Alaska from Scratch http://www.alaskafromscratch.com Seasonal. Scenic. Homemade. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:36:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2015/01/22/spicy-roasted-red-pepper-pasta/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2015/01/22/spicy-roasted-red-pepper-pasta/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:56:45 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10382 Weather: 32 degrees, unbelievably clear and snowless fo […]



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Weather: 32 degrees, unbelievably clear and snowless for January
What I’m listening to:  Soldier, Ingrid Michaelson

There are those nights. You know the ones. The nights that come at the end of those days that went every which way but the way you planned. Those long days where everything unraveled and came undone. The days when dinner has fallen off your radar completely and is lost in the abyss of stress, frustration, and tasks left untouched.

Blast you, dinner. Why are you another thing that needs my attention tonight? I can’t even deal with you.

But then, you turn on some music. You put a pot of salted water to boil. You hear the sound of butter melting in a skillet, popping and sizzling as it meets up with the extra virgin olive oil. Soon the undeniable smell of garlic and onions fills you up and wafts through the house.

I can do this. I can conquer dinner tonight. 

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta bowls

And it might even be quick and painless and therapeutic. Because, after all, a steaming bowl of noodles swimming in a spicy homemade sauce is always a little bit of therapy, isn’t it?

Yes, I believe it is.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Yield: 4-6 servings

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

A spicy roasted red pepper pasta sauce that comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta. Topped with loads of fresh basil and shaved parmesan. To make it even more hearty and flavorful, add browned Italian sausage. Adapted from Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta (like penne, farfalle, rigatoni, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste; I like this spicy)
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (rolled and sliced into ribbons)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan shavings

Instructions

  1. Set a large pot of well-salted water to boil over high heat. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic, onions, and red pepper flakes together until the onions are translucent. Add the roasted red peppers to the pass and too until heated through. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender along with the chicken broth, salt, and pepper to taste. Whirl until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and heat through. Stir in the half and half. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as needed. Stir in half of the fresh basil, reserving the other half for topping each dish.
  3. Drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with the roasted red pepper sauce. Serve the pasta promptly topped with more fresh basil and a generous amount of parmesan shavings (this dish is best with copious amounts of both fresh basil and parmesan).

Notes

To make this dish even more hearty and flavorful, add browned Italian sausage.

In the event that the pasta sauce thickens up, add more chicken broth and/or cream as needed.

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Spinach Salad with Pomegranate & Pear http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2015/01/08/spinach-salad-pomegranate-pear/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2015/01/08/spinach-salad-pomegranate-pear/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:36:46 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10360 Weather: 10 degrees, shimmery moon glow on the water Wh […]



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Weather: 10 degrees, shimmery moon glow on the water
What I’m listening to: Photograph, Ed Sheeran

Just before Christmas, our middle-school-aged neighbor friend, Jace, walked up to me in church with a gleaming smile and handed me a box, carefully wrapped and topped with a bow. Without knowing the contents of the gift, I was already stunned and humbled by the gesture.

Then I opened it.

Inside was a handmade wooden cheeseboard, colorful and beautifully crafted. I had admired a similar one last year that he had made for his mother in his wood shop class at school. I told him I would gladly pay to have one like that in my kitchen. Several months later, and the conversation long forgotten by me, this gift is placed in my hands. He had not forgotten my words and had spent hours and weeks working at school to give this stunning cheeseboard to me, with a deep sense of pride written all over his face, in time for Christmas.

The tears welled up. I could hardly believe it.

spinach salad pomegranate pear display

 

I’ve been thinking about gifts made of wood – the way they’re carefully and painstakingly crafted, the way they’re steady and sure and lasting. Jace’s cheeseboard sits on display in my kitchen and will be used often in food styling and photographs, because that beautiful thing carries with it the weight of so much more than pieces of wood – but the weight of hard work, the significance of an entirely unexpected gift, the force of memories and friendship and shared history.

I regard recipes much the same way: deliberately crafted, built on moments and relationships, long-lasting, steady and sure. The very best recipes leave a legacy, become heirlooms, to be prized and revisited and passed on again and again. The very best recipes feel like coming home. They remind us of moments passed while nourishing our present. The very best recipes are like an unexpected gift.

*     *     *

My very favorite salads, the ones I make the most often, are ones that include combinations of fruit and nuts and cheese. This stunning spinach salad topped with ripe pears, pecans, pomegranate arils, and bleu cheese is a keeper. A simple dressing of good balsamic and extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper is all you need to make this salad shine. If you’d like to add some protein to make this spinach salad more substantial, smoky crumbled bacon would be a winning addition.

Spinach Salad with Pomegranate & Pear

Yield: Serves 2

Spinach Salad with Pomegranate & Pear

A vibrant spinach salad topped with ripe pears, toasted pecans, juicy pomegranate arils, and bleu cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1/4 cup pecans (preferably toasted), roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • good balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Divide the spinach onto two salad plates. Top each salad with half of the pear slices, half of the pomegranate arils, half of the bleu cheese, and half of the pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Drizzle with good balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Serve promptly.
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Most Popular Recipes of 2014 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/12/31/popular-recipes-2014/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/12/31/popular-recipes-2014/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 02:12:44 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10350 I’m here to announce that Alaska from Scratch is […]



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I’m here to announce that Alaska from Scratch is back on the grid just in time to usher in the New Year. I’m coming to you from not only a different house and kitchen than before, but also from a new computer after my mighty old MacBook took its last breath a couple of months ago, forcing me into an unexpected food blogging hiatus. Thank you for your patience, your dedicated visits to the recipe archives, your notes and emails and social media shouts outs, and for your continued love and support. I was able to get a new computer for Christmas and am pleased to say that I am back up and running.

Eggs were the standout ingredient of 2014, featured twice in the top 5. Incidentally (or perhaps not?), I can safely say that I consumed more eggs this past year than ever before in my life. Eggs are one of the most reliable and versatile proteins out there – quick-cooking, soul-satisfying, family-friendly, and phenomenally tasty for any meal of the day. I love me some eggs, folks. And I’m delighted to say, that according to this list, so do you. Also popular were recipes featuring quinoa, avocado, and a spicy kick. You’re my kind of people alright.

5. Avocado Toasts with Eggs & Sriracha

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4. Superfood Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon 

IMG_88803. Quinoa & Egg Enchilada Skillet

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2. Lemon Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Crumble Topping

IMG_89611. Easy Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

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Thank you, 2014, for every yummy thing you brought to the table. And wishing you, my readers, a delicious New Year.



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Zuppa Toscana {Creamy Potato & Kale Soup with Italian Sausage} http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/10/28/zuppa-toscana-creamy-potato-kale-soup-italian-sausage/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/10/28/zuppa-toscana-creamy-potato-kale-soup-italian-sausage/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 05:04:18 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10263 Weather: 23 degrees, clear and dark What I’m list […]



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Weather: 23 degrees, clear and dark
What I’m listening to: To Build a Home, The Cinematic Orchestra

The big news around here is that our family is moving into a new home just down the road a ways from where we currently live. While I am excited about this new chapter – having friends as neighbors on all sides and enjoying a priceless view of Cook Inlet and the Mt. Redoubt volcano for starters – I will be somewhat sad to see our current house go. We have lived in this house longer than any other; it has been our only Alaska home and it has been my favorite house yet. We have countless memories here of all the ways that our Alaska life has taken shape, the friends and family who have enjoyed meals at our table, the holidays and birthdays and the everydays, and all the growing and healing and changing that has occurred in the lives of people under this roof.

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One of the most bittersweet things about this move is that this is the place where Alaska from Scratch came to be – the kitchen where I rekindled my passion nourishing people through food, and day after day, gradually and steadily, a food blogger was born here. This kitchen and I have a rhythm. I love the way the sunlight casts golden beams through the window over the spacious stainless steel farm sink, daily creating a natural and beautiful staging place for food photography. I adore the ample pantry with her sliding shelves and the recipe notes I’ve taped to the inside of the door. I have a particular fondness for the way the gas range can sear a piece of salmon or the way the oven bakes a perfectly golden chewy-soft cookie. I will miss the open counter space where I’ve tested and tasted so many recipes I’ve happily lost track of all time and quantity. These pale wood floors and these white walls and these stainless steel appliances all tell a marvelous story – of food filled with love, a kitchen filled with music, a woman who found her voice, and all the readers who showed up and listened.

Zuppa Toscana {Creamy Potato & Kale Soup with Italian Sausage}

Yield: 6 servings

Zuppa Toscana {Creamy Potato & Kale Soup with Italian Sausage}

Creamy, spicy potato and kale soup with Italian sausage. Similar to Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. Adapted from Damn Delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound italian sausage
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 small russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Brown the sausage until no longer pink. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions a translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, and kale. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.
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Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Snap Peas & Sriracha http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/10/13/teriyaki-salmon-bowls-snap-peas-sriracha/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/10/13/teriyaki-salmon-bowls-snap-peas-sriracha/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:05:43 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10267 Weather: 39 degrees, cloudy What I’m listening to […]



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Weather: 39 degrees, cloudy
What I’m listening to: 
Vultures, John Mayer

Last week marked the third anniversary of the day I first mustered the courage to hit the publish button and put this unexpected and wonderful thing called Alaska from Scratch out into the blogosphere. To celebrate three years and over 400 recipes, I took a spectacular little vacation from all things blogging and social media. I kept the computer closed and silenced my phone. Because one thing I’ve learned since I became a food blogger is how important it is to maintain perspective, keep your feet firmly planted, and regularly remind yourself why you love to do what you do. I’ve been working on remembering that in order to continue nourishing others through my passion and my work, I have to begin by nourishing myself. The latter has never come naturally or easily for me; it is a constant challenge for this girl. I am deeply thankful for the people in my life who lovingly remind me when I forget to take care of myself, who put on their bossy pants and demand that I acknowledge my own needs.IMG_0169

I’m also incredibly grateful for you, my many readers all over the world, who keep coming back again and again and who have made Alaska from Scratch a part of your lives, your kitchens, and your tables. Thank you a million times for making food memories with me.

This month, I had the distinct and humbling privilege of being featured in Alaska Innovator Magazine. If you have a spare moment, I’d love for you to give it a read.

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This salmon bowl is a quick, healthy go-to meal for busy days. It’s also packed full of deliciousness – fresh vegetables, soy, brown sugar, sesame, ginger, garlic, and fiery Sriracha – all over steamed rice. Grab your chopsticks and go to town.

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Snap Peas & Sriracha

Yield: 2 servings

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Snap Peas & Sriracha

Teriyaki glazed salmon over sesame vegetables and steamed rice.

Ingredients

    For the teriyaki marinade:
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • For the salmon bowls:
  • 2 3-4 ounce salmon fillets, pinbones removed
  • 1 cup white rice (such as jasmine)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound snap peas (or snow peas)
  • Other vegetable options: sliced carrots, strips of red bell pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Sriracha for serving

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger until the sugar dissolves. Place the salmon flesh side down into the marinade and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Steam the 1 cup of white rice using your preferred method.
  3. In a skillet over medium high heat, sauté the garlic in the sesame oil for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the snap peas (and other vegetables if using). Season with salt and cook until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
  4. Return the pan to the heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade (reserving marinade) and pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. Add them to the pan and sear until browned and caramelized on both sides, 2-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fillets and your desired doneness (I like mine cooked to medium). Transfer the salmon to a plate to rest. Return the vegetables to the hot pan and pour in the marinade. Toss for one minute until the vegetables are coated and the marinade is heated through.
  5. Divide the rice evenly between two bowls. Top with vegetables followed by a salmon fillet on each. Spoon the teriyaki sauce over top over everything and drizzle with Sriracha.
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Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Ginger Orange Cream Cheese http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/26/baked-pumpkin-french-toast-ginger-orange-cream-cheese/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/26/baked-pumpkin-french-toast-ginger-orange-cream-cheese/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:27:30 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10241 Weather: 43 degrees, mostly sunny What I’m listen […]



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Weather: 43 degrees, mostly sunny
What I’m listening to: Love, Matt White

In preparation for making the very first pumpkin dish of the season, I took to my cupboards and pulled out my cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice to make a big batch of my homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix. I’m intent on using every last bit of the warm, spicy autumnal goodness between now and the holidays in anything from hot beverages to oatmeal, and from quick breads to pies. Today, it was some marvelous baked pumpkin french toast with a layer of lightly sweetened ginger-orange cream cheese in the middle, all topped with salted pecans. Swoon city.

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Pastor Alaska, who had been working on his computer in another part of the house, came into the kitchen. Being clearly led by his nose as it uncharacteristically jutted out and up as he walked in, he asked, “What is that amazing smell?!” I responded, “Something for the blog.” He had a hard time waiting patiently as I styled and photographed the steaming pan of heavenly amazingness before letting him dig in. He wants me to tell you that the wait was most definitely worth it.

Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Ginger Orange Cream Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Ginger Orange Cream Cheese

Baked pumpkin french toast with ginger orange cream cheese in the middle and salted pecans on top. Adapted from Damn Delicious.

Ingredients

    For the Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, minced
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • For the French Toast:
  • 12 slices french bread, cubed
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese with the orange zest, ginger, and powdered sugar until smooth, scraping sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
  4. Place half of the bread cubes in a layer in the greased 9x13 pan. Drizzle half of the pumpkin mixture over the bread. Using a rubber spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture over top of that (it doesn't need to be perfect). Then top with the remaining bread cubes and drizzle the remaining pumpkin mixture over top of everything. Press the bread down into the liquid to saturate. Sprinkle the top of the french toast with the pecans and finish with fine sea salt.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes, until cooked through in the center. Serve hot with pure maple syrup.

Notes

This can be assembled ahead. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Baking time may be extended if french toast has been chilled prior to baking.

http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/26/baked-pumpkin-french-toast-ginger-orange-cream-cheese/

 



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Quinoa Chili http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/18/quinoa-chili/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/18/quinoa-chili/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:24:39 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10233 Weather: 48 degrees, rain for days and fall colors ever […]



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Weather: 48 degrees, rain for days and fall colors everywhere
What I’m listening to: You Are the Best Thing, Ray LaMontagne

Although the calendar always disagrees with Alaska, autumn has been surging in. Wild mushrooms are growing plentifully in the yard, the rain puddles are full of yellow leaves, and the smell of wood stoves burning is in the air. Here, the seasons are fierce, and it’s one of my favorite things about this massive state I get to call home.

quinoa chili

Chili and football are always on the menu at our house in September and this year is no exception. Except, this time I opted to bypass my favorite go-to Black Bean Chili and try a new meatless recipe with quinoa, black beans and corn. Holy smokes this stuff is good and nobody missed the meat. Be sure to have your favorite toppings ready to go. Mine include gobs of cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, minced red onions (or green onions, if you prefer), slices of ripe avocado, and a generous handful of corn chips (like Fritos). If you’d like your quinoa chili on the spicier side, add thinly sliced fresh jalapeño slices to the mix.

Quinoa Chili

Yield: 6-8 servings

Quinoa Chili

A smoky and delicious meatless chili with quinoa, black beans, and corn. Adapted from Cooking Classy.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken/beef broth if not going vegetarian)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained(I used one dark red, one light red)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Topping options:
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • cilantro, chopped
  • corn chips (like Fritos)
  • red onion, finely chopped
  • ripe avocado, chopped
  • sour cream

Instructions

  1. To a large pot over medium heat, add the oil. Saute the onions 1-2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, paprika, cayenne (if using), and salt, toasting the spices in the oil for one minute. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, quinoa, broth, adobo, beans, and corn. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (add more broth if needed for consistency).
  2. Stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Serve with toppings of your choice. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes great leftovers.
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Sriracha Roasted Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/05/sriracha-roasted-broccoli-cheddar-cheese/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/05/sriracha-roasted-broccoli-cheddar-cheese/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:35:37 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10223 Weather: 48 degrees, heavy rainfall What I’m list […]



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Weather: 48 degrees, heavy rainfall
What I’m listening to: My Beloved, Crowder

The other day, friends of ours from church brought us a bag of broccoli from their garden. Fresh seasonal food gifts are some of the best gifts. Something from their garden makes its way to my kitchen and all at once transforms into something for the table – the place where we get to be nourished and start the process all over again – the process of cultivating and creating and enjoying.

Roasted Broccoli

This is quite possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever put on the blog, and one of the most addicting. Roasted broccoli is pretty magical all by itself, but the addition of spicy, complex Sriracha and melted cheese is out of this world amazing. Go make some. Like right now. And I dare you to try not to devour it all with your fingers.

Sriracha Roasted Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese

Yield: 2-4 servings

Sriracha Roasted Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese

Roasted broccoli with Sriracha and melted cheddar cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (I used avocado)
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (or to taste)
  • kosher salt
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a large sheet pan with foil.
  2. Add the florets to a bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together the oil and Sriracha. Drizzle over the broccoli and toss to coat well. Season with kosher salt to taste. Spread the broccoli evenly onto the sheet pan.
  3. Roast the broccoli 15-20 minutes (or until tender-crisp, depending on the thickness of the stalks), stirring halfway through. In the last 3 minutes, sprinkle on the cheese and return to the oven until melted and golden. Serve with more Sriracha drizzled over top or on the side.
http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/09/05/sriracha-roasted-broccoli-cheddar-cheese/

 

 



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Blueberry Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/08/29/blueberry-banana-bread-cinnamon-crunch-topping/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/08/29/blueberry-banana-bread-cinnamon-crunch-topping/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:09:24 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10217 Weather: 50 degrees, bright sunshine breaking through g […]



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Weather: 50 degrees, bright sunshine breaking through gray and white clouds
What I’m listening to: Many the Miles, Sara Bareilles

I’m often asked about the evolution of a recipe – how recipes begin, how they develop and grow, how they end up on the blog to be shared. This is a hard question to answer because there really is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes a recipe begins as a gust of wind blows outside and a yellow leaf flitters down and suddenly I have an urgency to make a pot of soul-warming soup. Sometimes I miss a person who lives far, far away and it makes me crave a dish that we enjoyed together, a food that brings fond memories back to life. Still other times, like today, it’s as simple as a bowl of  fragrant bananas, distracting me from my other projects, summoning me to make something with them. Often I just inexplicably need to cook something, anything, and all will feel right in the world again.

Blueberry Banana Bread

So, there was this one day that I made a loaf of bread and she was a beauty. She is a variation of my beloved Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, but instead of chocolate chips, I used blueberries because they are wild and in season here in Alaska. Then I opted to top her with a buttery golden cinnamon layer, because cinnamon and blueberries are a delightful pairing. Where sometimes I conceptualize an entire recipe in a moment, this one developed gradually, steadily, step by step. A little here, a little there, until she was just right.

Blueberry Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

Yield: 1 loaf

Blueberry Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

Moist banana bread bursting with blueberries and topped with a buttery cinnamon topping.

Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • For the Topping:
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a standard loaf pan.
  2. Peel bananas, break them up and toss them into a bowl. Mash with a potato masher (I leave some banana pieces so you get occasional nice bites of banana in the bread; don't mash until the bananas are completely liquefied).
  3. To the bananas, add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold the blueberries into the dry ingredients. Add the flour/blueberry mixture to the liquids and stir until combined. Do not over mix.
  4. To make the topping: in a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles crumbs.
  5. Spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pan, sprinkle the top of the loaf with the cinnamon mixture, and stud the top of the loaf with a handful of blueberries. Bake for 60-70 minutes or cooked through in the center.
http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/08/29/blueberry-banana-bread-cinnamon-crunch-topping/



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The Best Blondies http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/08/22/best-blondies/ http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/08/22/best-blondies/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:17:21 +0000 http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/?p=10187 Weather: 60 degrees, sunny and bright What I’m li […]



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Weather: 60 degrees, sunny and bright
What I’m listening to: Give Me Love, Ed Sheeran

When we have company, it’s always important for me to learn all about the food that they love as well as the foods they might despise (or be allergic to or have an intolerance for). I pride myself on knowing these details about my friends. For the past two summers, our dear friend, Tim, has come to live with us. I can tell you that Tim hates bananas and loves BBQ Chicken Pizza. He hates mushrooms and sweet potatoes but loves hot black tea with sugar and an icy Homemade Horchata. He adores all things salmon and a good plate of chicken parmesan, but will most likely pass on the pork chops. And while to my utter dismay, Tim doesn’t really care for super chocolatey things, he loves my S’mores Cookies and, especially, these blondies.

IMG_0187

Earlier in the summer, the first time I made a batch of these, I asked Tim what kind of morsels he wanted me to use. Dark chocolate? White chocolate? He suggested I use both, half and half. And so I did. And they are the absolute best. I made them many, many times over the course of the summer, always the same. They are rich and gooey and all kinds of brown-sugary. I have the recipe memorized and I can whip up the batter faster than it takes to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. It’s a go-to recipe in this house. Now that Tim has returned to his home in California, I am reminded of him every time I make these. I hope you love the blondies as much as he does.

If you enjoy these, you may also like my Apple Butterscotch Blondies.

The Best Blondies

Yield: 9 large blondies

The Best Blondies

Rich and gooey blondies with dark and white chocolate morsels. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 square baking pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, being careful not to over bake (you want the top of the blondies to be set, but the interior to look just slightly underdone). Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/08/22/best-blondies/

 



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