Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Culture Day-Week at Midnight Sun Mama's Place

We are eclectic people! I love and celebrate diversity at every opportunity. Today I am making Pico de Gallo, a Four-Cheese Moose Baked Penne, and Guay Teaw Kag. No....they will not be consumed at the same time! :)

Lets talk about Pico de Gallo first. In color coordinating with countries we think about everything but I feel that Mexico sometimes gets the shaft? Yes, it is a poor country, but how rich it is in history and culture. Red/White and Green.....Pico de Gallo is a perfect representation of this fabulous and interesting part of the world that we do not explore as we should. Get to know it! I used to use The House of the Scorpion to teach this but was informed that this is a 9th grade reading book....sorry kiddos.

Pico de Gallo
1 small white onion
3 jalapenos (seeded and chopped very fine)
3 Roma tomatoes...(take out the pulp
1 TBSP lime juice
salt, pepper and cilantro to taste

I won't take credit for this recipe. The recipe comes from my mom....Billie Blair. All the colors in the flag of Mexico are represented here and hopefully with every bite one will realize that there are others out there who are different-yet the same. We are all male/female, mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, Uncles and Aunties, cousins and beyond....we ARE connected and we love our family.

We have learned to love Thai food. Maybe our Southwestern roots and the love of "heat" in our food allows us to appreciate curry. I think I've said it before, but if you like Thai get this book, Thai Cuisine: Lemon Grass Cookbook ISBN-13: 978-4-88996-094-5

I changed this recipe up in that I used chicken breasts instead of beef and I added beet greens instead of spinach (I just couldn't trash my beet greens!) and broccoli from my garden because I needed to use it.

Guay Teaw Kag (Curry Noodle)

1 lb. rice or wheat noodles (I used Japanese wheat noodles)
1 lb chicken cut into cubes (recipe calls for beef)
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup fish sauce (get the good stuff from the Asian Market)
3 T sugar
1 c water
2 TBSP curry powder (I made my own, but you can use store-bought)
1/2 cup bean sprouts, blanched
1/2 cup greens (I used beet greens, the recipe calls for spinach or cabbage)
1/2 cup Chinese broccoli (what is that? I used my own broccoli instead)
1/4 cup ground peanuts (I ran them through the bullet)
3 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP sugar
1/4 c oil
1/4 cup minced onions
2 TBSP minced garlic

Garnish: Cilantro (fresh from my garden), green onions, and red bell peppers diced

Cut chicken into 1" cubes. Simmer in 1 can of coconut milk about 40 minutes. Add second can of coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, water, and curry. Cook 5 minutes. Bring a pot of water to boil and add noodles and all other ingredients. Remove to a serving dish and top with your chicken/coconut milk mixture. Garnish and serve. This is a pretty dish and presents itself well to your guests..the peanuts are a little overpowering so if you are not a big fan of peanuts, cut the amount down. I recommend serving this with a chilled Pinot grigio and nothing else.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sherry's Sinful Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls and Throwing Out the Old

So in my quest to rid the freezer of old foods and cleanse the fridge of unnecessary items, I am throwing out almost everything. I come across the sourdough starter which has been sitting, patiently waiting for someone to pay attention and something to happen for 3 months (maybe 2...I did make sourdough waffles in May for the teachers at school). I speak of my starter as a living thing---AND IT IS! Sourdough starter is a living organism. It needs tending like all living things do. All it does is give off gas (in the form of alcohol) and wants to be fed and reproduce! Ha! Not unlike humans at all. I had full intentions of flushing it down the drain, but before doing so, I put out an all-call to my friends and hubby's workplace buds to "Save the Starter". No takers. My starter sat on the counter for two days before I decided to pitch it. When I opened the lid, it begged to be stirred and I saw the life still left in it. Over four years of taking care of this silly thing! Dad gum it! I took out an old cookbook and looked for something I could use with one last dance. Going on a new...different than the typical breakfast about Cinnamon Rolls?

To make a long story short which I have already made long....the dough was wonderful. The starter was so eager to be fed that I had to keep adding flour until I got the right consistency and "it" was happy. The smell was to die for...this is going to be Heaven at 6:00 a.m. with a cup of North Pole coffee. Conclusion: I simply can't throw out the baby I have nourished for over 4 years. I'll share with people who ask for it, and there are a few, my fridge will just have to again make room. Anyone want some starter? It's old but it's tried and true and good.

Please know that I found it necessary to adapt the recipe for Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls from the original version of Alaskan Sourdough Cooking: Recipes From The Last Frontier ISBN 1-56944-201-0

Sherry's Sinful Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls:

1 TBSP dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. sugar
1 TBSP. butter
3 1/2 cups + flour
1 TBSP. cinnamon
1 C. sugar
1/2 lb. butter- softened
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. walnuts
1/2 C. raisins

1 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 TBSP. milk
3 drops vanilla extract

Combine yeast and warm water and allow to sit together for 5 minutes. Combine yeast, starter, milk, vanilla, 2 TBSP. sugar, salt and 1 TBSP. butter. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. *My starter was so starved for attention it took the whole 10 minutes and a lot more flour than recommended Place in a greased bowl, coating all sides, cover and allow to sit for 2 hours or doubled.

Combine cinnamon, 1 C. sugar and 1 1/2 C. brown sugar. Next, grease two 8" baking pans.

After 2 hours of rise, punch down dough. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out dough to a 24x10" rectangle. Spread softened butter over the dough, leaving 1" strip along the long sides. Sprinkle the buttered dough with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and raisins. Beginning with the length side, roll up in jelly-roll fashion. Pinch the edges to seal. Cut roll into 24 slices. Place slices in a buttered baking pan with the sides touching. Cover the pan and allow to rise again for 1 1/2 hours or until double. Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 20 minutes or until brown. Cool for 5 minutes and then top with topping:

Combine ingredients for topping and whisk until smooth. Turn rolls out onto serving plate and drizzle with topping while warm. Serve with love and a hot cup of coffee.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trick on the Traditional Pot Pie - It's all about MOOSE!

Some of my favorite childhood memories are about silly chicken or turkey pot pies mom let us have when we would have a babysitter come watch us. We thought tv dinners were takeout and a special opportunity to pick whatever we wanted and enjoy it as if we were ordering off a menu. I think the Banquet pot pies were about .25 cents in the late 60's or early 70's...But we thought it was a treat! No microwaves then had to put them in the oven and WAIT...20 minutes or so later...there was nothing better than hearing that crunch as your spoon plunged into that crispy crust. Maybe everyone has their special way of eating things, like Oreos, my personal favorite way to eat this pot pie was to eat the inside and save the crust for desert. 40 years later, it still is. :)

Many years later I learned that the special taste to those pot pies was in the celery flavor crust. Anyone can turn a leftover soup or stew into a wonderful pot pie with ready-made pie crust dough (no.....I cannot make a pie crust to save my soul so don't ask me for a recipe). The results are the same....a delicious, crispy crunchy crust full of flavor you want to save for the end.

Steps are simple:

1) Thaw out your dough and have a cutting board dusted with flour ready to roll out the crinkles.
2) Sprinkle a dash of celery seed onto your crust and gently roll the crust just a smidge bigger (maybe 1/4").
3) Spray your dish with a little non-stick seasoning, it will make your life easier in the end.
4) Place the crust on the bottom of the dish as evenly as possible and remember to leave about 1/2" overhang to nip-n-tuck....dang sounds like plastic surgery eh?
5) Assuming the soup/stew has already been heated, gravied with cornstarch and Kitchen Bouquet or a gravy mix to make it slightly thicker than soup or stew, only put on your bottom crust about 1/2" up the way of your dough so you have room to seal top and bottom crusts.
6) Shake some of the celery seed onto your crust and gently roll in. Place this top crust on top of your mixture.
7) Slide the edge of the top crust under the bottom crust and pinch just a little to seal.
8) Cut slits in the top crust to vent steam.
9) Bake at 400 for 50 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

* If you want to freeze to save for later....Bake completely and reheat in a 350 oven for 35 minutes (thawed). Do not store pastry crust that has been thawed and re-frozen again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home Canning and Leftovers

It's relatively easy to can your leftover soups and stews, even cabbage rolls and other yummies can be preserved as long as they don't contain pasta. Potatoes will sometimes go to mush, but carrots and celery usually hold up very well. I have a problem with zip sealing everything and throwing leftovers in the freezer. Then a year or so later I find all this food and need room to put in more fish or moose. The solution: Home canning. You must have a pressure cooker with a gauge. Get this at a hardware store or other department store. You will need canning jars (appropriate sizes, lids and bands), a metal jar lifter and bubble remover and a magnetic lid thingamabop (these items can usually be found in a canning kit). The county Extension Office is a huge help and will even check your seals every year and provide tips, tricks and recipes. I can everything from vegetables from our garden, blueberry and raspberry syrups and jellies to dog food made of salmon scraps for our four-legged beauties in the winter when they need more protein in their diet. First and foremost it is imperative that all equipment be sanitized with boiling water.

1. First bring your pressure cooker filled 3/4 full of water up to a boil or just under a boil.
2. Bring your leftover soup up to a boil on the stove then turn down to simmer.
3. In a separate pot, bring more water to boil (this will be a hot bath for your lids and rings.
4. Fill hot sterilized jars with hot soup.
5. Make sure the rim of the jar is wiped clean and is free of food or debris.
6. Place a sanitized lid on top and screw down the ring (not overly tight).
7. Carefully place jars one at a time in the pressure canner and secure the lid.
8. Wait for the pressure relief valve to pop up and allow steam to escape for 5 minutes.
9. Put on the pepcock and immediately turn the heat down to about 2 or 3 (low).
10. When the gauge reads 11 psi set the timer for the following:
Pints = 1 hr. and 15 minutes Quarts = 1 hr. and 30 minutes.

Keep practicing and soon you will have leftovers that can be taken off the shelf, reheated and enjoyed without taking up valuable freezer space.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Green Curry Fish with Roasted Peppers

Jim and I have learned to love curry. Since we can't get real chile in Alaska, we have learned to make due with curry. I was not sure about straining out the garlic and onions in this recipe....but it totally made sense in the end. I guess you just have to trust. Here we go with a list of what you need to complete this dish.

Your curry sauce:
1 can of coconut milk
1 TBSP of fish sauce
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 cup Vermouth or white wine
1 TBSP chopped garlic
2 shallots diced fine
1 TBSP ginger paste or freshly grated
2 TBSP green curry paste

later on you will add
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lime juice

Cook this down about 1/3 and set aside.

Your rice is this (taken directly from the link)...I had leftover rice and adjusted the recipe for my own needs.
* 1/4 cup carrot, small dice
* 1/4 cup celery, small dice
* 1/4 cup yellow onion, small dice
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
* 1 cup basmati rice
* 3 cups water
* 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
Sweat the carrots, celery, yellow onion and fresh ginger in a medium sauce pot. Add Basmati rice and toast. Add water and turmeric, and bring to a boil then cover. Finish in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Saute your peppers and zuchinni and whatever else you truly love in a saucepan until crisp-tender.

Serve like this...rice, veggies and curry sauce. Happy eating!\

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salmon Burgers

This was truly GROSS! what other vivid adjective can I use to describe this absolutely terrible recipe? I wouldn't feed this to my cat! (If I had one--and they probably wouldn't eat it either!). I generally love tarragon, but it does NOT mix well with salmon. In my opinion. A salmon burger is probably better spent by grilling in it's true form with a lemon and basil butter and served plain and simple on a bun. This was a pretentious recipe and came through with the first bite. Shame on you Cooking Light for offering it up in your magazine.
Salmon! It's so good for you! Full of Omega 3's you can't get enough. I read recently that people should eat meats high in Omega 3 two times a week to be heart-healthy. In Alaska, we do not have a shortage of this wonderful resource. Who knew salmon could be turned into ground meat? How silly am I? After 7 years of living in AK, one would have thought that I would have figured out how to do this....NOPE! Not until today. Now salmon puts a whole new dimension on my way of thinking about ground meat and what to do with it. The idea of salmon burgers is not mine. I got the recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2010 and I tweaked it for myself. I didn't pay attention to the "don't do the tail section" part because the tail is my favorite piece. Freddies didn't have arugula so I will use my own homegrown lettuce instead. It will be better anyway. BTW....I divided the recipe in 1/'s just Jim and I and I only wanted 2 burgers! So, if you need more than 2 burgers you should double the recipe.

1 lb. skinless, boneless salmon (yep our Copper River Red) cut into 1" pieces
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Pike Place Fish Northwest Seafood Seasoning (use 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1 tsp. dill weed, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and black pepper if you can't get this)
1/2 TBSP honey
1 tsp. chopped fresh Tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp. chopped shallots
1 cup arugula leaves (I used Romaine)
1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 hamburger buns (I like the black poppy seed ones Cooking Light recommended)

Put half the salmon in a food processor with the mustard and Pikes seasoning (or your combination). Puree until it is a mushy/paste (this is the "binder" for your burger). Next, add the rest of the 1" cubed salmon and pulse for about 6 don't want the whole mix mushed to a pulp!

Transfer to a bowl and mix in chopped Tarragon and shallot.

Shape into patties and refrigerate for a bit. Spray each side of your patties with oil and grill on medium heat carefully turning until they are done. Top each patty with honey-mustard and arugula. Serve on warmed hamburger buns with thin slices of red onion. Nothing else needed except for maybe a cold beer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spicy Basil Moose

I LOVE basil...if told I could only have one herb, this would be the one. Simple ingredients and BIG flavor!
2 TBSP oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp of chili (Thai if you can find it), chopped

1/2 lb. moose (beef or venison in the lower 48)

1/4 C sliced onions
1 C. basil leaves

1 TBSP. Oyster sauce (no it's really not made of oysters so don't freak out!)
2 TBSP. Fish sauce
1 TBSP. sugar
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground chili flakes

1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Saute the garlic and chile in oil. Add moose and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add onions and basil. Cook for 1/2 minute. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce sugar, white pepper and chili flakes. Top with green onions and cilantro and serve over rice.

Midnight Sun Mama: New Blog

Midnight Sun Mama: New Blog: "Because my email address was changed by the school district I can no longer get into the old Midnight Sun Mamma (notice the change in spell..."

New Blog

Because my email address was changed by the school district I can no longer get into the old Midnight Sun Mamma (notice the change in spelling of "Mamma" in the old blog and the new) blog to add more recipes and share with friends and family. So now I am creating a new and improved blog.

Today I am smoking the Garlic and Peppercorn Moose Meat Sticks (like SlimJims) that I made yesterday. They will be delish I am sure.