Alaskatarian Gumbo

Food of the South up in the North
It was Hunter's friends, George and Holly, who got me hooked on gumbo when they visited us in Dillingham a few years back. Along with a couple of suitcases, they brought a cooler full of North Carolina seafood and the fixings for what turned out to be the BEST meal I had in ages. I had no idea gumbo could be that good.

Lucky for me, George & Holly left me with a copy of their recipe. I'm thankful because this pregnant lady is craving the food of the American South. I have no idea why. I'm not from there. I didn't grow up eating southern food but for the past few months, I've been craving it.

Pickles and ice cream would be so much easier.

So here I am, staring down a recipe for southern gumbo and bending it into Alaskatarian shape.

First the sausage: today, I started andouille from bear meat. Cruising the game cooking blogs, I learned that with bear you can take any good pork recipe and turn it into a decent bear recipe. Clearly, that's not the case for bacon but I'm pretty sure the fault there was mine.

I'm using Emeril Lagasse's recipe and substituting bear meat for pork and including some Alaska-grown pork fat that I got from the local butcher. So far it smells really good and the test patty I fried was far better than "certainly edible." I'll let the sausage sit overnight (per Emeril) and will let Hunter try it before I adjust any spices.

This weekend, I plan to pick up some Kodiak prawns from either the spit or that sketchy looking white truck that comes down every so often. I'll send Hunter out for Halibut and I might even hit the Kachemak Oyster Co-op for a couple oysters.


Summer has so clearly set in up here. Good thing all of our toys are fixed. Hunter's been out fishing and flying his plane as often as he can while Toddler and I have been enjoying all that childhood in Alaska has to offer.

A couple of weeks ago, we attended a tidepooling workshop put on by Islands & Oceans Visitors Center. WHAT FUN! Toddler and I joined a small group of people at Bishop's Beach during a minus tide. Once we got there, we were taught how to spot octopus dens, the names of all the sea anemones, how to identify fish and how to spot a crab molt. I didn't think Toddler got much out of this other than learning the Canadian word for wet boot (soaker) and we ended up having to leave early because of said wet boot.

However when Father's Day rolled around, we asked Toddler what special thing she wanted to do with her daddy on his special day. She replied, "go out on the boat and look for octopi." So that's exactly what we did.

Two year olds are so much fun and I have to admit, I'm having a ball with Toddler. Tomorrow, we hit the knee-high naturalist program up at the Wynn Nature Center. It's a great opportunity for little kids to learn about their Alaskan environment.

On Saturday, weather permitting, we'll fly over to Seward and take her to see animals at the Sea Life Center. On Sunday, we'll probably take the boat out for some more tidepooling action.

That should leave me with one tired toddler come Monday morning. Oh well, that's what summer is all about.

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