I’ve been on a mission trying to increase the girls’ protein intake. Healthy protein intake, I must add. Of course, given my background, I’ve been pushing to ensure the girls can stomach natto, whole fish(with head and eyes “Fish sleeping!”) as well as meat parts OTHER than simply boring white, chicken breast (e.g. chicken drum sticks, sautéed liver with onion, ginger, scallions, seasoned with soy sauce and miso). Both girls enjoy sanma (saury) freshly grilled with some lemon juice, and I use shirasu in their breakfast egg scrambles. Katsuobushi, or shaved bonito is added to anything I can fold it into. Tofu is served cubed (cold) with chopped scallions, grated ginger and katsuobushi with a dash of soy sauce, as well as hot, as part of nabe (hot-pot) or soup. Eggs are dropped into any type of broth I can conjure up… (dashi, chicken stock, veggie stock… it’s all good!)
These days, however, I’m starting to find myself exploring other fish recipes and ideas.
A few weekends ago, in my new-found paranoia of canned goods and BPA contamination, I started a slow purge of the contents of my pantry closet. I shoved the canned tomatoes to the back, wrestling with my conscience as to what I need to do with them without ultimately throwing them out. I had canned “organic” Trader Joe’s blackbean soup, silently thanking them for poisoning me with the BPA lining. I reached into the back of the shelves, inspired by the recent flurry of Mark Bittman and Martha Rose Shulman recipes in the NY Times touting “Frugal!” “Healthy!” “Simple!” I must add, I did email Martha Rose asking her opinion on the Canned tomato/BPA issue, since there was a full week’s worth of cooking with tomatoes as a recipe. She gave me a cautious response, advising upon consultation with her NY Times editor, essentially, it’s “safe” to eat canned tomatoes – but for processed tomato products, Pomi brand tomatoes were a safe bet. Blah, blah, blah. The same conclusion I came to… I might just eat the extra $1.50 per container for peace of mind that I’m not poisoning my kids with toxic chemicals in my attempt to save them from the growing obesity and convenience food epidemic cursing our nation’s health.
Needless to say… I opened up a can of TJ’s wild salmon, and flaked the fish into two small bowls. The cats and dog went wild, with the cats merry-go-rounding around my feet. Yowling – feed me [Seymore] NOW! Dog giving puppy eyes from the entrance to the kitchen, chocolate eyes hopeful for just a small taste.
I put a small saucepan of water to boil, and started on the salmon.
To half of the fish (leaving in the bones and skin), I added a finely minced onion, celery, breadcrumbs, oatmeal, salt and pepper, and mixed well. I lightly greased a Corningware dish (recently brought back into the fold after I went on an anti-tupperware rampage…) with olive oil, and made “salmon ballies.” Pre-heated the oven at 300, and set the timer for 45 minutes.
Once the water came to a boil, I added organic whole wheat pasta (spirals) stirred briefly, and set the temperature to medium heat. In a separate Corningware, I added the rest of the salmon, another minced onion, celery, two teaspoons of drained capers, and a palmful of grated parmesan and paused. I needed something to bring the pasta and salmon together.
I took out a frying pan, added a tablespoon of butter, and melted it. Added a palmful of flour, and gently browned it in the butter. I then poured 2% milk into the pan, slowly stirring the mixture to make a quick bechamel sauce, which I then folded into the salmon mixture. Once the sauce was ready, I added the pasta (drained and ready) and folded the two together. Another sprinkle of parmesan, white pepper, and put in the oven.
After the timer went off, I took both Corningware dishes out to cool.
Both girls loved the salmon “ballies” as well as the pasta, and I was overjoyed knowing I had another few days’ dinners prepared. Nothing more adorable to see the little one holding a ballie over her head and laughing, while the older one tells me she likes the “chicken” ballie.
Another item for the repertoire!
P.S. The dog did have a ballie. The cats had a little bit of fish. Everyone was a winner.