Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?: A summer day in Alaska


A summer day in Alaska

Salmon came in last night, which meant I spent the afternoon gutting, cleaning filleting and up to my elbows in fish parts. All the animals were happy to hang out with me and the boys as we cleaned the fish. We fed little chunks of meat to the birds and each dog got a little nibble of fresh salmon meat. It was gloriously bright red and extremely fresh, I felt blessed to have such a bounty of fresh fish.

I made fresh gravlax with 4 fillets, froze four and set the rest to cure for smoking tomorrow or the next day. I wanted to smoke bacon at the same time but the cranky creepy guy at the slaughter house sold the pork bellies I had him hold for me right out from under me! I'm thinking I had my hands full enough anyway, but still.

I needed vodka to make the gravlax so I bought a bigger bottle and made vanilla extract too. I get my beans from Hein Sight and you can too(email her at shazza.ak@gmail.com, they're big, beautiful and delightful. I can't wait to give bottles of vanilla extract for presents this year. If I know you in real life you'll need to forget that!

A busy day but thoroughly enjoyable day, we roasted hot dogs on the grill and had a cherry pit spitting contest for dinner. Dad had to work late so it was me and boys all day and all night.

We made invisible ink out of lemon juice and when we tried to heat it up to make the words appear it caught on fire, hilarious and only slightly scary.

We played on the swings, used sharp knives to cut appropriate things, got extremely dirty and had the best day. I think it's one of those days you remember forever, just so right in so many ways.

I took a moment to snap a few garden shots and discovered my tomatillos are filling out, of course you can't see it but they are.

Walla Walla onion


green beans


old yellow dog

Vanilla Extract
a fifth of vodka in a glass bottle
6 vanilla beans

open the fifth of vodka and pour out a small amount so the vanilla beans will fit happily
cut the beans lengthwise and drop in the bottle
cap it and give it a good shake
shake it up daily for a least 8 weeks but 12 makes it much better
pour into small clean bottles and drop in a small chunk of the vanilla bean or a fresh one
cap it, label it, give it to friends, tell your friends to keep adding vodka to the bottle once it's about half gone and they can keep the extract going for years

Gravlax 2011
***needs to cure for 2-3 days also need 2 11x17 non reactive pans***
4 salmon fillets
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup crushed peppercorns
 2 cups chopped dill
1 1/3 cup of vodka, divided
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

make sure all the bones are removed from the salmon fillets, use pliers if needed
lay 2 fillets skin side down in a 11x17 cut to fit if needed, save the scraps for another use
mix the sugar, salt, and peppercorns
spread liberally over each fillet
mix the vodka with the lemon juice
pour 1/2 of the vodka over each the salmon being careful not to wash off the cure too much
sprinkle with half the dill
repeat with the next two fillets right on top of the first two then flip over meat sides together
wrap entire pan in plastic wrap
set another 11x17 pan on top with 10 pounds of weight in it
turn after 8 hours keep refrigerating and turning for up to 3 days
take small slices and taste them for doneness

 Peace and Love--


  1. Midge is growing in typical mastiff fashion; what a pretty girl. Great produce you have there. I'd never have thought you could grow so much in Alaska.

  2. Your garden is growing some wonderful things!

    Ooh and homemade vanilla extract? yes, please!


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