Food lately.

We have been spending a decent amount of time cooking. I am inspired after getting The Food Lab. We caught some trout at a nearby lake. I wrapped them in foil, stuffed them with onions, tomatoes, garlic and lemon, and threw them on the grill while I seared my steaks. I have been using the sous vide method of cooking as much as possible lately. It has been incredible.

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I  have also been making pasta from scratch. It is a fun and delicious thing to do. The use of a stand mixer with pasta attachments makes it happen a little faster than if we were to roll everything out by hand and then cut it.

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For a fast appetizer, I made asparagus with poached eggs and walnut vinaigrette. It was probably the fanciest sounding thing I have made.Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.48.58 PM.png

Of course, half the fun of cooking is making something unhealthy. I have also been dabbling in frying things. Frying fish and chicken with a side of potatoes was delicious, but really made the house smell like grease and nothing feels very clean for a couple of days. Leftover fish sandwiches on homemade bread.Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.50.37 PMNone of this would be complete without dessert. Amanda made an insane gingerbread hollow cake lined with melted chocolate. Then we added homemade eggnog and whipped cream that we make minutes before stuffing our face. It has been a good first winter in Alaska. Who needs many hours of daylight when you can stay inside and cook!Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.51.40 PM.png

Spring is here.

Just another reason why the northwest is great. I got to hang out at a farm during lambing season and then pick mussels to make for dinner that night.Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.10.11 AMSure the fishing isn’t so great out here, but this is making explore other outdoor options. At least I got to be on the water.Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.10.27 AMSomeone was happy with the result. I hear that they were delicious.Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.10.39 AM

Bacon wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates.

 

 

Holy moly, these are good. We had something like this at In The Red recently.

Step one: Get dates. Costco has the best deals. But you have to remove the seed yourself.Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 1.46.08 PMNext, push as much goat cheese as possible in the center. This is messy and it helps if you like to lick your fingers when you are finished. If not, find a dog that loves cheese. I have one that you can borrow.

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If you are feeling frisky, or want to add something special to these, you can push in some walnuts or almonds. This was supposed to replace the bacon for the vegetarian in the house. Nothing replaces bacon. And she didn’t complain when the bacon grease seeped onto her dates.Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 1.46.50 PM

Wrapping bacon may also attract the attention of the local dog. He seems to know when the cheese or the bacon comes out of the fridge. The dog can be very smart when he wants to be.Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 1.46.57 PM

After cooking the dates, the house smells like delicious bacon and cheese. The most difficult part is waiting until they are cooled enough to eat.Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 1.47.09 PM
Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 1.47.17 PMHe may have gotten some bacon and cheese that night.

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Chicken coop.

Every homesteader needs a chicken coop. We had a shed that housed firewood despite our house not have any wood burning capabilities. I suppose there is an elevated fire pit outside that we use twice a year, but nothing that warrants half a cord of wood to be kept dry all year long. Here is the picture before:IMG_2660There were a couple of vegetable boxes that held some weeds and green onions, so we took them apart and moved them next to the street in the front of the house so that they might get some sun. Then we planted peas, kale, lettuce, and cilantro. Then we built a chicken coop. I have step by step pictures and one day I may put them all together. We re-did the roof so that we can collect rain water and have an automatic watering system. The feeder is also pretty cool, but I am going to make sure that it will work before I post the details about it.

Here is the picture after:IMG_2841There are only a few steps left before we get chickens. There is a lot of interest locally of raising chickens as well as vertical gardens.

Vertical aquaponic wall garden.

I am damn near finished. There are always small details to fix, but the major stuff is finished. I built a shelf for the fish tank, made a light, and put it all together. The light was my first time playing with electrical things. It felt good to see the light come on without me getting electrocuted. Thanks to TomorrowsGarden.net for showing me how to save $100 by making my own light. It was about $15 to make the light and another $20 for both light bulbs. Typically, these reflectors are about $100 without the bulbs.

photo 3Here is the light after being mounted to the ceiling.
photo 1Now we need more plants.
photo 2The fish poop and fertilize the plants. I got the idea from other aquaponic companies, but really didn’t want to pay what they were charging for complete setups. Amanda hates all of the wires, so those will be hidden somehow and then I will really be finished… until we work on the next one beside it.