Category Archives: Cooking

Chicken Pot Pie Chowder

The season is shifting here in Alaska and that means soups, stews and chowders are on the menu. Here’s a delicious chowder that uses the entire ear of corn to create a stock that sweetens and enhances the overall flavor. After adding peas to the mix I realized I had made something that was an awful lot like chicken pot pie, so I decided to name it as such.

Chicken Pot Pie Chowder || A recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

  • 4 fresh corn cobs
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 russet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups leftover chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • cream or evaporated milk, for serving

Directions:

Cut the kernels off the cobs and reserve for later. Place the cobs in a pot with 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Discard cobs and reserve remaining stock, which should have reduced to about 2.5 cups.

In a medium Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-high heat. If the bacon doesn’t render enough fat, add the butter. When bacon is cooked through, add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and reserved corn. Coat with the bacon fat and cook until onions are soft and transluscent, about 5 minutes.

Add the corn stock, chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add cubed potato and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the 1/2 cup water and flour. Ladle in about 1.5 cups of soup, including the potatoes and veggies, and blend with an immersion blender. Return this mixture to the pot. Add the chicken and frozen peas and simmer until peas are cooked through and the chowder has thickened. You could also add a drained can of white beans at this point if you’d like.

Remove from heat and serve into bowls topped with cream or evaporated milk.

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd

Our new home has a rhubarb plant – the first one I’ve ever owned. And that means so many possibilities…for crumbles, crisps and pies. I’m not a fan of crumbles, crisps or pies, so I’m on a mission to find other recipes that use this super-tart plant.

I came across this recipe for a curd, which is sort of like a pudding. I tweaked it slightly and accidentally doubled the sugar, which turned out quite nice! Turns out curd is a really forgiving recipe, so it’s ok if you have more or less of an ingredient.

This turned out so perfectly delicious. Tart, sweet, creamy – a wonderful alternative to the typical strawberry rhubarb fare. I enjoy it straight out of the jar, but you could put it in crêpes, on toast, on pancakes, the world is your rhubarb curd!

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd

Makes about 4 servings.

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

  • 150 g chopped rhubarb, fresh or thawed
  • 100 g chopped strawberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, zest and lemon juice. Heat over medium flame till simmering, cover and simmer on low for about 7 minutes. Mash with a potato masher after a few minutes to break it up as it softens.

Purée the mixture using either a food processor or immersion blender. Set aside.

Using a double boiler or two small saucepans that can stack, fill the bottom pot with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer, turn to med/low flame, and add the other pot on top. Whisk together the eggs, yolk and sugar until sugar is well incorporated.

While constantly whisking, slowly add the rhubarb purée. It will thicken as you whisk, turning a lighter color. Whisk until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in the butter till melted. Pour into small jars, add lids, and let cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Curd should keep for a couple of weeks, but it may get eaten up before then!

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Roasted Corn Chowder

Hi Blogfriends!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I got really really busy with my floral business but in light of recent events I’ve had to close my business and now I have more time for other creative endeavors, such as remaking some of my favorite knitting patterns and cooking.

I’ve been making a lot of recipes using easy-to-find ingredients. Last night I came up with a tasty soup that I wanted to share. It’s a flexible recipe. Add different kinds of veggies if you like and change up the seasonings if these don’t suit you.

Roasted Corn Chowder | A Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken and Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped crimini or button mushrooms
  • salt
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Trader Joes umami powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 cup leftover rotisserie chicken pieces, torn into chunks
  • 3 cups chicken stock, 1/4 cup reserved
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup cream

Roasted Corn Chowder | A Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Thaw the corn in a strainer under hot water and drain in a salad spinner. Place corn on a baking sheet and broil until corn is browned. Set aside.

Melt butter in a 4 quart soup pot over medium high flame. Add the onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt. Sauté until moisture is gone from the mushrooms, about 7 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, umami powder, thyme, oregano and pepper to taste. Sauté another few minutes until mushrooms start to brown.

Add the corn, potatoes, chicken, 2.75 cups of stock and the milk. In a small liquid measuring cup whisk together the 1/4 cup stock and the flour to make a slurry. Pour that into the pot and bring everything to a simmer. Do not let it come to a rolling boil as this can cause the milk to curdle.

Partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream.

If the soup isn’t thick enough for your liking, create another slurry of cold stock and flour and add to soup and simmer for another 7 minutes.

Roasted Corn Chowder | A Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Farro and Arugula Salad with dried Cranberries

My friend Katelyn is a grain salad person. She’s always serving the tastiest salads with barley or wheat berries mixed together with other delicious morsels.

Last week my sister hosted dinner and served a tasty orzo and arugula salad that I absolutely loved. I decided to adapt her recipe by using farro and it turned out wonderfully. I served it to Katelyn alongside this Chicken Piccata recipe from Homemade Italian Cooking. She asked for the recipe, so here we are. 🙂

The magic ingredient in my salad (that’s completely optional) is reconstituted porcini mushrooms chopped up finely. It adds depth to the dish and the lemon, feta and dried cranberries bring in a brightness that complement the spiciness of the arugula.

This is a wonderful side dish to serve at Thanksgiving as it incorporates cranberries, grains, and has a look of good cheer on your plate.

You can of course replace the farro with any grain such as brown rice or couscous.

Farro and Arugula Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Farro and Arugula salad with Feta, Cranberries and Porcini

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
  • 2.5 cups cooked farro, cooled
  • A few big handfuls of baby arugula (or baby spinach/arugula mix)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Farro and Arugula Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Directions:

Place dried porcini in a small bowl and cover completely with boiling water. Place a plate on top of the bowl and let sit for 20 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Chop finely.

Add all the ingredients to a salad bowl and toss until everything is well coated. Add more olive oil if it needs to be loosened up a little.

Quick Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

It’s apple season, which means we have a bucket full of apples that we picked from a farm last week and we still haven’t done anything with them.

Early this week I made my son a quick oatmeal breakfast with apples and he gobbled it all up. I’ve been making it nearly every day since. I eyeballed all the ingredients, but here’s my closest approximation.

Quick apple cinnamon oatmeal | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Easy Apple Cinnamon Raisin Maple Oatmeal

Serves 1-2

  • 1 small apple, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • cream

Directions:

Place apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft – about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the oatmeal, water, salt and raisins in a bowl. Place on a plate (in case of spill over) and microwave for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

When oatmeal is done, add the apple mixture, maple syrup and top with cream.

Quick apple cinnamon oatmeal | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Salmon Quiche

It’s summer in Alaska and that means fresh, wild, delicious salmon. It also means fresh, wild, delicious salmon leftovers (just once in a while). I’m not a huge fan of leftover salmon and the typical recipes that use cooked salmon such as salmon burgers, but here I was last night, with a tasty leftover grilled salmon steak. What was I to do?

Make a quiche, that’s what I did!

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

I’ve made about three quiches in my life and they haven’t been great. They turn out tasting more like scrambled eggs, and I’m not a fan of that texture. I want a more solid quiche that’s salty and tastes better than a scrambled egg.

So I found a recipe for smoked salmon quiche and then found these helpful tips from Saveur.  After a few tweaks I felt confident and equipped to make a delicious, creamy quiche. It worked!

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Leftover Salmon Quiche

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry (I found it in the refrigerated aisle by the pie crusts but if you only find it frozen make sure it’s thawed)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • dash liquid smoke (optional)
  • a couple of dashes of Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • leftover cooked salmon, about 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (sour cream or cream cheese would probably work instead)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Unfurl the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to smooth it out. Place the sheet in a pie pan and push the dough down so it gets into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Use kitchen shears to trim away the excess so the dough is flush with the top edge of the pan. Prick it several times with a fork and completely cover with foil. Weigh it down with pie weights, uncooked beans, or in my case, a smaller pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and turn oven down to 300 F.

In a large liquid measuring cup, gently whisk together the eggs, whipping cream, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, Tabasco Sauce and flour. Pour the mixture into the pie pan. Sprinkle the salmon so it’s evenly distributed. Add dollops of crème fraîche all around then sprinkle the green onions all over.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit 10-20 minutes before serving.

Delight in the fact that you made a quiche that didn’t suck (hopefully).

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Cucumber Sandwiches

It’s been a record-shattering summer here in Anchorage with temps in the high 80s and even hitting 90 degrees. We Alaskans are coping, but for me it’s hard to figure out how to live like a regular person – how do I sleep? How do I keep my car cool? How do I make dinner without turning my house into a hellish oven?

Bring on the cold sandwiches! When I was in college I became close friends with a woman from Connecticut. She was a little more proper than my Alaska friends and whenever she threw a party she would serve cucumber tea sandwiches on soft white bread with the crusts cut off. No one seemed to understand these sandwiches, but I would inhale them.

This morning at the farmer’s market I got an English cucumber and some Italian parsley and decided to pack a picnic for our beachside excursion.

These tasted just like how I remember. Tangy and most importantly, chilled. They were the perfect snack for this oppressively hot weather.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Cucumber tea sandwiches

Makes 6 sandwiches

Ingredients:

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
  • salt
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
  • softened butter

Directions:

Place diced cucumber in a mesh strainer and sprinkle with salt. Let sit over a bowl for 30 minutes to draw out some of the moisture from the cucumbers. Pat with paper towels and set aside.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

In a mixing bowl add the lemon zest and juice along with the cream cheese, olive oil, parsley, onion powder, Dijon, and salt and pepper. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Use a rubber spatula to mix in the cucumbers.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Spread softened butter on one side of each slice of bread. Then make sandwiches using the cucumber mixture. Slice each sandwich on the diagonal. Enjoy!

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Totally Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s been a really busy summer. My floral endeavors have pretty much taken over my creative life and I have very little room for blogging.

After four weddings this weekend and barely cooking for my family, I finally had time to prepare a home-cooked meal.

I started by making a really rich chicken stock. After simmering it for about six hours I strained it and then decided to make chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles.

It was a hit!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup | The Best Chicken Soup Ever from Alaskaknitnat.com

Here’s how I made it from start to finish.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 6 or so

I’ve divided up this recipe into to parts: the stock and then the soup. You can of course start with store-bought chicken stock, but there is something so satisfying about creating your own opaque chicken stock. Plus it’s way more flavorful than anything found at the store.

Ingredients for the stock:

  • 2-3 chicken carcasses
  • 1-2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions for the stock:

Using pliers, crack the bones of your chicken carcasses. I actually do this after eating a chicken and freeze it until I have two or three. I also had some frozen skin-on chicken thighs that I added as well just to use them up.

Add the carcass – bones, skin and all – to a large stock pot. Add the onions, celery, carrots, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaves. Fill the pot with water. You don’t need to be exact here at all. Just fill the pot, whatever size it is.

Cover and set over high flame. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for several hours. I think I let mine simmer for six hours while I cleaned the house and made flowers for an elopement tomorrow.

Turn off the heat and let cool for 30 minutes or so.

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large liquid measuring cup and start ladling the stock into the sieve. Use the back of the ladle to mash up the solids so as much liquid as possible comes out.

Toss the solids and pour the stock into jars. Repeat until you’ve strained all the stock. Store the stock in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freeze for several months.

Ingredients for the noodle soup:

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken – if you have leftover chicken that works, but raw chicken is good too
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the noodles: (this is enough for two batches. Save the remaining dough and make some fresh pasta the following day. Or halve the recipe)

  • 300 g all-purpose flour (or 2 cups)
  • 100 g semolina flour (or 2/3 cup)
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

For the noodles, mix the flours together in the bowl of a standing mixer. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Whisk up the eggs with a fork until they are combined. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium-low until a dough is formed. Turn onto a table sprinkled with flour and knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. I had three skin-on chicken thighs so I fried those up to render the fat instead of adding oil.

Add the onions and celery. Sprinkle on some salt. Sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and add the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to simmer while you make the noodles.

After the dough has rested for 30 minutes or so, cut it into two pieces. Place one piece in the fridge for fresh pasta tomorrow.

Cut the remaining dough into three equal pieces. Cover two with plastic wrap while you roll out the first ball.

Add the pasta rolling adaptor to your Kitchen Aid (or use the old-fashioned version). Flatten the piece of dough with your hands and flour on both sides. Run it through the largest setting. Fold the dough in half and run it through again. Repeat about six times and flour again on both sides if it’s feeling tacky. It should feel smooth.

Run the pasta sheet through the next setting just once. Repeat until setting 6 or until the desired thickness. I typically go to setting 8 on my Kitchen Aid but that’s for delicate pasta like vermicelli. For this dish I wanted something sturdier.

Hang the sheet of dough on a pasta rack (I find a laundry drying rack to be super useful for this). Repeat with other two balls of dough. Let the dough air dry for about 15 minutes. This makes it easier to cut.

In the meantime, remove the chicken from the pot and break it up with the whisk adaptor of your Kitchen Aid (or a fork would do). Place it back in the pot along with the green beans. Bring the soup back to a simmer.

Flour each sheet of dough and cut it into your desired noodle shape. You could run it through the fettuccini roller but I prefer hand-cut wide noodles.

Add your noodles to the pot and cover to bring it back to a boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until noodles are cooked through. Typically I prefer al dente, but for soup I let them cook a little longer.

Serve in bowls with freshly grated pepper.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup | The Best Chicken Soup Ever from Alaskaknitnat.com

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole

Sundays are usually a day where I take my time in the kitchen, but with the arrival of not-winter (as it’s not really spring here in Anchorage yet but the snow is mostly melted), we spent most of our day playing outside. I left very little time to prepare dinner.

This recipe was a clean-out-the-fridge type of meal. I had pesto, broccoli, chicken and pre-cooked rice hanging out in my fridge so I put them all together and it was delicious and comforting. It’s a one-stop shop for flavor and nutrients.

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole | A weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

I used my spinach pesto recipe but feel free to use the regular kind instead.

Broccoli rice chicken pesto casserole

Serves 6

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 7 chicken tenderloins or 2 small chicken breasts

For the casserole:

  • 3.5 cups warmed cooked rice (white, brown, farro, whatever grain you want really)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1.5-2 cups pesto
  • zest of one lemon
  • shredded mozzarella and pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole | A weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Mix the marinade together in a zip top bag. Pound the chicken breasts lightly and place in bag. Marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Place the rice in a large casserole dish and set aside. Steam the broccoli until tender, about 5 minutes, and add to the rice along with the lemon zest.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high flame and add a little drizzle of cooking oil. When pan is hot add the chicken with the marinade. Cook chicken until caramelizes and deep brown on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the casserole dish.

Add in the pesto and stir until everything is well combined. Smooth out the mixture with the back of a spoon and sprinkle lightly with cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole | A weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Skillet Enchiladas

I love ooey, gooey enchiladas, but I dislike how messy they are to make. All that soaking tortillas in sauce, filling them and rolling them up – I don’t want to dirty up my clean kitchen!

Here’s a recipe I adapted from Epicurious for the easiest way EVER to make enchiladas. It’s all the same basic ingredients, but without the hassle of dipping and rolling tortillas.

This recipe is really adaptable. Use a leftover rotisserie chicken or ground pork instead of beef. Sub the black beans for pinto. Use what you have in the pantry.

Easy one skillet enchiladas | a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

It’s so quick to put together and get to the table, this may become part of our regular dinner rotation!

Skillet Beef Enchiladas – the easiest way to make enchiladas

Serves 4-6

Easy one skillet enchiladas | a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (sub ground pork or shredded cooked chicken)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • about 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 6 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Sprinkle of shredded smoked gouda (optional)
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped (optional)
  • Pickled jalapeño slices (optional)
  • Sour cream and chopped cilantro, for serving

Easy one skillet enchiladas | a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500F. Heat a 10-inch cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium-high flame. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat if necessary, but leave a little in the pan for the onions.

Add the onions and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Add the beans and corn. Pour the enchilada sauce over the contents of the pan and mix together. Add the tortilla pieces and gently stir to incorporate them into the mix, folding the mix over the tortillas now and then.

Evenly distribute the contents of the pan and top with shredded cheese. Turn off heat when contents is heated through and starts to bubble. Dot with olives and jalapeño slices if desired.

Bake 5-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with dollops of sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro.

Easy one skillet enchiladas | a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com