Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Last Years Fish

Leftovers.  What do we do when we find a bunch of frozen salmon from last year?  I seriously hid several fillets last year, only to "lose" them in the freezer, and while rummaging through looking for one last gallon of blueberries, FOUND the fish.

It was lost but now it's found.  Back to leftovers.  Leftover sockeye salmon?  We smoke them of course! (and then we tease our dog with the smell of smoked fish!)

Plenty of people ask me how we smoke our fish.  If I knew, I'd do it myself, but I don't know how, so my husband always has to smoke the fish.  He has a smokehouse he built out of a stainless steel freezer, a hot plate, and a cast iron skillet.  We used Peach Wood to smoke this batch, and he has ANOTHER batch going today.  Here's how HE makes smoked salmon...

Gather all your supplies, food trays, knives, and thawed fish.

Wash, dry and cut your fish into strips.

Lay them on the trays with a little bit of space between them.

Salt the fish, and let sit for a while.  (Don't ask me how long, because I don't know!)

Sprinkle tons of brown sugar on them.  Apparently the salt and sugar brine, and draw out the moisture, enough so that they aren't too dry when they come out of the smokehouse.

Here's the tricky part.  You know, when you're watching Diners, Drive-In's and Dives, when Guy asks what ingredients are in the "secret" ingredients... and they say, "And some secret ingredient that I can't tell you..."  Well, this is that part.  Even I don't know what he has in his special tub of secret ingredients.  I mean, I know there is some salt, some garlic, pink peppercorn, maybe some paprika?  I don't know.  Anyway, he generously sprinkles this stuff on too.  If you don't have a tub of super special secret stuff like Dean, then I don't know, use some Garlic Salt or something! 

Then, you let the brine sit on them for a few hours, overnight in the fridge is best.  It looks all amazing and gooey, and smells good too! 

Place your fish in the smokehouse, which has been heated up for an hour or so, and maintains a constant temperature.  Again, I don't know the secret temperature, sorry about that.  He likes to hide it from me!  We used peach wood and some other kind of wood chips, maybe the jack daniels ones.  And I say "we" because I took photos... I helped!

I don't know how long you have to smoke the fish, until they're done I guess!  We hot smoke ours, so I know they're done, and OK to eat without worrying.  He can cold smoke, but I prefer the hot smoked fish, so that's mainly what we do. 

So, when they're done your entire neighborhood smells them and happens to come over to visit!  haha, Dean loves giving fish and other food he makes away, so we package them up and either eat them or give them to people to taste. 

These are my favorite kind of leftovers!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


If this were my child, I'd be charged with neglect.  Maybe even abandonment!

Good thing it's not though, eh.  And I get to come back when I remember, "HEY! I have a blog too..."  Sorry faithful few readers!  But spring, summer and fall in Alaska is so busy, I can't seem to remember where I left my phone, let alone take the time to write a witty blog post. 

Maybe I don't have to be witty, but I don't want to fill it with the same stuff I post on Facebook and Instagram.  Which, if you're my friend or follower, you know basically all I do is sew and bake. 

Anywho, a quick synopsis of what Finnskimo has been up to for the last month or so...

Baking.  We have made so many cinnamon rolls it's not funny.  But, for a great cause!  My 11 year old (baby) was asked to be a part of the 5th-6th grade team to head over to the Alaska Hoops Tournament in Wasilla this year, only to have it cancelled the DAY BEFORE we all left.  So her and I took a mini-vacation, because we purchased non-refundable tickets.  Boo.  But we did manage to bake and sell enough cinnamon rolls to pay for her ticket, and then pay for her "tuition" to attend a different basketball camp.  She's 5 foot 4, turned eleven in mid April, so we are pushing her to be a basketball player.  Just kidding, we aren't pushing her, I'd be fine if she wanted to be the tallest cheerleader there was, but you know, the scholarships are all in basketball and volleyball!  haha.

We visited my parents self-sustaining cabin in the woods while we were there.  I actually left my daughter and niece in Chickaloon with my parents and went back home.  They spent a week with them and had a blast.  You know, people... I grew up in a shack, and now my parents have this awesome cabin in the woods, powered by wind and solar power, and all I keep thinking is that I lived in a shack and my dad had this ability to build THIS! haha.  I mean, he did eventually build a huge house for us, but man, I can't wait to retire to a place like this.

We went fishing at "twenty-mile" for hooligan.  All of us adults spent the required $48 for a hunting/fishing license and caught FIVE little hooligan.  But, when you're fishing in a place like this, it's OK.  Plus, we needed the license for Kotzebue anyway, because it's fishing season now, and hunting season coming up.  We were able to spend some time with my little sister and the babies.  (Alice turned ONE while the kids visited them, too!)

Rea Sunshine came up to Kotzebue to visit for a week while my mom came by for a summer job she does each year, cooking for a subsistence camp.  She had a grand time, and was a PERFECT KID (Elsa...) so no matter what my sister says, she's always good at aunties house! haha. 

While Rea was with us, my awesome husband smoked most of "last years" salmon.  We ended up finding a few sockeye fillets that I had hidden in the freezer last fall, and tons of chum.  We get the ocean chum up here, so they're super good, firm and dark flesh, with perfect silver scales.  Not the freaky looking river chum that look sorta like alligators. 

Rea smoked the fish with Dean and every time she came in the house, she said, "Mmmm, SMOKE FISH, SMELLS LIKE UNCLE DEANIE WEENO!"  (don't ask us how she came to call him that, we have no idea!)  She gave up dessert several times to have more smoked fish.  Savage little girl.

Dean is busy thawing more fish today.  We need to "get rid" of the fish in our freezer, and there is literally NO better way than to smoke it all.  He's going to smoke it tomorrow while everyone is at work.  Even though the fish is good, I still wish I was cutting Ugruk.  

Unfortunately for me (native) and my husband (non-native), he can not go out to the ocean to provide for us, I have to rely on other people to hunt marine mammals for us.  "Uncle" Junie used to do for us every year, and now that he's gone, it's been hard to find people to get us an ugruk.  Thankfully, Junie's son has been going out to provide for elders, just like his dad used to, and I'm sure we will eventually get one from someone.  Hey... WILL TRADE CINNAMON ROLLS for UGRUK!  Wonder if that tagline would work!  :)

Happy Spring.  (we still have ice and snow, therefore it's still spring here)  I'll try not to neglect you guys anymore.