What a fan-frickin’-tastic weekend! Started out with the Alaska Women’s Run, a 5K fun run/walk. Three-fold treats: 1) a pretty blue tee shirt with forget me nots on it; 2) Harpo was tired afterwards; and 3) I found out about smelt fishing!
We walked by the river on the fun run/walk and there were a few people fishing with small dipnets, so I stopped-hey, what was the hurry? I was walking!-and asked what they were fishing for. Smelt! the first fish of the summer. Well, I had to try it and I knew there was a net at the house, left behind by a previous tenant. For a reason, I later discovered.
We finished the walk and I put a tired Harpo into her kennel, tied the net and a bucket to my bike (wish I had a picture of that-musta looked pretty funny!), and was off to the river. I soon learned why the net got left behind-it was way too short. I need an extension for it. But luckily for me, the folks I set up next to were done fishing and let me borrow their net. So after about 5 minutes of swinging the net along the bottom (or close to it anyway) of the river, I caught 20 smelt! I whisked them home, cleaned them, and packed most of them up to freeze. I cooked 4; just pan-fried in a little butter, and kinda mushed them up for a dip recipe I found in one of my Alaska cookbooks.
By this time it was just about 6 p.m. and I was slated for dinner at a friend’s, so I finished packing up the fish, whipped on over to the grocery store for some cream cheese, brie and crackers, dumped all that on the counter and whizzed through a shower. Made it just in time for the steaks to come off the barby. Lovely dinner of corn, salad, the steaks, and a nice Cabernet, with a movie afterwards.
Sunday I spent the morning baking, and I finished up the smelt dip I’d started the night before. I’ll bring the dip and some crackers into school tomorrow. It’s not very exciting; there’s no strong flavor to the smelt so I think it’ll go over well.
Harpo is very food-motivated. This means I do a lot of her training and positive reinforcement with dog treats. Dog treats are expensive in Bethel-and in Fairbanks. Vaccuuming requires LOTS of dog treats, because we all thought it was soooo funny to tease Harpo with the vaccuum cleaner when she was a puppy and now she’s a rabid vaccuum cleaner killer. I use treats to moderate this behaviour (and eventually end it-I hope). The last time I vaccuumed it took an entire bag of dog treats to clean the rug. And it’s not a very big rug.
So, long story short, what with the price of dog treats and the volume that I need, I was kinda motivated to start baking my own. I’d cooked a sweet potato a couple days before in anticipation of this baking project, and it was all mashed up and ready to go. I followed a recipe I found on Pinterest, with some pretty major modifications-white flour instead of whole wheat, sweet potato instead of canned pumpkin-and mixed up a double batch. No cookie sheets anymore, so I baked them in the little toaster oven. Took me gawd-knows how many hours! to end up with two baggies of cookies for Harpo. She loves them!
I also baked two loaves of bread. I’ve been baking my own bread since I got to Bethel. I like to bake and I was thinking bread might be kinda pricey in B-town. So I packed up a 25 pound bag of flour and added that to a load of freight I shipped to Bethel in April. I still haven’t checked on the price of bread, mostly because I’ve been enjoying my own so much that I didn’t really care whether it was expensive or not. I’ve been pretty good about using it for sandwiches and toast, rather than just eating a hunk of it covered in butter, jam or peanut butter. I’ve been making Irish soda bread, but finally decided I was burning out on it and went back to making yeast bread. Soda bread is quicker, but denser; the yeast bread takes longer but it’s a lighter, fluffier bread. Both taste yummy!
So all-in-all, it was a pretty darned productive weekend! Lots of fun, tired puppy, good food!