Monday, August 29, 2011


It's time for stuffed pasta! These cheese and spinach pockets are so tasty. They're a little time consuming, mainly in the making of the crepes. Give yourself at least 2.5 hours of prep time before baking to get them together.

First, combine the crepe dough and let it rest for an hour while you mix all the cheeses and spinach together. You can also get the bechamel made during this window. I've made bechamel before (see post on new potatoes and peas)--it's a creamy white sauce thickened with flour and flavored by cooking with onion, clove, and nutmeg.

Next, fry the crepes. The batter is thin, the consistency of heavy cream. The tricky part is disbursing the batter around the pan into a circle. Work quickly! Heat just until set, and flip--less than 30 seconds on each side.

Scoop 1/4 C of the filling onto each crepe.

Fold up into a little package.

These little snack packages are bigger than you'd think. Place them in a buttered baking dish.

There's a bold emphasis on nutmeg in this recipe, which I don't usually associate with pasta. It's added to most of the main components at least once. It worked surprisingly well (I'm not always the biggest nutmeg person), lending a subtle sweetness.

Spread marinara sauce over the whole dish, and pour the bechamel sauce down the middle. Then bake.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saag Panir

Who wants Indian? Oh, how I wish there was an Indian restaurant in Juneau! Anyone plan to start one? After making Saag Panir, my friend and I proved we are not the ones to do it. No. While it was fun and novel to homemake cheese, we couldn't make the flavors of the spinach and spices meld together to the right affect.

Making cheese is simple enough:

Boil milk (I used 2%) in a large pot:

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. It curdles immediately! Let it sit for 1o minutes.

The curds and whey should separate. Pour both through a colander lined with cheese cloth. The curds will collect in the colander, and the whey will drain through into the pot beneath.

You've got cheese! After draining a half hour, squeeze the remaining whey out of the cheese cloth (save the whey for later if using frozen spinach, and refrigerate or freeze for use in soups, etc).

Cube the cheese into small pieces. Stir them into the spinach mixture before serving.

Blend spinach, garlic, cayenne, and jalapeno in a food processor. I used frozen spinach, so I mixed in a cup of whey to give it a creamy consistency.

Saute cumin, coriander, and turmeric in butter and oil. Add onion and tomato.

Add spinach, then cheese.

Serve over brown rice for an extra healthy meal! I think if we'd have cooked it a little longer to let all the flavors blend more thoroughly, added a bit more whey and cooked the spinach down, it would've made it creamier. Ah well, still fun to try. Until we get a good Indian restaurant in town, I'll surely cook this again. The next time around will be better.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Halibut Nicoise

It's raining hard. The clouds are totally socked in, down to sea level, and it's gloomy. It gets dark early, and feels like fall. It's only mid-August and we're already setting records for the quantity of water deluging from the sky. The forecast is depressing, too, calling for "heavy rain." This weekend, the rains caused the runoff in streams and rivers to flow milky brown. We typically don't get such storms until later in the year when people have been hibernating awhile already.

I started my hibernation this weekend, leading an entirely lazy few days, centered mostly in my kitchen (save for running the ten mile Herbert Glacier leg of the Nifty 50 (km) relay race out the road). It was in this cozy context I cooked up Halibut Nicoise. The recipe is lighter than some of the other halibut recipes out there that are smothered in mayonnaise. It's inspired with flavors of the Mediterranean--garlic, basil, wine, and olives. The tomatoes atop it are refreshing.

Mince garlic and basil.

Slice halibut into 4" x 2" pieces.

Pat halibut in flour, salt and pepper.

Pan fry halibut for a few minutes on each side. Place in oiled baking dish.

Briefly boil sauce in the frying pan; spread over halibut. Bake 10 minutes.

Serve & enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shrimp Fried Rice

I don't remember the Fiddlehead restaurant for its fried rice (I remember it for things like its baked goods counter). But sure enough, the cookbook includes a good recipe for this staple rice dish. It uses local ingredients. And it is, of course, delicious.

It's the perfect midweek meal.It's simple, quick (50 mins), and healthy--and you're left with just one pot to clean. I used a pound of lime-cilantro-seasoned shrimp from Costco which added some flavor. You can also use Petersburg shrimp or small cocktail shrimp.

I got my brown rice going, then started the fried half. Scramble the eggs first, then set aside.

Saute the pepper, onion, and mushroom next.

Add the shrimp, garlic and soy sauce.

Mix it all together with the cooked rice and egg and you're set to serve!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Heading out for a hike? Take a couple hermit bar cookies with you! Packed with raisins, walnuts, and molasses for energy, they'll keep you going full steam ahead. I'm leaving for the Chilkoot next week (they'll freeze well 'til then), and I'm sure these will taste extra delicious on the trail (as all food seems to when you're out in the boonies).

Mix goopey wet ingredients with flour mixture

Divide dough into four balls, wrap tightly, and refrigerate overnight

Form the dough into snakes the length of your cookie sheet, then press them out flat.

Brush with powdered sugar and milk glaze to make them shiny. Cool, and cut into bars.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fiddlehead Pesto

Is it still called pesto when it's not made with basil? I suppose the rest of the sauce is the same: nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese get blended into whatever herb (or in this case vegetable) you're using. The Fiddlehead pesto calls for fiddleheads or asparagus. I wanted to use fiddleheads, and anticipated the spring harvest season all through our long winter...but! I then missed the short window we have to pick the curly fern sprouts. Oh well. They always say fiddleheads taste just like asparagus, anyway. It's a tasty dish. Creamy, light, quick, and healthy, it's a great weeknight meal.

First, blend all the pesto ingredients in a food processor.

Saute the asparagus (or fiddleheads, in season) in butter.

While the noodles are boiling, heat the cream and mix in the pesto.

Combine pesto sauce with noodles (I used angel hair) & enjoy!
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