Today we had a fantastic day. The weather held around 0 degrees, and we headed southeast about an hour to Birch Lake. I have to say, I don’t know that I would make a good Ice Road Trucker – it’s a little unnerving driving on a frozen lake…though it was beautiful!
As we arrived, the sun was coming up and the first thing we did was get into the ice hut and start a fire in the wood burning stove. That’s right, a wood burning stove – in an ice hut – on a frozen lake. Heaven!
And as the sun got brighter outside, the funniest thing happened – the ice glowed through the holes in the floor. It was pretty cool, and the water was so clear, you could see straight down to the bottom. The yellowish patch in the center is sandy silt on the lake bottom.
Doesn’t this look like an eye? Or a moon?
This was the first time I wore my “skhoop” – an insulated skirt that zips on the sides. You wear it over your clothes like snow pants. I made mine for $27 – but they sell for well over $100.
Check out the cracks in the ice.
Speaking of cracked ice – when we were inside fishing, every so often a truck would drive by. If you have ever watched “Ice Road Truckers” and heard that…
…sound – that is exactly what we heard!
It was kind of dark inside the ice hut, there were no windows and the only light was from a small lantern that we brought, so I didn’t take a ton of pictures. But with the glow in the water, we could see just fine…and even watch the fish playing with or biting our hooks.
My goofy youngest.
Around noon, I pulled out some Bacon “Mooseburger” Calzones that I made last night. We had wrapped them in foil, and then just set them on top of the woodstove, and they were warm and yummy in minutes!
At one point, I drove over to the shoreline (restroom, ahem) and the boys were outside as I drove back.
There was no need for a cooler to keep the fish in, just dig a hole in the snow and toss them in! But, cover them up so a bird doesn’t see a free meal!
We headed home as the sun was going back down around 3:30. This is the drive along the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Delta Junction.
And then we stopped for a moment so I could snap this photo of the Alaska Range to the south. In the foreground is the frozen Tanana River.
About the calzones:
Now I didn’t really take the kind of photos that I normally take for a blog post, but I’ll go ahead and share the recipe sans pics anyways for those that are interested. This is a variation of a cheeseburger roll-up that I make, only portable and in single portions.
- 1 c lukewarm water
- 2¼ tsp yeast
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 c all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- In a mixing bowl with a dough hook, combine the water and yeast, and let it sit until the yeast softens and begins to bubble - about 5-10 minutes. Add in the olive oil and a cup of the flour.
- Turn your mixer on, and add in the salt. Add the remaining flour in a half cup at a time, until it comes together into a soft dough. Take it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 3 minutes or until it is smooth.
- Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, and roll the ball around in the bowl to coat it. Set it in a warm place to rise, covered, for an hour.
Please note – for the “roll-up” version below, I generally bake that at 375. I can’t edit the recipe for some reason, so just make a note of that if you plan to make it. Or you can get the recipe for the roll-ups HERE
- pizza dough
- 1 small onion
- 6 slices bacon
- ¾ lb ground beef (or moose, venison, etc.)
- 2½ - 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ c classic mustard
- ¼ c ketchup
- To begin, preheat your over to 400 degrees.
- Finely dice your onion, and cut the bacon into half inch pieces. Sauté them together in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crispy and the onions are golden. Scoop them out onto a paper towel-line plate to absorb any excess grease.
- Brown the beef (or whatever ground meat you have chosen) until cooked through. Again, drain off any excess grease.
- In a small bowl, stir together the mustard and ketchup
- Take your prepared pizza dough, and divide it into 5 or 6 equally sized balls. Roll one of those balls into a nice big circle, about 8 inches or so across.
- With a spoon, or a pastry brush, spread some of the condiment spread over the middle of the circle of dough, leaving an inch space from the edges.
- Place some of the ground meat (about ¼ cup) on one half of the circle, away from the edges. Sprinkle on some of the bacon & onion mixture, and then add in about ¼ c of cheese.
- *Note: If you have other things you like in a burger (diced pickles?) feel free to add some in!
- Gently grasp the side of the dough that doesn't have the filling, and pull it over the top, covering filling, pressing down the dough edges together, but leave some of the lower half of the dough hanging out. Fold that lower edge over the top edge and press firmly together to seal them together.
- Place the calzone on a baking sheet, and carefully pile on another ¼ or so of shredded cheese.
- Repeat with the remaining portions.
- Bake for 20 minutes until slightly golden. The cheese on top will get crispy and delicious!
- Follow all of the steps above. When it comes time to assemble, roll the dough into a single large rectangle. Spread the ketchup/mustard mixture all over it. Sprinkle the ingredients all over the dough as well (again leave an inch or so of exposed dough at the edges.)
- Roll the whole thing up from one end, like you are about to make cinnamon rolls. Pinch the dough closed, and place it on a baking sheet, seam side down. Top with shredded cheese.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden.
- Cool just a couple minutes, and then slice it with a serrated knife into portions.