Salt Cod and Potato Fritters!

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I don’t have a lot to say about this recipe other than the fact that it is really easy to make and really super delicious. Okay, I lied, I do have a couple things to say about it. This is another recipe I’m testing from this book which I’m currently reviewing. This is the Middle Eastern version of a recipe that is universal nearly the world around. There are versions of salt cod-potato fritters in all of the Mediterranean countries, Central and South American, and much of the Caribbean. Yup, it’s that good. Being the Middle Eastern version, I ate this with cucumber-yogurt sauce and spicy red pepper puree, but any of your favorite dip would work. But to be honest, they are delicious as is or just with the squeeze of a lemon or lime.

Salt Cod-Potato Fritters

Makes about 3 dozen small fritters

1 pound salt cod

1 pound cold unseasoned mashed potatoes

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1 small bunch fresh dill, coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, fine diced

½ small onion, fine diced

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup all-purpose flower, plus extra for dusting

vegetable oil for pan-frying

Soak the cod in plenty of cold water for 4-6 hours—changing the water a couple times—to remove the saltiness. Dice the cod, and then shred it with your fingers, then place it into a bowl with the potatoes. Mix the potatoes and cod together, then add the remaining ingredients and mix together until thoroughly combined. Scoop small amounts of the mix onto a sheet-pan that has been lightly floured, and shape them into small patties. Heat about ¼-inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for a few minutes on each side—in batches, if necessary—or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the fritters to absorbent paper and serve while hot.

Urban Simplicity.

Stop Making Sense…a few things I saw while riding my bike today.

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I don’t have to prove…that I am creative.

~David Byrne

So I mentioned recently that I–like so many others–have been ill with the common cold. And because of this I have been basically doing nothing around the house…sort of self-sequestered. And because of this my spirits have been low. If there are two things that bring me down they are physical inactivity and creative inactivity…so this has been the perfect storm. Thus said, this evening I bundled up–layer upon layer–and loaded some camera gear on my bike and went out on a very cold evening for a very slow ride and a few photos. Physically I am not cured, but emotionally and spiritually I am. It is, in fact, just what the doctor may have ordered. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#622)…

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A camera bag with a camera and extra lens, a plastic bag containing medicine for the common cold, an extra shirt, a tripod, and a cardboard box containing food on it’s way to a local food pantry.

Urban Simplicity.

Pasta for a winter’s eve…

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If you’ve been to this blog before then you know a few things about me. One is that I like one-pot meals such as rice or pasta…especially pasta. And this is a good example. I’ve been ill for the past few days (a cold) and actually took the day off work yesterday, which is unlike me. But while being self-sequestered at home had difficulty doing absolutely nothing, so I did something that nourishes both body and soul…I cooked, and also baked bread. Checking my fridge I came up with the ingredients for this dish and it turned out to be just what I needed…perfect comfort food for a winter’s evening. And as usual, this recipe is simply a guide and not a blueprint…it is really just a sort of elaborate variation of the many aglio e olio recipes posted on this blog. Add or remove whichever ingredients you have at hand or suit your taste.

Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Kale

Serves 2-4

½ pound whole wheat spaghetti

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups kale, coarsely chopped

3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, julienned

2 cups chicken broth

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil the spaghetti al dente, drain, and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or shallow sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and sautes them until they begin to brown, then add the garlic and hot pepper and saute another minute or two. Stir in the kale and sun-dried tomatoes, coating it with the oil and seasonings, then add the broth and salt. Bring the broth to a boil then lower it to a simmer. Simmer the broth for 5-10 minutes, or until it reduces by two-thirds and is concentrated in both flavor and viscosity. Add the cooked spaghetti and simmer it while stirring gently for a minute or two, allowing flavors to permeate the pasta. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#621)…

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A camera bag containing two cameras, a charger, and an extra lens, a gym bag with wet clothes, a cardboard box containing 3 loaves of freshly baked whole wheat bread, and an empty dough rising bucket.

Urban Simplicity.

Persian Smokey Eggplant Salad (Yum!)

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This recipe is a variation (my interpretation) of a recipe from the book, Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East and Beyond. I was recently offered the book to review and am pretty excited about it (and it takes a lot for me to get excited about a new cookbook these days). I am not really that familiar with the cuisines of Persia, or modern day Iran (which is one of the oldest cuisines in the world), but I am familiar with the flavors in these recipes…very fresh and bright flavors. And while the recipes may be simple the flavors are complex and multi-layered. At any rate, this recipe is really easy to make and also really delicious…it is definitely one I will make again (and likely again and again). Plus it is a lot of fun cooking the eggplant over an open flame.


Persian Smokey Eggplant Salad

Serves 8

4 large eggplant

½ red bell pepper, diced small

½ green bell pepper, diced small

¼ red onion, diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Cook the eggplant by placing them directly over an open flame of a gas stove. Turn the eggplant as needed. The skin will blister and blacken; it will look burnt. Continue to cook and turn the eggplant until it is very soft and heated throughout. Transfer the eggplant to a clean surface and allow to cool enough to handle. Gently peel away the blackened skin while placing the flesh of the eggplant in a colander over a sink to drain any excess moisture. Coarse-chop the flesh of the eggplant and transfer it to a bowl with the remainder of the ingredients. Gently stir and fold the salad to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. Allow the salad to rest for a few minutes prior to serving. Serve warm or chilled with toasted garlic bread or wedges of pita.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#620), and a couple brief comments…

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On the bike…Four boxes of food on their way to a local soup kitchen.

So it pains me at times, it really does, to think of the amount of food that is discarded in America when there are so many people in need. And restaurants are some of the worst offenders of this. I didn’t always think this way, but I do now. I have to. I–we–have no other choice. This type of thing is in our face–literally and figuratively–whether we like it or not. If we choose to ignore it or not it is still there. As a chef, when I have food left over from a party (or the accumulation of several parties), after offering it to employees (who are mostly low wage earners) I gather it up and carry it to a food pantry. I have to. In my heart I have no other choice. I am not perfect, of course–far from it–and on occasion things are discarded for a variety of reasons, but it hurts me. This is the least I can do. But it is still not enough. This said, my friend, writer, food aficionado, and concerned person, Lauren Newkirk Maynard, recently wrote an excellent but brief article in Block Club regarding this very subject, and mentioned yours truly in it. I’ll get off my little soapbox now.

Urban Simplicity.

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