...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Using Leftovers

I love the challenge of using leftovers; it makes me feel like a real home economist.  It's the time of year I start panicking (not really) about cleaning out the freezers to make room for all the goodies we'll want to freeze from this season's garden.  My freezer inventory sheet is still proving to be useful, but we have a long way to go before adding the new stuff.  The goal of this week's menu plan was to use at least one thing from the freezer every night.  I managed to make enough empty space I had to freeze water-filled gallon jugs to add more thermal mass for efficient cooling.  On Tuesday I pulled a bag of risotto out of the freezer and used it that night for a veggie stir-fry dish with a coconut peanut sauce.  The same rice was used again the following night in pan-fried salmon cakes without Ben suspecting much.  Actually, when he did guess that I'd used the rice, he was excited at the variety that one bag of frozen rice could provide.  Because the texture of the rice changed after thawing, this was an ideal way to use it.  With a generous portion of the beautiful mixed greens now flowing freely from out garden, this was a complete meal with little preparation needed.

Salmon-Risotto Cakes
Makes 6 cakes

7 oz. canned or fresh/leftover salmon
1 c. frozen, thawed leftover rice or risotto
1/4 c. fresh, frozen, or dried bread crumbs
3/4 t. dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
Coconut or grapeseed oil for panfrying
Mixed salad greens

Flake and pick out any bones from the salmon.  Combine salmon, rice/risotto, bread crumbs, and dill.  Season to taste.  Shape into patties or press into a ring mold and remove ring.  Freeze about 30 min. to 1 hour before pan-frying.  Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Add the salmon cakes and cook 3-5 min. on each side or until browned.  Blot on a paper towel before serving.  Toss the salad greens with your favorite vinaigrette and serve aside the salmon cakes.  Save some vinaigrette for the cakes, if you prefer.

The new fence, gate, and living awning were completed as of yesterday.  I can't say we did the job ourselves due to time constraints, but we hired a fine craftsman for the job.  I promise to post some pics when the weather clears up so I'm able to get the dirt, etc. cleared from the backyard.  There's still mulching to do and a little clean-up, but otherwise it's done.  My next project has already begun.  I still have two more raised beds to install in the front yard.  One under the front window over the mass of concrete where our blackberry bushes currently poke out, the other at the top of our front hill.  I have to move some perennials first, but plan to start this weekend, weather permitting.  Tonight after work I made a couple trips to The Brickyard to pick up some reclaimed Lannon stone from an old church.  It was a messy day to be out schlepping stones, but I didn't have much choice.  All of my outdoor projects have been time-crunched this year.  Between the backyard raised beds and the ones in front it's been a dash to get them installed by the time I need to get the seeds/seedlings in the ground.  The kale I plan to transplant into the front bed is growing by leaps and bounds in the greenhouse.  It will be happy to have a new home soon.

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