Monday, October 1, 2012

Veggies, Grains and Such


The last few weeks have been busy and fun! A week of cooking veggies in all sizes, shapes and colors! My favorites were the deep fried onion rings and braised fennel!
Then a week or so of grains:  pasta, rice, quinoa, Israeli couscous, polenta, and risotto! I'm having so much fun it hardly feels like school. Until I had my course final and practicals last week - that felt like school but it was all good.
Following a week of salads and dressings, my new favorite thing is hand-torn french bread croutons, which were amazing, was a week of hot and cold sandwiches:  Rubens, hot roast beef, hummus on pitas, and Monte Christo's to name a few.
We ate very well this last month.
This week we will be learning the delicate art of stocks and sauces, the base for all the good things we love to top our food with.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What You Missed

How many times have you heard me say, "We should go to Hope!" Well, we went and it was a joy!Dickie surprised me by taking the turn on our way home from Anchorage on Saturday afternoon. Driving along the two lane road for 15 miles only heightened my anticipation and I was rewarded with the sweetest little town I've seen in a very long time. Maybe ever!
 The first Cafe you encounter as you come into town. You can take the road to the left or the right, we chose the left and it loops around to the historical district. Actually, it's pretty much the same all around. And all the captions are above the photos and not below - sorry. Got ahead of myself!
One of the few original little log structure remaining from the late 1800's.
 The Social Hall in downtown Hope, also built in the late 1800's, and scheduled to undergo some work to build up the foundation to keep it from decaying. 
Another small residence.
 and another
A sweet little gift shop.
 The Hope Library, of course.
 The one room school house, complete with swings and a slide. I don't know if it's still in use for not because there is another school outside of the town. One of my culinary instructors grew up in Hope and attended this school with her sister from K-grade 10. Something to think about.
 A lovely homestead with some cute out buildings and beautiful gardens.
 The river runs through the town and into Turnagain Arm.
A view from downtown toward the Arm and Anchorage.
Two Cafes downtown. Cannot wait to give them a try.
 A view of Turnagain Arm from mile 10 or so heading back toward the Seward Hway.
The entrance to the park at the end of the road. Simply beautiful.
Truely an Alaska destination.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer Fun

I can't remember if I blogged these photos are not. When Steph and baby Henry visited in August we went to Kenai to visit Dave and Valli & Co. and had a wonderful time. I remember blogging the pizza photos, but not all of these. Or maybe I am going crazy. But we had a great dinner and a great time and my family is just too beautiful not to brag about.

These are days not to be forgotten!


I came across these pictures of Lydia and I realized that I haven't given her enough blog space. So here she at six months old in all of her loveliness. She just turned seven months old this week!
She is a precious little thing and we love her so much. We are so blessed to be close to Dave and his family even though we don't see them as often as we would like to. The time just seems to pass so quickly.
 She is just a little doll!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We're Moving Along...

After days of slicing, dicing, zesting and balling, we were finally allowed to turn on the stoves and ovens and have some real fun!

Today our instructor selected three vegetable dishes and turned us loose in the kitchen. Okay, not exactly loose, but I'm sure that's what it felt like to her!
My lovely group of kitchen mates, Grace and Meghan and I, created a dish of Braised Fennel. No one in our class had ever eaten it except for me when I threw some in a soup once.
Yes, that is me, I barely recognized myself in all the white. We sauteed the fennel and onions in butter, added salt, pepper and some water and braised it in the oven for about 45 minutes. After it came out we topped it with a little Parmesan. It was excellent!
Here's Kristain working on his dish of Seasoned Red Cabbage - a stove top dish of shredded red cabbage, onions, bacon, red wine vinegar and some spices. It was also very good.
Lastly, Here's Ryan beginning a delicious pot of Ratatouille. He is sauteing zucchini, eggplant, onions, red bell peppers, and finally some canned tomatoes. Along with some seasonings. I didn't see much of this operation. The finished product was topped with the Parmesan as well and was great - it could serve as a wonderful topping for pasta too!
So that was my afternoon in the kitchen!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Slice and Dice!

I want to start a culinary blog but right not I just don't have time. Maybe one day soon! This is the training kitchen at AVTEC and it's new and amazing. Today we practiced our knife skills slicing carrots for some future dish and onions and bell pepper for tomorrow's student lunches. We also did some dicing as well just for fun!
 Lovely carrots. I wish I was eating these for dinner!
 Julienne sliced onions.
 My professional cooking instructor, Chef Hall, holding the peppers.
I am the only old person in my class, The rest of the students range from high school graduates to still very young people. There are 13 of us and overall it's a very good group. But the kitchen is where everyone is at their best!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Seward Produce Stand

The produce stand was up and running in Seward today and this is how it got here. My cute produce stand photo was out of order. It comes from Washington. As of yet we aren't growing peaches and cherries here on the Kenai peninsula.
 But the goods are good.
 And there was a nice variety.
This is the cute stand. And the owners are nice and if you put your name on a list they will call you to remind you that they will be in town, usually once a month.
 I picked up a little box and filled it with fun stuff. 
Yummy! They will be back next month with some more fall-ish type items like apples and such!
It's the simple things that make life so good!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Only in Alaska!

Sweet baby Henry and his mom came to Alaska to visit and what a wonderful time he had!
 Only in Alaska can you feed the ducks at Westchester Lagoon....
 Only in Alaska do the ducks love goldfish...the cracker, not the fish...
 Only in Alaska can you pick fresh raspberries from a neighboring fence...
 Only in Alaska can you see the Alaska railroad train ...
 Only in Alaska can you walk on the beach with Grandpa...
 Only in Alaska can you eat great pizza at St. Elias Pizza place...with the Kenai Harrells...
 Peperoni was a hit...
Only in Alaska can you walk on the beach at Lowell Point and see eagles flying around....probably sizing him up!
 Only in Alaska can you get your picture taken on huge driftwood stumps.....
Only in Alaska can you eat at the Double Musky with your favorite, yes, I said favorite, Grandparents! (I think he is saying "Sucks to be you !")
 Only in Alaska can you eat a wonderful gourmet breakfast at a Train Wreck...
...inside the really cool train car! You are looking at a Crab Benedict!
Only in Alaska can you walk around the Seward Lagoon with Mom and Grandma...and get ice cream at the Creamery!
Come back soon~
We miss you~