Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
The Alaska Travel Industry Association’s new slogan is “Alaska B4UDie.” Many motorhome travelers put the Great Land at the top of their travel wish list and, for a lucky few, the state is a second home. Thank your lucky stars that you travel with your own kitchen, allowing you to shop for fresh Alaskan seafood and produce to prepare recipes such as these.
Kodiak Wild Salmon Piroshki
This is my simplified version of a recipe from Kodiak Island. Before leaving Anchorage, where puff pastry can be found in supermarket freezers, tuck away a package or two for this impressive, but very easy, oven sandwich. Experiment with different filling combinations and seasonings. This recipe is ideal for using leftover or canned salmon. It looks like a million dollars but is remarkably easy.
Puff pastry, cut with a biscuit cutter into 4- or 6-inch rounds
Cold, cooked salmon
Hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Minced sweet onion
Dried dill weed
1 egg mixed with 3 tablespoons water
On half of the pastry rounds arrange some salmon, sliced egg, and minced onion, leaving a margin around the edge of each. Sprinkle with dill weed and seasoned salt. Top with the remaining pastry rounds, sealing the edges. Dip your finger in water, slightly wet the margins of the pastries, and press gently to seal the edges completely. Using a sharp knife, cut three small slits into the tops so steam can escape. Brush each piroshki with the egg wash made with the egg and water. Bake at 400 degrees for five minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 13 minutes or until the pastry is a crusty brown. Serve at once.
Holland America Line Maple-Glazed Salmon
1/4-cup orange juice
1/4-cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 wild Alaska salmon steaks or fillets
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
While the grill heats, bring the orange juice, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and garlic to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook for five minutes and then stir in the olive oil. Salt and pepper the salmon; brush generously with the glaze; and grill over medium-high heat on an oiled rack placed 5 or 6 inches above the heat until the salmon is just cooked through. This should take approximately five minutes on each side. Holland America chefs serve this with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes seasoned with milk, unsalted butter, and coarse-grain mustard.
Alaskan Halibut With Green Chile Sauce
It isn’t easy to keep fresh herbs on hand when cruising the Alaska outback. Freeze-dried chives are an acceptable substitute for fresh, but I don’t recommend substituting dried cilantro in this recipe. If you don’t have fresh cilantro or parsley, use none.
4 Alaska halibut fillets or steaks
1/2-cup mayonnaise or low-fat yogurt
1 can mild green chiles, well drained
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or chives (optional)
Wash any glaze off the frozen halibut and pat it dry. Cook the halibut in your favorite way, then whisk together the mayonnaise or yogurt, chiles, and lime juice and spread atop the cooked fish. Sprinkle with herbs if you like. Serve with rice and wild rice mix, a round of chilled cranberry sauce, and lightly steamed frozen peas.
Kiwi Lime Sauce
At Lavelle’s Bistro in Fairbanks, owner-chef Frank Eagle serves this sauce with rack of lamb, but it’s so delicious you’ll use it on everything from meat to pound cake, ice cream, pancakes, and canned fruit. This recipe makes more than a quart of sauce, but go ahead and make the full recipe. It will disappear in no time.
6 ripe kiwis, peeled and cut into small pieces
4 cups sugar
4-1/4 cups water
1 cup lime juice
4 teaspoons lime zest
In a roomy saucepan bring the kiwis, sugar, 4 cups of the water, lime juice, and lime zest to a simmer. Stir together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4-cup water and stir it gradually into the lime mixture over medium heat. When the mixture reaches the desired thickness, stop adding the cornstarch mixture. Serve hot, warm, cold, or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
Fakey-Flaky Fish Casserole
Surimi, the fish product sold as imitation crab or lobster, is a boon to the motorhome cook, because it comes in vacuum packs that keep well in the freezer or refrigerator. There is no waste, and a pound of it can be stretched to feed a crowd. Here’s a big casserole to take to the next campground potluck that will feed up to 14 people.
16-ounce package surimi imitation crabmeat
16-ounce package pasta, such as rotini
16-ounce bottle ketchup
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4-cup olive oil
Medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
8-ounce can mushrooms, stems and pieces, well drained
2 6-ounce cans sliced ripe olives
10-ounce jar stuffed olives, well drained
16-ounce package frozen pearl onions, thawed
10-ounce package frozen cut green beans, thawed
10-ounce package frozen green peas, thawed
6-ounce package of the grated cheese of your choice
Coat two 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dishes with non-stick spray. Cut the surimi into small bites or flakes. Cook the pasta in a large pot; drain; mix in the ketchup and surimi; and set aside. In a large skillet, stir-fry the peppers in the oil, gradually adding the cauliflower pieces and removing the peppers as they become crisp-tender. Continue stir-frying, adding and removing vegetables as they are done, until they are all coated and hot. (The green beans and onions should be crisp-tender; the canned vegetables and peas need only be heated.) As the vegetables come out of the skillet, add them to the large pot with the rotini. Once all the cooked vegetables are in the bowl with the pasta, mix gently until everything is well combined. Spread the mixture into the two casserole dishes. The casseroles can now be covered and refrigerated. When ready to eat, top with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees until heated through. This will take approximately 20 to 25 minutes if cooked immediately after preparation, but twice as long if the dishes have been refrigerated.
Alaskan Halibut Chowder
Invite the neighbors to share this big-batch chowder. With oyster crackers or pilot crackers and a big salad, it’s a hearty meal.
1-1/2 pounds Alaskan halibut, rinsed and patted dry
4 slices bacon, cut up
Large onion, diced
Large carrot, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 quart chicken broth
Small bottle clam juice
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
13-ounce can evaporated milk
Salt, pepper to taste
Cut the fish into bite-size pieces, removing any skin or bones. In a soup pot, fry out the bacon, gradually stirring in the onion, carrot, celery, and potatoes. Add the chicken broth and clam juice; cover; and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add the fish and cook for five minutes. In a separate cup or bowl, gradually add cold water to the flour to make a smooth paste and stir it into the pot. Cook until it thickens, then turn off the heat and stir in the thyme and evaporated milk. Adjust seasonings and ladle into soup bowls.
Wild Alaska Salmon Wraps
Look for canned, smoked, wild Alaska salmon in supermarkets and specialty stores. This spread also can be used on crackers, as a sandwich spread, or as a creamy filling for an omelet.
6.5-ounce can smoked Alaska salmon
2 8-ounce bricks cream cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons sweet onion, finely minced
1/2-teaspoon dried dill weed
Drain and flake the salmon. Let the cream cheese come to room temperature and mix it with the salmon, onion, and dill weed. Spread the mixture on flour tortillas; roll up; and cut in half to serve for lunch or in small slices to serve as snacks.
Omelet: For each six-egg omelet you’ll need 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cheese-salmon mixture. Whisk the six eggs with a tablespoon of water, pour into a nonstick skillet with melted butter, and cook until just set. Using two teaspoons, dot half the omelet with dollops of the cream cheese mixture; fold the omelet over the cheese mixture; turn off the heat; and give the omelet a minute for the filling to melt. This makes two servings.
Sourdough pancakes and reindeer sausage are standard Sunday breakfast fare at the year-round Sourdough Campground in Tok. The best way to acquire sourdough starter is to ask someone to give you some of theirs. Ask how to feed and care for it or get instructions at www.sourdoughcampground.com. Properly nurtured, the starter keeps forever, changing subtly as it picks up new spores from the places you travel. Soon you’ll be using your starter in dozens of recipes and giving starters to friends you meet along the way.
Here’s how campground owner Ken Albright makes his pancakes using a starter that is many years old.
1 cup starter
1-1/2 cups buttermilk pancake mix
1 pinch sugar
1 dash vegetable oil
Warm water to thin the batter to the desired consistency.
Whisk everything together until you have a batter the consistency of heavy cream. Spoon the batter onto a hot griddle; brown on one side; then flip and brown the other side. This recipe makes four to five servings.
Skinflint Fish Dip
Even in Alaska, smoked salmon is expensive. Here’s a way to stretch out a small amount of it to make a dip, cracker spread, or sandwich filling. If you don’t have a mild onion, cover the minced onion with boiling water for 30 seconds and drain; or omit the onion. Using regular, raw onion could overwhelm the flavor of the seafood.
16-ounce package imitation crabmeat, flaked
4 ounces smoked salmon, finely cut up
1/2-cup pickle relish
4 hard-cooked eggs, mashed
Medium sweet onion (Vidalia or Oso Sweet), finely diced
2 or 3 stalks celery, finely diced (optional)
2 cups mayonnaise
Mix everything together and chill. Serve as a dip or as a sandwich filling.
Books for cooks
Little hands can help around the campsite, too. Salad People And More Real Recipes ($17.95, Tricycle Press), by Mollie Katzen, is a delightful picture cookbook for preschoolers through ages 7 or 8. The story is told in text for grownups and in pictures for children, who will be so proud to show off their homemade soups, snacks, smoothies, and pancakes. Quiche is perfect for young cooks, and the book’s pictures show how to make it in 1-2-3 order. Instructions are clear about how grownups can help with difficult or dangerous procedures. The sturdy, hardcover version of the book will hold together through several generations. It is available at bookstores, through online booksellers, or from the publisher at www.tenspeedpress.com.
If you love shortcuts, Jill Snider’s Complete Cake Mix Magic ($24.95, Robert Rose) would be a great buy. Spiral-bound to lie flat, this sturdy hardcover book will stand up to years of use at home and on the road. Using Duncan Hines mixes, the book provides recipes for 300 cakes, cupcakes, cookies, loaves, muffins, bars, and other luscious desserts. They’re so clever that nobody will guess that “your” recipe started with a box cake. It’s especially helpful that the author focuses on one brand of cake mixes, since, as she points out, flavors can vary widely among brands. Some white cakes, for example, are almond-flavored while others are flavored with vanilla. The book ends with a bonus section on frostings and toppings. It can be purchased at bookstores, through online booksellers, or direct from Firefly Books by calling (800) 387-5085 (U.S.) or (800) 387-6192 (Canada).
If you count net carbs, pastry chef Victor Kline has a fabulous new cookbook, Low Carb Sinfully Delicious Desserts ($14.95, Hatherleigh Press). Mr. Kline, whose resume includes serving as a chef at a number of five-star hotels, provides more than 100 sugar-free recipes for such wickedly delicious treats as tiramisu, chocolate chip cookies, cheesecakes, and much more. Instead of sugar, the recipes are sweetened with Splenda, a popular sugar substitute. Unfortunately, the only nutritional indicator provided by this book is “net” carbs, which could be a misleading term for diabetics or others who must count total carbs. Nutritional breakdown for other indicators such as fats, sodium, protein, and calories is not provided. Love the recipes, but if you’re a strict carb counter, you must do the math for yourself. The book is available at bookstores or through online booksellers.