Saturday, April 27, 2019

Behbeh reindeer!

One babe was finally close to the fence while I drove by on my commute, so I pulled into the parking lot and ran down through the mud to snap these photos!


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Winter strikes back!

After a heartbreakingly early spring, making us miss almost all of March skiing, temperatures dropped over the weekend, and yesterday morning we woke up to a blanket of fluff!

Starbuck-A-Roo was *very* happy and did a Dance of Joy!

Whenever it snows overnight, the following morning as we prepare for work, DL quietly goes out and cleans the snow off my car when he does his. I hear so many stories of people finding their partners "unromantic" because they don't buy flowers or recite poetry, and failing to notice the things their partners actually do for them. I try to notice all of the little things DL does for me.

The other day I was in Frontier Outfitters and saw this sheep-patterned wool vest! I picked it up, then put it down. I don't need another vest. But damn! You know how sometimes something just speaks to you? So I got it, actually with a gift certificate DL gave me for Christmas! It reminded me too much of this sheep-patterned wool hat that DM knitted and sent me from Shetland! How could I say no?

OK now we need some dog photos... Here they are snuggling in a shaft of light!

When I saw that, I had to take a squeezie selfie:

There have been sightings of a black wolf around our neighborhood lately, so I tied this bandana on Roo so she looks less wolfy. She would not sit still for a photo until I held her paw. Definitely not a wolf!

Here is Cricket, who loooooooooves to snuggle with her Daddy. Also, definitely, not a wolf.

Friday, April 12, 2019

More Food Photos

Maybe the last red beans and rice of the season. Served with braised collard greens:

I had a brief trip to DC. Actually, Alexandria. This is the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge:

My one night at liberty, I took a walk downtown:

I was excited to eat something we can't get in Fairbanks, but wasn't sure what. Good Mexican? There were quite a few Italian places. An Ethiopian place. A Levantine place. I kept walking, kept walking. Nothing made my heart sing until I hit a seafood joint on the water. Perfect! I sucked it up and ordered a $30 crab cake dinner. When it arrived, I could see why it was $30. It wasn't an overmixed, overground mash of "crab mix". It was big chunks of crab, only nominally formed into cakes and perfectly fried. It was pretty much a plate of already-peeled crab meat.

Well, seeing as we had an entire box of crab at home from our last Alaska Marine Conservation Council order:

So prettily organized in the box!

I decided a crab feast at home was in order!

I served it with garlic noodles, just like at PPQ Crab in my hometown (except mine were just tossed with garlic and oil, and not fried):

With the leftover cooked meat, OF COURSE I had to try to make crab cakes. I decided on this recipe. I do not usually care for recipes that celebrate their blandness and claim that excess flavor would "ruin" them. But on the other hand, how could I not choose one of those, when something as subtle as crab needs to shine? (sorry a few of these photos are blurry)


They came out freaking perfect! DL: "Are these as good as the ones you had in Virginia?" Me: "Hell yeah."

My next DC culinary challenge was to use up all of these dried apricots I had bought for snackies. It turns out that my schedule shifted around at the last minute and enabled me to eat more proper meals, so I ended up with a surplus of apricots to use up. As soon as I brought them home to Fairbanks, of course they started hardening and shriveling, so I had to use them up. I decided on apricot walnut bread, which I made with all Delta Junction barley flour, which is softer than whole wheat. So unlike whole wheat, which I use in a 1:1 blend with white flour, I went for 100% healthy barley!

Not bad! And the apricots looked so pretty! Like little jewels!

Here is a pretty photo of a stir-fry, and fried rice:

And brownies!


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Good Eats, a Wok, and a Snuggle Photo

Well, y'all. After decades of stir-frying in a cast iron skillet, I finally broke down and bought a wok. Reasons: The thin, spun steel heats up quickly and cools equally quickly, meaning when the veggies are done, you take it off the heat, and the cooking process stops. The high heat retention of cast iron--such a treasured property for stewing, browning, and braising--is not great for stir-frying. Also, the shape is really amenable to stir-frying. Veggie bits don't go sailing off the edge, the way they do from the skillet. Starbuck and Cricket are perfectly happy to help with cleanup, but I'm not sure it's a great idea to teach them to hover around when I'm cooking with high heat.

So, following advice from Charles Phan's cookbook, I ordered this, and seasoned it outside using a camp stove:

(I wanted so badly to take a selfie with it out in the woods and caption it, "A wok in the woods", but I'm terrible at selfies and none of them came out right...)

The first thing I stir-fried in it was long beans. A perfect accompaniment to teriyaki salmon. Yum, yum!

The second thing was these veggies:

We had them with tasty black cod, which was cooked in black bean sauce:

from our seafood subscription:

Super tasty! Black cod is very rich, like a chicken thigh to the breast that is halibut. Oh my cod!


When we do have halibut, I tend to cook it in a rich sauce to counteract the cardboard-like properties. Such as this halibut tikka masala:

served with asparagus:

I had the leftovers the next day for lunch. As I was nuking it in the office kitchen, an Indian grad student came by. This guy is actually Indian, like, from India, not Indian-American. He said, "That smells good! What is it?" I also know him to be an excellent cook so was ever-so-embarrassed. I don't think they actually eat anything tikka masala in India; it's the Indian equivalent of broccoli beef, or cashew chicken.

I looked at him. "Aaaahhhh... It's halibut mumble-mumble."

Said he, "It's what WHAT?"

"It's halibut hurr-durr-bbmmmm"


"Halibut murrrnurrr-nnnggg..."


It turns out, it was not my bastard curry that was throwing him off. It was HALIBUT! So I got off with explaining what a person-sized flounder was like, then walked away without explaining tikka masala. Phew! It did give me the tremendous pleasure of explaining to a new person that halibut are born like normal, upright, symmetrical fish, and then they start swimming sideways and one eyeball just marches to the other side of their faces. Of all of nature's strange, wonderful, and mysterious tricks, that is still one of my favorites and always will be.

Here is a photo of Roo and Cricket being schnoogly:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Behbeh Reindeer!!

"We are excited to announce the arrival of our first calf this spring! Congratulations to #muttonchopthereindeer for winning the baby race! She is a very healthy girl weighing in at 11.5 pounds! Both Mutton and calf are doing great"

(Photo and quote from Large Animal Research Station)

This is from March 29th! How did I miss it? Behbehreindeer! <3