Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK

Mother’s Day is less than a week away people … and I can think of no better way to say I love you than presenting her with some Alaskan made love! Here’s a few things on my list… 

Mandy Bernard @homesteadingroatsers on Instagram is based in Homer, AK and creates amazing silkscreen prints inspired by the land & sea. The totes pictured above are gorgeous durable bags I’d love to haul about. Currently her aprons are at Dos Manos in Anchorage and soon to be available at a Food Hub in Homer or Soldotna. 

Her aprons are made from waxed canvas and I have no doubt they’d stand up to any task in the kitchen or workshop! 

For a sweet Alaskan treat consider a pint or two of Alaska’s best microcreamery’s seasonal ice cream – Wild Scoops. Their pints can even be purchased or reserved online so you are sure to get the flavor Mom craves! Spruce Tip is calling me! Coming late this month their downtown Anchorage shop on 429 E St. will open – I. Cannot. Wait.

We have a few spoons from the Bearded Spoon Man, a hand carver from Kenai, AK in our kitchen but I love these feathered coffee scoops! Dustin Henkin is a self taught artisan who is also a potter and jack of many trades! Follow him on Instagram using the handle @dh_spoons_in_alaska – he gladly accepts custom orders! 

Another inspiring apron maker – one can NEVER have too many aprons in my opinion – is The Bare Lagoon. Allie Bateman of Kodiak sews and designs many different styles and sells them locally and in her etsy shop! She can be found as @thebarelagoon on Instagram. I love the rusty red shorty pictured on the left! 

Locally in Dillingham, AK and willing to ship special orders throughout the Bristol Bay region is Dilly Sweets. A solely owned and operated home bakery business. Emily Hulett baker extraordinaire does everything from custom cookies, towering chocolate creations, fantastic cakes, and other confections all just an order away! 

Tulips sing Spring and over at Alaska Stems out of Homer, AK they have tulips in abundance! They recently delivered a large load to New Sagaya in Anchorage and even have a weekly subscription option! Follow Rachel Lord, the farmer and floral designer behind the blooms, on Instagram using the handle @alaskastems – plus her wedding bouquets are just beautiful if you’re in that market! 

Last November I went to a craft show in Chugiak and bought no less than half a dozen headbands from Headband Happy AK! These super soft, stretchy, stay in place headbands come in so many amazing Alaskan fabrics and a full range of sizes! Annie Anderson designs and sews all the bands herself – follow her on Instagram with the handle @headbandhappyak – I particularly love the new teal mermaid fabric she is using! 

If your Mom loves growing and cultivating her own flowers or food check out Foundroot! The heirloom seed company based in Haines, Alaska. The Cheechako seed collection would be an excellent starter set if she is new to Alaskan gardening. I have my eye on these Nasturtium seeds to brighten my garden and for using their pods in pickling! Check out the recent interview with Leah, Foundroot’s coowner and Master Gardener here on Set the Net

My kitchen is filled with hand thrown pottery and I often use the pieces in styling my shoots on Set the Net, I love everything over at Glazed and Confused’s etsy shop it’s hard to pick a favorite. Liana Haugstad is the Alaskan potter whose work any mother would love! 

Lastly I am huge yarn junkie – wool in particular and the Alaskan Yarn Co. calls to the knitter in me something fierce! 100% of the wool comes from sheep grown in Soldotna, Alaska and is hand dyed or painted! I love the essentially every skein in the Knitty Stash shop! 

If you are searching for more Alaskan gifts check out the Bristol Bay Small Business Gift Guide I posted last Christmas on Set the Net! 

*This is not a sponsored post nor did I receive anything in return for promoting these products – I just love shopping local! All photos of products were taken by the businesses who created the products and were used here to promote them! 

Beet Pickled EggsI love pouring over cookbooks, food magazines, and cooking blogs. Whiling away hours looking at pictures of food, it’s styling, voraciously reading recipes and often the science behind them. It is about being inspired, sparking ideas of my own, trying recipes, often progressing to building new flavor profiles when I create dishes adapted from these ideas or perhaps just learning new ingredients. There are so many amazing chefs and cooks out there it is hard, at times, to feel as if one is finding their niche, owning their space, truly offering something different but good.

fullsizeoutput_11I recently read an article about 10 Things People Don’t Talk About in Business (But Should in which Grace Bonney, the author wrote… Too often women in particular are told that we’re competing with each other. It wasn’t until a good friend encouraged me to run toward the feeling of jealousy and fear, rather than away from it, that I started seeing that people who did exactly what I did, or things I wanted to do, weren’t people to avoid, but instead people to vocally and passionately support and stand up for.  Continue reading

When the weather hits a consistent average of above 50ºF during the day and the snow is mostly or completely melted away, the birch sap begins to flow back up from the roots to the above branches preparing to bud. That sap, when tapped into, can be drank straight from the tree as a cool clear tonic, made into syrup, brewed into tea, or even used to produce beer or wine.

The entire process is also a wonderful opportunity to share with children as a structured lesson plan or just as a way to get the whole family outdoors. It is also wholly satisfying to pour a swirl of handmade syrup on a stack of flapjacks that has all been created from scratch.

We have hit the window in Alaska for tree tapping and if you have never embarked on this project before this is your year! Spiles can be found on Amazon or locally in Anchorage at Alaska Mill & Feed and on the Kenai Peninsula at Kenai Feed & Supply. I recommend getting the spiles that come with the bucket hooks for ease and if you choose to use plastic buckets or bags look for BPA free. University of Alaska’s Cooperative Extension has an excellent PDF on tapping and uses for birch syrup that the new tapper can use as a how-to in getting started.

Foundroot Garlic
Hard as it is to believe we are full tilt into spring now and even the herring are showing up in Bristol Bay. That means it is high time to plant your starts and plan your gardens if you haven’t begun doing so already.
Foundroot Seedpods
Saving seeds from wild flowers has long been a love of mine, using them to garnish gifts around the holidays and scattering them in the breakup, but planting saved seeds for my true garden is something I have never done. Each spring I wait for the Territorial Seed Company catalog to show up in my post office box, then eagerly pour through the pages devouring the gorgeous photos. But I often have asked myself why can’t I buy heirloom seeds locally or at least from distributors in Alaska? Seeds I can thoroughly feel good about sourcing?  Turns out I can… from Foundroot 

Continue reading

Today we celebrated Bronwyn’s fifth birthday – I can hardly believe she is already five… and bless her heart she loves everything to do with Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music! 

A few raindrops on roses and a movie showing made the day, along with several photos of Maria and the Von Trapp children hung on Pom Pom banners. 

I made a double layer chocolate cake and golden cupcakes from smitten kitchen’s sheet cake recipe – it was an all around success I’d say! For perfect frosted roses this is a beautiful photo tutorial and my cake inspiration came from this lovely Hey Modest Marce creation…. the Hills were alive with the Sound of Music… 

Whole Wheat & Smoked Salmon Scones

Spring and summer to me smell like salmon, fresh wind off the waves, and smoke wafting in from the smokehouse fire. With the recent increase in daylight and gloriously warming sun filtering in through the windows I can almost smell what is to come…

Monday, March 20th was the spring equinox, also called the March or vernal equinox. This occurrence marks when the sun crosses the celestial equator moving from south to north, indicating the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  Continue reading

Hungarian Moose and Mushroom Soup

Some weeks call for comfort. For bowls steaming with richness, love and warmth. Cooking is how I find I can communicate best – from times of grief to times of joy; food is the tie, for me, that binds. Even when one’s stomach is not hungry a soul can be fed with a kind gesture, a mug of steaming coffee, a plate of something warm.

Canned moose and mushrooms

Last week our extended family lost a very special young man. A man with a mischievous, wild soul and a huge heart, who I am sorely going to miss. While our hearts grieve we find solace in the company of each other, remembering all the best of Cody.

I find though that no matter what the day brings there are still chores to be done, it seems this should not be the case. Instead it feels the world should stand still, frozen while we sift through our feelings. Yet I still have to make dinner, still have to think of deadlines that loom such as this show’s, and as always people still have to eat.

Hungarian Moose and Mushroom Soup

Continue reading