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.