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)!

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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.

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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.  ;) 

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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!

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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

Grain Free Fried Alaskan Rex Sole

My sister was in town last week. We had a really great time camping, sightseeing, and just hanging out. One of the highlights of the past week was our trip up to the Matanuska Glacier. The Matanuska Glacier is located north/northeast of Anchorage, Alaska (I’d say it’s about a 2 – 2.5 hour drive from Anchorage). The glacier itself is about 27 miles long and 4 miles wide.

These pictures really don’t do the scenery justice. I highly recommend seeing the Matanuska Glacier in person, even if you are a local!

We drove to Glacier Park Resort and paid the toll to drive closer up to the glacier. We parked in the parking lot, then hiked closer. Here’s what we had to hike down:

It’s true, I’m not supposed to be doing any hiking because of my knees and my right Achilles tendon being inflamed, but I was wearing good shoes and I refused to miss out. My brother helped me in a few places, but thankfully the path is fairly well maintained, so it wasn’t too bad. Along the path, you can see evidence of where the glacier used to be before it started receding.

And even closer to the glacier, you realize the path you’ve been walking on is actually ice itself.

Once we finally got up to the glacier, I decided it was time I stayed behind and let the others go on ahead of me. I would have liked to continue with them, but I was tired and sore and knew I needed to save some energy for the hike back to the parking lot. There were a couple of picnic tables out for visitors so I sat, enjoyed the view, and took lots of pictures!

This is to the right of the glacier. These are the Chugach Mountains:

This is one of my favorite shots:

For more information on Matanuska Glacier, driving directions, and what to do there, you can check out this article from KTUU.

Grain Free Fried Rex Sole
This recipe is linked to Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, and the Gluten Free Homemaker.

Alaskan Rex Sole is a small flat flounder-like fish. It’s a white fish that is very lean and delicate in flavor and texture. It’s one of my favorite fish to eat, especially fried. I don’t eat a lot of fried foods anymore, but when it comes to Rex Sole, I think I’ll make an exception.  :)

This recipe isn’t exact, but it will give you a good idea of what I used to make this super yummy dish.  :)

1 – 2 lbs Alaskan Rex Sole (or cod, halibut, tilapia, etc…), skinned and sliced into small pieces (Rex Sole is so thin my pieces were about 3×3″)
2 – 4 cups almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
2 – 3 eggs, beaten
Seasoning (I used a blend of sea salt, parsley, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper)
olive oil for frying

  1. Prepare 2 large sheet pans by covering them in foil or parchment paper.
  2. Combine the almond meal and the seasonings. Set aside.
  3. Blot off excess moisture from the fish using paper towels.
  4. Dip the fish (one or two pieces at a time) into the beaten egg, then dredge in the almond meal. Place the “breaded” fish on the prepared sheet pan and allow the almond meal to absorb the egg. Continue with the remaining pieces of fish until all are dredged in almond meal.
  5. Using a 12 inch cast iron skillet (or something similiar), coat the bottom of the pan with about 1/2 inch of olive oil and heat over medium (once the oil is up to temperature, you may need to lower your heat to medium-low). You may need to add more oil to your pan after a while if you have several pieces of fish to fry.
  6. Fry 3 or 4 pieces of fish at a time, making sure not to crowd the fish in the pan. Each piece may take 3 – 5 minutes per side, depending on how thick your fish is. I generally flip my fish when the breading is golden brown.
  7. Place cooked fish on a place with paper towels, so the excess oil will be absorbed into the towel.
  8. Serve with lemon wedges, a salad, baked sweet potatoes, etc. Cocktail sauce, ranch dressing or tartar sauce are perfect for dipping!

Enjoy!
Megan
xoxo

One more thing…
On a personal note, I received a message from a old high school friend of mine, Steve, who is now a volleyball coach in Midland, Michigan. He asked me if I would post this letter on my blog, and after reading it, I absolutely agreed. Please contact Steven Clevenger directly if you are able to donate to this worthy cause.
Thanks,
Megan

Coach Steven Clevenger
Bay City Western Volleyball
2906 Braley Ct Midland Mi, 48640
(989) 513-7291

Dear Sir or Madam;

Bay City Western Volleyball has teamed up with the Travis Mills Foundation to fund raise $10,000 to support our local hero Travis Mills after the wounds he sustained in Afghanistan.

United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, was critically injured on April 10th by an IED (improvised explosive device) while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms. He is only the fourth quadruple amputee, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to survive his injuries. Thanks to his amazing strength, courage, an incredible will to live, the heroic actions of the men in his unit, and the prayers of thousands, Travis has returned to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, near Washington DC, where he is on the road to recovery. Every day is a battle, but Travis continues to astound friends and family alike with his progress and with his amazing spirit. SSG Travis Mills is a genuine American hero, and for his incredible sacrifice, we are forever in his debt. (http://www.travismills.org/ )

Travis’s sacrifices for our country are truly amazing and the Western High School Volleyball program would like to help provide support not only for Travis but also for his wife Kelsey and his six month old daughter Chloe.

On October 16, 2012 a volleyball match will take place between Mt Pleasant High School and Bay City Western High School in which we will honor Travis Mills and his family. With your help of either a financial donations or a donation of goods that can be auctioned off we can make this event a success and send a clear message that we will support our troops in their time of need. Any donation big or small will be greatly appreciated and all donators will be recognized during the volleyball match.

If you are able and willing to donate either mail (2906 Braley Ct Midland Michigan) or contact Coach Steven Clevenger 989-513-7291 and we will arrange pickup of the item(s).

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Steven Clevenger
Head Coach Bay City Western Volleyball
989-513-7291
Clevenger2010 [at] gmail [dot] com