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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The best smoked salmon you've ever tasted.

I teased last post with my load of smoked salmon.  I'd figure I'd share my secret recipe and technique.
In Alaska everyone has their own smoked salmon recipe and technique.  Some like a wet brine, some like a dry brine, some like it salty, some don't, ect, ect, ect.

Well here on the farm I've simplified my technique down to the bare essentials.  I prefer to do a dry cure on my salmon.  I use a 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of white sugar, and a 1/4 of salt for my cure and you can enlarge that ratio to as much as you need.  I mix everything in a big bowl and then whisk it together to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.  Then I lay my salmon out in Pyrex dishes or whatever high walled tray I can find.  I then pile my cure on top and the sides.  Then cover and put in the fridge.  I usually let my salmon cure between 12 and 24 hours.  Be careful not to let it cure too long or you might lose too much moisture.  After the salmon has cured the trays will be full of a goopy syrupy liquid.  That's all the water that's been pulled out of the fish.

Next we wash the salmon off and put it out on racks to dry.
I usually add a fan to add in this.  After a couple of hours the pellicle will form.  The pellicle is a thin membrane that forms on the surface of the fish and will absorb the smokey flavor, or so I've been told. I got it from Alton Brown on Good Eats.  But the salmon will be sticky to the touch when it's ready.

Next lay out our toppings if you want to smoke the fish with toppings on.  I love smoking the salmon with topping on because the toppings take on the smokey flavor as well.  I find the jalapenos are super tasty after a good smoke.  Other topping I like are garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and, roasted red peppers. I also leave some plain.  Later I'll add some sweet chili sauce or Sirachi's hot sauce to the salmon when I vac pack it.  I also like to leave a few piece plain just to enjoy as well.

Then they go into the smoker. I have a Little Chief that I literally have turned black from all the smoking I've done in it.  I usually go two to three pans of chips or about 8 hours of smoking.  I check the fish regularly and move trays around in the smoker, getting some of the bigger pieces closer to the heat if they need it.

When it's all said and done you get this beautiful deep dark red smoke salmon.  I prefer sockeye for smoking, but all species smoke up well and so does trout and halibut.  After I let the salmon cool for an hour or two I usually vac pack most of my batch.  Especially if I know I'm not going to eat it for awhile.  The vac packing also helps to let the meat really soak in the flavors you've added.  It'll keep in the fridge for weeks and the freezer for months.

And there you go Nunaka Valley Farms secret smoke salmon recipe.  Not really all that hard and you can always tweak recipe.  Some people love to add spices to their cure and rubs.  I recommend trying and trying and trying till you find something that's just right. Because to be honest if your careful not to over salt the fish it's really hard to mess up.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Winter already?

Well life on the farm is slowing down.  The last two weeks have been a flurry of activity with trying to finish the insulating of my foundation and reaping the crops.

The girls have been helping out.

I didn't take too many pictures of the harvest or the clean up, but we had a nice harvest of carrots, potatoes, green beans, beats, turnips, parsnips, peas, zucchini, various squashes, kale, salad greens and surprisingly tomatoes this year.  The disappointments were our cucumbers, onions, and lemon squash.

I think we ended up with close to 50 pounds of taters this year.  We have a variety of Yukon golds, reds, fingerlings and some purples (not in picture).

I think having the cucumbers in the greenhouse is what did them in since it was so hot and sunny this summer, I think they couldn't take the heat.

We only managed to get 19 sockeye salmon dipnetting this year, but last year we filled our card and still have a ton of fish left over.  Here is a double batch of smoked sockeye we made up to eat, send to family and take to parties.  The jalapeno is my favorite, we also add some sweet chili sauce and Sirachi sauce to a few few piece when we vac pack it to add some more variety to the plain.  We also have sun dried tomato and garlic in the picture.  I like to smoke the fish with the toppings on so that they get some of the smokey flavor as well.  It works really well with the Jalapeno and if you vac pack it after it's done and let it sit in the fridge for a few days the meat really absorbs the flavor.  I also scored quite a bit of halibut from a friend this summer and with all the harvest from the yard the freezer is full. :)

After all the work we've put into the house and garden the last two weeks I think it's time for a nap.
Curly agrees.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Into August!! 8/3/13 progress report.

Well Anchorage has set a record for the number of consecutive 70 degree days.  And well the garden has been the better for it.

We might even get some okra.
Tomatoes are doing very well. As a matter of fact this is the best crop I've ever had in Alaska.
The green bean corner.  We have been eating tons for a while now.
The cucumbers are coming on strong now too.
These are Boston pickeling cucumbers and aren't suppose to get real big.  Here's the front runner right now.
Potatoes look happy.
And the berry picking has begun.

The peas have over topped their fences.

We have been getting tons of scarlet runner bean flowers but so far have only seeen a few beans set.

And our zuchs and squash have really been enjoying the sun.

Until next time...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Farm update 7/22/13

Sorry for the break.  Works been keeping my busy and I had taken a few photos a few weeks ago and never got around to publishing them.

So on my short break from work Christa and I managed to make it down to get some sockeye salmon and I scored some halibut from a friend in Petersburg.  So the freezer is full of fish protein.
In bed #1 the onions and peas are doing pretty good.  If we manage to keep the chickens and cats out of the bed.
Bed #2 is doing pretty outstanding, Carrots, beats and peas all going crazy.
Bed 3 has the lettuce mix, turnips, and a buch of other stuff all doing really well.
Potatoes are already flowering.
In the greenhouse everything is going gangbusters with all the sun and heat we've been having.  Our tomatoe corner has been pumping out some nice sized tomatoes. That's a first for me as our tomatoes never seem to do very good.
Our medley of 3 kinds of long beans. We've been eating on these guys for a while now.
And our cucumbers have been flowering for awhile, but I just now noticed a few female flowers starting to open.
The squash and zuchs out front are doing well with a bunch of fruit, and some cabbage coming up.  I doubt we'll see that come in, but what can you do.

I was having some fun with my iphone. Here are a couple panarama's around the yard.
Until next time.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another week of great progress. 6/30/13

Finally cooled off here in Anchorage and we are finally suppose to get some rain, but we had another week of great weather.  Lets take a walk around the farm.
The zuch beds are doing good, the cabbage in the other bed not so much.  Christa thinks we have a vole problem.
Raspberries are coming along nicely.  Might not have as much yield as last year, but we still have a ton of berries in the freezer.

Taters are starting to leaf up nicely too.
Green beans are coming in nicely too.
Cuchs are coming along nice as well.
Nice shot of the green beans and wax beans
Our few tomato plants are doing really well and we already have some nice fruit coming in.

The lettuce, radishes and turnips are all doing great.
Beats and carrots doing well too.
And lastly the onion bed with our other pea fence.  Started to do some serious thinning.

We've already had a round of radishes come in and have been eating on the lettuce for a while now.  I have to say the last two summers up here in Alaska have been less than stellar, but this year we've had some great growing weather.  Until next time...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

6/23/13 Crop progress.

Been real nice up here in Alaska the past month.  Record temperatures and sunny skies have been great to all our crops this spring.
I cleaned out my composter with a batch ready to go and no where to put it so I put a bunch in the raspberry bed and mounded the rest in the back, which the chickens had a lot of fun digging through.

Also pulled the first crop.  These French breakfast radishes are pretty delicious and like most radishes grow like weeds.

Got a few tomatoes coming in already.

And a few green beans too.  Ok lets take a walk around and see how the beds are doing.
And my mini bell is producing like gang busters.

Alright I'm off, but we'll have an update here in a week or so.