Traditional balsamic vinegars are made from a pure and unfermented reduced grape must and aged for several years in a series of wooden barrels. Balsamic’s flavor is deeply sweet and tangy with a thick viscosity and boasts variations of rich brown to dark, inky purple colors. Produced exclusively in either the province of Modena or the wider Emilia region of Italy, it is magical and mysterious must-have vinegar staple in my pantry.
It’s “sun-officially” summer. The rivers on the lower Kenai Peninsula are open for salmon fishing and we enjoyed a blue sky and sunny Memorial Day weekend.
Where is the sunshine and warmer weather? The song birds and cranes got the memo to return, but maybe Mother Nature didn’t copy the sunshine in her annual email. My taste buds are so ready to enjoy fresh rhubarb, and sunshine and warm temperatures would be a wonderful accompaniment, almost as good as vanilla ice cream. I want to bake pie and make our favorite rhubarb and strawberry pan dessert.
I recently returned from visiting a different part of the world that was beautiful, green, peaceful, interesting, very old and idyllic. Each morning I would get up and throw open the windows in my bedroom that overlooked acres of olive groves and vineyards.
One evening this winter I made a yummy moose stew and was thinking how nice it would be to serve it with a good piece of sourdough bread (didn’t have any) or, maybe how nice a light, fluffy biscuit would taste with butter and local honey dripping from it. Why is it we forget about certain favorite things we like to eat and then once we make them again, it’s like, how could I forget about making something as basic and yummy as a biscuit?
I know spring is here when the Winter King Salmon Tournament is held. My friends Charlie Edwards and Danny Donich were the fortunate skilled fishermen and boat captain this year. I am thrilled these Homer guys took home the loot, and a beautiful white king salmon. I can guess what was on their dinner menu last week, lucky fishermen!
It’s March — lots more daylight and sunshine! Easter is coming. The promise of crocus, daffodils and tulips poking themselves up from their winter beds and shoots of new green grass aren’t too far off. The store has Easter candy out and colorful displays of all things spring. I heard and saw a robin singing its melodic song high atop a spruce tree. That is a sure sign of spring.
The influenza bug hit the Other fisherman and I hard this last week. I don’t think I have ever spent so many days feeling like a wet noodle just sitting in my chair.
My first taste of really good Asian food was many years ago in Anchorage at a wonderful restaurant called the Tea Leaf, that unfortunately is no longer there. Their menu introduced me to many dishes, but Mongolian beef, hot sour soup and egg rolls were favorites.
Treat those you love this Valentine’s Day with a special sweet.
The unseasonably spring-like weather we’ve been experiencing has me on the party deck doing some grilling. If this mild winter continues, I’ll be firing up the blender and getting out the deck chairs!
I am hunkered into domestic life, as my job is seasonal and I am off during the winter months. I know that may seem a bit backwards for an Alaskan who loves to be out on Kachemak Bay and tend her flower garden, so I am making the best of it by enjoying cooking, reading through my treasured cookbook collection and keeping the woodstove stoked.
Happy New Year! A clean slate, endless possibilities, each day an opportunity to enjoy a new adventure. What are you thinking about resolutions? I am going to keep mine inspiring and easy enough to be doable: take more walks, see my friends more often, eat more fruit and veggies, drink more water, keep my commitments to others and take more time for myself and to enjoy my family. Of course, cooking yummy things and trying more new recipes are always at the top of the list.
I cannot write about Alaskan cooking and eating without mentioning sourdough, a magical ingredient that contributes leavening power, taste, nutrition and Alaskan tradition in liquid form. It has an entertaining and interesting past and special place in culinary history.
The Other Fisherman and I will be celebrating 40 years of marriage this week. We moved to California right after we married. Shortly thereafter, Mom mailed me the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook in which she inscribed “Happy honeymoon for the rest of your life!” She knew the way to my husband’s heart was through his stomach. It was the classic red-and-white checked volume, just like hers, only a more recent version.
The Other Fisherman has expressed his unhappiness over the lack of Christmas cookies in our house. He loves his holiday treats more than anything. I best remedy this situation right quick as we are well into the month of December and the holidays are here. If I want Santa to visit me I better be good and find the sacred recipe book of seasonal treats and get busy. Set aside some time to fill your kitchen with the smell of sugar cookies and sugar plums!
The Below kids and the Hahn kids were the best of pals growing up. Our families were special friends, as close as family, but with a relationship that was better because we weren’t related. We kids got into a lot of mischief and had a lot of fun together, just as our folks did. Their adventures and great times most likely equaled ours.…. maybe.
Over the last week, I bet you gorged on plenty of turkey dinner leftovers. Myself, I feel like a butterball. All good things must come to an end, though, and I am cleaning out the fridge of what remains of them. I want nothing that tastes of Thanksgiving and am craving vegetables and different flavors.
I hope your Thanksgiving dinner is the best ever. The recent snowfall has made for a scenic drive over the river and through the woods journey to grandma’s house. Now go fill your house with delicious smells just like grandma did!
When I was a little girl growing up in Wisconsin, our family enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with our grandparents. Both my grandmas were excellent cooks. Now I am a grandma and look forward to making yummy things and introducing family traditions to our little grandson, Kase.