Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yukon Flats Part III (Nests)

A Rusty Blackbird Nest...
and a Robin Nest.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yukon Flats Part II (First Day in the Field)

April checking for a nest...
Our terrain...
I wonder why they call it Yukon Flats?
Frigid Coltsfoot...
Things are looking brighter...

Our first day was a little drizzly, but the temperatures stayed cool and the mosquitos were kept to a minimum. I was surprised how easy it was to travel across this area, whenever I look at Interior Alaska from a plane it appears to be a horrible swamp that would be impossible to travel in summer. This area was surprisingly dry (nothing above mid-calf) and the tussocks although plenty were not nearly as daunting as I originally thought. There are some advantages to being a field biologist. Our day was done at noon, just as the sun started to come out.

Spring Greens with Balsamic Tarragon Vinaigrette

Rosie Creek Farm arrived with the first greens of the season  at the Farmer's Market this past wednesday. There were also some (greenhouse grown) cucumbers from Delta.  So a simple celebratory salad was in order. You can half this recipe if you don't have two pounds of greens waiting for you in your fridge.

Ingredients
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 shallot , finely grated or pureed in food processor
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until blended and creamy. I usually just throw everything in my mini food processor and then pour it all into a a small canning jar so it can be shaken in between servings. Keeps for one week in the fridge, remember to bring back to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rhubarb

Last summer the Rhubarb in our garden completely overwhelmed me. It was already full size before I even started thinking what I should do with it. I brought in to work in grocery bags and begged folks to take it off my hands. I searched for recipes and even purchased a Rhubarb cookbook. I decided that nobody must actually like the taste of Rhubarb as all the recipes had incredible amounts of sugar. So, in the end I was defeated by the Rhubarb. Soon after the Rhubarb was gone I started finding recipes for Rhubarb everywhere. This year I am armed and ready to tackle that Rhubarb. I'm keeping an eye on it and those stalks will eventually find their way to my kitchen to become one of these...

Smitten Kitchen


Rhubarb Muffins

Jenny Bakes
Rhubarb Pecan Muffins

Food and Wine
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb

Simply Recipes
Rhubarb Sorbet

Sugar Laws
Rhubarb Ice Cream
(Click to Enlarge the photo to find out who else has been checking on the progress in our garden)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yukon Flats Part I (The Flight to Camp)

Leaving Fairbanks...

My Office is in the upper right hand corner of Creamer's Field...
Creamer's Farmhouse and Barns...
White Mountains...
Yukon Flats Rusty Blackbird and Scaup Crew Camp...
The plane I arrived in...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spring takes its sweet time to arrive, but when it does it is though it has happened overnight. I found this Pasque flower blooming in our yard last weekend and our birches are beginning to leaf out...

Also, Nicole is off to Yukon Flats for five days. Get ready for a brief return of Nicole on the Go!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

This is what it's all about...
When I traveled through New Zealand it was an exceptionally warm spring, perfect weather for eating ice cream. My flavor of choice was always Hokey Pokey. I thought I would probably never have Hokey Pokey Ice Cream again unless I returned to New Zealand. I have been known to travel 10 miles for an ice cream cone,but 7,000 miles pretty much blows what I would save in the exchange rate (although I could use some new wooley layers as well).
So, when my co-worker offered up her ice-cream maker (ok, so I begged to borrow it) I wondered if it might be possible to duplicate the Hokey Pokey ice cream of New Zealand. It turned out that the candy is really easy to make, although I don't recommend eating it before you put it in the ice cream if you don't want to visit your dentist anytime soon. This stuff adheres to your teeth like super glue, but in the ice cream it melts a little bit and creates an extra buttery flavor. This is butter brickle times 10. So, with a little help from this guy I was able to replicate the Hokey Pokey Ice Cream exactly as I remembered...

First you do the Hokey Pokey (sorry, I couldn't resist):
Hokey Pokey
5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons golden syrup (there is no subsititue for golden syrup which can be difficult to find in the U.S., you can find it on Amazon)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a heavy sauce pan bring sugar and golden syrup to a slow boil over medium heat stirring continuously. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep a close watch and be careful not to burn.
Remove from heat and quickly add baking soda.
Stir and pour immediately onto prepared baking sheet. Once cool, break into chunks and store in an airtight container until ready to add to ice cream.
To prepare for ice cream, place chunks in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Don't worry if some of the candy turns to powder, this will enhance the overall flavor of the ice cream.
Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
7 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Hokey Pokey (see above recipe, add all)

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar over low heat in a large saucepan.

Make an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Add heavy cream to the 2-quart bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Slowly pour one cup of the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

Continuosly stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a heat-resistant spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir until cool, add vanilla extract, refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Churn it all around (oops, there I go again):
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, add the Hokey Pokey once the ice cream has started to set up, 10 minutes in the Kitchen Aid model.
Mmmmmm, that's what its all about!

Wanaka, New Zealand




Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Challah French Toast

A couple of weeks ago a co-worker and I took a "birding" trip to the little town of Delta, AK. Delta is a small Russian Farming community. I was thrilled to find the grocery store shelves packed with containers written in Russian. They had quite an amazing selection of items that I have never seen in Fairbanks, or anywhere else for that matter.

I was also able to find a lovely loaf of Challah bread for French Toast I have been wanting to make for a while now... It was all I hoped it would be, custardy in the middle and crispy on the outside. Perfection in French Toast.

Challah French Toast
adapted from Orangette

1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
canola oil to coat pan
6 thick slices Challah Bread

Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a pie plate or shallow baking pan.

Place a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over low to medium heat, and add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the skillet.

Add the bread slices to the egg mixture, allowing them to rest for a minute or two on each side. They should feel heavy and thoroughly saturated, but they should not be falling apart. When the oil is hot, place the slices in the skillet. They should sizzle a bit, and the oil should bubble lightly around the edges of the bread; take care, however, that the oil is not too hot, as the egg mixture burn. Cook until the underside of each slice is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the bread, and cook until the second side is golden, another 2 minutes or so. Remove the bread from the skillet to a plate lined with a paper towel, allow to rest for 30 seconds or so, and serve immediately.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Early A.M. Visitor

David found an American Kestral sitting on our deck this morning. He went off to sit on a garden post for a while before he determined our yard didn't have much for breakfast and moved on.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The News...

We got a new floor. Brody got a trim, and he made the front page of Latitude 65, Fairbanks weekly entertainment paper. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

I recently picked up the book "What we eat, when we eat alone", by Deborah Madison. Before that I read "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant". I have spent most of my life essentially, living alone. I was an only child in a single parent home. I was also painfully shy through most of my childhood, something anyone who knows me now will tell you I have gotten over! My adulthood has had a few stints with roommates and significant others, but when given a choice I must admit that I always choose to be alone. I am good at it, for the most part I enjoy quiet, solitary activities such as knitting, reading, painting, surfing the internet, etc... 
For the last year and a half I have found myself with very little alone time, an adjustment that is not always easy. The one thing I find I miss the most is the freedom to eat whatever I want. I miss the broccoli for dinner nights, although David has never complained about anything I have put on the table (well there was this, and that horrible bean thing) I think a broccoli dinner might add some grumbling to our dinner table. So, on those night when David has a late night meeting or goes out of town for a few days I always find myself running meal plans through my head. Although David thinks the dog and I spend our evenings eating bon bons, and cheese wrapped in bacon, I actually find myself looking for the more simple options. I find when I know I will be alone for a few day, a nice pot of rich, hearty soup really hits the spot. I make enough to eat it every day and save myself some work and clean-up. Then I have a little more time for reading, "What we eat, when we eat alone".

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
adapted from Sunset Magazine

Ingredients:
3/4 cup wild rice
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp salt
4 oz. bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. button mushrooms, thinly slices
1 leek, halved, rinsed, and white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Put wild rice, and broth in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. 

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until well done, but not black. Add button mushrooms and leek, Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms give off their liquid, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle vegetables and bacon with flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour starts to stick to the bottom of the pot (scrape it up as much as possible while stirring). Add wine, cooked rice and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook 15 minutes.

Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute. Divide soup among 8 bowls and serve hot, with a sprinkle of parsley and black pepper on each serving.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Yummy!

I am off for a two day knitting retreat at the Mt. Aurora Lodge at Cleary Summit. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails