Homework blues. Salmon Cakes.

The past few weeks have been so busy that I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Most of it is my own damn fault for saying yes too often.  But one area that’s stressing me out is the homework my 9 year old is expected to complete each night.  The first few weeks of school not much was given but lately it’s like a plague, especially the writing.  Writing: something I love to do but my son hates.  He has so much going on in his head it’s hard for him to organize his thoughts and translate them to the page. I have to sit with him and try to pull ideas out of his head or brainstorm with him then get him to agree on which idea to put on paper. Now if my son were the type to just sit down and complete his work independently it wouldn’t be as stressful, but he’s not.  If I leave the room, he gets distracted and will most likely do something else.  Because he has Aspergers my son has an aide to help keep him on track at school but at home it’s usually just me with my other sons and now a chew-happy puppy. 

Obviously my blogging has suffered for lack of time (or poor time management).  I have been able to cook the boys good food, but writing about it— no time.  

One meal that I cooked up quickly when I had limited time between one son’s tennis and a town-wide gathering campfire sing-along was with salmon cakes.  They reminded me of when I hitch-hiked down the West Coast of Australia, years ago.  One kind lady put me up for the night when I couldn’t get a ride out of town and she made me salmon cakes for dinner.  I didn’t have her recipe but just winged it. 

Salmon Cakes

1 can Alaska Salmon (fresh salmon is preferable, but I used what I had.)

3 pieces bread

1 egg

⅓-½ red bell pepper, chopped

1 scallion, sliced

¼ tsp celery salt

½ tsp dried dill

salt and pepper to taste

Grind the bread in food processor until it is crumbed.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then form cakes.  Heat neutral oil (grapeseed, sunflower) in fry pan.  Add salmon cakes (don’t crowd) and cook several minutes each side until cooked through. 

I thought they were good, my youngest two were not impressed because I put red bell pepper in them.  I also served mine with a Sriracha mayonnaise. I will make these again but without the pepper for the boys. 

Hopefully we’ll get the homework issues sorted out and I will miraculously get better at managing my time.

A subtle touch

Sometimes a simple addition can change the whole dish.  I’ve already posted how salmon is one of my go-to dishes for dinner.  The kids love it and will eat it in almost any way I’ve prepared it.  But, this simple addition of Matcha salt, a powdery green tea infused sea salt, on top of the finished pan roasted salmon, makes it that more delicious and the kids greedily gobbled up.  My husband brought home a small sample of Matcha after he’d cooked a Japanese themed dinner at the restaurant alongside some real Japanese trained chefs.

It’s really amazing how subtle the Matcha salt is but how it transforms the dish in an almost indescribable way: slightly salty, slightly sweet.   If you can get your hands on some, you’ll see what I mean.  Just add a sprinkle on top of some grilled fish or shrimp and the subtle difference will convert you.


My middle son exclaimed when he saw me cutting the salmon into portions to cook, “I don’t want salmon! …Well, unless you have that green stuff on it.”  I told him that was exactly what I’d planned and he happily left me to continue cooking dinner without complaint.

Pan Roasted Salmon with Matcha Green Tea Salt

Fresh wild caught salmon (about 1 lb)

1 Tbsp olive oil

Matcha to taste (about 1 tsp)

optional fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the salmon into 2-3 inch width slices and with a sharp knife score the skin (shallow crisscross cuts).  Heat olive oil in sauté pan with oven-proof handle.  Place salmon pieces into oil skin side up.  Cook for about 5 minutes (you see the color change up the sides from dark to light) and turn over.  Place in oven for another 5-8 minutes (depending on thickness of your salmon).  Remove from oven (Remember the handle is hot.  I place an oven mitt on it, so I don’t grab it.) and sprinkle the Matcha salt over the salmon tops. Serve with rice, vegetables and/or salad. 

Watch everyone devour it!

It’s also such a quick dinner.  After play dates and homework help there wasn’t much time and I didn’t have any fresh vegetables in the house.  Still had a wonderful, healthful meal.

My eldest ate his so quickly that my middle son was nice enough to share some of his with his older brother.

Rush, rush, rush… now cook.

It can be a real challenge to actually find the time to write this blog let alone cook a good meal and take photos while I’m cooking— I’m already multitasking with keeping kids occupied and/or mediating fights (and working my “real” paying job).   So sometimes, I skip writing/posting to my site because I just can’t do it all. The other day I had someone over while I was cooking, I was busy talking and cooking so I couldn’t manage to actually take my camera out and shoot photos of the food before and during the cooking process.   I’d have overcooked the veggies (actually I did slightly overcook the zucchini) and burnt the salmon (luckily not) if I tried that much multitasking.  But she left just as dinner was ready, and it looked so delicious (it was) I had to snap some photos of the end result. 

If I haven’t mentioned before, salmon is my go-to main course.  My kids love it, I love it and it only takes a few minutes to cook in a pan or on a grill.  And if it’s seasoned with salt and pepper before it’s cooked there’s no need for sauce— so, easy. 

Our dinner that was made in 40 minutes from start to finish including getting our charcoal grill started and hot enough.  It would have taken only 20 minutes had I pan roasted the salmon (started on stove, finished in oven).  I made mixed grains that take just 10 minutes to cook, broccoli and zucchini that each take 3-5 minutes plus the prep time.  Oh, right and I made a coleslaw.    

Everything was enjoyed… although it wasn’t eaten neatly or with them sitting at all moments.  It’s more important to me that they eat well— getting them to eat with proper manners and without getting up is still a work in progress. 


Simple Coleslaw

Cut 1/2-1/3 cabbage into 4 inch long thin strips and put in bowl with  2 shredded carrots.  In separate bowl mix 4 heaping Tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 3/4 tsp celery salt, pepper to taste.  Pour over cabbage/carrots and toss.  Chill if possible or just serve!  Shredded apple or minced red bell peppers are nice in there too.


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Tailgating tonight… turned left overs into a delicious salad.  I used pan roasted King Salmon, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Edamame, Capers, Kalamata and Nicoise Olives, chopped CSA mixed greens (lettuces, arugula, tatsoi, mustard greens), parsley, mint, sea salt, pepper and a champagne … Continue reading

Grilled Seafood and Baby Bok Choy

While shopping my sons the other day, my middle one requested some shrimp.  I saw some beautiful diver scallops there as well and decided a few of each would be great for grilling.  When I showed the boys the baby bok choy they actually hoorayed!  My brother joined us for dinner so I included an approximately pound-sized filet of salmon to grill with the shellfish (or else it wouldn’t have been enough for 5, especially with my brother’s appetite).  Salmon and seafood are great to grill for clean up convenience and also so you don’t have the smell lingering around the house the next day! 

After putting the jasmine rice on the stove and starting up the grill I put the baby bok choy on to stea m.  With baby bok choy you can steam the whole thing together, with the larger size you should cut the stems off to steam a minute longer first before adding the leaves.  Once the leaves are wilted, they’re done.  Shock with cold water.  Keep to the side to finish later.  

I then shelled the already cleaned shrimp, put a 2-3 on a soaked bamboo skewer, then  drizzled them with olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper.  I repeated skewering, etc. with the scallops.   I then put some olive oil on a plate and the salmon on top, flipping it over to coat it, then added salt and pepper.

I put the salmon on the grill first since it takes longer.  Once it had cooked a few minutes I added the shrimp and scallops.  I took them off after turning and the shrimp was just pink and scallops had more whitish-solid appearance.  You don’t want to over cook either as they’ll become tough.  It only takes a few minutes. The salmon doesn’t take very long either- it should still be dark in the center to be flavorful and tender. 

After the seafood and fish were done I finished the bok choy.  In a pan I heated 1 tsp sesame oil, a Tbsp canola oil and 1/2 tsp soy sauce.   I added the bok choy (I chopped mine into approximately inch pieces which make the leaves easier for the kids to eat) until warmed and coated.


Delicious for all!  My kids love this meal!

We use Tamari (by San-J and others) soy sauce which is richer in flavor and has no wheat, unlike the most popular types of soy sauce.  Perfect for those on gluten-free diets.  It also has no artificial flavors or preservatives and is naturally fermented.  Shoyu soy sauce (think Kikkoman’s) is made with a combination of soy and wheat.  There even are some cheaper soy sauces that use acid hydrolyzed soy protein instead of traditional brewing methods.  They have a longer shelf-life but you sacrifice quality, taste and possible health benefits.

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