Archive | August, 2014

Isn’t it Ironic

18 Aug

Isn’t it ironic that due to the chronic inebriates in the neighborhood the local grocery store has to do this?

ghettocarrs

But yet attached to the building and owned by the grocery store is a liquor store?

Way to go Carrs.

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Blueberries…blueberries….blueberries

17 Aug

Guess what’s in season? Blueberries! The wild kind. There are a couple of places in Anchorage that are pretty famous for going, but given the local population the berries were few and far between. I spent about 4 hours and got about 3/4 of a cup. Sad! Pathetic! Although, still a nice day. 

Fireweed on its last legs…

Fireweed1

Watermelon berries…I think. So I didn’t try, no need to poison myself!

Watermelon berries

Only three blueberries on this plant…geesh!

tiny blueberries

Moose turds (everywhere!)….

Moose turds

A view from the berry picking area (or “attempted” berry picking area!) which makes the lack of success worthwhile….

Flattop

So, because I am pretty keen to get blueberries this year, I read about a place a two hour drive from Anchorage. Was it worth the drive? YOU BET!

Notice all the blueberries on the bush below. 

Lots of blueberries

This whole area was thick with blueberry bushes. So many it was hard to even know where to start picking. It was amazing!

bluescape

And despite the rain the area is beautiful.

Sheep mountain

In two hours we managed to pick two quarts each of tart and heavily perfumed wild blueberries.

quart of blueberries

We’re combing our harvest and making jam tomorrow. Stay tuned for more…I’m planning on going again this week. It’s too good to resist!

Crazy People!

7 Aug

It is incredibly impressive, and hard to believe the human body can do it, but still I think they are insane.

Cookie Quest

4 Aug

So there is this bakery in Anchorage that we love, and they make the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. As a result, I’ve been trying to mimic them, and quite unsuccessfully.

The Fire Island cookies are slightly puffy, with a crisp outside and a soft and wonderfully rich flavor inside, with notes of brown butter and caramel. I tried several recipes for “puffy” chocolate chip cookies, and had no luck. They were either pale with a soft exterior and too cake-like, or melted down like regular cookies, or had too much of a baking powder taste.

I then came across this article, with some good science behind the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies. It was attached to this recipe which I adapted below. I really really like how these came out, although I think I may try them next time by replacing one of the eggs for two egg whites, and using 3 ounces of white sugar and 7 ounces of brown. The below recipe is still a bit chewy, but they do have a bit of rise, are wonderfully moist, and a great salty bite.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
½ t baking soda
¾ t baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
10 ounces brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, mini

Beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat again until sugar is very well incorporated and it has a light texture. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until really really fluffy! Add dry ingredients (which you have pre-mixed) and mix on low until just incorporated. Add chips and give another couple of stirs. Refrigerate at least overnight, but preferably 2 or 3 days (really, this helps. I know most of us do not pre-plan our cookie baking but being patient in this case will have its rewards). Form dough into golf ball sized balls and place on parchment paper or silpat on baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 13 – 16 minutes, until lightly brown. I did find with this recipe that the cookies were easy to underbake, so bake them just a little more brown than you normally would.

Enjoy!