This blog post actually started a long time ago, a very long time ago back in the '60s. Back then when my Dad was just a kid, practically, he moved to Alaska in the '50s and was a jack-of-all-trades until settled on plumber as his chosen profession. One of his many gigs was owning a little bar/cafe called DelRois. DelRois was a little hole in the wall on the Glenn Highway into Anchorage from the Matanuska Valley. It was famous for one thing, barbecue. It was so good people would drive 45 miles from Anchorage to buy ribs for parties. Weird isn't it? A little bar that drew people from miles around for barbecue made by a young guy who held dual citizenship in America and Canada but still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. Still today 45 years later you mention barbecue and someone will groan and say "oh I wish DelRois was still making barbecue. It was the best!" or " I never got to eat there but I heard stories about the sauce". Soon my Dad had a wife and kids and settled into a more stable, reliable job but he never gave up cooking. He cooked for family gatherings and the Moose Lodge, steak dinners, halibut, Swedish meatballs, you name it he cooked it but the one thing he was always famous for was his barbecued chicken and ribs and of course that sauce, oh that sauce. The sauce was not his original recipe it came with DelRois and was sold with the bar when he sold it. He kept a copy of it for personal use and now that I have tasted the sauce I do remember eating it, a lot.
I have that sauce recipe. I found it while sorting my Dad's belongings after his untimely death in 1995. I almost threw it away, as it was just one of so many little folded slips of paper I was going through. I am glad something nudged me it to opening that one slip. It was amazing to see my Mom's old typewritten recipe on this thin, well worn slip of paper. As if every day of his life he had read it and folded back for safe keeping, possibly remembering his faded fame or maybe the time of his life.
Unfortunately I won't be able to share the sauce recipe with you because my sister and I made a deal when I found it that no one would get Dad's copy of the recipe. He never shared it and we feel as if we are respecting his wishes by continuing to keep it a secret.
For my 24 24 24 dinner I proposed to make a '60s style dinner, A DelRois Barbecue Revisited if you will.
Pimento Cheese Spread*
Savory Cream Cheese Spread*
on Melba Toast
Barbecued Baby Back Ribs-no salt water injection
Barbecued Spare Ribs-no salt water injection
Barbecued Whole Chickens-Organic Free Range
Mustard Potato Salad*
Garlic Salad*-not made by me but still AWESOME!
Fresh Rhubarb Sauce* over local Matanuska Creamery Ice Cream
Dutch Butter Cake*
Fresh Ice Water
* indicates recipe follows
I tried to fashion a very simple 1960s menu. In my research I discovered that food in the '60s was much simpler that we force it to be today. Potato Salad was salad made from potatoes, period. The recipes are gleaned from my vintage cookbook collection, including but not limited to James Beards American Cookery, 2 Betty Crocker Quick and Easy Cookbooks and a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
I wanted to create a menu that also featured as much local produce as possible to this end I was able to include: milk, eggs, greens, cheese, rhubarb, ice cream, beer, potatoes, and honey. Pretty good for a state that imports a LARGE portion, if not most, of its food. This is not a necessity and the trend is slowly being reversed. I also wanted to use local stores instead of nation wide chains for the majority of my big purchases and these are the businesses I supported:
Mat Valley Meats A locally owned old fashioned butcher shop. They actually cut meat there not just unpack it from big boxes sent from a distributor. What a novel concept. This is a great local family owned business and I was pleased to discover them. I ordered the 4 racks of ribs(2 baby back and 2 spare ribs) and 4 organic free range hens from them.
Matanuska Creamery A locally owned creamery producing cheese, milk and ice cream. Their website is not up and running yet but give them time. This creamery is the result of the state owned Matanuska Maid Creamery going bankrupt and all the farmers getting together and starting up on their own. They sold cheese futures to get it going and now apparently can't keep their shelves full. AWESOME!! I used milk, ice cream and cheese from the Matanuska Creamery.
Birch Flavor Ice Cream
The Mooses Tooth This is a very popular local brewery in Anchorage. They sell growlers to go and I thought, that while micro brews were unheard in the '60s (as far as I can tell), local beer just seemed to do right by this dinner.
My unsuspecting dinner guests included my parents( Marcia and her husband Joe), my husbands parents(Gene and Priscilla), my dear friend Deborah, Cousin Daniel along with baby Arleigh and of course my husband and our 2 youngest sons. They were invited to come for dinner, not many more details were included. My friend Deborah brought her famous everybody eats it or nobody eats it Garlic Salad, she has generously given her approval to share the recipe here on my blog.
Pimento Cheese Ball
1 pound shredded sharp cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 tablespoon pimentos
1 tablespoon minced onion
mix cheese, mayonnaise, 1/4 pecans, pimentos and onion
refrigerate for at least 2 hours
roll into a ball and pat the other 1/4 of pecans on the outside
serve with melba toast
Savory Cream Cheese Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon worsteschire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
in a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, milk and worsteshire sauce
add salt and pepper to taste
serve right away or refrigerate
serve with rycrsip crackers
8 cups boiled potatoes, skins on
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons of vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons of mustard
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place potatoes in a large bowl
mix oil and vinegar pour over the potatoes and mix well, let rest one hour
meanwhile mix mayonnaise, mustard and eggs
after an hour pour the dressing over the potatoes and gently stir to combine
add salt and pepper to taste
chill until ready to use
1 head of garlic, peeled
1 loaf of french bread
1 pound of salad shrimp
head of lettuce, torn
1/2-3/4 cup mayonaise
in the bowl of a food processor add all the peeled garlic cloves pulse to chop
add olive oil with motor running to form a paste
cut the french bread in half length wise
spread the garlic paste over each cut side sprinkle on the salad shrimp
place bread back together, wrap and refrigerate over night
the next day cut the bread into 1 inch cubes toss, in a bowl along with the torn lettuce
and enough mayonnaise to make a creamy salad
Wilted Fresh Greens
Approximately 1 pound of fresh greens, I used Kale you can use beet greens, mustard or turnip
heat a large skillet over medium high heat
meanwhile wash and remove any large stems from the greens
don't bother drying them because the water will help wilt them
when the pan is hot add the greens and stir until they are wilted but still bright green
serve hot with slat and pepper and vinegar
Biscuits--oven 450 degrees
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut in chunks
2/3 cup milk
in the bowl of a food processor pulse together the first 5 ingredients
add the butter, pulse until it resembles fine crumbs
pour in the milk and run just until the it forms a ball in the center
flour your hands and pat out the dough on a lightly floured baking stone
cut biscuits remove the excess dough and pat out 1 more time cut the rest of the biscuits
use the scraps to create little dough letters or small drop biscuits do not make more big biscuits as they will be tough from over handling and excessive flour
bake 15 minutes or until they are golden brown
serve hot with unsalted butter
4 large stalks of rhubarb
1 cup strawberries
honey or sugar to taste
1 cup water
chop rhubarb in 1 inch chunks, chop strawberries place in a sauce pot
sprinkle with honey or sugar
bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat
reduce heat to low and cook there for 3-4 hours until ready to serve
serve hot over ice cream
Dutch Butter Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten, reserve 1 Tablespoon for brushing on the top of the cakes
1 Tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
preheat oven to 350 degrees
butter 2 8 inch cake pans
in the bowl of a mixer beat the butter and sugar until fluffy
add the beaten eggs one a time
mix in the vanilla
mix the flour and baking powder together add that to the butter mix and stir until combine
divide evenly between pans and pat out flat and brush with reserved egg
bake for 30 minutes
cool on wire racks
to remove from the pans use a knife to slide around the edge to loosen it
slice in to wedges serve with ice cream and rhubarb sauce
This was my first 24, 24, 24 event and I have to say I was intimidated by the challenge. I know my cooking abilities and how to make food fun and delicious. Since I was aiming for a '60s feel to the dinner it was hard to not over do each simple recipe. I wanted to put some fresh fennel in the potato salad, make iced coffee and maybe just a touch of feta on the greens, so I guess restraint was my biggest problem. I had to keep asking myself "was this common in the '60s?" and then try to research different recipe and products.
I had a lot of fun making Del Rois barbecue sauce and tasting it was like going back in time to when I ate it as a kid. When my Dad sold Del Rois he sold the recipe with it. Soon after the family that bought it fell upon hard times and the bar eventually closed. It has reopened several times but the recipe that made it famous has never resurfaced. I'd like to think that somewhere someone has a copy folded up and put away safely just waiting to be found and enjoyed.
Ice cream choices
Peace and Love,
Here is our big garden halfway planted in this picture it really looks small but I can assure you it is not especially when I am weeding. I think it is 45X30 or so. See the stakes on the left? That is my new pea fence plus we have the old arbor in front too. We have several above ground beds, a small greenhouse and planters and all our perennial producers too.
It has gotten to the point where it is making a real dent in our grocery bill now. In the summer we eat mostly fresh local foods with seasonal fruit thrown in. I grow a TON of peas we eat them all summer and freeze them, too. Of course every year is different so one year you may have a bumper crop of green beans and no zucchini. It's a crap shoot. I just try to put away as much of the foods we grow as possible without it running/ruining my life. I try to add something new every year too. My kids each have their own gardens and are proud parents and consumers of their produce.
Just some of last years harvest.
We don't buy eggs because we raise them. We actually make money on eggs at this point by selling the extras for 4 dollars a dozen. This pays for local organic layer food and then some. I also recycle kitchen and garden waste through the hen lot and make compost...for the gardens.
This one of 'the ladies' named Cleo for her gold collar. She is a great layer and even laid eggs at 25 below. Also she is a camera hog! Once the gardens are planted and established we do let the chickens out for free ranging forage, only when we are home though now that the eagle checks us out on a daily basis.
This is blurry because I was trying to keep ahead of the camera hog but you can see the triplets, Bessie, Betty and Betsy with the young 'uns behind them.
This year we have intentionally bought turkeys to grow and harvest for filling our freezer. We also purchased ducks and a straight run of chickens so we will have plenty of poultry meat for winter. It may sound strange to talk of harvesting our flock but that is what we are doing, growing them for food. When they give their life so I can eat I know they will have had the best life possible and that can't be bad, right? They have been loved, cared for, fed, watered and watched with awe as they went from fluff to oddballs to sleek and beautiful birds.
This is what I affectionately call 'the peking gang' they hang out under a tree and chase you down and make you feed them if you go near them. They are swimming in their pool.
So grow a pansy plant or tomatoes or whatever you can because a small investment can bring so much more than the initial outlay.
Peace and Love,
Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Lava Cookies. I found these on Evil Shenanigans Blog and they are fine! I changed them because they called for 3 bags of chocolate chips and I only had 2, I also added a good dash of cocoa powder. I changed the name too because the chocolate just sort of pours out when you bite into them and they were voted best cookie ever by my Mom who has made a few cookies in her life.
Chocolate Lava Cookies
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powdered
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, cold
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-12 oz bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 F
In a bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined, set aside
In the bowl of a mixer cream the butter and two sugars until mixed, but not fluffy
Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well
Add the vanilla and stir to combine
Pour in the flour mixture and stir until the flour is almost absorbed, then add the chocolate chips and mix until the chips are incorporated and no flour remains
Scoop 1 inch balls onto foil lined pans
Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are set
Peace and Love,
I used the Kitchen Aid recipe for Crusty Pizza dough but use your favorite dough recipe.
olive oil to for the grate
dough for pizza
your choice of sauce and toppings
Pre heat the grill for 10 minutes or so
meanwhile assemble your toppings grill side, have all prep work done
scrape down the grate so it is clean
reduce one side to low heat and keep the other burner(s) on high
dip a clean paper towel in the olive oil with a pair of tongs
rub it on the grill 3-5 times to really oil it up, grease your hands too
grab some dough and quickly make a round-ish shape and slap it on the grill
you have about 5 seconds to make any adjustments in dough shape then it's too late
close the grill lid for 2-3 minutes
then add your toppings
continue cooking until the bottom browned nicely and the cheese is melted
mine took about 10 minutes tonight but you just have to watch them, carefully
I made a plain cheese for the little boys and ours was fresh basil and spinach pesto with grilled chicken, tomatoes and feta. To. Die. For.
using the Kitchen Aid
Is that gorgeous or what?
One more shot
The bottom crust
And for a huge surprise my teenage son called me from his job to tell me "clear your schedule Thursday, I'm taking you out to dinner" Um whoa? Who abducted my child and left his one?
The entire weekend was just amazingly beautiful and productive. We weeded, planted and weeded some more. Thankfully the ladies (chickens) eat all the weeds we can drag over, then we compost their waste and eventually put it back on the garden. I like that cycle! We got our potatoes in, kale is in, bok choy is ready to eat, peas are up, broccoli is in, green cauliflower and onions are getting set out. I need to plant the carrots, parsnips, fennel, green beans and pole beans still but I have all week, kind of like a bonus, because I like to consider June 1 my cut off for planting. So I have some planting left and some weeding out beds left but all in all we got a good start on a huge job. I also have 2 cantankerous rose bushes to trim down but really I may not even bother until later when I have recovered from starting from seed, growing and planting 1500
We are celebrating birthdays this week too. My oldest turned 16 earlier this year and I was sick so we set a day to take him and friends to a concert last Saturday. The concert was cancelled so we took the boys to Anchorage for the day we fed them and movied them and fed them. They are pretty easy beasts to please.
It's also my birthday this week while the teenagers went to see Star Trek hubby and I went to see Angels and Demons. The entire time I sat there thinking "wow did I really ever read this book?" The movie was good I just don't remember reading the book, although I swear I did. Of course that may have been in that hazy period when I had a 13 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn!
I went to make smoothies tonight and my husband said "WAIT!!" and grabs my present out of the truck. Apparently he decided now was THE time to give me my present. I "had" to open it right? Two days early is fine by me. So I got the best present I have ever(at least since Christmas when I got my sweet mac laptop)received. I was completely caught off guard....check it out
Is that not the BEST present?? I have a lot of cooking to do this week which you will get to read about later in the week and he thought this might help. I love my husband! So I am off to figure out how this bad boy works.
Quickly though I did make this beautiful arrangement of a summer salad and I wanted to share. Enjoy!
2 beefsteak tomatoes sliced in rounds
1 cucumber sliced in rounds
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
tablespoon of olive oil
kosher salt to taste
cracked pepper to taste
arrange the tomato and cucumbers slices in a low bowl or on a platter
drizzle the oil then the vinegar over the slices
add salt and pepper
refrigerate at least one hour-you can skip this but the flavors all meld really well in the fridge
10 pm the sun is just starting to set
reflection in our window
crazy early daylilys
mayday tree at 10 pm
funky green currant blossoms
peace and love,
I cancelled my subscription and went on my merry way.
Then the invoice came, for 19.95. I decided I had enjoyed the Christmas Edition of MSL so much that I was willing to overlook the shoddy service AND bait and switch so I could get the magazine. Dumb move. I paid for the subscription on April 15th. I just received the May edition of MSL about a month late, magazines are always mailed to subscribers early usually by the 20th of the previous month. I hate it when magazines send you last months magazine late just so they can end your subscription early and start sending renewal notices. Personal pet peeve.
The NEXT DAY,( NEXT DAY!!!!) I receive a billing statement for 8.05, what? Seems that my 15 buck subscription is now costing me 28 bucks, almost double what I signed up for. When I went online to complain the fill in the blank complaint form wouldn't let me submit my complaint, it just kept repeating "select an option". Finally I hit don't share my email with people button and my entire nasty note was deleted. Oh come on! My fire has died, this is stupid, I don't want to pay more money yet I'll never get a refund for my 19.95. What is a girl to do?
Peace and Love,
That or the daunting task of planting the 1500 plants I started from seed has got me running scared. (like Han Solo getting chased by stormtroopers only they are green and NOT shooting lasers at me) I have so much to do that I spend most of any free time trying to decide what to do next or at all.
What possessed me to buy 500 onion plants...and then plant 100 leeks from seed just to see if I could get them to grow.
What possessed me to plant about 100 neon green cauliflower cousins?
Why did I buy enough peas to plant 1/4 mile row, not that I have the room mind you, which makes this all the more crazy
Are we really going to eat all that Thai basil I just had to have?
I want to grow as much of our own food as possible but right now I am totally overwhelmed...can you tell?
Peace and Love,