Category Archives: Cooking

Miso Ramen

As autumn descends into what I call “waiting for winter” I crave cozy, warming meals. I’ve been trying out making my own ramen and I think I finally have it down.

As with most of my recipes, this is a flexible dish where you can interchange a lot of ingredients. Baby bok choy or baby spinach, ramen noodles or udon noodles, raw chicken or leftover rotisserie – do what you like, but what’s key is a good broth or stock. I recommend homemade bone stock, but if that’s out of your wheelhouse, Costco carries a “sipping bone broth” that’s remarkably rich and delicious.

Miso Ramen – a simple recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 3 scallions, 1 reserved for serving
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or leftover rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1, 5-inch piece of kombu
  • 1 tablespoon black soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake (optional)
  • 4 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sweet white or yellow miso
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ounces chopped baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 pounds ramen or udon noodles
  • 1 brick firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • chili oil, for serving
  • furikake, for serving

IMG_2403

Directions:

In a medium pot, combine the stock, 2 whole scallions, ginger, chicken, garlic, shiitake, kombu, black soy sauce, sake, crimini mushrooms, white pepper and black pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the scallions, ginger, chicken, shiitake and kombu. Slice the shiitake mushrooms and reserve for serving. Shred the chicken and place it back in the pot. Discard the ginger, scallions and kombu. Add the miso and corn to the pot and continue to simmer while you prepare the eggs.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil and gently place four eggs into the water. Let boil for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and run under cold water. Peel and set aside. Chop the remaining scallion and set aside. Add the spinach to the broth and continue simmering while the noodles cook.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the noodles. Boil them according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water to keep them from overcooking.

Divide the cubed tofu and noodles into four ramen bowls. Fill each bowl with broth, being sure to get some good chicken and crimini bits into each bowl. Carefully cut each egg in half and place two halves in each bowl. Divide the sliced shiitake mushrooms into each bowl. Sprinkle each bowl with the chopped scallion and furikake. Top with chili oil to taste. Serve immediately.

IMG_2402

 

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I cleaned out my freezer today and found some broccoli florets lurking in the back. I love broccoli, but only when I steam it from fresh. When it’s already frozen it can be sort of mushy. It’s perfect for soup!

Here’s a delicious recipe I came up with today. The bacon gives the soup a smokey flavor that accentuates the broccoli and sharp cheddar perfectly. Add in potatoes and canned white beans and you give the soup a little more bulk. Serve this with a crusty white bread and you’ve got yourself a delicious wintertime supper!

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Bacon, Potatoes and White Beans

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Bacon, Potatoes and White Beans

Serves 6, probably

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds broccoli

2 strips of bacon, chopped

1 cup chopped onion

5 garlic cloves, smashed and choppped

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups chicken stock

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

12 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz. sharp cheddar, grated

1 oz. pecorino Romano cheese, grated

1 cup cream

Directions:

If using fresh broccoli, steam it until tender. If using frozen broccoli, thaw it under hot water. Roughly chop and set broccoli aside.

Add bacon to a dutch oven and heat over medium till bacon is cooked through but not crispy. Add onions and cook till translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the butter until melted and mix in the flour till a paste forms. Cook this for about 1-2 minutes. Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits. This will thicken very quickly. Slowly stir in the chicken stock. Add pepper, thyme and broccoli and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it’s a consistency you like. This is up to you. I like a chunky soup so I didn’t blend it very long, but if you prefer a smoother soup, go to town with your immersion blender.

Return pot to low flame and add in the potatoes and beans. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses till melted. Stir in the cream. Add salt if desired. Serve immediately.

Posole Raquel

My mother spent several of her young adult years living in New Mexico and that’s where she first learned to cook. My favorite of her dishes was always posole, a pork stew with hominy, cooked all day until the pork is falling apart tender and the hominy is soft and chewy having absorbed the flavors of the soup. The house always smelled amazing when she cooked this dish and I could hardly wait to dip her homemade flour tortillas in the red, flavorful broth.

Many posole recipes call for canned hominy, but that just won’t do for my mom. She always uses dried hominy, which she soaked the night before. There’s something better about dried hominy than canned – it’s a texture thing I guess.

My mom doesn’t use a recipe but I never remember how she makes it. She just gifted me some dried hominy and New Mexico chiles for Christmas so I thought I would finally get down a recipe on my blog so I can stop hounding her every time I want to make it.

Traditionally posole is served with flour tortillas and a variety of fresh ingredients such as chopped cabbage, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, chopped green onions, cilantro and lime wedges. Since my mom’s posole is more stewlike than soupy we skip the salad toppings and just opt for the tortillas to sop up the rich broth. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family does!

-Natasha

Posole Rojo – in the style of my mother, Rachel

Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 oz. dried hominy, soaked in water overnight

6-8 dried New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

2.5-3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into cubes

1 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped

4-6 cups chicken stock

3-5 cups water

2 bay leaves

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato sauce or marinara sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

The night before, place the dried hominy in a pot and cover with several inches of cold water. Cover and let sit overnight. Drain and set aside when ready to make posole.

Heat a cast iron skillet on high and toast the dried peppers on both sides, being sure not to burn them. Set chiles aside. When cool, use scissors to cut a slit up the side of each pepper. This will make them easier to scrape later.

Heat a large dutch oven with the olive oil. Pat dry the pork, lightly salt it, and add half of the pork to the dutch oven. Brown on both sides, set aside and add the rest of the pork to brown. Set second batch of pork aside, pour out most of the fat, leaving a little bit for the vegetables.

Add the onion, scraping up any fond that developed on the bottom of the pot as the onions release water. Cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add 4 cups of stock, 3 cups of water, the bay leaves, oregano, tomato sauce, pork, hominy and the chiles. If there were any bones with your pork, add them too. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for several hours until pork is very tender and hominy is soft. If the hominy absorbs too much liquid during cooking, add more stock or water to keep it soupy.

When pork and hominy are tender, remove the chile skins with tongs and let cool. If any pulp remains on the inside of the skins, scrape it off with a spoon and place back into the pot. Discard chile skins.

Serve with flour tortillas and accoutrements such as chopped cabbage, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, chopped green onions, cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.

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