Friday, January 25, 2013

Last Frontier Food

A question that sometimes comes up is, what do Alaskans eat? For the most part, we eat like the rest of the USA. We get most of the same national brands that can be found in the lower 48. Kraft Mac N Cheese is big. Lunch meat and canned tuna. Fresh produce is available, but can often cost double to triple of what someone in Arizona will pay for it. However, we do have some unique foods available as near as Costco. King crab legs, reindeer sausage, and smoked salmon to name a few. Jams and jellies made from local berries go great with that jar of Jif you picked up last week. And because there are people hunt and fish with the intent of filling their super-sized freezer, school lunches can look at little different than the kids in Boulder are eating.

Tuna salad sandwiches? Forget it. My nephews took salmon salad sandwiches to school because my brother loved to fish all summer. Other folks I know eat moose burger instead of beef. Moose roast cooks up quite well in the crockpot. Some friends swear by bear pepperoni. Uck. Then again, a while back Boone Brux posted a recipe for Whale Stew. Makes enough to feed the entire village, and then some.

So what is my favorite Alaska dish? You can keep the salmon. I’ll gladly accept some moose burger if you have some to spare. I can buy reindeer sausage at Costco. I’ll never turn down crab, shrimp or scallops. But if you have some fresh halibut to spare, well, you’ve found my favorite.

There are two ways I like best to fix it. One is to deep fry it in beer or tempura batter. Messy and time consuming, but oh-so-yummy! Serve with tartar sauce and fries for excellent fish and chips. But the easiest is simply to bake it. This probably isn’t what your doctor would recommend for healthy eating, but the following recipe always gets me raves.

The O'Reilly guys and some fish. Not all were theirs,
but they brought home a nice pile of 'buts.
  •  Halibut filet
  •  Lemon, sliced thin into half rounds
  •  Stick of butter, sliced into thin pats
  •  Mayonnaise
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degF.
  2. Start with a halibut filet or two. The thicker the better. I like to remove the skin, but it’s not necessary. I think it tastes better. Wash with cool water and pat dry.
  3. With a sharp knife cut into the meat, stopping before cutting all the way through. Make several cuts, about one inch apart. Place in baking pan.
  4. Rub the filet with mayonnaise, getting down into the cuts. Stuff the cuts with slices of lemon and pats of butter.
  5. Bake until halibut is opaque and flakes with a fork, about 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet. Remove the lemon slices and serve with sides of choice. Garnish with fresh lemon slices if desired.

I haven’t made this dish in quite some time, so I’m sad to say I don’t have any photos. Now if you’re really feeling adventurous, you could top off that meal with some Eskimo ice cream. Or, a blueberry pie made from the wild blueberries picked last August. Since I don’t have any blueberries on hand, I’ll be making brownies for my dinner guests coming over next week.

Have a question about food to be found? Toss it out! I have cook books galore from this church or that bazaar. I’ll see what I can find.

Oh, and gratuitous cute puppy pictures, because, well, that's what I'm doing these days, playing puppy mom. Meet Neo the wonder pup! Now two days shy of ten weeks.

Neo's idea of a moose meal.


Morgan Q. O'Reilly
Romance for All Your Moods


Morgan O'Reilly said...

I had a request for Salmon Lasagna. From the "What's Cookin' in the Valley" cookbook, published to support the Valley Walk for Alzheimer's 2002.

Lucy Riggs' Salmon Lasagna
1 pint jar salmon
1-1/2 Cup milk
2 Cups cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
1/2 Cup onions chopped and sauteed
1/4 Cup parsley chopped
1/2 tsp dill weed
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
2 Cups Monterey Jack cheese divided
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
10 lasagna noodles cooked

Drain salmon juice into a 2 Cup measure; add milk to make 1.5 Cups. Set aside.

In large bowl, mix salmon with cottage cheese, eggs, onion, parsley and dill.

In small sauce pan melt butter; add flour as for white sauce. Add salmon juice/milk mixture and cook until thickened. Stir in one cup Monterey Jack cheese.

Grease 9x13 baking dish. Layer half the sauce, then half the noodles. Add salmon mixture then top with the rest of the noodles. Pour rest of the sauce over all. Sprinkle with remaining Jack cheese and Parmesan.

Bake covered at 450 degF for ten minutes. Remove cover and continue baking 10-15 minutes.

Lanae T. said...

Thanks for the lasagna recipe. I'm going to have to make that. I'd love to be able to try moose burger and reindeer sausage. Any time you wanna work out a deal and ship me some, let me know. lol

Neo is too stinking cute!

Morgan O'Reilly said...

He's being the puppy from hell today. So much energy!! I'm exhausted lol.

Tam Linsey said...

Salmon lasagna? Now that's unique! I can always tell when the salmon have come in - all the neighborhoods smell like smoking fish.

Boone Brux said...

Whale stew: Take on medium sized whale...

Great blog.

Boone Brux said...

That's one medium sized whale.

Jae Awkins said...

Salmon dip with cream cheese and worchestershire - yum...great blog! :o)

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Here's another recipe from Lucy Riggs.

Crab Casserole
4 Tbl shortening
6 Tbl Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
2.5 Cups milk
1/3 Cup celery, sauteed in butter
2/3 Cup button mushrooms, cooked in butter (I'm loving the butter part!)
1-1/3 Cup cooked crab meat
Mashed potatoes

Melt shortening in saucepan; add flour, sale and paprika. Add milk and cook until thick and creamy. Add celery, mushrooms and crab. Heat thoroughly. Border serving dish with mashed potatoes.

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Same cookbook, Mongolian Moose by Bruce Vadia

1 to 1.5 lbs moose roast (or caribou or beef, etc.)
1 Tbl oil
3 Tbl Yoshida sauce, original flavor
1/4 medium onion, sliced
3 to 6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup broccoli, sliced or broken into bit sized pieces
1 Cup beef bouillon, prepared from cube or powder
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl cold water
1/2 tsp ginger
Chinese Five Spice to taste
Mongolian Fire Spice to taste
Vegetable oil

Slice meat into 1/4-inch thick slices and marinate in oil and Yoshida sauce for one hour or longer in the refrigerator. Stir occasionally to cover with marinade.

Prepare onions, mushrooms and broccoli.

Mix cornstarch and water.

In hot pan or wok, heat 1 Tbl oil; add ginger, Chinese Five Spice and Mongolian Fire Spice. Quickly add and mix in portion of the meat. Cook in 2-3 batches, so oil stays hot. Set aside on serving plate. Stir-fry onions, mushrooms and broccoli in seasoned oil. Add bouillon and steam/boil for 1-2 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mix, adding slowly and stirring constantly to thicken. Stir meat back into pan.

Serve immediately with white rice and additional stir-fried tender-crisp vegetables.

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Boone, just how big is a medium-sized whale? As big as a single wide trailer? or a double?

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Jae, that is one way I will eat salmon if it's canned. One block of cream cheese to one small can of salmon. Worcestershire added is good and I bet green onions would be great too. I know it impressed our friends in Colorado when we served it!

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Tam, I'm betting anyone who gifts us with salmon this coming summer will get half of it back smoked! Hubby does love to smoke him some salmon.