If you're lucky enough to have every other Friday off (like me - ha!), I can't think of a better way to while away a winter afternoon than out on a frozen lake doing a little ice fishing. So yesterday, we packed up a couple of sleds and a few dogs and off we went. I was sure to post alot of these photos directly to facebook to irritate friends who had to spend the day working in offices. Suckers.
There were huge cracks all over the ice, just like this:
And the ice made loud whumping noises the whole time we were there. Haha. The ice was super-thick so we were in no danger of going for an frosty swim, but still, the cracking noises are unnerving. They sound a little bit like one single beat from a car stereo with the biggest woofers on earth. Sometimes the ice shudders just a bit beneath your feet. It all adds to the sense of adventure.
Snacks and beer and bread and a thermos full of soup -- more on that soup in a minute.
Check out the ensemble I threw together - that's me on the right, sporting my favorite Christmas gift, a Skhoop insulated skirt.
They were the hot item on the Christmas list of many an Alaskan woman this year, just judging from the number of befuddled men circling the Skhoop racks at REI back during the holiday shopping season. I got the down-filled, mid-length version and love it.
Trout Slayer beer - I thought it was perfectly-named for our outing:
Oz the border collie takes a break on the ice:
The weather was perfect the first hour or so we were there, but then the wind picked up and then it started snowing -- a magical-looking snow with big fat flakes, the kind that are beautiful enough to take your breath away, but not so much when they're blowing sideways and smacking you in the face. So we popped open the tent and retreated inside and fired up a small propane heater. It was soon toasty and dry inside. As much as I like just sitting in a camp chair on the ice in the open air with the whole lake stretched out around you, it's also pretty cool to be inside the tent because it's dark enough in there to look down the hole in the ice and see the fish swimming below. Big fish, little fish, my favorite fish are the ones that bite my bait.
We only caught this many little guys:
They were pretty good. But even better was the soup I made for our fishing trip yesterday -- a tomato coconut curry soup that was so delicious that my fishing buddies wanted the recipe and they're making it for dinner at their houses tonight.
I used this recipe as a base but thought it looked a little plain so I added a bunch of stuff to it. I used a bunch of organic vegetables as well as organic broth in mine so in addition to being delicious it's also brimming with healthy ingerdients. It makes just enough to fill up a huge thermos and still allow for leftovers for lunch the next day.
Here's my version:
Tomato Coconut Curry Soup
½ cup red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, shredded or chopped
Half of a red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 15 oz cans of whole diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 15 oz can light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
Heat up a swig of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, bell pepper and celery and sauté until vegetables soften -- I like to leave a little crunch in mine. Add remaining ingredients (except the basil) to the pot then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree in small batches in a blender till completely smooth. I blended mine with a stick blender and rather than puree it totally smooth, I left it a little chunky. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil.