Quinoa Tabbouleh with Flat Leaf and Curly Parsleys

Quinoa Tabbouleh

It was an incredibly hot evening last night in Bristol Bay. I know some of you are eye rolling while you read this, thinking honey you live in Alaska, but it was 79 degrees at dinner time! A scorcher as far as I am concerned, and while I was hungry, cooking was the last task I wanted to do.

But somehow this tabbouleh always seems to fit on those types of few and far between days. It is light, nutty, citrusy, and packed with crisp fresh flavors. Just the thing for sticky summer nights when you still have to feed everyone at least something… for crying out loud!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh Veggies

To make you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups uncooked Quinoa
1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 tomatoes cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 lemons, halved
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp oil olive
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
a few stalks of Flat Leaf Parsley and Curly Parsley, chopped fine
several cracks of pepper and pinches of salt

To Prepare:

Lightly toast the dry uncooked quinoa in 2 Tbsp olive oil, then finish cooking as directed. Just to save on dishes, something all of us can appreciate, toasting can be done in the same pot you plan to steam the quinoa in. When fully cooked, rinse quinoa in cold water until chilled.

In a large bowl mix the chilled quinoa and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil until evenly coated, fold in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and parsley. Squeeze the lemon halves over the mixture, crack pepper on liberally and toss in a few pinches of salt. Mix well, cover, and allow to chill for 20-30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to mingle and intensify.

Serve as a full veggie based meal or as a bright side on balmy summer days.

Roasting marshmallows + keeping busy

Bea and EmilyAccording to Bronwyn, the only way to spend time on the beach is to do so in your birthday suit. Of course, if snacks are provided and friends are along to play that is all for the better.

She roasted her first marshmallow without help Saturday evening and could not have been a prouder sticky mess.

On another note, the boys are still out commercial fishing, with the Nushagak’s pink and silver salmon season in high gear. Bea and I are missing Papa and Ethan but with the berries starting to ripen we are keeping ourselves busy…

Blueberries

Freezing Fresh Herbs

Thyme frozen in olive oil

 

The local farmers market has been booming this year, offering giant zucchini, bags of fresh snow peas, pumpkin flowers, rainbow chard, kale, rhubarb stalks as long as my arm, and bunches and bunches of fresh herbs. It’s lovely, I feel like a hoarder every time I go bringing back enough for the week but even more to store up. Our year round produce options living in rural Alaska tend to be a bit limited and not having access to fresh herbs is year round is something I still grapple with. Anytime someone comes out for a visit and they ask if they can bring something 9 times out of 10 we ask for produce, otherwise its wine! The liquor store is a whole other disappointment we won’t get into here…

Back to those bunches and bunches of herbs, did you know you can freeze fresh herbs in oil olive? It’s such a simple yet wonderful way to keep herbs not only fresh tasting but maintain their greenery. I of course discovered this on Pinterest

I like to freeze long herbs such as rosemary or thyme in pans of oil so I can cut them into stalks once frezen. Leafy herbs like oregano and basil I freeze in ice cube trays. Then when it comes to using them, I throw the cubes or slices directly into the pan of whatever I am cooking. The only trick to this is making sure the herbs are fully submerged or coated in oil, and to minimize handling when transferring from trays/pans to storage containers. The oil melts amazingly fast so I like to pre freeze the jars I plan to store them in. Use within 3-6 months.

Creamy Tomato Basil Confit with Seared Halibut

Creamy Tomato, Basil Confit with Seared Halibut

In my opinion tomatoes are a fruit that really should only be eaten fresh while in season, though I am just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to buying them year round. But now is really the time for some serious tomato indulgence.  Straight off the vine, in salads, drizzled with oil and balsamic, and oh so many other ways, I never tire of ripe tomatoes. This recipe really showcases the flavor they bring when slow roasted and while it seems complex trust me this is a slow cooked but simple to make and simply delicious meal.

Cuttle Fish Ink Pasta

For my birthday, I received this very dramatic spaghetti black with cuttle fish ink that I tried out with this dish, I discerned hardly any difference in flavor between the black spaghetti and regular pasta however the presentation was quite fun!

Creamy Tomato Basil Confit with Seared Halibut:

Tomato, Basil and garlic

To make your initial confit, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and liberally drizzle with olive oil, roll on your tomatoes coating them with the oil, sprinkle a generously with fresh basil sliced into ribbons and finally add several cloves of pealed garlic either halved or whole throughout the tomatoes. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, gently stirring every ten to fifteen minutes, until your tomatoes have softened and wrinkled. Remove from oven and carefully dump your whole parchment paper either into a bowl or jar and set aside. Confit will keep up to four weeks in the fridge if you omit the garlic during initial roasting.

For the pasta with cream sauce you’ll need:

A quart of Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Confit
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded parmesen cheese
several pinshes of sea salt
a few generous cracks of pepper

For the Halibut you’ll need:

2 lbs halibut, filleted and cut into 1-2 inch wide chunks
2-3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 of a red onion sliced thinly
a few cloves of garlic minced
a few Tablespoons white wine vinegar
a few pinches of salt and cracks of pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan melt the butter for your cream sauce over medium heat, pour in heavy cream and tomato confit, heat till steaming over medium heat, reduce to medium low. Stir in 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese and allow to reduce, stirring occasionally, while you prepare your pasta water, season your halibut and cook both. Salt and pepper your sauce to taste just before pasta finishes boiling.Creamy Tomato, Basil, Garlic Confit

While your sauce is reducing, boil your pasta water and season your halibut with salt and pepper. Cook pasta to al dente, while you melt butter in a pan over medium heat, toss in onions and garlic and pour the white wine vinegar over top. Stir, then lay your halibut chunks on top of the buttery onion bed, skin side down, and watch for the fillet to slowly turn white from the skin up. Once the sides are white 2/3’s of the way up flip over and sear until lightly browned. This should take depending on your fillet thickness 9-12 minutes.

Halibut

Plate pasta drenched in the creamy confit topped with freshly ribboned basil leaves and shredded parmesan and your seared halibut as you choose, I had mine also topped lightly with the confit!

Creamy Tomato, Basil Confit with Seared Halibut

Initial inspiration for the confit came from this delightful Cup of Jo post .

Zucchini Salmon Tart

Zuchinni Salmon Tart

I distinctly remember walking with my mom up and down our garden rows throughout my childhood. I used to dream I was Laura Ingalls swishing my long skirts, scavenged from yard sales, imagining life on the prairie. We always had rows of broccoli, snap peas, lettuce and squash of all colors, and when the zucchini was ready to harvest we could count on a zucchini quiche for dinner. A vegetarian dish that no one in our meat and potatoes family skipped out on. I may have given up some of my prairie living dreams but I will never grow out of cheesy, buttery, zucchini dishes. Though I have made some amendments to the dishes of my childhood, incorporating new dreams of salmon fishing and harvesting a garden of my own, they all come from the same start.

Zucchini Salmon Tart

You’ll need:

1 large or 2 medium zucchini
1 skinless sockeye salmon fillet
1 pie crust (more on this to come…)
1/2 large onion
2 Tbsp butter
a few stalks of Italian flat leaf parsley and oregano
a small handful of basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 eggs
8-10 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
a few tsp of you favorite mustard
a few pinches of sea salt
several cracks of pepper
a few pinches of smoked paprika

To make:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a 9″ pie dish, spring form pan, or tart pan with your crust, now what kind of crust you ultimately choose to use is your prerogative but in this instance, and I’m being serious here, I always use crescent roll dough. Yes, the kind in the tube. I know, I know, not exactly the most sophisticated crust but it’s buttery and flaky and delicious and well I just like it in the recipe. If you decide you are above my preferred crust method, I recommend par baking a regular pie crust for about 10 minutes prior to filling. Before filling the crust smear a coating of mustard in the bottom of the crust. I like to use a stone ground mustard or a white wine dijon for this tart.

Skin and cube your salmon fillet into small 1/2 inch chunks toss in a bowl with 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and a sprinkle of salt turned in, set aside. Quarter your zucchini lengthwise then slice thinly, chop the onion and sauté both in butter over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the zucchini is tender. Stir in your herbs, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Turn in your salmon and garlic mixture, you’ll notice right away your fish turning lighter in shade. Fish cooks so quickly that the residual heat from the zucchini and the subsequent baking are all it will need to cook.

Scoop your salmon and zucchini mixture into your crust, leaving the excess juice in the pan. Beat your two eggs, mix well with cheese and spread evenly over the the top of the tart filling. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and bake for 45 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Keep an eye on the tart while baking, if the crust is darkening too quickly cover the edges with foil or a pie crust shield.

After baking, let tart stand 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the filling to set. Serve hot with a salad and a crisp cold white wine!

 

Bristol Bay Grounds Price Posted & Tails from Bristol Bay, short films of fishing families

Elijah Lawson

A few major seafood processors, as of yesterday late afternoon, have posted grounds price for sockeye here in Bristol Bay, $1.20 a lb. plus $0.15 a lb. bonus for chilled fish. Down from last year, but still not too shabby…

If you can’t get enough Bristol Bay fishing coverage check out Elijah Lawson’s wonderful project Tails from Bristol Bay. He made three short films about fishing families from the Bay that are really lovely! The photo shown above is also one of Elijah’s!

Bristol Bay Commercial Salmon Fishing Timelapse Clip

This clip was too cool not to share, it’s from Chris Miller’s BBRSDA‘s project bringing the web a photo a day from the Bristol Bay fishing grounds that you can find by following this link!

The 2014 season for Sockeye is really winding down here in Bristol Bay, but Bronson and my brother Ian are still scratching it out over in Egegik, meanwhile every fisherman is on the edge of their seats awaiting the grounds price to be announced. After last year’s price of $1.50 a lb and the preseason frenzy of speculating on this years price, the Bay is bracing for disappointment due to a large Russian Sockeye returns, the bumper return forecasted for Canada’s Fraizer River,  not to mention the nearly 10 million fish larger return than forecasted that hit Bristol Bay. But fear not, the outcome really isn’t as bleak as all that, Alaska Wild Salmon’s marketing power is growing and Bristol Bay has a fishery to be proud of, whatever the price we will just continue laying out the net.

Once Sockeye fishing wraps up, its a Pink year here in the Bristol Bay, they come every three seasons in large returns so fishing is destined to last through early August for salmon this year.

Here’s a shot of Bronson from the 2013 season onboard the F/V Sea Breeze.