Plus a Sichuan restaurant in East Anchorage and dinners with frozen salmon.
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By Julia O'Malley


Newsletter #39: Mistakes were made
Every year about this time I make a very easy gluten-free cornmeal cake with blood orange glaze, which was originally inspired by a blood orange-rosemary corn muffin recipe by Maya Wilson. My version has morphed into a different cake altogether. Sometimes I bake orange slices into the top, and it still uses Maya’s pink, blood-orange glaze. This year, when I was planning to make my blood-orange thyme cake, I envisioned it was going to be THE MOST GORGEOUS CAKE EVAR.

I baked it extra carefully, and then, in what I thought was a brilliant idea, I used a mandoline to make paper-thin orange slices and I arranged them like scales on the top of the glazed cake. Sure, they were a little messy, but I thought they looked “organic.” I thought the cake looked beautiful. I really did. It wasn’t until the sobering light of the next day, when I showed to the photos of it to other people, that I realized it was, in fact, like a pastry version of a murder scene. There’s a reason they are called blood oranges. (Tasted great though.) So I baked it again. And, since I’m confessing, here’s cake wreck No. 2: If you read the recipe in print, it omits the thyme. For that, I am truly sorry. (Picks self up, dusts self off. Eats another piece of cake.)


What’s for dinner tonight? Is it frozen salmon again? How about trying Kim Sunee’s salmon-noodle casserole? Or, if you’re looking for something special, you could whip up my salmon pot pie? Maybe a pear and pomegranate salad to go with it?


Those looking to eat out will be interested to know that Mara Severin tried the Chinese food at Jimmy’s Asian Food in East Anchorage and has a detailed analysis. Here’s her photo of the Sichuan street food classic: Dan Dan noodles.

[Read previous newsletters here. Find more Alaska recipes here.]


Food was in the news a bunch this week. Tegan Hanlon wrote about what Iditarod mushers eat on the trail. (I so want Aliy Zirkle’s granola bar recipe!) Annie Zak’s told us what genetically engineered salmon (that are reared in tanks in the Midwest) mean for Alaska. If you don’t already, support local cooking and local food news and subscribe. Have questions or suggestions for me? Email!

Here’s hoping your cake looks better than my cake.


Julia O'Malley, an Anchorage Daily News editor, is working on a book at the Anchorage Museum about how Alaskans eat. You can sign up to receive our weekly Alaska food newsletter, "How Alaska eats," in your email inbox by visiting Find more classic Alaska recipes here.
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