The Other Fisherman loves Christmas. It’s his favorite time of year, right up there with moose hunting season and fishing for king salmon in the summer. His dad was Father Christmas, and the OF’s brother also lives for this time of year, after golf season.
As we approach the last few days of 2015, I want to remember all the great times and recipes that were made in my kitchen. Without all the people in my life I love to share them with, life there would not be nearly as fun.
’Tis the season for cookie baking and candy making, so tie on your apron and join me in my holiday kitchen. My family loves their sweets, and the more the merrier. They have a special fondness for peanut butter and chocolate, buttery, crisp cookies frosted heavily with sweet and creamy frosting, sweet candy treats so decadent they make your teeth hurt, and birthday cake.
Our family observes three birthdays within 10 days during December — actually four, as there is a very special birthday we all remember on Dec. 25.
To say “Christmas” is to unlock a treasure chest of favorite memories and a world of much loved tastes, smells, sounds and scenes.
What am I excited about cooking in my kitchen right now? Fresh-caught halibut and king salmon. That first-of-the-season fresh fish, grilled and basted lightly with sweet herb butter or deep-fried golden brown and served with a creamy dill pickle tartar sauce. King salmon carpaccio; paper-thin pieces of fresh king that are drizzled with citrus juice and zest, good olive oil and fresh dill and marinated a few hours then served as an appetizer with pan-toasted thin slices of sourdough bread.
It’s merry holiday baking time. My family is lovers of cookies; lots and lots of cookies.
We like to have the traditional cookies that have become family favorites over the years, but I am always on the look-out for a new yummy goodie. I hope you get to spend a little time in your kitchen blending butter, sugar, flour and chocolate into tasty treats during this busy time of the year.
Happy baking and eating and sharing.
These turtle cookies have every indulgent flavor we like in our family: chocolate, peanut butter, caramel and toffee.
Many years ago when the Other Fisherman’s dad would drive back from visiting his brother in Florida he bought fruitcake in Georgia on his way home to Wisconsin. I first started making fruitcake for him when Uncle “Turkey” moved back to Wisconsin and Dad no longer made his annual fruitcake stop. Over the years family and friends have come to enjoy them. Dad is gone now, but I still bake them for a holiday treat for fortunate recipients. Plan on making them at least a month prior to Christmas so they can age and get a few applications of the liquor you select to use on them.
The leaves have fallen and there is snow on the mountains across the bay; that means I am happy to retreat to our warm kitchen in my comfy slippers and cook. I want to make comfort food, family favorites and hearty dishes. We had a bumper crop of potatoes and the Other Fisherman got a moose, so I have ingredients for anything hearty at hand.
Our summer has been wonderful, filled with sunshine and warm temperatures, beautiful flowers, visitors, fishing and a family wedding. On July 20, we were happy to welcome Alyssa Prince into our family as the wife of our son David Robl. She is bright, beautiful, thoughtful, fun and just a delightful young woman. I am tickled to have a daughter.
It is wonderful to be back in our home and Homer, surrounded by the life we’ve made here. I spent the winter in Juneau working for the Legislature. I missed the Other Fisherman, our black labs and all of you so much. In January I said so long to grilling on the party deck, skiing on the McNeil Canyon trail and cooking for dinner parties in my kitchen.