There's a First Time for Everything

I'm going back in time to when knives were made out of hard steel and wood, and kept their edge. I'm going back to the era when the night's dinner was trapped in the backyard and the medicines of the village came from the forests. I'm going back to the way it should be, back to the Earth.

I'm going back in time to carry on the flame of sustainability that brought us here today, and doing the best I can to incorporate those lessons, simple tools and ingredients into the Now. The past brings me to this breath, and this breath is the wind of the future. There are so many choices. To eat food that's chemical-free organic, or genetically modified and processed? To mine for gold or save the salmon? To live in harmony with nature or to rape it? It's your choice.

What's unique about the modern times is you can Google just about any answer to any question you may have and you can transport nearly anything across the world. The option to eat the superfoods of the ancient tribes is at your table. I can import organic red quinoa from the Mayan decedents and the best cocoa from the Amazon. To fly the goods here does increase the carbon footprint, but my intentions are clear... to heal and to strengthen the bond between humanity and nature. You have to take a little to give a lot. The first bread of the season... a gluten free quinoa, corn, sesame and walnut bread.

I sliced a few loaves and baked the slices on low heat into crackers. The chilly, dry air of Six Mile Lake helps the evaporation process once out of the oven. What's going to go on top is a fresh Pebble Mine-free smoked red salmon fillet and homegrown dill cream cheese spread. Maybe some caviar.

Chris jetting around.

The original Vahalla cedar cabin is now the guide cabin.

Getting ready to fly fish. Wilderness recreation is good for the relationship that we share with Mother Earth when done in a respectful manner. Take only what you need, use every part and give something in return. Hunters and fishers go into the wild to celebrate life. All the sportsmen and sportswomen I've cooked for care deeply for the environment because they depend on it. What they tend to worry about is the commercial scene and mining operations that are just too much for the local ecosystem to handle. On our excursion we caught a dozen fish, but released them all. It was good times all around and no damage done, that's the idea of sustainable living.

Grayling central. I got behind one of the rods and caught a few. Age 26, first time fly fishing, and on the infamous Taz river.

Coolest part about the excursion was soaking in the sun and be surrounded by wilderness.

Then we went back home and found dinner in a cage. This squirrel has been eating one of the client's cranberries, on his bed. It's been running around the roof all night keeping them up. The only two options they gave me were to dispose of the squirrel or cook it, and I chose the later. I've heard stories of the original Alaskan mountain men living off whatever they could hunt, fish or trap. I've seen the YouTube videos of skinning squirrels. I used to watch Survivor Man. The way I saw it, the meat of wild squirrel is healthier than anything being brought in from the supermarket and I had to work at it to make it happen. Seriously, we needed something to eat and since we let all the fish go, squirrel was the only option. It wasn't meat that I could buy at a store, never look in the eyes and toss on the grill. No, I had to give my energy and thanks to obtain. I wasn't sorry, just humbled; it feels more real.

Cleaning it. Just like a fish, except with fur and not scales.

Fried squirrel.

Alaskan Bush Squirrel Stir Fry. The squirrel tastes like duck or dark chicken meat. If you live in the city or suburbs I would advise not eating your backyard squirrels.

Sourdough bread.

Pecan pie.

We reached 70 degrees today and it's been mostly sunny except for the evening rainstorm that sent lighting dancing over the rainbows. We need the rain. This unknown plant I found in the tent is craving water.

Late afternoon, still baking and listening to the thunderstorms. I'm going overboard in the Valhalla baking department just to get ahead in the season. Within 48 hours I've baked everything you see in this post and more. Been jammin in the kitchen to ambient dub beats and been thinking about Jessica and the words she shared with me, "How different when a marriage has been contracted on the right foundation and develops harmoniously! Joyfully and voluntarily serving each other, the couple grows upward together towards spiritual ennoblement. Shoulder to shoulder they smilingly face all mundane trials. Such a marriage through its sheer happiness becomes a gain for their whole existence! And in this happiness lies a swinging upwards, not only for the individuals concerned, but for all humanity." A miracle, we are. Poppy knots.

A strawberry and honey cheesecake for Mama's bday. 

Here's another... some kind of groovy chocolaty-vanilla bean-nutty-rummy cheese pie. 

My favourite = pumpkinlishish pie.

My first attempt with no-knead sour dough bread. Ain't got a dutch oven but have foil and a cast iron. You can make it work.

Today I received the first few thousands lbs. of Valhalla's food order. My goal was to buy heavy in the start so I only have to fly-in freshies later in the season. Won't need much once the fish start running and berries bud.

It's been a lovely and busy Saturday. Our first clients arrive on Wednesday and the week after we have a full house for quite some time. Feels great to be opening up this kitchen. Good vibes all around. Having spent a month at the bear camp without internet I realized the importance of living and being active. Hours upon hours I spend each week, when the net is available, blogging and facebooking. It's an addiction and I'm looking to wean myself off. Goodness knows how many weeks of my life have been spent on this website. I think the best thing I can do to stand to true what I'm feeling right now is to close the netbook lid and dance the dance of life. If you really want to know what's going down in wild Alaska come to Valhalla Lodge. Signing off, Cody the Cowboy Chef.