Alaska from Scratch Seasonal. Scenic. Homemade. Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:01:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage & Chard Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:01:52 +0000 We've been having a string of grey days with intermittent snowfall and occasional slush. The waters of Cook Inlet turn deep and brooding, a charcoal shade of grey. The skies a paler shade, like the coat of a gray wolf.

This recipe was first seen in my weekly food column in Alaska Dispatch News

Weather: 27 degrees, monochromatic and a little dreary. But still always beautiful.
What I’m listening to: Cripple Me, Elenowen

We’ve been having a string of grey days with intermittent snowfall and occasional slush. The waters of Cook Inlet turn deep and brooding, a charcoal shade of grey. The skies a paler shade, like the coat of a gray wolf. Then the snow appears, giant flakes of the purest white, falling silently as if in slow-motion against the backdrop of grey on grey.

lentil soup with sausage

When the weather is like this, I find myself craving a hearty, wholesome bowl of warmth and comfort. Something filling, something nutritious, something that sticks to your ribs and makes you feel safe and satisfied. Thankfully, I had bookmarked just such a soup recipe to use as inspiration in a cookbook I had picked up on a spontaneous trip to the library. This lentil-based, protein-rich soup takes a garlicky turn – which I love –  bolstered by Italian sausage, vibrant red Swiss chard, and tomatoes. I served it with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese and some of my Focaccia with Rosemary & Sea Salt on the side. It makes fantastic leftovers.

If you like this lentil soup recipe, you might also like:

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Spicy Chorizo Red Lentil Soup with Kale

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage & Chard

A hearty lentil soup with Italian sausage, Swiss chard, and garlic. Adapted from Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts.

Yields: Serves 6

  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 cup lentils (I used red lentils, but brown would also work)
  • 28 ounces of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups red Swiss chard, shredded
  • To finish the soup:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese

In a large pot, like a dutch oven, over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage in a swirl of extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes followed by the lentils. Pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, stirring often. When the lentils are tender, stir in the red Swiss chard and cook 3-4 minutes more until the chard is just tender.

While the chard is cooking, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is softened and the oil is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. You don't want the garlic to brown. Remove the soup from the heat, drizzle the olive oil and garlic over top of the soup, and stir it in to combine. Serve with freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese.

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Focaccia with Rosemary & Sea Salt Sat, 14 Feb 2015 22:21:23 +0000 Weather: 28 degrees What I’m listening to: A Beau […]

Weather: 28 degrees
What I’m listening to: A Beautiful Place to Be, Tyrone Wells

We strolled through downtown San Diego at night, headed for the cozy golden light of the Italian bistro, Operacaffe. We opted for a small table outside, because in January in San Diego you can do things like sit outside for dinner. The twinkle lights were shining and the sounds and smells of the famous Gaslamp Quarter were just occasionally edging their way in.

The bread is sooooooooo good here,” Danae exclaimed, eagerly looking through the window to see if the server would be bringing ours to the table soon. “I can’t wait for you to try the bread.” 

We pored over the menu, deciding together that we would share a rich plate of lobster and artichoke pasta, ordered it, and began talking about things like life and hopes and dreams.

It was then that the bread arrived, much anticipated but not too late – warm cubes of focaccia and a plate of extra virgin olive oil swirled with thick balsamic – the acidic fragrance of the vinegar filling the air and lingering with that unmistakable smell of freshly baked bread. We dug in simultaneously and paused our conversation to linger over it.

You need to write a recipe for this bread,” said Danae between bites. “You should put this on the blog.” 

Finishing off my focaccia, I flashed a closed-mouthed smile and replied, “Hm. You’re right. Maybe I should.” 

Focaccia with rosemary and sea salt focaccia with rosemary rosemary focaccia

I tried a couple of different base recipes for focaccia before landing on the right one. I needed the texture and the flavor to be just so – the right balance of airy and chewy, golden brown and fragrant, to transport me back to that memorable meal in January. These cubes of focaccia, topped with fresh rosemary and sea salt, become the perfect vehicle for sopping up that good olive oil and dark balsamic. When the bread came piping hot from the oven, I sliced a garlic clove in half and rubbed it all over the bread, finishing it with a slight hint of garlic.

Focaccia with Rosemary & Sea Salt

focaccia with rosemary and sea salt

Golden homemade focaccia with rosemary and sea salt. Adapted from Anne Burrell.

Yields: 1 loaf, serves 6-8

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • For Topping the Focaccia:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half (optional)
  • For Dipping:
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • good balsamic vinegar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and allow it to sit and bloom (foam and bubble), about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.

Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to the yeast mixture, then turn the mixer on low and gradually begin adding the flour/salt mixture. When all the flour and salt have been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and knead the dough for 5 minutes until elastic. If the dough is somewhat sticky, add flour by the tablespoon until it just pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Oil a mixing bowl generously with extra virgin olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Line a jelly roll pan/large sheet pan with parchment paper. Generously oil the bottom of the pan with extra virgin olive oil. Place the dough gently onto the pan and press it out to fit the size of the pan. Make finger indentations all over the top of the dough by pressing firmly into the dough with the tips of your fingers. Return the dough to a warm place and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the focaccia is done rising, drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil on top of the bread and spread it with your fingers to coat. Sprinkle on the rosemary and sea salt. Bake 20-25 minutes until the bread is golden brown and fragrant. If using the garlic, rub the top of the hot bread with the garlic halves when you just remove it from the oven.

When bread has cooled enough to touch, slice it into cubes and serve it warm with olive oil and balsamic for dipping.

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Banana Butterscotch Pudding Cake Mon, 09 Feb 2015 04:40:38 +0000 Weather: 7 degrees, wind is howling What I’m list […]

Weather: 7 degrees, wind is howling
What I’m listening to: Leave a Light On, Jenny & Tyler

A while back, my sweet and uber-talented blogging friend Karista of Karista’s Kitchen was sorting through her cookbook collection and offered to ship some of her gently used favorites to Alaska. Of course, I was quick to jump on her generous and thoughtful offer. Karista and I are friends precisely because we share a deeply-rooted love of beautiful food, thoughtful writing, and memories made at the table. I knew she would select cookbooks from her collection that would speak to my heart. The cookbooks arrived complete with Karista’s dog ears on the recipe pages (I love this) and a hand-written note which I keep tucked away inside of one of the books.

banana butterscotch pudding


Butterscotch Pudding Cake


One of those cookbooks was Favorite Food at Home by Irish chef Rachel Allen. I enjoy this cookbook because it’s warm, welcoming, and unassuming. This delightful Banana Butterscotch Pudding Cake is all of those things, too. My version is only very slightly adapted from the version in Chef Allen’s book. It bakes into a tender golden banana cake on top and a gooey butterscotch layer on the bottom. I served mine hot from the oven with a dollop of freshly whipped cream with flecks of vanilla bean.

Banana Butterscotch Pudding Cake

banana butterscotch pudding

Golden banana cake with a gooey layer of butterscotch underneath. Adapted from Favorite Food at Home by Rachel Allen.

Yields: Serves 4-6

  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed (great use for overripe bananas)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • For the butterscotch layer:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • For serving:
  • Freshly whipped cream, lightly sweetened (I added some vanilla bean to mine)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, banana, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate.

To make the butterscotch layer, place a small saucepan on the stove on medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and boiling water to the saucepan. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Drizzle the butterscotch over the cake batter (it will sink to the bottom as it bakes, creating the gooey butterscotch layer).

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden and just set in the middle (the cake will be slightly jiggly, but you want it cooked through). Serve warm with freshly whipped cream.

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10 Drool-Worthy Super Bowl Recipes Sat, 31 Jan 2015 07:45:53 +0000 For your Game Day pleasure, I've lined up ten football-worthy Alaska from Scratch favorites. Have a fantastic Super Bowl Sunday.

For your Game Day pleasure, I’ve lined up ten football-worthy Alaska from Scratch favorites. Have a fantastic Super Bowl Sunday.

1. Sticky Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks

Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks

2. Shrimp Cocktail with Sriracha Lime Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp Cocktail Sriracha Lime Cocktail Sauce

3. Turkey Meatball Subs on Toasted Garlic Bread Buns

Turkey Meatball Subs

4. Hot Corn Queso Dip

Hot Corn Queso Dip

5. Pantry Salsa

Homemade Salsa

6. Grilled Brats with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Grilled Brats Pineapple Avocado Salsa

7. BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

 8. Wonton Mozzarella Sticks

Wonton Mozzarella Sticks

9. Black Bean Chili

Beef & Black Bean Chili via Alaska from Scratch

10. BBQ Chicken Wonton Tacos with Sesame Slaw

BBQ Chicken Wonton Tacos


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Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:56:45 +0000 Weather: 32 degrees, unbelievably clear and snowless fo […]

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


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|].

Yields: 4-6 servings

  • 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

Set a large pot of well-salted water to boil over high heat. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions.

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.

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).

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Spinach Salad with Pomegranate & Pear Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:36:46 +0000 Weather: 10 degrees, shimmery moon glow on the water Wh […]

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.


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


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

Yields: Serves 2

  • 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

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 Thu, 01 Jan 2015 02:12:44 +0000 I’m here to announce that Alaska from Scratch is […]

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


4. Superfood Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon 

IMG_88803. Quinoa & Egg Enchilada Skillet


2. Lemon Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Crumble Topping

IMG_89611. Easy Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce


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} Wed, 29 Oct 2014 05:04:18 +0000 Weather: 23 degrees, clear and dark What I’m list […]

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.


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}


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

Yields: 6 servings

  • 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

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 Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:05:43 +0000 Weather: 39 degrees, cloudy What I’m listening to […]

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.


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


Teriyaki glazed salmon over sesame vegetables and steamed rice.

Yields: 2 servings

  • 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

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.

Steam the 1 cup of white rice using your preferred method.

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.

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.

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 Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:27:30 +0000 Weather: 43 degrees, mostly sunny What I’m listen […]

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.


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


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

Yields: 6 servings

  • 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

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.

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.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.

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.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until cooked through in the center. Serve hot with pure maple syrup.


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