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The Season for Soups

Posted By: Jenna     All Posts by Jenna  

January 10, 2014

It is winter!  January can feel like a long month in Interior Alaska. We can’t quite sense the lengthening days yet; that won’t happen until the very end of the month and early February. So,…it’s dark. It can be very cold, although so far this year the jet stream is positioned in our favor (we feel for you, Lower 48ers, really, we do). It’s just that time of year when it feels right to cozy up indoors around our hearths and eat warm, wholesome foods made from all of those Californian and Mexican vegetables shipped up to us in the hinterland. ‘Tis the season for soup!

This recipe is actually one of our summertime favorites, especially when we start receiving beautiful, tight heads of cauliflower from Rosie Creek Farm.

But, the soup serves up equally well this time of year with cauliflower from Mexico. The curry lends warmth, but isn’t overwhelming. It simply enhances the subtle, earthiness of the cauliflower. Cashews and coconut milk give it body and richness. This soup makes a wonderful starter or a simple meal that will warm you up on a cold January day while you wait for the polar vortex to abate! Enjoy.

 The recipe comes from health food guru, Dr. Andrew Weil.

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Soup:

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt, to taste

Garnish:

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Put the cashews in a blender and blend until finely ground. Add 3/4 cup of water and blend for 2 minutes. Strain and set this mixture aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until golden. Add the cauliflower, coconut milk, cashew mixture, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or standing blender until the desired consistency is reached. If using a standing blender, allow the mixture to cool for 20 minutes. Pour the soup into the blender. Hold the lid down firmly with a clean, folded towel over it. Start on low speed and blend until the soup is smooth.
  4. For the garnish, if desired, sauté the thinly sliced onion in the canola oil over low heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden brown, about 30 minutes. A couple pinches of sugar and a pinch of salt enhances the end result.

Garnish soup with caramelized onions and cilantro, if using, and serve.           

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Kristen's Romanesco

Posted By: Jenna     All Posts by Jenna  

July 09, 2011

It’s summer! And I am relishing the fact that I don’t have to come up with any breakfast, lunch or dinner meals for another two months. This is a supremely wonderful thing for a mom of two toddlers.

One of my favorite foods has to be a delicious sandwich spread from one of our returning dinner cooks, Kristen. Available on our guest lunchline, I use the romanesco instead of mayonnaise or mustard and make my sandwich per usual—home-roasted turkey, jack cheese, fresh lettuce or cucumber slices from our greenhouse, some home-roasted vegetables or a couple slices of fresh tomato. The result is a highly un-usual and very delicious sandwich. The romanesco adds a mysterious and flavorful richness that pairs well with any savory meat and/or cheese combination on a sandwich.

This recipe was quite popular with our guests last summer, a handful of whom requested that we email them the recipe. I am terribly ashamed that I am only now getting around to typing it up! Better late than never, right?

Puree in food processor:

1 cup toasted almonds

2/3 cup lightly oiled and toasted panko bread crumbs

1 clove garlic

1 guajio, chipotle, or other smoky-flavored pepper (roasted, soaked in hot water for a few minutes and seeded)

¼ teaspoon roasted jalapeno pepper (optional)

Add and puree again:

2-3 roasted red peppers

3-4 roasted cherry tomatoes

a few sprigs of picked thyme

lemon juice to taste

salt to taste

Keeps well refrigerated. Spread thinly (or not so thinly) on both sides of your sandwich. Yum!

And did I say greenhouse cucumbers? Yes, we have loads of them. A summer gazpacho primarily composed of cucumbers is already on the weekly dinner menu as a starter. Fresh pickles or shaved cucumber and fennel salad with creamy dill dressing anyone? Please email us your favorite cucumber recipes from your overflowing garden or greenhouse.

Happy summer and bon appétit!           

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Dining at Our Lodges

Posted By: Jenna     All Posts by Jenna  

January 07, 2011

Perhaps it’s just that people are reminded of food this holiday season, but my email in-box these days has a number of “Recipe Requests” lingering among the, frankly, not-so-urgent messages. While our current cookbook, A Cache of Recipes, has recipes for a good number of Camp Denali’s standbys and other recipes that will tempt you to tie on your apron and give them a try, it does not, regrettably, include any of our current entrees. Hence the myriad requests for recipes that we receive during the summer and on into the winter months.

Our kitchens turn out wholesome, flavorful, attractive meals to roughly 150 people 100 days out of the year in the middle of Denali National Park. Each day we produce sit-down breakfasts, three-course dinners, and a gourmet make-your-own lunch buffet for our guests.  In a time-honored “do it yourself; make it yourself “ tradition, we produce food from scratch, whether it’s stocks, sauces, or vinaigrettes used in dinners, or granola and yogurt served at the morning cereal bar. In addition, each day our full time baker turns out croissants and breakfast breads, artisan dinner breads, multigrain sandwich bread, fresh cookies, and desserts.

Where our food comes from matters a great deal to us. While we cannot claim much “slow food” fame in the way of locally, sustainably grown and produced food, we are trying reduce the carbon footprint of our food supply here in the subarctic. As much as possible, we buy local, seasonal and organic. Sourcing food that meets these criteria is no small challenge and takes considerable planning, effort and philosophical commitment.

Closest to home in our own green house and gardens we grow salad greens, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, and edible flowers. This past year we were entirely self sufficient for lettuces and other salad greens all summer long. This made for succulent dinner salads and crisp buttercrunch or romaine leaves for lunchline sandwiches. We didn’t order a single head of lettuce from California!  In addition to our garden plots, you may see staff harvesting by hand the local bounty of blueberries and lingonberries that grow on our property, which we serve fresh and preserve for sauces, syrups, and baked goods.

The concept of “locally grown” has a broader radius here in Alaska than in the Lower Forty-Eight. We’re proud of the fact that by early July, the majority of our vegetable produce comes from two organic farms (only) 100 miles north of us, Denali Organic Growers and Rosie Creek Farm. These vegetables are by far the freshest, most robust and nutritious we can supply. We also buy hams, sausages and smoked fishes produced in Alaska, and source wild Alaskan salmon, halibut and sablefish.

Here is a sample of one day’s menu from last summer:

Our Sit Down Breakfast…

Poached Eggs on a Bed of Rosie Creek Root Vegetable Hash with Fresh Fruit Side and Homemade Almond Bear Claws

Our Make-Your-Own Lunch Buffet…

Homemade Multi Grain Bread or Herb Wrap
Home-Roasted, Grass-Fed Roast Beef
Tillamook Extra-Sharp White Cheddar
Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
House-Made Pickles
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
GORP (Good-Old-Raisins-and-Peanuts with M&Ms)
Fresh Gingersnap Cookies

 And Our Three-Course Dinner…

Artisan Country Baguette

Puree of Alaskan Carrot Soup with Quenelle of Herbed Goat Cheese, Toasted Hazelnuts and Olive Oil Drizzle

Baked Fresh Alaska Halibut with Stewed Heirloom Washington State Farro Wheat, Rosie Creek Farm Baby Turnips, Baby Fennel, Radish and Pickled Shallot Slaw, and Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

Shortcakes with Home-Grown Rhubarb, Topped with Vanilla Cardamom Whipped Cream


Aaah, writing those scrumptious words makes me long for those three precious summer months at Camp Denali when I do not have to cook. Hats-off to all of our talented cooks and bakers! I’ll go fulfill those recipe requests while I’m still salivating. Looking forward to another summer of delicious meals…
 

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Denali Dispatch

It is our pleasure to present Dispatches, a journal of the goings on at Camp Denali & North Face Lodge. Written by members of our staff, Dispatches is an opportunity to peek into the special sightings notebook, brush up on Denali National Park issues, read about our ongoing projects in sustainability, and maybe get a whiff of what’s cooking in the kitchens. Dispatches will carry on through the winter, when we hope to share stories of snowy ski adventures, deep cold, and the events of a small Alaskan community.
 

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