Tag Archives: food

Sushi Circuit Round 1

My friend T and I have decided to make the rounds of the sushi joints in Fairbanks. I figured I’d make note of our dinners here, should I forget details later, as I’m quite prone to do.

We started tonight with Ajimi, an unassuming little place on 3rd. Not much to it from the outside, but well lit and full of ambience inside. I mentioned that they must use Time Lord technology. I suspect she thinks I’m even more of a dweeb after that comment.

We were seated right away, and just as quickly as we’d gotten off our coats we had miso, eggs, and potatoes. The miso was alright, the eggs were fun, but the potatoes were odd and covered in honey. Not for me.

The menu was massive. There were too many choices and I was tempted to get one of everything. T ordered us the Tom & Jerry appetizer — a spicy salmon paste with avocado and masago on a deep fried sushi rice patty, drizzled with a lovely thickened soy-based sauce. She got a Boss roll, and I got a spicy Alaskan King roll. We were quite indelicate in eating them just for their sheer diameter, and I found myself relieved that I’d gotten just the one roll since it was massive. Eating it may have been a tad problematic but so worth the fumbling. Tasty food, prompt, courteous service, reasonable prices … I will definitely be back!

We finished our evening at Airport Way Family Restaurant, with too much bad coffee, too much nicotine, too warm a room, but lots of laughter.

I can’t wait for Sushi Circuit Round 2! I’ll have to do better at taking pictures. Being around T is such great fun. You should be jealous. 😛

Meatloaf Deluxe

1.5 lbs ground angus beef
.5 lb Italian sausage
3-4 stalks celery, finely minced
.5 to 1 small onion, finely minced
1 large carrot, finely minced/grated
1 palmful sea salt
1 large pinch black pepper
1 palmful Italian seasoning
1/4 palmful garlic salt
1-2 palmfuls seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup half-and-half
Top with ketchup

375* for an hour. Pour off excess fat. 10 more minutes, pour off excess fat, make incisions. 10-15 more minutes, pour off excess fat, set to cool.

Homemade Spinach Dal

By popular demand, here’s my easy recipe for homemade spinach dal.  I know there are more complex, more authentic ways to make this, but I was going for quick, sufficiently tasty, and convenient using things I already had on hand.  Still came out yum! and the use of a rice cooker makes things infinitely easier (as well as gives me a timer of sorts).

  • (3) cups long grain white rice (or substitute your favorite type of grain)
  • (1) cup lentils
  • (1) 13.5 oz can of leaf spinach, drained
  • (1) 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • (1) 10 oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes with diced green chilies), lightly drained
  • (1) clove garlic, minced
  • (1-1/2) tsp onion powder (or 1 medium onion, chopped, lightly sauteed)
  • (3/4) tsp sea salt
  • (3/4) tsp ground turmeric
  • (1) tsp ground cumin
  • (1/4) tsp ground ginger
  • (1/8) tsp ground cardamom

In rice cooker, combine 3 cups long grain white rice with appropriate amount of water for your rice cooker.  Or just cook on the stove top.

In small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water and 1 cup of lentils.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While lentils are cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan.  Mix well, bring to a near-boil, then lower heat and let simmer.

When lentils are done, add to the spinach mixture, combining thoroughly.  Continue simmering until chickpeas are soft, or until the rice is done, whichever comes first.

Serve while hot over a plate of fluffed rice, preferably with fresh naan.  Revel in knowing that you just made a super healthy, super low-fat, nutrient-packed meal!

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

I am certain that this will be an autumn staple in our home! Make a double batch, and come up with great snack ideas for the rest!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil

Preheat a griddle to medium/medium-high heat (approximately 350*). Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, combine milk, pumpkin, egg, and butter/oil until smooth. Add dry ingredients until just blended in. Drop by 1/4-cup onto lightly greased preheated griddle and cook on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot with maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream.

JR had me add a handful of fresh raspberries to the top of his pancakes – super yum!

For my gluten-intolerant friends

Gluten-free Sourdough Starter recipe:

Mix 100g any gluten-free flour and 150ml mineral water in a bowl and leave, covered at room temp for 24 hours.
Stir in 100g flour and 150ml mineral water, cover and leave 12 hours.
Stir the starter, add 100g flour and enough water to return to original runny consistency. Cover and leave 12 hours.
The starter should now be “slightly spongy”.
If not needed immediately, cover and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before use.
(It says if starter is to be kept “for any length of time, feed and water it regularly”.)

Gluten-free Sourdough Bread recipe:

300g prepared starter
500g gluten free bread flour
300ml hand-hot water
Mix all the above to form a soft and pliable dough.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead vigorously.
Cover with a cloth and leave for 12 hours.
Knock back dough and knead again – add a sprinkle of flour if it appears sticky.
Shape dough into a torpedo and place on greased baking sheet.
Cover with a damp cloth and rise about 25 minutes.
Bake for 30-35 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 200c/400f/gas mark 6.

So far in our travels…

We left Delta Thursday afternoon.  I had been sick for a day and a half with some uber-fun gastrointestinal bug, rendering me useless and miserable beyond belief.  We got all our stuff packed on time though, without forgetting anything major.  We did manage to forget the Christmas cards.  I was so proud that I had gotten them all done, addressed, signed, ready to go, and on time… then I left them on the kitchen counter before walking out the door.  Oh well.

We picked up a couple of last minute things at WalMart in Fairbanks, ate dinner at Gallo’s, then headed to the airport after dropping the truck off at the parking garage downtown.  We got the dog situated with TSA, I had a brief glare-down with the security assholes about JR’s baby food, and fairly soon we were on the plane.  JR was awesome on the first leg of the trip — he was so fascinated being on a plane and seeing all the other planes go by.  It was a great distraction for me to watch his excitement (I’m terrified of flying).  Anchorage to Seattle was another story; he was soooo tired, and couldn’t figure out how to comfortably fall asleep in his carseat while on the plane, and poor little guy was crying during takeoff and landing because of the pressure in his ears.  It broke my heart.  We had a three-hour layover in Seattle where we grabbed a bite to eat, then fell asleep in front of the gate.  We nearly missed the guy announcing our flight, and all three of us were passed out on the way to Dallas.

Family friend Evelyn met us at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.  Buffle was absolutely exhilerated to see us and get out of her kennel.  John took JR with him to the car rental place, and Evelyn stayed with me at the airport.  We got a bite to eat at this shady McDonald’s on the way to Cara’s house; it made me feel queasy, and gave John a great case of the same gastrointestinal fun that I’d had (which rendered him useless for the next 36 hours or so).

We settled in at Cara’s, JR hung out with the kids, we chatted it up, and eventually passed out.  Saturday John slept all day, and JR wasn’t feeling too hot himself (ear tugging, crying, low-grade fever) so we didn’t go anywhere or do anything.  I had craft time with Maddie and Ryan, making a countdown to Christmas.  They really seemed to enjoy it, and Cara and Mike seemed to enjoy that I made it last a couple of hours.  Sunday, which was also Tori’s birthday, we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo and had an absolute blast.  JR still wasn’t feeling so hot and kept laying down on the ground so we put him in the Ergo on John’s back.  We saw a rhino, and JR insisted it was a dinosaur.  He loved the tigers, the elephants, and the carousel (which I rode on with him).  Total protest when the carousel ride was over.  Rosa’s takeout for dinner, some shopping at Target, then back to Cara’s to pack up our stuff.  JR drew a couple of pictures for Uncle Mike, one of which he said was Uncle Mike himself (totally cute of him, and they’re now on Mike’s wall).

Monday we got ready for our road trip down to SA.  JR had fully picked up a cold, and we had spread our gastrointestinal bug to the Ws.  The cold front had fully arrived, making it windy as hell and mightily cold.  Texas humidity and 30* weather with a 15 mph breeze make for bone-chilling conditions that even this Eskimo wasn’t too fond of.  I know it gets damn cold in Alaska, but it’s a dry cold, making it much more tolerable.

We drove down to SA in our humungous rented Hummer (sweet ride, by the way), stopping in Waco for lunch.  John let Buffle out in the parking lot behind Subway to let her run while I ate; he threw the ball before he noticed the six inches of standing, stagnant, putrid funk that Buffle of course immediately ran into.  She got back in the truck, furiously licking herself, then looking extremely guilty for it, because anything that nasty that tasted that good to my stupid dog must have been something she wasn’t allowed.  She kept hanging her head when I looked at her, which was mildly amusing, but mostly just stinky.

We stopped in Austin to get her bathed at a groomer’s next to Petco; when the groomer went to take her into the back, JR pitched an all-out fit, complete with little tears.  I think he thought we were just letting someone take our dog away, and she’s his closest companion in Alaska.  He was so inconsolably distraught that I almost told the groomer to forget it altogether.  We took him over to Petco though to look at animals, and soon things were a little better.  After Petco I went to Wheatsville.  I love that store so much.  The cashier was like two inches thick total, wearing a hat and scarf and coat indoors, complaining about the weather, wondering how on earth I manage to live in a place that inevitably hits -50* every winter, and called all manner of attention to both of us by proclaiming rather loudly that I said I was an Eskimo from Alaska.  John was right; people really look at me like I’m a leprechaun when I tell them I’m an Alaskan Eskimo.  Too freakin’ funny.

We got to his parents’ house in SA Monday night, caught up a little bit with Mona and John the elder, got unpacked, got something to eat, and finally got to sleep.  I had amassed about 6 hours of sleep over the last two days at Cara’s, and crashed so amazingly hard.  I woke up feeling like a new person, but one complete with new aches and pains.  John and JR slept like rocks too, though JR had a little more trouble as he kept waking up to cough or gasp.  His nose is still leaking like a bad faucet, but he has moments of utterly charming joy.

Mona made us eggs and bacon for breakfast (admittedly served at lunchtime since we didn’t wake up until after 11 am), and we hung out for a little while before heading out.  We checked out a few stores I wanted to see in town.  We went to Eden’s Baby to see if there were any good cloth diaper finds, and I was rather unimpressed with the selection.  She had some very fine items for sale, all generously marked up, and nothing of note that I couldn’t find elsewhere for a better deal.  Our local store, Blueberry Baby, in Fairbanks has so much of a better selection with better deals.  After Eden’s Baby, we ate lunch at Canyon Cafe in the Quarry (where I got this awesome white chocolate pecan tamale as a complimentary dessert) and checked out some stores there.  I went into Whole Earth Provision Co., where I walked out empty-handed; I literally could not justify a single purchase there because their markups were so ridiculous.  And that’s saying something because I can almost always justify a purchase.  I checked out Learning Express toy store, where I picked up a cute stuffed giraffe, a Schleich camel, and a great placemat for JR.  We also went to James Avery, where we got matching wedding bands.  They have so many beautiful shiny things that it’s hard to tear myself away from the store without going broke, but I always manage to show restraint.

Then it was a quick stop at Old Navy; I was looking for a hoodie because I wanted a warm layer, but wasn’t ready to bust out my Alaskan Carhartt jacket.  The place was so unbelievably picked over, there was like nothing left.  Then we were going to pick up some groceries at HEB, but JR’s nose sprung a leak and he had a little meltdown.  So we’ve been hanging out at MiMi & PoPo’s the rest of the night.  John left a while ago to play cards with Alex and get in the guy time I’m sure he’s been wanting.

I had an impossible time getting JR to sleep, though he’s finally down.  I’m getting his cold, which makes me extremely grumpy as I just finally got over my last one before coming down here.  Tomorrow I want to check out Babies R Us since we don’t have one in Alaska, as well as Sun Harvest, and possibly Ingram Mall.  We’re having dinner at Becca’s tomorrow night, and it’ll be a blast to watch JR with the S boys.  I’m tempted to hit up the LLL meeting Thursday morning.  Friday I think we’re getting together with the gang, though I don’t know for sure.  I think John mentioned Austin for Saturday, but I’m not sure about that either.  Sunday I believe we’re going back to Bec’s for Christmasy stuff with her in-laws.  Ultimately I’ve lost track of what our plans our now.

I’m off to find Sudafed for my newfound cold, then attempt some sleep.

Today’s smoothie

1 banana
1/2 mango, cubed
handful of broccoli
1 container of Yoplait
2 tbs-ish of wheat germ
2 tbs-ish of rice protein powder
spoonful of coconut oil
spoonful of raw honey
splash of milk

YUMMMMMM. JR liked it too.

Sourdough Portraits

I love my homemade bread. It’s rustic, flavorful, and the whole process is satisfying. Even when I whine about how long it all takes, I’m secretly very pleased about it all. Ok, maybe not so secretly.

Sourdough loaves I baked last night from my wild yeast starter:



And, yes, I’m aware that taking pictures of my bread is a wee bit strange. Deal. It’s damn yummy bread.

(If you’re at all curious, this is the recipe I used. My crumb isn’t that open yet. Give me time.)

Le YUM

I have found the sourdough love.

After learning of sourdough’s amazing benefits, I decided to capture some wild yeast (present in the flour and in my kitchen) and made a wild yeast sourdough starter. I think of it like a pet now, which isn’t much of a stretch given that I do have to feed it regularly. And pets should have names, so I’ve named my starter Jack.

My first loaf of sourdough was… not so great. It had a beautiful crust, but the crumb was entirely too dense to be to my liking. It became a bread pudding, and is much better now.

My next was a batch of sourdough cinnamon rolls with homemade icing. YUM. John loved them too.

Then yesterday I decided that I wanted a real sourdough loaf. You know, with the blistered crust and the big telltale holes inside and the delectable tang. Ok, ambitious for a sourdough newbie, but I had to try. I used this recipe to prep my dough, let it ferment, shaped, then proofed. Late last night I baked it. I didn’t use the best baking dish, and the end result sort of cracked around the edges. I let it cool on a rack overnight (it was late, I had to sleep). This morning, with the steel cut oatmeal I had for breakfast (that I let soak overnight, sooo easy), I cut into my loaf.

It slices beautifully. It smells wonderful. It has a mildly blistered crust. It has a stable somewhat springy crumb, dotted with big holes. I lost the first slice to JR. It’s delicious. I’m very proud of myself.

The next time I make a loaf, I might try proofing it overnight.

I encourage all of you to abandon your commercial yeast and make a true sourdough starter today!

JR’s Muffles

Must write this down somewhere so I can make them again (if they’re a hit):

JR’s Muffles

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
~~~
1-1/4 cup yogurt (or other suitable liquid)
1 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
~~~
1 cup frozen blueberries (or substitute whatever)

Heat oven to 400*. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in separate bowl; blend into dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups, bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

I plan to use this formula to help with fruit and dairy that are on their last days. I’ll use sour cream, milk, yogurt, whatever is handy for the liquid. Likewise for the add-in; I picture bananas, berries, pumpkin, the possibilities are endless!

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