OK midwestern folks, here’s a post for you.
I bring you… cheese curds!
Not JUST cheese curds, but local cheese curds from Matanuska Creamery.
You can find them in almost every local grocery store in Anchorage.
There are tons of different flavors.
Salsa, Ranch, chipotle, Italian and chive.
I personally like the chipotle.
They have that satisfactory, squeaky feeling you get when biting a perfect curd.
OK midwestern folks, here’s a post for you.
It’s almost my baby’s, I can’t seem to stop calling her that, second birthday.
So to start the several day long celebration of baby Alice we’re heading to Horseshoe Lake to stay at a friend’s cabin.
Which is where I need your help.
What are the perfect cabin/road trip/hiking foods?
It’s almost Memorial Day, isn’t everyone heading out of town?
I’m thinking I’ll pick up some cheese and meat from Anzilotti’s Tuscan Market.
And, of course, we’ll need some bread for sandwiches.
Plus, I’ll need the perfect chips for dipping in salsa and hummus.
What else do you suggest?
I was in the kitchen, cooking Sunday night family dinner, when I heard the moaning– and then the yelping.
“Oh, ya, ya, ya!”
My friend Eric jumped off a the chair he was sitting on at the kitchen table and yelled at me, “Have you tried this?!”
I had put out a thing of appetizers, in the mix, was Mama Rosa’s Salsa Alaskan Heat. Corny cartoon-y picture of a moose included.
I’d picked it up at Natural Pantry in a section marked, in all caps, ‘FROM ALASKA!’
According to the company’s website the company’s headquarters is in Anchorage and the salsa was featured in the Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock movie, “The Proposal.”
Let me tell you how it tastes.
You take a bite of salsa.
There’s a little tingle on your tongue, it’s slightly salty–then major heat.
I loved it.
There are tons of great, local salsa’s, and I’ll be adding Mama’s to my summer, salsa mix.
Any excuse to grill-out is a good one. But, if you’re looking to make your sausages sexier, (as if that’s possible!) how about slathering on some of this hot business. It’s local, it’s awesome and the sauce goes perfectly with any Alaskan item you can think-up, even moose! I recently tried Sweet & Spicy sauce on sausage and it was heav-n-ly. Sweet, spicy, salty, it caramelized as it cooked. I want to pour it on everything. Maybe ribs this weekend…
You know what’s awesome? Growing your own vegetables and herbs. I dream of long days spent in the sun, digging through moist dirt, watching little pods grow into plump greens. A great treat is to use my own mint leaves in cocktails and desserts. And fresh basil, ‘OYE’, fresh basil is divine! And, not to brag, but it’s kind of fun to brag. I love saying to say to people, ‘Oh darling, I grew this in my own garden.’ I, of course, have an English accent in this fantasy. Who wouldn’t, right? Here’s a little sampling of what I’ll be growing this summer. Lots of different types of mint, basil and the most colorful Swiss Chard I’ve ever seen. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
Let me just put it out there: Eggs are the perfect food. Sauteed, beaten, scrambled, fried, baked, poached, put over something, put on something, eggs are amazing.
Which brings me to the subject of chickens.
I want one. No, strike that, I want three.
Three fat, clucking, laying hens that will produce fresh eggs for me every morning.
I fantasize about their tan eggs speckled with dark brown flecks the color of dirt. The yolks the glowing yellow of a warm solstice sun.
I recently caught up with one Anchorage chicken owner, Laurie Dworian, who introduced me to her flock and its prolific laying abilities.
“Maybe its just the power of suggestion,” said Dworian, “but they seem to taste better to me.”
She also gave me a to-die-for recipe for a dish she calls Egg Pie.
8-oz asparagus – (can sub chopped broccoli, cauliflower, ….) Chop asparagus into 1/2-inch lengths and boil until crisp-tender (about 2 min) and then shock in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
8 large eggs – separated. Whites beaten to stiff peaks
Add to yolks:
1 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese (more doesn’t hurt) – reserve 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top later.
1/4 C milk
1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt
Stir in asparagus and mix in egg whites starting with just a little at first and folding in the rest. Don’t overmix.
Butter an ovenproof nonstick skillet and add omelet mixture. Cook over medium heat until edges are set and dry and bottom is starting to brown (7-8 minutes)
Transfer to broiler for 4-6 inches from heat until omelet is puffed and set (3-5 minutes). Sprinkle remaining 1/4 C cheese and broil 1 minute longer.
Serve straight from pan. Delicious!
Goes great with a light butter-lettuce salad with slices of apple and a fresh vinaigrette (ie cider vinegar, chopped shallot, goarse-grained mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper)
The week’s just starting. It’s sunny outside. I don’t feel like working. I’m already dreaming about the weekend and glasses full of melting, crackling ice and the most perfect cocktail of the summer– Tia Vero’s Margarita .
Tia Vero’s Margarita
5 limes (estimate 2 1/2 limes per drink)
3/8 cup agave syrup or simple sugar
2 – 8 oz glasses filled with ice
(simple sugar is sugar that has been boiled until liquid, allow to cool)
Coarse sea salt for rim (optional)
1/4 cup tequila
1/8 cup Grand Marnier
Squeeze 4 of the limes and pour into measuring cup. Add agave syrup or simple sugar and blend. Combine all the ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour tequila and Grand Marnier and lime mixture over ice and shake for 40 seconds. (You may want to cover shaker w/towel to keep fingers from getting cold). *Optional: Sprinkle sea salt onto small plate. Wet rim of glass with tequila then press rim into sea salt. Pour mixture, including ice, back into glasses. Quarter remaining lime, squeezing juice into glasses and add to glass. Salud!
Looking for something easy/yummy to make for the weekend? Salsa is always a favorite and if you make it yourself you’re sure to impress everyone. My friend Veronica Levin, who’s a spicy lady herself, is a cooking genius and she put together her salsa in about 15 minutes. Enjoy!
5 small tomatoes (or 3 medium or 2 large tomatoes)
1/4 large white onion or 1/2 medium large onion chopped
1 clove garlic
1 chipotle in adobo sauce
1 jalapeno pepper
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 green onions
salt to taste
1 avocado slice into bite size chunks
Chop 3 of the small tomatoes into large chunks and put in blender. Pour the juice of 1 lime over 3 of the tomatoes (chopped into large chunks). Add garlic, white onion, 1/2 adobo chipotle and 1/2 jalapeno (add more to taste). Puree until smooth in appearance. Pour into mixing bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.
Here’s my perfect day: Sitting on the porch, bathing in 10-plus hours of sunlight, cocktail in hand, the laughter of friends surrounding me, as vegetables slowly roast on the grill.
The good times begin again this Saturday.
This weekend two major farmer’s markets open for the season. One’s downtown at Central Lutheran Church on 15th Avenue and Cordova Street. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m this Saturday.
And for you Southsiders, head to the South Anchorage Farmers Market at the Subway/Cellular One Sports Centre. It’s off the Old Seward Highway and O’Malley Road. That one’s open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I plan to have a fruitful, (corny, I know, but I couldn’t help myself!) summer.
Bring it on!