Tonight I am going to s Sake and dinner pairing at The Rookery Cafe in Juneau. I'm not very familiar with Sake which makes me very excited try something new. Stay tuned for photos and more. I do love a good culinary adventure.
Fall brings with it not only crisp air, bountiful harvests and colorful scenery, it is also the end of the visitor season in Juneau. As this season winds down and autumn kicks in, I am preparing for many new food adventures. First, I'll be moving aboard a 86' tug boat that my husband and I will tend during the winter. Second, I'll be teaching the first session of my Meals with Midgi cooking classes in October and finally, I have registered to attend a food bloggers conference for next fall.
I am excited to start working on new recipes, sharing cooking tips and creating meals in a galley onboard a magnificent boat.
This week I have had the pleasure and joy of having my dad and our family friend Roger visit us in Juneau. First I want to say thank you to the many tour operators, friends and locals in Juneau who have rolled out the red carpet and made them feel not only welcomed, but embraced into the community. So far we have gone to Taku Lodge, gold panning, visited the Mt. Roberts Tramway and fishing. Each excursion was exciting and thrilling and most of all fun.
Being married to a sport fishing charter captain definitely gives me an inside track to getting the Sunshine Boys out fishing. They arrived on Friday at nine pm and went fishing Saturday at eight am, nothing was going to slow these guys down. After six hours on the water, Dad and Roger gleefully reported the success of their trip and presented the bounty of their catch: halibut. With eager eyes upon me, I agreed to cook their fresh catch and create a special recipe just for them.
Throughout the summer season we catch and freeze quite a lot of fish, but schedules being so hectic and busy, it’s not often I get to cook it freshly caught. What a difference! Frozen is delicious, but fresh is a whole new level of good. I wanted to protect the delicate nature and flavor of the halibut; therefore I chose to grill it. Grilling is quick and adds a wonderful smoky flavor. The question was how to season it. My go to marinade is a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and minced garlic. Baste it on the fish prior to cooking and immediately when you take it off the grill. The lemon garlic flavor seeps in the warm fish.
I was cooking for my dad, my favorite fella. I wanted to do something extra special that complimented the fish and offered a new and exciting flavor. I also wanted to give them the best memories I could, and the best way I know is to provide them a taste of Alaska. I chose to make a strawberry salsa to top the halibut. It was light and refreshing and paired perfectly with the fish. The key was keeping it fresh; fresh fish and fresh strawberries. The look of contentment on their faces when they ate their fish was heartwarming.
I am truly blessed. Not only do I live in the most beautiful place on earth, and have the most generous colleagues and co-workers, I have the privilege of sharing it with my dad and our friend.
This week I present a recipe that is easy, delicious and tastes like Alaska: Grilled Halibut with Strawberry Salsa.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
4 6oz halibut filets, cleaned and pat dry
½ cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
Zest from 2 lemons
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat grill to 400o or medium-high heat. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic in small bowl. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper and liberally baste with oil mixture. Place on grill and cook for 5 – 7 minutes on each side, until flaky white in the middle. Be careful to not overcook. Baste with oil mixture as soon as fish is removed from grill. Cover with foil to keep warm.
1½ cups strawberries, diced
¾ cups sweet red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers, diced
¾ cups grape or baby heirloom tomatoes, diced
½ cup red onion, finely diced
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in bowl and add salt and pepper according to your tastes. If berries are a bit too sour, add sugar in ½ teaspoon increments to get the desired sweetness.
Leftover salsa is great with chips the next day.
It's interesting how we like to categorize ourselves. Stay at home mom, Baby Boomer, Gen X, Y, Z. There is a category for virtually everyone. Often more than one. I find myself in the empty-nester category. This means my children are grown and have left the nest.
The auspicious event happened to me last fall when Alex, my youngest daughter, flew the coop and headed south for new adventures. It was so quiet around our house that I got a kitten, which we named Rawr. I am now in the crazy-cat-lady category because my Instagram account has almost as many pictures of Rawr as it does food.
After the initial shock of an extremely quiet home and too much time on my hands, I settled into a comfortable routine and started doing things that were new and different to broaden my own horizons. However, the one thing I have really missed is cooking for Alex. She has a great pallet, and likes just about everything, barring mushrooms and olives.
This week was a special treat for me, as Alex came home for a whirlwind visit. We had a wonderful time and packed in so many adventures. We went to Pack Creek for bear viewing, and Tracy Arm for glacier viewing. We skated with my skating group, Taku RollerSports, and most of all we ate. We went to all her favorites, and a few new ones. In between all the fun activities, I managed to prepare a meal or two as well.
Alex's one request was to have an antipasto platter. The funny thing about Alex is how much she loves a variety of foods on one plate so that she can graze. This allows her to taste and eat what she enjoys the most.
Antipasto means "before the meal". Given that this was going to be the actual meal, I added more to the platter to make it a bit more substantial. I also put an Alaskan twist by adding cold smoked salmon. There are certain things all antipasto platters should have. Some nice parmesan cheese, salami and prosciutto. I always add olives because I enjoy them. As with most of my recipes, the ingredients are flexible. Put things you enjoy on the platter. Pairing it with a Caesar salad made a perfect easy and delicious meal for the busy family.
While I'm coming to terms with being an empty-nester, I did enjoy having my baby back, even for a week. Cooking for someone I love is always a bonus for me, and preparing a requested dish is even better.
This week I present a dish easy to make and that can fulfill the request of the returning child: Antipasto platter.
Until next time...
Eat and enjoy,
1 small package salami (hard, genoa, etc.)
1 small package prosciutto
1 small package pepperoni
1 wedge parmesan cheese
1 small package goat cheese
1 small package dried apricots
1 cup fresh strawberries
2 cups crostini (toasted)
1/2 cup marinated olives
1 small package cold smoked salmon
To toast the crostini, drizzle olive oil and toast in broiler for 3 - 5 minutes. Plate all ingredients on large platter and serve with crostini. Add additional favorites of your own such a grapes, tomatoes, fresh basil and other cheeses.