Saturday, April 30, 2005


New Sagaya has marketing spots on all the local radio stations spotlighting the availability of "airfresh" corn on the cob - just flown in from California.

I succumbed.

Or rather, I shall succumb. Tonight the picnique table will be hosting a welcome grill for two new neighbors "airfresh" from Back East. That corn will go perfectly with the Domestic Goddess' coffee-marinated steak. I think I shall pedal by New Sagaya on my way home, and toss a couple into the bike basket.

Oh. Sun and summer is a fabulous thing - and what a good thing that long, cold, dark winter was, because I see now that it gave me the priceless ability to welcome summer with the same exhillerating enthusiasm that I haven't really felt since I was a child walking home after the last day of school thinking that I had a whole summer of fun ahead of me. I am giddy with it. And my eyes have adjusted, so I am giddy AND immersed in it.


Lest anyone think that this is a one time anomoly in the world of Alaskan marketing, my favorite burger spot makes a point of noting that their chicken is flown in daily from Washington State. And there is a cottage industry here for doughnuts - many a fundraiser and many an entrepreneur in need of a quick cash influx, has set up a tent in some parking lot or another with large signs advertising the "Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Flown in Just That Morning." Sometimes, instead of a tent, the salesman is selling Krisy Kreme doughnuts from a U-Haul filled to its brim with boxes. It's generally much easier to pass by the u-haul untempted, as I am convinced that more than one local entrepreneur has attempted to make his millions driving up the Al-Can Highway with a U-Haul full of Seattle Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It's a 3 day trip - probably 7 if anyone were crazy enough to let me drive it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

quality, simplicity, healthy appetitites, and adored eaters

The picnique table was pulled out last night from its winter perch beneath the spruce tree to its summer throne in the middle of our yards.

Oh - it is summer!

It's just a simple picnique table. Wood. Painted green. Chipped with the years. Guardian'ed by the neighbor that actually owns two of the four units that cherish it, who followed a call of adventure by hopping into a van and catching a 1970's ride to Alaska. And simply gifted to each subsequent generation of renters.

But like most simple things, it is one of the joys of the season.

In this case, the picnique table has come to epitomize for me the joys of Alaska living. Don't get me wrong - I could spend days identifying things that epitomize the joys of Alaskan living. Coming to a dead stop on a "freeway" to let a moose and her baby cross from a pond on one side to a lake on the other - epitomizes. Looking out my window at work to a landscape humbled by a range of massive mountains, peopled by bikers or skijorers (pick your season) frolicking on the Tony Knowles trail, brightened by the sun reflecting off the waters of the Cook Inlet, emblazoned by the brilliant sunsets that gold-sheath the skies, mountains and water in hues of yellows, oranges, reds and blues, and rendered priceless by red foxes leaping up from snow piles, bald eagles soaring past, and whales spouting in the Cook Inlet - epitomizes. Rock stubborn colleagues with belly-splitting wit - epitomizes. Strangers that fill your freezer with wild salmon - epitomizes. Friends that won't laugh at you (mean-spiritedly, at least) for thinking that pigtails are the perfect hairstyle for borrowed men's fishing waders or for not being able to catch your own salmon because you are too distracted by the regal sight of all the bald eagles - epitomizes. The log cabin, reachable only by float plane or snowmachine, that was built completely by the hand and determination of my college roommate's father, and the pride with which he hangs the toilet seat next to the fire because he believes a cold seat is an avoidable travesty no matter how many feet of snow one has to trudge through to get to the outhouse - epitomizes. First dates with a boyfriend that involves the introduction of puppies and the grilling of steaks - epitomizes.

Yes, there are many ways to epitomize the joy of Alaskan living. The picnique table, though - well, it's a good one. It sits between two duplexes. Someone always sticks a bottle of wine on it....within 10 minutes, we all seem to find ourselves sitting around it. We each bring our own glass, our own backgrounds (so wildly diverging, yet so comfortingly similar in that they involve lots of adventures and travels before arriving there) and a cache of stories. Puck gets to run around, catching tosses from a crowd. And if I somehow fail to appear with my glass, the neighbors never fail to grab Puck from my apartment and let him enjoy the impromptu reunion. So many conversations - of current events, of civic art projects, of philosophy, of politics, of food, of stories, of romance, of trying to stay on the good side of that fine line between really living and merely making one - have occurred at this table. So much advice on Alaskan living was relayed to me at its benches, especially as the days grew shorter and winter was looming. And in the cycle of seasons, today the days grow longer, winter wanes, my picnique table is back where I love it to be and I'm solidly in cahoots with my neighbors in the burgeoning plans for a summer season of dinner fetes.

I know that this doesn't really seem to be a food blog - all this constant exuberance over sunlight and summer.

But sometimes one has to revel a little in the context of the food - enumerating, if you will, the reasons and backgrounds and social cohesiveness that makes food so worthy of all the celebrations: like quality, simplicity, healthy appetitites, and adored eaters.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Salmonberries, Blueberries and Thwarted Coyness

The sun is up! It was already up, when I got up at 6 a.m., made a cup of tea, grabbed the newspaper and set myself up outside at the picnic table while Puck frolicked about. It was so up and bright, in fact, and the sky was so blue with the air being crisp with more than a nuance of warmth, that I pulled my bike out of the winter shed in the back and biked to work. At lunch, I even walked down to Mike's Gourmet Dogs. He wasn't there today. But the walk was beautiful. So many people about. Everyone was smiling.

It's over 60 degrees.


I've decided that it is simply irrational, poor form, perhaps a little pathetic, to keep waiting until I get to live on the same land mass as J, as this long-distance arrangement appears destined to outlast its hoped expiration. So I've got to get some gumption now and start picking berries on my own. Salmonberries. Blueberries. Maybe pick some fireweed and attempt a mead. Yes - I know that the sun is just back, so the berries aren't ready for picking yet. I even know it's going to be awhile yet. But since the sun started returning, I've traded in the daily dose of bacon for the daily devouring of Euell Gibbon's Stalking the Wild Asparagus , a chapter a night, and now I am quite enthusiastically planning on picking and foraging enough this summer not just to bake pies, but to send family and friends bottles of jams, syrups, even pickles.........

Truth is, though, I'm scared of the bears.

This weekend I told J. that I might be a little jealous that he goes traipsing about this fine state, and I'm only traipsing when he gears me up and guides me I told him I'm going to make new trail buddies so that I don't have to depend on him. He said that sounded like fun.

It's really quite frustrating to try and make the even-keeled jealous.

Then, perhaps trying to be coy, I lamented that I didn't know anyone with a dog I trusted to defend me from the bears like I trust his dog.

He said he'd put his faith in Puck.

I'm not going to back-talk Puck's manly ferociousness. He is quite the man, you know - especially now that he's on his million-dollar-a-month fish & potato diet

(with his good-boy-treats being pieces of dried salmon - indeed, his larder could outfit a Manhattan delicatassen, that Alaskan Puck),

and is therefore sprouting hair on his belly again, as well as lush tufts of blondeness on either side of his nose that curl up like a well-coiffed mustache. But I could hear the suppressed guffaw in J's voice. It wasn't rude. It wasn't obvious. It was just a fine performance of understated subtley. I decided that, strategically, I was best off not responding to that.

Maybe I will take Puck. I mean, what's the other option? Admittedly, I'm petrified of getting eaten by a bear because I take a blueberry that he considers to be his own. But I was independent before I came out here, and an illogical and irrational fear

(well, not completely illogical or irrational as such day-to-day activities as dog walking and jogging have all lead to several bear attacks since I started reading the Anchorage Daily News on a daily basis)

shouldn't prevent me from traipsing about this fine state and picking berries. Especially because I have such fine plans for the pies that I want to bake with those berries. My current plan is to buy a firepit and spend a fine summer really making use of my collection of cast iron, by teaching myself the ins and outs and nuances of baking pies and breads and grilling fish and fruits over an open fire. No mere grills for me! I'm enthusiastically embracing the potential of a fire pit. (Of course, it's a fire pit with a copper sheen, and really quite stunning, and I've been eyeing it ever since I went to a birthday party last summer that was lit up with several of them all placed rather strategically to keep the mosquitoes away from the feasting table which boasted of a veritable parade of platters of grilled salmon and halibut and scallops, all caught and prepared by the various partygoers pursuant to their various secret family recipes.)

Oh! This sun and its fine inspirations!

I can already see the cobbler that will be stewing in the cast iron dutch oven!

Friday, April 22, 2005

SHF: Homestead Aebleskivers in Spruce Tip Syrup

I'm in the middle of filing a reply to an opposition to a motion for a preliminary injunction, and this little first time foray into being a real attorney (instead of merely a corporate one) has wreaked havoc on the personal intentions of this week....

I can't write down the recipe.

I didn't buy the camera to take the picture.

But I took the traditional aebleskiver recipe from "The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook" (that I love, by the by), and I added molasses and other spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and I substituted the spruce tip syrup that I was going to make after a sunny Alaskan spring afternoon of traipsing about and gathering spring spruce tips with the kind of spruce tip syrup that one can buy from the organic store that is made by a woman down in Haines, Alaska (her best friend maintains the display and keeps the store stocked out of friendship and support, not money - and I like that), and I dusted it with powder sugar.

The idea is supposed to be like the Montreal recipe of dumplings baked in maple syrup.

But - it makes use of molassess and other spices that can keep easily in a pantry (oh for the day that I live from a pantry and bi-weekly airdrops of replenishments), it is an aebleskiver, baked in a castiron aebleskiver pan (called a monk's pan, and I like that too), but coddled in Alaska's spring ingredient: spruce tips.

The recipe to follow.

Maybe pictures will follow.

I need to buy that camera.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

La Vita Dolce

What's the secret ingredient to the sweet life?

I couldn't keep to the $177 budget.

I'm thinking, however, that my life could be a lot sweeter if I could.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


There is a diner in the Village called Shopsins. It used to be a diner in a townhouse in the Village called Shopsins. Now it has a prime corner address, two walls of big wide windows, and an awning announcing its name. What has not changed, however, are the Shopsins. The Shopsins are in the kitchen and in the restaurant and pretty much everywhere in the experience of dining there. In fact, Shopsins (the restaurant) is the benchmark from which I now determine how "family-owned" other family-owned restaurants are. Sometimes you get to eat massive plates of eggs in the middle of a family battle. Sometimes you eat those eggs in the middle of a family reunion. Sometimes you eat them in silence. Sometimes it feels like the whole restaurant is eating them with big dollops of laughter. Pretty much always, though, you're eating something with Shopsin (the family) personality.

Shopsin's menu is long. Many pages. And it gets revised often, though not often consistently. So it is completely possible that each of the four people at your table (you're only allowed to come in groups of 4 or less, and all will be kicked out if one dares to show a cell phone) will be looking at different versions of menus. It is also completely possible that you will order something because it sounds interesting, but noone will remember what it was originally intended to be. The food items can be pretty standard; and they can be pretty bizarre. Shopsin (the father and the chef), I'm told, has been known to sit down with his kids, make-up a country, and then invent the native cuisine for the made-up country. And sometimes the native cuisine of known countries gets grabbed, and Shopsin'ified, and served back at you.

That's how it was with Ebelskivers.

Or, at least, that's how I learned that something called Ebelskivers can go deliciously with coffee. There was a random line in one of the appetizer sections, this particular one on a page that was crammed with possibly 200 or so various soups, that said, simply and without explanation: ebelskiver $3.50

It had to be ordered.

It was remembered.

This weekend I made the purchase that will allow me to attempt to recreate a piece of Shopsins in Alaska. It was an inadvertent purchase. J. was shopping for binoculars and gear at the Sportsman Warehouse. He found it entertaining, but perhaps not surprising, that I somehow managed to find and get absorbed in an entire aisle devoted to cast-iron pots and tin tea kettles in the middle of an outdoor gear store.

The prize, the thing that still has me smiling in anticipation four days later: I found, finally, and bought, and brought home, and can't wait to use a heavy, plain, cast-iron aebleskiver pan.

I know I should probably write out a recipe, or maybe a description of aebleskivers/ebelskivers.

But somehow I think one has to stumble across the discovery.

Obviously, I'd encourage everyone to go to Shopsin's for this stumble. I've learned that they may not necessarily be "traditional" there, but they're an experience.

But if you can't make it to Shopsin's to see if they are on your version of the menu, stay tuned: I'll be posting the trials and errors of teaching myself how to make traditional aebleskivers. The process will involve a knitting needle.

In the meantime, perhaps the mere mirth of the word "ebelskiver" or the spelling of "aebleskiver" will be hook enough.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Day 11: Broke and Beaming

I learned that it is a struggle to live on $177 a month and still enjoy the privilege of making J. weekend breakfasts of wild mushroom omelettes, maple sausages, milky Scottish breakfast tea, herb dutch babies, family-farmed and thick-sliced bacon and blueberry sourdough hotcakes. Though I did make cornmeal biscuits, all with stuff from the cabinents, my rules don't require me to deduct the tickets to eat oysters and prime rib at The Anchorage Museum Annual Gala, and J. gifted me to a fry-up feast at the White Spot. So, there's still enough in the grocery kitty to keep me going even though I did splurge over the weekend. It's just going to be a lot of extra budgeting. I'd budget even harder for the chance to make and eat more meals together.

J. was in town for a long weekend.

He left last night, with a full cooler.

My freezer is empty, its contents having been cooler'ed to Kodiak.

My mind is brimming with ideas of how to re-fill it.

My budget is....busted, which makes the ideas even more entertaining (to think how much entertainment I was losing when all of my problem-solving energies were necessarily focused on maintaining billable hours in a deflated economy!).

And while I'm still radiating smiles from getting to see him, I'll confess to already looking forward to next month when we rendezvous in Juneau.


My herb dutch baby flopped. I think it may have to do with having tossed in a dash of heavy cheese pieces.

But my wild mushroom omelette - tasty, easy and the first time I ever made one to flip without breaking. I think the secret was using four room temperature eggs, a HOT pan with a liberal amount of HOT olive oil, and salting the olive oil rather than the eggs. To make the filling: Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil on a very low temperature. Salt and pepper. When golden, drop in chopped mushrooms and a dollop of butter. Shake the pan every now and then. Salt, pepper. Add fresh thyme. Add chopped up spinach, just before starting the eggs in another pan for the omelette. Time it so the spinach will wilt, and get the glisten of the butter, but not lose its greenness. Usually I'm making the omelette for myself - so I only use 1 egg. And I thought I sucked at omelettes. But now I've learned that I just have to wait for the chance to cook them for a crowd.

I'm still going to practice.


One last note: I haven't done a good job of recording the recipes I've attempted. I'm really going to try and do better. Noone else probably reads this, but sometimes I go back and re-read them and I think sometimes there are these glimpses of where I want this all to end up: when I'm cooking with the generous simplicity of the folks that taught me the human and the civic importance of good food and I'm reveling in the urban excitements of discoveries and excessive feats. Sometimes I have to wonder if my best chance for finding a middle ground is in food.

One of my favorite books is The Dud Avocado. I had to go to England to buy it (though one less in need of a constant fix of story could probably purchase it from There's no reason to share this favorite or how I acquired it, except the last sentence of the previous paragraph plunked into my head the image of the protagonist walking through the streets of Paris one morning, poor, hungover, hungry and deliciously happy, wearing a purple ball gown because she had just dropped off everything else she owned to be laundered and en route to a good story yet to be determined.


Ok. THIS is the final note. It's 7 p.m. I'm wearing sunglasses at my desk. I always wear sunglasses at my desk now. The sun rose at 6:30 a.m. today, and is setting around 9:30 pm. We're gaining approximately 6 minutes a day, though each day the gain gets a bigger spread. In a few more weeks, I'll have to go Outside to see stars.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Day 5: Asparagus, Truffles, Gruyere, Champagne and Spam

Oh. I jinxed myself with that last post.

I'm down to $131.60 by the time I type this post.

I splurged last night. $23.52 spent at New Sagaya: a bunch of asparagus ($5), a block of gruyere ($7), a bag of spinach ($4), a jar of Oregon Hazelnut Butter ($5.99)....and other things, I can't remember right now.

I discovered Orangette's blog - she wrote about asparagus, and Seattle springs - and I extrapolated from that (and an email from my best friend) a sudden nostalgic urge to dine on truffled egg toast with roasted asparagus.

[Add to the nostalgia for bagels - a weekday, late dinner with wine, a good friend and truffled egg toast at 'ino.]

But, in a sudden, last-minute shopping line moment of budgetary-consciousness, I ran back to the Aroma aisle and put back my loaf of rosemary bread because it was too expensive. Somehow the fact that I could make it myself made it so. Oh - this $177 a month budget!

But I don't complain: I didn't really need the bread. My dinner was roasted asparagus, topped at the last minute, with grated gruyere. I even opted out of the bread and truffle oil, thinking that I might save the last precious drops of the truffle oil I brought to Alaska with me to make truffled egg toast when I can dine on it with a friend.

And, today, for lunch - roast beef sandwich from the Sandwich Deck ($5.95).

Goodness knows what will happen to this budget this weekend. A colleague is performing at the opening weekend of the Fly By Night Club.

All Spam appetizers are half-off with the order of a bottle of champagne.


A friend forwarded me a picture of her nieces picking daffodils in Portland. The pictures were flush with greens and bright yellows and, well, it is just that kind of picture that makes an Oregon girl love her roots no matter how many years and miles it's been since she was last an Oregon girl. When I was little one, I remember setting out first thing in the morning to pick as many as I could, and would still have loads more beckoning me from the hill behind my house by the evening. My mom would always thank me for the daffodils and tell me how beautiful they were, but then she'd always sigh and ask, inquisitively and only theoretically - as if it was an idea that had just hit her and she was pondering aloud, whether daffodils weren't the prettiest when they were sprouting up and waving to us from the hills.

Here, things are yellow too - but the mottled, muddy kind. There are no daffodils to be seen. Outside. The yellow is the grass, just emerging after months of snow-buried darkness. I'm not complaining. Merely explaining. There are still wide swathes of snowy yards. Chunks of ice, alternatively white-capped with snow and grunge-marked with mud, still float around in the Cook Inlet. And cars, perhaps, are the most obvious and mud-dust indicator that it is still break-up around here.

But there were daffodils to announce spring in Anchorage. It's just that here, the daffodils don't spring up overnight on hills, they announce their arrival for weeks before, arrive regally on an Alaskan Air flight from Seattle, and are then joyously distributed about town as part of a fundraising campaign for cancer awareness. I can't remember the name of the group right now. I just remember that everyone was volunteering to distribute them, everyone was gifting them, and my office gave me a handful, closed-budded and held together with a rubber band.

At first my bundle of closed-budded daffodils felt little like a Spring. In fact, they almost felt like the getting sushi from the deli section fo a convenience store. They were, at first, just close enough to a daffodil to evoke the bucolic memories, but not bucolic enough to appease them.

But then they opened.

And yes, mom, daffodils are pretty in hills, waving at little Oregon girls and begging to be picked for their mothers.

But - oh the smile they can bring to an Alaska cheechako when they open up, bright and yellow, a gift and a good cause and kicking off the return of the sun.

In any event, this is a verbose way of saying that life these days can feel like a bombardment of marketing, and talking points, and trends, and hypes. But there are these simple things that can evoke more memories and smiles than any PR Pitch.

Asparagus and Daffodils in Spring.
Truffled Egg Toast with Friends.
Champagne and Spam.
Friends that play live music.
Being known by my first name at the sandwich counters, espresso stands and supermarkets.
Emails from friends that remind me of all that makes my life dolce.

All things that have the timeless and unaffected quality of making me smile, broadly, warmly and instinctively.


Hi, 'N!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Day 4: A Lunch Splurge

I'm down to $161.07 because I lunched on an egg salad sandwich from the Sandwich Deck.


It came with a bag of cheeto-os.

A colleague gifted me with the afternoon latte from Snow City Cafe.

Another colleague gifted me with pretzels. She keeps a Costco-bag of them on her desk. I snack. Often. Far too often to be cordial or grazing about it.

And the office gifted me with a mini-Twix.


I woke up this morning to find it snowing. I'm leaving the office, now, into blue skies and bright sun. There is snow on the ground, but the ice-way of my drive-way is almost entirely melted.

J is almost in town. Tonight I'm splurging on more hazelnut butter, with the intent of sending him back after the weekend with a big log of frozen hazelnut chocolate cookie dough that he can cut-off of and bake in his own oven. I know he eats the dough instead of baking the cookies. But every now and then, he mentions burning a batch. At least I know that my endeavours here are perfuming his abode there - even if the perfume shortly transforms into a fire alarm.


A friend once asked me what I would do if I knew I couldn't fail.

That was awhile ago. Part of the reason I left the city was that I couldn't answer that question. I simply didn't know. So much energy required to make it through what I was doing, that I had forgotten the things that I'd rather be doing. I had forgotten how to want more. Maybe it's this sun - bright and promising of many antics and stories to come. Or the break-up of the ice. Or the freedom, and encouragement, to be outside. But I find myself pondering this question a lot - and wondering just how much the fear of failure is still holding me back.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Random Insight to Practicing Law in Alaska

There is a weekly column in Anchorage's daily newspaper called The Ear.

I have been remiss in sharing my giggling contentment from last week's column.

Apparently one of the approximately 2,500 esteemed and practicing members of the bar in the State of Alaska became frustrated by the new security machine set up at the Anchorage courthouse. It kept beeping. A line of lawyers trying to get upstairs was building up behind him. Everyone was mad that noone bothered to notify them that a new security system would delay their entry, and they were all (as a result) late. Even after taking off his shoes, and then his belt, he still beeped.

So he took off his pants.

Then he walked through without a beep, put his pants back on, and apparently went upstairs and carried out his professional purpose for being there.

The Ear gave his name, but then showed restraint and refused to name the two girls from Fairbanks that went to David Copperfield's show then followed him back to Vegas.

Day 3: Molasses'ing to Independence

Trying to reign in my Manhattan spending habits has not been easy. It has, however, had success and I do think I'm closer to living the life that doesn't need to be sustained by a desk-chain-salary.

Travel, clothes, dining out, going out and paying someone to remind me to breathe - I've curbed these addictions. Quite remarkably, actually, given the percentage of my income that they once ate up. Books...well, I'm far from The Strand. I'm far from my secret hide-out of used book shopping in the Flatiron. I'll admit, I splurge occassionally at Title Wave. But not every week. The book splurge habit, therefore, could technically be considered curbed....though I can admit to further improvement possible.

But cooking.

This is the splurge that I haven't yet curbed. This is the one that I'm really working on now.

My setback with this splurge is that I can pretty much still persuade myself to purchase any ingredient at any cost with a mere acquiescence to curiousity. When it comes to grocery shopping, I am an impulsive shopper with reckless budgetary rejections. No matter how expensive an ingredient is, trust me: I can justify it.

So what makes this $177 budget particularly hard is that it bludgeons my most instinctive reaction to new ingredients - I can't just buy them and uphold my commitment to exercising consumer power beneficially. If I want to keep buying foods from community-enhancing businesses, I have to keep myself to the most basic of ingredients.

The pizzaz must, by the very nature of the budget, come from the creativity and/or comfort.

That'w why I'm particularly excited about this upcoming Sugar High Friday Competition: Molasses.

The pantry staple being called upon to produce a special occassion. And it's already in my pantry.

I can't help but think that this Sugar High Friday is the perfect competition for one trying to develop an instinctual cooking repetoire for use in the long-term goal of living in a place where groceries get delivered by a plane-taxi every other week or so.


On another little front that can't possibly be interesting to anyone else, I've re-embraced the chicken soup budget. Chicken broth. Baby carrots (great for snacking and chopping). A head of broccolli. Frozen peas. Pasta (I found Italian at $1.99 a bag - not the best pasta I could find here, but approximately $8 cheaper than that best). Easy to make. Aromatic. Warm. Light. Cheap. Chop as you need. And, this is really just a side-benefit to the chicken soup budget, I'm hoping that the combination of my reliance on it during this $177 month and the daily invitation of the sun to take Puck on long walks, might just actually reverse some of the more cumbersome repercussions of having spent the winter bribing myself to wake up in the dark with breakfasts of bacon.


On a sourdough front, I had a successful attempt at my sourdough hotcakes this morning. FOR ONE: 1/2 cup starter (that I had fed the night before). 1 egg. And some sugar, salt, soda, and vanilla extract. I also added a glug of olive oil. Lightly buttered. Drizzled with spruce-tip syrup. There's still room for improvement, but in the comparison to the first batch attempted, there was lots of evidence of the improvements already made.


I'm down to $167.02 (bag of flour-$3.99; dozen brown cageless eggs - $2.99; a 16 ounce latte from New Sagaya during a morning jaunt with Puck before coming into the office - $3).

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Day 2 in the Mile: Dutch Babies

First off, I lost my credit card. I'm sure it's somewhere. It just might as well be snowhere for all I know. I should cancel it, but no one else is using it and I find its absence is making cost-saving remarkably easier.

Which means, I still have $177 left in my budget of $177.

However, I have the generousity of Alaskans to thank for that. Yesterday I was treated by a friend to a glass of pinot blanc and a plate of grilled shrimp, marinated grilled meats, crab spread on sourdough toast points and chicken wings.

I've also raided in the cabinents.

This morning I tried to make an apple, cranberry and blueberry dutch baby for breakfast. I only had 2 eggs left in the fridge and a dash of only whole wheat flour.

But it worked.

Dutch Babies

Heat the oven to 425.

Put a 6 inch cast iron skillet on a hot stove. Let it heat up.

Mix: 2 eggs. 1/3 cup flour. 1/3 (plus a small amount more as measured by instinct) cup milk. Salt. Sugar. Dash of vanilla. Hint of nutmeg or cinnamon.

When the skillet is really hot, toss in a dollop of butter. When that's melted, pour in the batter. Put immediately in the hot stove. Close the door. Set the timer for around 20 minutes. And don't open the door until the time is almost out.

Add dried fruits to the batter. Or bake apples in the skillet before you add the batter. Or set out frozen berries to thaw in a strainer over the sink and add those to the batter. Oh - and try to let the eggs come to room temperature before you start cooking. The whole point is to make it effortless....the kind of thing you can set out, hot and puffy, to start out your guests' days and ensure that they never forget your dream fishing lodge. Or the kind of thing I practice now so that I can effortlessly whip it up for J. when he's here next weekend.