'Alaska' on Serious Eats

Giant Produce at the Alaska State Fair

Even if you've seen giant watermelon and pumpkins and such at other fairs, nothing compares to this. The Alaska State Fair this year had pumpkins as large as 786 pounds (!). One of the cabbages weighed in at 86 pounds. There were giant zucchinis, paddy pans, and root vegetables of all sorts, along with giant flowers the size of basketballs. More

My Pie Monday: Climbhighak's Self-Clean-Cycle Pizzas

"Short and sweet: Not many New York/Naples-style pizzas to be found in Anchorage, Alaska. So I am working them out on my own.

These are all-natural-yeast-from-sourdough pies cooked in an electric oven. I did the Varasano hack [That would be disabling the self-clean cycle lock-out —The Mgmt.] and am reaching temps around 815°F...." More

Hot Dog of the Week: Reindeer Hot Dog

[Original artwork: Hawk Krall] Past Weeks' Dogs Cincinnati Cheese Coney24th & Passyunk TruckTexas TommyPhilly Dirty Water DogChicago Dog Popular on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska, and slowly making its way across the country, this week we bring you the Reindeer Dog. Made from Alaskan caribou, these dogs are split and grilled and served on a steamed bun. The taste is similar to venison sausage but slightly less gamey. Standard condiments include grilled onions deglazed with Coca-Cola, mustard, and even cream cheese, Seattle-style. The reindeer franks come from two major Alaska purveyors: Indian Valley Meats, which makes natural casing dogs containing a mix of caribou and beef, and Alaska Sausage And Seafood, where the reindeer links are smoked and seasoned... More

Alaska State Fair Cabbage Tops Guinness World Record

[Photograph: Dean Phipps] There are cabbages and then there are 125.9-pound CABBAGES. Every year the Alaska State Fair holds a giant cabbage weigh-off where people battle for vegetable-growing prowess. This year, reports the Anchorage Daily News, Wasilla resident Steve Hubacek won for his green monster (the leaves span five feet!) beating the previous cabbage world record set in the UK in 1989 for 124 pounds. Related Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off at Alaska State Fair, 2008 Duchess Camilla Gets a Big Cabbage for Her Birthday Copious Cabbage [Talk]... More

The United States of Pizza: Alaska

Continuing the 50-part series that is The United States of Pizza, here's Jenn Sit makin' like a cheechako in the Last Frontier. —The Mgmt. Although I worry that a pizza oven would threaten the structural integrity of an igloo, Spencer Shroyer (editor of the Anchorage Daily News's Play Magazine), my invaluable source of Alaskan pizza intel, showed me that wood-fired ovens do indeed exist in the Land of the Midnight Sun. All Alaska jokes aside, we in the Lower 48 must overcome our Rudolph-ladened imaginings of Meat Lover pies strewn with caribou, moose, and reindeer sausage (a topping option at... More

I Know This Fish: Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, from Water to Table

Note: Today, a quick post that really evokes a sense of place. Food writer Cheryl Sternman Rule takes us on a fishing expedition in Alaska. Enjoy! —AK Photographs by Cheryl Sternman Rule When the server set the salmon carpaccio in front of me, I felt like whispering in her ear. "Just so you know," I’d say, "this fish and I have met before." And it was true. A day earlier, on Prince William Sound in southeastern Alaska, I’d bore witness as the commercial fisherman on whose boat I was riding netted three sockeye, pulled out their gills, and tossed them to the bottom of her bow-picker. There was blood, yes, but there was also something beautiful about the process—its simplicity.... More

Reindeer Sausage Van in Alaska, Not Yet on Twitter

With street vendors using Twitter on the brain, my friend who lives in Anchorage, Alaska, sent over this photo of a local reindeer hot dog van. The guy parks on West 4th Avenue and F Street (map), serving up reindeer dogs from the blue Volkswagen van. He hasn't picked up the tweeting yet (though @reindeervan seems to be available).... More

Salmon Questions for an Alaskan Fisherman

Longtime fisherman Randy Hartnell; photo from Vital Choice My Alaskan friend recently shipped me ten pounds of fresh salmon he caught in the Kenai River. Not a bad cardboard box to find waiting on your doorstep. My first batch—cooked with lemon, sea salt, and pepper— was so tasty, I wanted to jump up and down and invent a happy dance called "The Salmon." Unlike the light pink, over-boiled salmon at Ikea (sorry Ikea)—and most salmon of my childhood (sorry Mom)—this one was a deeper, almost-red shade. Why is Alaskan salmon so much better? To understand, I went to Randy Hartnell, a longtime Alaskan fisherman and founder of a wild fish and berries company called Vital Choice. After over twenty... More

Sarah Palin: Locavore

"And if you look twice at the reasons why Palin hunts, they resemble an ideal cherished by city-dwelling, New York Times-reading folks. Sarah Palin is a locavore, harvesting meat from her local 'foodshed.'" [Slate, via Eater L.A.]... More

Pass the Moose-ghetti and Meatballs, Mom

Joe Dilley, owner and operator of Joe's Guide Service in Alaska, can't get enough Moose-ghetti. It's one of his favorite meals in the crock pot, he told NPR, sounding a bit bashful. Besides the Alaskan-Italian fusion dish, he was full of moose cooking tips. How do you prep the meat? You let a little bit of white mold grow on it. The natural enzymes in the meat start breaking it down from being a tough chunk of muscle. Yum, white mold. Almost as good as yesterday's image of a Bic razor shaving a furry moose snout, before it gets boiled in salt water and eventually tastes like beef tongue. Three weeks since the Republican veep nomination, journalists are finally churning... More

Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off at Alaska State Fair

Don't you wish this was you? One thing Alaska governor turned John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin might consider in her campaign strategy: showing off her state fair's cabbage entries. She was actually supposed to make a cameo at the Alaska State Fair's 11th Annual Giant Cabbage Weigh-off this afternoon, but apparently she's too busy. Making speeches in Dayton, Ohio. Go figure. All week, giant cabbage growers have been sweating—so many things could go wrong! Slug invasion, heavy rains, hailstorms, soil maggots, and most realistically, a dining experience for rabbits and porcupines. Even yanking the beast from the ground is a concern. There is a science to unearthing veggies! Three years ago, Scott Robb woke up to find his... More

Locavore Pizza in Alaska?

According to a New York Times reader, Finn's Pizza in Homer, Alaska, offers terrific thin-crust pizza made with local ingredients in a wood-burning oven. But how long can tomato-growing season really be in Alaska? According to an Alaska native we checked with, it's short, just two or three months, but since there are roughly 22 hours of daylight during summertime, tomatoes grow to jumbo sizes. And, he pointed out, "locavore" toppings could also include smoked salmon.... More

In Alaska, It's Pizza by Plane

Beaver From Flickr member Mr Lunatic Fringe. From InsideBayArea.com: HARD to believe, but Nome has just gotten its first pizza delivery business, a joint that brings gourmet pies to people's doors and even flies special orders to Bush villages hundreds of miles away. For free. It may not arrive hot, but it's all the rage in this Northwest Alaska region where Nome, with its 3,500 residents, had no food delivery options until Airport Pizza launched. You buy and they fly in Alaska [InsideBayArea.com, via Tien Mao]... More

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