Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Concerning Croutons and Cilled Canoes

Yeah, so it shoulda been Killed instead of Cilled. I just wanted to go with the "C" theme --kinda average?

I'm going to change this around and put the recipe (for what it's worth) first, then the story of the death of a canoe and almost the death of a family. Not only to keep all 17 of you (WOO-HOO) in suspense, but more so that if I run out of time I can always do part two next --brilliant logic on my part, eh? Not bad for a bloke with long blond hair and a tan...

Quick Croutons:

This is for when you need some croutons in a hurry, and you don't feel like running out to the shops and paying for them!

Take some white bread slices, either fresh or semi-stale. Slice em into crouton sized pieces (about the size of dice). Toss them into a wok, and add some seasonings. The other day when I made them I used Egyptian type seasonings and they are GREAT!

All seasonings are either dried, ground, or crushed. Here's the Eqyptian seasonings I used:

Sea Salt

Oh, if you've been wondering how to get that beautiful Moroccan flavour (or any North African or Middle Eastern flavour) then you'll want to note that the key ingredient not known in many western kitchens is ground sumac.

Anywho, toss the seasonings into the bread cubes and drizzle some olive oil on them. Put the wok on a high heat, toss the cubes frequently (if you let them sit for more than 30 secs you'll burn them). After a couple of mins (add more olive oil as needed) you'll have nicely toasted and seasoned croutons.

Remove from heat and let cool --they are even better the next day.

You can use any kind of seasonings, whatever your taste buds like.

Oh, regarding sumac: There are quite a few edible types of sumac berries; when used in cooking they are generally dried and then crushed. There are, however, six type of sumac berries that are poisonous and (for the most part) the berries are white. These include stuff like poison ivy, poison oak and (of course) poison sumac. I wouldn't suggest going out and picking your own sumac berries, just buy the powdered stuff at you local shops!

Now on to the section of Alaskan Dave Down Under which specifically focuses on Dave (that's me) growing up (HA!) and having fun in the wilds of the north.

Back in the very early 70's, the family moved from the little trailer in a trailer park off Muldoon into a large house by a lake. Since there was a lake, the Old Fart (my dad) got a canoe for us to play around with in the lake. He got a LAKE canoe. Very long with a square stern (for hanging an outboard motor --it's called a transom).

We had some fun with the canoe on the lake; explored pretty much every inch of it --got bored after a few months and then they (the parents --specifically The Old Fart (my dad)) had the great idea to go down Campbell Creek in it.

Yes, I can hear all of you in Los Anchorage saying how the creek is polluted and we couldn't possibly have done it... Keep in mind this was 35 years ago (you know: back when Benson Blvd didn't exist and Northern Lights Blvd was one lane each way and had just recently been paved? Of course you remember!)! There was still a big salmon run in the creek and there was a race down it each year (stay tuned!!!!).

CC (I'm tired of typing The Creek, or Campbell Creek) is fed by snow melt from up in the mountains nearby. This means that it really really really cold. Did I mention it was a tad bit on the nippy side? CC is also one of those that even though it runs through south Anchortown it's still quite the wild and wooley ride when the water's up.

Once you got past the first few easy miles, it turned into a twisty, turny fun ride. On the inside of each sharp turn were what's called "sweepers". A sweeper is a tree on the bank of a river that has had the bank eroded out from under it so that the tree hangs over the river (or creek in this case). If they only hang down to about 45 degrees you can duck under them and their low-hanging branches, but if they hang lower (sometimes even parallel to the creek) then it's really hard to duck under the branches without hurting yourself massively --so you go around.

On the outside of a turn that has sweepers, there's usually a deep hole in the river bottom formed by the swirling eddy's of the river. Think of them as miniature whirlpools. The water swirls around on the outside of a sharp bend and goes straight down into the river bottom and gouges out such a hole that you are well under water if you tried to stand up in one (don't try it!!!!). Also, the eddy's are a great place for big ole logs to hang out in and jam up against each other. Anything that can't float (like a swamped canoe for example) will be jammed against the logs and then shot to the bottom of the hole along with whatever is in it.

We had been down the creek a few times in the LAKE canoe, but we always got out before the ugly part. Weeeellll... to make a long story even longer, there was this time (after weeks of heavy rains) that we decided to go all the way down to Campbell Lake.

Part Two coming up soon: Does the clan pile into the logjam in a whirlpool or do they get gored by the branches of a sweeper... Da Da Da Dummmmm!


Suzer said...

Dave, have you considered putting some labels on your posts so we can do a quick sort to find all your recipes?

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

I've been thinking about the labels, but what if I have a recipe and a story in the same post??? Would that mean I need to separate them?

Gotta dig deeper into blogger, I guess.

I'd actually like folks to find my recipes without having to dig through the archives... hmmmmmm...

Suzer said...

You can put more than one label on a many as you like, so a post with a recipe and a story can fall into two categories. Very easy...just head to the "Customise" section at the top right screen.

Toshua said...

Dave, found some more pictures of your dad I'm sending your way. Think you'll smile.