As our contracts in Park City, Utah drew to a close this last winter our excitement about the upcoming trip to Alaska grew by the day. Our nightly routine became scrolling through Netflix or Amazon looking for anything related to the last frontier. We binged on Life Below Zero and gobbled up documentaries by the BBC. We watched a double feature of Alone in the Wilderness parts one and two, mesmerized as Dick Proenneke pieced together his log cabin with only the hand tools he brought into the back county himself. After each viewing we would message back and forth with our friends who planned to make the journey north asking what they were watching. The mutual excitement spread among us. It passed through the soft glow of the screens of our cell phones.
Now that we’re here we are well settled into the routine of wake, work, and repeat. Though each week or so we have had those moments of excitement realized. A strange déjà vu for a place we hadn’t been before or a moment we haven’t lived, but one we had watched curled up on the couch in Utah. I felt it the day we took the bus ride to Kantishna seeing a bull moose with a still growing set of antlers covered in felt or hearing about Sara’s puppy run at work recalling one of the Denali documentaries where we watched a handler working for the park service do just the same thing. I replayed any of the episodes of Northern Exposure I had watched over the winter as Sara and I strolled the streets of Talkeetna, the sounds of a ukulele blaring from the run-down bar on main street. The singer belting out, ringing tinny in the dusky light of ten p.m., “It’s the rye of the Kaiser, it’s the salt on the roll…” to the tune of Eye of the Tiger.
Crouched down, pants wet from squatting over bushes and socks stained purple from crushed berries, we both felt that feeling twinge as we picked wild blueberries just the other day. It seemed nearly every documentary we watched had some mention of the abundance of wild blueberries here and some shots of people raking them from bushes as they talked of what that place meant to them, their families, or their ancestors. As we squatted a few hundred feet off trail, just a half mile or so from where we’re living this summer, we picked and talked about another moment we had seen on screen now lived as our own personal experience and what our home for the summer had come to mean to us. One thing about life on the road is sifting through the expectations, the vague concepts of a place, and merging that with the experience of being there. Our hands and pants were stained purple as we continued to do just that. We now see Alaska as an actual place where we have made our home for this short summer season rather than the distant ambiguous dream we had of it months ago.
Lime Glazed Blueberry Scones
Yields 6 Scones
2 Cups Flour (plus extra for handling dough on table)
2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
5 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream (plus extra to brush on top of scones)
¾ Cup Blueberries
For Lime Glaze
½ Cup Lime Juice
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Stand Mixer or Pastry Cutter & Mixing Bowl
*If you don’t have a double boiler use a stainless-steel mixing bowl over a pot of water. Keep the water at a simmer and just touching the bottom of the bowl.
1 Preheat oven to 375˚
2 In the bowl of the stand mixer combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low with the paddle attachment for 30 seconds.
3 Cut the butter into a small dice and add to the flour mixture. Mix on low until slightly shaggy, slowly add the heavy cream in a steady stream while mixer is running. The key to having tender and flakey scones is not over mixing. You will be continuing to lightly knead this dough in the following steps, so if the dough is still a shaggy mess, don’t worry. Under mixing in the machine is better than over mixing, you can always mix more by hand as needed.
4 Once all cream is added, turn mixer off and scrape scone batter onto a floured surface. Lightly knead until dough holds together.
5 Roll out to about a half inch in thickness. Spread the blueberries over half the dough and fold the dough back over the berries. Fold the dough again so the berries are well encased in dough. Roll out to one inch in thickness.
6 Cut dough into three individual four-inch squares and then cut diagonally to form triangles. Lay out on Cookie Sheet lined with Parchment Paper. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes.
7 Remove from freezer and brush lightly with heavy cream. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
8 Allow to cool on rack until room temperature then dip tops into lime glaze. Return to cooling rack and allow glaze to set before serving.
For Lime Glaze
1 Combine Lime Juice and Powdered Sugar in Double Boiler and heat over medium heat for 10 minutes stirring regularly.
2 Whisk in Butter. Remove from heat and set aside. If glaze crystalizes at all before you are ready to dip the scones, return to heat and stir until glaze is smooth.