Smoked Salmon Quiche with Spinach, Leeks and Jalapenos

1Intro

The stars aligned this year and I had Pi Day off (you know, Pi, that pesky irrational number we all do battle with in math class, 3.1415 . . . .) I also had just returned from Seattle with a cooler full of farmer’s market deliciousness like fresh eggs and leeks. A friend was visiting us from out of town (heck of a time to tour Southeast Alaska, but we were happy to have her). So on March 14th, 3.14, we all slept in a little and made a bit pot of coffee and watched the precipitation change from snow to sleet to rain to Graupel and back to snow. That is just the sort of March we’ve had here. It seemed like the right sort of day to dive seriously into pie. Or Pi. Depending how you want to slice it. Also my tax paperwork was due to the accountant and our business reports needed to be compiled, so naturally I made straight for the kitchen.

A few caveats on this recipe – I am going to write it as I did it, but I would recommend a few tweaks that are yet untested. Also, Normally when I make quiche I skip the crust entirely. I find it to be time consuming and also when I make crust-free quiche I really don’t miss the crust at all. I have certainly never taken the time to pre-bake a piecrust before (as described in the beginning of this recipe). I decided to give it a try since I was going “all in” for Pi Day, but I am not convinced the “juice was worth the squeeze”. So give it a try if you have time. Otherwise just move forward with raw piecrust. Or none at all.

A note on format – In the past I have given you the ingredients up front and then interspersed the photos with the instructions. As I’ve spent more time reading and using other cooking blogs, I have realized that as a user, this format is enough to drive a cook crazy. So I am going to give you all of the information up front, then follow it up with photos that you can peruse at your leisure. Let me know what you think of the change, I always love your feedback.

Prep Time: 60 min (if using home made pie crust), 20 min if using pre-made or no pie crust.
Cook Time: 60-75 min
Serves: 4-6

2ingredients

Ingredients:

Your Favorite Pie Crust Recipe for a Single Crust Pie
2 Leeks (Cleaned and Chopped)
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Pint Smoked Salmon, including juices if using canned
3 Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
½ Cup Shredded Sharp Cedar
2 Tbsp Onion (Minced)

1 Jalapeno Pepper (Minced)
1 Large Handful Spinach (Chopped)
2 Tbsp Milk (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Make your favorite piecrust recipe and roll out the crust.
  2. If you are not pre-baking the crust, skip to step 5. If you want to pre-bake the crust for your quiche, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and place a baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat. Arrange your piecrust in a 9” pie pan and crimp the edges.
  3. Cover the piecrust in tinfoil and fill the tinfoil with something weighty. I used dried beans. I think rice would also work well, and apparently there is a product out there called “pie weights” designed for this very purpose.
  4. When the oven is up to temperature, place the pie pan on the preheated backing sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust has lost its raw look.
  5. While the pie shell is baking, wash and chop the leeks. Heat butter in a pan on medium heat and add the leeks. Sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, and set aside.
  6. Remove the piecrust from the oven and sprinkle the bottom with grated cheese. This step is definitely optional but I found it was a nice touch, so long as I had gone through the trouble of pre-baking the crust. It also helps seal the crust from the liquid and keeps it crispy.
  7. Decrease the oven temperature to 325, the temperature required to bake the quiche.
  8. In a large bowl, beat together the three eggs. Stir in sour cream, mayonnaise, leeks, chopped spinach and minced jalapeno. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Flake in smoked salmon and stir until it is evenly distributed. Add the liquid from the canned smoked salmon. This is also where I added 2 Tbsp of milk, which I later regretted as I found the final product a little watery. I would recommend using the milk if you are not using canned salmon. If you are using canned salmon, the canning juices are probably enough. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Add salt and pepper to the top if you’d like. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until the quiche is slightly brown on top and doesn’t appear liquidly in the middle. In my oven I find this can take as long as 75 minutes.
  10. Remove and cool. Serve with hot sauce and a steaming cup of tea or coffee. And, if it is sleeting sideways out, and oh-so close to St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps a dollop of Irish cream in that coffee . . .

Prepared Pie Crust with Appropriate Pi-Day-Its-Sleeting-Out-And-Practically-St. Patty’s-Day libations (can you SEE the weather through that window?)

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How the Dog Feels about The Weather

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Pie Crust weighted with beans for pre-baking

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Baked Pie Shell with Melted Cheese

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Beautiful Eggs

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Quiche Mixture

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Ready for the Oven

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Ready to Eat and Enjoy!

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Peace and Pi friends. See you next time.

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Brent’s Beer Battered Halibut Bites

1Intro

So I’ve been playing with a new technique these last few recipes. Perhaps you have noticed? Put simply, it is “chase Brent around the kitchen with a camera and then try to get him to tell me what he put in the food.” While we both love creating in the kitchen, Brent has a knack for concocting amazing meals with minimal ingredients. He looks through the cabinets and thinks “this box of Bisquick has been here WAY too long” then looks at the beer in his hand and his cooking mind kicks into gear. He moves quickly and tastes and tweaks as he goes. I tend to start with a recipe and then substitute and alter based on what I have and what I have learned. Brent cooks with all of his senses and an innate understanding of what ingredients go well together. So the good news is, these recipes are original and are total crowd-pleasers. The main difference is that the measurements are a little vague and you need to trust your cooking sense and trust what tastes you enjoy. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

These halibut bites are a great winter treat. Perfect for fish that has been in the freezer for a little wile, even better when the snow is starting to drift up on the deck and you are looking for something warm and comfortable. We served this particular batch with a side of Broccoli Slaw, just to keep things a little bit healthy – and of course sweet chili sauce. We tend to serve these halibut bites hot out of the fryer and eat in waves as they are done.

Prep time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1lb Halibut (cubed)
1.5 Cup Bisquick (divided)
Red Pepper Flakes
Garlic Salt
Pepper
Salt
Beer
Vegetable oil (for frying)

 For responsibly sourced Wild Alaskan Halibut, check out Fish from Trish and the Salmon Sisters.

Optional Condiments:
Sweet Chili Sauce
Barbecue Sauce

 Directions:

Fill your frying device with about 2” of vegitable oil (or per the instructions). We use an electric kettle set to 400 degrees. A deep cast iron pan would work well too. While the oil heats, measure ½ cup of Bisquick into a bowl.  In a second bowl, measure the other 1 cup of Bisquick. Add garlic salt, red pepper flakes and pepper to taste. I find you usually need to season the batter a little more heavily than you expect to get the taste to come through. Add the beer to the seasoned Bisquick (we used the Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Brent happen to be drinking, but really any beer will do), whisking until you have a thin batter. Cube the halibut into 1” x 1” cubes.

2prep

Work 4-6 chunks of halibut at a time. Roll the fish in the seasoned, dry Bisquick until it is completely covered. Then move the fish to the liquid batter. Remove the fish from the liquid batter, allowing the batter to drain off the fish leaving only a thin layer.

Float the fish into the hot oil. The oil should sizzle and start browning the batter but should not be hot enough to smoke. Allow the fish to cook in the oil for about three minutes, until golden brown.

5Fry

Strain the golden halibut chunks out of the oil and let cool on a paper towel. Serve with your favorite condiment – we love them with sweet chili sauce or barbecue sauce. Serve – if you dare – with a healthy side of some sort, such as this great Broccoli Slaw. Or Tater Tots. Tater Tots are really good too. Enjoy!

6Final

Bacon-wrapped Dungeness Crab Jalapeño Poppers

1intro

So I must say I feel a little disloyal to the Salmon roots of our little fishing company, what with all the shellfish recipes I’ve been posting lately.  Its not that we have anything against salmon – we love it and eat it all the time.  But I must say that this winter, the shellfishing has been VERY good to us.  The weather has been clear and cold, with lots of calm, protected water in the back side of inlets and plenty of sunshine. Fresh Dungeness Crab and Spot Prawns abound, and since we love good food it has been impossible to resist.  So I hope you don’t mind.  If you are in Ketchikan, Fish from Trish is a great source of fresh, local crabs and flash frozen spot prawns.  She also ships, so check her out even if you are not local.  You will not regret it.  Or find a way to get on the water during these gifts of winter days and drum up a few of these delicious critters for yourself.  You won’t regret it.

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Prep time: 60 min (if you have to shell the crab) 20 min if you don’t
Cook Time: 15 min
Serves: 2 as a meal, 4 as appetizers

Ingredients:
1lb Picked Dungeness Crab (about two crabs, cleaned)
3 Tbsp Jalapeno Cream Cheese
1lb Thin-Cut Bacon
8 Large Jalapeños Peppers
16 Tooth Picks

Optional (and highly recommended):
1-2 Tbsp Blue Cheese*

*I am not a huge lover of blue cheese, and I must say it was an EXCELLENT addition to this recipe. So I’d go for it if you have some hanging around. If not, the poppers are still well worth doing without it.

Directions:

If you are starting with fresh Dungeness crab, bring clean sea water to a rolling boil. Add the crab and steam for 7 minutes. Remove the crab from heat and douse in cold water. Pick the crab.

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Slice the jalapeños in half the long way, scooping out the seeds.

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Mix the picked crab with 3 Tbsp of jalapeños cream cheese, until the crab is moist and stuck together. Add 1-2 Tbsp of blue cheese and mix well. Pack the pepper halves with the crab-cheese mixture. Using a toothpick if needed, wrap each stuffed pepper in a piece of bacon and pin in place. Pre-heat the oven to 420 degrees on the “convection” setting. If you don’t have a convection oven, these work well in a cast-iron skillet over the barbecue or on a stove top.

Arrange the poppers on a roasting pan and cook for 15 minutes, until the bacon is crisp.

Drain on a paper towel and serve hot. Move quickly because they will not last long. We enjoyed them served with a good IPA. Enjoy!

8final

Brent’s Famous Sriracha-Tequila-Lime Spot Prawns

1intro

It was a dark and stormy night. Literally. Raining sideways, blowing 40kts and gusting way past that. And for once we were home and dry and by the wood stove, instead of out getting thumped and rained on in a small boat. We went to dinner with friends and decided to grill. This is Ketchikan. You can’t let the weather stop you or you will never do the things you want to do. So grill we did! The smoke swirled around the deck in the wind and the coals were a little cooler than they could have been, but these crowd-pleasing shrimp skewers still turned out amazing. This is probably the recipe we get asked for the most, and we hope you enjoy it. Forgive the hodge-podge photography; these pictures were shot quickly, trying to keep up with the chef.

Prep time: 45 min (if you have to peel the Spot Prawn tails)
Wait time: 30-60 min (for the marinade)
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: 6

Ingredients*

2lbs Raw Spot Prawn Tails (Peeled)
1 Cup Olive Oil
¾ Cup Lime Juice
3 Tbsp Garlic Powder
3 Tbsp Sriracha Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp Garlic Chili Sauce
4 Cloves Garlic (pressed)
2 Shots Tequila
Salt

*These measurements are approximate. Brent tends to cook by taste, so feel free to tweak the rations as you see fit and as your taste buds dictate.

Instructions:

Rinse and peel the spot prawn tails. If you are working with fresh tails, this is a little harder as you want to keep the shrimp raw. Partially freezing the tails for 30 minutes or steaming them for about a minute help the peeling go much faster.

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Mix the marinade. Combine the 1 cup olive oil, ¾ cup lime juice, 3 tbsp garlic powder, 3 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce, 1 tbsp garlic chili Sauce, 4 pressed garlic cloves, 2 shots tequila and salt to taste. Stir well to combine. As mentioned earlier, tweak these ratios to taste. This is a pretty spicy version, so decrease the Sriracha if you want less spicy. Make sure the tequila flavor comes through. Increase the garlic components if desired.

Combine the marinade and shrimp tails and let sit for at least 30 minutes

5marinate

While the shrimp is marinating, get the grill going. Rain or shine, these skewers are best cooked over coals.

6grill

Skewer the shrimp tails. We use metal, reusable skewers but wooden ones work just as well. If using wood, you can soak the wood in water in advance to keep them from burning. I find it is best to fold the shrimp tails in half and skewer through two points on every shrimp, otherwise they are more prone to falling off. Place the skewers on a sheet pan to keep them from dripping everywhere. Drizzle any extra marinate over the skewers to ensure maximum flavor.

Place the skewers on the grill over medium-hot coals. Turn the skewers every 2-3 minutes or so and monitor closely to prevent overcooking. Remove from the heat when the shrimp are just done, firm and white all the way through with a little crispness to the outside. This should take 6-10 minutes depending on how hot your coals are. Enjoy! I guarantee everyone at the barbecue will be very happy and there will be no leftovers.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Coho with Roasted Winter Vegetables: A One-Pan Dinner

intro

I hope this finds everyone happily back in the groove after the holiday season. Here in Ketchikan, we have been enjoying unusually clear, cold weather and soaking up more sun than we are used to in January. It has been amazing! Tonight I want to share a simple and delicious one-pan recipe full of color and lots of health benefits. Tonight is Prosciutto-Wrapped Coho with Roasted Winter Vegetables.

I was particularly excited about this recipe after a recent visit to the Ballard Farmers Market in Seattle. This nationally ranked market is full of delicious winter goodies, and I filled my trusty rolling cooler with enough carrots and beats and other deliciousness to keep me happy for quite a while. I love how colorful this meal is, and that it meets all comfort food needs while still being super healthy. I hope you enjoy it.

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 45 Min
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1lb Coho Salmon (Skinned)
1 Package Prosciutto
4 Large Carrots (Chopped)
8 Small Beets (Quartered)
16 Brussels Sprouts (Halved)
8 Cloves Garlic (Pealed)
3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)

Instructions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the carrots and beets. Peel if you feel so inclined – I prefer to leave the skins on for added vitamins and fiber. Chop the carrots into 1” x 1” cubes (this is VERY approximate) and the beets into quarters. Halve the Brussels sprouts and peal the garlic cloves. Add more garlic cloves if you are a lover of them – they are super good roasted and evaporate very quickly.

2choppedveg

Spread the chopped veggies on a baking sheet and drizzle with the 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. I like to then roll everything around with my hands and make sure the veggies are evenly coated in oil and spices. Pop the baking sheet in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes. If you want you can stir the veggies around half way through the cook time for even heating.

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Meanwhile, skin the salmon fillet and cut into 1” strips. For longer strips, cut them in half so they approximately match the width of your Prosciutto slices.

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Place out one slice of Prosciutto for each piece of salmon and place the salmon in the middle. Wrap the salmon in the Prosciutto and place seam-side down.

When the veggies have roasted for 30 minutes, turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees. Remove the baking pan and move the veggies aside to create space for the wrapped salmon bites. Place the bites seam-side down on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add a little pepper to taste.

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Bake at 400 degrees for 5 – 6 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Plate and serve. Your family and friends are bound to enjoy this great combination of quality cured meat and delicious Wild Alaskan Salmon. And it brightens up any winter evening.

8final

Yellow Fin Tuna Poke – A little bit of Winter Sunshine

Solstice is barely behind us, and the days here in Ketchikan are starting to get longer by 7 seconds a day (but who’s counting?). Christmas and New Years are fast approaching. So it seams a fitting time to share a warm water, warm weather recipe, to inspire us all and remind ourselves that long sunny days will come back. This is also a great opportunity to introduce our first Guest Chef of the Fish Hacks! Family. This winter we will strive to bring more people into our galley so as to increase the creativity and ideas and number of fish recipes we can share with you. Diana Moyseowicz is our first Guest Chef, and we are thrilled to have her support, kitchen-savvy and fish-love on our team.

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Diana is an outdoor adventurer, a seafood enthusiast, and a new resident of Alaska. She grew up moving all over the country, with roots in Guam and experience living from North Dakota to Washington DC. She brings international flair to her cooking, a willingness to experiment, and an enthusiasm for all foods that come from the ocean. We are thrilled that she is willing to share her flare with us!

This week’s recipe features Yellow Fin Tuna. This particular tuna was caught off Bahía de los Muertos on the Sea of Cortez in October. In general, Pacific line-caught Yellow Fin Tuna is categorized as “Green” by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and is a good choice for both human health and environmental sustainability. If you are not lucky enough to know a fish-obsessed couple that jet-sets around catching Yellow Fin Tuna, there are environmentally responsible fishers out there selling top quality fish. Keep the “know your fisherman” principal in mind and poke around options for fresh or traceable fish in your area.

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Prep Time: 30-45 Minutes
Feeds: 4 People

Ingredients:
2 Lb Yellow Fin Tuna Loin (Trimmed)
¼ Cup Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
4 Tbsp Furikake Seaweed Seasoning or sesame seeds
1 Tbsp Roasted Black Seaweed
2 Tsp Fresh Ginger (Grated)
1 Tsp Fresh Garlic (Minced)

Optional (and Highly Recommended) Sides:
White Rice
Salmon Roe
Pickled Ginger
Avocado

Instructions:

Combine 1 cup of white rice with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the tuna loin, ensuring all of the dark meat is cut away.

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Slice the tuna into ½” x ½” cubes and place in a bowl.

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Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, seaweed seasoning (or sesame seeds), seaweed, garlic and ginger into the cubed tuna and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes so that the sauces and oils absorb into the fish.

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Allow the rice to cool for about 30 minutes. Then make up the most delicious Tuna Poke Bowl you’ve ever seen – a scoop of rice, a scoop of Poke, home-cured Salmon Eggs, fresh avocado and pickled ginger. Dish up and dig in. OR eat the Poke all by itself – I guarantee it will stand on its own feet!

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Oven-Baked White King Salmon

white-salmon-intro

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. I can’t actually chose a favorite book of hers, as each is so delicious and stands with strength on its own two feet. While writing to you this week, though, I was reminded of her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It is the account of her family’s move from the waterless city of Tucson, Arizona, to the farmland of Southern Appalachia. They learn to grow a lot of their own food, get to know their fellow farmers, spend time in the kitchen canning and freezing and drying. It is a beautiful account of a family and a community growing together around local food. One passage that always struck me describes a friend asking Barbara, “what do you eat in the winter?” and she replies, “In the winter, we eat everything!”

And so is the blessing that comes with living close to your food. The early springs are spent setting spot prawn traps and catching halibut before the salmon season kicks in. The summers are spent fishing and freezing and smoking while eating King Salmon and Rock Fish. The falls are spent canning and eating Coho.  Come December, I open my freezer and cabinets and feel like the luckiest person in the world. The bounty of the Alaskan Ocean is before my eyes, and I have my pick.   And so we recently selected a beautiful fillet of White King Salmon for a simple oven-bake dinner. This recipe leaves lots of room for personal flare when it comes to spice choices, and we think you will enjoy it. Substitute Red King at will. If using Coho, use a little more butter or olive oil due to the lower oil content of the fish.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Feeds: 4 People

Ingredients:
2 Lbs White King Salmon
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tsp Olive Oil
¼ Medium Onion (Sliced Thin)
3 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
¼ Tsp Garlic Salt
½ Tsp Dill
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Optional:
¼ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne Pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the onion thin and chop the garlic coarsely.

onion-and-garlic

Place the fillet of King Salmon skin-side down on a large piece of tin foil – big enough to wrap the fillet completely. Slice the butter thin and place on top of the salmon, then drizzle the olive oil over the fish. Place the onions and garlic on the fish, then sprinkle with garlic salt and dill. Add a little spicy if you prefer.

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Wrap the fillet in the tin foil, making sure that it is sealed so the juices and oil do not leak out. I’d recommend putting in in a pan just in case it springs a leak, it is MUCH easier to clean up. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the fish just flakes and remains juicy. Service immediately.

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Enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth, oily deliciousness of White King Salmon and think of sunny summer days trolling. Won’t be long now until we are back on the deck fishing.

Smoked Salmon and Butternut Squash Curry – Lunch in a Jar!

intro

Hello faithful Seabright family. It has taken me until nearly the Winter Solstice to get another recipe out to you all. I believe my last installation was fresh King salmon on the grill, mid-summer when the fish were running strong. There are some winter Kings out there now, though with the short days I am spending more time by the wood stove than plying the salty seas. And lately have been on a bit of winter squash kick – so expect some kind of creamy spaghetti squash and seafood recipe down the line a little.

This recipe turned out quite altered from my original plan. Sometimes your afternoon starts with a quick trip to drop a friend at the auto-shop, and then small town logistics intervene and the evening turns into an impromptu mother-daughter night “on the town” (my living room) and home-made-experimental-dinner-for-three and play-date-with-a-puppy sort of night. Life dictates that one stop any planning at this point and soak up the joys of the evening and go with the flow. Hopefully the blogosphere agrees. AND our dinner came out pretty good and proved the perfect next-day-mason-jar-lunch, so I figured I would share. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6 People
Prep time: 60min

Ingredients:

2 Cups Brown Rice (Uncooked)
4 Cups Water

1 Butternut Squash
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Medium Onion (Diced)
6 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
2 Tbsp Ginger (Grated)
2 Tbsp Curry Powder
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Can Coconut Milk (Light or Full Fat)
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
16oz Can Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking pan with coconut oil. Cut the butternut squash in half the long way, scoop out the seeds, and place it face-down in the pan. Bake 35-45 minutes, until the flesh is soft. (The its-late-and-I’m-hungry tactic here is to fill a nonmetallic baking pan with ¼ inch of water, place the squash halves face-down in the water, and micro-wave for 12-17 minutes . . . just saying).

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Place Brown Rice in a pot and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the fresh ginger. Heat the rest of the coconut oil in the bottom of a soup pot.

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Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until they start to get translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cayenne and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes, until all the spices start to smell fragrant. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Mix together and bring to a simmer. Scoop the cooked butternut squash into the simmering broth. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture to your desired consistency. I like it nice and smooth, but leave big squashy chunks if you prefer. Add the can of smoked salmon and mix into the curry broth. Serve hot over brown rice. Or pack it in a jar for lunch the next day. Either way, it is delicious.

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And with that, a bonus-puppy-play-date photo. Happy Wednesday!

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Fresh Grilled King Salmon – Summer’s Best

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The irony of fishing season – so much amazing fresh fish flowing through the seas, into the boat, into the kitchen and the smokers, and so little time to put pen to paper and send recipes out into the world.  I would be remiss, though, to let the summer go any farther without talking about fresh, grilled King salmon.  It is the simplest and most delectable way to enjoy fresh salmon.  So grab your bag of charcoal and pick up a fresh King from the dock closest to you.  Invite a few people over – this one is a shame to eat alone – and a cold six pack of local micro-brew, the camp chairs . . . this is what summer is all about.

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Feeds: 4-6 People

Ingredients: 

1/2 Fresh King Salmon Fillet (appx 2 lbs)
1/2 Sweet Onion (Sliced thin)
1 Tbsp garlic olive oil 
Ground Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper 

Directions:

Pack the charcoal chimney and start the coals.

Lay the fish fillet, skin side down, on a generous piece of tin foil. Roll the edges up and pinch them, preventing the juices of the fish from escaping.  Slice the sweet onion very thin. Drizzle the garlic olive oil lightly over the fish, followed by a salt and pepper, then lay the thin onion slices in a layer over the fish.  Pack extra onions around the edges to absorb the flavors of the fish oil and the barbecue.

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Once the grill coals are glowing, place the fish on the grill away from the direct heat. Use an upper grill rack if you have one, or place the fish to the side of the hottest coals and rotate.  Add any other veggies and sides (we love this with grilled corn on the cob).

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The fish will need to cook for about 20 minutes depending on thickness.  Watch for the salmon oil to start bubbling out the edges and the top.

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The fish is done when the oil is bubbling out white and the flakes come apart when touched with a fork. The onions on top will start to brown. Watch the fish closely the last few minutes and avoid over-cooking at all costs.  Fresh King Salmon will fall apart at the touch of your fork and melt in your mouth.

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Savor every moment of this summer delicacy and be grateful to be one of the luck few with a Wild Alaskan King Salmon on your grill.

Summer-Smoked Salmon: Seabright Chum

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Faithful seafood enthusiasts, I have been waiting all winter for the salmon to come back so we could talk about smoking them. It is not that you can’t smoke salmon from the freezer – we do it all the time (some say it is even the better way).  For me, though, firing up the smoker is a sign of summer and all of the goodness that comes with it. The smell of the smoker on the back deck, the blend of alder and apple swirling in the light afternoon breeze, a cold beer in your hand . . . ahhhhh. So on Brent’s first overnight trip he picked up a chrome-bright Chum salmon. And we decided that he would kick off our salmon smoking season.

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Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) also known as Keta or Dog salmon can get a bad reputation. Usually by the time the fish are caught, they are often fairly far along in their spawning life cycle. Shinny bright silver scales give way to dark greens and reds and big stripes, teeth jut from the lower jaw, and all the fish’s energy is pushed into reproduction. A chrome-bright (dare I say sea-bright?) Chum, though, is a treat. The fish are large, second only to the King Salmon in size, and have high oil content. This makes them ideal for the smoker and the barbecue. So enjoy this first installment of salmon smoking. Remember there are as many ways to smoke a salmon as there are people smoking them, so alter at will to meet your tastes, your fish and your smoker. And enjoy the process. Soak up the long summer days, the slow food, the company and the tasty fish at the end.

NOTE: This recipe requires an over-night brining of the fish, so start the day/evening before you plan on smoking. The smoking part takes about 12 hrs depending on the thickness of your fish, so it is good to start earlier in the day.

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Ingredients:

8-10 Lbs Fresh Salmon Fillets
1 Quart Water
1 Cup Salt
4 Cups + 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar (loose)
2 Tbsp Paprika
¼ Cup Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

Instructions:

In a large, lidded bowl or food-safe bucket, combine the water, salt, 4 cups of the brown sugar, paprika, soy sauce and garlic powder. Mix until everything dissolves in the water. Cut the salmon into strips, about 2” wide. Leave the skin on. Place the strips into the brine solution skin-side down. Cover the salmon such that it stays submerged in the brine (I put a plate, face-down, over the salmon, then place a weight on top of the plate). Place in the refrigerator and let sit 12-24hrs. It is good to agitate this solution every few hours to ensure even brine on all of the salmon.

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When the brine process is complete, remove the salmon once piece at a time, rinse it in cold water, and place on the smoker racks.

NOTE: It is very important to rinse the brine off the fish, or it will be much too salty.

Place the fish skin-side down on the smoker racks. Grind fresh black pepper onto each piece and then sprinkle each piece with loose brown sugar. This is a great place to add your favorite savory spices – brown sugar and chili powder is really good combination if you are looking for something spicier. Slide the racks into the smoker and add wood-chips. Lately we have been using a blend of alder and apple wood, and have been very happy with the results.

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Set the smoker to 130F and the timer for 3 hours. This low temperature smoke lets the flavor get through the top layers and fully into the salmon. Plan to add more smoker chips about 3 times during the first 3 hours of smoking. After 3 hours, increase the temperature to 140F. Re-stoke the chip box and set the timer for 8 hours. 8 hours is a good baseline. From here, thicker fish will take longer (we added another 2 hours to this batch) and should be checked regularly to keep it from over-cooking and drying out.

NOTE: If you are using a smoker that does not have temperature controls (like a Little Chief, which we used for years before upgrading) stick an oven thermometer inside so you can keep an eye on the temperature. Plan on checking the fish more frequently, and having the process take all day.

The fish is done when it breaks apart easily and retains its moisture. I always err on the side of under-done, as I prefer my smoked salmon moist. Adjust the cook times to your preferences and needs.

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Serve with cream cheese and crackers and red wine . . . or just eat it hot off the smoker rack. Either way, kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. There is nothing better than fresh summer-smoked salmon. Soak it up.

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