Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wilderness Cuisine

11 years ago, Alaska Alpine Adventures began exploring the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park. While taking guests into the backcountry was somewhat new to founders Dan Oberlatz and Derek Nelson, eating gourmet cooking was not. Derek had quite the culinary resume under his belt by the time he first served up fresh Pad Thai on the shores of Turquoise Lake in the heart of the park. From there, his passion for delicious wilderness cuisine turned into a full fledged obsession to create a menu complete with filling breakfast burritos, fresh deli sandwiches and dinners typically found in your favorite downtown restaurants. And no dinner was complete without dessert, where Derek rounded off the menu with items such as the Mountain Cookie, named as much for a passion for the mountains as the sheer size of this tasty treat.

With the help of our vendors as well as the expertise of the kitchen staff at Snow City Cafe, we provide what we feel is the most amazing backcountry cuisine ever created. Here's a sample of a typical day. If this wets your appetite, you might have to head up to Alaska this summer to taste what we have in store!

Breakfast: Berry Pancakes
What goes better with a morning cup of coffee while watching the sun crest the ridge above camp than pancakes hot off the griddle?

Take your standard pancake mix (or make your own from scratch) and some organic freeze dried berries from Just Tomatoes. Add pure mountain water from your local stream and mix to a slightly lumpy consistency. Cook on a buttered griddle until golden brown! Top your delicious cakes with pure maple syrup (rehydrated of course) from Alpine Aire and enjoy!

Lunch: Italian Club Sandwich
Take 2 generous slices of Focaccia bread, add Pesto, Prosciutto, fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and julienned Roasted Red Peppers. Combine to make a hearty, delicious sandwich!

Dinner: Pad Thai
After a long day exploring the wilderness, a delicious meal is all that will quell the hunger inside. The perfect prescription for this backcountry ailment is a full, piping hot bowl of Pad Thai! Here's how we do it:

While your rice noodles are soaking, rehydrate your Alpine Aire freeze dried eggs and chicken, and organic freeze dried veggies from Just Tomatoes. Fry up a little scrambled egg; stir fry your veggies and chicken, add a little pad thai sauce (we use our AAA secret recipe here) and rice noodles. Fry in your pan until slightly browned and serve hot. You won't go to bed hungry after this meal!

Dessert: The Mountain Cookie
Need I say more. It's a cookie named the Mountain Cookie. This could possibly be the most action packed cookie in the Alaska wilderness. Here are a few of the ingredients, I'm betting you can imagine how it comes together: Peanut Butter, Rolled Oats, Chocolate Chips, Raisins and Brown sugar. This monster will keep you warm at night and energized throughout the next day. I could live on these things in the mountains.

After years of wilderness adventures eating a mix of mac and cheese, ramen noodles and peanut butter & jelly, I experienced my first Alaska Alpine Adventures meal in Katmai National Park. Surrounded by the austere landscape of the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, the wilderness experience was finally complete: Amazing scenery, great friends and unbelievable cuisine - I've haven't been the same since.