My Culinary Arch Nemesis

October 28, 2008

There are many possible pitfalls for the cynical chef. Imminent disaster awaits around every corner. Infact you may not believe this but, I have an arch nemesis in the kitchen. His goal is to destroy any of my attempts to send culinary goodness out of the kitchen. He is deliberate and cunning. I picture him creating battle plans and studying our kitchen blue prints when I am not home. 

His name is Spike.  

Please do not be fooled by his soft and cuddly exterior and his ever so cute way of lounging. That is part of his plan. He will attempt to lull you into a false sense of security so you do not foresee his attacks. 

But, I promise you they are coming. Since Spike came into our lives 4 months ago, culinary chaos has become commonplace. Some of his more brilliant attacks include climbing into a bowl of butter cream frosting, pushing a container of brown sugar off the counter, infiltrating the refrigerator to sample its bounty, and causing a domino effect of events resulting in the cracking of my Dutch oven which left a dent in my kitchen floor.

And when the food is to his liking, he enters into stealth mode hoping to catch a tasty morsel. That is what happened last night. I lost a salmon cake in our battle of wits last night. One of those poor, golden and tasty little cakes became Spike’s latest victim. I am not even sure how it happened. Spike was sleeping in the windowsill. The cakes were taking a rest on a paper towel while I finished the rice. When I turned around, it was all over.

Yes, that little operative is good at his job. Especially since he cuddled up in my arms and started to purr after dessert, and all was forgotten; that is until dinner tonight.


Recipe was found at The Way the Cookie Crumbles. A blog that I am very much in love with. 🙂


This Salmon Cakes are amazing. Everyone loves them including Spike.

Pan-Fried Fresh Salmon Cakes (from Cooks Illustrated January 2000)

CI note: A big wedge of lemon is the simplest accompaniment to salmon cakes, but if you decide to go with dipping sauce, make it before preparing the cakes so the sauce flavors have time to meld. If possible, use panko (Japanese bread crumbs).   

Makes eight 2½- by ¾-inch cakes

1¼ pounds salmon fillet
1 slice white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm, crusts removed and white part chopped very fine (about 5 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup grated onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
¾ teaspoon table salt
1½ tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
¾ cup fine, unflavored dried bread crumbs, preferably panko

1. Locate and remove any pin bones from salmon flesh. Using sharp knife, cut flesh off skin, then discard skin. Chop salmon flesh into ¼- to 1/3-inch pieces and mix with chopped bread, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, salt, and lemon juice in medium bowl. Scoop a generous ¼-cup portion salmon mixture from bowl and use hands to form into a patty measuring roughly 2½-inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick; place on parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining salmon mixture until you have 8 patties. Place patties in freezer until surface moisture has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, spread flour in pie plate or shallow baking dish. Beat eggs with 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil and 1½ teaspoons water in second pie plate or shallow baking dish, and spread bread crumbs in a third. Dip chilled salmon patties in flour to cover; shake off excess. Transfer to beaten egg and, using slotted spatula, turn to coat; let excess drip off. Transfer to bread crumbs; shake pan to coat patties completely. Return now-breaded patties to baking sheet.

3. Heat remaining ½ cup vegetable oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 3 minutes; add salmon patties and cook until medium golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes over and continue cooking until medium golden brown on second side, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer cakes to plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil on surface, if desired, about 30 seconds, and then serve immediately, with one of the sauces that follow, if you like.


Tips-  I add one teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the salmon cake mixture. I will also use my food processor to help with the cubing of the salmon. I will use it to buzz the bread and empty, then the onions and empty, then I cut the salmon into big chunks and pulse it a couple times. It works out perfectly.

Be careful! He might be coming for you next

Be careful! He might be coming for you next




One Response to “My Culinary Arch Nemesis”

  1. Kira said

    I’ve got a couple kittens who are trouble in the kitchen as well. Nothing as bad as yours, but they are constantly underfoot!

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