Saturday, December 17, 2011

La Posta Green Chile Enchiladas

Don't bother trying to find the is out of print. I have the 1971 edition. La Posta was a stage stop for the Butterfield Trail during the time of Judge Roy Bean, Billy the Kid and Kit Carson. This is a real restaurant that has not changed it's habits or recipes for over a hundred years. Why? Because the simple recipes work and can't be beat. Due to living in interior Alaska, I am forced to use canned green chili. If you can get the REAL STUFF roast and peel and subsitute, it makes all the difference. If you really love your guests, invest in real chile rather than canned
. This is not a hard recipe to follow, just a lot of steps.

No ISBN Sorry.....

Enchiladas Verdes

1 dozen corn tortillas, softened
1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
12 green chiles (fresh is best if you can get it or 2 large cans green chile, chopped)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 small garlic cloves or garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
Water to cover

Saute onions, garlic,tomatoes, green chile and spices.
Meanwhile soften corn tortillas in hot oil and drain on paper towels. Place 1/4 of the green chili sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish. Over the top of the softened tortilla place some cheese (or chicken if you are doing meat--add some cheese) and roll. Put on top of the sauce. Continue layering and cover with the rest of the green chile sauce. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

If ever in New Mexico, in Las Cruces...You MUST check out La Posta!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mom's Pecan Pie

This is the second Pecan Pie I have made in two weeks and I had to contemplate as to why I hadn't posted this recipe years ago. This is a tried-and-true recipe I grew up with. My mom got the recipe from her friend Yvonne Arnette when we lived on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona in the 1960's. I have yet to taste a better Pecan Pie. It's simple....the only catch is to NOT overbake. Your first instincts is to let it sit in the oven a few minutes longer...DON'T DO IT! Even though it looks like it's not is. It will continue to "gel" as it sits out of the oven and you don't want to over-bake this pie.

Simple ingredients

3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light Karo Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP. melted butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Cup pecans
1 - 9" Pie Shell (unbaked)

Mix together ingredients. Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 37 more minutes. Remove and allow to cool. The pie will continue to cook when you remove it from the oven so don't be fooled into thinking it's not done.

See the next recipe on Midnight Sun Mama for Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake. This pie will be "RE-BAKED" inside a chocolate cake frosted with a dark chocolate ganache. Talk about SINFUL!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aunt Darlene's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

There is no better dessert to serve on a day we are supposed to give thanks than this recipe. I loved my Aunt Darlene. She was a strong-willed woman. No beating around the bush, a devout Christian, sweet, loving and intelligent with a fabulous sense of humor. In addition, she was a great cook and this is one of my favorite recipes. My cousin Debra had to give this recipe to me twice (I lost the first one) but the second one she sent has a permanant home in my most prized recipes book.

This is what you will need:

1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple, sliced (reserve the juice to replace the water in the cake mix)
Marachino cherries
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 1/3 cup (pineapple juice from the canned pineapple and enough water to equal)

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet and sprinkle with the brown sugar, add the pineapple and a marachino cherry in the pineapple hole. Cover with chopped pecans or walnuts (I use pecans).
Now mix the yellow cake mix according to directions. 1 pkg. Yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup oil. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour over the top of the pineapple/nut mix and bake for 1 hour at 350 or until set.

Once done, let sit until semi-cool (about 10 minutes). Use a butter knife and go around the edge of the skillet. Invert on a serving dish.

Today, Thanksgiving Day 2011, I am giving thanks for the strong women in my grandmothers, aunts, mother, and cousins.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lois Henderson's Lentils and Rice

I love to share healthy recipes that actually taste good and leaves us asking for seconds. This is the case with Lois Henderson's Lentils and Rice. The cumin gives this dish a real flair.

1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup white rice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper

In a large pan, saute the onions in oil.
In another sauce pan, boil lentils in 4
cups water for 20 minutes. Add lentils,
rice and seasonings to the onions.
Simmer for another 20 minutes and serve.

Thanks Lois for sharing your recipe with us!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


There is absolutely NOTHING I love more than homemade pizza. The act of making the dough, kneading, resting, kneading. Making the sauce, chopping the ingredients and placing them on the crust as if they were art. Letting the final production rest for a few minutes before serving....Without exception, every pizza I have ever served the hunky hubby he exclaims that it is the best pizza he has ever had. HA! I hope to have the same reviews tonight.
I am trying very hard to be carb-conscious. I've made this almost flourless pizza crust before and remember it to be very good or else I would not have included it in my "permanant" cookbook. I am only sorry that I don't have a name to attach the credits to. Please know that I don't take credit for this recipe but can vouch for it's yumminess.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

A normal pizza on top, and a beautiful zucchini, egg and cheese crust, with flecks of green and a slight crunch. The herbs in the crust really add an extra surprise. Who knew that pizza crust could actually be healthy as well as non-fattening?

3 1/2 cups coarsely grated zuchinni
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup flour (you can use rice flour or other gluten-free binding)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 TBSP fresh basil, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Salt the zucchini lightly and let it sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the water that comes off. Combine all ingredients, spread onto a sprayed pizza pan, bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Spray the top with nonfat cooking spray and broil under moderate heat for 5 minutes until browned. You're going for a crispy crust.

Assemble the pizza as you normally would. (See my recipe for Flying Pie Pizza Sauce---it is the best and will freeze well). We are topping ours tonight with Turkey Pepperoni, Canadian bacon, red peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese and black olives. Bake your pizza for 25 minutes at 350.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Skinny Oven Fries

I got this recipe over 20 years ago when I worked at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico and threw out anything that had ANY fat in it out my front door. I was obsessed with being as thin as I could be and was convinced that all fat was bad. Don't let that concept throw you off from trying this recipe. These "fries" are spicy, crunchy, fill the need for carbs and I make it at least two times per month. It's a good and healthy recipe. Tonight I am using Sweet Potatoes, but you can use the regular ones if you'd rather and even add different spices to suit your taste. (I love vinegar and salt chips and would love to hear from anyone trying this...)

The recipe comes from "Simply Colorado, published by Colorado Dietetic Association 6930 South Bemis Street, Littleton, Colorado, 80120."....It would be well worth your while to call and get this cookbook! It's loaded with healthy, really tasty recipes.

This is what you need:

2 tsp. Parmesan cheese, finely grates
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
4 large potatoes
1/8 c. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the seasonings. Cut the potatoes into 8 wedges, toss in oil, Place on baking sheet, sprinkle with seasoning mix, turn and sprinkle the other side. Bake until soft when pricked with a fork For crisp fries....bake 1 hour.

You won't b sorry you tried this recipe!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Yogurt!

I learned something new at my Weight Watchers meeting today that I want to sing from the rooftops and share with the world about making your very own Greek Yogurt (which has become all the fad).

Greek yogurt is touted as totally decadent and loaded with fat and really not at all calorie-conscious--but completely yummy. Of course, something this good is also expensive, but it need not be if you make your own which is simple enough. It's so simple that I am aghast at how easy the process is.

We love Greek yogurt because it is more dense and flavorful. The whey that is extracted should be saved and used in smoothies, cooked in oatmeal or any other recipe that calls for a liquid. The whey that is extracted is pure protein and worth using, so don't throw it out! Here's what you need and do:

1 fine wire mesh sieve (a strainer!)
1 coffee filter
1 container of non-fat yogurt (any flavor...plain or otherwise)
1 large bowl to catch the whey protein

Place your sieve over a large bowl. Insert a coffee filter into the sieve, dump the yogurt into the coffee filter and allow the whey to pass through. It might take an hour or so.

Save the whey, which looks like a liquid at the bottom of the big bowl.

Now transfer your "Greek Yogurt" into a container and store in the fridge--it's ready to use.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cindy Samford's File' Gumbo

Cindy Samford, My darling little cajun friend from Louisiana (an employee of Cloudcroft Schools) gave this recipe to me over 10 years ago. The recipe makes enough for an army and can't be beat. She is so right when she states, "the hardest part is the roux". This is where patience comes in and I am not a patient person. Do serve this with Louisiana Hot Sauce on the side.

1 onion, large, chop coarse
1 large green bell pepper, diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
2/3 cup flour
2 qts. chicken broth
1 qt. water
2 lbs. boneless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb. smoked sausage (I used hot Louisiana sausage)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup creole seasoning (I use Slap Your Mama!)
2 ham steaks, cubed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 lb. okra, sliced
1 lb. shrimp
File gumbo seasoning to taste

Prepare the vegetables first and set them aside. Now the hard part---THE ROUX.
Combine the oil and the flour in a cold heavy deep pot. Turn the heat to med-high and stir constantly. When the roux starts to turn brown turn the heat down to medium. Continue stirring continuously until the roux turns ALMOST a milk chocolate color. If you burn it, throw it out and start over again. Remove the roux from the heat and stir in the vegetables to coat and cool the roux.

Add chicken broth and water and return to medium-high heat. Add chicken, smoked sausage, salt, pepper, Creole seasoning, and thyme.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, add the shrimp and okra and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add file' seasoning. Serve with rice

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stealing----Spaghetti with Shrimp, Tarragon and Lemon

We are currently on the island of Kauai. Why should I stop cooking wonderful things when there is so much around me that is new and enticing? Cooking is an adventure and I learn something new everywhere I go.

Where is the fine line between stealing, sharing and contributing? I am staying at this magnificent place on the island of Kauai. There is a cookbook here that speaks to me. "The Curry Book" by Nancie McDermott, ISBN: 1-576030-029-3 at $14.95. No....the recipe does not come from this book but a printed page inserted into it.

I am a firm believer that if the cook felt it important enough to keep the recipe they printed and placed it lovingly in a cookbook, it would be a sin to bypass.

So here we go: Spaghetti with Shrimp, Tarragon and Lemon.

If you have not downloaded the link for the original recipe, here it is: (copy the link above)

2 TBSP unsalted butter (did you know that unsalted butter must have an expire date because it the shelf life is less than it's salted?---buy unsalted..It is fresher and better for you)
1 1/2 pounds of jumbo shrimp, ****SAVE THE SHRIMP SHELLS!!! peeled and deveined.
1/4 cup dry white wine

1 lb. spaghetti
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and small dice
fresh ground pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1 TBSP dried tarragon
12 fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped

In a medium sized saucepan heat the butter over medium. Add the shells of the shrimp, saute to pink (about 2 minutes). Add wine, reduce by 1/2 (about 5 minutes). Add water to just cover and a pinch of salt. Simmer 10 minutes and strain solids, hopefully you will have about 1/2 cup. (Give me a break! This is NOT unlike using Clam Juice in your chowder so quit complaining about the shell-thing).

Next you need to cook the pasta.

In a non-stick pan large enough for the pasta and the shrimp, heat 3 TBSP of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), add shrimp, garlic, lemon zest, 1/2 TBSP tarragon, salt, pepper and saute until shrimp is tender....2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and saute another minute. Add shrimp broth and simmer for seconds.

Drain pasta when done, add to skillet, toss all together until well blended. Add the rest of the tarragon, parsley and toss.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegetable Frittata

This is a fabulous recipe to make on a lazy weekend morning, hop back into bed another hour while it cooks. This one is just as good hot as it is cold. Experiment with the veggies. I would recommend using a variety of your favorites: Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, peppers, etc. This is sort of a crustless quiche but the cream cheese takes this dish to a whole new level.

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups rough chop zucchini
1 1/2 cups rough chop white mushrooms
1/2 onion diced fine
1/2 cup of each: Diced red, green and yellow bell peppers
1 seeded and diced jalapeno
3 cloves garlic

6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup fat free half-and-half cream
2 - 8oz packages fat free cream cheese, cubed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese or a combination of your favorite cheese
5 slices Whole Grain bread, cubed
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 TBSP. fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 dish with non-stick spray. Saute vegetables just until tender. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat together eggs and cream. Stir in the cream cheese, grated cheese, bread cubes, salt, herbs, bread and season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable mixture in. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake for one hour or until set firm in the middle.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Neiman Marcus Cookies....or whatever

It's not true that Neiman Marcus charged a customer $250 for this recipe. Check out the story on Snopes. But it is true that these are the best cookies EVER. These cookies are expensive, time consuming to make, and the recipe makes enough for a small army. Don't even consider making these unless you are planning to share with a large crowd or plan to eat them over the course of a few months (kidding). The recipe will yield about 115 2-3" cookies.

This is what you will need:

1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
5 cups *blended oatmeal (measure and blend to a fine powder)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
24 oz. chocolate chips (I use 1 pkg. semi-sweet and 1 package milk chocolate)
1 Lindt 3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar with sea salt, grated
3 cups chopped nuts

You will need a VERY large bowl. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla mix well. Add flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Mix well. Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate bar and nuts. Roll into 1" balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chilled Creamy Lemon-Dill Shrimp Appetizer

Make this wonderful appetizer the day before. Serve chilled with cocktail toothpicks.

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 red onion, sliced thin then diced
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 cups medium or large cooked, peeled deveined shrimp

Mix mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, onion, dill and salt together until well blended. Stir in shrimp to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grain-ola Bars

One of my favorite walks through Fairbanks is the annual Walk for Charity sponsored by the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. I love this walk for four reasons. #1-my $25 registration fee is 100% given to a local charity....I usually donate to the homeless shelter or Joel's Place (a safe haven for children who need a place to go). #2-I get to walk, laugh and talk with good friends. #3-I get walk and graze and sample appetizers and yummy things from local restaurants and, finally, #4-this is a great jump-start to my summer break.

Three years ago the BEST taste-teaser by far was provided by Chef Jamison from the Chena's Alaskan Grill. My comrades and I could not place what exactly the ingredients were and I usually pride myself in being able to take apart flavors and reconstruct it at a later time. This however was a conundrum. Jayne N., Sue B. and I could not figure out what that taste was.

A month later, I found myself with some time and stopped in at the restaurant and said I wanted to buy those granola bars/cookies or whatever you wanted to call them. The restaurant was not open yet and the chef himself came out to talk to me. I told him that his treat was the best by far on the walk and I wanted to buy them. Chef Jamison grinned an amicable grin and said that they were the best because they are created by God and that everything in them was natural and healthy and that he didn't take credit for any of it because every ingredient was whole, natural and had no preservatives. He also told me that he only made these special treats for his family and only once a year for the Walk for Charity and that he did not sell them, but would give me the recipe. **As a side note, these bars wrap nicely in plastic wrap and make a fabulous backpacking or hiking snack.

Wow! I was floored at his generosity in sharing his recipe for his treasured treat with a complete stranger. I had to laugh when I told him that my friends Jayne N., Sue B., and I could not pinpoint that ingredient that was so cleverly disguised. What was that taste????? Ginger! Crystalized Ginger! I was further impressed when he told me that everything in those bars was natural, no flour or gluten products, no eggs, whole grain, natural sugars and dried fruit. They are made from all natural ingredients, so plan on shopping in the natural foods section of your grocery store to get what you need. The coconut oil is a lovely light touch that is also a pleasant ghostly obscured taste.

Thank you Chef Jamison. Call and make your reservations today to eat at the Chena's Alaskan Grill located on the Chena River. But don't bother asking for his natural grain-ola need to join me for the Walk for Charity to get your taste or print out this recipe and make them yourself.

The Best Ever Grain-Ola Bars

1 TBSP Coconut Oil (to coat a baking sheet) You'll want to lightly coat your hands to work with the hot syrup and dry ingredients.

In a bowl combine the following:

1 1/2 C. Crispy Rice Cereal (Gluten free)
1/2 cup Oat Bran
1 C. walnuts, lightly chopped and toasted in a dry skillet only until the oil releases it's smell
1 1/4 C. Regular Oatmeal (NOT instant)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or a mix of cranberries and blueberries
2 TBSP. crystallized ginger, minced

The syrup:
1 C. Brown Rice Syrup
1/4 C. Natural cane sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sea salt

1. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

2. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet for about 3-4 minutes. Toss all dry ingredients, nuts and fruit together in a large bowl.

2. Boil the brown rice syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt over medium heat for 4 minutes (stirring constantly).

3. Quickly add syrup to dry ingredients and mix together. It is very sticky. Pour onto the cookie sheet and press using lightly-oiled hands. Keep in mind you don't want them to thick or too thin 1/2" thickness is just about right. When cool, cut into bars and wrap in individual plastic wrap servings.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Artichoke Prep

I think I've already spoken to my affection for artichokes. There are a number of ways to cook them, but this is an easy way prepare them.

Cut the bottom stem to 1" of the base. Remove the isolated baby leaves on the bottom. With a serrated knife cut the top off of the plant as seen here. Next, with a pair of sharp scissors, cut each leaf top that has a sharp barb (as shown). Steam for 45 minutes. Serve with your favorite side......butter with lemon, butter with worsestershire, mayo, butter and garlic....whatever floats your boat.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tacos de Pescado a.k.a. Fish Tacos

Hunky hubby and I went on a fabulous excursion to Mexico in 1987. We took the scenic route...a jackrabbit bus from Juarez to Chihuahua. We sat right behind the driver who played chicken with everyone on the road as the real live chickens clucked in their cages in the back. Someone tried to break into our room and there was a car crash under our window in the middle of the night. The next day we took a train to Los Mochis. On the way we stopped to let passengers off and passengers on and I noticed the federales with machine guns...oh yeah, I feel safe. Once in Los Mochis we agreed to share a cab with a Canadian couple who, after 5 minutes into the drive was convinced that the cab was going to take us out into the desert, rob and kill us. We had a great time in Los Mochis and celebrated their Independence Day in the park drinking beer, listening to good music and eating great food. Then we flew to La Paz where I think we had cat tacos from a street vendor. We stayed a few days there and took the bus to Cabo San Lucas. It was there on a romantic evening on the beach I had my first experience with fish tacos.

Unlike the deep-fried fish that is placed in a tortilla with some cabbage, avocados, tomatoes and salsa here in the U.S., this was different. The whitefish was steamed or poached and served in a soft corn tortilla simply with some avocado and cilantro. This recipe speaks for itself and does not need to be disguised with fats. It was fabulous! Since 1987, I have been making fish tacos in this way....the way hunky hubby and I love them best. It is a multi-step process but a no-brainer and it goes fairly quick. You must first marry the flavors of the brine you are about to poach the fish in and this takes about 35 minutes. Simmering the fish in the brine is about 10 minutes....only long enough for the fish to begin to flake. Here are the real instructions and this is what you need to poach the fish.

Poached Fish:

1 qt. water
1/2 medium onion sliced into thin slices
6 whole black peppercorns
3 whole allspice
3 TBSP lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dry white wine

Combine all these ingredients in a large non-stick skillet or saute pan. (you may need to double the recipe to make sure your fish is covered during poaching) Simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes then add the fish. DO NOT boil the only needs to simmer on a very low heat for 15 minutes or until flaky. Lift the cooked fish from the pan and drain. Throw out the brining mix.

Next up is making your key ingredients. This is what you need:

Fish Tacos:

1 1b. poached fish
1 TBSP. oil
1 small onion, diced
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 small jalapeno peppers, diced
1/2 tsp. salt

8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
handful of cilantro leaves to garnish
*if you want a little extra crunch, add thin sliced cabbage

Saute onion in oil until soft. Stir in tomato sauce, peppers and salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in flaked fish and heat through, remove from heat but keep warm. In another pan, soften corn tortillas in hot oil and drain on paper towel. Spoon a small amount of fish mixture into tortillas, top with avocado and sour cream.

Dos Cervezas Por Favor!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You Gotta Be Kidding Me! Perfect Pie Crust

So, I have always chided myself that I cannot create a pie crust that is edible. This recipe was hastily written down from me by a chef who was giving out free cookbooks at Sam's Club. I jokingly but honestly laughed that I can't make a decent crust. He quickly penned a recipe and I put it aside for a few months. This crust I will do FOREVER! Don't tell me to use ice-water, don't tell me to use 1/2 and 1/2 and 1/2...don't tell me to mix and fridge....THIS worked!

1 Cup Flour
1 stick butter
1/4 cup boiling water easy is that? I found it easier to push directly into the pie plate with plastic wrap between you fingers to get the shape and etc you want.

The crust was fabulous! Thanks "unknown chef" at Sams.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Ummmm...two words that simply speak volumes. Pastrami and smoked. Lovely language. My brain immediately wants to shift gears to the saurkraut waiting on the shelves from years past and to swiss cheese and rye bread. My mom used to make the best rueben sands with catalina dressing, swiss cheese and rye bread. These are kind of sandwiches that melt in your mouth and leave you salivating for more, more, more.....Will Bodle shared his smoking pastrami recipe with me and I tweaked it just a tiny bit to include some color and a little more flavor...I'm keeping the beer idea...meat should be moist, not dry.

One 3-4 lb. corned beef, rinsed well and patted dry with paper toweling (throw away the spices included in the bag—you don’t want them)

Mix together the dry rub ingredients:

1/3 cup Kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup black pepper
¼ cup paprika
2 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP granulated garlic
2 TBSP yellow mustard seeds
2 TBSP ground coriander
(*Note: If you have access to a spice mill, you may want to semi-process 1 TBSP coriander seeds to add to the above—the smell will bring a smile to your lips!)

Completely coat the entire piece of meat with seasoning mix on all sides. I massage this dry rub in for a about 4 minutes. Use ALL or most of the dry rub seasoning mix, it will seem like a lot, but it is not.

Place meat, fat side up in a smoker and smoke for 6-8 hours. Will has a fancy-pants smoker that can control the heat at 175. I do not, so I am smoking mine for twice as long as he recommended. DO NOT use mesquite to smoke--Will said this imparts a bitter taste to your meat. Use any or mix of cherry, apple, oak or alder woods to smoke. Bring meat inside and double wrap in aluminum foil with a ½ can of beer. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees F for 2 hours. Let cool, then slice and serve with provolone or swiss and stone ground mustard on rye with saurkraut.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicken Satay

I made a lovely lunch yesterday for my friend Kat H. of chicken satay, fried rice, and cucumber slices. This was an easy, yet elegant dish that requires only a few ingredients and takes very little time to prepare. The recipe comes from this book:

Look for a copy at Gulliver's Books here in Fairbanks first, but if you can't find a copy here you can order one from

Here is what you will need for this fabulous dish:

1 lb. chicken breast sliced lengthwise, 1" wide strips (thin and long)

1/3 cup coconut cream
1 tsp. ground coriander
3 TBSP. brown sugar
1 TBSP. yellow curry powder
6 TBSP. fish sauce
1 TBSP. canola oil

Garnish with: Cucumbers, lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

Thinly slice the chicken breast. In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Dip each piece of chicken in the marinade to coat both sides.

Let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Weave each strip on a bamboo skewer lengthwise. There are many ways to cook the skewers.

Broil or grill for 5 minutes on each side or pan fry in a non stick skillet. Brush marinade on the sides as you turn them.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Curried Salmon Mousse

Still looking for recipes to clean out the freezer before fishing or dipnetting for salmon? Although this recipe is a little time consuming, it is well worth the effort. This is an elegant appetizer or a stand-alone Sunday-we got up late and just want to chill on the deck kind of food. I buy my curry paste at the Asian Market near the Aurora Subdivision behind Randy Smith on Danby. The market has the yellow, green and red pastes and all are excellent! Great products at great prices and really nice people.

This is what you will need for this recipe:

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc or a Fume Blanc--it works best with strong fish like salmon)
2 tsp. salt divided in the recipe
1 lb king or sockeye salmon fillet (boned)
1 TBSP. canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP chopped ginger
1/2 tsp. red curry paste
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
chives to garnish

Boil 2 cups water, wine and 1 tsp. salt. Add salmon and simmer for 10 minutes or until flaky. Drain, cool, skin and flake.

Soften onions, garlic and ginger over medium heat. Stir in red curry paste and cook until blended (about a minute).

Food process the coconut milk, cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth. Add fish and lime juice. Process again until smooth. Transfer to a pretty dish, top with chives and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve cold with crackers to your hungry guests with a glass of Grenache Blanc.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Smoking Copper River Salmon

People in Alaska know summer has arrived when we can drag out our electric smokers and smoke almost the rest of last year's salmon. I've left enough Copper River reds in the freezer to get us through the end of July, but am trying to smoke the rest and will be making batches of blueberry and raspberry jam in between to clean out and get ready for this year's crop.

Jin prefers the saltier, soy brined salmon to the sweeter apple juice brined. I don't have a preference, but I like my smoked salmon on the dry side as opposed to the moist stuff that a lot of people prefer. I've found that by smoking the salmon, then pressure canning it in 1/2 pint jars I get just the right consistency AND I don't have to store it in the freezer. I will put all 15 lbs that I am smoking today and tomorrow in the freezer. In speaking of smoking, I prefer to use Alder. If you can't get Alder, my suggestion is to wait until you can. With almost everything else, I prefer to use Mesquite or a blend of Apple and Cherry---but in the case of FISH---Use ONLY Alder.

The smoke from this wood really does make a significant difference in the outcome of the product.

Everyone knows that Copper River salmon is the best you can get in the world, is extremely expensive if you try and purchase it at the store, and that it is high in Omega-3. We eat smoked salmon just as it is as a high-protein snack, add it to cream cheese for a dip, use it in potato chowders, top baked potatoes and too many other recipes to even begin to list.

I learned from an elder in Hughes, Alaska at fish camp one summer that, for salmon to really absorb a smoky flavor, one should score the salmon slightly (not all the way through) about every 1/4"-1/2".

Soy Brine

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup PLAIN salt (MUST NOT be iodized)
2 cups soy sauce (you may want to use the reduced-sodium variety)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire pepper
1/2 tsp. Slap Ya Mamma seasoning
1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce
1 cup chardonnay

Thoroughly rinse and drain salmon. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Score the salmon as shown above. I brine my salmon in a bucket I purchased at Home Depot inside of a clean plastic garbage bag. Drop scored salmon in the bag. Mix brine ingredients listed above and pour over salmon. Make sure all pieces are covered and I make sure skin side is up so fish is submerged in the brine. Brine the salmon for 12 hours. Remove salmon to clean paper towels and allow to air dry for about 60 minutes. Fish should begin to acquire a sticky or tacky feel (this is GOOD!)

Place the thickest fish on the bottom tray of the smoker. Use 3 pans of Alder chips and smoke for 10-12 hours. Allow to cool in the smoker, then remove and vacuum seal in bags.

The next recipe comes to you from my dear friend, Kristi Baker. She is an awesome lady who taught me so much as a greenhorn to Alaska. This is Kristi's brining recipe which is a little sweeter and very yummy.

Kristi Baker's Smoked Salmon Brine

1 large can Tree Top Apple Juice
1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup plain salt (NON-IODIZED)

Scored fish should marinate in brine for at least 12 hours. Remove fish to drain and air dry for 2 hours. Smoke for 4-6 hours or longer for a firmer fish.

Today I am also trying a new recipe for smoking already cooked fish to use in frying patties. I loved my mother's salmon patties, were always a favorite at the table and I love them cold as well as hot. As an experiment last year, I pressure canned some halibut as well and trying a smoke on this (see the picture.

Halibut on the left, salmon on the right, stand-up-sit-down, fight-fight-fight...Notice again that I am using Alder chips to smoke.

Here is the recipe for Smoked Fish Patties

This is a terrific appetizer I invented and will be entering this one in the next AK cooking contest!

Halibut Patties:
2 cups cooked, flaked halibut
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Dill weed
Lemon wedges

Mix fish, eggs, bread crumbs, onions, salt and pepper together thoroughly and mold into patties to fry to golden brown in a non-stick skillet.

Lightly dust with dill weed and serve with lemon wedges.

Salmon Patties:

2 cups cooked, flaked salmon
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup cracker crumbs (*I sometimes use food processed pork rinds-higher protein content--but Jim hates the thought of using pork rinds in anything)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (thank you Chef Kirsten Dixon for teaching me that cardamom and salmon are best friends)
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Spanish paprika to garnish

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and mold into small patties to fry in a hot non-stick skillet. Like the halibut patties above, if made into silver dollar sized pieces, this makes a great appetizer.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Love Dinner - Israeli Couscous with Grilled Summer Vegetables---Up front! This is a vegan dish

I asked for assistance this morning on Facebook to keep me away from the grocery store. I found another product I simply had to try, Israeli Couscous. I bought a lb. of the stuff (in the health food and organic section of the store), scribbled instructions on the tab on how to cook and promptly went home to surf for a recipe. Lo and behold, I find a recipe on the FoodNetwork (Bobby Flay) that looked very interesting. These are the ingredients you will need.

Please note I'm changing it up with the addition of eggplant, mushrooms and feta cheese.

I have named this recipe "Love Dinner" because that is what it is. Be prepared to spend at least 3 hours preparing this dish for the people you love. The washing, slicing, dicing, grilling and sauteing is endless. In addition, I am serving this with artichokes and corn on the cob...a truly vegan dinner tonight.

I love that the end result is topped with Italian flat leaf parsley and basil chiffonade. This couscous is more like a pasta....please keep this little secret in mind the next time you want to make an Italian Wedding Soup or one of those Frog's Eye Salad dishes. This is a pretty dish to serve and very unique---but YOU can make it better.

Don't be fooled into thinking this meal is even healthy just because it can be vegetarian. The proportions and nutritional information are as follows (this is ONLY for the couscous----not including the veggies and dressing):

1/3 cup serving
Calories: 220
Carbs: 46 g
Protein: 8

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup of olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

4 green zucchini sliced lengthwise into quarters
4 yellow summer squash sliced lengthwise into quarters
1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed
1 eggplant, sliced into 1" cubes
1 lb. small white mushrooms, cleaned (left whole)
12 cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, 2" dice
1 yellow bell pepper, 2" dice

1/2 cup basil chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 TBSP olive oil
1 6 oz. package of feta, crumble

1 lb. Israeli couscous (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 cans vegetable broth, heated
Hot water (in case you need it to cover)

In a small dish, whisk the vinegar, mustard and garlic, slowly add olive oil while whisking until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 of the marinade/dressing over the vegetables and allow to marry for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the grill. I use a vegetable plate made especially for grilling and use PAM FOR GRILLING. Let the grill get between 400 and 450 before placing the veggies on the grill. Turning frequently, grill the vegetables until only just cooked through. Cut the zucchini and peppers into 1/2" dice, cut tomatoes in 1/2.

Heat vegetable broth to boil. Then heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add couscous and toss frequently and allow to toast to a light brown.

My bad on the video..yes it is all shot on my own grill...sorry for the poor quality.

Add vegetable broth to cover couscous, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add veggies to the cooked couscous. Stir in the herbs and the crumbled feta. Add in the remainder of the marinade/dressing and mix thoroughly.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Expensive hobby....Cooking...but it is my passion and my joy. There is nothing I love more than finding a recipe, challenging myself to prepare it even better and sharing it with the people I really love and care about. Isn't that the pinnacle of satisfaction? Giving people pleasure?

When tasked to create a recipe with mushrooms as a main ingredient, you MUST always select a variety of three. Typically use: Crimini (FYI----crimini mushrooms are nothing more than baby portabellas for those who do not know), white, and portabella....but oyster is a good substitute. I MUST interject here that my good friend Olga states that mushrooms have no nutritional value. Whether they are or not nutritionally sound, I don't care because I personally love the taste of them. If I submit a dish to you here that may not be nutritionally sound, I will not be held accountable because I really do thrive on taste and presentation; both are prevalent in this dish.

For those who do not really know me, I am a creature of habit. I arrive at work ALWAYS between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m., silverware placed in the dishwasher must be sorted by utensil, spices in the cabinet are alphabetized for ease in locating them, self check-out at the grocery store is preferred because I place veggies and fruits in the same bag....eggs and bread in the other, cheese must always be labeled with dates and put in a separate drawer from other meats and veggies. There are just some things in my life I MUST have control over.

Where was I going with this? Oh Yes! now I remember! Gulliver's Books on College Blvd. in Fairbanks. As a creature of habit, I occupy this space almost every Saturday morning when they first open. I am usually the first customer at the door and immediately climb the stairs to peruse the shelves for titles to purchase to offer up to my students and sometimes sample their delicious fare at the Second Story Cafe. Food prepared here is fresh, from scratch, and is healthy and authentic! On Friday this week I had the Greek Salad and a cup of the Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Wow! I have heard great reviews about this soup and had to try it. Thank you Gulliver's for sharing the process (added the link). They do not give proportions or exact ingredients, but I think I ferreted out the secrets.

The determined chef in me went immediately to the store, purchased my top three shrooms: crimini, white and portabella (thanks Mr. Kowalski for that tip with your Mushroom Ragu) and graced the shelves of the organic section for portabella mushroom stock. I knew a main ingredient of this recipe was white onions, butter and sour cream so I made sure the basket included those ingredients.

Without further is a great recipe for Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Please do visit the link to Gulliver's Books. They are huge advocates of education.

1/4 Cup unsalted butter
1 large white onion, sliced YOU WANT THESE CHUNKY---kind of like French Onion Soup
1 lb mixed mushrooms (I use a combination of three varieties), ROUGH want them chunky
2 tsp. dried dill weed (ha! I used dill weed from my last year's organic herb garden)
1 TBSP. paprika
1 TBSP. soy sauce
1 box of Portabella Mushroom Broth (find this in the organic section of the store)
1 cup fat free half and half
3 TBSP flour
1 tsp. kosher salt (be careful here...I personally think shrooms and salt have a love/hate relationship) kind of like slugs and salt...not a good mix
Fresh ground pepper to taste (and I love my tri-color peppercorn grind)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup sour cream

Melt the butter and add onions to saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Add dill weed, paprika, soy sauce and portabella mushroom stock. Simmer for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

In a separate bowl, combine half and half and flour. Slowly pour into mushroom mixture to thicken.

The last step: Stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Allow this to heat through for about 5 minutes. IMPORTANT: Do not boil!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Halibut Enchiladas with Bueno Green Chile Sauce with Pork

This recipe takes a lot of time in the kitchen, preparing the fish, and assembling the final product, but it is worth the effort you will put into it. Simply stated, Jim said, "This is the best use of halibut and enchiladas I have ever had! It's perfect!"

Brine for Poaching:

1 Qt. water
½ medium onion, sliced
6 whole black peppercorns
5 whole allspice
juice of 1 lemon
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Kosher salt
½ cup dry white wine

Simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes to let the flavors marry.

1 lb. halibut or any white fish will do

Add 1 lb. cleaned and skinned fish and add enough water to cover the top of the fish. DO NOT BOIL! Cover and allow the fish to poach on low heat for 15-20 minutes (or until it flakes easily with a fork). Drain and toss everything except the fish.

12 corn tortillas, softened in oil and drained on a paper towel
1 small onion, diced
3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, grated

Soften corn tortillas in oil and drain on paper towels. Place scant amounts of fish, onions and cheese on each tortilla and roll. Place in a non-stick sprayed baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are used. Cover enchiladas with Bueno Green Chile Sauce with Pork and top with Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with calabacitas and beans.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Moose-Elk-Deer or Beef Stew---The Theme of the day is HOME!

Most everyone will agree that HOME is the place we all most want to be. Absolutely NOTHING speaks of home or love or a feeling of complete acceptance than HOME, the place you take off your socks, binding clothes, don sweats, pjs, wooly socks, kick back and become.....YOU. This is the place where the real creative juices flow. Comfort food is surely a part of this picture. A homemade stew speaks COMFORT, LOVE and time. Notice time is minimal...that's because it simmers...just like love at home. I have created my first playlist for you of tracks I think you should enjoy while making and/or eating a hearty stew.

2 lbs of cubed meat (moose, elk, beef, etc)
flour dusted with salt, pepper, thyme
1 large box of beef stock

1 large onion, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, diced

1 lb. carrots, large dice
6 stalks celery, large dice
4 large potatoes, peeled and large dice
3 cans diced tomatoes

Toss the cubed meat in seasoned flour. Brown in a large stockpot with olive oil. Add stock ad diced tomatoes. Add all ingredients and simmer for 3 hours or until done.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spiced Lemon Quinoa-Diabetic Friendly- Vegan meal or Side Dish

While perusing through my recent Sunset Magazine (May 2011), I knew I had to try this recipe. Quinoa is a great whole-grain food that is Diabetic Friendly. Because there are so many diabetics in my family, I am always on the lookout for meals to prepare they can enjoy. Too often, we forget that many foods we recognize as staples such as potatoes, pasta, and rice are, in fact, NOT good for our loved ones with diabetes. One cup of quinoa has 222 calories, 4g of fat, 5g of fiber, a WHOPPING 8g of protein and 0 sugar.So glad I tried this recipe This goes in my KEEP file and I'll be adding this to my Tried-and-True Personal Cookbook (Thanks Mom for getting me started on this!). The dish is just as good served cold as it is hot. I have included the link where you can find the original recipe as well. This South Indian dish was submitted by Kavita Aiyar.

This is what you will need...

2 Tbsp. yellow spit peas
5 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. black or brown mustard seeds (I get them at Sunshine Foods or the organic section of Safeway)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. curry (original recipe calls for 5 curry leaves-which are not available in Fairbanks)
1 serrano chile, minced
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. kosher salt
5 oz. package of baby spinach (I used the 7 oz. package-but I love spinach!)
1 cup cooked red or white quinoa (I use red)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 TBSP chopped cilantro

1. Simmer the split peas with 2 cups water until tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain and pat dry on a paper towel. Set the peas aside.

Putting it all together:

2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, add mustard seeds, cover with a lid and cook until they pop (2 minutes or less), stir in cumin, peas, curry, chile, turmeric, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until peas start to turn light golden (2 minutes). Remove the mixture to a bowl.

3. Add spinach to the pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook just until wilted (1-2 minutes). Drain any liquid. Stir in quinoa, split-pea mixture and 2 tsp. lemon juice. Add more lemon juice or salt to taste preference. Scatter cilantro on top and serve warm or cold.

Stuffed Squid

Did you know that squid is a member of the octopus family? It is relatively cheap to purchase compared to crab, lobster, salmon, halibut and oysters. However, squid has had a bad reputation as being only fit for the calamari appetizer. The recipe here will surprise you and I hope you will give squid a fair shot at your table. Squid tubes prepared in this fashion is fork-tender, has a mild and delicious flavor, and is unique to anything you will ever experience. This is very unlike the sometimes chewy, deep fried calamari (that I also like very much dipped in marinara sauce) that we find on the menu as an appetizer. Experiment with the fish you choose to mix with the stuffing. The original recipe called for chopped prawns, but lobster, crab, halibut, orange roughy and any white fish will do. Tonight  I am using left over King crab and have substituted quartered, seeded cherry tomatoes for the tomato. Also experiment with a variety of cheeses that complement the fish you are using. The original recipe called for cheddar...eeewwww....not with fish what they heck were they thinking? Use a hard white cheese or cheese blend like a mix of Parmigiano-Reggiano/Gruyere.  Fred Meyer had a fantastic new cheese on display that I will be using....taste and try Gran Queso's a lovely, buttery, tangy cheese--a bit expensive...but who cares?  It's great!

2 squid tubes, washed and dried with paper toweling
3 TBSP Crab, fish, clams, shrimp etc
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 chopped green onions
1/4 tsp. cayenne and black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground of each: cumin, paprika, salt, coriander
1 egg, beaten slightly
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter melted
1/2 cup of wine and fish stock

Wash, drain squid tubes and set aside. In a bowl, combine fish/clams/shrimp (whatever you are using), tomato, onions, seasonings, egg, bread crumbs and melted butter. Mix together well. Roll into a log that can be inserted into the squid tube or fill the tube. Secure the bottom with a toothpick.

Lightly coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil. Brown squid on both sides. Add Wine/Stock and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Remove squid from the dish and slice almost all the way through, spoon some of the sauce from the pan over the squid and serve.

I am serving this dish with Garlic Basil Quinoa an Spinach Salad with Dried Blueberries, Shaved Sole Cheese, Grapes and Alaskan Raspberry Vinegrette

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moose Stroganoff

This is an easy do and I did it on the fly If you don't have access to ground moose, deer or elk then use hamburger.

2-3 lbs ground moose, caribou, deer, elk, beef or whatever
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 handful of garlic cloves, diced
a pinch of ground nutmeg, (just enough to SMELL)
Worchestershire pepper to taste, (yeah they really make this)
sea salt to taste
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
3 small cans of mushrooms (more if you adore mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups of sour cream

Brown the meat, diced onions and garlic. Cook until meat is done. Mix all ingredients (except noodles) together and add enough fat free milk to make creamy.

Cook large bag of egg noodles to al dente. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve with bread and butter.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eggplant and Zucchini--What to do?

Betty Crocker and Jennifer Darling (editor of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook) must be sisters or cousins at the very least. I sometimes find recipes that are nearly exact in both books. With two eggplants in my fridge and some zucchini that I needed to use I scrambled for a dish. I am always cognizant that my vegetarian friends at school sometimes get the short end of the stick (case in point: tomorrow I am bringing a Moose Stroganoff). I wanted to create something that they could enjoy today too and opted to leave out the meat. For those of you who can't live without it, I suggest a mild or sweet Italian sausage to be added to the sauce. Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary Edition offered up two choices: Eggplant Parmigiana and Ratatouille. I like to think I am an adventurous person and can think out of the box and what is wrong with combining the two? I didn't want to fry the eggplant in bread crumbs as is traditional, so, on a tip from Kristen O. I simply drizzled them lightly in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and broiled them on both sides to a nice golden brown. My good friend Heather C. who I love very much also is very fond of why shouldn't I add some of those and loads of basil, mushrooms and garlic to boot? The cheese selections are my own obsessions, because I always have a supply of unusual gourmet cheese on hand. Wolfgang Puck has sold me on the use of Fontina on pasta and pizza, I'll gladly pay the price for aged parmesano regianno cheese, and don't kid yourself! There is a difference in REAL mozzarella and the bagged shredded stuff.

So never mind Better Homes....I just did my own thing and am now paying for it because folks from school want the recipe. I'll try to recreate this dish to the best of my ability.

2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4"
1 jar Classico Tomato and Basil Sauce
1 lb. whole baby artichoke hearts, drained
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesano Reggiano Cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese, grated
1 cup chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Olive oil
1 lb. zucchini, sliced
3 TBSP Sherry
1/4 cup fresh basil, diced
1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced
1 small can chopped black olives
salt and pepper to taste
1 Cup Italian-Style bread crumbs

Slice the eggplant into 1/4" slices. Toss or drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Broil in the oven (WATCH carefully or it will burn quickly) for about 4 minutes on each side or until nice and golden in color. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil to warm and add onion and garlic. Cook to clear (maybe 7 minutes) add zucchini and mushrooms cook to soften. Add 1 jar of Classico Tomato and Basil Sauce (or your own favorite), sherry, basil, black olives, artichoke hearts and salt and pepper.

To assemble:

Spray a deep baking dish with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom with 1/2 of the sliced, browned eggplant. Top with 1/2 of the sauce, 1/2 of the cheeses and 1/2 of the bread crumbs. Repeat the next layers.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325 and bake for another 60 minutes.

Ideas to change up the recipe: Add sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, pinon nuts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easy Turtle Cookie Cups

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! I might eat one every now and then, but I know my buddies at work will love them and I just had to try this recipe when I got the feed for this from Betty Crocker on Facebook. They were super easy to make and can be completed from start to finish in under a 1/2 hour, so if you're looking for something you must produce on the fly--this is the ticket.

The original recipe said it yields 36 cookie cups, however, I only got 24. I also changed it up a bit by making half with Rolo candies and the other 1/2 with Toffifay Hazelnut candies.

This is all you need:

1 pkg double chocolate chunk cookie mix
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp water
1 egg, slightly beaten
24 round milk chocolate-covered chewy caramels (I used 1/2 Rolo and 1/2 Toffifay)
12 Pecan haves (for the Rolo cups only)

Heat oven to 375. Place miniature paper baking cups (find them in the candy-making and candy molds isle) in mini muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, oil, water and egg until a soft dough forms. Shape dough into 24 1" balls, place in muffin cups. Bake 9 minutes or until edges are set. Immediately press one candy (Rolo OR Toffifay) into the center of each cookie cup. Cool 2 minutes and top the Rolo Cookie Cup with a pecan halve. Cool completely before eating.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Sunday 2011

Taking a bit of hit in telling folks I am serving Lamb for Easter Dinner. Maybe I am naive, and correct me if I am wrong, but isn't lamb the ultimate gift to God in cuisine? I am NOT a dirty-dog....I serve this ONCE a year. This year is a bit different. This recipe comes to you from Farm House Cookbook,by Susan Herrmann Loomis, ISBN: 0-89480-772-2

1 4-5 lb. leg of lamb trim off the fat
10 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to coat
2 lbs fingerling potatoes
1 1/2 lbs. white onions, peeled and halved
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 sized pieces
1 small bunch of Italian Parsely

Brown the lamb on all sides on med-high for 7 minutes, Place garlic on top of lamb, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, Cover and bake for 8-10 hours at 200.

Increase heat to 300. Add potatoes, onions, carrots and season with additional salt and pepper. Cover and continue baking for 4 hours.

To serve: Mince the parsley, decorate the lamb

Um yum...Pistachio Lamb Kbobs up next

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blueberry Morning!

We love our wild Alaska blueberries! Unlike domestic blueberries found in the grocery store, wild Alaska blueberries are smaller and have a much more tart flavor. We pick them from the end of summer and into the early fall when they are at their peak of ripness and take them out of the freezer almost on a weekly basis. Jim uses some every day in his morning smoothie. The secret spot we usually pick from can only be accessed by a long hike up the mountain. Nope! Not even accessible by ATV. We usually take Mickey with us (the red Siberian husky) because he enjoys the hike as much as the blueberries. Jim taught him how to pick his own and we constantly have to watch him for "high-grading" the best. This morning I found a recipe for Blueberry-Cornmeal Pancakes in my Better Homes and Garden 75th Anniversary Edition that I thought I'd give a try. To find that the recipe called for buttermilk was added bonus because we adore buttermilk pancakes and I just so happened to need to get rid of the last cup in the refrigerator. When reaching for the cornmeal in the pantry, I had to move the Navajo Blue Cornmeal aside to get to the yellow cornmeal, and

was inspired to use this cornmeal instead. Why not? It's whole grain, and the only difference is that it was blue corn instead. What a lovely surprise! You must try this recipe. For my Alaskan friends, I'll gladly share the 2 TBSP. of blue cornmeal with you should you decide to make this.

Blueberry-Blue Cornmeal Pancakes

1 Cup flour
2 TBSP. Navajo blue cornmeal
1 TBSP. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 beaten egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 TBSP. vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries

Combine first seven ingredients and mix. Make a well in the center and add the egg, buttermilk and oil. Mix just until moist (should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries. Grill pancakes for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve with butter and blueberry syrup.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuna Sandwiches? New Twist but NOT! Dinner doesn't get any easier than this!

My mom makes the BEST tuna sandwiches EVER! Where did she get the recipe? I don't know, maybe from Nanny Pruitt, maybe Betty Crocker. Please Mom, enlighten us by posting a comment. All I know is that the marriage of lettuce, walnuts, tuna, eggs, pickles (in my case canned green tomatoe relish) and mayo make it a confection worth an evening meal with a light soup. I think I even remember my Nanny putting chopped apples in her tuna salad.

1 small can tuna, drained
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 TBSP relish or finely diced pickles
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
salt and pepper to taste
2 boiled eggs, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or enough to moisten lettuce)

Serve this on a good earthy bread with a light soup.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Halibut Enchiladas in Red Chile Enchilada Sauce also Calabacitas with con Elote Squash & Corn

Had no idea I would be home sick today sick and had prepared the halibut last night for making tonights dinner when I got home. No way am I able to eat this tonight, but maybe after my virus is gone. This recipe is a PITA (Pain In The Ass) but worth it. The white fish (halibut in my case--but Orange Roughy and Red Snapper work just as well) must be poached in a marinated brine for 8 minutes and cooled and flaked before using in this recipe. I'll start with the basics..the brine. This is a great brine to poach fish for tacos or any other dish. You want your fish to be moist and flaky...not dry and firm like cooked on a grill.

Poaching the whitefish:

1 lemon sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
10 peppercorns
3 whole allspice
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 box of seafood stock (or enough to cover fish

Bring all ingredients to boil. Add skinned whitefish and enough liquid to cover the fish. Reduce heat to simmer, cover with a lid and allow to mellow (NOT boil) for 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, remove fish to a dish and allow to cool. Reserve for later and de-bone if necessary.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

I love frozen chile the most and the next best option is the powdered. Follow the recipe on the tub or the label. If you need instructions, I can do that so call or email me.

24 yellow corn tortillas, softened in hot oil
3 lbs. colby, cheddar, Monterey Jack or a combination of the three, shredded
1 onion, diced fine
Poached halibut
Red chile enchilada sauce

In a large baking pan, coat the bottom with red chile enchilada sauce. Roll up halibut, onion and cheese in softened corn tortillas and place in rows on top of sauce. Repeat until all meat and cheese is used. Cover the entire dish with the remainder of the red chile sauce and bake at 375 for 40 minutes, sprinkle the top with cheese and bake until melted (another 7 minutes). Serve with beans and rice.

Now onto Calabacitas. This is a mix of New Mexico meets Colorado...BOTH my ancestry!. It refers to zucchini or squash and is traditionally mixed with green chile and corn.

There is no better side dish to a meal than this.

1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 med. onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 yellow squash sliced in quarters
2 green zucchini, sliced in quarters
(may add mushrooms if you like)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can chopped green chile
(*shredded cheese to top is optional)

Heat oil, saute garlic and onion powder. Add onion and garlic and simmer until lightly browned. Add the remainder of seasonings squashes, mushrooms, corn and green chile, stir to heat through. Serve with grated cheese on top

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kitchen Dinosaur Does It Again! MORE MUSTARD

Yes, the old GE Food Processor

came through once again. I understand now why Mom refuses to give up that insane mixer that abjectly pops its own cord, making the user have to replug numerous times. We hang onto what works for us. My old food processor is still working for me so I don't see the need to replace the old gadget. Getting the hang of makin' mustard! Although, I must say that I am not really fond of Dijon and that seems to be all that I am making with these ingredients. I can see combining the Honey Dill Mustard with some Greek Yogurt and baking that over a whitefish and the Oatmeal Stout Thyme will be terrific if mixed in with the eggs before making the Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut (See February 2011 for that recipe). I am hoping the mustard flavor will decrease with time, but unfortunately this is not going to be the case. This stuff if HOT! It is Dijon! It has a flavor that won't be denied.



1 1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
5 tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp. allspice
1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp. white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stir constantly over med-high heat. Boil until thick (takes a long patient and it happens quickly when it finally does).

Pour into 5 - 1/2 pint sterilized jars and cap. Water bath for 15 minutes to seal.

Oatmeal Stout Thyme Mustard
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
3/4 cup flat Oatmeal Stout (I used our own Alaskan Stout)

Let this sit for 24 hours stirring now and then.

To this add:
1 TBSP. mustard powder (AKA mustard flour)
1 TBSP. minced dried onion
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

Let this rest for more than 20 minutes. Pour contents into your own dinosaur (food processor) or blender and pulse a bit. Now add:

1/2 cup vinegar and 1 tsp. salt and blend until you have a paste. Store in a glass jar and don't use for at least 5 days.

Honey Dill Mustard (makes ONLY 1 cup):

3 1/2 TBSP. Mustard (ground)
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP fresh dill weed, chopped fine
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients to a smooth consistency. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours. Can eat after at least 2 hours or process in a hot water bath. (see directions below)

Hot Water Bath and Processing Mustard: If you want to process your mustard, bring a large stockpot with water to cover the lid of the jar. Boil the jars and lids prior to filling to ensure sanitation. Fill jars with mustard, leaving 1/4" headspace. Boil on the stove in a covered pot for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove immediately to a dry surface to seal jars. You will hear a "Pop" as they begin to seal. If you have jars that do not seal, store them in the refrigerator and use within 4 weeks.

I Love my onto steaming asparagus and peppers.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Don't laugh! Yes, you heard right! I am making Mustard. Why? Because I LOVE the stuff. I think most people are either a ketchup/catsup or a mustard person. My Germanic roots demand that I make things like saurkraut, brats, potatoes and other things that probably should not be in my diet. The recipe I am providing has been modified from the original because I don't particularly care for nutmeg in a condiment like the original recipe called for, and I wanted to sharpen the taste instead of sweeten it. By the way, I made a batch and hot-packed (canned) 5 small 1/2 pint jars. Please don't be put off by this. It's an easy-do because you don't need a home canner. You only need a big stock pot, enough water to cover the top of the 1/2 pint jars and boil for 20 minutes.

This recipe MUST shelve for at least 4 weeks before you open the jar.
1 1/3 C. Ground Mustard (I used Colemans Dry Mustard)
1/4 C. yellow mustard seeds
1/4 C. brown mustard seeds
1 C. water
Whisk this together in a saucepan.

In a separate pan combine and simmer for 20 minutes:
2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground Coriander
1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground Ginger

Let the spices cool. Then add 2 TBSP honey and mix well.

Now you can pour the mix into small jars to hot water bath for 20 minutes if you want to save on your shelf for time eternal. If not, pour into a dish and it will keep for a month.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Halibut and Seafood Cioppino

Always up for trying new things with our halibut.  I couldn't find a recipe for the two ingredigents I had already thawed and needed to use; halibut and scallops.  It was my intent to make Roasted Halibut and Scallops (Lobster Buerre Blanc) and Potato Yvette (thanks Chef Suzanne Champagne Ivy--The Mill on the Floss)....but could not find the glace de fruits de mer gold (lobster base) in Fairbanks and no time to make my own.  I found a lovely cioppino base at Freds in the Seafood Dept and decided to give it a chance.  No...I am not following their guidelines, what, seafood is seafood and I know what Jim likes.  To add to my halibut and scallops I bought a large lobster tail, 1 lb. of wild caught prawns, and 1 lb. of clams.  Here is the method.

Shrimp, Halibut, Clams and Lobster
1 jar Dominic's San Francisco Cioppino Sauce (I will add crushed red pepper to this without even opening the jar.)
2 halibut fillets (skinned, deboned and cubed)
2 lbs large scallops
1 lb. prawns, shelled and deveined
1 lb. clams
1 large lobster tail (cooked according to directions first and added last.

Heat Cioppino Sauce on the stove.  Add halibut, scallops and prawns.  Heat until halibut is flaky and prawns are pink.  Meanwhile, in a pot of cold water bring the lobster tail to boil.  Boil ONLY 5 minutes, take off heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before shelling and dicing.  Add clams, when shells open, add cubed lobster and serve over rice---serve with sourdough bread.

Add clams (throw out any clams that are already OPEN--sorry to be gross, but the clam inside is dead and you don't want to eat it) to the sauce and wait for the shells to open.  Add lobster and mix through.  Serve over rice.

Creamy Shitake Mushroom and Asparagus Soup

Nothing speaks of spring more than fresh asparagus.  I adapted this recipe to include shitake mushrooms because they just lend that earthy or woody taste that marries so well with asparagus.

1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus trim or cut off woody ends
1 lb. shitake mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
2 tsp. chicken stock base (I use Better Than Broth)
3 1/2 cups 2% milk
salt and pepper to taste

Boil asparagus, shitake mushrooms and onions in just enough water to keep from boiling dry.  *Don't worry about overcooking-this mix will be pureed in a food processor anyway.  Puree vegetables.  In a saucepan melt butter, add flour, stock, salt and pepper to taste, add milk and stir until smooth and thickened.  Add pureed vegetables and stir to heat through.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Calabacita Enchiladas with Salsa Ranchera

Thinking of my vegetarian friends while making this dish.  Yes, it takes quite a bit of work, but with fresh ingredients like these--the dish is healthy, delicious and beautiful.  Calabacitas is a Mexican side dish usually comprised of squash, tomatoes, green chile, cheese and corn.  I got the recipe for these fabulous enchiladas from the new cookbook I won in a contest from Bueno.  Order yours at 

I must say here that I did change the recipe slightly.  However the change I made makes a significant difference in the taste.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup frozen corn and I substituted Birds Eye Southwest Blend which is a combination of corn, black beans, chile, onions and red peppers.

Even the most discriminating MEAT EATER will love these enchiladas.  However, I am making Buffalo Tacos with Pickled Radish and Salsa Ranchera to go with this meal for the hunky hubby.

Salsa Ranchera  (this salsa is an excellent addition to eggs, quiche, beans and tacos)
Cooking the chile, onions and tomatoes

Add the cilantro and lime juice

1 small onion, diced
1 7-oz container chopped green chile (sorry Alaskans you will have to make due with canned)
2 tomatoes, chopped
salt to taste
1/3 cup water
1/4 of the bunch of fresh cilantro, diced
1 TBSP lime juice

Cook the onion, chile and tomatoes and salt over medium heat.  Add water and simmer until most of the water is absorbed and onion is translucent.  Add cilantro and lime.

Calabacita Enchiladas with Salsa Ranchera
20 Calabacita Enchiladas topped with Salsa Ranchera

Ingredients you need in addition to Salsa Ranchera
These are the ingredients you will need to make Calabacita Enchiladas (also the Salsa Ranchera above)....makes 10 enchiladas

1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 medium onion diced
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup frozen Birds Eye Southwest Blend OR corn
1/3 cup water
10 yellow corn tortillas, softened
Salsa Ranchera
                                                                                    1/3 cup Monterey Jack Cheese

Prepare Salsa Ranchera and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a saute pan and toast onions about 3 minutes.  Add spices and salt, cook 3 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes.  Add corn and water and cook 3 minutes more. 

I like rolled enchiladas
Make either flat or rolled enchiladas by topping corn tortilla with vegetables, cheese and salsa.  I like rolled, so I rolled corn tortillas with vegetables and cheese, layered them in a non-stick sprayed stoneware baking dish and topped with Salsa Ranchera and more Monterey jack cheese.  Bake at 350 until hot (20 minutes).

                                 Muy Bueno!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Belgian Waffles

Jim loves waffles so I bought a professional waffle maker for him for Christmas a few years ago.  No, I didn't make Belgian Waffles this morning, but served the frozen ones I made last weekend.  I'll give fair warning now that these are not easy to make.  As a matter of fact, they are a pain-in-the-rear, but completely worth the effort.  Plan on spending at least 2 hours preparing these and serve with only the best homemade blueberry syrup or pure maple syrup.  Personally, I like the Goodnight Waffles better than the Classic Belgian Waffles and you can find find that recipe in my blog as well.

Recipe makes 10 waffles

1 1/2 cup water
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
3 cups sifted flour (a pain...but do it)
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, separated + 1 egg white (a pain...but do it)
1/3 cup sugar
8 TBSP. unsalted butter - melted and cooled (a pain...but do it)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Heat 1/2 the water to lukewarm (105-110 degrees).  Dissolve yeast in water with a pinch of sugar from the recipe; let stand 5 to 10 minutes, until mixture begins to foam.

Put the sifted flour and salt in a large bowl and stir to blend.  TO THE YEAST MIXTURE:  Add the egg yolks, one of the egg whites, and remaining sugar, stir to blend then add to this:  remaining water, milk, melted butter, oil, and vanilla; stir into the flour/salt mix until smooth.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold the egg whites gently into the batter.  Let the batter stand for 1 hour, stirring gently every 15 minutes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut


Is there anything better?  I created a fabulous and healthier way to make halibut than the way I typically love it (deep fried in a beer batter served with malt vinegar).  This halibut fillet is dipped in beaten egg and coated in a mixture of macadamia nuts and panko crumbs then baked 10 minutes on each side.

Skin your halibut and cut into serving size pieces.  Combine crushed macadamia nuts with about 1 cup panko Japanese bread crumbs.  Beat 2 eggs in a separate dish.

Dip halibut pieces in egg and then in nut/crumb mix.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, flip and bake an additional 10 minutes.

I served this with our own garden grown and processed veggies (yes, we were reorganizing the cabinets)....Kale and Beets and I made a lovely salad of romaine, avocado, cherry tomatoes and balsamic doesn't get any simpler than this...Alaskan peasant food.