After a stressful week last week, this weekend couldn’t come fast enough. Along with the weekend’s approach came warnings about a winter storm rolling across Interior Alaska: freezing rain and snow. Boo. My first winter up here, a similar storm system struck two days before Thanksgiving, covering every square inch of Fairbanks with one inch of ice. Fairbanksans refer to that storm as the “Icepocolypse”, as it was dubbed by the local newspaper. After the storm passed, I remember shedding a tear or two because I was convinced Thanksgiving wasn’t going to happen because, well, no one could get very far since the roads resembled a hockey rink.
I feared the cancellation of Thanksgiving because of a handful of reasons. Sure, eating ramen over a camp stove because I didn’t have power would have been a bummer, but at least it would have been memorable. Not having the opportunity to gather with friends (who for all practical purposes are family since everyone lives thousands of miles away from their blood relatives) would have been disappointing. More than either of these, I cried because there was a possibility I was going to lose the chance to share my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. Sure, it will happen eventually, when I do find myself in a non-tradition place doing something equally as non-traditional on a holiday, but I wasn’t ready for a “tradition snow day” then. It was my first holiday thousands of miles away from home and I was (and still am in some ways) grasping for the connection with the people and food ways I felt so tied to. Prepping, cooking, and eating my family’s recipes connects me to them as much as any gene in my body and far more than any Skype or Facebook chat. Sharing that food is sharing the love that is my people. I’ll include some of those recipes in the coming weeks in the holiday posts.
Long story short, Thanksgiving happened that year, thanks to my now-husband Chris who rode in on his fifteen year old, duct taped, rumbling Subaru (Subarus rock!) stallion. It took about an hour and a half to drive 15 miles, but we made it to our destination and the day turned out to be one of my favorite Thanksgivings to date.
Back to this past weekend: with the impending winter storm blowing on Sunday morning, I was relieved to see we had power and the weather men were wrong: we didn’t get any freezing rain, but we did get loads of snow. To prepare for cross country skiing and an afternoon filled with shoveling snow, a hot meal and a tub-load of coffee was absolutely necessary. Instant macaroni lives to see another day!
Snow fall in 24 hours both on the bird feeders and the birch trees.
Apple “Crust” Kale and Bacon Quiche
- 4 shallots
- 1 T butter
- 2 granny smith apples
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 bunch kale, chopped
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 cup Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb. cooked bacon, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt butter in an oven proof skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, peel papery skins off of each shallot and cut into thin slices, crosswise. Add to melted butter and cook until caramelized, about ten minutes.
- While the shallots are cooking, peel apples, remove pit, and cut into quarters. Use the thin slicing attachment on your food processor and place apples in a food processor one quarter at a time. Once the apples are sliced, squeeze juice of lemon over apples and allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes to release some of their water.
- Once shallots are caramelized, add kale and cook down for about 5 minutes. Once the kale is cooked down to your liking, empty mixture into a bowl and remove skillet from heat to cool.
- While the skillet cools, mix eggs, cream, and spices.
- Layer apples in one to two thin layer(s) around the bottom of the skillet once cooled.
- Cover the apples with shredded cheese. This will help bind the apples while cooking.
- Cover the cheese with kale and shallot mixture.
- Distribute bacon over kale and shallot.
- Pour egg mixture over everything.
- Pop in the oven and back for 30-35 minutes.
**Variations: this is a gluten free recipe. I suspect Since it’s still fall in most parts of the lower-48 and most folks have access to their autumn bounty of apples, I would suggest using any tart, firm apple for this recipe. Also, I tried this recipe with thicker apples, and it didn’t work as well.
While I was cooking, I was listening to:
On Saturday, I watched the LCD Soundsystem documentary called Shut Up and Play the Hits. This film is the recording of LCD Soundsystem’s last show in Madison Square Garden (Arcade Fire makes an appearance or two), and it’s beautifully shot. It’s the type of documentary you watch where by the end, you’re convinced you want to quit your day job and do something different, something that makes you feel alive. Maybe you’ll feel it when you watch this trailer.