8.18.2012

Board Sailing the Great Unknown

What ever happened to summer in this part of Alaska? We had 3 straight days of sunshine and 70 degrees last week, and that was it. It's nearing the end of August and the leaves are turning yellow. Seems like just last month the leaves grew and the hills turned from snow white to green. The berries are loving the cold and wet weather and we are loving the berries. Blackberries, raspberries, currants, cranberries and blueberries are all plentiful in the backyard. Jessy says it's time to make some jam. We've also been harvesting lots of yarrow, rose hips and pineapple weed for teas. A few nights ago I was brushing my teeth and saw a baby porcupine shoot across the lawn. I ran out with a bucket and trapped it. Not to be eaten, but to be relocated away from the hungry fishing guides. Jess sung to it as we took it to it's new home on berry mountain.


On the last of our sunny days she grabbed the board and took off into the wind. She sailed for an hour and didn't fall once. I sailed for 3 seconds and fell 6 times. Board sailing is a different breed of surfing.










Cowabunga!





Next morning... red in the sky... sailors take warning.








Rain or shine, it's always berry time.






Wild berry cheesecake.


Strawberry shortcake.


Salmon pate bites.


Roasted rack of lamb wrapped in bacon and apple.


Valhalla seafood kebabs.



The winds are moving in...





8.10.2012

Indian Summer

"Every foodie operation out there boasts a certain genre of cuisine that comes from the meshing of the menu, concept and hands behind the line. Hipster. Chic. Molecular. Southern. French. You know the names. This backwoods restaurant that I currently operate consists of these two arms, a couple good knives, a shotgun and a piece of flint or some good matches... ain't no better adjective to this food than 'rustic'. Old school. Sustainable. The way my grandma's grandma used to cook it. Harvest and barter locally, then cook native. All my cookbooks have been learned and burned. I go to the native elders of the village down the lake to ask what's the best way to fry up a porcupine and get all them quills off. I've learned that a chilly, heavy rain brings out the sweetness is the wild blueberries. When the bear and eagles roam, the salmon are coming, the salmon are coming. Sustainable cooking is about getting reconnected with nature; being the natural chef within.

I'm feeding Eskimo descendants that have never tasted cheesecake before to billionaires killing bear for trophy hunting that fly into our gravel pit in Hawker jets... hundreds of miles from the nearest grocery store with a few propane burners and an oven that sometimes work. Electricity is sometimes there, thus I don't get too weak on it. Kneed, mix, stir, kick, slap by hand man. What's the hurry anyway? Put the two and three together and you're best off fishing, hunting and harvesting in the backyard and building a fire in the front and having a good time doing it. Saves cost, saves gas and boy, do the old guys dig true Alaskan cowboy cuisine. It brings big smiles and loud laughs to the dinner table. Kinda reminds 'em of when the West was still a frontier and chefs used to tag along the wagon wheels making big pots of stew and gravy. Come get ye chow.

These folks don't care for dishes that have dashes of caviar and squiggles of sauce ontop to look pretty. They get back from the cold and wet after burning thousands of calories and just want to eat something wholesome and tasty. Food is pure energy and medicine at the core. So I jack up the jack rabbit n wild bean chili with cayenne, ginger, garlic, apple cider vin, honey and get them boys warmed up and feeling good. That's why we in this business... it's about adapting to your scene and making folks feel good in whateva shape, size or pan that comes in."

-http://www.mercenarychefs.com/Into_the_Wild.html

Hauling propane to the cabin on the horse.


Jessy picking wild blueberries.






Should last us a week.


Wrong turn.





At the heart of the last full moon Jess and I crawled into bed at sunset.... then heard a few gun shots. When I walked out I saw Chris digging for something under the old generator shed. The porcupine met it's maker. I geared up and wanted to use it's remains for good. Quills for art, teeth for jewelry, flesh for food and marrow for medicine.



This was rather stinky...




Heck, let's have a midnight full moon porcupine BBQ.


Easy way to get the unused quills off to get to the meat is to toss in on the fire. Smells somewhat like a mix between burnt hair and plastic, but the meat still tastes good.







Fed and satisfied. Back to work. Sand the cabin and repaint it.



A few hours after we started that week-long project a big tormenta moved in.



Art class. I played a bit of piano next to the fire while Jess doodled, made dream catchers and cleaned up the quills.






Can you find the big eagle?


Chef at work. Spicing up the outdoor window frames.


Good work, good talk.



Sockeyes.




Welcome to the Taz.