Alaska's summer is in full swing, with sunshine and warm temperatures to boot! On a day as warm as this one (75F here in Anchorage), this is the perfect time to take advantage of fresh fruits and outdoor dining.
Try this strawberry salsa with grilled flank steak, sliced thin, and served in a warm flour tortilla. It would also be tasty on grilled halibut.
2 cups chopped strawberries
Zest and juice of one lime
Lime wedges for serving
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped shallot
1 Tbs chopped cilantro
Extra chopped cilantro for garnish
1 Tbs chopped mint.
In a non reactive bowl (remember, glass or plastic -not metal), mix all the ingredients and set aside. Add more cilantro for garnish. Drop the lime wedge to the plate and that's all, The Flying Chef wrote!
Every Alaskan has his or her favorite (and sometimes secret) recipe for salmon dip. Some people like it savory, some herb-y, but everybody has their own special something that makes it unique. This dip is pretty simple, taking advantage of the rich flavor of smoked salmon, and letting it take charge. Capers provide a saltiness different from the salmon, and I highly recommend you add them. Serve with crisp crackers or toast rounds, preferably out on the deck with a cold beverage.
½ pound smoked salmon
½ pound cream cheese
3 Tbs ranch dressing
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
½ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp dill
1 bunch, (4 or so) green onions, including leafy green tops
3 Tbs horseradish
1 Tbs capers (optional)
Remove cream cheese from refrigerator and soften on the counter.
Break apart salmon with a fork or your fingers.
Mix together softened cream cheese and salmon in a medium bowl or food processor, being careful not to overmix.
Add ranch dressing
Juice the lemon and chop onions, and add to the bowl.
Add Tabasco sauce, pepper, horseradish, and capers. Stir with a nice big spoon or hit the pulse button on the food processor. Mix until desired texture is reached.
I like to mix for about 10 to 15 seconds for a chunky texture. Want it smoother? Mix it longer.
Grab some crackers and enjoy!
What better way to kick off summer than with a slab of smoky, hearty ribs slow-cooked on a grill? This is a time-intensive process that is worth the wait. These pork ribs are enough to feed a crowd, but you may want to do two slabs -- they're that good. Serve with grilled corn (recipe coming tomorrow), a salad, and some good beer.
1 slab pork ribs
Your favorite seasoning or rub (like The Flying Chef brand, perhaps?)
A sheet pan for each rack of ribs
2 Tbs mustard
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup apple juice or cider vinegar
Bottled barbecue sauce
The night before: Remove the ribs from the package and rinse.
Remove membrane from the back of the ribs, and apply rub to both sides of the meat.
Wrap tightly and refrigerate on a sheet pan overnight.
Fire up a grill on a low temperature, and arrange coals, if used to cook with indirect heat.
Soak wood chips and place near heat source in a small metal dish or discarded can. A pie pan works great
Smoke ribs, meat side up, for 3 hours. Try and keep the temp to around 180F.
Meanwhile in a non-reactive bowl mix the mustard, juice or cider, onion and Worcestershire to taste. Set aside.
After 3 hours remove ribs and place on sheet pan. Adjust grill temperature to 225F, or use your oven to finish the ribs.
On sheet pan, make a foil “boat” for the ribs and add mixture. Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar, cover with more foil and crimp the edges to seal it.
Place sheet pan on grill or in oven.
Cook at 225F for 2 hours.
Remove from grill or oven and open the foil packet.
Slather ribs with sauce, then place ribs back on grill or in oven until the skin starts to tighten and the ribs begin to pull away from the bone. Approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from grill and let rest.
Slice and enjoy.
During this season of grilling, pickled things often find themselves to the table. Pickling is a process that uses a brine -- vinegar, water, and salt -- thus extending the lifespan of all kinds of foods, but particularly vegetables.
All kinds of fresh veggies can be pickled, with a variety of flavors produced ranging from sweet to hot to spicy.
These quick-fire red onions and jalapeno peppers offer a bit of all three: the peppers obviously send the heat, but the onions and vinegar give a spicy tone and rich texture while a tablespoon of sugar tempers the burn.
These pickles are easy to make, and can be eaten right away, making them a perfect compliment to deckside grillouts or potlucks featuring hearty main dishes.
1 red onion
½ cup cider vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs salt
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil and them reduce to a simmer until all solids are dissolved.
Slice the onion in half, and in half again. Thinly slice once more. Wearing gloves if sensitive to peppers, slice the jalapeños into rounds and remove seeds until your preferred level of heat is achieved. Seeds equal hot!
Place onion and pepper in a sterilized mason gar and pour liquid on top.
Let sit for one hour, uncovered, then secure the jar lid and place in refrigerator.
Eat right away or leave in fridge for a week.
Southcentral Alaska has seen a return to winter these past few days, and that has The Flying Chef thinking of comfort food that is also easy to make when one returns from shoveling the driveway for the fifth time. This pair of stellar takes on a family classic is perfect, and, once the snow melts and spring returns, is a great addition to any camp dining menu. The sky's the limit when it comes to camp cooking!
Classic Grilled Cheese
Your favorite bread (slightly stale works well, especially over a camp stove)
American cheese slices (Yes, the processed stuff - it melts soooooo well)
Provolone cheese slices
Swiss cheese slices
Mayo, mustard, Thousand Island dressing, Russian dressing, or whatever your favorite sauce may be
Place a skillet over medium heat. If using a camp stove, let the pan heat up for a minute or so. Spread butter on one side of two bread slices for each sandwich. Melt butter in the pan (watch so it doesn't burn, and adjust heat accordingly), and place bread butter side up in the pan. When the first side has turned a golden brown, flip the bread and “toast” the buttered side.
Grab some cheese and place on bread. At this point add your favorite sauce if you like, or just leave it alone. Cook in pan until cheese is melted.
Want to go big? When its time to put on the cheese, add some tasty flavors like provolone or Swiss cheeses, sliced onions, or sliced smoked turkey and a dab of Russian dressing.
Serve hot and tasty with tomato soup (recipe below).
Campsite Tomato Soup
1 large container tomato soup (try a can of the longtime favorite, Campbell's, or go crazy with some gourmet soups at the store.
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
¼ cup heavy cream (OK, OK, half-and-half works, too)
Salt and pepper to taste
The recipe will require a small amount of prep before you take it afield, so allow some time to chop and store ingredients in covered containers or plastic zip-type bags if camping.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add thyme and sauté until onions just start to turn translucent. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and heat for three to five minutes.
Let sauté cool, and while cooling, place thyme leaves in a blender, and give the button a push or two. Place saute' mixture and thyme in a container and store in a cool place until you set up camp.
When you reach the field, mix up tomato soup as per the instructions on (dare I say it?),
Serve potentially-picky kids their soup, and when they have had their fill, then whip out the stored container of saute' goodness and add it to the pot. Add the heavy cream or half-and-half and stir over a low to medium heat, just until warmed all the way through.
Serve it up and enjoy. The kids are happy and so are you. Mission accomplished.