One of the wonderful things about cooking is the ability to take a food and transform it simply by adding a few ingredients and changing the way you cook it.
Take salmon, for example. It’s not my husband’s favorite food when I serve it seasoned simply with salt and pepper and baked. But if I make it into these salmon cakes, it’s a totally different matter. In fact, the other day he said, “I don’t really like salmon. Except for those salmon cakes you make!” In other words, they’re stuff-in-your-face delicious.
If you’re a salmon lover, these yummy cakes are a fabulous way to change up your meal rotation. If you’re on the fence about salmon, they just might make a convert out of you.
Okay, let’s make them!
I suggest that you start by making the mango salsa. That way it has time to sit so the flavors can meld.
Here’s what you’ll need: mangoes, an avocado, cilantro, red bell pepper (you only need half), garlic, salt, lime, green onions, and a jalapeno pepper.
Mix the mango with the chopped veggies, squeeze in the lime juice, and season to taste with salt. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Next come the salmon cakes! You’ll need: 1 pound of fresh salmon, Worcestershire sauce, green onions, parsley, the other half of the red bell pepper, eggs, mayonnaise, panko breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper.
Start by baking the salmon in a hot oven. I suggest that you err on the side of under-cooking it slightly since it will get cooked more when the patties are fried. About 130ºF on an instant-read thermometer seems to work well for me.
Flip the fillet over and scrape off the skin. My kids fight over who gets to eat the skin. Weirdos.
Crumble up the salmon in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Get your hands in there and mix everything together very well.
Form into patties that are about 2 1/2 inches across.
Put some oil in a pan and fry the patties for about 3–4 minutes per side.
Serve with steaming rice and the mango salsa. I always put butter on my rice, and I highly recommend it here. You could even put a dollop of mayonnaise off to the side to dip the cakes in if you like!
Is there a food that you or a family member can’t stand when it’s prepared a certain way, but adore when it’s cooked differently?
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My new cookbook will be here October 22, and it’s available for preorder now! It’s a brand new book, brand new cover, and brand new frontier! I actually stepped outside the kitchen for this cover, and it was nice to get a little fresh air! Ha.
Oh, friends. This cookbook has been many, many months (almost a year) in the making. The testing, the tasting, the obsessing, and the shooting was a delicious process, and I’m so excited for you to see what’s inside. It’s filled to the brim with all the delicious food my family and I love, but I also throw in a few curveballs to keep us all on our toes.
Speaking of what’s inside…here’s a peek! I won’t describe what’s going on in these photos…I’ll just let them seep into your consciousness.
I think of all my cookbooks, while I have different reasons to like each one, The New Frontier is the one I’ve most poured my heart and focus into. It reflects where my life and my cooking are now, and I’ve had so much fun putting it together. More than anything else, I want any cookbook I write to be USED—pages smeared with food stains, dog-eared, and so forth—and I feel good that this cookbook has so many recipes that you will want to make today! (Well, tomorrow, too.)
Here’s where you can preorder the book. I can’t wait for October 22!
And lots of other retailers!
I’ll be announcing my book signing tour soon, and I’m getting excited/geared up for the stops I’m going to make. I hope I can meet you along the way!
This is a sponsored post for CA GROWN Flowers.
Don’t you just love treating yourself to fresh flowers? Whether it’s a fresh cut bouquet from my garden or a fresh bunch of flowers purchased while grocery shopping, that beautiful pop of color sitting on my dining room table always puts a smile on my face.
Since the flowers in my yard aren’t holding up too well to the heat wave we’ve been dealing with in California, I was happy to treat myself to some beautiful flowers from Vons recently. When I walked in the house with them, my 3-year-old jumped up and shouted, “Oh! You brought flowers just for ME?!” How could I say no to that?
Good thing I bought two bunches!
Did you know that June is California Grown Flower Month? The state legislature issued a proclamation making June California Grown Flower month to demonstrate support for an industry that provides over 145,000 jobs, generates $12.2 billion in business activity and $1.1 billion in additional tax.
Honestly, I had no idea that the California flower industry was so big or that it was so easy to find and purchase beautiful flowers that are grown right in my state. When buying flowers, look for the blue and yellow CA GROWN license plate on the packaging and you’ll know that you’re supporting California flower farmers. I know that many of you think about buying local when it comes to food and supporting small businesses, but it might not occur to you think the same way when buying flowers.
I happened to be in Fresno recently so I went to Vons Woodward Park Pavilion to check out their selection of California Grown flowers They had a nice big display that was visible as soon as I walked in. Each bunch of California Grown flowers was clearly marked with the blue license plate logo, making it super easy to choose locally grown flowers.
Flowers grown in our state are fresh and last longer because they are grown in our own backyard. And California Grown flowers are grown by multi-generational farming families, who have a rich history of giving back to their communities. Coming from a multi-generational farming family myself, I have seen this firsthand.
My husband and I went to our local Save Mart in Madera last night and I discovered they have a huge beautiful CA Grown flowers display there now, too. I was happy to see the flower department looking so great to go along with the recent remodel the store has undergone. To be honest I haven’t always loved the flower selection at our local grocery store, but I was seriously impressed with the CA Grown flowers on display.
If you’re in Madera and haven’t shopped at Save Mart on Howard Road in a while, check it out. The new look of the store is so beautiful that I almost don’t mind having to walk up and down every aisle to find my groceries since the entire store has been rearranged. Luckily the ice cream is in the same spot.
So next time you’re in the mood to treat yourself to fresh flowers, look for the blue CA Grown license plate logo and help support California flower farmers with your purchase. You can find CA Grown flowers at Safeway Northern California, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s, Albertsons and Vons Pavilions, Lazy Acres Natural Markets.
Just don’t forget the ice cream!
This hawthorn berry & rosebud herbal syrup contains ingredients that are often used in traditional Chinese medicine. I wanted to create a herbal syrup that would be quite versatile — something that would suit a busy contemporary Singaporean household with young children (meaning pancakes for breakfast, chicken rice for lunch), and still enable me to sneak some wellness and care into my family’s diet. This particular combination of dried Chinese herbs — hawthorn berry, liquorice root and schisandra fruit — is ideal for hot weather as they nourish yin and improve appetites.
Flavour was key for me in trying to combine the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine with deliciousness and usefulness as well as indulgence. This herbal syrup draws its sweetness from liquorice root (this is subtle and complex even though it’s considered to be sweeter than sugar!), Chinese dates (which are rich in nutrients) and hawthorn berries (some of that nostalgic flavour from the haw flake candy we ate growing up here in Singapore). Schisandra fruit give it appealing tartness and a hint of bitterness, I suspect, along with the liquorice (think Negroni).
I feel that rosebuds give the mixture balance. Steeped rather than boiled, the mildly floral qualities the dried buds contribute round out the sweetness and acidity in this herbal syrup. But you can omit them if you don’t like this flavour.
On the subject of sugar, take my measurements to be mere guidelines. The unsweetened brew has its own natural herbal sweetness contrasted with some fruit acidity and a touch of bitterness. So I would adjust the quantity of sugar based upon your or your family’s palate as well as the intended use for this herbal syrup. I’ve sweetened it to match my husband’s preference.
The most obvious use for this hawthorn berry & rosebud herbal syrup as the base for a cold, thirst quenching drink, but it can be incorporated into your food and drink in so many other ways. When I’ve over indulged, I find that a small shot of this herbal syrup combined with hot water and freshly squeezed lemon juice helps my digestion and feels so comforting to sip on.
Choosing a pot
It’s important that you use a pot that’s made of material that won’t create a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with the herbs. I generally use enamel because mine works on induction. However, I was concerned that these herbs might stain my white enamel pot. So, in this instance I chose a stainless steel-lined copper pot. Ceramic and glass are other possible options. Be mindful of porous materials as these absorb and retain flavours.
I’ve always aspired to incorporate more traditional Chinese medicine herbs into my daily cooking because I believe in preventative treatments. However, it was always challenging to develop recipes my family would enjoy as I didn’t really understand what I could and couldn’t do with the herbs and struggled to find reliable information published in English. So, I tended to follow traditional Chinese recipes. Or I’d use pre-packaged herbs to make classic double-boiled soups. These had limited relevance to the way my family eats on a daily basis.
I was thrilled to discover that 140-year-old Eu Yan Sang has recently published a slim tome that explains, with beautiful illustrations, the uses of key TCM herbs in English. This title has guided the way I developed my recipe for hawthorn & rosebud herbal syrup.
Hawthorn berry is good for enhancing digestion and relieving bloatedness. On its own, it can be a little harsh, so combining it with liquorice, honey or sugar helps to harmonise its effect.
Liquorice root is the most widely used herb in traditional Chinese medicine. It is said to be 30-50 times sweeter than sugar and helps with clearing phlegm and heat. Chinese dates nourish the blood and is good for your circulation. I personally like using large dried dates.
Schisandra fruit are said to boast five flavours — sweet, tart, bitter, salty and pungent. They are rich in antioxidants and are considered to benefit all five Yin organs: liver, lung, heart, kidneys and spleen.
20g dried hawthorn berry (山楂) slices
9g (about 4-5 slices) dried liquorice root (甘草)
6g (about 2tsp) dried schisandra fruit (五味子)
20g (about 3) large Chinese dates (大枣)
1litre water (ideally filtered)
20g dried culinary grade rosebuds (optional)
200-250g rock sugar (to taste)
Rinse and drain the Chinese dates. Cut into quarters and remove pits.
Combine the hawthorn berries, liquorice root and schisandra fruit. Rinse and drain.
Place the dates, hawthorn berries, liquorice root and schisandra fruit in a saucepan with 1 litre of water. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Bring mixture to a rolling boil, then lower to a vigorous simmer. Partially cover the pot with a lid and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half (about 45 minutes).
Remove from the heat, add rosebuds and stir briefly. Cover the saucepan completely and set aside to steep for at least 20 minutes. (Skip this step of not using rosebuds.)
Next, strain the liquid. Return it to the saucepan with the sugar. Reheat the liquid to dissolve the sugar. This should yield about 450ml of syrup. If you prefer a thicker mixture, you may opt to bring the liquid back up to a vigorous simmer for another 30 minutes.
Summer is all about backyard barbecues, pool parties, and laid-back fun. It’s supposed to be a care-free time, and hosting a summer party should also be care-free.
I’m sharing some tips on how to host a successful summer party free of stress. With a little prepping early in the season, you’ll be able to throw a party at the drop of a hat. In fact, you may get so good at it, your house will be the summer party house. Of course, the question is, do you want to be the summer party house?
Nothing says summer like a grill. You can toss on some burgers and hot dogs or season your protein of choice with your favorite seasoning blend and throw that on the grill. The key here is to keep it simple: meat plus fire and done.
It’s summer and it’s hot. So try serving sides and snacks that don’t require any cooking. Think no-cook sides like cucumber salads, corn succotash, bean, and kale salads. I love adding fruit to my salads, too. Want to add some snacks to the menu? You can never go wrong with hummus, guacamole, or bean dips with crudités and crackers.
Set up a serve-yourself drink bar. Set out wines, juices, and fruit so people can prepare their own sangria. Do your guests prefer beer? Try a beer cocktail bar with a variety of beers, citrus juice, tomato juice, and sliced citrus. This way, they can enjoy a brew or a brew cocktail.
When summer hits, I stock a storage tub with all the drinking and eating essentials such as disposable plates, utensils, napkins, and cups. In the same tub, I store inexpensive plastic serving trays, bowls, serving utensils, and summer party theme decorations.
Set the mood with music. Take some time and curate a summer music playlist. If that’s too time-consuming for you, use a summer tunes playlist from a streaming music service.
Stock up on insect repellent and citronella candles. There is nothing worse than being eaten alive by pesky mosquitos when you’re trying to enjoy your sangria and crudités. Also, have sunscreen on hand to protect yourself and guests from the sun.
If you are worried about not having enough seating for your guests, there is no rule that says you can’t take inside furniture outside for the day. Think you may need more? Consider renting some folding chairs from your local party rental. Folding chair rental can be as little as $1 to $2.50 depending on the chair. Want to keep it real casual and fun? Lay out some picnic blankets for your guests.
If you plan for festivities to go into the night, think about setting the mood with lighting. A string of patio lights or Christmas lights can go a long way. If you have a pool, consider some floating pool lights.
One of the best ways to get your guests to interact is to play some games. Think of some yard games like corn-hole, spike ball, ladder toss, or giant Jenga.
So, are you ready to party yet? Crack open your beverage of choice, fire up a text message to all your favorite humans, and start inviting some people over. It’s time to paaar-tay! (Or keep it quaint and intimate, if you prefer. You do you.)
What are some of your tips for a stress-free summer party?
Spanish cuisine dates back to ages ago. For many years, Paella was synonymous to Spanish cooking. The major factor for this was that the dictator, Franco, had a thing for it. Every Thursday, Madrid restaurants would prepare it because Thursdays were the days Franco came out to have lunch and interact with his people.
The 70s came, and tourism became huge in the Costa del Sol and other areas of Spain. This was a good thing in all aspects because it was then the world saw the many potentials of Spanish cuisines.
Spanish food is greatly influenced by the Mediterranean diet, and because the country is diverse, the food options are too. It is also influenced by cuisines from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Because of this, Spanish cooking saw a surge in the importation of spices and new food items. And it was also a good thing because these new food items greatly improved the Spanish food culture.
Consider the above as some sort of history lesson.
Now, you can get this Spanish cookbook to ensure that you make customary and amazing Spanish meals which will absolutely interest anyone that takes a bite. You will explore and discover a new side to delicious and healthy food from Spain with the 25 recipes you will find in this book. These meals are great for any setting – a family meal or a party. ‘
Get this cookbook now and let the aroma of sweet Spanish food fill your kitchen, to the delight of your nostrils and your tongue.
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