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Camping, Princess Style


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One might think that sitting out in the boondocks and socially distancing would lend itself to elaborate cookery. It can, but it also lends itself to loads of computer work and other non-food-related chores. I'm pretty good at procrastinating in the best of times, and the pandemic social distancing hasn't exactly helped me pick up the pace. 

 

The most elaborate thing I've cooked since the last post was scrambled eggs with cheese, ham (yes, the same one) and Campari tomatoes. In retrospect the tomatoes would have been better chopped and added as a garnish at the end, but they added a nice note. He had the requisite toast with his; I found one lone roll from Thanksgiving and polished it off.

 

20201217_111003.jpg

 

Some chores are specific to the boondocking lifestyle. We drove to the nearest trailer park / campground to dump the holding tanks. We were delighted to see that they've livened up the driveway with Christmas decorations!

 

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Even the cowboy and cowgirl silhouettes were pulled into the act with sparkly bandannas.

 

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Blurry photo of the view as we left and headed "home" again, along with more decorations.

 

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I think that night we had our "Bedouin-style tuna noodle hot dish" since neither of us felt much like cooking. The whole moving/dumping/resettling process takes a couple of hours even if one remembers to secure everything properly. If one forgets, there are also messes to clean up. What you see here is the contents of our little end table shelves and our two travel coffee mugs that fell from their overhead shelf, all inconveniently mixed into the pet food dishes. One travel mug's handle broke, but it's still usable.

 

20201217_113906.jpg

 

It could have been worse. My mother forgot more than once to close and latch the refrigerator door when she and Dad were trailering around. Anyway, here's my tuna noodle hot dish dinner.

 

20201214_194436.jpeg

 

He had toast with his, of course!

 

We made the trek to town a day or so later. I haven't taken many interior photos of the Fry's grocery store in Yuma, but we like the place. This really surprised me, and added to my sense that Fry's (a Kroger chain) is reasonably upscale. I think it's pretty neat that they list the smoke points on the labels.

 

20201215_105335.jpeg

 

Dinner last night was more leftovers: the remains of a pork steak for me, along with asparagus; our single remaining Super Burger for him, with potato salad from the grocery store.

 

20201217_111411.jpg

 

Maybe I'll get around to Christmas decorations today. It's on my list. It has been on my list. It will continue to be on my list until I do it or Christmas passes!

Edited by Smithy
Spelling: "many" for "any" (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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One thing I like about your posts is that I see parts of a country I don't ever expect to see.  It is so very different from what I am used to seeing.  I also enjoy your pictures of various store items as there are items I have never seen for sale, such as the bacon and tallow grease, amongst many other things.  So keep the posts coming, I enjoy them very much.  Pictures of the 4-footed creatures never hurt, either!

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On 12/18/2020 at 6:18 AM, HardyH said:

That is my favorite kind of rest

 

Thanks, HardyH. Welcome to eGullet!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The Christmas decorations are finally up.  I'll have to wait until the light swings around to the other side of the trailer to catch better photos of some areas, but here's a smattering:

 

20201219_091206.jpg

 

My mother used to wear this Christmas-light jingle-bells necklace at our family gatherings. Dad made it for her when they changed to the newer mini-light strings. It jingles when worn, which would be fun at a dance. (Remember those?) Mostly it hangs as a decoration.

 

20201219_131839.jpg

 

Last night I pulled a container out of the freezer that had a mix of eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and some sausage (Italian?) that I'd roasted together at the height of last summer's harvest season. We packed along a couple of these containers. They're good in pasta, or with roasted squash. Last night I chose pasta.

 

20201219_132509.jpg

 

Then came the pasta dilemma. I didn't have enough gigli left for the dish. I didn't want to open a new package of anything. I used the remaining half of the package of farfalle I'd opened last week.  Doggonitall, I think the discussion of farfalle in the Pasta Shapes topic may have ruined me for farfalle forever. Now I'm all too aware of the different texture (from flat to squished) when cooked. 

 

20201219_132619.jpg

 

I was afraid at first there was too much pasta for the sauce, but it balanced out reasonably well after good tossing and a bit of sauce-lengthening with the pasta water.

 

20201219_064807.jpg

 

Dinner was good, but we both thought smaller pasta bits would have been better. I'll use the remaining containers' worth with some other pasta shapes - or with squash.

 

20201218_195505.jpeg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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More Christmas decorations. I realized yesterday that with the trailer oriented as it is, there IS no better light for photographing some of the decorations. I suppose nighttime with a flash might be better, but then there's the complication of a reflected flash in the photo.

 

20201220_121040.jpg

 

Yesterday we drove to a rest area to drop off trash and pick up water. It gave me a chance to photograph some of the outlandish, gorgeous scenery around here: a part of the Imperial Dunes complex. These sand dunes are hundreds of feet high, some 15 or 20 miles wide and over a hundred miles long. The highways and Interstate go through them and have to be plowed clear of sand after a good-sized windstorm. Parts of the dunes are wildlife preserve, but in this area they're prime 4-wheeler recreational area. If you look closely at the middle of the top photo you can see a couple of 4-wheelers for scale. One is near the top of the dune, the other is halfway up. Or down. I've forgotten which way it was traveling.

 

20201219_185243.jpg

 

To me the dunes look like a huge, beautifully browned meringue.

 

Nobody felt much like cooking last night, so we pulled 2 of the 3 remaining chili containers out of the freezer for dinner. We garnished the chili with chopped onions and shredded cheese. There are leftovers.

 

20201220_121511.jpg

 

Despite removing 2 containers from the freezer, it still seems pretty darned full. My darling is a bit put out about that. It probably won't stop us from shopping again soon!

 

I have been jonesing - no, make that JONESING - for a ham and cheese biscuit. This morning I finally got out the hitherto-unopened bag of Mary White self-rising flour that I bought in 2015, and wondered whether it needed a boost of baking soda at this late date. Maybe it could have used it, but I didn't bother. Despite ambitions in that direction, I haven't actually made biscuits in, oh, donkey's years. I was none too sure how it would work out.

 

20201220_115904.jpg

 

The tops didn't brown as much as I'd have liked, but I pulled them when the bottoms were beginning to brown. They flaked reasonably well. I've had better biscuits, but I've had worse. With some good sharp cheddar and slices of ham (yes, the same ham) the biscuits scratched that itch rather nicely. When I asked my darling what he thought about them, he said he was disappointed...that he couldn't manage a 3rd biscuit! I'll take that compliment. :) 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Happy solstice!

 

20201221_085557.jpg

 

This mountain range makes a wonderful set of markers for the sun's movement. Since we arrived here, the sun's rise location has shifted southward (to the right, in this picture) until what we see today: just to the right of the small tooth in the big notch. The sun's time to peek over the ridge is also about 30 minutes later than when we arrived, but the uneven ridgeline has a factor in that. After today, the sun will start creeping northward again. By spring, it will be north of the mountains altogether.

 

Yogurt, avocado and a walnut-filled date are breakfast today, with the juice of one pomegranate to drink. I love pomegranate juice. I'm glad I scored those buck-apiece poms at the grocery store. I may buy more.

 

20201221_103549.jpg

 

I am getting almighty tired of yogurt, with or without avocado. It's about time to think of something else. I wish I liked boxed cereal. Maybe I'll make granola today, although I think there's too much else on my schedule already. The dear friend whom we'd normally be visiting today is turning 100! There's a giant Zoom party, with all of us toasting and feteing her, and each participant getting a few minutes alone in a Zoom Room with her. It isn't the same as the feasting and singing we'd all hoped for at her house in person for this momentous day, but it's better than nothing and far safer.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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This olive oil granola takes no effort but for the initial mix and he stirring as it toasts. Very flexible. The again I like salt/sweet. I am over my diet years cottage cheese hate - they go together nicely. As always in the minority, I detest boxed cereal for breakfast. Love the mountain/sun movement.  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012630-olive-oil-granola-with-dried-apricots-and-pistachios

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1 hour ago, heidih said:

This olive oil granola takes no effort but for the initial mix and he stirring as it toasts. Very flexible. The again I like salt/sweet. I am over my diet years cottage cheese hate - they go together nicely. As always in the minority, I detest boxed cereal for breakfast. Love the mountain/sun movement.  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012630-olive-oil-granola-with-dried-apricots-and-pistachios

I'm with you on cereal hating. The only time I eat it is in one of those motel breakfast rooms, and then I choose Raisin Bran as the least objectionable. 

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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2 hours ago, Smithy said:

Happy solstice!

 

20201221_085557.jpg

 

This mountain range makes a wonderful set of markers for the sun's movement. Since we arrived here, the sun's rise location has shifted southward (to the right, in this picture) until what we see today: just to the right of the small tooth in the big notch. The sun's time to peek over the ridge is also about 30 minutes later than when we arrived, but the uneven ridgeline has a factor in that. After today, the sun will start creeping northward again. By spring, it will be north of the mountains altogether.

 

Yogurt, avocado and a walnut-filled date are breakfast today, with the juice of one pomegranate to drink. I love pomegranate juice. I'm glad I scored those buck-apiece poms at the grocery store. I may buy more.

 

20201221_103549.jpg

 

I am getting almighty tired of yogurt, with or without avocado. It's about time to think of something else. I wish I liked boxed cereal. Maybe I'll make granola today, although I think there's too much else on my schedule already. The dear friend whom we'd normally be visiting today is turning 100! There's a giant Zoom party, with all of us toasting and feteing her, and each participant getting a few minutes alone in a Zoom Room with her. It isn't the same as the feasting and singing we'd all hoped for at her house in person for this momentous day, but it's better than nothing and far safer.

Try putting a couple of big scoops of yogurt on a full bowl of fruit, giving it a sprinkle of chia seeds and then topping with a lot of granola. That's been our go-to breakfast for many years. Granted, we have access to a lot of good fruit here, but we did it even in the US. Strawberries, kiwi, grapes and pineapples are always available. Try that before you give up on yogurt.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Alternately...go a little more savory with the yogurt and have it with fresh herbs and vegetables (or fruit masquerading as veg like tomato!).

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I have yet to make the granola, but today I found a way around it when I remembered that I still have beans from Cooper's. That's one more container out of the freezer.

 

20201223_094636.jpg

 

The clouds at dawn presaged the wind storm that's hit us. The trailer is rocking, and dust is flying by. I'm glad I did my weekly errand-running yesterday.

 

20201223_094543.jpg

 

I expect we'll lose sight of the mountains altogether before this is over. It could be worse: back home in northern Minnesota, they're predicting wind gusts up to 50 mph and a snowstorm, with temperatures hovering right around freezing. Talk about a sloppy mess! Here, the worst that's likely to happen is that the freeway will get sand drifted across it from the dunes. They keep plows nearby for that purpose.

 

Yesterday's errands included a trip to the grocery store. Since @ElsieD and others have expressed interest in seeing what's there, I snapped a few shots of things I thought interesting.

 

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It was VERY difficult for me to pass up this deal, but we already have our prime rib (brought from home) for Christmas.

 

20201223_095134-1.jpg

 

On the other hand, I'd hoped for more buck-apiece pomegranates. That deal is no more. Granted, these pomegranates were huge - the size of large grapefruit - but I passed anyway.

 

20201223_100110.jpg

 

My mother's creamed corn recipe, one of our special holiday dishes, calls for diced pickled jalapenos. Mom used to get those in small cans or jars, more or less the quantity of diced pimentos. I don't know where she found them. This was all I could find:

 

20201223_100228.jpg

 

No. I'd never get through all those. I'll chop some pepperoncini instead, as I did at Thanksgiving.

 

I needed shrimp for a recipe from George Graham's Acadiana Table for Shrimp Creole Dip, as one of our Christmas appetizers. This was a good price too. It occurs to me, looking at the picture on his web page, that his "small" may have been intended to be bigger. I think this will work anyway.

 

20201222_150455.jpeg

 

I got out with a relatively small purchase despite all the temptation. It might be because I'd eaten lunch before going to the grocery store.

 

This unassuming little taco stand has caught my eye every time we passed by it.20201223_100601.jpg

 

Yesterday, since I was on my own, I indulged my curiosity. Two women were working in the trailer. A little sign by the counter window said "Thank you for supporting my small business." I ordered a taco de cameron and taco gubernador, glad the woman taking my order could understand my broken pronunciation from behind my mask. I got the tacos loaded with everything, and then added extra condiments myself from the squeeze bottles at the counter.20201223_100741.jpg

 

Oh, these were good! I liked the gubernador better than the straight shrimp taco, but both had a pleasant not-quite-too-spicy heat. The coating on the fried shrimp in the gubernador was crisp. The shrimp and fish were tender and cooked perfectly. And the tortillas themselves - well, those were a revelation. No wonder people like corn tortillas. When they're warm, soft and delicately fried like this I can see what the fuss is about.

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Stuffed squash tonight. Two lovely Carnival(?) squash (please correct me if I have the wrong variety) have been traveling with us since we left home. They were last seen here amongst the wreckage on the floor, when we moved the Princessmobile a week ago. Here's an excerpt from the photo of the debris.

 

20201223_215004.jpg

 

I like this treatment of such squash: halve it, scoop out the seeds, score the flesh and drizzle with olive oil, then stuff the cavity with a tomato/pepper/sausage/whatever stuffing. Cover. Roast until the squash is soft.

 

20201223_205431.jpg

 

Uncover. Top with cheese, continue roasting until the cheese is melted and, preferably, beginning to brown. (I stopped at "melted" this time. The squash took much longer to cook than I'd planned, and we were tired of waiting.)

 

20201223_205604.jpg

 

My only regret is that this is the last of the oven-roasted tomato/pepper/eggplant/sausage mix from last summer's harvest season. Another container emptied; another happy dish relegated to memory's pantry.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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  • 2 weeks later...

Happy New Year!

 

There hasn't been much foodworthy activity around here since the last post. Some local folks moved into our little area, a decent distance away, and we've visited at a safe distance a couple of times. I've learned that this little area USED to be heavily occupied for Christmas, New Year's and the intervening week. They said some 50 trailers would ring the entire perimeter, gather and have grand times. Many are / were locals. Over the decades the attendance has dropped as people aged.  The Covid-19 pandemic discouraged the survivors except for 3 people in 2 trailers. I've been told that there are still barbecue barrels buried around here somewhere, as well as some people's ashes. Nice to know that there are traditions. We've never been here past Dec. 20 so weren't aware of the usual routine.

 

The skywatching has been beautiful. I got some pretty good photos of the Dec. 21 sunset and superconjunction, but had to use a good camera to get them and haven't transferred them to the computer. The phone caught a good Christmas Eve sunset.

 

20201224_164305.jpeg

 

Christmas dinner was an almost complete rerun of Thanksgiving dinner, except that I didn't bother making bread. We had phone calls and Zoom calls with family, but it still isn't the same as being together. I couldn't muster quite enough holiday spirit to include bread in the food activities. For the record, the menu was prime rib with potatoes roasted in its juices; scalloped corn; green beans with bacon; cranberry relish (not shown). Standard sliced-bread toast for him.

 

20210102_101900.jpg

 

As New Year's Day approached and another long weekend started, a new bunch of revelers rolled in to the general area. The 4-wheeler enthusiasts' camping areas are packed as densely as any RV dealer lot we see from the highway. If you look closely at the bottom two pictures you'll see herds of 4-wheelers parked atop the dunes, waiting their turns; you'll also see some vehicles going up or down the dunes. They're having fun. They're miles from us, so we're having fun too.

 

20210102_102516.jpg

 

New Year's Eve was also a quiet affair, but the most noteworthy food I've eaten or made in some weeks. Well, not the popcorn we ate while watching Fiddler on the Roof (a perennial favorite, but an odd choice for NYE) but the Shrimp Creole Dip from George Graham's web site, Acadiana Table. Holy man, that's good stuff. I took some liberties with it and it's still good: started from already-cooked salad shrimp, used already-mixed horseradish mustard because I didn't have enough horseradish or grainy mustard. Oh, and like many others in this forum I refused to use green bell peppers. Red bell worked just fine, thank you.

 

20210102_102255.jpg

 

This is an excellent dip, and if it's wildly different from the taste he would get we'll never know. It's also easy. It's worth adding to your recipe files. As his web page notes, it's good right off the bat but even better after it sits in the refrigerator and firms overnight. His serving suggestions don't pair it with avocado, but I'm here to tell you that the dip, with avocado and tortilla chips, makes a fine breakfast.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Our neighbors have cleared out, and the areas several miles south that resembled RV sales lots have only a few camping units remaining. We had to go to town today to get propane. The highway southbound toward the freeway had the heaviest traffic we've ever seen. I tried, and failed, to get a photo. It was almost like rush hour traffic!

 

This deal was too good to pass up during our last grocery shopping expedition:

 

20210103_220626.jpg

 

I've had a bee in my bonnet to make salmon cakes, preferably Thai-style, and this promised to scratch that itch. Or swat that bee, if you dislike mixed metaphors. I finally settled on following this recipe, more or less, for Thai Style Salmon Cakes from The Food Fairy Blog. I say "more or less" because the recipe suffers from poor editing: it calls for 3 T soy sauce, and 2 T soy sauce, but never gets around to saying why it's all divided. Everything gets mixed together. Probably a typo. I showed 'em! I forgot the soy sauce altogether, until it got to the table!

 

20210103_220750.jpg

 

We liked it, but agreed it was bland. Soy sauce helped. Salt helped. The "5-alarm Fire Sea Salt" my sister gave me helped even more. Brussels sprouts provided the greens.

 

20210103_221229.jpg

 

Itch scratched. Bee smashed. This dinner wasn't a bust, but there are better ways to spend my time.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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@Smithy 

 

Ive forgotten where you currently are.

 

or is that a secret ?

 

spent many summers in Arizona .   Sabino Canyon.  

 

way way back when it was an empty area .

 

sunsets were much like the ones you've posted.

 

lots of cactus , much of it poached over the years.

 

Happy New Year !

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2 hours ago, rotuts said:

@Smithy 

 

Ive forgotten where you currently are.

 

or is that a secret ?

 

spent many summers in Arizona .   Sabino Canyon.  

 

way way back when it was an empty area .

 

sunsets were much like the ones you've posted.

 

lots of cactus , much of it poached over the years.

 

Happy New Year !

 

We are just over the California/Arizona border, on the California side. The nearest town of any size is Yuma, Arizona. It's still the Sonoran Desert, as you were in, but at a couple thousand feet lower and a few inches less rain each year the vegetation is quite different and much more sparse. There are no saquaro cactus here. There are prickly pear, cholla and lots of non-cactus like ocatillo and croesote bush but they are sparse enough that we can walk / cycle without worrying about thorns. I'll be including more landscape photos as we go along, assuming we stay here. 

 

None of that has to do with food, though! My darling is in charge of dinner tonight. It will probably be Superburgers for dinner and various leftovers during the day. I'm still working on my buck-apiece pomegranates and will indulge in some juice for breakfast. Squeezing one of them will probably be the fussiest food thing I do all day.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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23 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I have no idea if you are interested in another recipe for Thai Fish Cakes but here is one we like.

 

https://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&client=tablet-android-samsung-nf-rev1&source=android-browser&q=thai+fish+cakes+recipe+tin+eats

 

I like that grated onion twist. First encountered it in a marinade recipe for kabobs. The linked recipe looks like it could be easily modified with different herbs and other aromatics. You bake them on the pre heated sheet as recipe notes? I've only ever done them with restaurant leftovers smooshed up by hand: salmon, cheesy potatoes, egg, and aromatics. Pan fried.  All enjoyed and wished we'd had more in the doggy bag.

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48 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I have no idea if you are interested in another recipe for Thai Fish Cakes but here is one we like.

 

https://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&client=tablet-android-samsung-nf-rev1&source=android-browser&q=thai+fish+cakes+recipe+tin+eats

 

Thanks, Elsie. That link takes me to a recipe search with more than one option. Is this the one you mean? It does look considerably easier than the one I tried, which began with poaching half the fish and mincing it all. 

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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23 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

I like that grated onion twist. First encountered it in a marinade recipe for kabobs. The linked recipe looks like it could be easily modified with different herbs and other aromatics. You bake them on the pre heated sheet as recipe notes? I've only ever done them with restaurant leftovers smooshed up by hand: salmon, cheesy potatoes, egg, and aromatics. Pan fried.  All enjoyed and wished we'd had more in the doggy bag.

 

Grated onion? I've read through the recipe 3 times and still don't see it. That makes me wonder whether I got the right recipe. I very much like your "smooshed up by hand" idea. Much simpler than what I did, although of course I was starting from scratch.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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37 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

I like that grated onion twist. First encountered it in a marinade recipe for kabobs. The linked recipe looks like it could be easily modified with different herbs and other aromatics. You bake them on the pre heated sheet as recipe notes? I've only ever done them with restaurant leftovers smooshed up by hand: salmon, cheesy potatoes, egg, and aromatics. Pan fried.  All enjoyed and wished we'd had more in the doggy bag.

I'm not sure you are looking at the same recipe.  No onions are called for.

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