Loki Salmon

Fresh From the Can

Is it one more week till spring? A few more days? Who knows. But this time of year always finds me rooting through the pantry and the so-called crisper bin in the fridge, looking in vain for something to whip up, since there's nothing fresh and seasonal going on.

This week, may I present Salmon Soft Tacos? As in, canned Loki salmon and shredded cabbage in place of lettuce and tortillas from the depths of the freezer.

Now that's canned salmon!

I don't know about you, but my husband associates canned salmon with the infamous "Salmon Loaf" his mom would make in the '60s, far, far away from any coastline or fresh specimens. I thought maybe some taco seasoning would disguise any canned-fish overwhelmingness. (As the comedian Jim Gaffigan points out, there's something wrong with fish if the overall goal is to make it not taste like itself!)

To this end, I seasoned up the canned salmon with homemade taco seasoning.

I sautéed some onions.

I gathered some fixings.

Fresh cabbage, cilantro and avocado!

And I served them up, alongside Mexican Roasted Potatoes. (Oh, and I did open a can of refried beans, to stretch the salmon and further de-fishify for the kids.)

The result? Success! At least, for this season of the year. The husband still said he'd rather have fresh salmon. The boy still said he'd rather have a beef taco. The girls thought it was fine enough.

Anywho, it went over far better than last night's pantry meal, an egg-and-bean brunch casserole that the 11YO declared "disgusting" and the 15YO said, more diplomatically, "I didn't really like it." I'll spare you that recipe...

May fresh, local food come soon!

Canned Salmon Soft Tacos
3 cans Loki salmon (these cans are smaller than tuna cans)
taco seasoning (I went with homemade link above, adjusted to amount of salmon I had)
1 onion, sliced thin
1 small can refried beans
1 pkg small flour tortillas

shredded cabbage
chopped cilantro
sliced avocado
sour cream
shredded cheese

Mix canned salmon with taco seasoning. Check for bones.

Sauté onions in oil or bacon fat over medium-low heat until soft or of desired consistency.

Microwave the beans in a microwave-safe container.

Heat the tortillas according to pkg directions. (I just lay them, one at a time, straight on my gas burner, turning frequently.)

Assemble all ingredients and have people serve themselves.

Last Farmers Market of the Season!

From Attitude of Gratitude website

Thanksgiving approacheth, and it's worthwhile to remember our causes for gratitude, as I sit typing this with dinner unmade and my 7th grader in tears beside me over her math. I am grateful for free public education. I am grateful that, prepared or not, there will eventually be food on the table. I am grateful for a three-day week next week, followed by family time and the tastiest meal of the year, in my humble opinion.

For the umpteenth annual time, we can pledge to eat at least one local food at Thanksgiving. Piece of cake, considering the riches of our local produce. Last Saturday at the Bellevue Farmers Market, I found different potato varieties, brussels sprouts, winter squash, apples for pie, cheese for the cheese plate, bread to cube into stuffing, fresh parsley--even first-course soups! Eating local captures the original Thanksgiving spirit, when shipping exotic viands thousands of miles was simply not an option. Eat what you could find or whatever had been put by earlier, throw in your lot with your friends and neighbors, and give thanks.

Enjoy the following links to some of my favorite seasonal recipes:

Elena's delicious Butternut-Squash-Apple Soup. I made this the other day with squash I'd already roasted. So easy and happens to be vegan, if one of your guests is!

Cook's Illustrated Green Bean Casserole. I love this dish in any form, even the open-a-can-of-cream-of-mushroom kind, but this one is over-the-top yummy.

If you don't do mashed potatoes, try this simple Gratin Dauphinois from Cooking Light. (I do substitute whole milk for the nonfat business.)

And, a repeat from an earlier post, the dinner rolls I make ahead and freeze every Thanksgiving and Christmas, adapted from Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook.

Besides grabbing your feast fixings, be sure to stock up for the long dry spell. Loki Fish offers a discount when you buy 10 lbs, so I'll be loading up on Sockeye filets. If you have a favorite sausage or other meat from Olsen Farms or Samish Bay, now's the time. Artisan bread from Ble or Snohomish Bakery freezes beautifully. Depending on how I plan to serve it, I either slice and freeze (for sandwiches) or throw it in whole.

And if you've managed to dodge hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas, hostess gifts abound at the Market. I've shown up with Jonboy caramels, Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee or a jar of Handmade by Rome jam--the fig with vanilla is fabulous on a cheese tray.

My blog will continue weekly during the off-season, but this Saturday will be our last chance to run into each other live and in person! See you at the Market.

It's Good to Be Beige

For all you map-o-philes, the Center for Disease Control has released an interesting new one: County Level Estimates of Diagnosed Diabetes. This is the first time they've been able to break the data out on a county-by-county level, versus a state level. Leaving aside the newly-revealed "Diabetes Belt" in the nation's southeast, the data on Washington State are enlightening. Those burgundy counties (i.e., more than 10% of the population diagnosed diabetic) are Grays Harbor and Adams. King County clocks in nicely beige, with fewer than 7% of the population diabetic. One thing to note: these figures are only for people 20 years or older, so the rising rates of childhood diabetes are not represented. They probably demonstrate strong correspondences to the adult rates, however. For more information, check the Scientific American run-down. I wonder how many of their identified risk factors play a role in Grays Harbor or Adams, not to mention those deeper orange counties: (1) high obesity rates; (2) sedentary lifestyles; (3) lower education levels; and, (4) higher percentage of non-Hispanic blacks. Because the researchers are government-funded, there is much mention of encouraging people to live an "active lifestyle" and to watch the the number of calories, but no mention of the where those calories should come from. Well, it's a start.

Speaking of where calories should come from, eating fish gets another endorsement, this one from Science Digest. If you happen to carry the "bad" APOE gene, one found in 15% of the general population and 50% of those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, "a diet high in Omega 3 oils and low in cholesterol appears to significantly reduce the negative effects of the APOE4 gene in mouse models." Around our house we refer to fish as "brain food." If your supplies of Loki Salmon are running low, remember they can be found online and at local Thriftway markets, as well as the year-round Ballard, U District and West Seattle Farmers Markets. As for the BFM's tuna supplier, Fishing Vessel St. Jude, find their cans at Whole Foods.

And then, in a final note that completely undermines all that has come before, I'm thrilled to have spotted the Molly Moon truck around Bellevue. Look for it Wed-Fri and again on Sunday, from 5-10 p.m. at All The Best Pet Care, 1048 116th Avenue Northeast and check the Molly Moon blog for updates!