Solstice Dinner with Heidi of Chena Girl Cooks

My friend Heidi is the author and chef behind Chena Girl Cooks, a food blog all about unfussy delicious food.  Apart from being a terrific chef, Heidi is one of those people who lights up a room with her mega watt smile and vivacious laugh.  She’s just one of those warm, welcoming, quick-witted people whose presence makes you feel great.  And she’s generous with her culinary gifts: when I asked her to come over for a solstice dinner this weekend she said “what am I cooking?” IMG_8071 Solstice in Anchorage means about 22 hours of daylight.  Without the regular cues of darkness time becomes a looser concept  and dinner and bedtime creep later and later (tired and cranky toddlers are still like clockwork).

Chester and I both like to cook (don’t misunderstand: we are not Heidi caliber), but I often have a hard time thinking of what to cook.  Not Heidi. She always has menu ideas at the ready, so I gladly left the menu up to her and appointed myself her sous chef (and I made an apron for her to mark the occasion). Deep Love Apron from Red House West The menu was salmon with dijon mustard, bread crumbs and herbs, and couscous, roasted beet salad, and brownies for dessert.  It’s classic Heidi: simple local ingredients that she manages to turn into an exquisite dinner like it’s no big deal. IMG_8161 IMG_8143 IMG_8207 IMG_8186


Oh, hello there beautiful Panton S chairs. Welcome to your home.


Talk about sunshine!

My own personal sunshine.

IMG_8331 IMG_8394 The salmon was so good, cooked perfectly, with the tang of the dijon and the crunch of the breadcrumbs.  Heidi promises to have the recipe up on her blog soon.  This is definitely one to try this salmon season!

Red House West Northern Headquarters, 11:45 p.m.  It was cloudy.

Red House West Northern Headquarters on solstice, 11:45 p.m.  It was cloudy.

Here’s to friends as bright and sweet as the first day of summer!  Head over to Chena Girl Cooks to check out Heidi’s other great Alaska inspired recipes.  Happy solstice everyone!

*Update* Heidi has posted the recipe from our Solstice feast, and you can check it out here!

3 responses on “Solstice Dinner with Heidi of Chena Girl Cooks

  1. Katy Gilmore

    Hi Heidi! This looks like another totally scrumptious, beautiful Heidi meal! And Mera, I’m so glad you wrote to celebrate the solstice. Your lovely story of friends and food marks well that magic day of summer light (specially at your red house in the far north!),

  2. Susan Glassow

    Mera, S chairs sounds like a Solstice alphabet…what a delightful way to celebrate ! I love the pictures of Heidi and the food, of course, but also seeing in a cooking context the newly tiled black splash, and your dyed tea towel. I feel at home in your kitchen and dining rooms because of earlier blogs. Tonight is another magical night in lore and literature: Midsummer Night’s Eve.

  3. Carol Crump Bryner

    It was a rather dreary Solstice evening here in Anchorage, but the photos of your house and table and flowers looked so cheery and welcoming. I always enjoy reading Heidi’s blog. Her pictures of food make me hungry. And what a sweet apron you made her, Mere. Wonderful post!

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