11 April 2015

Cleaning out the fridge

Lunch today was a fridge-full-of-leftovers affair, and I'm going to pretend that that gives me a halfway decent excuse to throw together a bunch of unrelated recipes that I've been meaning to post but haven't had time or photos for...

First off, I did wind up using chicken in the pasta salad last night. It would up being too windy to comfortably eat outside, but we all crowded into the front seat and watched the birds at the migratory bird refuge while sharing slices of tomato, orange, and a big container of Strawberry-Chicken Pasta Salad. We saw lots of Canada geese, mallard ducks, a cluster of gulls, and four pairs of tundra swans!

Strawberry-Chicken Pasta Salad

1 lb farfalle, cooked and cooled
13 oz cooked chicken, chopped/shredded
fresh strawberries, diced
1-2 stalks celery, finely diced
a handful of slivered almonds
4 oz Swiss cheese, cubed
olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Toss the pasta with a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking. Stir in chicken, strawberries, celery, almonds and cubes of Swiss. Stir in balsamic vinegar and pepper to taste, adding a little more oil if it's too dry.

I'd never made a pasta salad without a mayo base before, but remembered Matt saying something about olive oil-based pasta salads being what he'd grown up with... I think? That might actually have been about fruit salads with a yogurt dressing vs. no dressing, now that I'm thinking about it. Hmm. Regardless, we all liked it!


The true measure of a salmon cake recipe is whether they are still good after being reheated. The last recipe we tried, a year or so ago, was kind of meh reheated; I don't think all of the leftovers got eaten. Earlier this week, though, we tried the recipe Matt grew up with. I very happily ate the last two, slathered with "Tardis sauce" (tartar sauce) and microwaved, for lunch yesterday and today: now we have a recipe worth writing down.

Salmon Cakes with "Tardis sauce"

15 oz cooked flaked salmon (I used three 5 oz pouches, because I've been really unhappy with the canned stuff whenever I've bought it in the past)
2 eggs
1-2 stalks celery, very finely diced
1/2 an onion, finely diced
1 1/2 slices of bread, crumbed
olive oil

Beat eggs slightly. Stir in salmon, celery and onion. (You can stick it in the fridge for several hours at this point if you aren't ready to cook them yet.) Mix in bread crumbs and form into 5-6 patties. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry patties in olive oil 10 minutes or until browned (turning once).

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 baby dill pickles, finely diced
a little bit of pickle brine, to taste

Whisk together. Serve with salmon cakes.


I totally meant to post this one during Holy Week, and then time got away from me, as it has been lately... We made a Greek baked fish recipe for supper on Palm Sunday, and it turned out incredibly well. We definitely don't want to lose this one! (I was sort of following the recipe from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Berg Vitz, but made several substantial changes.)

Psari Plaki

1 good-sized white fish fillet, skinless (we had halibut)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bunch of green onions, the white and pale green parts, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Place the fish on a foil-lined sheet pan with sides. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic until translucent and lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 10 minutes. Pour sauce over fish. Bake at 375 F until the fish flakes easily, probably 15-25 minutes depending on thickness of fillet.

Serve with long grain brown rice cooked in vegetable broth, and something green (salad, steamed broccoli, etc.)


I promised Matt that we wouldn't lose this recipe either. To bring to my family's house for Easter, I made spinach artichoke dip tucked inside little cups of crescent roll dough... delicious! We may have each sampled at least one from each batch as they came out of the oven... quality control, you know. Oops, that one's shaped funny, better eat it too; can't be bringing lopsided appetizers for Easter! I'd like to make these again next year, but I need to find a mini muffin pan of our own so I'm not running over and interrupting my mom mid-Holy Saturday to borrow hers.

Spinach Artichoke Bites

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
12-14 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/3 of this crescent roll dough recipe (or two 8 oz rolls of crescent roll dough)
finely shredded mozzarella

Mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, garlic, artichokes, and spinach. Divide dough in quarters (if using tubes, divide each in half). One portion at a time, roll dough into a rectangle and cut into 12 squares. Press each square into one cup of a lightly greased mini muffin pan and fill with the spinach artichoke dip. Sprinkle a little shredded mozzarella on top of each. Bake at 375 F for 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

There was a little leftover spinach artichoke dip, which definitely wouldn't still have been in the fridge today if we'd had any crackers in the house this week or if bending down to the vegetable drawer for carrots didn't make me nauseous!, but it made very good "pinwheels" for lunch today spread on tortillas, warmed, rolled up and sliced.


One more should-logically-have-been-posted-during-Holy Week recipe? Okay. Every year on Holy Thursday I have to try and remember which recipe from which cookbook I use for Hot Cross Buns. This year I combined two recipes, and I'm never going to remember that next year if I don't write it out!

Hot Cross Buns

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour (1 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1 egg yolk + water for egg wash

Combine sugar, yeast, salt, spices and 1 cup of flour in mixer bowl. Warm butter and milk together until milk reaches 120-130 F (butter doesn't need to completely melt). On slow speed, beat liquid into dry ingredients. Increase to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in egg and another cup of flour, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Stir in (with mixer or by hand) enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead 10 minutes, working in raisins and currants. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down and divide into 12 balls. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Whisk together until smooth. Use icing to trace a cross on top of each bun.

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