Posts Tagged With: Florence

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Are you an introvert who loves to dine out? Did you visit Florence, Italy only to be terrified by the mobs of tourists who completely fill entire streets? Do you love Chinese and Italian food, but simply cannot live without fresh reindeer stew? Is southern Alaska too urban for you? Well, I have the place where you can chill out where it’s chilly and feast where it freezes. It’s Kotzebue, Alaska!
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There are five restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your cuisine cash will be intense. Let’s take in the local cuisine.
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The top rated dining establishment is the highly regarded Little Louie’s. They serve a scrumptious reindeer sausage. Yet Little Louie’s is also vegetarian friendly. They make their own sweets. Hooray!  It has great pizza. All its food is good. They pour great coffee. The service is good. What more do you want?

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Next on our restaurant tour is the Bayside Restaurant. Their Mongolian beef platter is great. (Probably because Kotzebue is about as far west you can get in the continental U.S. before hitting Mongolia. Indeed, the Bayside Restaurant is a beacon in the Western Alaskan culinary scene.) Vegetarians will find themselves welcome here. All diners will appreciate their friendly service.
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Winning the culinary bronze medal is  Nullagvik Restaurant. While known for good food, you really must try their reindeer stew. Does your hometown serve great reindeer stew? No, I didn’t think so. Don’t leave Kotzebue without dining on reindeer stew at the Nullagvik Restaurant.

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Next on our list is the Empress Chinese Restaurant. It has the best Chinese food in town. If you crave Chinese cuisine by the Bering Sea, then the Empress Chinese Restaurant is your dining destination.
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Honorable mention goes to the Uutuku restaurant. People have complained that it was only okay, but that it did serve good spicy chicken. For goodness sakes people, how can it be only okay if it plates good spicy chicken? If you’re still not impressed, let me tell you that there isn’t a restaurant within hundreds of miles that makes spicy chicken as good as they do here. And they’re open until midnight. So there.
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Flying to Kotzebue is by far the easiest way to get there. I suppose you could find a way to book passage on some ice breaker or fishing boat. After that, the ease of getting to Kotzebue by other means, such as by car or unicycle, drops off dramatically. Anyway, there are many interesting places to visit here.

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Be sure to visit The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center. It’s run by the National Park Service. It’s chock full of interesting displays and films that help you discover the rich cultures and natural wonders of the Northwest Arctic Circle. The staff is pleasant and helpful. What more do you want?

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By all means, by plane really, go to the Noatak National Preserve. See polar bears, seals, peregrine falcons, and wolves. Just don’t be gauche and complain to your tour leaders about the lack of cell-phone coverage. Don’t make me come up there.

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Immerse yourself in the Northwest Alaska Areas. The best way to get there is through Golden Eagle Outfitters. See grizzly bears and local birds. Go fishing for char, salmon, and Arctic grayling.
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Go to Serpentine Hot Springs where you can witness caribou migrations if you go during the right times of the year. If you appear during caribou-free months, forget your cares in the private bath house. Luxuriate in hot water from Serpentine’s hot spring.

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Other things to see are: Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Sulianich Art Center (not to be confused with a sandwich center).

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119 people moved to Kotzebue from 2000 to 2010. No doubt, more moved there in the eleven years since then. So don’t wait. See Kotzebue before it turns into a bustling metropolis.
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As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

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– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Risotto

Italian Appetizer

RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS

5½ cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, or oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio* rice
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter

* = The properties of Arborio are important to this dish. The best substitute for Arborio is Carnaroli, with regular short-grain rice to be used only in a pinch.

Serves 10 or 5 if served as an entree. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken broth to pot. Simmer at warm heat. While broth simmers, mince garlic cloves and onion. Dice Italian parsley. Add garlic, onion, and olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently

Add rice. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 3 minutes or until rice smells toasty and turns translucent. Stir frequently, making sure rice is thoroughly coated with olive oil. Add wine. Sauté until rice absorbs all the liquid. Stir frequently. Add broth 1 cup at time. Stir gently after each addition until the rice absorbs the broth. This should take about 25 minutes with the rice being creamy and al dente, just a little bit firm. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

TIDBITS

1) Karl Marx visited lovely Florence in 1848. While waiting forever for an espresso, Crabby Karl listened as workers at the next table complained loudly and endlessly about the oppressive Austrian rule over their city. His patience exhausted, he yelled at the workers, “So, riot.” They did. Fortunately, the chef had been whipping up a new rice dish. He served the workers just as they were about to go and throw bricks at the constabulary. The workers loved their risotto. They completely lost their urge to run amuck. The anagramist among them said, “no ‘so, riot.’” He lifted up his bowl of rice. “Risoto.” A typo turned that into “Risotto. Oh, and Karl would go on to other things.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tuna Stuffed Eggs (Uova Ripiene di Tonno)

Italian Appetizer

TUNA STUFFED EGGS

(Uova Ripiene di Tonno)

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 4-ounce can tuna, drained
1 teaspoon capers, drained
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 leaves lettuce
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

SPECIAL UTENSIL

small food processor

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add enough water to cover eggs with 1″ extra. Bring water to boil. Use a large spoon to carefully add eggs. Boil for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and put in a bowl of cold water. Peel eggs. Cut eggs in half along their length. Remove yolks and set aside.

Add yolks, mayonnaise, tuna, capers, pepper, salt, and lemon juice to small food processor. Blend until creamy. Fill egg-white halves with equal amounts of creamy mixture. Tear lettuce leaves in half. Place filled egg-white haves on lettuce-leaf halves. Dice parsley. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) One night Contessina de’ Bardi dreamed this entire recipe in modern Italian. Unfortunately, she and many others on the Italian peninsula still spoke Latin. She had no idea what she had imagined.

2) So asked her husband Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464), “We don’t we all learn Italian? That way we can all understand this recipe and make a yummy appetizer. “But,” said Cosimo, “there are sorts of proto-Italian dialects around. How will we get everyone to agree on just one version?”

3) “Well,” said Contessina, “We’ll make Florence the center of the art world. All Italy will come here to marvel at our artistic glory. The visitors will all pick up Florentine Italian. So will I. Then I’ll be able to make you Tuna Stuffed Eggs.” Cosimo said, “Sounds good.” And so began The Renaissance.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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