Pandemic Pantry Potluck: Salmon Patties and Parmesan Spinach Cakes

I’ve been thinking about how the pandemic is playing out in our kitchen.Things are not as they were before:
My husband is working at home, so he is here for lunch every day.
We are trying to stay away from stores, so we are using grocery delivery services.
The stores have shortages of some items, so we can’t always get what we want.
We have become much more conscientious about not wasting food.
We have take out delivered about once a week to support some of our favorite restaurants.

I started a Pandemic Photo Journal a couple of weeks ago. Now I think I’ll start a kitchen-themed pandemic journal to chronicle what’s happening in our pantry and kitchen – recipes or just musing on the state of toilet paper and flour. Whatever.

I have belonged to a Community Supported Agriculture farm off and on for several years. Off when I’ve been sick and my husband has taken over responsibility for feeding us. On when I was up for dealing with all those veggies. With trying to stay away from grocery stores and wanting some healthy food around, I thought I should rejoin the CSA. Procrastinator that I am, I waited, and my usual CSA had a waiting list. I saw a  Facebook friend had subscribed to another service, not a CSA, but a service that delivers organic produce acquired from several farms in the area. They only deliver on Sundays, so we got our first delivery at the beginning of this week. Interestingly, it looked like most, if not all, of the produce came from the farm that I was on the waiting list for.

I spent quite a bit of time Sunday triple washing and spinning chard, beet greens, mint, and oregano and figuring out how to store everything.

Wednesday I decided to tackle the chard. I knew what I wanted to make, but had to wait for Tuesday’s grocery delivery for ricotta cheese. Somehow, we got two cartons instead of one. Oh well, we’ll need to incorporate more ricotta into upcoming meals.

The recipe is from I have made it several times before when I had an abundance of greens. I substituted chard for the spinach. Since I had fresh oregano from the produce delivery, I added a little of that too. I just spread it all into a 9×9 inch Pyrex baking dish instead of using a muffin tin and baked it a few minutes longer. Something smaller would work as well – maybe better.

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

12 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese or low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 large eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Pulse spinach in three batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, garlic, salt, and pepper; stir to combine.
Coat 8 cups of the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full.
Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Serve warm with more Parmesan, if desired.

I had a craving for my mom’s salmon patties before we were sheltering in place and my husband bought some at Sam’s for me, so I already had a package of five 7-ounce cans in my pantry. Even though I had a craving that one day, I didn’t make any until this week. I don’t have a recipe and it had been so long since I made them, that I forgot how. I know mom just threw them together without a recipe and they were very simple, so I didn’t go googling for a recipe. Here is what I did:

Salmon Patties

2 7-ounce cans of salmon
1 large egg, slightly beaten (maybe one egg per can would be better)
a few saltine crackers, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
Since I had fresh oregano on hand, I added a little.

Mix together and form into patties. Pan fry with vegetable oil until browned on both sides.

They were okay, but could use some fine tuning. If you make salmon patties and have suggestions, please leave a comment!

I got a call from the CSA farm saying that I was one of the first 100 on the waiting list and they were now opening up more slots. I cancelled the subscription to the service that we got these veggies from and subscribed to Johnson’s Backyard Garden once again. I probably should have waited a week to get my new box, but we picked it up this morning. Lots of greens!! More on that later.

What’s cooking at your house?