Monday, March 7, 2016

Halibut á la Nage with Yukon Golds and Lemon Relish

This is a wonderful way to use halibut. The finished dish more rustic than refined, despite the fancy name. Nage is a term used for flavored liquid used to poach delicate foods - usually seafood. The lemon relish is a perfect compliment to the richness of the fish and potatoes. I used Alaskan halibut (I am still cleaning out my freezer!), local Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh grown herbs and of course Alaskan-grown zucchini for a side. I loved how many of the ingredients could be locally sourced. This is an adapted version of a recipe by Chef Inaki Aizpitarte ~Patti
6 garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion, halved and peeled
4 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
4 cups milk (whole or low-fat)
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1-1/4 pounds)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds halibut filet, cut into 2" cubes

Preserved Lemon Relish:
Mix 1/2 cup finely chopped preserved lemon (see directions at end of post), 1 bunch finely chopped chives, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside for serving.

A nice tasty catch in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Bring milk, onion, thyme, and peppercorns to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Then, strain the infused milk into a medium saucepan, discarding the solids.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 25 minutes, until tender. Drain, peel and coarsely mash potatoes in a bowl with about 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Bring infused milk just to a boil. Add cubed halibut and cook until it starts to flake, about 5 minutes. Remove fish from saucepan with slotted spoon and set aside. Use the remaining infused milk, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup and mix it into the potatoes.  

Put potatoes on plate, place halibut pieces on top and finish with a drizzle of lemon relish. Make it pretty! 

Zucchini is a nice side dish. Just quickly sautéed in a touch of olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper.

Directions for Quick Preserved Lemons:

Preserving lemons takes about 30 days to make from scratch or can be purchased from specialty stores. I was unable to find it locally, and I was wanting to make this recipe right now, so I made a quick version. In my opinion, it was great, and our dinner guests raved. Preserved lemon has a powerful lemon taste, a little goes a long way! 

1 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 lemons, washed and quartered. Meyer lemons are great, a bit sweeter, but regular is fine.

Combine water and salt in small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add lemons and cook about 30 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half and the rinds are tender. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature - rinse well. Chop the lemon rind very fine to use for this recipe.  
Any unused lemon for this recipe can be used in something else, such as salads, dressings, dips, pasta dishes,etc. Anywhere you would add a squeeze of lemon or lemon zest. 

Store unused lemons in their cooking juices in the fridge. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alaska Spot Shrimp & Halibut Stir Fry

Heart Healthy! Alaska seafood is the best and this dish highlights my favorite spot shrimp and versatile halibut.  We caught tons this summer, and fortunately both freeze really well for winter use. I still had a few fresh carrots from the farm here in Palmer, and I used locally grown greens. Grab whatever looks freshest at your local store. This is stir fry - it cooks super fast, so have everything ready. Even your servings plates. Nothing is worse than limp, over cooked ingredients in a stir fry, so prep like you mean it!~Patti
1/2 pound angel hair pasta, cooked and set aside
1 pound halibut, skinned, cut into 1" pieces
1 pound spot shrimp, cleaned and shells removed1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water or low fat chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 bunch green onion, sliced thin
1 cup broccoli florets 

8 tablespoons of rice vinegar
6 tablespoons lite soy sauce
4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Note: Angel hair pasta takes about 7-8 minutes to cook, so have your pot of boiling water ready and drop the noodles to cook about the time you add your veggies to the stir fry.

Mix all sauce ingredients. Add halibut pieces. Let marinate in fridge while you prep the rest of the meal.

Grate ginger, wash and cut up veggies.

Sauté ginger, water (or broth if using) and garlic. Add veggies after a few minutes. Add all veggies except green onion; they go in at the end. Stir fry 2 minutes.

Add marinated fish, with juices. Stir fry 1 minute. Add Shrimp - stir fry 2-3 minutes, just till done.

Turn off heat. Toss with noodles and add in green onion to coat with sauce.

Serve and enjoy! 
If you have guests, take notice of how impressed they are :)

This is what you would call a really good fishing day.

Lots of halibut all packaged up and ready for the freezer. We won't go hungry this winter :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Burbot Cakes (poor man's lobster cakes)

Fishing for burbot on the Tanana River in Fairbanks, Alaska at the end of December is definitely not for the weak and/or weary. You have to have the right gear, a good attitude and be willing to get cold...really, really cold! I had the opportunity to go with good friends who have ALL of these attributes and boy did we catch some nice fish. Often referred to as "poor man's lobster," burbot is fun to cook with and tasty. You pretty much can't mess it up. Here's a quick recipe for burbot cakes. Yummy doesn't even begin to describe how good they are, but it's a good start :)~Audrey   
8 oz burbot, cooked and diced
1 egg
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 green onions, minced
12 saltine crackers, crushed

Mix equal parts plain Greek yogurt and mayo with fresh dill and a splash of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes @12 mini patties

 Dice up your burbot into small pieces and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 5-7 minutes or just until done. While it's cooking, simply combine everything else together in a bowl and mix well.  

Let burbot cool before adding to mixture. 

Form into small tablespoon size patties and dust with corn flour (or corn meal for more crust). Cook patties in a skillet with @ 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. 
Cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes each side.

If you want to get fancy, add a dollop of yogurt dill sauce on top of each one and garnish with diced red pepper and dill sprigs. Pour yourself a nice glass of chilled white wine and enjoy :) 

This 38" burbot is a nice catch! The temperature was hovering about -20F, hence my rosy cheeks :)

Heading home after a successful day of burbot fishing on the Tanana River in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

The wall tent behind us had a potbelly stove which was nice if not critical to be able to warm up in after several hours out on the ice before the long snow machine ride back home. Thanks for setting this up for us, Brian!

Here's a great link that provides detailed information about burbot fishing as well how to clean and fillet them:
State of Alaska Fish & Game: How to Set Line for Burbot

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Unrolled Cabbage Rolls (Moose Meat Halupki)

Halupki are Eastern European cabbage rolls. These were a staple in my Croatian grandmother's kitchen. Seasoned ground beef, rice and onion wrapped in cabbage leaves and simmered in a sweet tomato sauce. They were labor intensive to say the least. My version is made with ground moose meat and locally grown cabbage and onion. Most importantly, they are quicker to make but every bit as delicious. ~Patti
1 pound ground moose meat or hamburger
1 medium head cabbage, sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cooked rice
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1 can stewed tomatoes (15 oz)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Serves: 4

1. Make the sauce: Drain the stewed tomatoes and add to saucepan. Add tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smashed garlic clove and lemon juice. Stir and season with salt and pepper. This is a quick sauce - just needs to simmer for about 5 minutes. You can make this ahead of time and set aside. Just make sure you heat it thoroughly before serving (and remove the smashed garlic clove).

2. Cook rice according to directions. Set aside until needed.

3. Brown meat, season with salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.


Chop onion and cabbage.

Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook until translucent and lightly golden. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet, sauté cabbage until it starts getting some color and is slightly wilted, but still with a bit of crunch. Remove from heat.

You're ready to plate. Put a scoop of rice in a bowl, layer with onions, meat and cabbage. 

Top with as much tomato sauce as you like.

Dig in!! All the taste in half the time!

Traditional cabbage rolls are not exactly difficult to eat, but this version makes it super easy - no need to mess with that time consuming cutting, haha. Simply mix together in your bowl and bring a delicious forkful to your mouth...

Baby it's cold outside! 19* is not actually that cold by Alaska standards for December, but cold enough to crave some nice hot comfort food!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Carrot Flax Muffins

These are a nice, hearty muffin using Alaska grown carrots-which are some of the best due to our extensive daylight and perfect growing temps throughout the summer. These muffins are not really sweet but pack a lot of flavor in each bite.  They really grow on you - my husband (who doesn't usually eat baked goods) actually bagged them up to take on his most recent hunting trip. I took that as a good sign. ~Patti
1-1/2 cups AP Flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup apple, peeled and shredded
1 cup chopped walnuts

Yield: 12 jumbo muffins

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In separate bowl, place eggs, vanilla, milk and applesauce.

Shred carrots and apple, chop nuts and set aside.

 Whisk eggs, vanilla, milk and apple sauce. Stir in carrots, raisins and apple. By adding these ingredients to the wet mixture, you will stir the batter less. Overworking muffin batter will cause muffins to get tough. No one likes a tough muffin ;)

Whisk dry ingredients together, then add to wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until golden and toothpick comes out clean.

Viola! Hearty, healthy muffins.

Pam's carrots - which are grown locally in Palmer, Alaska - are the best. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

'Alaskan' Kima

Kima, or Keema, means finely chopped and usually refers to a dish with minced meat, potatoes and peas. It's popular in certain cultures, often found in Indian and South Asian cuisine. I love this dish - it's quick and easy and if you like curry, you'll love it! It's simple to make ahead of time and just warm up before serving, making it a perfect meal after a hike on a brisk fall day. I used ground moose meat for this recipe. If you're fortunate enough to live where you can harvest wild game, by all means use it, but of course you can use beef and it tastes just as good...well, almost :) ~Patti
2 tablespoons oil
1 garlic clove
1 cup onion, diced small
1-2 cups peas
3-4 small potatoes
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound ground moose meat 
2 tablespoons curry (I used a mix of hot and mild)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Serves: 6

Gather your ingredients. Measure spices, and chop onion and potatoes.

Make sure to dice potatoes small so they cook in a reasonable amount of time.

Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Saute onions and garlic. 

I left the garlic whole, but smashed. It doesn't burn liked minced garlic and it imparts plenty of garlic essence and flavor.  

Add meat to pan and brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Add spices.

Then add potatoes, peas, and the can of tomatoes (along with the juice). Give it a stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Let it cook for about 20-25 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Serve yourself a nice helping and enjoy.

I have used leftovers to fill samosa's (savory little dough pockets). Just put everything in a food processor and pulse gently so you have more of a minced filling. 

These are potatoes from the potato farm behind my house. I love having these beautiful fields as a view. The pink blossoms indicate red potatoes and the white let you know the potatoes are white or yellow - cool!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chocolate Beet Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

"I'd never eat a beet, because I could not stand the taste. I'd rather nibble drinking straws, or fountain pens, or paste. I'd eat a window curtain and perhaps a roller skate, but a beet, you may be certain, would be wasted on my plate..." 
Haha - This about sums up what many people think about beets. But I am here to tell you that beets are not only one of the most nutritious veggies, they are also delicious! Beets grow very well in Alaska, and can be used in so many ways. This recipe is a great way to incorporate beets and some of their goodness into a decadent chocolate cake. While you don't really taste the beets, they add unbelievable moistness and heighten the overall flavor as well as add richness to the color. It's a little time-intensive but completely worth it! ~Patti
3 ounces dark chocolate
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/3 cups beet puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate ganache:
9 ounces baking chocolate
 (or milk, semi-sweet - I used dark)
1 cup heavy cream

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes a 10" round delicious cake.

Beets at the farmers market in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Chioggia beet, also known as candy cane beet, has beautiful red and white spiral stripes. For this recipe I used regular red beets.

Clean, peel and chop 3 to 4 large beets into small chunks. Simmer in a covered pot in just enough water to barely cover them. Cook until fork tender. Drain and place beets in blender or Kitchen-aid and puree. Measure out a cup and a half and set aside. 

Cake: Melt the chocolate in pan or double boiler. In separate bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and oil. Slowly add beet puree, melted chocolate and vanilla into the egg mixture. Beat just until combined.

Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to beet batter. Gently fold in until all is combined. Do not over mix the batter - just enough to blend all ingredients. I don’t recommend a kitchen aid, just a big spoon.

Prepare a 10" cake pan by spreading a teaspoon of melted butter (I prefer this) or oil over surface and then sprinkle flour all over – tap out the extra – then pour batter into pan.

Bake about 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Baking time can vary a bit depending on oven.

Ganache: Right before cake is done, make the ganache frosting. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl (break it up if necessary). Heat cream in a pan on your stove top, just until is starts to barely boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until a smooth sauce is formed.

When cake is done, cool on wire rack, about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove cake from pan and pour still-warm ganache over the top and spread. I let it run down the sides. This frosting hardens nicely after cooling at room temperature for awhile. You can also refrigerate it to set it faster.

Six beet benefits:

1. Lower blood pressure

2. Increase stamina
3. Fight inflammation
4. Anti-cancer properties
5. Rich in nutrients and fiber
6. Detoxification support

...and as if these weren't reasons enough to get your beet on, the greens also pack tons of nutrients and vitamins and can ward off osteoporosis and strengthen the immune system. Use them in salads.