Sunday, January 31, 2010

Perfect Pie Crust (that is the name of the recipe, seriously!) and Chicken Pot Pie

I kicked off my Steve & Ree project by cooking chicken pot pie for Goldfish tonight. It was a two day project as I made the crust and froze it yesterday.

I've got an extra pie crust to use for the Flat Apple Pie, the next recipe I'm going to tackle.

Lots of chopping involved . . . after sautéing the veggies, you add the chicken, flour, chicken broth, white wine, heavy cream, and seasonings.

I baked it for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees - she loved it! It was a nice evening, we watched the Grammy Awards together while I cooked and listened to the rain on the metal roof. Both the pie crust recipe and the chicken pot pie recipe are two thumbs up - and two paws up from Chico who sampled at various points in the preparation, as well as licked the bowls afterwards.

Friday, January 29, 2010

F/V Incentive and a Word on the New Year

I took a break from paperwork and went down to the dock and chatted with the guys on the Incentive. The had a good trip and had minimal dead loss; I'm not sure if this is the first season they have delivered to Alyeska or not, I just know they haven't delivered to us in the past 12 years according to one of the crew.

I think all the crew on the boat are from Kodiak - Cookie Dough would know, that is her old stomping grounds. I'm not sure, but they might be on that show, or they were - who knows?

February is almost upon us and you may have noticed that I never mentioned any New Year's resolutions . . . . that's because I'm going to keep it real simple this year, with just a few:

1. Goldfish is a amazing woman. She makes our house a home, she is infinitely supportive and patient with my long hours at work and my volunteer activities in the community, some of which involve me jumping out of bed in the middle of the night, and she always knows how to make me laugh and brighten my day. For all this she asks for very little in return; I think one of the favorite things she likes for me to do is cook for her though, so this year, Julia & Julia style, I am going to cook her all the recipes in The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl; there are sixty-something, depending on how you count them, so that seems like a tidy goal for the year. And like Julia & Julia, I'm going to blog about it a bit from time to time, and post the completed recipes on the sidebar under the Steve & Ree project (The author's name is Ree Drummond. The cookbook is fantastic and she also has a blog that has like a bazillion readers, judging from the 500+ comments she typically gets, and she also takes great photos). Tomorrow I'm going to pre-make pie crust so I can make chicken pot pie on Sunday, it will be fun and Goldfish is excited.

2. To grow as a person, I'm going to attend Fire Fighting I school in May to complement my EMT certification.

3. Again, I'm going to try to read 100 books. Why, you ask? Especially since last year I only managed 30 or 31? Because it's fun, and I know I read more when I have a goal. I'll post those on the sidebar as well, like I did in 2009.

4. And finally, I'm just trying to be nicer in ways big and small. I've been writing my family members cards - actual snail mail cards, not emails, in an attempt to stay in touch more. I'm making an effort to keep my co-worker interactions at work on a positive note. I'm trying to practice random acts of kindness in the community, and increase my call percentage on EMS and fire calls. I'm sleeping more and drinking less coffee. I'm smiling even when the sleeping thing isn't working out. And the nicer I am, the better I feel . . . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010

F/V Incentive Delivery

We'll be getting our first opilio crab delivery of the season today from the Incentive, I'll try to make it down to the dock and take a couple photos, I always like to watch the unload when a new season kicks off.

Our stretch of nice and gentle winter weather continues with the snow slowly accumulating (almost enough for good snow shoeing!) and occasional appearances by the sun. I took the top photo at lunch the other day, so you can see the sun still isn't getting very high, even at noon.

Prayers to the families of the ACE pilots, that hit home for all of us . . . .

Everyone (especially my family!) get on over to Dan's website and see how to enter to win a free trip out to Unalaska! Dan is a trekker, diver, recovering computer geek, and all round great guy. I respect and admire him from afar as there is persistent island lore that it is bad luck for the two of us to actually be in the same room together . . . . .

Okay, it's 3:30 AM, I'm going to try to get some shuteye, cheers everyone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So Quiet Lately . . .

After what seemed like weeks of more or less non-stop storms, it has been calm and fairly warm lately. Not quite time to get back on the KLR, but pretty tame for an Aleutian January and I've seen my friends and neighbors out enjoying the break in the weather.

We are getting our first pollock delivery of the new season tomorrow, always an exciting time. So much hard work goes in to getting the boats and plant ready to run, we all breath a sigh of relief when the preparation ends and the processing begins!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What A Day . . . Peking Fire and Magone Blows Up the Crane

The day started early with a 4:35 wake-up call courtesy of the Department of Public Safety - the beloved local Chinese restaurant was on fire and it was time to gear up. I learned a lot, the veterans on the force are almost inhumanly patient and willing to teach better ways to do things. You can check out the story here. I'm sure CB from Dutch Harbor Dirt got an eyeful, the restaurant is right across from his apartment building.

About 4:30 this afternoon the word started spreading around that Magone Marine was gong to blow up the APL crane at 5 - the same crane that blew over in the 175 MPH winds in December. I didn't have a good camera with me at work but I had a little point and shoot so Goldfish and I headed down to the beach by the plant to see if there was any substance to the rumor. Sitting there waiting for over an hour reminded us of when we lived in company housing with a living room window view of the East Channel.

First, the F/V Frontier Mariner went by . . . .

The a Penair flight found a hole between snow squalls and took the opportunity to land . . .

The F/V Pacific Sun headed out towards the Bering Sea . . .

And Alyeska's own F/V Messiah came in and tied up next to the Alaska Rose . . .

And finally there was a pretty impressive explosion, and a portion of the crane swung down 90 degrees, dangling and swinging back and forth . . .

Not sure if that is how Dan Magone planned it, but it was pretty impressive. Lots more work to be done before the salvage job is completed and a new crane can be installed!

We really enjoyed the time watching the channel, the birds, the boats and the ever-changing weather - never a dull moment!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mother Nature's Paintbrush

I was walking Chico after work tonight in a howling gale and I was amazed how little movement there was; with very little vegetation, all the snow packed into near concrete from the relentless wind, and everything that is light enough to blow already blown away, there were very few visual cues to indicate anything was happening at all. The edges of the mountains are blurred and the sky is the exact same color as the snow, the land seamlessly transitions into the air and under it all is an angry sea.

It hasn't been photography weather, but there is always something to see in life if you watch for it, and as I lie in bed blogging I am watching the two windows pictured above as the wind driven snow changes the scene, cycling the pattern like a cross between an Etch-A-Sketch and a lava lamp. Quite beautiful, actually.

I've been dragging my feet a bit entering the new year - we've been busy enough, with company over every weekend since we've been home, and I managed to get some motorcycle riding in before the weather turned completely nasty. There was training and some ambulance runs and Book Club and finally getting the calendars to the printer and of course lots and lots of work. The mattress that Goldfish picked out on vacation (do you know about the Princess and the Pea? Well I married the Princess!) arrived and she is blissfully snuggled in beside me. The dog is snoring and the wind is howling outside and my heart is full. Cheers and good night.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soooo, It's Really 2010, Huh?

It has been a bit of a rough start to the year for me, at least mentally. It was a shocking transition from five wonderful weeks of travel and family to back at a desk for 77 hours a week. The island, while beautiful as ever, looks stunned from the big storms of December and darkness clings to it like a greasy film. I literally had not seen the sun until today, when its brief appearance prompted me to race home at lunch and take the bike out of the storage shed so I could take a ride into the pass after work - as you can see, the torrential rains have almost scoured away all the snow, even on the mountains.

2009 was nothing like what I planned, but everything I could have hoped for in many ways. Goldfish flew home for a couple weeks for family time and to get her wisdom teeth pulled (she is still as smart as ever); I flew to Idaho for a couple weeks to have shoulder surgery (it is healing nicely, they did a great job). On a whim, we attended an Open House by one of the members in Book Club, and ended up buying the house (REALLY did not see that coming, but we love it). My brother flew out to the island for a visit, and we went what I called our Second Annual Vacation of a Lifetime - a vacation we had planned well before buying a house and filling it with furniture, but that went pretty perfectly, despite everything.

For last years goals, I came up short on many - only 30 books read, way too few bike miles logged, and still chubby - but what a year! And although family time and seeing the sights was wonderful beyond belief, when our dear friend Elaine picked us up at the Unalaska airport and then pulled over by the lake on the way to our house to take a cell phone call, I sat and watched an adult eagle showing a small immature eagle how to bathe just 25 feet away and my heart smiled, it was good to be home.

So I'm back to blogging, it was a nice two week break (and because I blog to keep in touch with family, I found myself writing note cards and calling more in that two weeks, to fill the gap), but the island beckons and it is a new year, ripe with possibility. And besides - due to technical difficulties that are mostly my fault involving no batteries in the good camera and the wrong setting on the backup camera, I have no pictures worthy of next years calendar, so I need to find something else wonderful for January!

Cheers everyone, I'm looking forward to getting caught up on everyone's blogs. I had to go to comment moderation, unfortunately, due to a large volume of spam over the past couple months, spam I don't have the time to clean off as it is scattered over many older posts. Sorry!