Wedding Smoked Salmon Salad



2 cups Alaskan smoked salmon, very thinly sliced

1 bunch mixed salad green

1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar




5 Tbl capers, finely chopped

2/3 cup olive oil

1 lemon, juice of

salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Lightly blend all the ingredients for the dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Pile up a small portion of the mixed salad leaves in the center of the plate.

Then arrange the slices of cucumber followed by sliced salmon as desired on top of the bed of lettuce.

Drizzle the dressing over. My Mom swore that she didn’t like smoked salmon. Oh, please. She loved it. She said savoring this salad was the second best thing about the day. The first was watching me wear my Nana’s gown while I became Mrs. Killian Nelson. One more layer of deliciousness on an already perfect day.


White Chili




Don’t love the name—love the dish.


when Hugh was missing,I made a triple sized batch.  figured you might not be feeding waves of searchers. This would be perfect for a super bowl party or a nippy Monday night when you need sustenance, but not stodge.

2 lbs chicken thighs

3 medium onions

6 cans small white beans

Chili powder, cumin

Chicken broth-carton is better than canned

Chili add ins—corn chips, grated cheese, diced jalapeno’s, sour cream


I described this recipe in the blog post called “Friends and Fond” for those of you who prefer a more standard ‘recipe’ presentation—here goes.

Cut the thighs into small cubes and brown them over fairly high heat. Do this in batches. Between batches, rinse the pan with a bit of chicken stock and pour the fond/broth mixture into the pot you will cook the chili in, along with the cooked thighs. Do NOT scorch the fond. After the chicken is done, sauté the onions until soft. Add onions to big pot. Add beans and spices. Pour on enough stock to get the “chili” consistency. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes. More is fine. Stay warm and enjoy. Serve with assorted chili add ins.

Bea’s roast beef sandwiches



More a way of life then a recipe


Toast some onion rolls. Combine about 4 Tbl mayo with 1 tsp grated horseradish. Use this to mixture to “butter” your rolls. On each sandwich put several slices of thinly carved medium rare roast beef. You’ll want to sort of fold them so that they are in “ruffles” and don’t just lay there like a carnivorous pancake. Now, if you are going to eat immediately, add some sliced tomatoes and butter lettuce. Iceberg is all wrong for these sandwiches. Apply salt and paper. If you are taking these monstrosities to consume elsewhere, bag the veggies and assemble sandwiches when you are ready to chomp

Mâche Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado



This salad combines both the tart and fresh taste of grapefruit with the milder avocado and nutty taste of Mâche.


2 Tablespoon walnut oil

Sea salt and black pepper

4 ounces Mâche, rinsed

1 large ripe avocado, cut into wedges

Peeling grapefruit for this salad requires a level of commitment that no side dish should ask of you. You can peel and segment a pink grapefruit, but I highly recommend the jarred segments you can find in your produce section.

Combine grapefruit segments (very loosely drained) their juice will become the “acid” in your dressing, avocado pieces, and sea salt and pepper. Set aside while you get on with the rest of your meal. After a few minutes add the mache and drizzle with the walnut oil. (toasted walnuts are a spectacular addition to this salad)


New Potatoes with Cumin



1/2 pounds very small potatoes, halved, leave 1 1/2 inch potatoes or smaller whole

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Coarse salt




Set potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle them with just enough oil to lightly coat them, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Toss potatoes with cumin seed and roast 20 minutes at 400 F in a hot oven, then broil 5 minutes on high to brown edges of the cut potatoes. If you are making them with the Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb, set the baking sheet with the potatoes in the oven along side the lamb on the same rack. Toss cooked potatoes with salt, to your taste, and serve.


Chicken roasted with lemon and olive



Grated rind of one lemon

2 fresh lemons juiced

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, halved crosswise

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

15 oil-cured olives, pitted and sliced

1 large shallot, sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced




Preheat oven to 400°.


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Shake to coat chicken. Marinate 15 minutes at room temperature. Arrange chicken mixture in a broiler-safe 11 x 7–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken evenly with oregano and the next 4 ingredients (through shallots); top with lemon slices. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven. Preheat broiler to HIGH.

Place chicken 3 inches from broiler element; broil on HIGH for 3 minutes or until chicken is browned and done.


Hugh’s Lime and Coconut Halibut


Juice of one lime

2 tablespoons coconut oil (set in a warm part of your kitchen to turn liquid)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Grated zest of lime (zest first using a rasp style grater then squeeze for juice)

2 teaspoons drained capers

4 (5 to 6 ounces each) halibut steaks (about 3/4 inch thick)

Whisk lime juice, olive oil, crushed garlic cloves and grated lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)


Prepare grill (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Season halibut steaks with salt and pepper. Brush fish with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette, dividing equally. Grill or broil halibut steaks until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer fish to plates. Rewhisk remaining vinaigrette; pour over fish. Garnish fish with capers and serve.


Stuffing for the non carbo-phobic



Traditional Bread and Celery Stuffing



1 (1 pound) loaf of white bread, unsliced

1/2 of a French baguette

2 cups of butter

3 onions, diced small

8 stalks celery, diced small

2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chicken broth-from a carton, not a can

1/2 dry white wine




Slice and then cube the loaf of bread and baguette. Toast in low oven until cubes are solidly crispy. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes or until soft. Add white wine. Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Gradually add in 1/3 of the bread cubes at a time. With each add, mix and ensure evenly coated.

Add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth and mix well. Repeat.

Butter (grease) a 9×13 baking dish and add stuffing to it. Bake at 350 degrees F for 38 to 40 minutes.

Venison Roast with German Bread Dumplings

  We hunt.  Sorry about that- but we do.Well, Killian does, he says he’ll trust me with a rifle when I can manage a stick shift- which means I wont be hunting anytime soon.

VENISON ROAST with German bread dumplings


1 hind leg of venison, shank removed—find a hunter or a butcher who offers game. Ask for the back leg of a young animal—do anything necessary to obtain this… sexual favors, state secrets, your first born

Salt 6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thick slivers

1/4 cup olive oil

About 1 cup of red wine, stock or water

2 tablespoons minced sage

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper


German BREAD DUMPLINGS (if you are short for time, spaetzle would be a great alternative)

8 to 10 slices of stale bread –not wonder bread. You want a solid loaf with a good crumb

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups tepid milk (not skim)

3 slices bacon

1/4 cup minced onion or shallot

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

2 eggs, lightly beaten


Let the meat sit on a cutting board for 30 minutes before proceeding (more or less). After 30 minutes have elapsed, preheat the oven to 450°F. Mince the garlic into a paste with the salt and rub all over the meat, and then massage the oil all over it. Set the leg of venison on a rack in a roasting pan and pour enough wine, stock or water into the bottom of the roasting pan to just moisten the bottom—don’t cover the bottom or the meat will steam. You just want to limit the amount of smoke and prevent the fond from scorching. Put the venison in the oven and roast until it is nicely browned, but no more than 20 to 25 minutes. (Watch this- venison is lean and can quickly turn to shoe leather)

Take the venison out of the oven and drop the temperature to 350°F. Carefully sprinkle the minced sage and black pepper all over the roast.

Meanwhile—After you take the venison out of the fridge, crumble the stale bread and put it into a bowl. Pour the lukewarm milk over the bread and let it stand while you’re getting the venison ready to roast. If it looks like there is not enough milk, add a little water.

Fry the bacon in a small skillet and remove when crispy. Chop it fine. Sauté the onion in the bacon fat until it’s nice and brown. Mix the bacon and onion in a small bowl and allow to cool. Once it’s cool, mix in the parsley and marjoram.

When the venison goes into the oven, set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Once it boils, drop the heat to a simmer.

If there is any milk still in the bread bowl, pour it off. Mix the bacon, onions, parsley and marjoram in with the bread. Squish it all through your fingers. Wait until the venison is resting to cook the dumplings.

While the meat rests, add the beaten eggs and mix well to combine. If the batter is too wet to form dumplings, add breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time until you can roll the batter into a ball with your hands. Make sure your hands are wet when you do this or the batter will stick all over them. Gently lower each dumpling into the simmering water. Cover the pot. Once they float back to the surface, let them cook for another minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. Put them into the roasting pan you cooked the roast in. Drizzle with melted butter and toss on breadcrumbs. Slide under the broiler until you have crispy brown tops. Serve with the meat.


White Chili

It will happen to all of us at some point, we’ll desire to be of use, perhaps a friend who has a hospitalized parent, or a new baby or a community that is searching for a beloved elderly man who is missing in the wilderness. One of the great things about knowing how to cook is that you can always offer succor. This is exactly why you should focus on cooking techniques more than specific recipes. A quick purview of my Alaskan hosts’ larder left me with many options—and brought home one more reason to clean out my fridge. Someday someone might want to help me and I don’t want them to see how I ACTUALLY live! I was amazed to see Hazel’s freezer with its neat rows of labelled bags “Moose ribs” and “venison flank”. It occurred to me that I shouldn’t take risks with a meal that hungry searchers might be relying on. I found a huge bag of frozen chicken thighs and decided on a white chili. Don’t even bother trying this with chicken breasts, they lack succulence. You might as well throw in some balsa wood. Save the breasts for applications when looks matters, this is not one of those. Remember you want a shallow container and a high volume of cold water-friction is what will do the work here to thaw the chicken. While the thighs defrosted under running water, I whipped up some white cheddar corn bread. As soon as the meat was pliable enough to cut, I sliced it into strips and put it back under the running water. Speed was of the essence here. So watch your meat and as it softens cut it into smaller pieces. For this application you want small cubes. This technique helps you avoid the white shriveled edges of microwave deforested meant… I had meant to type “defrosted” meat, but “deforested” is an accurate description for meat that is nuked from its frozen state. I sautéed three large onions, medium dice, until soft and then added a generous palm full each of cumin and chili powder–remember you want chili powder not dried chiles unless you are helping people that you secretly want to burn lipless—and allowed the spices to bloom in the hot oil. I dumped in cans of white beans. You need two cans of beans per pound of chicken. As the pieces of chicken thawed, I patted them dry and browned them in the largest cast iron skillet I had ever seen. As the meat took on a nice color I moved it into the simmering vegetables. I added some chicken stock and simmered briefly. It is far better to brown the chicken in batches then to allow it to poach in thigh water turning into rubbery snails without the flavor built by proper browning. The brown bits that gather in the pan are your friend, they make a huge difference. This flavor builder is so important that it actually has a name, “fond”. Fifteen minutes of simmering are all that are required, but using chicken thighs instead of breasts buys you a bit of insurance, should you need it to cook longer. Serve forth with sour cream, grated cheese, and corn chips. Enjoy the opportunity to serve people you care about.