Alaska summer is salmon runs and dipnetting, verdant hiking trails, breathtaking views of glaciers and mountain peaks. And camping, or "glamping," as my friends have teased me. Admittedly, I tend to camp with running hot water, thick bath towels and lots of good food. Not that I would tell this to my die-hard, camping-loving husband, but I could compromise on the hot running water and the towels, but definitely not the food.
When it’s an extended outing with family and friends -- usually I cook for at least 10 -- I try to have lots of small bites ready; someone is always getting back from kayaking or a hike or inviting nearby campers to our site. Everyone pitches in with their own recipes and we are always open to trying new ones. My father-in-law claims his allegiance to a meal of lukewarm beanie weenies straight from the can, but he’s often the first one around the table or campfire the minute I pull out the goods.
These past few outings, my glamping staples have consisted of everything from Southwestern-style BBQ ribs spiked with cumin and New Mexico red chili; sweet melon wrapped in prosciutto; spicy salsa verde made with avocado and tomatillo; grilled Alaska oysters on the half-shell; fresh blueberries and lemon verbena, roasted grapes and rhubarb crumbles; Pimm's cups, bubbles and IPA.
Of course, there’s always room for big puffy roasted marshmallows to smash between Nutella-smeared graham crackers, and the occasional Hebrew National hot dog or reindeer sausage link. Despite deep food allegiances, I find the beanie weenies never quite make it to the party.
Whether you’re staying close to home, camping/glamping or just waiting to scoop up salmon along the Kenai, here are some easy appetizers to take on the road or to share at the kitchen table.
Green pea dip with mint
Kim Sunée ate and lived in Europe for 10 years before working as a food editor for Southern Living magazine and Cottage Living magazine. Her writing has appeared in Food & Wine, The Oxford American and Asian American Poetry and Writing. Sunée has appeared several times as a guest judge on the Food Network’s "Iron Chef America." She is currently based in Anchorage. Her cookbook, "A Mouthful of Stars," published by Andrews McMeel, was released in spring 2014. For more food and travel, visit kimsunee.com.