In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


We love to eat halibut!
When I tell people we just got back from Homer (Alaska's Halibut capital), they ask "how much fish did you catch?". But unlike many Alaskans who hire a boat (which is not exactly cheap) and go catch their own, this bunch of seasick Alaskans does not venture out, but rather pays the dear price in the grocery store (roughly $10/pound right now).

SO we came back from Homer well-rested but empty-handed what fish is concerned, and bought some halibut in the store yesterday! Looking for an easy recipe after a long day at work, I turned to Cecilia Nibeck's trusty cookbook "Alaskan Halibut Recipes" (she's got another one for salmon). These books are great resources for any Alaskan that faces a freezer full of fish, plus cupboard or canned fish, whose family is soooo tired of eating the same old fish recipes, and you just NEED something different to do with fish!!!

here's what I cooked yesterday: simple and delicious!

Halibut a l'orange
2 pounds halibut fillets
1/2 concentrated orange juice (Americans buy this in the frozen Foods section) -thawed
2 T butter, melted
salt and a dash of nutmeg

Mix the OJ with spices and pour over the fish in a baking dish.
Like my recipes, hers gave no details on baking: I did mine in a covered casserole dish for about 30min at 375 F, basically until the flesh was flaky.

Note: This recipe was surprisingly good, and would probably appeal to anyone who does not like fish to, well, taste fishy.

Menu for the last week of May

YEAH! School ended last week, and we went camping over Memorial Day weekend.

Upon returning, we picked up the CSA box, and a gentle rain is falling on the freshly-planted garden: we're already harvesting a few early things: rhubarb, lettuce, basil (grown indoors-- doesn't get warm enough here to grow them outside). I've always got some sprouts going too, which technically counts toward the home harvest count.

But best of all, we collected and ate some fiddlehead fern "croziers" at the campsite in Hope: they were delicious sauteed in butter with some garlic, served with a simple creamy pasta dish!

Here's what was in our CSA box: potatoes, onions, broccoli, rainbow chard, green onions, Romaine lettuce, sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), Fuji apples, Navel oranges, d'Anjou pears.

Monday: Fresh Halibut "Fish & Chips" on the Homer Spit.
Tuesday: Pasta (from package, I admit--we only do that camping) with sauteed fiddleheads
Wednesday (back home): roasted potatoes, grilled sausages, and big salad from CSA box
Thursday: Work Dinner out for me! kids & dad cooked spaghetti
Friday: Halibut a l'orange (*), wild & brown rice, broccoli w/ butter and almonds, salad
Saturday: 2 parties to attend!
Sunday: family dinner with Eldest, involving sunchokes(*), rainbow chard and other goodies from the CSA box... and my killer rhubarb pie (*)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu for last week of school

No CSA box this week, as we're headed for camping trip as soon as school's out on Thursday!!!!
There's still plenty of food around from last week's CSA and the party on Saturday.

Sunday: Eldest (Kitchensister) cooked a feast -- recipe will be posted on this blog soon:
Homemade pasta w/ proscuitto in cream sauce (*), carrot & broccoli salad even the kids liked(*), Poached pears with Ricotta and berry sauces (*)
Monday: Burritos w/ all the fixings
Tuesday: Fried rice with Mung sprouts, shrimp, spring rolls
Wednesday: boys eat out, girls eat girl-food (leftovers or pancakes)
Thursday: Moose's Tooth pizza on our way to the Kenai!
Friday: Gumbo from freezer over rice at the Hope campground!
Saturday: eat out -- Halibut in Homer!
other camper meals from freezer (homemade): Chili con carne, white bean soup, etc...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oui, oui: French cooking

Oui, even this German Alaskan will cook French food occasionally.
The husband has requested there be more, and ever since I've come across Kim's wonderful blog, Easy French Food, I've been happy to oblige, venturing (slowly) beyond the Alsace-Lorraine region that borders my German homestate of Saarland...

First, here's the main dish, QUICHE LORRAINE, truly a classic (makes great leftover for breakfast or lunch)!

Quiche Lorraine

  • 1 pie crust, baked for 10 minutes at 400°F
  • 8 ounces cooked bacon, drained and crumbled
  • vegetables are optional: mushrooms, broccoli, etc (sauteed or steamed briefly)
  • 1 cup diced Swiss cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whipping cream(or half-half: bake longer!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt, pepper
Evenly sprinkle bacon and Swiss cheese on bottom of cooled pie shell.

Beat eggs with whipping cream, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Pour on top of bacon and cheese.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes.

ALIGOT (Cheesy mashed potatoes)

You need to go here to find the recipe -- as you can see from Kim's description, her recipes come with wonderful background information:

Like many traditional French foods, there is a legend to go with these cheesy mashed potatoes. Aligot was supposedly first concocted by three bishops who had met up at the geographic point where their respective dioceses met. When it came time to eat, they prepared a meal with a little bit of what each had brought along: cheese for the first, potatoes for the second and milk for the last. Although they met more then 1400 years ago, you will still find a cross at the junction of the French departments of Lozère, Aveyron and Cantal that evokes this legendary encounter.

Last, but not least, the green salad (Europeans often eat salads after the main course, in fact)

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Kim's recipe is made with a hot dressing! Use a mix of greens that include arugula -yummy!

Arugula is one of my new favorite salad greens -- it has a great spiciness to it.

Another great idea I want to try soon is to add grilled red onions and roasted peppers (see GG#27)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu for week after Mother's Day

The frig was just about empty with me not having had any chance to get groceries lately, but luckily the Prof did a big Costco shopping Monday. We're back in eggs, milk, peppers, meat, etc.

The CSA box comes Wednesday, and we'll be getting:
Alaskan russet potatoes, onions, carrots and mung bean sprouts, and from Outside: all certified organic: arugula, cremini mushrooms, Romaine lettuce, broccoli ,Fuji apples, Navel oranges, pears.

Monday: BBQ salmon burgers, quinoa salad, green salad, grated carrots

Tues: Quiche Lorraine(*), salad, Aligot (*French cheesy mashed potatoes)

Wed: boys eat out, girls eat strawberries

Thurs: eat & run (pizza) to recital

Friday: Potatoes, smoked salmon souffle (*), Frankfurter Gruene Sosse (*), Broccoli with sauce

Sat: WELCOME BACK BBQ for Eldest daughter!

Sunday: wait & see...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Frankfurter Gruene Sosse

I've been having a real hankering for a dish my grandmother used to make in spring or early summer.
She grew some of the herbs herself, but they were also sold at the farmer's market.
This is a regional Hessian dish, and she insisted on a certain mix of 7 green herbs, but
I'll need to improvise, and use what I can find here in Alaska!

Here are some of the recipes I found:
First in German (I love the names of the herbs!) with a little background & history:
traditionally eaten on maudy Thursday (called "Green" Thursday in Germany), this dish
dates back several hundred years (Goethe's mom cooked it), and is perhaps based on
a french vinaigrette, to which the germans added sour cream.

  • Man nehme:
  • Petersilie
  • Schnittlauch
  • Kerbel
  • Sauerampfer
  • Dill
  • Borretsch
  • Kresse
  • Estragon
  • Liebstöckel
  • Zitronenmelisse
  • 2 Zwiebeln
  • 4 Eier, hartgekocht
  • 1 Esslöffel Essig
  • 2 Esslöffel Öl
  • 1/4 Liter Schmand o. saure Sahne
  • 150 Gramm Joghurt
  • 1 Prise Zucker
  • Salz
  • Pfeffer

Alle Kräuter (ca. 300 g) verlesen, gründlich waschen und abtropfen lassen. Zusammen mit den abgezogenen Zwiebeln recht fein wiegen oder hacken und in eine große Schüssel geben. Mit Essig, Öl, Schmand und Joghurt verrühren, mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen. Zugedeckt an einem kühlen Ort mindestens! 1 Stunde durchziehen lassen. Danach die hartgekochten Eier grob hacken und unterrühren. Nochmals mit Salz, Pfeffer und eventuell etwas Zucker abschmecken, etwa 15 Minuten durchziehen lassen und zu Pellkartoffeln servieren.
Info: Für die berühmt gewordene Frankfurter Grüne Sauce, die in ganz Hessen bekannt ist, gibt es unterschiedliche Zubereitungsarten. Man kann z.B. die hartgekochten Eigelb auslösen, durch ein Sieb streichen, zunächst mit Essig und Öl verrühren und erst dann alle anderen Zutaten unterrühren. Es gibt auch Rezpete nur mit Öl anstelle der sauren Sahne. Unser Rezept ist ein seit vielen Jahren bewährtes und beliebtes Familienrezept. Unerläßlich ist in jedem Fall die Mischung aus mindestens sieben frischen Kräutern. Im Frankfurter Raum werden die Kräuter in der richtigen Zusammensetzung im Frühjahr und Sommer fertig abgepackt auf Wochenmärkten und in Gemüsegeschäften als Frankfurter Grüne Soße angeboten. In vielen Familien ist die Grüne Sauce zusammen mit Pellkartoffeln das traditionelle Essen an Gründonnerstag. Sie schmeckt aber auch hervorragend im Sommer zu kaltem gekochten Rindfleisch oder Fisch. Man kennt diese Sauce in Frankfurt bereits seit mehr als hundert Jahren. Schon Goethe soll sie bei seiner Mutter, Frau Aja, ganz besonders gern gegessen haben. Ein gedrucktes Rezept erschien zum ersten Male 1860 in dem Frankfurter Kochbuch von Wilhelmine Rührig. Der Ursprung dieser Sauce geht vermutlich auf die französische Sauce vinaigrette zurück, die von den Frankfurtern mit ihren heimischen Küchenkräutern und später auch saurer Sahne angereichert wurde.

FRANKFURTER GRUENE SOSSE (Green Sauce from Frankfurt)
3 c Mixed herbs (parsley,
-chives, chervil, borage,
Spinach greens, watercress,
-tarragon, basil,
1 c Sour cream or plain yogurt
2 sm Onions. coarsely chopped
2 tb Cream
2 tb Mayonnaise
3/4 c Low-fat cottage cheese
-(pressed through a fine
In order to smooth curds)
Ground white pepper
Small pinch of sugar
1 To 2 eggs, hardboiled and
-coarsely chopped

Choose all or merely a selection of the herbs and
greens mentioned in the list of ingredients (using the
tarragon more sparingly than the others.) Wash them
thoroughly and drain on paper towels. Coarsely chop
the greens; loosely packed, they should amount to
about 3 cups altogether. Take 2 cups of the greens,
combine with the sour cream or yogurt and the onions,
and puree in the blender or processor; add a few
tablespoons of cream if it doesn't seem to be fluid
enough. The rest of the greens should just be finely
chopped and stirred in a mixing bowl with the puree in
order to give the sauce a little bite. Stir in as much
mayonnaise and low-fat cottage cheese as it takes to
produce a smooth, creamy sauce.

Season with salt, pepper, and a very little sugar.
The hardboiled eggs can either be mixed in with the
sauce or strewn over it as a garnish.

Makes 2 - 3 cups.

From: THE CUISINES OF GERMANY by Horst Scharfenberg
ISBN 0-671-63197-7. Poseidon Press, Simon & Schuster,
New York. 1989. Posted by: Karin Brewer, Cooking Echo,

(Frankfurt Green Sauce)

parsley, one bunch
4 eggs
4 small potatoes
100 grams of sour cream
100 grams of curd
125 grams of yogurt
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon mustard
Juice of one lemon
salt and pepper

Pick and wash herbs and cut them finely. Boil the eggs (hard) and the potatoes. Mix the curd with the yogurt, add salt, pepper and mustard then lemon juice. Mix with the herbs. Let the eggs cool, then cut them into small pieces and add them to the herb mixture. Serve with the potatoes while they are still warm. Serves 2.

Menu for first week of May

THis week is a blur -- CSA takes the first week of each month off, and we're plenty busy. Sun is shining, and the garden is begging to be planted!

Monday: Kofta Kebob, tabouleh salad, green salad
Tuesday: can't even remember!
Wednesday: boys eat out, girls eat leftovers
Thursday: Rice and stirfry
Friday: Mexican burritos
Saturday: Hawaiian BBQ party at friends
Sunday: BBQ's salmon burgers, quinoa salad, garlic roasted potatoes, green beans

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kofta-kabobs & variations

My husband (the Swede who must have been Cajun in a previous life as much as he likes complex and spicy foods) reminded me of a wonderful recipe book that I have not consulted in a long time, and he specifically requested I make Kofta kabobs. He claims to have made these in his younger days...

Now compared to the rather boring fare of plain hamburgers (which I admit I don't especially like) , this is a dish worthy of ground meat!

This is a great little recipe book featuring "unique innovative recipes from the world's fiery cuisines", where you'll find something from just about every continent. I'm having fun re-discovering this little gem, and will likely be cooking more dishes featured in there.

Kofta Kabobs (Middle Eastern meatballs or patties)
From Marlena Spieler's "Hot and Spicy".

1 pound ground beef or lamb
1-2 slices bread, soaked and squeezed dry (or breadcrumbs, leftover rice, etc)
3-5 cloves garlic,chopped
2 T plain yoghurt
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
1 t Middle Eastern spicemix or curry powder
pinch of cardamon or turmeric
1 t tomato paste
1 t hot salsa
salt & pepper to taste
additional suggestion: fresh herbs like parsley, chives

Mix all up, and fry, broil or grill (on skewers as in picture above). Traditionally served in pita bread with yoghurt, cucumbers, raw onions and tomatoes.

Variation: Kofta-filled stuffed potatoes
Boil or steam whole potato until tender yet firm. Hollow out, and fill with meat mixture. Bake for approx 30 minutes at 375 F -- check that meat is cooked throughout.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Simple Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

We're having a heatwave (just shy of 70 degrees Fahrenheit today), and that means it's time to make iecream! My husband still gets a kick out of my German ways : I was taught that you don't even think about icecream as an option until it's seriously shorts weather -- here in Alaska that means that some years you'll hardly ever get to let the sweet elixir cross your lips!

But today was a day that even my mother would not have disapproved of a batch of homemade icecream. I decided to search the bottom of the freezer for the last bag of last fall's wild Alaskan blueberries (harvested high in the alpine area with freezing fingers by my darling daughter only last September). Icecream made from wild blueberries always comes out a deep rich purple color (the picture I found on the web comes close to what I get -- BTW, Once Upon a Plate is a blog with great recipes!).
I never buy icecream anymore: making your own is as easy as falling off a horse!!! In my freezer I usually keep an assortment of flavors: there's always some Vanilla (and/or chocolate) icecream handy for when the desire for a cup of "Eiskaffee" strikes! But now that it's getting warmer, I'm turning more to refreshing flavors of summertime. Basic proportions are 3/4 c of sweetener to 3 cups of liquid (can use Half-half, or mix milk and cream) -- and you can control the quality of the ingredients and the amount and type of sweetener used.

My kids heartily approved of tonight's effort, and decided mom needs to publish the recipe. It reminds them of their friend Carson who moved away from Alaska, and who always wanted seconds when I made this icecream. Here it is with it's new official name:

Carson's Favorite Blueberry Icecream

1 c Alaskan blueberries, thawed out & squeezed thru a sieve
3/4 c sugar
1.5 c milk
1 c cream

Mix the fruit juice with sugar and rest of ingredients (I used to cook this first, but don't feel a need to do that with previously frozen fruit -- the freezing process has caused enough damage to the plant cell walls that you get plenty of good juice out of them). Process mixture in icecream maker according to manucturer's instructions -- mine takes about 20-30 minutes.

Lemon Icecream

3/4 c sugar
1 t lemon extract
grated rind from 1 lemon
2 c milk
1 c cream

Mix and process in freezer.

Green Tea Icecream

This was met rather skeptically by my troops when I made it several years ago, but I plan to try it again sometime soon. Green Tea is an acquired taste that I would not expect most children (or husbands) to like -- perhaps serve it for your next "Kaffeeklatsch" (German translates roughly to Coffee-drinking gossip get-together, which is very much a ladies' event!)

Steep 1 cup of strong green tea (using 2 bags) plus few drops of green food coloring
Alternatively, use japanese green tea powder (Matcha)
Add 3/4 c sugar
1 c milk
1 c cream

I know that this is far simpler and probably not nearly as good (or rich) than the way this icecream is usually made, namely it's a cooked custard using
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matcha (powdered Japanese green tea)