Sunday, January 15, 2017

Guiltless French Fries

Goodness!  I haven't been here in two years.  So sorry.  I will try to do better from now on.  One of my New Year's Resolutions (yes, I believe in making a goal....) is to get in touch with the artist within.  I am re-reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  I even have a cadre of 5 other souls who are embarking on this journey with me and investigating how to unleash the artist that resides within us all.  It's not an exercise in requires a lot of reading and a daily writing upon rising.  Check it out if you are interested.  Part of that learning and re-reading has led me back to you...and this silly blog.

Tonight I am making a side-dish for the love of my life...that persnickity (spell check say's this is not a word), sometimes obnoxious, defiant, and pessimistic better half.  He loves all things potatoes.   Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner, he can't get enough.  He might even be worse than my mother when it comes to eating potatoes and doesn't care how they are fixed, just have them on the table.

This recipe originally came to me in a cookbook that I have no idea where or why I bought it:  "Simply Colorado:  Nutritious Recipes for Busy People" by the Colorado Dietetic Association.  I've changed this recipe so much that it no longer really resembles the original one.  However, I still encourage you to get a copy of this cookbook.  The recipes are healthy, delicious and won't disappoint.  Get yours at:  Colorado Dietetic Association, 6930 So. Bemis Street, Littleton, CO 80120.  The Cranberry Cottage Cake with Lemon Sauce is worth the $ on it's own.

Who doesn't love French Fries?  Who doesn't love seasoned crispy French Fries?  IF....and I mean IF there are any leftovers, these leftovers chop up nicely in a breakfast burrito the next morning or in an omelet.   Between Chris and Jim, there were rarely any leftovers.

I am using our own garden grown potatoes (but I didn't it doesn't matter)

2 lbs. of potatoes.....wash and scrub really well, leave the skins on and cut them into quarters
2-3 TBSP olive oil
Toss the potatoes well with the oil

Mix the following really well in a small bowl:

2 tsp. Parmesan cheese (grated)....tonight I am using Kraft Rosemary & Garlic Grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp Bacon Salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Sweet Paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp New Mexico Chile Powder
1/2 tsp lemon pepper

Mix it well.....this is what it looks like:

I like easy clean-up and am a huge fan of non-stick foil!  Put your 1/4'rd (is that a word?) oiled potatoes on a sheet pan lined with non-stick foil.

Sprinkle the seasonings to coat each potato....take your time.  Every bite should be a little slice of Heaven.

Place in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes.....turn the pan and bake another 30 minutes IF you want them crispy....if you want them soft, bake only another 10 minutes.

Bet you will be eating them before they even get to the table.

P.S.  These are really yummy dipped in the High Bush Cranberry Catsup.  I don't know if I published that recipe from the local Extension Office in Fairbanks.....but if I didn't you can get it there...that one is also excellent for a dipping sauce for Grouse McNuggets! (Another recipe to come)

Happy 2017 to everyone!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Garbanzo "Nuts"

This time of year it's all about sweets, treats and gift giving.  Since I'm not much of a sweets fan, I typically give the gift of soup.  I've already passed out the traditional quart jar of lovely noodles, seasonings, beans, and other varieties of deliciousness and today I am deviating to make the wonderfully crunchy garbanzo "nuts".  I'll take salty over sweet anytime!  I was following Giada's Crispy Chickpea recipe but had some artisan salt that my good friend Cory Goodman brought back from her trip to Iceland last year.  I halved the recipe and wanted to do Giada's recipe but I grabbed the wrong Artisan salt..instead of grabbing smoked salt, I grabbed a Chardonnay infused salt.  It's okay!  It came out great and I did add just a tiny touch of the smoked salt after I realized my mistake.  The REAL winner is Cory's Iceland Sea Salt with Kelp.  Oh yeah...yummy.  Taking some to her tomorrow to enjoy.  There ARE perks to having friends who are world travelers.

Garbanzo "Nuts"

2 cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and allowed to dry on a towel
2 TBSP Olive oil (Dang!  I have smoked olive oil and garlic infused olive oil....use what you want)
1 TBSP Salt (I used Iceland Sea Salt and Kelp...also Chardonnay Infused Sea Salt)

Toss all together.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour turn at 30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Sour-Cream Enchiladas

I love, love, love turkey combined with green chile.  The last Fairbanks NewsMiner newspaper posted my Turkey Tortilla Soup...I am delighted...but that is a truly a soup worthy of reposting as is.  I am now posting my recipe for Turkey Enchiladas.  I felt the need to modify it due to the fact that that we can't get the ingredients we need..  Here is what you need:  I forgot to put the green chile in the need 1 cup of green chile!!!

1 dozen corn tortillas, 2 cups diced onion, 3 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes, 1 cup green chile (can be omitted if you like, but we like it spicy), 1 cup water, 1 TBSP Mexican oregano 2 cloves of garlic-minced, salt and pepper.  3 cups shredded turkey, 2 cups sour cream, 2 cups cheddar cheese (I used white cheddar).

Soften the corn tortillas while you simmer the onion, garlic, tomatoes, water, oregano, green chile, salt and pepper. 
Mix together the cheese, sour cream and shredded turkey.  Place scant amount on top of softened corn tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in a casserole dish
Ok....I had to soften 4 more tortillas to use up the filling and fill the dish.

Now smother on the Sauce:  
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes...don't bother for 10 minutes.  Let it sit, then dig in.  Serve with more sour cream and fresh cooked pinto beans.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meat Enchiladas

I feel a little guilty that I haven's posted recipes in such a long time.  I have actually written some, taken photos, but just never made the time to put them on my bad.  We have a freezer full of moose.  Jim wanted enchiladas.  I didn't want the same-ol-same-ol so I turned to a very old cookbook that I acquired long ago from Los Alamos, New Mexico.  New Mexican Dishes by Philomena Romero who lived in Los Alamos and ran a restaurant using her mother's (Senora Odila Archuleta) recipes is a great find. 

I can tell you the recipes in this cookbook are authentic New Mexican, no foo-foo recipes here.  There are only a few copies available through and they are a lot more expensive than the $2.89 sticker price I bought mine at.  The best advise I can give anyone who is not from the southwest is, when you order Mexican food and they ask you, "Red or Green", ask which is better----not hotter----better....Santa Fe restaurants typically make better red chile...if you are closer to the borders you are better off with green....If you are adventurous, you can say Christmas and you will get half red and half green....Safe to say in Santa Fe and Los Alamos...go with red!

Because I live in Alaska now and have an abundance of moose meat available to me I use that for most of my traditional (beef) recipes.  Feel free to use beef, bison or venison in place of the red meat. 

This is what Mrs. Romero recommends on page 11 of her cookbook.

1 1/2 lbs ground lean beef (yes, I used moose)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin (nope....I like cumin....A LOT!  bump it up to a teaspoon)
1/2 tsp crushed oregano leaves (This is the part where I tell you there is a DIFFERENCE between oregano leaves and MEXICAN oregano....get the Mexican oregano...if you can't find it, tell me and I will get some for you on my next trip back home.)
1 clove garlic, minced fine
3/4 cup red chile powder (if you can't get that ask me and I will make sure you have some)....Use mild if you don't like a lot of heat, medium if you like your tongue to be tickled a little, and hot if you want to feel like the Energizer Bunny!
Water...enough to cover the meat.

Ok...I didn't want to throw you off by telling you that the original recipe calls for pressure cooking the meat in the water with spices because some people are really hesitant to use a pressure cooker.  If you don't have one or are scared, just boil the meat with the spices (EXCEPT the chile powder) for an hour.  Otherwise, crumble the ground meat, add enough water to cover meat.  Add salt, cumin, oregano, garlic and cover pressure cooker.  Cook 15 minutes at 15 lbs. pressure.  Bring pressure down quickly (you do that by leaving the pepcock on and running the pot under cold water.  When pressure is released, remove cover.  Add red chile powder, breaking all meat lumps with the back of a large spoon.  Set aside in a warm place.
After adding the red chile it looks like this.
Now you need to assemble the rest of the's a snap....Soften the corn tortillas in hot oil...dip them briefly in hot oil and drain on paper towels.  I should interject here that I ONLY use yellow corn decent New Mexican citizen would use white corn tortillas!  BAN them!  That's like serving pinks to your family....Ugh!  They are not as tasty, have been refined and just, just, just...yuck!

The next part I can do in my sleep I have been doing it so long.  Place a scant layer of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish...not too much...just enough to keep the enchiladas from sticking. 

You have finely diced onions and shredded cheese on the standby.   Place a bit of cheese and onion in the middle of the softened tortilla and roll it up.  Place this roll in the dish and repeat until the pan is full.

Now cover the rolled enchiladas with the rest of the red chile meat sauce.  Top that with extra cheese and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream if you like.  At this point, Jim is usually opening  can of beer.

I know it seems like a lot....but it's really not.  From start to finish it takes under an hour to do.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sushi 101 - Dragon Rolls

So I went to my first ever sushi class yesterday.  What's a girl from New Mexico doing in a sushi class anyway?  Moving to Alaska nine years ago today I had no clue about what I was in for.  1) heating with oil instead of gas or propane? 2) hauling water?....isn't that for heathens?  3) plugging in your car in the winter...why would anyone do that?  4) seeing sushi at the deli counter in all the grocery stores....what is that stuff?  And....what is wasabi anyway?  I think I have to thank my friends Heather Chorley and Bobb Lockwood for introducing me to the world of Japanese food and sushi.  You don't get a lot in the way of sushi in Aztec, New I was completely ignorant as to what it was about but I quickly fell in love with the taste and texture of it.  This year, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival  offered a class in sushi and I quickly signed up.  Good thing I did...the class was completely full and I was the last person able to register.  Calvin Lin from the Asian Bistro on Airport Drive was our teacher.  He showed us how to make California Rolls, Sashimi and Nigiri rolls, hand rolls and Dragon Rolls.  The hardest part about making sushi is getting the rice just right.  Calvin's recipe was perfect!

Here is what you need:
Bamboo sushi roll mat covered in plastic wrap...this was a trick he taught me that really keeps the mat clean and rolls the rice beautifully!
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Nori seaweed sheets
Rice Cooker or big heavy saucepan
Wood spoon or rice paddle
Plastic wrap (lots of it)

Rice Ingredients:
6 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 Cups uncooked Japanese medium-gran sushi rice (I used Calrose)
4 cups water
OR....Use 6 TBSP of Seasoned Rice Vinegar instead

Sushi Ingredients:
5 sheets of sushi nori (big squares or more if using the smaller ones)
Fully cooked Eel (Dragon Rolls)
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced thin...remove the seeds
2-3 avocados, sliced
Cooked crab or imitation crab sticks
Soy Sauce
Pickled Ginger

Making sushi rice:
Either use 6 TBSP of seasoned rice vinegar OR make your own.  Here is the recipe to make your own.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Heat until the sugar dissolves and don't let it boil.  Remove from heat and let it cool.

Wash rice, stirring with your hand, until the water runs clear.  Keep going....this is not clear....

Put in a bowl with water and let it soak for 30 minutes.  Drain in a colander and leave in a bowl inside the fridge for 30 more minutes.  Put rice in a big pot, add 4 cups water,
bring to just a boil, turn down the heat to low/simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 15 more minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl, loosen the rice grains with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon by folding and NOT stir.  Sprinkle seasoned rice vinegar over rice and fold in.  Cover the bowl with a damp cloth while you work. 

Place a piece of Nori on the bamboo mat shiny side down...dull side up.  Using your hands, form a snowball shaped ball of rice...It's more than I ever thought they would have used.
  Place on nori sheet and spread to the sides. 
Turn the rice covered nori over and put 1 piece of Krab in the middle, add 2 thin slices of cucumber and slices of avocado. 
Using the bamboo mat, roll up to cover the krab and other ingredients.  You are putting more pressure on the outsides of the bamboo mat and not so much on the top.  Be firm with it.  My problem is I was always too gentle....Nope, make the rice do what you want it to do.  Don't push too much from the top.

Now, alternate with avocado, unagi, avocado, unagi...etc on top of your sealed roll.  Place plastic wrap on top of that and use your bamboo mat to press this in gently.

Remove the roll from the bamboo mat before you cut....I was stupid and didn't do this in the picture!!!!  Using a very sharp knife, cut through the plastic wrap and unagi  roll sections to create bite sized pieces....I could have done better here. 

Dress with unagi sauce. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Poor Mans Lobster (Halibut)

"What?  Boiled halibut?  You've got to be kidding me!"  I exclaim.  "No, it's really good and it tastes just like lobster if you do it right." say's someone in the teacher's lounge last year.  When it comes to cooking, I'm game for anything.  Since I have an abundant supply of halibut, I felt it would be okay to sacrifice one of my 1 lb. packages to test this recipe out.  She was right!  Jim and I both loved it.  Now when I cook halibut I take out an extra package to prepare this "Poor Man's Lobster."  Not a poor man at all if you know what halibut costs even in Alaska.

This recipe is so incredibly simple that even the most amateur of amateur cooks could master this dish with the most minimal ingredients in the kitchen.

What you need:
5 cups Water
1/4 cup Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
3 TBSP Lemon juice (yes, you can use bottled)
2 TBSP Butter
Halibut (1-2-3 decide.  How many are you feeding and how are you serving it?)
Optional:  Melted butter with chopped rosemary OR garlic salt to taste---or both easy is that?


1.  Skin halibut and cut into desired chunks....maybe 2" squares and set aside.

2.  Measure water salt, sugar, lemon juice and butter into a sauce pot and bring to a boil.

3.  Add halibut chunks to boiling water.  As they begin to float to the surface they are DONE.  Do NOT overcook.

4.  Remove the almost "floaters" to a paper towel to drain.

5.  Optional:  Toss drained "lobster" in rosemary/garlic salt butter

6.  Serve this with a salad (even prepackaged) and you are an instant hit.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Aunt Tony's Macaroni Salad

Nothing screams 4th of July more than fireworks and macaroni salad!  Growing up with a large extended family, it was common to expect certain things when coming together as one huge family.  On our table one would find:  1) fresh veggies like granddad's peas or beans, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers 2) a big bowl of home canned peaches or pears or apricots and 3) an obscenely huge bowl of Grandma Sadie's or now I know it as Aunt Tony's Macaroni Salad.
Aunt Tony with Cousin Judy and Ron

My Grandma Sadie and Aunt Tony have both passed on and I wish I had paid more attention in the kitchen.  Let me interject here that there are only a few foods that I don't care for, raw cabbage and macaroni salad.  I DO however, take exception to this fantastically creamy and easy to make salad.  Cousin Judy gave me the recipe a few days ago and I made it for the first time for our 4th of July dinner.  It was heavenly and brought back loads of beautiful memories spending time with cousins, aunts, uncles and my grandparents.  The celery seed is really the key ingredient that pushes this recipe over the top!

I found that it was just as good for breakfast the next day and only got better sitting overnight in the fridge.  The ingredients are so simple and are common in most pantries.

Here's what you need:  That's it!  So simple.

Because it's just Jim and I, I only used 1/2 a box of macaroni which still made enough to feed 6-8.  Imagine using the entire 1 lb. box!  That feeds 16-20 people.

8 oz. macaroni
1 to 1 1/2 cups REAL mayo (don't use salad dressing)
4 boiled eggs, chopped
1 4 oz. jar diced pimentos
1 TBSP celery seed
salt and pepper to taste
cream or half & half (maybe....if it is not moist enough---I didn't have to use it)
Paprika (optional) to lightly dust the top

Boil macaroni in salted water for 8-10 minutes.  

Boil in salted water 8-10 min.
Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Allow the macaroni to cool.  I don't know why but Judy said this makes a big difference so I did it.  

Add chopped eggs, pimentos, celery seed and mayo.  Mix together.  It should be creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If needed, add a teaspoon or so of cream to make moist.  Pour into a pretty dish and top with a light shake of paprika to give color.

Yes, this an old fashioned vintage Pyrex dish!