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.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Viva Chile!

As a child I spent six wonderful years living in Chile. This week Chileans celebrate Dieciocho on the 18th, which commemorates when Chile gained Independence from Spain.
My childhood memories of the Dieciocho holiday involve our family cramming into our little Volkswagen Beetle and driving to the countryside for a long weekend to celebrate with friends. Chilean flag were decorating everything, there were parades and dancing, and we would stop at the roadside to buy empanadas or humitas (steamed packets of corn pudding encased in corn husks), -- this was my absolute favorite food , seconded only by corn on the cob-- imagine my disappointment when we moved back to Germany, where corn is not sweet, and fed to pigs! I missed corn so much that I'd beg my mom to buy baby corn in cans, the only form of corn ever eaten there... but I digress...

Here are some other wonderful foods that I remember from my childhood:

Empanadas, meats fresh off the grill, queso fresco, pastel de Choclo (a meat and corn casserole), porotos granados (Bean-vegetable stew), and dulce chileno (a sweet), and of course lots and lots of seafood, such as congrio and langostinos.

Here are some recipes, most are taken from South American cooking by Barbara Karoff

any good piecrust or flaky pastry (2 c.flour, 1 c lard, salt, icewater)
1/2 # ground beef
olive oil, onions, garlic
3-6 serrano or jalapeno chilies
1 T ground cumin
Salt, pepper
2 T parsley
2 T cilantro
2 tomatoes
1/2 c raisins
pimiento-stuffed olives, cut in half

Saute all ingredients (except the olives), let cool.
Roll out approx 20 circles of dough. Place 1/2 olive and spoonful filling. Seal w/ tines of fork.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Pastel de Choclo
The filling can be either ground beef (similar to empanadas above, with raisins and olives), or chicken, or both.
6 c corn kernels (freshly grated, or frozen kernels processed in food processor)
1/3 c milk
1 egg,
1 t sugar (optional) for sprinkling on top

Bake in a casserole dish, with the topping spread over the meat.
I like to serve this with rice, but potatoes would be authentic too.

photo credit:

September Menu (South of the Border)

This week we're heading SOUTH - to Chile in South America where I grew up, by way of Mexico and other Central/South American dishes.

Sun: Carne asada, black beans, rice, tomatoes, avos, all rolled up in a tortilla
Mon: White chili, corn muffins, salad
Tues: eat out -lessons
Wed: empanadas, porotos granados
Thurs: Pastel de Choclo (*)
Fri - Sun: they're on their own while I'm in Homer on a mini-vacation with Eldest daughter.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Greek cooking

What image does Greek cooking bring to your mind?
To me, it's colorful, delicious food: lots of feta cheese & yoghurt, olives and olive oil, tons of vegetables (sun-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers & eggplant, which I love), stuffed grapeleaves, wine, and, of course, garlic!

In college I once met a Greek student, and what I remember most vividly is the smell of GARLIC seeming to come from every pore! A bit overwhelming for a German who grew up in a garlic-phobic home, and at first I pitied his girlfriend, but then I realized it was the wonderful food she fixed that caused his unique odor -- I'm sure they'll both live to be 110 years old!

SO, on to Greek cuisine.
Of course, I've got to make Moussaka, the traditional casserole of ground meat, eggplant (or other veggies such as zuccini, potatoes) covered with a bechamel white sauce and cheese, au gratin.

THEN, there are some wonderful Greek chicken recipes, often marinaded in lemon juice, then baked surrounded with vegetables. I know this wonderful greek recipe for a lemony chicken egg-drop soup, but I think I might spare my son who feels fervently about eggs not belonging in soup...

Here's an intreguing chicken dish I might just have to try:
Chicken with a cream sauce flavored w/ ouzo
  • 1/2 pound of skinless chicken breasts
  • 2/3 cup of carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2/3 cup of zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of ouzo (or other anize-flavored liqueur)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Cut the chicken into large square chunks.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. When hot, add the chicken and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the carrots and zucchini and continue to sauté 3 minutes longer. Add the ouzo, cream, salt, and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes more until the sauce melds.

Next, I found these recipe on a "A Dash of Life", who writes about her life as a doctor in Greece, and wrote several interesting posts about the greek cooking and benefits of olive oil. Since I adore leeks (and grew some for the first time in my garden this year), I've got to try these!

Prasoryzo (Rice with leeks, tomatoes and lemon)

This is supposedly served alot all over Greece, a sort of "comfort food". I changed the recipe slightly from the original (I was pressed for time), and it turned out yummy, albeit perhaps not quite authentic.

Olive oil (I used my homemade garlic-infused, see recipe here*)
Leeks, cut up
chicken buillon cubes, or stock
stewing tomatoes from can (I skipped these)
rice (I used brown rice I had already cooked)
Salt & pepper to taste
Lemon juice

Saute leeks in olive oil. Add water and/or chicken stock and rice. Watch water level-- don't let it boil dry. Add lemon juice immediately before serving (tastes ok without lemon too!)

photo credit:

September menu (Greek week)

The mediterranean theme is continuing this week -- too good to move away from, esp. with missing several days with us gone camping over the long weekend (Labor Day)...

Mon: return from camp trip -- threw together a meal of grilled meat (carne asada), baked potatoes, mess of greens, and freshly-grated carrots from Liesl's garden!
Tues: eat out at Nino's (lessons in Anchorage)
Wed: chicken-orzo soup w/ fennel, Greek-style burgers w/ onions & feta, fresh tomatoes, salad
Thurs: Indian Take-out (let's just say it was a CRAZY day!)
Friday: Prasoryzo (leeks & rice), Greek-style baked chicken, greens
Sat: Moussaka w/ potatoes and eggplant
Sun: something on the grill or Chicken w/ ouzo and cream sauce over rice, steamed veggies

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Menu for September (Italian Week)

Lots of stuff from the garden is going into our dinners now.
Carrots, potatoes, kale, and even zuccinis are producing well right now. And the tomatoes growing in containers on the porch are ripening too -- yummy!

This week is Italian week. A nice change of pace and less work for me than last week's menu.

Mon: BBQ ribs, new potatoes in cream sauce, fried zuccini, tomato & mozarella salad
Tues: Baked ziti w/ veggies and pepperoni, cucumber & tomatoes w/ oil & balsamic vinegar
Wed: Lasagna, sauteed kale, green salad
Thurs: Spaghetti w/ Clamsauce, broccoli, carrot salad
Fri: Pizza at Moose's Tooth
Sat: Camping over Labor Day Weekend!
Pasta w/ kale, soup & panini w/ pastrami & provolone