How To Make Refined Sugar Free Gravlax (Salt-Cured Salmon)

Gravlax is Scandinavian in descent, meaning “grave salmon” or “buried salmon.” Raw fillets or pieces of salmon are covered (or buried) in salt, sugar, and spices that, over a period of time, draw moisture out of the fish to cure and preserve it. Once the cure mixture is washed away from the fish, the end result is a tighter, firmer, and darker piece of salty salmon.  

I like to eat thinly sliced pieces of gravlax on gluten free crackers (either Mary’s Gone Crackers or these rice crackers) with goat cheese, red onions, capers, and a drop or two of Sriracha. If you are grain-free or being a bit more health conscious, use cucumber slices to replace the crackers. You can also eat gravlax on a bagel or piece of toast, as a side with eggs, or any way you like, really. Who could resist a salty piece of gravlax? It’s like the bacon of the sea! 

How To Make Refined Sugar Free Lox-Allergy Free Alaska

Before I share the actual recipe with you, I thought I’d take you on a visual journey through the process of How To Make Refined Sugar Free Gravlax (Salt-Cured Salmon). It all starts with a fillet of salmon – fresh is best, but a thawed fillet of frozen salmon will work just fine, too.

Fresh Alaska Wild Salmon - How to Make Lox - Allergy Free AlaskaIn this last batch of gravlax I made, I used Alaska wild red salmon, and although I recommend you use Alaska wild salmon (no biased opinions here), really any type of salmon will do (just please don’t support farmed!). Make sure your fillet is clean. If it’s not, just give it a quick rinse in cold water and then pat it dry with paper towels. Now cut your fillet in half – and leave the skin on. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you pull out the bones or leave them in. I leave them in, and then remove them when I slice the slice the gravlax after the curing process. If you do decide to remove the bones at this point, pliers or heavy duty tweezers work best. 

Make the cure mixture, which has the consistency of coarse sand, and do your best to cover the flesh of the salmon in the cure. Use your hands to press the cure into the fish. You don’t need to worry about covering the skin in the cure – only the flesh. 

How to Make Lox-AFA

Now quickly (and carefully) sandwich the two pieces together – flesh to flesh with the skin out, and then wrap both together tightly in plastic wrap.

Allergy Free Alaska-How to Make LoxPlace the wrapped salmon in a glass baking dish with 2-3 inch sides. Moisture will release from the fish almost immediately, so make sure you get the wrapped fish into the dish right away. This picture (below) was taken 10-15 minutes after these fillets were placed in the dish. 

AFA - How to make loxSome prefer to place a heavy item, like a brick or another baking dish filled with heavy cans, on top of the wrapped fish to flatten it down and grind the cure mixture into the fish. This step is entirely optional; I often times skip it, but it normally depends on how much room I have in my refrigerator. 

Now place the baking dish in the refrigerator for 2-5 days. I know… that’s a super huge span of time. How do you know when to pull it out? Here’s the thing about gravlax: the first batch you make is generally always an experimental batch- a chance for you to figure out how exactly you prefer your gravlax. It’s almost like cooking an egg – some like their yokes runny, and some like their eggs completely cooked through and well done. We all have our different preferences. I know from making previous batches of gravlax that I prefer my thinner salmon fillets cured for about 2 days. The thicker ones, the ones that are 1-1.5 inches thick (or thicker), I let cure for a full 3 days. You just have to give it try to know what you prefer. 

Happy Gravlax making! 

All my love,
Megan

How To Make Lox-Allergy Free Alaska

A note about the brown spots you see on the gravlax in the picture above- this is the natural fatty part of the fish. I choose to leave mine on and eat it, but if you don’t care to, simply cut it off and discard it. 

How To Make Refined Sugar Free Gravlax (Salt-Cured Salmon)

Yield: enough cure for 1 lbs of salmon

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Rinse the salmon fillet and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut it in half and leave the skin on.
  2. If desired, remove the pin bones from the salmon using pliers or heavy duty tweezers.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, make the cure mixture by combining the kosher salt, palm sugar, coarse ground black pepper, and Wright's Liquid Smoke.
  4. Press the mixture into all parts of the flesh of the salmon being sure to thoroughly coat it. Don’t worry about coating the skin, only the flesh.
  5. Quickly (and carefully) sandwich the two pieces of salmon together – flesh to flesh with the skin out, and then wrap both together tightly in plastic wrap.
  6. Place the wrapped salmon in a glass baking dish with 2-3 inch sides. Moisture will release from the fish almost immediately, so make sure you get it into the dish right away.
  7. Place a heavy item, like a brick or another glass baking dish filled with heavy cans, on top of the wrapped fish to flatten it down and grind the cure mixture into the fish (This step is entirely optional; I often times skip it, but it normally depends on how much room I have in my refrigerator.).
  8. Refrigerate for 2-5 days (you can read more about this, including how many days I cure my fillets above). Rotate the fillets and discard the excess moisture from the fish every 24 hours.
  9. Remove the fish from the plastic wrap and rinse the cure mixture off of the salmon by placing the fillets under cool running water. Not all of the cure mixture will come off. Pat dry with paper towels.
  10. Serve immediately or store, up to 3 days, in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
  11. To cut the gravlax, hold a very sharp knife at an angle (I like to use a fillet knife) and slice 1/8” thick pieces on the diagonal.

Recipe Notes from Megan

The cure mixture makes enough for 1 pound of salmon, so if your fillet weighs more than 1 pound, adjust the recipe accordingly.

Fresh dill can be hard to come by where I live, but if you have access to it, and would like to include some in this recipe, try adding 1/4-1/3 cup chopped dill to the curing mixture.

http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2014/07/10/how-to-make-refined-sugar-free-gravlax-salt-cured-salmon/

This recipe is linked to, Marvelous Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free WednesdayGluten Free Wednesdays,Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays, Frugal Day Sustainable Ways, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday and Gluten Free Fridays. 

This post may contain affiliate links which I may receive a small commission from (without any additional costs to you). The money earned from these commissions helps me maintain this website. Thank you for your support in this way!  

Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill

It’s been a busy weekend for us, filled with lots of errand running, cleaning, reorganizing, and furniture shuffling. Abbi’s birthday is coming up soon, so as an early birthday present, we got rid of her toddler bed and upgraded her to a twin bed with a new comforter/sheet ensemble.  When Abbi saw her new bed all made up in her room she jumped into it and giggled, and giggled, and couldn’t stop giggling. I wish I would’ve had my camera ready to get a video of it. It was priceless! 

Kylie-Abbi-Allergy-Free-Alaska

Speaking of my camera, I’ve also been taking lots of pictures this week. I’m trying to teach myself how to shoot in manual mode (you manually adjust your camera settings, like shutter speed and the aperture value) instead of auto (the camera automatically adjusts the settings for you). It’s not an easy task, or at least I don’t think it is anyways. We have a Nikon D90, and although I have no clue how to use it properly, I love it. Photography is something I’ve always loved, but lately I’ve developed a real passion and appreciation for it. I don’t want to be a professional photographer by any means, but I’d love to be able to take amazing photos and grasp how to set up my camera properly given the lighting, weather, type of shot, etc… 

I actually took this next picture (below) in manual mode (and in case you couldn’t sense it through your computer screen, I’m really, really happy I was able to somewhat figure the settings out). I’m not saying this shot is perfect, because I know it’s not, but it’s an improvement for me, and well… I’m slightly giddy about it. If any of you photographers out there would like to critique this photo, I’d love to hear what you have to say! 

Cedar Planked Salmon Allergy Free Alaska

As for the object of the picture above, many of you know we are very blessed to have a freezer full of Alaska wild salmon. It’s one of the perks that comes along with living in this great state, along with the gorgeous views and sub-zero temperatures (my voice is laced with sarcasm re: sub-zero temps!). I try to prepare fish for dinner at least 1-3 times a week, but because we eat it so often, I have to season our salmon really well and try to switch it up as much as I can. We love our Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers with Garlic Dill Aioli, but there’s also something to be said about a fresh grilled fillet – especially one grilled on a cedar plank. 

This Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill is especially flavorful and moist. Scoring the flesh prior to slathering on the marinade allows the flavors to easily permeate the fish. It will produce a flaky, savory, and absolutely delicious salmon fillet. And the smokiness of the cedar gives the fish just the right amount of added “wow factor.” Holy yum — it’s so good!! 

We enjoyed our salmon with a side of potatoes (either sweet potatoes or white potatoes would be delicious) and green beans, but you could easily pair it with a side salad and peas, steamed broccoli, a veggie stir fry, or whatever else you have on hand. Salmon is especially versatile and generally couples well with any savory side dish. 

I hope you all have an incredible week!
All my love,
Megan

Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill

Inspired by this recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cedar grill plank
  • 2 lbs. salmon fillet with the skin on (I used Alaska Sockeye)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon lemon zest (depends on how lemony you want it)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, melted

Instructions

  1. Soak the cedar plank in cool water for at least 2 hours. Use something heavy to place on top of the plank to keep it submerged (I used a heavy drinking glass, but you could also use a heavy bottomed pan, or a brick).
  2. Blot the salmon off with paper towels and place the fillet skin side down on large cutting board or sheet pan. Use a fillet knife to score the flesh of the fish by making a number of shallow diagonal cuts across its surface, about an inch apart (take a look at the picture above to see how I did it).
  3. Use the back of a large kitchen knife to work the garlic and sea salt into a paste. Scrape the paste into a small mixing bowl, and add the dried dill, black pepper, lemon zest, mayonnaise, olive oil, and ghee. Stir together and then slather the mixture on the flesh of the salmon fillet.
  4. Place the cedar plank on a grill that has been preheated to high heat. Close the lid until the plank begins to smoke, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the plank over and place the salmon fillet directly on the plank. Cook on medium-high to high heat (see notes) for 15 - 25 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees (F).

Recipe Notes from Megan

Every grill is different and some are hotter than others, which is why I suggest grilling the salmon at medium-high to high heat. You want the cedar plank to produce smoke, but you don't want it to dry out or catch fire before your salmon is finished cooking (not that you ever want it to catch fire!). I started cooking my salmon fillet on medium-high, but eventually had to turn up the heat to high because it was taking too long to cook. Start out at medium-high heat. If the plank is smoking and you feel like it's doing well, leave it be. But if the plank isn't smoking and your fillet doesn't appear to be cooking fast enough, turn the heat up to high and let it finish cooking at that temperature.

http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2013/10/07/lemony-cedar-planked-salmon-garlic-dill/

 This recipe is linked to Gluten Free WednesdayAllergy Free WednesdayFat Tuesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Denali Trail Mix, Mt. McKinley & Bears Gone Wild

These pictures are the personal property of Megan Ancheta, © copyright 2013 Allergy Free Alaska, LLC. They may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent. Thank you for your courtesy!

We are home from visiting Denali National Park & Preserve. It was incredible – definitely a trip of a lifetime.

Back in June I applied for the Denali National Park Road Lottery. Every year the park opens the entire park road (weather permitting) for 4 days to lottery winners (you can read all about the lottery and get the details here). We were very blessed to be selected this year, so we decided to turn it into a mini weekend vacation getaway. This picture was taken at the park entrance. When we were walking up to the sign a gentleman asked us if we’d like him to take our picture – and come to find out, his wife, Sarah, who I had never met, recognized me from Allergy Free Alaska. It was so great to meet them. :) And thank you, Sarah’s hubby, for taking our picture! Welcome to DenaliThere are quite a few places to stay and eat in the Denali area; however, few places are familiar with the gluten free/allergy free lifestyle. I knew staying at a big hotel and relying on their restaurant for food wasn’t going to work. So thanks to the suggestion of one of you on Facebook, we decided to reserve the Maggie’s Place Cabin with Denali Adventure Lodges in Cantwell, Alaska (it’s about 20 minutes away from the Denali National Park entrance). It is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath cabin, complete with plumbing/running water and a kitchen on a small private lake. It was perfect, and there was even a grill outside.

DSC_0011 (Small)Maggie’s Place Cabin is really special. It’s not a 5 star resort by any means… it’s a rustic Alaskan cabin, complete with its own quirks, but we all loved it and can’t wait to go back someday. And you can’t beat the views out of the large windows of the cabin:

DSC_0026 (Small)DSC_0017 (Small)On Saturday, we headed to Denali National Park. We checked in with the Visitor’s Center to get our lottery day pass, but there was one other very important thing we had to do. A few days before leaving for Denali, Kylie filled out her paperwork to become a Denali Junior Ranger which is a program designed to educate children all about the wildlife, wilderness and people of Denali. FYI, children don’t have to live in Alaska to participate in this program, they can also submit their paperwork via mail. Just check the Denali Junior Ranger Program for details.

Also, to learn more about Denali, earlier last week we watched the National Geographic’s Extreme Alaska: Denali National Park. If you have Netflix, it is available to instant stream, but you can also purchase it on Amazon. We enjoyed it and we think you will too.

Kylie saying the Denali Junior Ranger Pledge:

DSC_0050 (Small)When we did drive into the park it was cloudy and overcast. Visibility was low and we couldn’t see Mt. McKinley, but we still enjoyed the sites of the park. The fall colors were out in full force, which was such a treat. We normally don’t see many bright reds and oranges in our area where we live, so I think those colors are extra special. The views were spectacular. And the land went on and on… stretching for hundreds of miles with no end in sight.

DSC_0069 (Small)DSC_0190 (Small)DSC_0080 (Small)DSC_0087 (Small)We traveled into the park a total of 43 miles, but it took us over 2 hours one way. Only the first 15 miles of the park are paved and some portions of the road are rough. They go through mountain passes without guard rails and can be dangerous if not driven carefully. The speed limit is 35 mph, but we generally drove slower because we were looking for wildlife or stopping to take pictures of the scenery or use the rest rooms. Speaking of the rest rooms… only in Alaska can you use a potty where a two by four and a reinforced door protect you from the outside elements (like wildlife). Thank God we were only shutting the door for privacy and not because of bears… or moose… or wolves!

DSC_0083 (Small)Speaking of wildlife, we didn’t see much, but when we finally decided to turn around and start our journey out of the park we were blessed to see these fellas across a ravine and on the side of a mountain. It was so cool. I’ve seen bears in the wilderness before, but what an awesome thing for our girls to be so young and able to see brown bears, not at a zoo, but in their natural habitat. 

DSC_0144 (Small)DSC_0159 (Small)DSC_0167 (Small)This is one of the last pictures I took as we were exiting the park and it’s one of my favorites. The scenery reminds me of a post card! DSC_0198 (Small)After leaving the park, we decided to drive north to visit some gift shops and Black Bear Coffee House, which is known for not only their selection of amazing coffees, but their gluten free/vegan fare. The coffee house has a laid back and friendly vibe, with local artwork displayed and for sale throughout. We met the owner, Becki, who also has multiple food allergies (so she totally gets things like cross contamination and all that goes along with having food allergies). Becki was gracious and sweet and she and her staff made sure our family was well fed and taken care of. I can’t tell you what a treat it was for me not to have to cook that evening! AJ had the Turkey Dill sandwich on wheat bread (my husband is not GF, but the coffee house keeps Udi’s Bread on hand for anyone needing a gluten free option) and Kylie and I both had the Bearito Bowl, which is a mix of seasoned black beans and fajita vegetables over a bed of cilantro seasoned rice and topped with fresh homemade salsa and guacamole. It was delicious. Abbi, my somewhat picky eater, didn’t have anything on the menu, but had a mix of things I asked for and knew she would eat: rice, turkey lunch meat, cucumbers, and carrots.

In addition to providing gluten free meal options, Black Bear Coffee House also sells gluten free/vegan desserts. Although I’m not supposed to have any forms of sweetener, I broke down and sampled a triple berry oat bar (it was sweetened with pure maple syrup) and a chocolate almond cookie topped with sea salt. I was on vacation and just couldn’t resist (do you blame me?). Both were wonderful.

Black Bear Coffee House closes down today, September 16th, for the winter, but will reopen again for business next summer. If you are in the Denali area, I highly recommend them. They are located at mile 235.5 of the Parks Highway. Their staff is friendly, the food and coffee are amazing, and they are more than accommodating for those of us with food allergies. We definitely will be back to visit again!

We saw this an amazing rainbow on the way to the gift shops and Black Bear Coffee House:

DSC_0219 (Small)My one vacation splurge from the gift shops: rabbit and calf skin slippers. They were 70% off and are so warm!
rabbit and calf skin slippers (Small)Sunday we left for our drive home. Surprisingly the clouds were gone and there was nothing but blue sky for miles and miles. God most definitely was smiling down on us, because it is very, very rare to be blessed with a clear view of Mt. McKinley, but He did it. He blessed us with an incredible view. Isn’t she breathtaking?

This picture was taken about 20 minutes south of Cantwell, Alaska.

DSC_0224 (Small)These pictures were taken further into our drive, from the  south side viewpoint of Mt. McKinley. They are still beautiful, but the picture above, taken just outside of Cantwell, is my favorite.

DSC_0256 (Small)DSC_0261 (Small)Course, when you’re road tripping, snacks for the drive are essential. Before we left I made a huge batch of Denali Trail Mix, which we snacked on the entire trip. It quick, healthy, convenient, and sure to satisfy!

Denali Trail Mix

Yield: 9 servings

Denali Trail Mix

Whether you're road tripping or just need a quick snack to throw in your bag and go, this trail mix is convenient and sure to satisfy!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Divide the trail mix between 9 sandwich baggies (about 1/2 cup of mix per bag) for a handy grab and go snack.
http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2013/09/16/denali-trail-mix-mt-mckinley-bears-gone-wild/

I hope you’ve enjoyed my pictures and hearing about our trip. We really did have an amazing weekend, but it’s good to be home too!

All my love,
Megan

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend, Fight Back Friday, Slightly Indulgent TuesdayFat Tuesday and Allergy Free Wednesday.

White Cioppino with Kale (Seafood Stew)

It might not be officially fall, but it feels somewhat fall-ish here in Alaska. The temps have dropped, the leaves are falling, and I have the sudden urge to make Dairy Free Peppermint Hot Cocoa (a stevia sweetened version of it anyways) and wear my goose down vest. I’m sad to have to say goodbye to summer, and especially the lack of daylight, but I do love fall. It’s my favorite season, and you have to admit, there is something extra special about enjoying a piping hot bowl of soup when the weather is chilly.

DSC_0542 (Large)I’ve been holding on to this recipe for while. I’m not quite sure what I was waiting for, but since sharing my Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers a few weeks ago I wanted to continue to share with you my love of the ocean and fresh seafood. I’m going home to Kodiak, Alaska within a few weeks for a visit, and I can’t wait. It’s been 9 years since I’ve been back to the island I consider my home. The ocean is unavoidable there, and so is its smell. I think that when you are raised on an island in the middle of an ocean saltwater and seaweed run in your blood. It’s almost like a drug or an addiction you can’t ever get over, that’s constantly calling your name and beckoning you back. This White Cioppino with Kale (Seafood Stew), reminds me of home. Its broth is rich and full of flavor from the sea – with halibut, shrimp and clams. 

Cioppino is traditionally a tomato based seafood stew, but I guess I’m a nonconformist when it comes to my food. And the fresh kale from our local farm is not only aesthetically pleasing (it reminds me of seaweed floating in the ocean), but is delicious and hardy – not to mention good for you.

White Seafood Cioppino

I’m headed to Kodiak by myself, for a girl’s trip with one of my best friends that’s flying up from Idaho. I’m a little hesitant to leave my kiddos and hubby, but I’m really looking forward to getting away. I still have plenty of really good friends in Kodiak, so my time will be full of catching up and visiting the shoreline. I hope to get some good pictures of the sites and wildlife while I’m there. The sea lions generally hang out on the harbor docks, so they should at least be easy to find. ;) Make sure you follow me on Instagram – I’ll be sharing photos from the island there! 

White Cioppino with Kale (Seafood Stew)

Yield: 6 servings

White Cioppino with Kale (Seafood Stew)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon ghee, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup good tasting chardonnay wine (I prefer Kendall Jackson)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 pound halibut, cod, or other firm white fish, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 pound manila clams, rinsed well
  • 1 bunch kale, removed from stem and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the chopped onion, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook until soft. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the onions cook for another 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  2. Increase the heat to high and add the wine, chicken broth, coconut milk, dried parsley and jalapenos (if desired). When the broth starts to boil, add the fish and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, clams, and kale and cook for another 5 minutes or until the clams fully open and the shrimp are bright pink.
  3. Taste and add additional sea salt & fresh ground pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.
http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2013/08/12/white-cioppino-with-kale-seafood-stew/

Parents, be warned – if your children are anything like ours, they will try their hardest to talk you into keeping all of the clam shells!

All my love,
Megan

This recipe is linked to Fat Tuesdays and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Chives

Several weeks ago I was checking out at the grocery store when the man behind me was inspecting the goods in my cart and says, “Wow, you eat really healthy; you’ve got a lot of produce there.” The man went on to tell me he owned a farm, which to my surprise was located within 5 miles of my house. We’ve lived in this house for 4 years, and I never even knew there was a farm close to us that sold fresh produce. I was a little mind-blown. Since that meeting at the grocery store, my family frequents the farm every week to buy fresh Alaska produce. It’s been so wonderful, and the quality (and price) of the produce is amazing!

One of my favorite veggies to buy from our local farmer is cauliflower; I love it, especially when it’s paired with copious amounts of garlic. Like in this recipe:

Click here for the recipe: Garlic Lover’s Roasted Cauliflower

Garlic Lover's Roasted Cauliflower (Small)

It is because of this ongoing love affair that I also created Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Chives. I eat this creamy side dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and all times in between). I’m that obsessed, and I always double the recipe. Mashed cauliflower on its own is creamy, but when you combine it with ingredients like ghee and roasted garlic, you end up with a richness and a buttery texture that melts in your mouth. Plain and simple, try this recipe and you’ll be just as addicted as I am.

Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Chives

Yield: 3-4 servings

Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Chives

Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried chives (or 2 teaspoons fresh chopped)
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh black ground pepper to taste

Instructions

    To roast the garlic:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  2. Use a sharp kitchen knife to cut 1/4-1/2 of an inch from the top of the garlic cloves.
  3. Place the head of garlic, cut side up, onto a piece of aluminum foil and sprinkle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic in the aluminum foil and place it on a small baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the garlic is soft. Cool until the garlic is warm to the touch and easily handled.
  4. To make the mashed cauliflower:
  5. Cut the head of cauliflower into small, bite sized pieces and steam until it is very soft and tender. Place the steamed cauliflower, ghee, chicken broth, chives, sea salt and black pepper into a mixing bowl.
  6. Use your hands to squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peel into the mixing bowl and discard the peel.
  7. Mash until the mixture is somewhat smooth and resembles mashed potatoes.

Recipe Notes from Megan

I like to use my KitchenAid mixer to whisk or “mash” the cauliflower. You can also use a food processor, or just a simple wire potato masher (like this one).

http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2013/08/06/mashed-cauliflower-with-roasted-garlic-chives/

Do you purchase fresh grown produce where you live? What veggies are your farm favorites?

Enjoy!

All my love,
Megan

This recipe is linked to Paleo AIP Recipe RoundupAllergy Free Wednesdays and Wellness Weekend.

Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers with Garlic Dill Aioli

I live in Alaska and eat fresh salmon from my freezer regularly, but do you think I have a salmon recipe posted on my website? Nope, not a single one. You see, I’ve had salmon prepared just about every way imaginable. Like most Alaskan kids, I’ve been eating it my entire life. My family has caught them, gutted and cleaned them, smoked them, canned them, fried and baked them, and even fed them to our cats (Halibut and cod included, and no – I’m not joking. Although my mom would only give the cats the freezer-burnt fish). We probably ate salmon and halibut more frequently than chicken or beef growing up.

Out of all of the ways I’ve had salmon, smoked is still my favorite. Nothing beats the taste of fresh caught and smoked salmon. It’s the best (although these burgers are really high on my list too)!

Scan_Pic0154

This is my Dad in the late 80′s to early 90′s, with a boat full of wild caught Alaska salmon.

I’m so accustomed to eating salmon that posting a recipe for baked or grilled salmon for all of you just wasn’t going to cut it. Nope. In order for this Alaska chick to finally post a recipe for salmon it had to be something extra special (the baked and grilled recipes will come later). I promise you these Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers with Garlic Dill Aioli were well worth the wait. These burgers are moist, flavorful, and even better yet – gluten free, grain free, and packed with heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. And these are particularly popular with children. My girls gobble them up and it is rare that we actually have any leftovers whenever I make them.

DSC_0228 (Small)

The Garlic Dill Aioli is a wonderful addition to these salmon burgers; however, the sauce is optional. The burgers are perfectly flavored and seasoned, making them excellent on their own. But, don’t let me dissuade you. If you are a garlic lover, the Garlic Dill Aioli packs a powerful punch of flavor. It’s delicious – and not just for pairing with salmon burgers. Try using it as a dipping sauce for Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries. You can thank me later.  ;) 

DSC_0288 (Small)

 

Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers with Garlic Dill Aioli

Yield: 6 four-inch burgers

Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers with Garlic Dill Aioli

Ingredients

    For the Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers
  • 1.75 pounds Alaska wild caught salmon fillet, skinned & deboned (I use sockeye)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup almond flour, gently packed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • coconut oil, for frying
  • For the Garlic Dill Aioli
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. To make the Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers, cut the salmon into 2 inch chunks, and combine 1/3 of the pieces with the mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg, and garlic in a food processor and process until the mixture turns into a paste.
  2. Add the remaining salmon pieces and pulse until the larger salmon pieces are partially combined with the paste mixture. Do not over process; 1/4 inch pieces of salmon should remain.
  3. Place the mixture into a bowl and stir in the dried dill, sea salt, black pepper, almond flour, cilantro, and green onion. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, form into 6 patties, packing firmly.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat (I use this pan). When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and let it melt. Transfer the patties using a sturdy spatula to the hot pan. Cook the burgers, 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are just cooked through and crisp and golden. Be careful not to overcook. Add more coconut oil to the pan as needed.
  5. To make the Garlic Dill Aioli, mash the minced garlic with the sea salt until it’s a paste. Combine the garlic paste, egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and dried dill in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk until the yolk mixture is frothy and bright in color. Slowly drizzle in a few drops of olive oil at a time into the yolks and continue to whisk constantly until all of the oil is incorporated and the mixture emulsifies. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes from Megan

You don't have to have a food processor in order to make these burgers, but it does make the process much easier. In lieu of the food processor, simply follow the instructions above and use a good sharp kitchen knife!

In regards to deboning salmon, sometimes I'll use my fingers to pull the bones out and sometimes I'll use a pair of tweezers. Either way you choose, the bones come out easier if you pull them out going against the grain of the salmon.

http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2013/07/28/slammin-salmon-burgers-with-garlic-dill-aioli/

Just a few shout-outs:

If you need website hosting, dedicated server service, etc. I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out HostDango. They host my website, and are awesome! Their customer service beats the pants off of other host companies. I made the switch to HostDango a few months ago, and I am so happy I did. They rock! Click here to like HostDango on Facebook.

Blue Bear Allergy Aware, a Canadian company, heard about my daughter, Abbi’s, high-sensitivity to gluten (one small bite or lick and our house become a living nightmare for 4-6 weeks, no kidding). They were so sweet to send Abbi a package of super cute t-shirts and allergy alert labels. Abbi loved her package, and this momma is thrilled to have a few allergy alert shirts to put on Abbi when I feel a teacher or another adult needs a reminder of Abbi’s allergies. And Abbi truly loves her new shirts – aren’t they cute?!

One more note about the t-shirts, I think the sizes run a little small, so order a larger size than you would normally for your child. Abbi is very petite for her age. The long-sleeved shirt she’s wearing is a size 6, and the short-sleeved shirt is a size 8 (and normally she would wear a size 5, just to give you an idea).

Oh, and don’t forget to like Blue Bear Allergy Aware on Facebook!

All my love!
xo,
Megan

This recipe is linked to Pennywise PlatterNatural Living Monday and Make Your Own Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday and Tasty Traditions.

Backyard Moose Pictures

I posted these pictures the other day on Facebook and got such an overwhelming response that I thought I would post them here on the website for all to see.

These pictures are taken in my backyard. Momma and baby moose frequently come around our area. They tend to hang outside our 6-7 foot fence and eat the trees. And drive our yellow lab, named Thor, crazy.

Thank God for a good sturdy fence!! Enjoy the pictures!
~Megan

Thor Jumping Moose (Large)

Air Thor!

DSC_0331 (Medium)

DSC_0327 (Medium)

DSC_0309 (Medium)

DSC_0312 (Medium)

DSC_0288 (Medium)

DSC_0289 (Medium)

DSC_0280 (Medium)

Blueberry Coconut Butter

Blueberries grow wild in Alaska. We had tons of blueberry bushes in Kodiak where I grew up and {much to my mother’s delight} I loved to pick them! My friends and I would go blueberry picking and come home with our little buckets full of blueberries. We would fill the kitchen sink up with water, let the blueberries soak, and then play with the insects that crawled out of them {I know… eww!}. My mom would freeze the {insect free} berries and we would use them in baked goods throughout the year.


Someone recently asked me if I was from Alaska, and the answer is yes. =)  I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but my parents moved to Kodiak, Alaska, when I was 9 months old. I spent my entire childhood on Kodiak Island and didn’t move to the Anchorage, Alaska, area until after I graduated high school. I still do live in Alaska, in the Matanuska Valley area, which is about an hours drive north of Anchorage. I sure do miss Kodiak at times, though; it was a wonderful place to grow up.

A pair of Stellar Sea Lions hanging out on the docks of the Kodiak boat harbor.

Surrounded by ocean and wilderness, I was able to see and taste some of the finest wild game and seafood. Halibut, salmon, and venison dishes were a regular at our family dinner table. I’ve had halibut and salmon cooked, baked, and fried just about any way you could possibly imagine. Out of all the fresh seafood I’ve had over the years, Kodiak scallops and crab are my ultimate favorites.

Me and my brother standing by a pile of Kodiak King Crab.

This next picture {below} requires a little bit more than a caption. I think I was 2 years old, and I’m being held by a family friend who was an Alaskan Native. He was feeding me raw muktuk, which is the skin and blubber layer of whales (I believe the muktuk he was feeding me was from a Bowhead Whale, but I’m not sure). I don’t remember eating muktuk, but my parents told me I loved it (I can’t say I would feel the same about it if I tried it again now)!

This next recipe is a fairly newer one I’ve been making. The girls and I like to eat it on toast made from my favorite gluten and rice free multigrain bread. It would also make a wonderful fruit dip straight out of the blender or as a waffle or pancake topping. However you choose to enjoy it, I am positive you will love it!

This recipe is linked to AIP Round TableSlightly Indulgent Tuesday, Kids in the Kitchen, Thriving on Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Wellness Weekend, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Food on Fridays, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, GAPS Friendly Friday, Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Whole Food Fridays.

Blueberry Coconut Butter Recipe:
Yields about 5 cups

2 packages of Let’s Do Organic unsweetened shredded coconut (about 5 1/3 cups, packed)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed*
2 – 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar, stevia, etc.
3 cups fresh blueberries

  1. Using a high speed blender (like a Vitamix), process the shredded coconut on high until it turns into “butter.” Use the tamper to carefully push the coconut down into the blades of the blender while you are processing it; this step should take less than a minute.
  2. Blend in the coconut oil, lemon juice, and sweetener of choice.
  3. Add the blueberries to the blender and blend on high, using the tamper to push the blueberries down into the blades. Process until smooth.
  4. Divide the Blueberry Coconut Butter into 5 glass storage jars (I use canning jars), leaving a inch of room at the top of each jar. Refrigerate what will be consumed within a week; freeze the remaining to retain freshness.

Megan’s Notes:
This butter does firm up in the refrigerator once it is cold, so if you are using it as a fruit dip, plan to use it as one straight out of the blender.

*If you are using tart blueberries, you may not need to use the full 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Leave the lemon juice out of the recipe until after you have the blueberries blended, and then taste and decide if you would like to add lemon juice (add tablespoon by tablespoon until the desired taste is achieved). The blueberries I used were very sweet.

I’ve also used this recipe to make strawberry coconut butter, although I did not use the full 1/4 cup of lemon juice in the strawberry butter.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? What my favorite hobby is, or about my life in Alaska, etc? Ask me a question and I just might answer it in my next blog post!

Enjoy,
Megan
xoxo

Pictures of Cook Inlet

The girls and I drove down to the inlet today to try to get some pictures of the sunset.  The sunsets have been really beautiful lately with all different hues of pinks and other colors.  I ended up getting a few good shots with some pink hues, but wasn’t able to get a picture of the full sunset (turns out we were facing the wrong direction and there were trees blocking our view).  Oh well – we still had pretty scenery to look at!

AND just in case you’re wondering… yes, I was cold taking these pictures!  It was about 16 degrees (F).  Not as cold as it could have been though!

We came home to a moose eating what was left of my front flowerbed!

Hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Megan

xo

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday.