Category Archives: recipes

My Favorite Meatloaf

My mother makes a pretty mean meatloaf. It’s always a little different but has similar components such as tomato sauce, bread, cheese and of course ground meats. For years I adopted her basic recipe as my go-to, which you can view here. But recently a friend gifted me the hefty cookbook “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji López-Alt and I saw he suggested adding gelatin to meatloaf, which I found fascinating. His recipe is quite different from my mom’s and involves a bit more labor. Around the same time I checked out a new cookbook from my local library called “Come on Over.” Author Jeff Mauro has his favorite meatloaf recipe where he uses other ingredients that differ from my mom’s. I decided to take a little from all three recipes to create my new favorite meatloaf.

Some things I love about this recipe:

  • The classic loaf shape makes for perfect serving sizes
  • The gelatin makes it slice so perfectly
  • The cold leftovers are SO GOOD
  • You can make delicious meatloaf sliders as Jeff Mauro suggests.

My Favorite Meatloaf

Serves 6-ish

Ingredients:

  • 24 saltine crackers, roughly crushed
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 packet (1 scant tablespoon) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios (optional)

For the glaze:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Lots of ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place saltines in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place stock and milk in a liquid measuring cup and evenly sprinkle gelatin on top. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan and add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté till onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour in stock/milk mixture; add Dijon, fish sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Place this mixture in the bowl with the saltines and mix till well combined. Let sit till cool enough to touch.

Add beef, pork, eggs, cheese, parsley and optional pistachios. Gently mix with your hands until just combined. Pack mixture into a glass loaf pan, pushing out any air bubbles. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan with the foil. This will hopefully keep the loaf from sticking to the foil later (that’s the only downside to my recipe, I’ve found. I haven’t tried spraying the foil, so if you make this recipe, let me know if it works!)

Line a baking sheet with foil. Invert the loaf pan (with the foil still on top) onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheet and using pot holders you don’t care getting gunky, gently jiggle the loaf pan so it comes out. Keep the loaf on the baking sheet and bake another 40 minutes or until internal temperature measures 140 F. Remove and let sit 15 minutes. Turn the oven up to 500 F.

Here is the loaf still in the pan after removing it from the oven.
Here it is after I removed the pan. This will go back in the oven now.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by combining the ingredients in a small saucepan and heating till the sugar is dissolved.

Here is the loaf after the second time in the oven before it was glazed.

Paint loaf with a layer of glaze and bake for 3 minutes. Add another coat of glaze and bake for 3 more minutes. Add a final coat of glaze and bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes and any extra glaze.

Glazed and ready to be sliced!

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:

8-10 oz. dried hominy, soaked in water overnight

8 dried New Mexico chiles

1 tablespoon olive oil

2.5-3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into cubes

1 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped

6 cups chicken stock

3-5 cups water (or more chicken stock)

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 large dutch oven 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 off their tops and make a slit up the side of each pepper; discard the seeds.

Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven and heat on high. 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 any excess 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 6 cups of stock, 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, cover, turn down the heat 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.

Holiday Cranberry Punch

Every fall I look forward to picking lowbush cranberries. They are my favorite food to forage – easy to pick and they keep perfectly in the freezer until November when I use them to make Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.

I had some leftover cranberries this year and I saw a friend on Instagram share a video of her making cranberry tea. She was kind enough to share the recipe, which she got from a friend in Unalakleet, Alaska named Betty.

I used the last of my lowbush cranberries for this delicious tea, which I’m calling a punch because I added a wee kick of rye whiskey. You can use store bought cranberries or even high bush cranberries if you happened to have foraged those in the fall.

This might have to be a new holiday tradition in my household!

Holiday Cranberry Punch

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups cranberries

1.5 quarts water

1 cinnamon stick

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup orange juice

up to 1 cup sugar (to taste)

Rye whiskey (optional)

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, water and cinnamon stick. Heat to a boil, turn down heat and simmer until the berries are soft and have popped, about 10 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher. Discard pulp and cinnamon stick. Add the lemon juice and orange juice to the pitcher. Slowly stir in the sugar so it dissolves in the hot liquid, until it’s sweetened to your taste. Serve hot with 1.5 oz. of rye whiskey 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

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