You and I can, and absolutely should, keep learning. All of us should strive to learn something new every day. A downright silly piece of trivia counts, as does a profound fact of truth.
We all have things to learn from others: old, young, and all ages in between. Animals, too. Dogs teach us to seek shade and rest through the heat of a summer day; cats model independence. We soak up facts face-to-face, online, by reading, and just by being — it all counts.
I enjoy reading, but have gotten behind lately. My magazines are piling up again. Time to go through the stack for articles I want to read and worthwhile coupons to cut.
Looking through a favorite monthly, “Southern Living,” one night after dinner, I turned a page and came upon an article that caught and held my attention: “The Next Generation of Soul Food” by Caroline Randall Williams. Caroline (pardon the familiarity I feel like I know her) says, “Nashville is my home. Mississippi is my right now.” I can relate.
Caroline Williams is an award-winning poet, novelist and student (currently going for her MFA at the University of Mississippi). In addition, she and her mother (who is a novelist) co-authored a cookbook, “Soul Food Love,” published in February 2015. A southerner bent on keeping the flavor while being true to the history of the food she grew up with, she is also determined to eat healthy.
The author’s heritage is southern-American, and African beyond that. To make over time-tested recipes so they are still delicious as well as healthy is an art. You can give up high fat and sodium content for just so long if you also give up flavor. She says her family now talks about “entertaining like Mama and staying healthy like Baby Girl.”
I was intrigued as I read over the recipes featured with the article especially the one for Salmon Croquettes. It was accompanied by a beautiful photo of what I would swear were my own mother’s croquettes.
But I questioned the ingredients. Where were the cracker crumbs? How could you make mouth-watering salmon croquettes that weren’t fried in plenty of either bacon grease or butter? How would they hold together with only eggs as a binder? In my mind’s eye I saw a panful of crisp crumbs, not plump croquettes crusty on the outside and tender inside.
Sometimes you have to go on instinct. I’ve read over enough recipes to know if their ingredients will come together and taste good. I gave it a shot.
I’m sorry, mother these are the best I’ve ever had. And I didn’t pay for the pleasure with a touch of indigestion from the frying.
WITH DILL SAUCE
1 1/2 cups fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of ground red pepper
2 (14.75 ounce) cans salmon, packed in water
2 cups finely chopped celery
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup finely chopped onion
1-2 teaspoons table salt
1-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Garnish: blistered green onions
Whisk together yogurt and next 5 ingredients in a small bowl.
Drain salmon; remove and discard skin and bones. Flake salmon, and place in a medium bowl.
Stir celery and next 4 ingredients into salmon; shape mixture into 6 (4-inch) patties (about 3/4 cup per patty).
Cook patties, in batches, in 2 tablespoons hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes on each side or until golden. (Add 1 tablespoon oil, if needed, for second batch.)
Serve with yogurt mixture.
This recipe is taken directly from “Soul Food Love,” by Caroline Randall Williams and Alice Randall.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.