Now that the morning air has a crisp bite and termination dust has settled on the Chugach Mountains, I have a hankering for warm homemade meals.
While perusing through cookbooks at Barnes & Noble for recipe ideas, I came across the Regional Cooking section. (Mind you, the section is limited to one modest shelf.)
Big, gleaming faces of celebrity chefs Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten and Jamie Oliver surround the shelf of Alaskan cookbooks. But unlike generic cookbooks, hearty Alaskan recipes are enticing for chilly days ahead.
Here are some Alaskan cookbooks that offer recipe ideas for any occasion:
"The New Alaska Cookbook" ($19.95) by Kim Severson
This cookbook consists of recipes from local restaurant favorites such as Glacier BrewHouse, Sacks Café & Restaurant, Marx Brothers Café, Kinley's Restaurant & Bar and Southside Bistro. Unsurprisingly, several entrees consist of Alaskan seafood staples like salmon, halibut and scallops. While seafood is a staple in almost any Alaskan cookbook, "The New Alaska Cookbook" recipes are gathered from restaurants with Mediterranean and Italian influences, which means the ingredients have a lot of variation and global inspiration.
"Alaska Wild Berry Guide & Cookbook" ($14.95) by Alaska Northwest Books
For those of you who picked berries earlier this fall, the "Alaska Wild Berry Guide & Cookbook" has berry-inspired recipes for crepes, breads, salads, syrups and even meads. In addition to the recipe portion, this cookbook has a helpful berry identification guide with clear photos for the next berry-picking opportunity.
"Best of the Best from Alaska Cookbook" ($16.95) by Quail Ridge Press
This is one of the best Alaskan cookbooks for your buck. This book is filled with more than 300 recipes from various Alaska cookbooks, which means there are numerous recipes for homemade breads, soups, meat dishes, seafood, cakes and cookies.
"Moose In The Pot Cookbook" ($13) by students from Burchell High School
Compiled by biology students in Wasilla, the book provides tips on how to butcher a moose to information about joining the state's road kill salvage list. Some of the best enchiladas I've eaten were made with moose meat. This cookbook includes recipes for moose chili, moose chicken fried steak and moose sausage.
Do you have a favorite Alaska cookbook? Let us know in the comments!
Kelly McLain can be reached at kelly(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing