sockeye.salmon.run

Every summer the salmon run and we do our best as good Alaskans to get our share of the fish. I have patience issues, so the whole ‘stand in the water with a line and a little hook for hours and legally take 1-2 fish a day’ thing doesn’t work for me. I instead love the resident only method of dipnetting. Take a giant 5 foot net and put it at the end of a super long pole with a handle, stand in the mouth of a river (sometimes up to your chest) and wait for the salmon to swim in. Some people don’t think it’s very sportsmanlike, but whatever. I won’t be having them over for dinner. And if I did, I wouldn’t be serving any of our amazing salmon.

The trip this year started with a bad omen…a fishing report suggesting that commercial boats would be cleaning the run out of the inlet…then a report coming in saying the fish were slammed. So, we put all of our gear into the VW and powered up and out. We got about 2 blocks from the house before there was a literal and actual fire in the van. No major damage (except for the bar bill afterward), but we were a bit mopey and unsure if we would get to fish this year….And then another report came in. So many fish, and no one is taking them. So we loaded our gear again and jumped in the pickup. A 3 hour drive and we had our nets in the water by 9pm. Fished until 11, and had 6 pretty sockeye to show for our efforts and a totally soaked me. A trip to the Wal Mart (I hate to admit that I went, but it was midnight…what can you do?) and I had dry duds, some snacks, and a blanket to sack out in the pickup.

Fast forward past a 3 hour nap, and we had our nets in the water at 6am again. After a full day of steady fishing we pulled 35 salmon.

 

We now begin the task of processing these tasty beasts. Almost all are filleted and the bellies are brining to faux dehydrate. But look at the teeth on this guy! As the salmon spawn out their jaws grow and teeth become all crazy and scary. I’m so glad they don’t bite as I had 2 nail me while in the water – full speed projectile salmon hurt!

The husband did an awesome job as well. Despite only having one boot. Somehow in the loading and unloading process one went missing. (People can be so rude, right?) But he padded around like a true Alaskan trooper and slayed the fish regardless. He also does all the gutting (I fillet) for which I am eternally grateful (I stand over his shoulder and announce loudly whether “It’s a boy!” as he zips each belly).

It’s a ton of work, and everything on my body hurts, but we did it. We kicked some fishy ass. And it’s going to be delicious all year. But first, I need a nap and a massage.

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pigeon.post:philadelphia

Henrietta has been a very busy bird. She recently returned home from a trip to the city of brotherly love: Philadelphia, PA! She reports that she had a great time seeing all the sights, and the Morris family were great hosts (Philly Cheese Seed sandwich anyone?).

henriettaShe even attempted the famous “Rocky” stairs. But it looks like Matt had to help her to the top.

henriettaIIhenriettaI henriettaIIIHenrietta tells me she already misses hanging out with the Morris crew…but has already flown out on her next adventure! I hear she’s traveling around a place that looks like a mitten…Hmmm!

To date Henrietta has flown approximately 28,907 miles!

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homegrown.scallion.pancakes

We have a bumper crop of green and red bunching onions this season. Also known as scallions, spring onions, green onions, etc. So of course a batch of scallion pancakes was needed. Duh. 

  

  • Mix 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 cup warm water and knead until elastic. Cover with a towel and let sit for half an hour. 
  • Chop a large bunch of green onions while the dough is resting – 10-15 stems. 
  • Divide your dough into 4 sections. On a lightly oiled surface, roll one of the dough portions into a rectangle – as thin as possible without breaking. 
  • Liberally sprinkle the lightly oiled dough with salt, spread a generous amount of onions on the dough and roll into a long rope. Cut in half, coil and set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. 

  

  • Roll each cool as thin as possible while a pan heats with a combination of sesame and olive oil and some of that bacon grease you have stashed in the freezer. 

  

  • Fry each cake approximately 2 minutes on each side, cut into 4 sections and serve with soy sauce, gyoza sauce or just on their own. 

  
They were amazing and super easy – what is that, 5 ingredients?? If you want to kick it up a notch, add some pepper jack cheese and you’ve got a handheld funky pizza. Hooray! (The husband thought that was pretty amazing)

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urban.garden.driveby

It seems all I can post lately is about my little urban garden. I don’t feel that I have been doing much other than production knitting and growin stuff. However, there was an interesting incident regarding some yellow jackets in the carrot box…did you know that the cans of foaming insecticide to rid oneself of these flying terrors do not spray when held upside down or sideways? I learned this after I blew a line of air into the sleeping hive…anyhoo, the battle rages and I’m slowly gaining a foothold to regain control of the carrot box. In the meantime, there is all sorts of other cool stuff growing. 

Peas are in and it seems daily I am bringing a few handfuls in to munch on straight out of the pod. 

  
The cabbage has started to form heads and I’m just too excited for words – go, cabbage, go!!

  
The tomatoes are a little late in taking fruit this year, but I have faith in something or other that it will happen. Loads of blossoms, but they aren’t wanting to open all the way. I’ve been jiggling and wiggling them here and there and that seems to help mama nature along a bit…

  
All in all, the urban garden on our little deck in Anchorage is kicking ass. 

   
    
    
 

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garden.goods

Summer has officially arrived in Anchorage…and it’s making up for lost time or something because it is HOT. I know 80* to other folks doesn’t seem bad, but to us, it’s a bit like Hell and the surface of the sun all rolled into one, sad, sweaty, ball. However, while we slowly die in a pool of something gross, the plants couldn’t be happier.

 

The plants at the shop are loving life and throwing fruit like no other. According to the thermostat, it’s getting into the 90’s in there at night and they are thinking it’s great. This was my first year with the minibel tomatoes and I’m already quite pleased with their production. The plant will grow no bigger than a small bush and doesn’t require support. Of course we have yet to see how these taste, but so far it’s a winner.

The filius pepper was also another first for this year. Another small bush plant great for small spaces and urban gardens it will produce crazy hot peppers for over a year. When the peppers first form they are out of this world hot, but cool down when they turn from purple to red. Several of these plants are growing and all of them are loaded.

Remember Audrey the giant tomato from last year? I think the title has been taken by this cabbage. Though I have 6 growing, this is by far the largest and happiest. Can’t wait to see how big it gets!

The first french radish harvest happened in the garden just before the heat hit. I had never been a fan of radishes – admittedly I hadn’t put one in my mouth in probably 20 years – but gave these a try and they are awesome!! The husband now has to fight me for his share as I initially grew them for him… The first zucchini is finally showing itself and the cayenne peppers should be ripening to red any day now. Loving all the green!

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upcycled.planters

Garden containers are expensive! And I’m not even talking about the nice Ming dynasty rip off ceramic pots. All of them! Why not scour your local thrift stores for cheap household items that not only become functional food and plant producers, but also become a stylish conversation starter? 

Sure, fresh basil in your kitchen is awesome. But basil in a coffee pot is super cute as well as functional. 

 
Many fruit producing plants can be grown in containers and most don’t need to be as big as you think. This Filius Pepper plant is going to do just fine in this blender carafe. And it cost .33c. I’m not even kidding. 

 
Every time I go to a thrift store I see matching canisters for flour, sugar, etc and I finally grabbed a coffee canister last week. Again, .33c. And with $1 worth of seeds we will be in cilantro for months. 

  

Save the giant cans from tomatoes (people love it when you grow tomatoes in a tomato can) and coffee. Add some pebbles for drainage and bam! You’re ready to get your garden on. 

  

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applesauce.cupcakes

I wanted to make some pumpkin cupcakes for an event my little store had last weekend. But somehow I was out of pumpkin – the horror!! As I was totally fixated on the idea of these cupcakes, I decided to modify the recipe a bit and came up with applesauce cupcakes instead. And they were pretty mind blowing.

  • Cream 4 eggs and 1 & 2/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl
  • Add 1 1/2 cups chunky applesauce (I used the stuff I canned from local apples last year – I know. I hate myself for being such a hipster too) and 1/2 cup oil and mix
  • Add 2 cups flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda and stir
  • Add to lined baking tin and bake for 12-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Frosting:

  • Beat 3 ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup soft butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 cups confectioner’s sugar until smooth. I prefer to mix until whipped and fluffy
  • Add to ziplock bag, seal, clip corner and pipe like a professional
  • Eat remaining frosting directly from the piping bag

They turned out super moist and delicious. I almost like them better than the pumpkin muffins! Almost…

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