Thursday, December 08, 2011

Battle of Cedar Creek

I built a time machine and traveled back to 1864 to photograph the battle of Cedar Creek. Had to use film. This photo shows what a fast motor winder will let an amateur photographer accomplish (shot a whole roll of this cavalry horseman as he rode by to get this shot).
Confederate cavalry on the move
Union infantry try to extend their left
That's the Heater house in the background, and probably Wrights corps trying to form up in the middle ground. One of my all time favorite Cartier-Bresson-esque serendipitous shotseven though I shot 24 frames to get it.
Jubal Early tries to hold

Phil Sheridan denied my requests for an interview, or this would be an entirely different story.

The Heater house is there today thanks to a successful preservation effort.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes version 0.01

It's been a long time since I made a fish cake, so I'm starting over. As usual, I'm stealing ideas from a number or recipes and fashioning my own. The scallions and dry mustard come from the Legal Seafood recipe.

There's a continuum for fish cake recipes. The simplest, and probably historically most authentic, are those with  fish, potato, salt, pepper, maybe parsley (but I wonder how much parsley was used in colonial America, I'm sure I don't know) maybe some cream or butter. At the other end is a recipe like LaGasse's calling for cream, exotic (for the time) spices, celery, and more. Every recipe takes an egg or two. I'm trying to land near the middle with my try at fish cakes.

Here's what I did. Get the best cod fillets you can. Work at this, get 2 lbs or so.

The rest:

Colmans dry mustard (secret ingredient)
2 russet potatoes
fresh parsley
bread crumbs, unseasoned
fresh parsley
fresh garlic
a yellow onion
butter, maybe cream, but not much

Poach the cod until it flakes. Reserve, and get it cooled.

Peel, and cook the potatoes as if for mashed potatoes.

mince the scallions, just the white bits, 4-5 of them.
mince 2-3 cloves of garlic
finely chop about 1/3 cup of parsley
grate some yellow onion, about a teaspoon

Mash the potatoes with the scallions, garlic, parsley and onion, a 1/2 tsp of the Colmans dry mustard and salt and pepper. Keep the potatoes dry, not like real mashed potatoes. Adjust these ingredients until you get a potato mixture that you are happy with, so you have to make fish cakes a bunch of times until it's right for you. It's like making dill pickles to exhibit at the state fair, there isn't a right way.

Flake the cod in a bowl, and add some of the potato mixture until it's about 75% cod and 25% potato. Form into patties, and saute until golden brown on each side. Serve with the home-made Boston baked beans your mother taught you how to make. Ketchup on the side for the beans. 

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