December 30, 2009

Machaca and Rice

Last week, The Husband took me to a place he'd just discovered - Burrito Heaven. I was a little apprehensive as the place was clearly a hole in the wall, however it turned out to be absolutely fantastic. It also introduced me to the wonders of shredded beef.

Growing up in the Northeast, tacos and burritos were always made out of ground beef. Only now have I seen the error of my ways! Of course, I immediately set out to recreate this delicious dish. My first attempt is pretty close, I'm happy to say! The Husband thought it was a tad too spicy, so if you're a wimp cut down on the peppers. Or add some delicious mango chipolte sauce to reduce the heat.

Also, this blog is officially a year old! Happy Birthday!


1 lb chuck roast
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 c sliced jalapenos
1/2 c sliced onions
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin
1 t cayenne
1 t garlic powder
5 oz hot sauce
1 c water
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder

Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Brown all sides in the oil. Drain and place in crockpot. Add the jalapenos, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic, hot sauce, and water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the roast from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Return to crockpot and add in extra cumin and chili powder. Cook for at least another hour on low.


1 c white rice
2 T olive oil
1 c chicken stock
2 T salsa
1 clove garlic, crushed

Saute the rice in the oil until toasted on all sides. Drain the oil off. Add in the stock, salsa, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.


For Christmas, I got an ebelskiver pan. Ebelskivers are basically just filled pancakes. For those who know me, pancakes are my weakness. I never get them right! In the evelskiver though, I hoped to find a pancake I could make. Now, the awesome thing about them is that you can fill them with just about anything! The pan has seven holes. You put a little batter in the bottom, then a little filling, then top with the batter. Turning them took a little getting used to, but I'm already better at it than I am at flipping normal pancakes.

The ones pictured here are the pizza ebelskivers. They came out quite beautiful, with the pepperoni peeking through. I've also made cheesesteak ebelskivers and cinnamon apple ebelskivers.


Pancake batter
Italian seasoning
Marinated mozarella balls
Marinara sauce

Season the pancake batter with Italian seasoning instead of sugar. Grease the pan and heat over medium low heat. Place a pepperoni in the bottom of each well. When the pan is hot, add one spoon of batter to each well. Working quickly, place a mozarella ball in the center of each, then top with another spoon of batter. Once the batter is bubbling in the center, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve with marinara for dipping.

Note: if you don't have marinated mozarella balls, you can marinate them yourself with olive oil and italian herbs.

December 26, 2009

Pear Compote

It's Christmastime again! The Husband and I were alone for Christmas this year. We're still in the process of modifying and creating our own traditions for Christmas, especially when it comes to food. So we had a bunch of experiments and this was dessert.

Now, The Husband is a very dedicated chocolate fan. His desserts are chocolate desserts. As you can see, this clearly does not have any chocolate in it. Well - he scarfed this stuff down so fast, I thought the world must be coming to an end!

Really, this is a fantastic dessert. The flavors are perfect, the colors are pretty and best of all, there is leftover syrup to drizzle on ice cream the next day!


1/4 c red wine (I used a pinot noir)
1/3 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 slices lemon
2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered

Combine the wine, water and sugar in a saucepan until well blended. Add the cinnamon, lemon, and pears. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until pears are tender. Remove pears and chill. Strain and reserve the sauce, also refrigerate. Serve chilled, with vanilla ice cream.

December 13, 2009

Halibut Stuffed Potatoes

I have been very bad about dinner-making lately. I've been pretty busy and stressed out with the upcoming concert, so we've been doing a lot of eating out and scavenging. Fortunately though, the Husband knows that cooking is one of my de-stress mechanisms, and today he urged me to actually take the time to cook. Reluctantly, I pulled some halibut out of the freezer and set to work.

Boy, am I happy I did!

This little experiment was a resounding success. My husband is well known for being an incredibly slow eater, but tonight he had devoured his entire plate before I was even halfway through with mine! Apart from that, this recipe is endlessly customizable, allowing for infinite variations. You'll never get bored! Plus, it's a great way to use up leftover fish.


2 baked potatoes
1/3 lb halibut or other white fish
2 T butter
2 T milk
salt and pepper
garlic and wine seasoning
1/4 c shredded cheddar and provolone cheeses

Wrap the fish in tinfoil and cook at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. Flake the fish and set aside, leaving the oven on.

Take the baked potatoes and slice a small bit off of the top lengthwise. Scoop the "guts" into a small bowl. Add the butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash together.

Here's where the variety comes in. The next ingredients can be traded out for just about anything in the book - whatever you think will taste good. For example, instead of the following one of my potatoes had BBQ sauce. But anyway... Add the cheese and garlic seasoning to the mashed potatoes.

Stir the flaked fish into the potatoes, then spoon the mixture back into the potato shells. Top with a sprinkling of cayenne and bake until warmed through.

Milk and Cookies

At the class six the other day we made a discovery: gingerbread schnapps. Unable to decide if this would be horrible or fantastic, we bought a bottle to find out. The Husband put on his bartender hat and came up with this baby. He made it two ways, one with the Godiva and one without. He prefers the former, but I prefer the latter! I named the drink Milk and Cookies or (with the Godiva) Chocolate Milk and Cookies. Delicious!


2 parts whole milk
1 part vodka
1 part gingerbread schnapps
1 part Frangelico
2 parts Godiva liquor (optional)

Food for Thought

If only...

Pumpkin Cookies

It's the holidays, and cookie time is here! I'm sure that some of you heard about my Great Cookie Catastrophe, wherein I spent one evening baking four types of cookies with expired baking soda. This, of course, resulted in Epic Cookie Failure. With one exception.

The pumpkin cookie.

By fortunate coincidence, I happened to misread the recipe and used only baking powder instead of both powder and soda - resulting in my one success of the night (although the Husband's coworkers did enjoy eating the cookie crumbles). I found the basic recipe from Libby's.


2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t ginger
dash salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c pumpkin
1 egg
1 1/2 t vanilla

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in medium bowl. Cream sugar and butter in another bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla, then slowly beat in dry ingredients. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool complete before serving.

December 8, 2009

Seven Glaciers

This is something new for me, but at the Husband's urging, I am posting my first restaurant review!

Seven Glaciers is a restaurant at the Alyeska Ski Resort located on top of the mountain and accessible by tram. It takes its name from the seven glaciers visible from its perch way above sea level - there's one in the upper right corner of the picture, but it's covered with snow so it's a bit hard to see.

Last weekend I stole the Husband away for a surprise get-away to Alyeska. Our finale was lunch at the Seven Glaciers. Lunch is definitely the way to go - this time of year it's dark by dinner time and what's the point of hauling all the way up a mountain to dine if you can't see anything?

Tram tickets are included with any Seven Glaciers reservation - thumbs up! The nice tram people even gave us tickets for complimentary hot chocolate up at the restaurant. That's another plus. The tram runs every 10 minutes, making it easy to get up there in time for your reservation. Be warned - it is chilly and icy. If you are wearing heels, beware!

The restaurant is, quite frankly, gorgeous. You have to climb an additional flight of stairs to get there, but once you do the first thing you see is a lovely wine room with glass walls. The wine shelves have a modern feel to them, playing with shapes and arches. Almost all of the tables have a view of the ski slopes and surrounding mountains. Those on the southern side also get a great look at Turnagain Arm. The decor and settings are definitely aiming for upscale and modern.

As the hostess checked our coats and escorted us to our table, I was getting pretty excited. With decor like this, service like this, the food must be quality, right? The first thing I got was my free hot chocolate (I was wearing a skirt, okay?), which did not disappoint. Fresh cream on top and all! Unfortunately, things started to go downhill from there.

First, our waiter did not tell us about the specials today. When we overheard another waitress telling the table beside us about the rib-eye special, he hurried back and apologized. He then told us all about the 8oz prime rib special.

Huh? So is it rib-eye or prime rib? He assured us that it was prime rib, but we weren't convinced. Either way, one of them was wrong.

The waiter proceeded to explain to us that the portions were designed so that a full meal would be one or two from the "Appetizers and Salads" side and one or two from the "Sandwiches and Entrees" side, plus a dessert. With this in mind, we ordered an appetizer to share. I ordered a sandwich and the Husband ordered the mystery-cut steak special, for which he was never asked how he wanted it cooked.

When the appetizer arrived, I was reassured. Small portions - we had corn and chicken fritters, which came with an array of sauces, all artfully plated. On the plus side, the chile-honey sauce was the most fantastic thing I've eaten in a long time. Unfortunately, the other sauces were boring at best and my fritters were not properly cooked. Almost burned on the outside, but still gooey on the inside. Blech.

When the entrees arrived, I was shocked at the quantity of food. It turns out that the Husband's steak was prime rib, but that mountain of meat was definitely not 8oz. It looked more like 16 to me! It was also slightly overcooked and no steak knife was provided. He did approve of the arugala salad that came along side it though. My sandwich of beef tips and gruyere on a garlic baguette sounded delicious, but when arrived it was clear that it should have been advertised as an open-faced sandwich. No way could I pick this thing up - I had to ask for a knife. The beef tips were tough, if there was garlic on the bread I couldn't tell. Nor could I tell if the little cheese shreds were, in fact, gruyere. In fact, all I could taste was this sauce which had been liberally poured over it. And it was not a good sauce.

Now, had we received this entree course at a different restaurant, I would have had a more favorable view. But the Seven Glaciers is clearly trying to be an upscale restaurant - I expect small portions, cooked well and tastefully plated. The appetizer followed these lines, but the entree just subscribed to the Alaska motto "Bigger is Better!" and was really quite shocking to me. I believed I described it as "Alaska trying to be fancy."

Still, we were up here, and decided to see what dessert had in store for us. We ordered the apple dessert. An apple-flavored brioche bread pudding, topped with roasted apple ice cream and rum sauce. Alongside, a mini apple tart and a miniature caramel apple.

With dessert, we were getting closer to the small portions and thoughtful plating (though I thought the tart was unnecessary from a portion and visual perspective). So I dug into the bread pudding, making sure to get some of the rum sauce. Now, I love rum sauce. I love rum, too. But I don't want my rum sauce to taste like I'm downing shots of bacardi, people. And that's what it tasted like. I don't know what they did to this poor sauce, but man. The only thing you could taste was raw alcohol flavor. And it wasn't even good rum!

That said, the bread pudding was fantastic, but the roasted apple ice cream was the star of the show. I could have eaten bowls of both. The tartlet was dry - unneeded in all aspects! The Husband proclaimed the caramel apple to be better looking than it tasted, but I can accept that in a garnish.

So, the bottom line for Seven Glaciers - they try too hard to be something they are not.

That said, I would absolutely come back again. But only for lunch. And then only for soup and salad - and that apple dessert, but no rum sauce, thank you.

November 30, 2009

Magic Pumpkin Pie

We are not allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas in this house without making this pie. This recipe comes from my husband's side of the family and this year he even made it himself!

I have to admit, the first time I saw this recipe I was pretty skeptical. What kind of pumpkin pie isn't loaded with spices? Dubious, I followed the instructions, but to my surprise I ended up with a pie full of sweet, clean flavors. The cinnamon sprinkle on top is all the spice this pie needs!


1 c pumpkin
1 heaping tsp flour
2 T brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 pinch salt
1 pint evaporated milk
1/2 c sugar
dash cinnamon

Mix pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, egg, and salt. Beat well, add milk. Beat again. Pour into unbaked pie shell and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Cook at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes.

If you're feeling naughty, you can use a full cup of sugar and sweet milk instead of evaporated milk.

Edit 11/25: So today I was making the famous family Pumpkin Pie recipe and realized we were about a quart short of evaporated milk. Luckily, it turns out that you can substitute dried milk that has been inadequately hydrated for evaporated milk, as all the latter is is milk that has a lower water content than usual.

We'll see how it turns out...

This recipe even made it into the paper! That's my husband there, wasn't he an adorable toddler?

November 28, 2009

A belated "Happy Thanksgiving" and Olive Bread

For Thanksgiving this year I was responsible for bread and one drink.

I went a little overboard.

Basically, I couldn't decide what kind of bread to make, so I made them all! The no-knead bread came out beautifully, the best I've ever made. The crust got that lovely reddish brown color and the insides were full of large bubbles. I thought at first that the dough was too wet, but I guess not! I wasn't entirely pleased with my epi wreath - I cut my epis wrong. I knew I was doing it, too, I just wasn't thinking! Bad me! Finally, I made Stacey's Olive Rosemary bread, half as a boule and half as a braided loaf. As a side note, I reduced the amount of olives just to be different. Actually, I was just tired of chopping things up. But it worked out fine, and I'm not a huge olive fan anyway.


1 3/4 c warm water
2 t instant yeast
2 T honey
3 1/2 c bread flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 t salt
1 T dried rosemary
3 oz pitted olives, rinsed, chopped rough, and patted dry

Blend water, yeast, and honey in a medium bowl. Add the flours and stir until dough forms into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

Make a well in the middle of the dough and add the salt and rosemary. Stir briefly, just until the salt and rosemary are mostly mixed in. Turn out onto a floured counter and knead until the dough becomes smooth and tacky. Then pat the dough into a 12x6 rectangle. Press olives evenly into dough. Roll the rectangle into a log, pinching the seam shut. Seam side up, roll log into a spiral. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, spritz the top with spray oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise until it increases in size by 50%, about 1 hour.

Fold partially risen dough over itself. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl again; fold once more. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace cover, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to counter, being careful not to deflate. Divide dough in half, loosely shape each piece into boule, and let rest 15 minutes. For a braid, divide the dough half into three. Form each third into a boule and rest.

Complete the boule, pinching the seam shut. Or, for a braid, roll each third out to form a strand. If the strand isn't staying stretched, let it rest again. Once you have three equal length strands, carefully braid them together, pinching the ends firmly so that they do not seperate.

Transfer loaves to parchment paper or greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.

Bake 15 minutes, spraying oven with water twice in first 5 minutes, and then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until bread is deep golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 210 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, discard parchment, and cool loaves to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Garlic-Jalapeno Hummus

I have this thing about beans. For years, I swore up and down that I hated them. I refused to eat them, I abhorred chili that included beans. Then I realized that it wasn't beans that I didn't like - it was the texture. So I began adding pureed beans to several of my recipes (it gives the chili an incredibly silky texture, by the way!).

In a similar vein, I thought hummus was creepy. I'd never been exposed to it as a child, so in college when I saw people just dipping stuff into this tub of brown gunk I said "ew" and never thought more about it. Mind you, I didn't actually have any idea what hummus was - just that it looked gross.

Fast forward to Alaska, and more specifically to Orso. Most restaurants provide you with bread and butter. Orso does not give you butter. They give you something else. Obediently, I spread it on my bread and realized that this stuff tasted good! After a time or two, I realized that it was basically pureed beans and garlic. Okay, I said, that makes sense! It wasn't for several months that someone pointed out to me that this was actually hummus.


This became our pre- and post-Thanksgiving snack. Pre-Thanksgiving because you are hungry, but don't want to fill up before dinner, so a slice of bread with hummus does the trick! Post-Thanksgiving because my husband went back for fourths and was incapable of eating anything more than this for two days!

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
4 slices jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
1 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice

Combine first five ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until blended together. Add water to adjust to desired texture.

November 19, 2009

Easy Rosemary Bread - Epi Wreath

Next week is Thanksgiving. While we are not hosting this year, we did volunteer to bring some assorted breads and pumpkin pie, and I'll probably be bringing some potatoes as well. Earlier this week I was talking to Stacey about just which bread I should make. While I still haven't answered that question, I did decide during the conversation that I wanted to try a wreath shape. Stacey recommended a test run, so I worked one into my very tight bread-making schedule with this recipe from At the Very Yeast. The author billed it as cheap, easy, and quick - just what I needed for testing out new shapes! Quick it is, for I took this out of the oven less than three hours after I started the dough. That's quick enough to make after work!

The dough seemed dry at first, but it turned out smooth and not at all sticky, which is a nice change from the sticky things I've been working with during the BBA challenge lately. It wasn't quite as smooth as I would have liked, though. I got it close to the windowpane test, formed it into a boule, and set it to rise.

After the first rise, it was shaping time. To make the wreath, I gently worked my fingers through the center of the boule and began to slowly stretch the dough into a ring. I let it rest for about 10 minutes then stretched it again, smoothing it out. After a second rise made the epi cuts. It worked out fairly well, but I think for Turkey Day I'll use a sharper angle.

Really, this bread was so simple I might make it in addition to my other breads for Thanksgiving. All I can say is that there is not going to be a lack of bread at this Thanksgiving Feast!


3 c bread flour
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 T sugar
dried rosemary to taste
1 c warm water
1 package yeast
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Mix the yeast into the warm water and rest until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil and stir until dough forms into a ball.

Turn out and knead until the bread passes the windowpane test, roughly 10 minutes. Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Form the dough into the shape of your choice. If the dough is resistant, let it rest for 10 minutes, then continue.

Rise again, about another hour.

Preheat the oven to 400. Bake for 8 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and finish baking. Times will vary according to the shape of your loaf. The wreath, a thin shape, cooked in 18 minutes while a thicker shape will take closer to 30.

November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have never before in my life made cheesecake. Of course, this is probably because I despised cheesecake up until about a month ago. Now I am of mixed feelings, but willing to experiment with it. I found this recipe at Pinch My Salt and decided that it would be a great way to use up some of my vast amounts of pumpkin and to welcome The Husband home next week. However, I had heard from friends that cheesecake can be tricksy, so I decided to do a test run yesterday. I don't have a mini cheesecake pan, but I did recently acquire a small springform pan, so off I went on the cheesecake attempt!


1 c graham cracker crumbs
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
2 T melted butter
1 T maple syrup

4 oz cream cheese
4 oz mascarpone
1/2 c canned pumpkin
1 egg plus 1 egg white, slightly beaten
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t of ground cloves

1 c heavy cream
3 T powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 t cloves

Preheat the oven to 375. In a shallow bowl, blend the graham cracker, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Using your fingers (I know, messy!) stir in the butter and syrup. Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of your pan.

In a larger bowl, mix the next 10 ingredients. Do not over mix - stop once everything is blended together. Pour this into the pan and bake for 30-45 minutes. Cheesecake is done when the center still jiggles.

Cool 20 minutes, then chill overnight.

Before serving, whip the remaining ingredients together for a delicious topping.

November 2, 2009

Teriyaki Spaghetti Squash

This is Sam.

Sam is a spaghetti squash.

Here you will learn how to make Sam taste delicious.

First, you must poke lots of holes into him. Then, in an oven preheated to 400, bake him for 1h15, or until a fork goes in easily.

Then, you need to cut Sam in half, but you should probably let him cool first. Spoon out the middle bits and the seeds. Then, using a spoon, scrape out the delicious spaghetti guts. Refrigerate any unused parts.

Now, for stir-fry deliciousness, saute your veggies in teriyaki and olive oil. Once they are cooked, toss the spaghetti in teriyaki or sauce of your choice. Remember, you're just heating up the squash, not cooking it. Be careful not to dry it out!

Sam the Spaghetti Sqaush is gluten free! This meal can easily be vegan and dairy free - or not. The choice is yours!

October 30, 2009

Manila Clams in White Wine

Today was a day of random food purchases to jump-start my cooking bug. I didn't really cook dinners at all last week, which is pretty typical for me the first week the Husband is gone. So today I decided to have fun. The first thing I picked up was a spaghetti squash which I promptly named "Sam." I was planning on using Sam tonight until I went to New Sagaya and saw the tank full of manila clams. "HAH!" I said to myself, "the husband is GONE, so I can have all the clams I want!"

Now, I like clams, but I've never cooked with fresh clams before, only canned. So this was a new thing for me. Thanks to for helping me out with my first ever fresh clam cooking experiment.

As a note, I'm trying to become more aware of dietary restrictions in my cooking. I'm sure that many of you are more knowledgeable than I on these topics, so if I mislabel a dish, please let me know!

That said, this dish is gluten free and dairy free.


manila clams (~1 dozen per person)
fresh basil, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
crushed red pepper
ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced
dry white wine
olive oil

If needed, scrub the clams to remove any exterior dirt. Soak in cool water until ready to use. In a pot at least twice as large as the amount of clams you have, saute the ham in olive oil until crispy. Remove ham and drain. Meanwhile, add the basil, garlic, and crushed red pepper to the pot and saute about one minute. Add wine to cover the bottom to 1/4 inch and bring to a boil over medium heat. Drain the clams and add to the pot. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Spoon the remainder into bowls and top with the ham slices.

October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Gingerbread

I love pumpkin. But, for some reason, pumpkin just causes problems in this house. I had to throw away half a can after the Husband put it in the fridge... open. Then, after I'd mixed up this little treat tonight, I turned around to find my cat with his head stuffed into the can, slurping away merrily.

I guess loving pumpkin runs in the family.

This was the result of an urgent baking need that arose this evening. At first I thought about making molasses cookies, but I didn't have the time to let the batter chill. So I went to one of my favorite desserts, with a seasonal twist. I have to tell you, I can't stop eating this stuff. I've promised some to several people, but I don't know that it will last long enough for me to give it away!


2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 1/2 t ginger
1/2 t chai spice blend

1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c molasses
3/4 c pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 c sour milk (1 t lemon juice, enough milk to make 1/2 c)

In a small bowl, blend together the dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into wet. If the batter is too thick, loosen with a few tablespoons of hot water.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

October 24, 2009

The Great Bread Challenge, and some dinner rolls to boot!

I mentioned earlier about the upcoming Bread Challenge. Well, I have my book and I'm ready to begin! For an assortment of reasons, I will be tracking this challenge via my photography blog, Focus. Among other things, I want to keep this one recipe focused. Speaking of, here is a lovely, quick, and easy recipe for dinner rolls that I made the other night, courtesy of No pictures, because they were eaten so fast!


1 pkg. yeast
1 c warm water
1 egg
1/4 c sugar
1 t salt
1/4 c oil
3 c flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Add egg, sugar, salt and oil, mixing thoroughly. Add half the flour, and blend until smooth. Add rest of flour and beat again until smooth. Spoon into greased muffin tins until half full and let rise until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

October 19, 2009

Beer-roasted Pork Loin with Root Vegetables

Beer and pig. Two of the best things known to man, here combined in a sensation for the taste buds! Absolutely fabulous, the pork comes out juicy and tender and my husband even ate all of his vegetables! The basic pork recipe comes from the Food Network, but I've made several changes.

Note: I did not much like the sauce, so I did not include it in the recipe. I will keep experimenting to make a good beer sauce, but for now, try a gravy. I also did not include the ciabatta recipe. While the bread came out tasty, it did not come out as ciabatta. So I shall have to try again.


Pork loin
2 bottles amber beer
2 T butter
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin
1/4 t allspice
1/4 c mustard (mix of honey and Dijon)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of horseradish sauce
2 T oil
garlic and wine seasoning
1 T oil
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1/2 onion, sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
8 small red potatoes, halved

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the diced onion and sautee until the onion begins to brown. Add the garlic, cumin, and allspice. Pour in the beer and bring to a boil. Mix in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish. Simmer another minute or two, then remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add pork to marinade and refrigerate. Marinate 12-24 hours, turning every few hours to ensure that the pork is evenly coated.

Preheat oven to 425 and slice the vegetables. Layer in the bottom of a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic and wine seasoning.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Rub with salt and pepper and brown in the skillet. Lay on top of the vegetables and bake 1hr or until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees.

October 18, 2009

French Bread

So, Stacey over at Magnifico! has issued me a bread challenge where we get a particular book and bake through it one recipe at a time. I, of course, am absolutely unable to ever turn down a challenge, so I agreed and headed out to the bookstore today.

They didn't have it.

Not a huge problem, as there is always Amazon, but darn it, I was so ready to bake some bread! So I went home and trolled the internet for some recipes to try. This french bread recipe comes from It has also received the stamp of Manproval! from my husband. The loaf pictured above is the garlic bread version.


2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
2 c water
6 c bread flour
1 T salt
1 T sugar
2 T vegetable oil
3 T olive oil
2 T cornmeal
1 egg white, beaten

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 c water, 3 c flour, salt, sugar and vegetable oil; stir well to combine. Mix in the remaining 3 c flour, 1/2 c at a time, beating well after each addition. Leave spoon in, let rest 10 minutes.

Stir the dough vigorously, let rest 10 minutes. Repeat four more times.

Divide dough half. Knead lightly (less than a minute) and roll each half into a large rectangle. If the dough is difficult to roll, let it rest for a few minutes. If you want to stuff the bread, spread your toppings on now. Roll up the dough, starting at long edge. Seal edges and place seam side down on a large baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.

Use a sharp knife to slash each loaf diagonally 3 times. Brush with beaten egg white. Cover and allow to rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.


- Brush with garlic-infused olive oil, oregano, and Italian herbs for a nice garlic bread.

- Layer mozzarella and pepperoni for pizza rolls

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips and Lingonberries

It's fall, which means pumpkin time! We stocked up yesterday at the grocery store and of course I had to use some right away. This recipe is easy and tasty - I especially like the addition of the lingonberries. Of course, they're from my own back yard, so I'm emotionally attached to them as well. The only downside is that I don't have any left anymore! Next fall I need to gather lots more. Thanks to Mom2Mom for the basic recipe.

After some questions, I realized I forgot to mention that you can easily substitute cranberries for the lingonberries.


3 1/2 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ground cloves
1/2 t chai spice blend
3 c sugar
1 c oil
2/3 c water
4 eggs
2 c pumpkin
1 c lingonberries
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, blend the wet ingredients together. Slowly add the wet to the dry, blending well. Stir in the berries and chocolate chips.

Baking times:
muffins: 30 minutes
loaf pan: 1hr10
8x8 pan: 1hr

September 30, 2009

Grouse Three Ways

Three for the price of one! Having never cooked grouse before, I decided to hedge my bets and make two little appetizers and a third, longer cooking dish. We enjoyed all the dishes, but I think my favorite is the first one.

These grouse were field dressed, then soaked in salt water for several hours and cleaned again. After that, I mostly just treated them like chicken (speaking of which, grouse stock? Sound good? Maybe this weekend).

Bacon-Jalapeno Grouse Rolls


breast of grouse, cut into strips
bacon, extra fat removed, cut the same size as the grouse
sliced jalapeno
olive oil

Lay the grouse strips onto the bacon strips. Place a jalapeno slice at one end and roll into a small package. Hold together with a toothpick. Dredge lightly in flour and brown in the oil till cooked through.

Salsa Grouse


breast of grouse, cut into strips
olive oil

Dredge the strips in flour, brown in oil. Combine with salsa and simmer until cooked through.

Braised Grouse


meat from 2 grouse, cut into bite-sized chunks
ground red pepper
olive oil
1/2 c chicken stock
1 c white wine

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Dredge the meat in the flour and brown in oil. Move grouse to an oven-safe pot. In the skillet, bring the stock, wine, and herbs to a boil. Pour over the meat. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Serve over rice. Or biscuits, if you are lazy and don't want to make rice.

September 28, 2009

Salmon Sandwich

When the Husband came home, he told me that on the flight into Anchorage, a tourist had asked where he should go to eat first. After several minutes of debate, everyone in the plane was in agreement - he ought to go to Glacier Brewhouse and have the salmon BLT. It was then my sad duty to inform the Husband that the Brewhouse stopped carrying the salmon BTL. WTF. That's what I said the last time I was there and tried to order it. I think I almost cried.

However, when New Sagaya got some late silvers in, we decided to try and make our own version. Here it is!

salmon fillets, cut into sandwich-sized portions
baby spinach
kaiser rolls

Remove the skin and pin-bones from the fillet. Gently rub the fish with the salt and pepper and set aside. Sautee the bacon until crispy; remove from pan and drain. Return the pan to heat - once it is hot, add the salmon. Sear 2-3 minutes on each side, or until light pink.

Meanwhile, toast the kaiser rolls and spread with pesto. Top with bacon, spinach, tomato and, of course, salmon!

September 8, 2009

Low, Slow, and Totally Sexy Chicken

This chicken is so incredibly easy, amazingly versatile, and fantastically delicious. What it isn't is quick. But still, it's not so bad. You can very easily come home from work, pop it in the oven, take care of the family or things around the house, and take it out in time for dinner.

Sexy Chicken

Preheat the oven to 265. Rub a chicken breast with your favorite seasonings - I recommend salt, pepper, and garlic and wine seasoning (plus cayenne if I'm feeling spicy!). Wrap the chicken in a foil packet, making sure the edges are well sealed. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

The finished chicken can be served as it, or it can be easily shredded for other uses, like my delicious chicken-spinach go wrap:
Shredded chicken, baby spinach, and marinated mozzarella, melted in the oven for a crispy crunch on the tortilla!

Watch out, or the cat might steal it! That's how good this chicken is!

September 6, 2009

Pizza, pizza!

So, after seeing my friend's delicious pictures of her pizza posted all over facebook, I hopped over and borrowed her dough recipe from her blog over at Magnifico! and made myself some pizza and cheese sticks. I really need to restrain myself when it comes to the cheese, and endeavor to get a thinner crust, but it came out quite nicely. Now I need to convince the husband to buy me a pizza stone or two!

Pizza Dough
3/4 c warm water
1 t active dry yeast
1 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c bread flour
1/2 t salt
1 T olive oil
1 T honey
dash of oregano

Mix the water and yeast in a small cup - set aside for 5 minutes to proof. In a bowl, blend together the flours, oregano and salt. Stir in oil, honey, and the yeast mixture. A dough should form, sticky but not damp. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for a few minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it seam-side down in a clean bowl. Cover and set in a dry, warm place to rise approximately 1 hour.

Turn back onto floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds. If you want two smaller pizzas, pull the dough in half and form two balls; otherwise just form one. Leave on the board and cover. Allow the dough to rise again for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

After the first 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 500.

Once the dough has risen, gently stretch to the desired shape and thickness. Add sauce and toppings and bake for 10 minutes.

4 parts tomato sauce
1 part pesto

Blend the two together and spice to taste.

Let yourself go crazy! I used some roasted chicken and five different kinds of cheese.

August 29, 2009

Rosehip Tea

Rosehips, for those unfamiliar, are the little fruits that appear on the rosebush after the flowering is done. They start off yellow, then darken to orange and finally red, at which point they are ready for you! Those in the picture came off of the wild rose bushes behind my house.

Rosehips are, among other things, very high in vitamin C. It being flu season - and a bad one at that, with the swine flu coming my way - vitamin C is a great thing to have! Rosehips can be eaten fresh or dried. I tried both and didn't find a particularly strong taste either way.

I took my hips and set them in a cupboard to start drying. After a day or two I sliced them open and removed the seeds. The necessity of this step is debatable, but I got rid of them and dumped them in my garden. Maybe I'll get a rosebush next year! Anyway, after de-seeding them I left them alone to continue drying.

Once the hips are dried they can be stored or used whenever you like. I put them in a pot with 2 cups of water and simmered it for about half an hour. This produced a mild-tasting tea which I livened up with a bit of honey. Next time I'd like to do a blend with some other herbs. Maybe a bit of ginger or peppermint.

UPDATE 3/24/10: I'm really enjoying throwing a few dried rosehips in with a pinch of dried mint leaves and a few slivers of cinnamon. Fantastic tisane!

August 23, 2009

Molasses Crowberry Cake

Berry season makes me cook a lot! Apparently blueberries and molasses are a good combination, so I decided to use my own berries for this. I had about a cup of crowberries, a cup of bunchberries, and a few cranberries and leftover blueberries in this mix. The berries are a sweet contrast to the stronger molasses flavor - this is a definite keeper!

3/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
2 c berries
2 T flour
2 T hot water

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses

2 c flour
pinch salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

1 t baking soda
1/2 c hot water

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix the water and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, then add the berries. Simmer for five minutes. While simmering, mix the flour and water together and slowly stir into the berry mixture. Return to a boil until it thickens to a syrup-like consistency.

Blend the brown sugar, oil, and eggs together in a large bowl. Stir in molasses and set aside. Mix together the flour, salt and spices in a second bowl. In a separate cup dissolve the baking soda into the hot water. Blend the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture, alternating with the water and baking soda.

Pour batter into a lightly greased square pan. Swirl in 1/2 to 3/4s of the berry mixture. Reserve the remaining berry sauce for topping. Bake for 45 minutes.

August 21, 2009

Berry Crisp

The absolute best part of fall is that it is time for berries. I have been remiss this fall for several reasons, but today was my day off work as well as one of the most gorgeous days we've had all summer. Hopefully it's not our last! So, when a friend asked if I wanted to do something, berrying was the obvious answer! So excited that I couldn't wait for her to arrive, I checked out my backyard and found a whole bunch of bunchberries which I gathered. There were crowberries and low bush cranberry, but the former were rather wimpy and the latter not quite ripe. Bunchberries it was. After my friend arrived, we headed out to Arctic Valley in search of blueberries. We didn't find many, the more accesible bushes having already been picked over (and with my friend some eight months pregnant, hiking a mountain or two was out of the question), but the crowberries and cranberries were beautiful!

Now, you don't need to go pick your own berries to make a crisp, but it does taste better. Use any berries you'd like for this recipe. I had a lot of tart berries, so if you go with a sweeter mix you might want to reduce the sugar.

2 c berries
2 t sugar
1/2 c oats
1/4 c brown sugar
2 t chai spice blend
1 t sugar
pinch salt
3 T cold butter

Preheat oven to 375. Toss the berries in the 2 t of sugar. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, chai spice, salt, and remaining sugar. Mix, then cut the butter in to form a crumb topping. Grease four small ramekins. Spoon berries into the ramekins, then top with the crumb mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until topping is browned.


Akutaq (a-goo-duk) is what people commonly refer to as "eskimo ice cream." Traditionally, it was made with lard rendered from animal fat, sometimes fish, and berries. I decided that, for my first ever akutaq, I'd better go a bit more modern. It sounds weird, but it really is tasty!

2 c berries (if frozen, no need to thaw!)
1/2 c crisco
1/2 c sugar

Whip the crisco and sugar until fluffy. Fold in the berries and refrigerate. Simple as that!

Spinach-stuffed Chicken

I'm on a bit of a spinach kick. Made this one a while ago, but I've been lazy and only just got around to getting pictures off of my camera. Hopefully I remember how I made it!

1 chicken breast
1 c baby spinach
1 T sweet mustard (honey, etc. I use the mustard-based house dressing from Melting Pot)
1/4 c grated parmesean and asiago cheese
salt, pepper, garlic

Puree the spinach and mustard in a food processor. Stir in the grated cheese and set aside. Rub the outside of the chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic. Slice a pocket into the breast and stuff with the spinach blend. Heat a lightly oiled skillet. Once it is hot, add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.

August 6, 2009

Chicken Spinach Gorgonzola Soup

This is my attempt at recreating a soup I had while visiting the family back in Connecticut. I fell in love with the silky texture and delicious flavors and decided that I couldn't live without it! This first attempt is fairly close to my memory of the original, though not precisely accurate. Next time I think I'll reduce the cheese slightly and find another way to thicken the broth. All measurements are approximate.

1 chicken breast
2 c chicken broth
1/2 c frozen spinach
8 oz crumbled gorgonzola
3 T tawny port

Boil the chicken in the broth until cooked through. Shred with a fork and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until cheese is melted and flavors meld.

June 17, 2009

Poached Halibut with Mornay Sauce

If you haven't noticed, I'm still working my way through all that fish I've got! This is another one from "Just for the Halibut," but I've taken a few liberties myself. It came out absolutely delicious!

Poached Halibut

3 c water
1/3 c white wine
1/3 c chicken stock
1 t rosemary
1 t sage
halibut fillet

Blend the first five ingredients in a pot or large skillet and bring to a boil. Simmer for about five minutes before adding the halibut. The broth should just cover the fillet. Return to a boil, then cover and lower heat to simmer for roughly 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Carefully remove with spatula.

Mornay Sauce

2 T butter
2 T flour
1/2 c chicken stock
1/2 c half and half
Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c fresh grated Parmesan and asiago cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan until frothy. Stir in the flour until smooth and bubbly. Add the stock and simmer until thickened and smooth. Stir in the half and half and, continuing to stir constantly, add a dash of Worcestershire and cayenne. Blend in the cheese and once it has melted add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over fish.

June 14, 2009

Seafood Chowder

What's better on a cloudy day (or any day, really), than a cup of nice hot chowder? Thick and creamy, stuffed full of clam, crab, and halibut, this has finally satisfied my craving. Now all I need is bread bowls! Props to Circle of Food for providing the base for this chowder.

4 slices bacon
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 slice of jalapeno

6 small red potatoes, cubed

3 cans (6.5 oz) clams
4 oz crab meat
1/2 lb halibut, cut into chunks

2 T butter
1 1/2 T flour
2 cans clam juice*
2 c half and half

salt, pepper, cayenne

Preheat oven to 350. Wrap the potato cubes in tin foil and set in the oven. Saute the first 5 ingredients in a pot until the bacon begins to crisp. Remove and set aside. In the same pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until bubbly. Add in the juice drained from one can of clams, stirring well. Once this has blended, stirring constantly, add the half and half and the juice from a second can of clams. Add the vegetable and bacon mix back to the pot, along with the seafood and potatoes from the oven. Season to taste and simmer at least 30 minutes longer. Remove the jalapeno before serving.

June 12, 2009

Halibut with Orange Sauce

I hadn't intended to blog this tonight. It was meant to just be an experiment, so I didn't pay much attention to plating. However, after the first bite just melted in my mouth, I knew I couldn't wait!

This recipe comes from the "Just for the Halibut" cookbook by Nanci A. Morris.


1/2 c orange juice
2 green onions, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1 T oil
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t salt
1 1/2 lbs halibut chunks
2 T oil
seasoned flour (flour, salt, pepper)

Combine first six ingredients. Marinate the halibut in this for 30 minutes. Gently coat the halibut in the seasoned flour. Saute in 2 T oil until cooked, approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Remove halibut and keep warm. Add the marinade to the skillet and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Pour over the halibut and serve!

June 5, 2009

White Wine Halibut and Risotto

I've had a friend visiting me here in Alaska and yesterday we took a halibut fishing charter. The sport catch limit is currently two per day - three of our four were smallish, but the other was pretty darned big! So I now have a freezer full of halibut. To celebrate, I made my signature white wine halibut, but jazzed it up with my first attempt at a risotto.

White Wine Halibut

1/4 c white wine
1 T oil
1 t oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb halibut, cut into two steaks
salt and pepper
zucchini, sliced
lemon, sliced

Preheat oven to 400. Mix the first four ingredients together. Set aside. Line a pan with foil. Rub the halibut gently with salt and pepper and place in this pan. Layer zucchini and lemon slices on top of the halibut, then pour the wine mix over the fish. Bake 15 minutes or until flaky.

White Wine Risotto

4 1/2 c chicken stock
1/4 c white wine (warm)
1 1/2 c rice
2 T oil
dash of garlic, onion, rosemary
1 T lemon juice

Set the stock to simmer in a pot. Meanwhile, saute the garlic, onion, and rosemary in the oil in a pan. Add rice and saute about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add one ladle of the stock to the rice, stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue to add the stock in ladle fulls, stirring. Once the stock is absorbed, add the wine and stir until absorbed. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

May 17, 2009

Peach Muffins

Yesterday was the first day of the weekend fair downtown. Of course I had to attend, if for nothing other than to get some corn fritters with honey butter. Eating corn fritters is very thirsty work though, so I let myself be talked into buying some very large, incredibly juicy white-meat peaches. After eating my fill, I realized that they were so ripe they'd go bad soon. The solution? Muffins!

Recipe based off of

3 c flour
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 c vegetable oil OR 1 c applesauce and 1/4 c oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c sugar
3 large white peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 and line muffin tin with cups. Mix together flour, spices, soda, and salt. Stir in oil, eggs, and sugar. Gently fold in the peaches and cranberries. Spoon into muffin tin. Bake ~25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before turning onto tray to cool completely.