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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer in the Vill

 Well it was a great time with the family, but I am glad to be back in the Last Frontier. I made it home to Anchorage mid July and spent a few days enjoying town and doing a little shopping and mailing. Okay, okay, I got really carried away, but I won't need to shop in town for the rest of the year now! 
Always an adventure, the ride over from St. Mary's was filled with wildlife and lush green leaves all around. I managed to snap a few pics with my phone of a family of foxes. 

Getting back into Mountain Village, I found myself falling right back into the role like I never left. 
The first day int he vill I took a boat ride down to gather cut logs that were stacked to dry this passed spring. Tired the next day, there no excuses to not hp on another boat and fish all night. Catching plenty of fish to fillet out and can (jarring them for use later in the year), I managed to get a little sleep that first weekend. 

Hitting the office, I think I worked 100 hours each of the first two weeks, at least it felt that way... Imaging all the teacher computers for the 2012-2013 school year was a more tedious and problematic affair than any of us realized. With no chance of peeling away from the office or homework long enough to fish, I was delighted to hear from a great friend in the village who wanted to share fish with me. I am so thankful for the monster he saved for me and it truly made my week! I thought I would take the time to explain what it is we do out here for those who may not know. First step, clear a good work surface for your processing. I keep tons of cardboard boxes around for all the game processing I do. 
Next sharpen up your knife really well. I would recommend getting Ziplocks or vacuum bags ready and having lots of paper towels ready, too. When I fillet a fish (any salmon-like critter) I like to start by heading and gutting it at the river. I was actually taught a nifty trick for this process by the friend who gave me this fish, but that will have to wait for another post. Being that this big fella was frozen and now half thawed, I left everything in tact. Starting below the head I cut down to the spine, across both sides of the fish then sliced down the middle to fillet it. I go pretty fast and don't worry about wasting meat. 

Then chunking the best parts of the meat into 2 pound portions, vacuum sealed the choice peices with a Food Saver. The belly meat and parts full of bones I cube up and fill a large mixing bowl with along with the carefully cleaned remains I missed in my haste. 

The trimmings were enough to fill 5 quart jars which I began canning immediately. Some like to take the skin off of this meat, but I don't mind it. Others prefer to marinade or add spices to the jars, but I feel like my fish are more versatile and can be used in any recipe this way. I once made 3 cases of various flavors and ended up with lots of teriyaki and lemon pepper salmon jars... 
(word to the wise: teriyaki burns easily...)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Louisianaisms (Part Three)

Swamp Fishing

With the recent popularity of Swamp Loggers, Swamp People, and the dozens of other shows filmed in Louisiana filling your television line up everyone back home in Alaska wants to hear about "Louisianaisms." My favorite questions are about the swamp and especially alligators. 
This passed Friday (following Independence Day) we decided to do some fishing south of Lake Charles almost to the Gulf Coast. We wanted to get our fill of sweet delicious blue crabs and gar fish. Bait fishing the night before, we went down passed Hackberry, La with chicken for the crabs and tiny fish for the gars. The idea was to use a net and lure in crabs with the chicken legs tied to strings dangling in the water. The crabs grab the chicken and pull, then we gently coax them to the bank and scoop them up. The gar fish were a bit more interested in the bait fish. 
Gar is a prehistoric beast with scales tougher than a filet knife (Jeff skinned it with metal sheers and a hack saw) and a mouth like an alligator. Hence the name: alligator gar. 

Anyway enjoy the video!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Louisianaisms (Part Two)

The Muffellatta 

If you have never heard of the sandwich, you are missing out, to say the least. Best sandwich in America? Heck yeah

Anyway, I thought I would dedicate this post to the wonder that is a 3-5 meat Italian dream topped in spicy olive dressing. If you want the best in the world you better come to Louisiana. Many, including myself, believe New Orleans, LA (NOLA for short) to be the epicenter of the sandwich. To save you the trouble, time, and money I thought I'd break it down for you here. 

Step One: come to NOLA and stay in the Quarter. 
Step Two: get a large extra shot daiquiri from the plethora available on Bourbon, Decatur, or basically EVERYWHERE in NOLA. 
Step Three: Visit the Central Grocer on Decatur across from the French Market. Ask for the muffellatta and split it with a close friend or two... yes it is that big. They're closed on Monday's, so be sure to schedule your trip accordingly. ;-)

Now to the difficult task of rating the other sammies in the area.

Contestant #1 - The Camellia 
Not a terrible snadwich, but definitely not a true muff. Made with corned beef and heavy on the olive oil, this guy will fill you up, but you may need to schedule some recovery time afterward at the hotel. 

Contestant #2 - Cafe Maspero
Great sandwich overall, and a heck of a value. With fries this plate will take care of any grumble and tune you up for a long night in the Big Easy. I don't use the lettuce, tomato, or pickle on the plate, but knock yourself out. 

Contestant #3 - Frank's 
A classic New Orleanian spot, Frank's is a great location across from the French Market on Decatur. I suggest you eat upstairs on the balcony with a ice cold beverage of your choosing. Great view, great sandwich, and heck of a deal. I suggest you get the half...

Now for the bad news. I am a sandwich lover like no other, dare I say connoisseur. My favorite sammie isn't in the Quarter, though. It's not even in New Orleans. It's in Baton Rouge at the family owned and operated Anthony's Deli in Baton Rouge, LA. Mad props to the best in the state (WORLD). 

What are you waiting for? Get down here and try one of the best tastes of Louisiana... you won't regret it.