I should preface this series with saying that I am the baker in the house, Ben is the chef. I’m a good cook as well, I just happen to enjoy baking more than cooking. The exceptions to this rule are the nights when I start reading Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vacations when I wander aimlessly through local markets in search of new culinary delights or other times in life when I have minimal responsibilities and can really enjoy creating a meal. The first recipe in this series — Salmon Alfredo; was a happy accident I created when I took a summer off after grad school. In our day to day lives, I’m more likely to be responsible for our dessert favorites.
This fact is easily explained when you consider our differing cooking styles. Unlike most other areas of my life, when it comes to cooking, I am a strict recipe follower and relish the masterful results of adhering to the recipe, as is required in baking.
Ben on the other hand starts throwing things in a pan and somehow culinary masterpieces make their way to our table. The downside of this, he’s rarely able to recreate a meal. My first encounter with Ben’s unique ability to create tasty concoctions from food combinations that might normally make your stomach turn occurred the summer of 2005. We had just spent two weeks in Fiji, Ben learned to scuba dive and we gotengaged one evening on the beach under the moonlight, the beginning of our fairy tale.
It was our last morning on the island and the fridge had a smattering of leftovers to chose from. Ben was hungry and started creating something out of red meat, hot sauce, rice, vegetables and a few spices. I’ll be honest, I turned up my nose as he combined these ingredients in a skillet. I was so appalled, I declined when he offered to make me a plate. Once he sat down at the table though, I realized it smelled quite good and after finagling the plate away from Ben, I proceeded to devour every last morsel.
I still have no idea how he made it taste good, but he has a talent in successfully being able to add a little of this, a pinch of that and a dollop of the other, whereas my skill in this department is nonexistent. He on the other hand lacks the patience required to read the entire recipe and follow it to a tee, so that the cake rises properly. It turns out to be the perfect balance.
As the years have gone by, we’ve made a significant effort to adopt healthy eating habits. I’m not just referencing calories in and calories out.
We rarely buy meat at the grocery store, because our freezers are well stocked with wild game. Yes, that is meant to be plural, we have one fish freezer, one game meat freezer and one Costco freezer. Don’t worry, we bought the 5 star energy ones.
We have harvested a caribou each Fall for the last three years. Last winter, Ben harvested two boor during our vacation on Kona. We were given moose meat by a friend here in Seward this summer and we hit the jackpot this Fall when a friend sent us home from a family visit to Kansas with white tail deer.
Our fish freezer is comprised of Copper River Red Salmon, local Silver Salmon and maybe a King or two. My favorite is Ling Cod, in season every summer after July 1st. You’re likely to also find some yellow tail or yellow fin tuna brought home from family visits to California.
Every Spring, we plant a garden in raised beds. We live in a cooler climate, so green leafy vegetables, like kale, chard and spinach tend to grow best. We also usually have a bumper crop of snow peas and carrots and we fill one entire bed with potatoes.
Three years ago, we started raising chickens and have never looked back. There’s nothing like farm fresh eggs!
We avoid processed foods like the plague and we make every effort to buy organic foods when we do frequent the grocery store. Not everyone feels that this is a valuable endeavor, but as we’ve read and educated ourselves on all matters food related these past few years, we have come to see it as a worthy cause and really a genuine necessity to ensure the future health of our family.
Now, I’ll step off of my soap box and tell you how excited we are to share our Alaskan fare recipes. We hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we have.