Wild, wondrous, and wintry. Alaska in the cold months is breathtaking. The forests, covered in a sheet of snow and ice, look as though they are made of glass.
And they're teaming with wildlife even in the bitter weather. Timid moose calves venture to the edge of the glass forest to graze on twigs while mother moose watch from between the trees.
Incidentally, the Alaskan cookbook I got includes various recipes for moose.
My one big goal in Alaska was to eat as much king crab as possible.
Which I did.
But for the first time for me, food took a back seat to the scenery. You simply don't notice a grumbling belly when you're watching a dozen Dall sheep scurrying up and down a cliff side.
We were told that the appearance of such a large group of sheep is very rare, and the sight brought out all the area nature photographers.
(If you're a photography enthusiast, note I was the ONLY person using a black lens.)
It turns out my Alaskan cookbook also has lots of recipes for mountain sheep. I think those Alaskans will eat anything that moves.
We got to see a grizzly bear at a wildlife preserve.
My Alaskan cookbook has a few bear recipes too, but it seems like a bear would probably eat you before you could eat it.
This time of year daylight is fleeting.
The sun doesn't rise as much as it peeks above the horizon.
Mountains cast long shadows across the valley floor.
The perpetual dusk makes the cold sink in.
It's bone chilling.
And it looks as cold as it feels.
But do I retreat to the warmth of the indoors?
No, I brave the freezing temperatures to marvel a little longer.
I'm overwhelmed by Alaska's beauty.
Of course, it's inevitable that my attention eventually turns back to food…
There's no need for a recipe for king crab legs since they're simply reheated and served with drawn butter, so here's another seafood delicacy inspired by our Alaskan adventures.
But first…Here's Smoke In Da Eye's review of Seared to Perfection. And in case you missed it, here's the demo I did of the Sage-Rubbed Pork Loin Chops with Cranberry-Pear Compote from Seared to Perfection on KOIN Studio 6 yesterday. I'm happy to report that I wasn't nearly as nervous as I thought I would be!
Smoked Salmon Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
5 ½ ounces hot-smoked salmon, skinned
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cream cheese, smoked salmon, dill, chives, lemon juice, and cayenne in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with pepper.
Makes about 2 cups. Serve with crackers, baguette slices, or cucumber sticks. Also makes a great bagel schmear. Keeps for a couple of days tightly sealed in the refrigerator. It’s best at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge about half an hour before serving.