The Back-of-the-Cupboard Cook’s First Recipe

If you are like me, you well know that feeling of not having “anything” in the house to eat. Well, the truth is there are always some old cans in the cupboard. And usually some eggs and herbs and an onion or two.

The other day I found myself in this situation and couldn’t get to the grocery store. So I took out my last can of salmon and an antique can of crabmeat. Seriously, the expiration date was sometime last year. They were both small cans, so I toyed with the idea of making a tiny recipe of salmon patties and a tiny recipe of crabcakes, but that sounded like more work than I had time for.

I figured what the heck and created my own recipe. I can follow recipes pretty well, although I do tinker with measurements under the guidance of the glass of wine I keep close to my hand and lips ;). Nevertheless, I am not a creative cook who concocts new recipes from scratch. Until now. Maybe I should start a blog called THE BACK OF THE CUPBOARD COOK because these lil suckers were yummy.

Here is the recipe:



  • 1 6oz can salmon
  • 1 6oz can crabmeat
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup panko (gluten free is what I used)
  • 1 t. herbes de Provence
  • big dollop mayo
  • salt
  • pepper
  • (can use touch of sriracha, but I did not want the heat)
  • olive oil to fry in

Mix together everything except the oil. Let set in fridge for ½ hour (or less or more) because of the panko.

Form balls in your hand and then flatten into the hot olive oil in a skillet or frying pan and cook until browned on both sides.

Eat with whatever else you can scrounge up, even if it’s an old frozen side dish. (OK, that’s what we did).

The advantage to these cakes is that they are much tastier and less “fishy” than regular salmon patties. They are also easier and quicker to make than good crab cakes. The two seafoods actually complement each other very well, and the texture was lovely.

And because I was sneaking little pieces from the pan, I forgot to take a pic! I shared my recipe with my kids afterward, and my son who likes to cook said you could use a flavored mayo, too. If you do, change out your herbs if they don’t match the new flavor.

Now, don’t trust me on these salmon crab cakes. I know. After all that, she says, “Don’t trust me.” But I wasn’t using measuring cups and whatnot. I was just throwing things in. I’m only sharing because these combinations of flavors and textures worked.


A very cool thing happened on the way to not writing lately. My poem “Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill” has been nominated for Best of the Net 2019 by Nine Muses Poetry with five other poems. A big thank you to editor Annest Gwilym! You might have read the poem before. Some of you wrote lovely comments, too :). If not and you want to check out these six nominations, the links are available here: Best of the Net 2019 Nominations from Nine Muses Poetry.


Perry is getting his echocardiogram today, so good thoughts, vibes, and if you don’t mind, prayers for my boy, please.


Filed under #writerlife, #writerslife, Cats and Other Animals, Food & Drink, gluten free, Writing

51 responses to “The Back-of-the-Cupboard Cook’s First Recipe

  1. Nicely done, Luanne! I love the possible name for your new blog. 🙂 Congratulations on your nomination! Yay! Praying for sweet Perry. xo

    • On the “new blog”–hahaha! Thank you so much on the others, especially for the prayers for my dear darling. His test is this afternoon at 2PM, so hours away yet. So please keep the prayers coming!

  2. Good vibes to Perry today and a huge congratulations to Perry’s mom for her poem’s wonderful recognition!
    I’m not a big fish lover, but your recipe sounds delicious!

  3. Hugs for Perry and be sure to let us know how it goes. Do they have to sedate? Sigh! I am also a “cupboard cook” as I call it. I always have basics like celery, carrots, onions and garlic and you can use them to make anything tasty. My go to is an old Austrian recipe with eggs, milk and flour. Surprisingly good with a sour-ish salad. For my non-Austrian husband I call it scrambled pancakes because the German name is lost on him. Congrats on the recognition. You deserve it!

    • I will definitely update about Perry. I am not sure how he will respond. I suppose it depends,in part, on how they treat him at the cardiologist’s. When he’s gone to the vet when he was younger he was terrified and acted like a maniac. But when I took him in this last visit he let the vet use a little handheld ultrasound on him twice and he just lay there all sweet and trusting. She couldn’t even believe how compliant he was. As I think I wrote before, he even opened his mouth up wide for her when she asked LOL. So we’ll see.
      Eggs, milk, and flour. Hmm. Scrambled pancakes. Are you posting this recipe? Have you posted it before? Something sounds familiar about it. I want to see it, if you don’t mind, and see if I can use gluten free flour with it.

  4. I’m bookmarking this!

  5. My thoughts are with Perry. Hope he gets good results.

  6. Sending Perry a litter box full of prayers and virtual pets and scratches around the head. Congratulations on your poem! And thanks for sharing your back of the cupboard recipe. We sometimes have a meal that I call “whatever we can throw together.” I’ll have to give your recipe a try. We usually have all those ingredients except canned crabmeat. Again, I hope it’s good news for Perry. If he’s got a problem, I hope it’s easy to fix. <3

    • The crabmeat was unusual, but old, as I mentioned. I probably bought it at one point for a holiday dip or something and didn’t need it. Not something I usually buy, but now I probably will buy it when I buy canned salmon haha. Thank you re Perry. I am waiting to hear from the specialist today. (He better call). Did I see you published a story on Medium? Can you give me the link? I had it pulled up on my iPad, but ended up losing it when I went back to said iPad.

      • See if this works: It’s the latest one I published in a fit of admitting that I’m still trying to figure out Medium ;). One of the things I don’t like about Medium is that stories seem to disappear. I’ve learned to bookmark ones that I want to read later, but I have to remember to that. And, strangely, I get pop-up notifications from Medium when anyone I follow publishes a story, but when I open the app, often it’s not listed and I have to search. Fingers crossed that it’s only good news from the specialist <3

        • I found it! I wrote over there. Haha, I am a Medium idiot. Or maybe a Large idiot, but definitely not a Small idiot. Good grief. I don’t know how to clap!

          • lol … I do think there’s a learning curve with Medium. At least there is for me. The clap icon is a silhouette of two hands clapping at the bottom of the “story” (that’s what Medium calls whatever we write). Treat it like the Like button on WordPress or Facebook. It’s not obvious so I think a lot of readers might overlook it. Now (at this minute), I’m signed into Medium and trying to figure out how to respond to your comment. Really, it shouldn’t be so hard but Medium makes WordPress seem like child’s play!

  7. Ah but would they taste as good if the crabmeat was in date and the salmon wasn’t the last one in the cupboard….. 🙂 Good luck with the poem and sending lots of love Perry’s way.

    • I’m giving him all your love right now. We are waiting to hear about his lab results from the doctor.
      Haha, re your comment about the recipe. You might be right about that! I’ll try it again to make sure!

  8. By the time I got here I think Perry will have completed his testing and been such a good boy that only the most positive of news could be heard <3

    I like the sound of your dinner, but what is 'panko' and what does it add to the recipe? I have many unused tins of salmon and can easily get crab meat but have never heard of panko before.

    • Pauline, I posted an update about our dear boy. He did not have the echocardiogram but had blood work instead so we will find out in a few days. This is potentially really good news although we still don’t know what causes the fast breathing.
      Panko is a Japanese type breadcrumb Made without crust and very dry and fine and crunchy. Without Panko I would use breadcrumbs that have been dried.

      • So – not quite the answer we wanted, but not the bad news we didn’t want to hear either …….. Keep the wellness mantra going. Thanks for the info re Panko. I can work with that 🙂

  9. I hope all is well for Perry. The recipe does sound good, Luanne.

  10. I, too, love the title of your next book: The Back-of-the-Cupboard Cook (subtitle: Boldly Making Do) 😉

  11. I love those kind of recipes. Some of the greatest dishes were created from food from the cupboard.

  12. Just a quick update from me 🙂 I found panko – tons of the stuff in the supermarket and have never, never seen it before. I guess because I don’t ever look for breadcrumbs. I found several varieties on the bottom shelf of the Asian section of the International Foods and then went on to find more in the Organic aisle, the Health Foods aisle, the fresh fish aisle and the canned fish aisle…….. I must really take more time to look around and not just go where I know my items are and leave, though probably not good for my budget 🙂 I’m making/trialling your recipe tomorrow night!! Any update on the lovely Perry?

    • How did it turn out?! What did you think of the panko? It makes for crispier coatings, etc. I agree with you that being adventurous and looking at new things can end up being expensive! I just happened to keep panko all the time in the fridge.
      Thank you for asking about our boy. I am waiting for the cardiologist to call me with the lab results. I called there a few hours ago asking, and the lady who answered the phone went and searched for him, but he was busy. That makes me think the results are IN.

  13. Well done! Very resourceful! I’d eat it.

  14. This looks so good thank you for sharing!

  15. Veronica Agatha

    thank you for sharing

  16. Congrats on the recognition for your poem, Luanne! 🙂

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