Market Fresh: Healthy eating options to start 2013

Steve Edwards

It's Day 2 of 2013 and plenty of Alaskans are probably working on new resolutions. For many, eating healthy is at the top of the to-do list.

Market Fresh, along with local farmers and venders, is here to help.

"Alaska Sprouts is ready to help you keep your resolution to eat more greens this year," says SJ Klein of Alaska Sprouts, which has products weekly at the Center Market at The Mall at Sears.

Says Mark Rempel of Rempel Family Farm: "We still have a lot of great veggies to start the new year with."

And Alex Davis of A.D. Farm in the Valley says: "We know how we're bringing in the new year: We're bringing in cuts of pork."

Locally produced, and often organically grown, products can help Alaskans stick to those "healthy eating" resolutions.

On Wednesday, Alaska Sprouts' offerings at the market include bean, clover and onion sprouts; bulls blood beet greens; daikon radish, sunflower, pea and micro mustard shoots; three-bean mix; romaine and butterhead lettuce; fresh basil; and fresh tofu.

"We've been growing more basil than we're selling, so we've got really healthy, productive sweet Italian basil plants that are just begging to be turned into pesto," Kelin says. "We've got a little more lettuce this week, but it will still run out early. Plans are in the works for a major hydroponic upgrade to make more."

One of the Rempel's hot sellers is Alaska-grown carrots, which Mark Rempel says have "eight times the sugar of outside carrots according to the Alaska division of Agriculture. Come try some!" They will also have three varieties of beets, stripetti squash, sugar pumpkins, Snow Apple turnips, daikon radish, parsnips, green cabbage and 11 kinds of potatoes.

Davis' pork cuts include 40-pound mixed boxes and individual cuts of chops, steaks, loin roast, regular roasts, fresh side pork, breakfast sausage patties, Italian sausage, spicy sausage and ground pork.

"We are going to refer to the pork as 'AHH' cuts -- Alaska Heritage Hogs -- but more because that is what you will say when you eat it," Davis says.

He will also have barley flour and cereal from Delta, along with fresh chicken and duck eggs. From the root cellar, Davis will have peanut potatoes, fingerling potatoes, all blue potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsnips, red beets, golden beets, icicle carrots, sunshine carrots, purple carrots and orange carrots.

Those three vendors will be joined at Wednesday's Center Market by Country Health Foods (beef, chicken, duck, spot shrimp and scallops); Capriccio (spices); Northern Lights Mushrooms (variety of Alaska-grown mushrooms) and Good Earth Farm (cosmetics made from bee products). The market is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Mall at Sears.


Bread shortage

For fans of Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop in downtown Anchorage, the turn of the year is always bittersweet. The bakery cranks out of its tastiest treats during the holidays -- and then they shut the doors for a month.

Fire Island closed up at the end of December and won't re-open until Jan. 30. While it's a depressing time for bakery fans, there is some good news.

"This will be our third year closing for the month. We come back refreshed and very excited to see our customers," says owner Janis Fleischman. "Most of bakers will be combining travel, family and some training. We will all return refreshed and full of ideas for Fire Island from all over the world."

Some of the vacation destinations for Fire Island folks include Thailand, Sicily and Sardinia. Maybe some new treats from far-off locations will end up on the menu.


Potato-wrapped halibut

 3 to 4 all purpose potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise

 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

 4 halibut fillets (each about 5 ounces), skinned and lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

 ½ cup clarified butter, divided

 2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), trimmed and finely chopped

 ½ teapsoon curry powder

 ¼ cup dry white wine

 1 cup heavy or whipping cream

w Using a mandolin and slicing lengthwise, cut potatoes into slices that are thin enough to fold without snapping but not so thin that they are completely translucent.

w On a piece of plastic wrap, lay out 5 or 6 slices in a row, slightly overlapping the long edges. Then make another, identical row, overlapping the short ends of the slices in the first row so that the slices form a rectangle. Lightly brush with a little of the oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

w Center a seasoned fillet on the rectangle. Then, using the plastic wrap to help, fold over the potato slices to enclose the fish, pressing down to adhere them to the fish. Wrap parcel up tightly in the plastic. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining potato slices and fish. Refrigerate for 1 hour to chill and set.

w In a skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons clarified butter over medium heat. Add leeks, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook gently, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Just before the leeks have softened completely, stir in curry powder and wine and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced and thickened into sauce. Remove from heat and keep warm.

w Preheat oven to 140 F. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons clarified butter. Working with two parcels at a time, remove plastic wrap and place in plan, seam-side down. Cook for about 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Using a metal spatula, carefully turn over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining butter and parcels.

w Spoon a mound of the leek mixture onto each of four individual serving plates. Top each with a fish parcel, seam-side down, and serve immediately.

Source: "300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook's Guide" by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh (Robert Rose, $24.95)


Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have suggestions for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at



Daily News correspondent