Saturday, December 10, 2011
We went way north for this meal, and our recent Iowa snow and frigid weather only improved the experience!
This dinner blended several typical Alaskan foods. Of course, we had to have some fish or seafood. Berries and hearty vegetables are also common. Finally, we gave a nod to the state's gold rush history with a loaf of sour dough bread.
We were lucky enough to have some salmon in our freezer. Though our King salmon can't claim Alaskan heritage, as it was caught by my brother in downstate Michigan, it fit the bill. After seasoning with salt, pepper and garlic powder, the two fillets went into a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes (I checked them at 10 and they needed a bit more time).
We did have some real Alaskan product as well: snow crabs. Neither the kids or Marc had ever had these big crab legs. Lucy, after taking her first look at them, declared "I am not eating that." These came already cooked, I only had to heat them up. Most references recommend a quick steam. I didn't have a steamer basket large enough to contain the cluster of legs, so I made my own with some strips of foil over a large pot.
The berries went into a quick cobbler, I found this recipe at one of my most used references for this project.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon melted butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
Mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt. Stir in milk, vanilla, butter. Spread batter in buttered 8 X 8 pan. Scatter blueberries over batter. Sprinkle sugar over berries. Pour boiling water over all. Bake at 375 degree oven for 45 min. or unitl brown and done in center. Berries sink to bottom and form juice. Serve hot with light cream; or cold, topped with ice cream."
---Juneau Centennial Cookbook, Jane Stewart, Phyllice F. Bradner, Betty Harris (p. 43)
I only used about 1/3 cup of sugar for the topping and reduced the boiling water by about half. This came together quickly and only took about 30 minutes in the oven. When it was done, I increased the oven temperature for the fish.
Despite Lucy's initial resistance to the crab, it was the first thing she went for at the table. She couldn't wait to crack those suckers open. And, happily, she thoroughly enjoyed what was inside. She said, "they taste just like shrimp, only not quite like shrimp." Well said. Maia dug into her salmon first, one of her favorites. Both adults were happy as well. Despite feeling like a rather decadent meal, it was surprisingly quick and easy. The cobbler was very simple and the fish and crab legs cooked quickly. Easy sides of shredded cabbage and bread rounded out a fun Friday night meal.
Next stop: Delaware