Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cajun Spice Mix

I am reminded today how much I cherish this lovely rub for fish, chicken or any meat I want to "blacken". I gave the last jar to Marie Brooks and didn't replace it. As always....I will not take credit for something I did not personally create. This recipe comes to you from "Cooking Light Magazine". I have made it for over 3 years now. It's a great blackening recipe for salmon, ESPECIALLY Tuna, and any other meat you want to blacken...keep it in a 1/2 pint jar and take out and use as you please.

3 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP ground red pepper
2 TBSP thyme
2 TBSP oregano
2 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP sugar or 1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine all ingredients and keep in a sealed jar.

Swiss Cheese and Mushroom/Vegetable Strata-A Perfect Marriage

What to do with the little bit of leftovers from last nights Staff Christmas Party? Those veggies cooked in garlic, olive oil and butter was so delish, but I want a different take on eating the leftovers. My good friend from 25 years ago, Linda Garlington, gave me this fabulous recipe for a swiss cheese and mushroom strata. Most of the veggie ingredients called for in her recipe can be found in my Roasted Vegetables recipe (posted here earlier). So, I am combining the two recipes to serve to my school family tomorrow.

Roasted Vegetables
1 large can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
9 slices white bread (I used the thick Texas Toast like you would use for French Toast buttered on both sides)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 lb. cubed swiss cheese 1" cubes

First Step:
Cook the Roasted Vegetables recipe posted here earlier. Save about 3 1/2 cups of the veggies after cooked and drain.

Second Step:
Butter 3 slices of bread on both sides, cube into approx. 1" pieces. Place in the bottom of a LARGE baking dish (Do NOT use your stoneware for this--it will break!), add 1/2 of the Roasted Vegetables and 1/2 of the cubed cheese on top. Place 3 more buttered and cubed slices of bread on top of the vegetables, and the remaining cheese and vegetables. Mix milk and eggs together well and pour over the top of the layers. Put on a lid or seal tightly and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Take out of the oven and add 1 can cream of Mushroom Soup mixed with 1/2 can water. Bake uncovered for 30 more minutes. Allow to sit about 10 minutes before diving in.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Roasted Vegetables and Ramen Noodle Salad

Tonight is our annual staff Christmas Party. It's always a gala event that both Jim and I look forward to. Especially the crazy gift exchange. I refuse to get stuck with the edible underpants ever again. I love sampling all of my colleagues fares. Last year, Sandy Kowalski's husband had the most incredible recipe for a mushroom dish made of several varieties of mushrooms. This year I am taking two tried-and-true recipes I inherited from friends and family. My roasted vegetables recipe was given to me by my beautiful, talented and smart sister-in-law, Linda Blizzard. This dish can stand alone as the main entree or as a lovely side-dish at a potluck. It is ALWAYS a winner and every time I make it I am asked for the recipe.

1 large eggplant, diced into 1 1/2" cubes
1 pint pearl onions
1 pint small button mushrooms
1 lb. asparagus
1 red, yellow and green bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup olive oil
3 TBSP minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly spray a large roasting pan with non-stick spray. Toss in all vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Combine butter, olive oil and garlic. Pour over veggies to coat and toss. Roast in the oven for 1 hour at 400.

Next up is a Ramen Noodle Salad recipe that I got from my friend Lauri Capps in Cloudcroft, NM. Who knew Ramen Noodles could be used in something other than soup? This is a do-ahead recipe that actually needs some time for the flavors to marry and the noodles to soften (yes, without cooking them!) The dressing must be made the day before you plan on serving it, and the salad is mixed with the dressing and needs to sit for a few more hours before serving.

The Dressing:
2/3 cups salad oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar but I am sure you can choose)

The Salad:
1 pkg. coleslaw mix
2 bunches green onions, chopped or sliced thin (I also include some of the tops)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
2 pkg. Chicken Ramen Noodles (broken up with the seasoning packets)

Mix the dressing ingredients and let sit overnight. DO NOT REFRIGERATE THIS. The next day, mix all salad ingredients together, add dressing and toss. Let stand for a few hours before serving.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moose Spaghetti

I am always up for a new recipe. I have to say that this one I kind of said....."I don't think so...." who thinks of celery and carrots and pasta....not me...but I grew up in the Southwest. A: We don't have moose B: Pasta should not be combined with celery and carrots C: What the heck is Montreal Steak Spice? This is a great addition to my recipes and I WILL use it again. If you don't have access to moose then ground venison will do. I will not take credit for what I did not create.....This recipe comes to you from GoodGrief3....whoever he or she is...ok...I fudged on a few things..Plus or minus on the seasonings...I included some Chipotle b/c I love the heat!

1 1/2 lbs. ground moose (or venison)
1/2 lb ground beef (I used ground pork)
3 cloves crushed garlic (I like more)
1 lg. onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper diced (I didn't have one and didn't miss it)
1 can mushrooms (Didn't provide a size, so I included two--I LIKE mushrooms)
1 can tomato paste (the small one)
1 large can of tomatoes crushed up (I used organic)
Montreal Steak Spice, parley, basil, oregano, salt, peper, chili peppers.

In a large pot, add a little oil cook onion, garlic, celery, bell, and carrots until soft. Remove from the pan. Add the meats and brown. Drain if you need Ad ushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Allow to simmer for a few hours and serve over pasta topped with some great Parmesaean Romano Cheese.

**You know what? A tiny tin of anchovies diced and a teaspoon of capers would add a whole new dimension to this's great as it is, but play with it.

P.S....I served this up on Spinach Fettucinne and a herb salad with balsamic vinegar dressing (I truly LOVE dill weed in makes all the difference!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Makeover! Turtle Pumpkin Pie

In the mail recently I got a recipe with the coupons section that was worth clipping and trying. This concoction sounded too decadent to pass up. I think the recipe comes from Jell-o.

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. caramel ice cream topping, divided (use the squeeze or jarred syrup)
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp chopped pecans
1 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
DIVIDE: 1 tub (80z.) Cool Whip

Pour 1/4 cup caramel topping in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Beat dry pudding mix, milk, pumpkin, spices with whisk until well blended. Stir in 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip. Spoon this onto the crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Top with the rest of the whipped cream and nuts, drizzle remaining caramel over the top.

Side Note: How funny that a girl like me who doesn't particularly care for sweets enjoys making them for others....anyone else like there, please speak up...feeling a little weird here. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saurkraut Revisited....Canning time

Yes, those who follow my blog saw how to "cook" cabbage into saurkraut. My ancestors would be proud! (although I don't think they did theirs in a 5 gallon bucket using garbage bags!) Seriously though....I allowed 2 more weeks to ferment my kraut than last year and it made ALL the difference. IF you like your kraut mellow--cook (ferment) for only 6 weeks. If you want a twang and a sour taste, go for 8 weeks. This year I alternated layering cabbage and salt with dill and caraway seeds.

After cabbage has fermented to your desired taste, pack hot, sterilized pint or quart jars with cabbage Spoon liquid over the top and seal with hot, sterilized lids and bands. Process in a hot water bath (all that means is a BIG freakin' pot--like a stock pot, with boiling water that covers the jar-lids about 1/4") as follows:
pints - 15 minutes
quarts - 20 minutes
Immediately remove your jars and listen for the "pop" as the lids seal.....Lids that do not seal should be stored in the fridge and served at your leisure.

Wow! This is going to be a great year at the Blizzard House for kosher dogs, grilled sausages and Mom's Fe'Lances.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

La Posta Green Chile Enchiladas

When I married Jim (almost 21 years ago), I inherited a cookbook that is now out of print. The copyright date on it is 1971. The La Posta Restaurant in Old Mesilla, New Mexico was once a stagecoach stop on the famous Butterfield Trail and has been serving some of the best food the Las Cruces area has to offer since 1939. My favorite dish (and I make it often) is Enchiladas Verdes (Green Chile Enchiladas). Please note that the "Original" recipe calls for layering enchiladas in a pancake-style fashion, not ROLLED up the way I do. Either way, they taste the same.

1 doz. corn tortillas (yellow are best)
3 cups green chile sauce (see recipe below)
2 cups grated cheese

Allow 2-3 tortillas per person. Fry tortillas in hot oil to soften. Quickly dip in sauce and build on plate layer-cake fashion with grated cheese sprinkled between the layers. Spoon green chile sauce over each enchilada and top with grated cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Serve with shredded lettuce as a garnish and sour cream if you desire.

Green Chile Sauce (Chile Verde)
12 green chile peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, deveined and diced into 1/2" pieces.
1 cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 small garlic cloves or garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and add only enough water to slightly cover. Simmer for ten minutes.

Somen Noodle

Somen noodle reminds me of a "grown ups" version of Ramen. I love these noodles with this simple sauce.

Juice of 1 lime
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch of fresh ground ginger
optional: thinly sliced green onion

1 bundle of Somen noodles, cooked separately.

In boiling water soften Somen noodles (only takes a few minutes). Drain. Mix sauce ingredients and pour over Somen noodles to mix.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bologna Anyone?

Every once in a while I develop a craving for my mom's Stuffed Green Bell Peppers. Just like getting our own individual artichoke, it was a treat to get your own piping hot stuffed pepper served up with a mound of mashed potatoes. This wonderful dish is made, not with the traditional hamburger and rice--NO! Mom used ground bologna. Don't let the main ingredient throw you off. It tasted unlike anything else! Here it goes:

4 medium sized green bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed

1 1/2 lbs. bulk bologna (get the good stuff from the butcher dept.), ground
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 large raw potato, grated
1/2 onion, diced fine
salt and pepper to taste

1 can Tomato soup, diluted with 1/2 can water

Mix bologna, eggs, grated potato, onion and seasonings. Stuff raw peppers and place in a baking dish. Pour the diluted tomato soup over the top, cover with foil and bake in hot preheated 375 oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Mom also likes this over quartered potatoes to bake with your peppers.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chocolate Mint Jelly and Canning Tomatoes

I can't believe that it is October and there is no snow on the ground! First time in the 6 years I have been in Alaska. My mint is still producing lovely outside. I grew 3 varieties this year: Chocolate Mint, Orange Mint and Ginger Mint. I just had to give the Chocolate Mint a haircut and make some jelly. No Kidding....This mint tastes EXACTLY like a York Peppermint Pattie...I kid you not! So it only stands to reason that I should make a jelly out of this to serve on Easter Sunday with a grilled leg of lamb served with wild rice and grilled bacon-wrapped asparagus and mozzarella! (I am so traditional...Thanksgiving MUST be turkey stuffed with cranberries, cornbread and walnuts and Christmas will be spent this year in Hawaii sunning on the beach, getting couple of tan lines, listening to island music, warming ourselves, looking at turtles under water and roaming the streets at night for a good place to eat with the hunky hubby---so I'll eat fish with macadamia nuts and snorkel day and night! ha ha)

The tomatoes have ripened as much as they are going to. Poor things have sat on my dining room table for 4 weeks now....and I have nurtured them to this point. Many of them are meant to be eaten yellow and don't be alarmed. I have par-boiled and will freeze them for pizza sauces, or soups or anything that calls for really good tomatoes. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh, vine-ripened tomato, don't you think? One knows--IMMEDIATELY....that this tomato was not mass produced and shipped to some grocery store. NOPE! It was nurtured along and hand-picked and selected with tender loving care.

The calendar says that on October 25 I will need to can my sauerkraut. It will have been fermenting for 8 weeks. More later on great kraut recipes...Mom's Fe'Lances for one!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pot Pie

TOTAL comfort food....when in need one MUST submit to their total comfort foods......mine are Pot Pie and Chicken and Dumplings.......So tonight I am submitting to a left-over moose stew that has magically transformed itself with a little help, into a wonderful pot pie with a fabulous phyllo-crust topping....

It makes me smile just to think of it...Listen to the crunch sound as the spoon penetrates the crust. One immediately knows that a wonderful surprise awaits in the first bite. Yes, when depressed, eat your heart out! Cry later and grin now!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tomatoes and Cabbage

This is me and my beautiful cousin Sandy Sloan. She sent this picture to me last week. I can't wait to re-connect with her next summer!

It is a shame that I have to be in school this time of year! The tomatoes are FINALLY rippening...I am so excited....I just processed and put up the last 2 heads of cabbage into Cabbage Rolls....filled with a combination of moosemeat and ground pork mixed with eggs, rice and seasonings....oh yes...don't forget the purple cabbage saurkraut I canned from last year and the Polska Kielbasa sliced on top! Again....I won't take credit for what I didn't create...I got this recipe from Mom and she called it Felances...a polish dish served at's not Christmas, but then in Alaska...Christmas comes early!

Tip: If you throw a head of cabbage into the freezer it will save for a couple of years...I saved mine for 2 days.....but when you take it out...the leaves are as though you par-boiled them to make your cabbage simple! Thanks John Boyarsky for that quick tip.

I can't leave without showing the beautiful Hatch Chiles my mom sent me....yum yum.....I've roasted them on the grill and vacuum sealed them for that "special" occasion! Ok...I can't show my chile just yet...but here are my carrots...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saurkraut 101

It is SO easy to make your own saurkraut. It just takes time and patience. I just harvested my 6 green cabbages today. I could only use 4 for saurkraut and will use the other two like my Grandma Sadie would have done and fry it up with some bacon and salt and pepper...Yep...can live off that stuff for as long as it lasts!

Here is the process for making saurkraut.... it takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to "cook" or "ferment"....I personally like a strong kraut flavor and go for the 8 weeks, but if you like yours mild.....can it at at 6 weeks.

First, line a 5 gallon bucket with a trash bag. Next,shred the cabbage very thin. Place a layer of shredded cabbage dust lightly with kosher salt and either caraway or dill seed (This year I alternated both varieties). Place another good layer of shredded cabbage and do the same.... this process ending with the seasoning of choice or NONE if you decide.

Now put a clean trash bag over the top of your cabbage. Now fill the trash bag with water (to seal your cabbage underneath!!!....I move the bag around a bit (without breaking the bag) to get out as much air as possible.....the water in the second bag completely seals your cabbage.

Keep your bucket in a cold dry place from 6-8 weeks. I like mine REALLY sour so I will go the 8 weeks....but at 6 weeks your kraut is mild yet tart and ready to eat!

FYI: If you do not eat it immediately, you should process it in pint/quart jars.......Please know that your kraut needs to be processed or eaten.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Garden Jelly

I must beg forgiveness from those who are following this blog for my somewhat cryptic title of a truly fabulous jelly. I fear that if I divulge the secret ingredient right away that everyone will close their minds and even refuse to try it! I suppose I can understand. In my mind, the taste of liver can't be disguised no matter how hard one tries....although...a number of years ago I found that I loved Dirty Rice ... aka...gizzards and chicken LIVERS. (eek....running away screaming)

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Yes. It is August and therefore it is FALL in Alaska. Last night my tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplants froze. The fireweed has finally bloomed to the top, signaling the end of summer. We really know that fall is here when the "Dirty-Feet-Smell" permeates the air. That's when I know I must venture out into my own backyard with my raincoat, high-top rubber boots, ballcap and berry picking bucket to harvest those nasty smelling High Bush Cranberries and make and jar that wonderful ketsup!
High Bush Cranberries
The root crops are still fine and enjoying the cooler temperatures. I harvested most of the beets last weekend and couldn't bear to throw away that beautiful crimson liquid. So, I looked on-line as to what I could do with my beet juice and found an interesting recipe for Beet Jelly as well as some really cool information about the benefits of beets. There is just something about this fabulous veg. That intense, deep almost royal red of it, the Earthy smell and taste of immediately KNOW it is GOOD for you and, if like me, want a little more. I didn't fully appreciate beets until pregnant with Chris-and then I couldn't eat enough of them. I love them best simply boiled then lightly dusted with salt, pepper and a little melted butter...nothing fancy.

Beets are a universal veg! You can eat the greens as you would spinach or any other green, the root with butter and seasonings, and the juice made into jelly. They are full of anti-oxidants and have been used to treat anemia, circulatory problems, kidney disease, menopause, tiredness, bladder problems, eye fatigue and liver problems. Beets are a great source of calcium, sodium, vitamin A, chlorine, sulfur, vitamin B-6, iron, potassium and choline. The leaves and juice are known to cleanse the blood and kidneys...this is why you need to eat/drink them in moderation (I've read that one should never drink beet juice alone-it needs to be mixed with another veg).

With that said, here is my recipe for "Garden Jelly a.k.a. Beet Jelly"

4 cups beet juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 pkg. Sure Jell Pectin
1 -3 oz. pkg Jello (raspberry or black raspberry)
6 cups sugar

In a large pot, mix beet juice, lemon juice, SureJell and Jello. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes and pour into sanitized jars. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

This recipe made 12-4 oz. jars and three 12-oz. jars and two 1/2 pint jars. (Yes, everyone will be getting one of those little ones with your Christmas present)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Farmer's Daughter Tribute

Thanks Mom!

Growing up, my brothers and I were led to call broccoli "baby trees" and Brussels sprouts "baby cabbages". My mother had to divide Brussels Sprouts among us or a fight was sure to ensue. I can't think of one veg that me or my brothers will not readily eat. In fact, I'd almost be willing to bet that any one of us would pass over the meat for a fresh ear of corn on the cob, a green onion plucked from the soil-washed and dusted lightly with salt, or a slice of a tomato cut from the vine.

This farmers daughter tells me she grew up poor but what she doesn't know was rich in culture. My grandfather read to his children (3 girls) for entertainment. I remember my grandma Sadie telling me to go pick out some fruit for the dinner table....Oh how I loved my grandmas pears and peaches! Cousin Cathy and I would sneak out in the middle of the night, lift up our nightgowns and fill the pockets with Granddads sweet peas, then retreat to our downstairs room and feast on his lovely crop! Sorry Granddad!

So....the conclusion is this. Every year about this time I begin to harvest the rewards of my efforts in the garden. But I have never acknowledged the beginning of my efforts. This is a good time to do so.......And, by the way....Isn't my mother beautiful?
Tonight I am making a grilled King Salmon with lemon and dill weed. Poor thing is a shadow to the fresh beets and beet greens I harvested from my garden today. To add more salt to that wound, I have fresh zucchini clipped from the vine that I am sauteing in a lovely butter and garlic/tomato sauce. Of course, this meal is not complete without a lovely salad of my own grown butter lettuce, red radishes and green onions served with vanilla-cinnamon walnuts and a blue cheese dressing. Also to accompany this is fried green cabbage with my last year's canned red sauerkraut and bacon. For dessert I made a lovely fruit compote of raspberries and blueberries we picked last weekend and have mixed them with peaches and an oatmeal crust.

Thanks Mom for exposing us to so many wonderful veggies. Poor King Salmon is taking a back-seat to the beets I pulled up today!

Next-up: Green Beans!!! they will be ready to pick next week!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Halibut Olympia, Curried Rice and Ninilchik Deep fried clams

It really sounds more difficult than it is. The Halibut Olympia....mix equal parts of sour cream and mayo. Add dill weed and salt and pepper to taste....Cover the Halibut with your sauce and broil until done (about 7-8 minutes). The Curried Rice....leftovers!!!! Serve that up with a salad and you are a "Goddess".

Deep fried clams are can buy the prepackaged breading mixes (from the Butcher and Deli dept) and deep fry them to accompany a good sauce (like my high-bush cranberry sauce) or a jarred version of tartar or sweet and sour.....Personally.....I think.....who would ruin a good clam by disguising its taste with something overpowering? Use a malt vinegar if you want--that's what I really prefer).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dip Netting Salmon Update July 2009

Jim came home from dip netting our salmon on the Copper River Friday night. Luckily, he got our household limit of 30 salmon which, after 5 hours of filleting and vacuum sealing, converted to 82 (on average-1/2 lb. to 3/4 lb. bags).

Copper River Sockeye is renowned to be the best salmon in the world. Look for it on-line and commercial fishermen sell it for $19.95 a pound. We came away with approximately 60 lbs. that converts into $1,197.00. We eat our salmon at least once a week.

Salmon is a truly versatile and underestimated fish! Since moving to Alaska, I have learned that salmon is delicious in chili, chowder, blackened, in tacos, on pizza, (of course SMOKED), in salads and so much more. We love our salmon patties and I can salmon not used from the previous year. They are not only low in calories, but are high in protein and Omega-3, a light snack, quick to prepare and just as good cold as hot.
As a child, I loved my mother's salmon patties. She made hers from a can (which I now understand is "Pink" salmon--Salmon no decent Alaskan would eat!). Still, I thought they were delicious.
Mom's Salmon Patties
1 can Salmon (or 1 pint of home canned salmon)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup cracker crumbs (experiment with different kinds of crackers, or if you don't want the carbs I found you can use ground up pork cracklings for a higher protein)--you need enough to bind the ingredients together.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the salmon. Using a fork, smash up the salmon (yes, leave the bones in! CALCIUM!) Add slightly beaten eggs, cracker crumbs and seasonings. Form patties to whatever size you like (can be bite sized to hamburger sized.) Use Olive oil or spray in a skillet or grill to brown the patties until crisp.
Last night I grilled some of those fresh salmon fillets using a great Cajun Spice I keep on the shelf in a mason jar at all times. It is a staple in our house and can be used on any meat, but it is especially delicious on fish. The recipe comes from Lia Huber, Cooking Light Magazine, September 2006.
3 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP ground red pepper
2 TBSP dried thyme
2 TBSP dried oregano
2 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP sugar or 1/4 cup brown sugar
Combine all ingredients and keep in a sealed jar.
Today we are off BLUEBERRY PICKING! Yes, blueberries are now ready to be harvested. I will be canning last year's blueberries and raspberries tomorrow. Jim also asked for 6 pints of syrup of each berry. But for today, we are taking out the 4 wheeler and driving up the Circle-Fairbanks Trail in search of those lovely purple little balls of sunshine. I'm taking along those Salmon Fingers I made a few days ago and a small container of High-Bush Cranberry Catsup for a picnic lunch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

ADHD at it's best!

There is something to be said about being ADHD! We are naturals at multi-tasking. It is 2:30 p.m. Alaska-Time.....Today, I have managed to pick another gallon of raspberries from around my yard, downloaded an awesome recipe for Russian Pirozhki, shopped at the grocery store for the stuff I need to make that Pirozhki, completely repacked the RV and it is ready to roll as we speak!, can another 7 pints of raspberry syrup (Jim loves this on his sourdough pancakes or french toast!), took Tira to Dog-Park and shopped at Value Village (no...I didn't find what I was looking for) and I am making a smoked salmon lasagna for dinner, AND I have to make more "fish sticks" because Jim took all of the ones I made yesterday! (See Giada's recipe below for Salmon Fish Sticks! they are AWESOME!) Oh yes....I am also posting this, and am creating a scrapbook of our new-to-us USED motorhome!
UPDATE: I took out the recipe for Smoked Salmon Lasagne. It was TERRIBLE and I'll never make it again! The dogs loved it though :)

I LOVE these fish sticks...they are crunchy, just the right size for light eating, healthy, and really tasty! (I like to dip mine in High-Bush Cranberry Catsup that I can myself in the fall)

Parmesan Fish Sticks
1 1/4 lbs salmon, skinned and cut into finger sized strips

1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 egg whites

1 C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1 C seasoned bread crumbs

Olive Oil for drizzling

Dipping sauce is optional: (Good but not absolutely necessary) Mix together....

1/3 cup mayo

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 TBSP parsley or chives (I think you should also be able to use dill if you want!)

Preheat oven to 450! Yeah that's a hot temp! Rinse and dry your fish. Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in one dish, in another dish whip up your egg whites to yet another dish put in your bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan or Romano.

Roll salmon fingers in flour, dip in egg whites to coat, and roll in bread crumbs. Place on a oiled baking pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes or golden brown.

OMG these are to die for! If you don't really care for salmon...give this recipe a try! It's healthy, yummy and you will be a convert before you know it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home on Wheels

Yippee! We are so very happy with our new Home on Wheels! We finally found what we wanted. A real beauty! This is our New-to-Us/Used RV. A 1985 Allegro in pristine condition.

Jim found this on Craig's List Alaska and was being sold by a lovely elderly couple in Anchorage. They were the second owners and had it for over 16 years. Bernice kept the upholstery covered at all times and the walls and cabinets were always clean. Ray kept this motor home running in tip-top shape. This RV only had 43,000 miles on it.

So now we are in Talkeetna camping out in our new home and staying away from the smoke filled air in Fairbanks. Talkeetna, Alaska is a great little town--very rustic! Jim smiles at the camera from Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna. We thought about doing the flight-seeing tour of Denali from an airplane. There is a special at $140 per person. That's pretty reasonable for getting so close to Mt. McKinley! We think we will stay another day here in Talkeetna!

Until next blog!
Sherry :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Harvested my first batch of kale greens today. Did you know that Kale is the most nutritious veg you could eat and if you could only have one---this is the one to get. Yep! More vitamins and nutrients in this than any other veg. Thank Goodness we love our greens. So today I managed to put up 5 pints of kale greens (this pic yielded 5 pints). Thanks Mom for teaching me how to can our vegs. Here is what you do...

Wash and tear the greens into pieces. Blanch them in hot water then immediately plunge them into a cold water bath. Fill sanitized pint jars with greens, and top with a tsp of salt and boiling water. After placing your jars in the boiling pressure cooker, bring the pressure cooker to 11 psi and then lower the temp to simmer (I do a 4 on my electric range) and process for 90 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure escape.

Cheesecake 101

Raspberries are on!!!! Found some beautiful ripe red babies last night in my own front yard--just look at the pic to the left...these are my own ruby-beauties! This calls for Cheesecake for Jim's office! As you all know, I love to cook, but do not eat a lot of what I cook...this is a good case-in-point! Although I love it, it's not good for me and I'd rather have a leg of rotisserie chicken from Sam's Club, or a hunk of cheese than a slice of this decadent dessert. I've been making this recipe since we lived in Los Alamos back in 1990...the REAL recipe is Mexican Marble Cheesecake from the Rincon del Oso Restaurant in Santa Fe and it incorporates Mexican Chocolate for a marbled effect...(Santa Fe Recipe ISBN 0-9622807-0-4--all the greatest recipes from all the greatest restaurants in Santa Fe, NM) hmm....chocolate and raspberries..I should rethink this. This is a dense cheesecake, which I prefer to that mushy kind of pudding thing. Today I am more interested in incorporating this great recipe with our lovely ripe wild raspberries and am leaving out the Mexican Chocolate the real recipe calls for.

Here we go...

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

6 TBSP melted Butter

1 tsp water

24 ounces cream cheese, softened (that's 4 of those 8 oz packages)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

3 TBSP flour

2 TBSP heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. almond extract

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix with a fork. Press this into a buttered 9" springform pan. Bake in preheated oven (350) for 10 minutes and let cool.

In a medium bowl place the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour this onto your crust. Preheat the oven to 450 and cook for 10 minutes, now lower the heat to 250 and cook for 25-30 more minutes (until it is set). Chill before serving....I'm serving mine with those lovely raspberries heated with some sugar spread over the top.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

2009 Garden

Jim was distressed that I have not shared our garden with you. It is coming along. DESPITE the attack of the voles. They ate all our broccoli and all our cauliflower and started in on the Brussels sprouts. I was not able to replace the broccoli, but was able to put in some cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Thought about putting up some "Dummy Owls" to scare the buggers away. The Kale is ready to start harvesting now. I don't even bother taking home my radishes and just wash and eat them on the spot! My tomatoes look like they actually might do something this year and it will be another good squash crop. Okra is a No-Go and I won't be doing that again (unless in a greenhouse). Potatoes are coming along, but I won't get any reds again this year. Beans and peas look good. Jim didn't know about the difference between string less and regular, so I will be stringing beans. The eggplant is slow to come and I have some very cute baby bell peppers! I will have lettuce coming out my ears and it will still not be enough for Jim! I am on my second planting of radishes, the beets, turnips, and parsnips look fabulous! I will hate myself in August when I have to can all of this! It's hot and sultry outside and Jim is complaining about having to stack firewood in the heat. We have cut and split almost 6 cords of wood. My back aches and I need a good massage! Can't wait to harvest those turnip greens! Mom.....where are you when I need you????

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fireweed Jelly and Blue Cheese Moose Burgers

Judy's hubby Ron and my brother Steve both love my Fireweed Jelly more than any other jelly or jam I send. I understand takes a lot more more time and effort to make it than say, strawberry or raspberry or blueberry......first you have to pick the fireweed...then you have to separate the blossoms from the stems. Ha think you have 8 cups of blossoms only to go home and find you only have 1/2 of what you need and need to go out on another excursion to get more..then you have to wash and wash and wash the blooms...then a long and drawn out process is involved in making this beautiful purple PHANtasy.....hee hee I really treasure the memory of hunting these beautiful blossoms with my mom on the back of my 4-wheeler...right in our own neighborhood!
As with other lovely concoctions I create in my kitchen, I won't take credit for something I did not invent on my own. This recipe comes to you from "Grannie Annie's Cookin' at the Homestead" cookbook email her for her cookbook at, or order it at $14.85 for the book, $3.80 for postage...make checks payable to Grannie Annie, Fireweed Herb Garden and Gifts, 202 North Forest Drive, Kenai, AK 99611.

Alaska Fireweed Jelly
8 cups fireweed blossoms (no stems)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 1/2 cups water
2 packages Sure-Jell or other powdered pectin
5 cups sugar
Pick, wash, and measure fireweed blossoms. Add lemon juice and water and boil for 10 minutes, then strain through cheesecloth. Reheat and add pectin, and bring to boil. Add sugar and bring to a full boil (I found it necessary to use a wire whip to break up the sugar). Boil hard for just 1 minute (you can't stir it down). Pour into hot clean sterilized glass jars and seal (water bath 10 minutes). Makes a beautiful pink jelly.
So you don't have access to our weed....the Fireweed...find out what IS available and edible in your area....if you substitute your flower for the fireweed I'll trade you your jelly for mine. I'll even send you some fireweed seeds.
We are having grilled blue cheese mooseburgers for dinner....YAHOOOOOO!!! Served with our very own garden-grown lettuce and last year's canned dill pickles....the moose burgers.....I mix with a higher fat hamburger (moose is too lean to eat by itself). I mix in blue cheese crumbles and pineapple chunks...then freeze in my handy-dandy vacuum sealer...and whala!!! instant dinner for Jim and I....I grill two and he eats his traditional style with a bun and all the fixings..I eat just the meat and the lettuce, tomato and bun....Tonight I am serving these up with some baked beans and fat free cottage cheese...Gotta watch that girly-figure! OK....did make a cheesecake topped with wild strawberries Jim found....but I DON'T EAT THAT!!!! he does though.............I am so glad I am not attracted to sweets....I would be in serious trouble if I was!

"Bee"ting Mother Nature!

While fishing around for my Fireweed Jelly recipe yesterday I came across a recipe for Homesteader's Honey from a cookbook titled The Cabin Friend (reprinted in Alaska Magazine July 1976). The recipe called for clover blossoms (which I easily spotted at the Community Garden) and 20 or so fireweed flowers-right from my backyard. Well, naturally I bit the bait and had to jar some of this. Jim comes in the door and I tell him I'm making honey. He laughs and says, "YOU'RE NOT A BEE!" ha did come out a beautiful amber color. I'm reserving judgement for those yummy sourdough biscuits with butter though. Here's the recipe:

Homesteader's Honey

2 1/2 cups water
30 red clover blossoms
30 white clover blossoms
18 fireweed blossoms
10 cups sugar (REDUCE this to 8 or 9 or it will come out very thick and sticky!)
1 teaspoon alum

Wash and drain blossoms. Combine blossoms in a pan with 2 1/2 C water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep (like tea) for 10 minutes. Bring blossoms and water to a boil again and add sugar and alum. Boil for 10 minutes. Strain the "honey" through a colander lined with cheesecloth and pour into small sterilized glass canning jars. Water bath seal for 10 minutes. Makes about 1/2 gallon of "honey"---in my case nine 1/2 pint jars.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pizza always puts a smile on my face!

So I needed an excuse to get rid of the smoked halibut I did not eat. What better excuse than PIZZA! Yes, halibut is a wonderful topping for a pizza...but not in the usual way one would think. Instead of using a traditional marinara-type tomato based sauce, I cheat! I go to Pizza Hut and tell them I want two of their Garlic Butter dipping sauce...and they always give it to me! SUCKERS! This is the base for a good fish pizza. If you feel terrible about doing this, then pick up a garlic-Alfredo sauce to use instead. The pizza dough I have found to be the best is from "Jamie At Home" cookbook, page 182. He uses a combination of bread and semolina flours (you can get the semolina flour in the health food section).

5 cups bread flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 TBSP sea salt
mix this together.......

5 tsp. yeast
1 TBSP. raw sugar
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (make sure it is not so hot to kill the yeast, but hot enough to bribe the yeast---about wrist temp)

Mix the flours and salt, let the yeast, sugar EVOO and water sit in a bowl or measuring cup for a few minutes (until frothy and happy)...add to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until kneadable (is that a word?)

Knead until soft, elastic and might need to add a little more flour. Let sit in a bowl until double (an hour or two). This recipe makes a whopping 6-8 medium pizzas...or in my case 2-3 big ones.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, get a stone really hot in that oven and slap down your pizza crust on that hot stone. It will begin to bake immediately and give you the next best thing to a wood fired oven baked pizza. Start putting on your toppings and you'll be a hit in 25 minutes! Pizzas should usually bake for 18-20 minutes at that temp....let them sit for 5 minutes out of the oven before slicing (I know it's hard to wait!)

The next most important thing in making a great pizza is the sauce! I have experimented with hundreds of recipes...this is my favorite. It comes from the Flying Pie Pizzeria in Boise, Idaho and I have been making it for over 20 years. Not only is it easy and cheap, but it freezes well. For grins and giggles you can add other ingredients to it as you please (anchovy paste, sliced olives, garlic...etc)

All Day Pizza Sauce (in 5 Minutes)

1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can Tomato Paste (6 oz)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 tsp. Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning (I use my own fresh herbs when in season)
1/2 tsp. Oregano (also fresh in my garden when I can)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all this together and use. Will make enough for 8-9 pizzas. Adjust the seasonings to your own personal preference. I add fresh basil and crushed red peppers (Jim loves the spice).

There's that!

Other great places to check out pizza recipes are: Wolfgang Puck--especially his Caesar Chicken Pizza, his Shrimp and Goat Cheese Pizza (my personal favorite) and his Spicy Chicken Pizza....all of them are to die for!!! Don't know if you can get into a cookbook called "Pizza Pizzaz, From Basic to Gourmet by Richard Erickson"...but this one is by far the best cookbook I have for pizzas and is my Pizza Bible....sourdough crusts, whole wheat crusts, Putanesca sauce,'s a cheap little booklet, torn up now and well used...published by The American Cooking Guild 1-800-367-9388, ISBN 0-942320-19-0.

New Twist on Fish Sticks

So last night I made these wonderful fish sticks and I can't and won't take credit for the recipe. I watch way too much FoodNetwork and on Everyday Italian Giada made these incredible looking Parmesan Fish Sticks. I downloaded the recipe and were they ever excellent! If you need to get in your Omega 3's to help lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart, and are not particularly fond of salmon I recommend this recipe.

18 oz. salmon skin removed cut into finger-sized strips
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 egg whites
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil for drizziling

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup reduced fat mayo
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP dill weed (her recipe called for parsley or chives)

Preheat oven to 450. (I know it seems like a high temp)

Lightly coat salmon fingers in flour, roll in egg whites, roll in bread crumb/Parmesan mixture. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

They are crispy and crunchy and really good. Serve with that dipping sauce.

I also made some Crabmeat Egg Roll Appetizers to go with last nights supper. I won't take credit for that either. This recipe comes from "The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook" by Kirsten Dixon (my hero!)

2 oz. thin rice stick noodles (maifun)
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 lb. cooked crab (I used King crab, very expensive, but this is one time I think you can get away with using imitation crab and it would be just as yummy)
1 cup finely shredded Napa cabbage (I used Joi Choi from my garden)
1 small carrot, finely shredded
2 tsp. Asian fish sauce (nam pla)
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 egg, beaten with a fork
Oil for deep frying (I used Canola...she say's to use Peanut)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)--you'll find this in the vinegar isle or the Asian aisle
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Bring a pot of water to boil. Put in the rice noodles, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes then drain, rinse and chop to about 1/2 pieces. Mix together the crab, cabbage, carrot, fish sauce, 1 of the green onions, salt and pepper and add the noodles.

Fill egg roll wrappers with about 2-3 TBSP of filling, brush egg on 2 edges and roll up to seal. Deep fry to crisp, turning once (about 5 minutes).

Dipping Sauce:
Whisk together the other green onion, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and ginger.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Artichokes Anyone?

Who doesn't love artichokes? I mean really! Such a weird veg, but so deliciously decadent! It's like your own personal prize on a plate! And who cares if they are Two-fifty each, we spend more than that on a six-pack of beer! Everyone has their favorite way of-cooking and eating them. Personally, I like to steam mine for about 45 minutes. I love to eat the leaves and heart dipped in melted butter with a little Worcestershire sauce. Others prefer mayonnaise, some like butter with lemon juice, some swear by soy sauce and's a matter of preference. Artichokes evoke special memories of my childhood. My mom used to buy one for each of us was special--Kind of like the pomegranates and sugar cane she would sometimes get. We each knew that we had our own little veg and could converse and look forward to that "Golden Moment" when we cleaned out the heart and savored the fruit of the Gods!

Tonight we are having artichokes and moose stuffed cabbage leaves sauteed in a tomato and garlic sauce topped off with my own moose summer sausage.

P.S. I am sad. We sold our trailer. We have had it for over 6 years and it feels like I have sold a part of us. We derived so much pleasure from that little 21' thing. I hope to replace it soon. It is going to a good home so I guess I should be happy and we let it go at a STEAL!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I love all things halibut! Halibut pizza, halibut tacos, smoked halibut, halibut chowder, but my favorite thing of all is beer battered deep fried halibut served with a malt vinegar. I love halibut cooked this way more than the traditional cod. I usually have to make 2-3 dinners of this as we all love it -- even cold! Someone told me recently that salmon was equally as good cooked like this and so I tried it. I recommend cooking only bite sized, bones removed pieces this way if using salmon.

Our ship goes out at 3:30 this afternoon and will return tomorrow around 11:00ish. I am sure to be tired as we will not be sleeping in the berths below. I am taking along my sleeping bag to cover and doze with on the couch in the salon. In preparation for this trip I have taken all the precautions to assure I don't get seasick. One: I have a patch behind my ear that I got from the doctor, Two: I am wearing magnetic wristbands, Three: I took one Bonine and will take another 30 minutes before I board the ship, Four: I have my Ginger Ale and chicken noodle soup and, last but not least: I've been tanking up on water all yesterday and today.

Jim is sick with a sore throat and chest congestion. Not good to have go out fishing, but who knew this would happen and the cost with taxes came out to be $240 per person. I've been up since 5:15...too excited to sleep.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 3 Combat Clamming

Mutiny! Jim woke up this morning threatening to mutiny. He say's, "I'll help you get the clams but you have take over after that." In other words, he is tired of cleaning them. However, he took 2 naps yesterday while I continued to clean. We acquired a whopping 75 clams yesterday. Significantly less than what we were allowed, yet more than we need. Still, I would like to get one more days stash in the freezer.

Last night I made a wonderful clam chowder and put the moose kebabs back in the fridge. So tonight we will have moose kebabs, fried clam strips and some collard greens from last year's garden. ALL subsistence food.

We bagged the 3rd day clamming trip and it is probably a good thing. By the time we got to Homer (only an hour away from Ninilchik) and settled into the RV park and bought supplies, it was 1:30 p.m. Low tide today began at 11:00 which means that I would have been clamming until 2 or 3 p.m., driving to Homer and cleaning clams until midnight tonight. Jim really wanted to fish and I really wanted some peace and quiet time to myself. He is fishing--I am doing laundry. Tomorrow is the BIG day for halibut fishing.

OMG the smell of the Kale on the stove causes me to salivate!!! I will eat the rice and the moose kebabs....but the kale really sinks my ship! So sad that I have to eat the protein (not that I don't love moose meat!) due to my surgery! I so love my veggies! As a matter of fact, I could really be a vegan if I could have my lovely vegs all year-round. Where is my pretty cousin? She is supposed to pop in tonight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

8:30 pm....I'm tired

75 clams later....Jim had a nice long nap after our clamming trip.....that means I got to do the work. I'm tired and will enjoy these clams even more. He is now walking the dog on the beach while I am making clam there something wrong with this picture? I think so!

Day 2 Combat Clamming

It's a little after 6:00 a.m. and I'm almost ready for another day of combat clamming. Although my hands hurt terribly, I am happy as a CLAM. After mutilating a dozen clams yesterday we finally learned how to get those suckers! After Jim announced, "This isn't fun! I'm going back to the truck and will wait for you there!" I decided to ask someone who looked like they knew what they were doing. I found an Alaskan Native lady digging away and asked her if she would teach me how to do it. She flashed me this lovely smile and said, "Sure!" Within 5 minutes I had my first clam! Man, if you could have just seen me dancing a jig and whooping on the beach in the rain!

I tell you, it's not as easy as it looks and I have a new appreciation for those little cans I buy in the store and those people who catch and clean them. We were allowed 60 clams each and, after 3 hours of back-breaking work, we walked away with 26 clams (remember we each killed about a dozen). Jim learned how to clean them with precision too.

To make matters worse, we clammed in the rain and came back to camp looking like mud monsters. After doing a few loads of laundry in the laundromat, we shut ourselves up CLAM tight in the camper and I fried up two of them on the spot---to go with the grilled blue marlin and garlic rice I made for dinner. Oh boy were they yummy. 26 clams worked out to be 4 pint-sized packages...or enough for 4 clam chowder pots.

The plan is to get to the beach earlier than everyone else, say 7:30ish--the low tide will be at its lowest at 10:30 a.m. so we will work our way out gradually. I'm to meet cousin Sandy at 9:00 at the outhouse and will give her clam shovel back. I rented a clam gun (a tube like thing that digs a big hole and lifts up the sand). People swear by them, so we'll see...hopefully it will save wear and tear on my hands that are aching now due to so much digging yesterday.

Tonight we are having grilled moose kebabs, some of my homemade beets with butter and my canned green beans...maybe I'll make some clam chowder with potatoes and onions and bacon too!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Homer, Clamming and Halibut

Today is the summer solice day--the longest day of the year. Optimists are celebrating and Pessimists are mourning the coming loss of daylight. I fit into the optimist category and enjoy the long winter nights almost as much as the long summer days.

It's been a long time since I minded the blog so I'll try to be short but concise. Our plots at the Community Garden are not in such great shape. Yes, I say "plots" (plural). We acquired the plot next to us. The garden is overrun with voles this year and they have managed to completely devour all our broccoli, cauliflower and have now started in on the brussel sprouts and cabbage. It's probably one of the best and warmest summers we have had in years and optimum gardening conditions if not for the pesky critters who enjoyed a long and protected winter under last year's deep snows.

I met my cousin Sandy and her husband Gary from Arkansas last night at The Howling Dog. He is a very good blues musician and Sandy is a joy. We are all heading down to Homer to go halibut fishing with the Alaska Coastal Marine. This year we will be sailing on the Spirit. On the 23rd we will meet Sandy, Sara and Kristie (I hope) in Ninilchik to go clamming. I've not experience that before and am quite excited to bring back a stash of clams to add to my pantry. As usual, we will be staying at the Driftwood RV Park in Homer and going out on the overnighter for our halibut. I feel a little bad because we still have a lot of halibut in the freezer.