Writer: Maya Evoy
Where: Nikiski, Alaska
What: Alaska From Scratch is filled with such scrumptious looking recipes and delicious photographs, you may find yourself licking the computer screen. Maya, an associate pastor with incredible skills in the kitchen, started her food blogging journey after she and her family moved from California to Alaska in the fall of 2011. She started blogging as a “means for me to bring a healthy balance back to my life. … [In California] I spent a lot more time going through drive-thrus or picking up pizza than I did in my own kitchen. Life was just hectic.” Now Maya has an outlet that blends her talents as a writer, cook, and photographer.
Alaska from Scratch is a feast for the senses. Maya transports us to her kitchen; sharing the weather and what she’s listening to with each recipe she posts. We follow her as she turns even kitchen mishaps into a delectable dessert. Her gorgeous food photos will inspire you to try each recipe.
Maya’s blog is packed full of great ideas for the kitchen. With the holidays just around the corner, you may want to check out Maya’s ideas for food gifts. Her kitchen tips are very handy, including making homemade pumpkin pie spice, or baking hard-cooked eggs!
Most of Maya’s recipes use easily accessible ingredients, (after moving to Alaska, she had to get used to the lack of availability of certain food items “specifically produce”), but will motivate both novice and more advanced cooks. Although she’s inspired by what’s seasonal in Alaska, even non-Alaskans will appreciate the delicious-looking concoctions she creates. And indeed they do. Her readership includes 186 different countries around the globe.
Even though Alaska From Scratch is a huge success, Maya remains humble and thankful. She recently celebrated her first year of blogging with a wonderful nostalgic look at where she came from, what she loves, why she loves it, and how she did it. Thankfully, she will continue to inspire us in the years ahead.
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Recipe Highlights and Favorite Quotes:
Salted Maple Pecan Caramel Corn: “The first time I ever remember burning my finger in the kitchen, I was making popcorn balls with my grandma around Halloween. She told me the candy syrup was very hot, but when she turned her back for a moment, I tried to sneak a lick of the molten mixture. Of course, as soon as I pulled back in shock and pain, the candy firmed up and stuck to my finger. I learned valuable lessons that day – making homemade candy can be dangerous, how to treat a burn, and probably most importantly, listen to grandma. For every blossoming young cook there are these lessons along the way in the form of kitchen disasters and injuries that really become rites of passage for us.
So, we’re going to make a fabulous caramel popcorn today. And the first thing I want to say to you about this recipe is: don’t stick your finger in the hot caramel. I know it’s tempting. Don’t do it. Listen to grandma.”
Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup: “Anyone who knows me well knows I love Starbucks. I especially love Starbucks in the fall and winter, when the weather is chilly and the coffee is hot and seasonal. In California, I grew very accustomed to a Starbucks drive thru on every corner and being able to zip through with all three of my kids in the car.
Now that we live in Alaska, there are only a couple of Starbucks on the entire Kenai Peninsula. The nearest one is approximately 30 minutes away. As soon as school started and the trees began to turn, I was craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I was thrilled when I found this syrup recipe that I could make and store at home. And every afternoon, I switch on my espresso machine and enjoy one delicious, steaming, homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.
As a bonus, you can also use this syrup to make fabulous homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer!”
Ricotta Gnocchi with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella: “I started watching cooking shows on television at a young age, before Food Network (and man that makes me feel old). One of my early favorites was Mario Batali’s Molto Mario. I can still hear the perky operatic music at the intro… can you? If you can, you just might be my soul mate. But I digress just a tad. That happens sometimes.
Now, you might know that Mario Batali is one of the hosts of The Chew, a daytime talk show dedicated to all things food. And when I watched Mario make potato gnocchi (pronounced NYOH-kee, if you’re unfamiliar) from start to finish, I looked at the t.v. and thought “I can do that!” I followed his recipe and it was divine. Thanks to Mario, I was hooked on homemade gnocchi. So hooked in fact that I began craving it weekly. It just might be my new favorite thing.”
Tried and Tested: Maya has a wonderful section on Alaskan Eats, which I was instantly attracted to, given that I have a freezer brimming with salmon and halibut. Halibut with Lemon Caper Pan Sauce piqued my interest. It was easy and delicious. No doubt about it, I’ll make it again.