Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Wind

Once consequence of wind-littered snow- not the best for melting.

It's howling here at the cabin- a cruel reentry into Alaska and winter. We got back from vacation Friday, but spent a few days in the big city. We visited friends, and went on a massive Costco run, which included- among many many other things- my insistence that we buy three kinds of butter. Hey, it's almost Christmas, right?

Last night, just as the last bit of light left the sky, we pulled into our neighborhood. It'd been wickedly windy the entire drive. So much so that we didn't notice we were driving on a popped tire for two miles. Argh. But, thanks to the kindness of strangers, the sheer luck of a shop in Glenallen having the right sized tire, with the right tread and similar wear, and our desire to just be home, we pushed through.

I've just accepted that I am not meant for 90mph gusts, and will be spending the day knitting, baking and cleaning. My sweetheart claims he's going to go out and get some exercise, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Art: Part three

Yes, I'm one of those people who owns an art deco French liquor poster.

I love it. I'm an admitted francophile. I love art deco, I love Lillet, I love the smile that woman has on her face. I'm a walking cliche.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maple Mustard Skillet Salmon

Salmon is tasty. Fresh out of the ocean or Copper River, you don't need to do anything to it. You don't even need to cook it, really. Maybe a sprinkle of salt and pepper, but that's it. I probably won't be posting any fresh salmon recipes here. You don't need them.

But as summer ends, so does the supply of fresh salmon. Our freezers are full of frozen salmon now, and frozen salmon, frankly, needs a little help. We do a bunch of different things with frozen salmon in this house: Salmon salad, salmon cakes, and quiche come to mind. But my current favorite is putting a fillet skin-side down on a hot cast iron, brushing on a maple syrup and mustard glaze, and sliding it in the oven til it's done. The sweet, spicy glaze stands up to the strong flavor of the salmon and gives it a little oomph. Enough oomph so you can drink a light red wine with it.

Maple Mustard Skillet Salmon
   Serves 2
1 16-20 oz fillet

For the glaze:
1 tbs of good quality mustard
1 tbs of maple syrup
1 tsp olive oil   
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Mix glaze ingredients together in small bowl. Should be fairly viscous. Lightly salt and pepper the fillet, and place in skillet. Brush on one layer of glaze. Wait 2 or 3 minutes, brush on another. Slide skillet in oven, and cook until fillet is cooked through (still slightly pink in middle) about 5 minutes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mexican Dreams

 It's been a little gray here. 

Not that I mind. I'm quite content to sit and watch the weather move in and out. It's not deathly cold- the temperature has been hovering around freezing- and I've been dreaming. 

Dreaming of Mexico, to be exact.  Tonight we head to the Pacific coast, and warmer weather for a few weeks. November isn't a very pleasant time in Alaska, and we try to leave for a chunk of it. 

So, to get in the mood- and prepare my eyes for colors other than off-white, gray and cedar, I made myself a colorful salad last night. It's a pretty simple salad- just carrots, red cabbage and a strong mustard vinaigrette. A play on carottes râpées- a favorite in my house when I was growing up. Nothing special, just color.

Carottes Râpées with cabbage 
      4 small servings, or two large

For the vinaigrette:

1 tbs good mustard
2 tbs red wine vinegar
4 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried dill (optional)

For the salad:

4 large carrots
1/4 head of red cabbage
juice of one lemon or lime

Grate carrots, slice cabbage very thin. Run knife over sliced cabbage once  so the pieces are a bit smaller. Mix in bowl. Add vinaigrette to taste. I added a squeeze of lemon at the end and it brightened up considerably. Leftovers are lovely the next day, or even the day after that.
PS- Since we'll be in Mexico, posting will be scarce, but I've prescheduled a few posts to go up while we're gone!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Art: Part Two

Behind our vintage Jotul wood stove (more on that another time) I put up a couple of our more old-timey pieces. I really like the juxtaposition of the wooden frames below the gorgeous bookshelf Tory built a few years ago.

Each piece has a story. The original pastel to the left is actually a family heirloom- and is of a home close to my great grandmother's cabin in North Carolina. The middle print was given to me by my piano teacher when I was growing up. Her grandfather, American impressionist Frank Benson, painted the original oil on canvas, and it was of her family. Finally, the lonely watercolor on the right hung in a room I rented once. The landlord had a garage sale the weekend I moved out, and I bought it for $10. I looked at that painting every night as I was falling asleep. It reminds me of Sandy Beach in Juneau.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Art: Part one

I finally got my act together and hung some art up on the walls.

These are two prints I found a couples years ago in Juneau. They're by a Whitehorse, Yukon artist named Nathalie Parenteau. I love her work- the bold colors and shapes really stand out. She has a lot of larger pieces that I'd love to have here, as soon as I can afford to frame them!
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