actually watches the show...he likes the science behind all of Alton's recipes.  Anyway, the topic of discussion was Chicken and Dumplings.  I was intrigued enough to try and making some for dinner, with "dropped," dumplings instead of the "slick," noodle-like dumplings.  Alton had nothing in his broth except the meat and the dumplings.  I added some fresh thyme (because I like thyme with chicken), plus leeks, carrots, and celery per David's suggestion ("That's how my mother made them."). 

What can I say? Where has this dish been all my life?  Simple comfort food...and the hubby liked it too.  Excuse me while I go sneak another bite out of the pot!

As for the egg--I love the smoked paprika I get from Penzey's.  Whenever I make deviled eggs, I always sprinkle a little regular paprika on top for a pretty garnish.  I figured smoked paprika would be good, if not better.  Just for the heck of it, I googled, "smoky deviled eggs, " and this recipe popped up.  So of course I made 'em. ;-)

Let me tell you...these were easy, and they were GOOD.  I took them to our playgroup today...we had a potluck and Easter egg hunt for the kids.  I made a dozen, (24 halves), and they were gone in an instant...I was barely able to save the last one for David to sample tonight when he gets home from work (and he liked them as well). 

I guess this is not a "wordless" post after all, but I probably won't post anything for Friday as it is a day of fast and abstinance for us.  Christina is hoping for grilled cheese...which is starting to sound good.  I'll try and get up a post for Easter; mostly things I have made before, but one new dessert recipe will be up for show.  It's from the Pioneer you know it's going to be good!

God bless your table tonight!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Parsley Pesto

 When David tore up the last of the winter garden 3 weeks ago, he brought me a HUGE pile of cilantro...enough to feed a horse.  I promptly put it in the kid's wagon, and sent Rebecca around the block offering it to all the neighbors.  We got rid of just over half of it this I had to figure out what to do with the rest.

We had a perfectly marvelous dinner with a Legionnaire priest and seminarian about 10 days later...and I made a simple roast chicken, rubbed with this amazing pesto recipe I found on the internet.  Even after making a triple batch, I still had fresh cilantro in the fridge.  So I made another triple batch of the pesto and froze it...which finally used nearly all of it. 

I am pretty darn sure as this pesto was so good on roast chicken, a small dollop in some black bean soup would be fabulous.  Not to mention equally as good on a piece of fish, steak, pork, or whatever else you fancy. 

I stuck to the original recipe, except I substituted toasted almonds for the pine nuts--which can be difficult to find and expensive to boot.  I also left out the red pepper flakes, because I knew they would be too spicy for my kids...but if you like a pesto with attitude, then leave them in. 

One last thing...I made Cheesy Green Chile Cornbread to serve on the side.  Simple and delicious, because it starts with a boxed cornbread mix. 

Hopefully it is getting to be spring where you are...if not, this meal is one last warming, rib-sticking meal to say goodbye to winter!

Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Parsley Pesto

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, undrained and divided
Pinch of red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken/vegetable broth
1 can (10 ounces) Rotel tomatoes
1 can (11 ounces) yellow corn, drained
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Place one can of beans in a blender.  Add the sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes (I left them out) and cumin.  I used my immersion blender.  If you like to make pureed soups, you really must get transferring hot soup back and forth to the blender!

If you're using a blender, cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture back into the pot. 

Place second can of beans and broth in blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth, and stir into the pot along with the first batch of beans. 

Stir the third can of beans (do not puree first), Rotel, and corn into the pot.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Serve with a swirl of sour cream and a tablespoon of the cilantro-parsley pesto. 

Y' just have to make this pesto.  I tried a bit of the soup without the pesto, and then a bite with.  It just about blew my mind.  The pesto added a wonderful layer of flavor...the lime zest and lime juice complimented the beans perfectly.  Even my hubby said, "I really like the pesto with the soup." And that's saying something!
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts/almonds
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
Juice and zest from 1 lime
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic and pine nuts/almonds until they are finely minced.  Add the cilantro, parsley, lime juice, lime zest, red wine vinegar, cumin seeds, chile powder, and red pepper flakes.  Process for about 10-15 seconds, and scrap down the bowl.  Slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is viscous (not pasty, but not really liquidy either).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.  You can also make it in advance and freeze it in ice cube trays.  Pop the cubes out once they're frozen and place in a zip-top freezer bag.  They will last 3-6 months. 

I apologize for the lack of pictures...I made the pesto a couple of weeks ago and froze it...and didn't take any pics of the process...sorry!  I can offer a close-up, but that's all. 

* To toast the cumin seeds, place them in a dry skillet over low heat, and shake the pan every couple of minutes until they are lightly golden brown.  Watch them won't take long.  If you can smell them, that usually means they are done.  I found whole cumin seeds in the Mexican section of my grocery store.

This soup is simple, hearty, AND healthy!  If you use light sour cream, it won't add much.  Yes, there is a lot of olive oil in the pesto, but you only need a tablespoon in your bowl.  It adds such a great flavor...I hope you make it too! 

God bless your table tonight!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Okay...with as few words as possible, here's what we had for dinner tonight (with homemade mashed potatoes of course. ;-)

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Fried Steak

And yes, it was good.  I mean really, really good.  But I can't give you the recipe... and it's not on her website.  Just go buy her cookbook and make it yourself.  Your husband will kiss you for it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

3 Tiered Triple Chocolate Cake

First, I'd like to apologize in advance for posting this...I may be tormenting readers who gave up sweets for Lent.  I tried to do that...but confess by the 4th week of Lent, I succumbed to temptation.  I did stop snacking after the kids went to bed...but I needed chocolate to get through a few emotional roller-coasters.  Chocolate fixes everything, right? ;-)

Anyway...Joshua had to make a cake to auction off at his Cub Scout meeting 2 weeks ago.  It was supposed to be made with minimal help from an adult.  But I knew David wouldn't be able to help at all...he's almost never home from work before 7:00 PM.  And you don't let a ten-and-a-half year old boy whose ADHD medicine wears off around 5:00 PM loose in the kitchen.  Seriously...I couldn't bring myself to do it.

But..Joshua and I sat down and designed the cake, and all the ideas were his.  He baked all the cake layers, mixed all the buttercream frosting, and made 1 batch of the chocolate ganache.  Yes, I helped, but he measured and poured, and we had everything nearly done after 3 nights in the kitchen.  Thursday I assembled the cake, and Joshua helped finishing decorating it once he came home from school. 

David was happy there was leftover frosting and ganache to eat, straight out of the fridge.  I told y'all he's the biggest kid around here. ;-)

So, if you want a chocolate dessert that will impress...I dare you to take this on!  Please keep in mind I am a total amature when it comes to cake decorating, and I relied on the advice of 2 girlfriends who bake and decorate cakes on a regular basis.  I give them all the credit!  I don't have step-by-step pictures...I was too stressed...but you should be able to follow along.

3 Tiered Triple Chocolate Cake

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE: (makes 2, 8 or 9 inch layers)

1 box chocolate devil's food cake mix (without pudding)
3 tablespoons unsweeted cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your cake pans with shortening and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the cake mix, cocoa, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat for 2 minutes...the batter will be somewhat thick.  Divide evenly into the prepared pans at bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  (Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then a layer of foil if you're freezing them in advance). 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM: (makes enough to frost 2 cake layers)

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter at room temperature
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (buy the good stuff!)
4 cups (appoximately 1 pound) powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk

In a stand mixer, cream together the shortening and butter.  Add the cocoa powder, then the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scrapping down the bowl as necessary.  When all the sugar has been incorporated, add the milk, and beat well for 2 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.  (If making in advance, store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks). 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE: (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
9 ounces (just over a cup) bittersweet/semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream just until a few small bubbles form around the edges, do not let it boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips.  Let sit for just a minute, and then stir gently until all the chocolate is melted.  (Store in a covered container in the fridge if making in advance.  Either reheat in a double boiler or in the microwave on LOW power until it is the spreading consistency you want). 

* You will also need cake pans in 9, 8, and 6-inch diameters, cardboard cake rounds, 1/4 inch wooden dowels, 1 bamboo skewer, chocolate sprinkles (optional), a large, star-shapped frosting tip and pipping bag (but a zip-top bag will also work), an offset spatula, and a sturdy, 1/2 inch plywood base covered with foil to transport your cake.  I also used one white cake dollie on top of the foil base.  All of these supplies can be found at Walmart or Michael's except the plywood base, which my hubby kindly make for me. 

First, make your cake layers.  Bake 2 9-inch layers, 2 8-inch layers, and 2 6-inch layers, using 1 recipe of chocolate cake for 2 layers.  Because the 6-inch pans are small, use only 1/2 of the batter, and bake the rest seperately.  I made 7 cupcakes, which my kiddos didn't mind eating at all. ;-)  To save yourself and your sanity, you can make the layers in advance and thaw at room temperature once you're ready to frost. 

Next, make 3 batches of the chocolate buttercream frosting.  I used 4 tablespoons of milk because I like it to be more spreadable (remember, I'm a novice here!).  The frosting can also be made in advance and set out about an hour before using (you'll want to rewhip it too). 

Finally, make 3 batches of the chocolate ganache.  Store in the fridge until you're ready to use it. 

Now, we're finally ready to assemble.  You'll want to allow plenty of time to assemble.  I like to take things slow if I'm doing something the first time.  I started about 10:00 AM, and finished around 3:00 PM. 

Level the tops of all your cake layers.  It is VERY important that they are COMPLETELY flat.  Save the scraps for your kids or your pets.  Slice each one of your cake layers in half.  Here's a tutorial if youy need help (I used toothpicks inserted halfway up the sides of the cake also):

 Splitting Cake Layers

Place the foil covered, plywood base on your work surface.  Place a small dollop of the frosting and spread it out with the offset spatula.  Place your cake dollie on top of the frosting and make sure it's perfectly flat...smooth out any ridges of frosting with your fingers if necessary. 

Now place another small dollop of frosting on top of the dollie, and spread it out. 

Place one, 9-inch cake layer down, and spread about 4 tablespoons of the chocolate ganache over the top.  Place the cake layer in the fridge for about 20 minutes to set the ganache.  Take it back out, top with another 9-inch layer, and cover with another portion of the ganache. 

Repeat for the other 2, 9-inch layers.  (Remember we had 2 9-inch cakes, which we cut in half, so now we have 4, 9-inch layers)

At this point, you will have 4, 9-inch layers, with chocolate ganache in between each layer. 

Chill for 20 minutes, and then cover the whole thing with a crumb coat of the buttercream frosting.  A crumb coat is a very thin layer that just seals the cake and any loose crumbs.  (Keep the buttercream covered in between uses so it doesn't dry out).

Place back in the fridge for 20 minutes to set it, and then cover the cake with a thicker layer of buttercream frosting, and press the chocolate sprinkles into the sides.  If you do this over a rimmed sheet pan, it will catch any sprinkles that fall...which you can gather up and reuse.  I did this to up the chocolate factor and cover any imperfections in the frosting.  Chill the cake one more time to set the frosting.  

At this point, you need to stabilize the cake with wooden dowels.  Here's the article my friend sent me...and it really helped.  Follow the directions in the article to stabilize the first tier. 

After you stack the first tier, prepare the 8-inch cakes the same way you did the 9-inch layers.  Dowel the 8-inch cake and top with a cardboard round.  Don't forget to use a dollop of frosting on the cardboard round to secure the first 8-inch cake layer, and chill the cake for 20-30 minutes in between applications of the ganache.  Then prepare the 6-inch cake in the same manner as the 9 and 8-inch cakes. 

I used a long bamboo skewer to stablize the whole cake but a sharpened wooden dowel (per the article directions), will work just fine.

Now for the last part!  Place the remaining chocolate buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Here's a previous post about preparing a frosting bag if you need more detailed instructions. 

Use the buttercream to pipe a row of stars along the bottom of the cake and in between each tier.  You'll see in the pictures I forgot to put stars on the bottom tier...oh well!  If you fancy anything else, go for it...stars are about the only thing I can do.  By now, Joshua was home, and I helped him pipe the stars on the top tier. 

Joshua had decided to make a candy topper for the cake in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, which is the emblem of the Boy Scouts.  We used a cookie cutter as our mold and white chocolate bar to make the fleur-de-lis. 

I did grease and flour the cookie cutter to make sure it would release easily.  And I used a little bit of buttercream to secure it to the top of the cake.  The "Webelos Rule" wording was Joshua's second choice after we told him his first choice of "Boys Rule" would not be appropriate. ;-) 


This baby wasn't terribly heavy, but I wouldn't allow anyone else to transport to the Cub Scout meeting except myself.  I was confident it wouldn't collapse (that's why we used that dollop of frosting on the cardboard rounds to make sure the cake layers wouldn't shift, and the dowels).  Joshua won the trophy for "Most Chocolatey," which he was going for, and our cake went for the highest bid. 

I realize $15 isn't a whole lot, but if your cake didn't get any bids, you had to take it home...and I sure didn't want to take ours home.  I didn't want to see chocolate cake for at least a month after making this monster!  I posted pics of the other cakes on my other blog, be sure to check 'em out!

Here's our proud Cub Scout with the cake and his trophy. :-)

I was happy for Joshua...and I got a foot massage after we got home and put the kids to bed.  Ahhh! 

If you love someone who's a chocoholic, make them this cake...even one tier will do.  They will be singing your praises forever more!

God bless your table tonight!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spinach Lasagna

Rebecca has been begging me for weeks to make lasagna, ever since we ate some at the volunteer dinner our church hosts for all the youth every spring.  That lasagna was so good, I ate the last bit of Rebecca's portion, and half of Christina's, rejoicing with every bite, because I really don't make it but once or twice a year.  The kids like pasta, but like their Dad, they will only eat certain kinds (penne, linguini, etc).  I could eat it every day...but it would affect my waistline...big time. 

I told Rebecca we'd make lasagna over Spring Break when we'd have time...and not rush some good mommy-daughter time in the kitchen.  I so wish we could put some Italian sausage in it...but it's Lent, so we are going with spinach and finely chopped mushrooms instead.  Hopefully the kids won't see 'em!  But I'm thinking about cooking up some sausage for the next day and adding it to any leftover sauce...then we could serve it over the top.  Yum!

You can use fresh spinach if you'd like...I chose frozen to save the blanching step.  And I used part skim ricotta...fat free anything never tastes quite right to me.  And if you want to make homemade pasta sauce...go right ahead.  I just used what was on special at the store this week, but do yourself a favor and don't buy the cheap stuff.  I like Barilla or Classico, but you use your favorite brand. 

Spinach Lasagna

20 lasagna noodles (1 box)
2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups fresh spinach, blanched and drained well
OR 1, (10 ounce boxes frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed very dry)
3 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 egg
3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups homemade or jarred tomato pasta sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* A note of interest before we proceed with this recipe, which was brought to my attention today.    Canon law 1251 states says abstaining from meat on Fridays of Lent is not required if it falls on a Solemnity.  Since tomorrow is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, you are not bound to abstain from meat.  I have chosen to stick with my original plan of making meatless lasagna, but I imagine the addition of some browned, sweet/spicy Italian sausage to the tomato pasta sauce would be delicious.  Here's a good article if you are interested in learning more-- In the Light of the Law.

Now that's settled ;-).  Let's make lasagna people!

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Swirl in a teaspoon of olive oil--this will keep the noodles from sticking together.  Add the lasagna noodles and cook just shy of al dente.  (Honestly, I cook 'em only about 2/3rds through...they'll finish later on in the oven).  Drain the noodles and lay out on a baking sheet to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and saute until tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove from the heat, and drain well (I used a colander lined with several layers of paper towels). 

Put the mixture into a large bowl.  Add the ricotta, spinach, nutmeg, Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, oregano, basil, and egg.  (I used Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle in place of the basil and oregano).  I confess, my pictures are not in the same order as the directions...I put everything for the filling in the bowl, and almost forgot about the onion/mushroom mixture. happens!

One little secret to a good lasagna is to make sure your filling isn't too watery or loose.  That's why we drained the onion/mushroom mixture and squeezed the spinach dry.  A wet lasagna will slip and slide all over the place when you cut into it. 

It's time to assemble!  Make sure all your little helpers are ready, and line up the noodles, filling, tomato sauce, and cheeses out on your work surface. 

Spread about 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a lightly greased, 9x13 baking dish. 

Lay 3-4 lasagna noodles over the sauce. 

Spread over 1/3 of the ricotta/spinach mixture...

followed by 1 cup of shredded mozzarella...
(You'll notice I used pre-sliced was cheaper that week than the bags of shredded cheese)

1/3 cup of parmesan cheese...

and 1 cup of the tomato pasta sauce. 

Repeat the layering process 2-3 more times.  We had enough noodles, filling and tomato sauce to make 4 layers total. 

On top of the last layer of noodles, spread a little bit of tomato sauce and sprinkle on some more mozzarella cheese.  (I added a little more parmesan and a little pasta sprinkle too). 

Cover the pan with some foil (if you lightly grease the underside of the foil, the melting cheese won't stick).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Uncover the lasagna and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. 

Mama Mia!  Ain't she a beaut? (what a combination...Italian and East Texas twang...LOL!)

Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving so it has time to set up...and it will be easier to cut into.  This goes great with a green salad or roasted vegetable on the side...the more veggies the better, right? 

Our Joshua would say, "This is Garfield's favorite meal Mom!"  (He loves the Garfield comic strip, and has half a dozen of the comic books).  Thank goodness he behaves better than that cat. 

Enjoy, and God bless your table tonight!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pecan-Crusted Catfish (and Homemade Fishsticks)

I really tried to get this post up sooner this week, but I've been up to my eyeballs in chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, chocolate ganache, and chocolate sprinkles.  Once I've recovered fully...I'll post that project, but for now...I want to give you this week's meatless entree. 

I have made this many times, because it's darn easy and catfish is readily available in most grocery stores.  This would be equally good on cod, snapper, or trout. 

If your kids are not sure about this recipe, it's easy to reserve some of the fish and made some homemade fishsticks for them.

Pecan-Crusted Catfish

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 catfish fillets, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Lemon wedges for serving, if desired

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, lemon peel, pecan, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.  The mixture should be a loose paste...sometimes I find an extra tablespoon of butter helps it come together a little better.  ;-)

Place the catfish on a non-stick baking sheet, and press the mixture on top of each fillet, dividing it evenly amongst the four pieces. 

Bake the catfish for 15-18 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. 

Serve at once with the lemon wedges.  I usually make sauteed spinach and rice pilaf on the side.

Homemade Fishsticks

2-4 catfish fillets (it depends on how many chittlins' you're feeding ;-)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. 

Use a sharp knife to cut the fillets into "sticks."  I find it best to cut the fillets on the diagonal. 

Combine the flour and Old Bay in one shallow dish, the egg in another, and the bread crumbs in a third dish.  You're just setting up your breading station here.

Dip the fillet into the flour, and shake off the excess.  Then submerge it into the egg, and press firmly into the panko.  Lay the fishsticks out on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until fish is firm and opaque. 

Serve with tarter sauce (or in our house, a big helping of ketchup ;-).

I hope you're having a wonderful, contemplative, and peaceful Lent. 
God bless your table tonight!

There might not be any pics of this recipe.  I STILL have not recovered from the big chocolate cake we're going to the fish fry at church tonight.  But I know y'all can handle it ;-). 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Salmon Patties with Lemon Dill Sauce

Hi everyone!  This week has gone by so fast!  I meant to get this post up yesterday...which obviously didn't happen.  This morning I got my eyes dilated...ugh...and I could hardly see afterwards...let alone type.  Someone remind me not to get my eyes dilated when it's nice and sunny outside...I wore my sunglasses for 2/3 of the day!

All right, now where was I???

Oh yes...this week's meatless entree.  ;-)  You might think your kids would turn their noses up at salmon patties, but they're really just dressed up fish sticks to them.  They taste like fish, are lightly breaded, amd they're nice and crunchy too.  Grownups can eat 'em with the lemon-dill sauce, and kids can smother 'em in ketchup.  Everyone's happy!

If you are pressed for time, feel free to substitute one 15.5 ounce can of pink salmon for the fresh salmon.  You'll find it in the same aisle as the tuna fish at the grocery store.

Salmon Patties with Lemon-Dill Sauce


1 pound skin-on salmon fillet, cleaned and free of small bones
salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup panko or fine dry bread crumbs (plus more for breading)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons fresh snipped dill
2 tablespoons milk
Juice and zest of 1 large or 2 smaller lemons
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil


3/4 cup mayo or salad dressing (we like Miracle Whip)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
1 tablespoons chives, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon peel
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours so the flavors have time to develop.

If you're starting with fresh salmon, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Check the fillet for any tiny bones and remove them with your fingers or a pair of tweezers.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. 

I didn't take a picture of the fish before it went in the oven.  One of my children...who's name I will not reveal had a major tantrum while I was prepping the fish, so I was terribly distracted.

 Bake the fish at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  A thicker fillet might take a few minutes longer.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.  (If you're using canned salmon, just break open the can, and carefully remove and skin and bones).

In a large bowl, combine the panko/bread crumbs, parsley, scallions, dill,  milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, mustard, and hot sauce (if desired). 

When the salmon is cool enough to handle, break it into small bits (like you would tuna out of the can), and add it to the bowl (or simply add the canned salmon to the bowl).  Gently mix everything together with your hands--the salmon will break down further and it should all stick together. 

Form the mixture into 8 patties, a bit smaller than a hamburger (about 2 1/2 inches wide). 

Place some more panko or bread crumbs into a shallow dish and dredge each pattie gently into the crumbs. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook the patties for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  You may need to cook just 4 at a time so you don't crowd the pan.

Serve immediately with the lemon-dill sauce and lemon wedges. 

These taste wonderful with a roasted vegetable, side salad, or coleslaw.  Alternatively, you can make 16 smaller patties and serve them as an appetizer...they'd be perfectly charming!

Enjoy, and God bless your table tonight!