Being asked to cook your wonderful spouse a meal.
I am writing this to try to capture factually what goes on in my head when I , a bloke, am asked to cook someone dinner.
Honestly, my mind goes blank…
I first think what would I have liked as a kid, proper Sunday fry, with lashings of bacon and eggs?
Or, a steak au poivre cooked with a nice gravy and some garlic mashed potatoes and some cheese which has been melted on top with, of course, a sprinkle of bacon…
Now take all of that food, and remove it from the menu. The person I am most likely to cook for does not like red meat, loves seafood, and is particular about eating something that is healthy and delicious Don’t forget guys, oysters are healthy,and I usually then look at what cans of food we have in the pantry, and search the fridge for ideas.
I wonder would Nutella and bread suffice for dinner, again?
What I have to do is outside the comfort zone, outside my ken and definitely a shot in the dark.
The only good thing is that when finished, I am usually filled with a great sense of accomplishment and my wonderful wife has a smile on her face – which means happy wife, happy life.
So, one of the recent meals I made was salmon cakes. Sounds simple, but trust me, roll up the sleeves and prepare to get involved in a messy yet therapeutic preparation for the meal.
Pre-meal event – I can already picture, pots boiling over, frying pans even and angle grinder couldn’t clean, and a sink full of unwashable dishes…
oh yeah, and takeout food ordered after a total kitchen catastrophe.
Actually writing this I sound neurotic, but guys(and girls) seriously, if you have a partner who food and cooking comes to naturally, you are praying you don’t poison them when its your turn to cook… and perhaps even impress them.
* 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 stalk celery, finely diced
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley – if no fresh parsley, then the use bottled seasoning you find in a drugstore
* 1 15 oz can of salmon, drained
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 1 3/4 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* Some lemon wedges
To do this you must get recipe, write down the measurements and go to a place you trust to purchase your foods at a price you can afford. Bring food home, so you can get started.
So – lets get started:
* Preheat oven to 450F. If you have Pam cooking spray now would be the time to spray just a thin film onto the baking sheet.
* Wash your hands and use soap!!! Remove wedding ring and store in that little pocket in your right jean pocket. when you are squishing salmon and celery later, you will appreciate not having to pick out the bits from your ring…
* Make space in the kitchen for what you are about to do, if that means you have to move things off the counter then do so.
* If your counter-top could do with a quick cleaning with hot water and bleach, now would be the good time to do it (women loooove the smell of bleach in a kitchen) it smells like….clean!!!!
* Find a good knife, a chopping board that can take some abuse, a couple of bowls, and some side-plates or ramekins to store your recently chopped items.
Now prep the food:
Official and original recipe from http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/easy_salmon_cakes.html
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley; remove from the heat. 3. Place salmon in a medium bowl. Flake apart with a fork; remove any bones and skin. Add egg and mustard; mix well. Add the onion mixture, breadcrumbs and pepper; mix well. Shape the mixture into 8 patties, about 2 1/2 inches wide.
4. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 4 patties and cook until the undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn them over onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining patties.
5. Bake the salmon cakes until golden on top and heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Dill Sauce. Serve salmon cakes with sauce and lemon wedges.
I would recommend eating this with a nice glass of wine (or bottle) like a pinot grigio. Not that I am a sommelier, but my wife really enjoyed the fish with this wine.
Thank you eatingwell.com for the recipe that inspired the meal my wife enjoyed and for making it very easy for someone like me to impress her with my recipe reading skills.