While you might imagine that the food bank is all about canned and boxed non-perishable goods, the reality is that 40 per cent of the food donated is fresh and frozen produce.
In Canada, 80 per cent of food banks provide at least one service above and beyond hampers and meals. In some communities, this can mean gardening programs or community kitchens, where people learn to cook and preserve what they harvest. These programs are empowering and sustainable, and engage young people and communities in the food system. If you’re not able to get to a store and buy food to donate, consider donating cash.
Funds donated to Food Banks Canada go a long way. Food Banks Canada and provincial and regional food banks form partnerships with retailers, local businesses and farmers, and are able to stretch their dollar considerably; the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society reports that every dollar donated is actually worth three dollars, which supports not just community programs, but also the purchase fresh produce and protein sources when they are most needed.
Today’s recipe combines fresh, in-season produce with canned salmon (rich in brain-boosting DHA) for a hearty meal that works as well for breakfast as it does for dinner. This is something you can mix up ahead of time; it’s also easily adapted to the leftovers you have in your fridge. It uses kale, because kale grows like weeds and it’s hardy enough to live in your fridge for a few days while you use up other things.
Potato cakes with salmon and kale
(Makes 4 servings.)
- 1 lb. red-skinned potatoes
- 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups finely chopped fresh kale, stems discarded
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 7.5-oz. (213 mL) can salmon, drained
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as Sriracha or Tabasco
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Oil for frying
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a large pot of salted water, bring diced red potatoes to a boil (make sure to leave their skins on!) and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until lightly browned, about two minutes. Add kale, and then garlic. Toss to coat kale in oil.
Drain the potatoes, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Pour reserved liquid into the pan with the kale, and cook, stirring frequently until water evaporates and kale has wilted, another minute or so.
Pour kale and potatoes into a large bowl. Mash, then set aside to cool enough to continue, about 15 minutes.
Add salmon in chunks, removing bones. Add mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add eggs. Mush the whole mixture together until thoroughly combined, then form into eight cakes.
Working in batches, fry over medium-high heat, about two minutes per side. Place cooked cakes in a pie plate and keep warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve.
Serve cakes with boiled or steamed vegetables or a garden salad, and a glob of mustard for dipping.