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My Favorite Recipes: September 26, 2019


September 26, 2019

Ryan Sterman; Aly Sterman; Rhett Sterman

Ryan and Aly Sterman both volunteer with the Colfax Fire Department. Their son Rhett, 2, is an honorary member of the department.

Born in Moses Lake, Aly has lived a little bit of everywhere on the west coast.

"When I was younger we bounced all over Washington," she said. "Mom moved to Colfax when I was a toddler, and then she attended Washington State University, so I moved to Pullman." Later, the family moved to Utah, where her mom, Erica Anderson, owner of Nielsen Insurance in Colfax, finished her master's degree.

"When Mom moved back to help Grandpa with the insurance business I followed because I was 18 and on my own," she said. However, she didn't stay long.

"I really wanted to be a cop," she said. "As a civilian, you have to be 21 to go through the police academy. My cousin, who is two years older than me, was in the Army and was loving it. The steady paycheck, reliability of a job; that was really appealing to me."

After speaking with recruiters from each branch of the military and taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), she settled on serving with the Air Force.

"My recruiter thought I was crazy because I had tunnel vision. I only wanted to be [a cop]," she said. "They looked at me like I was absolutely insane because the cop job is, it's not really the lower end, but you don't have to score high to be one and I scored high on the ASVAB. I could have done just about anything!"

Aly left for basic training soon after, went through the academy in Texas, and eventually was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont.

"I got there and was in law enforcement," she said.

Soon after, an opportunity opened up to be part of the convoy response team.

"I was able to get a position and ended up being a heavy gunner. We specialized in transporting nuclear weapons to and from their launch sites. It was a huge group of Humvee and Bearcats," Aly said. "We did everything and rotated positions. We were heavy gunners and would sit up in the turret."

Aly's job required learning and knowing operations and formations that would be used to transport nuclear weapons.

"The truck with the nuke is not allowed to stop," she said. "Lots of the sites are in farming areas, so we would have to go through town and shut everything down everywhere we went. We would work with helicopter crews and local law enforcement. It was all about tactics and timing. So much goes into it! It was an adrenaline rush every time."

Aly met her now-husband, Ryan Sterman, while stationed at Malmstrom.

"He was doing wild land fire and we had mutual friends," she said. "He was definitely more into me when we met than I was into him. I don't really remember the exact moment we started dating because we were hanging out so much with friends and in groups it kinda just happened. We didn't date very long before we got married on Sept. 26, 2015."

Not long after, Aly made the decision to become a reservist.

"It was a very stressful, demanding job, and I wanted more flexibility so I could live a different lifestyle," she said. "I miss the camaraderie, but I have no regrets. The people you work and live with and hang out with, it's just family. You can never replicate a relationship and friendship you had with your brothers and sisters in arms. It's the one thing I miss having."

Aly and Ryan moved back to Colfax in 2017.

"I love the sense of community here," she said. "We're big enough we don't know everybody so I'm always meeting new people, but I also feel like I know enough people that I'm really comfortable here."

Ryan works for Papé Machinery, and they both volunteer for the Colfax Fire Department. Aly usually spends her days caring for their toddler, Rhett, who will be three years old in October.

"He's a spitfire," she said with a laugh. "We could split his energy between 20 people and still feel like we overdosed on energy drinks. I cannot tell you how many times I hear when I leave the house, 'I wish I had just some of that energy.' It's the same phrase all the time! I'm not even phased by it anymore."

Rhett spends a lot of time around the fire station.

"He is passionate about firefighting, just like his parents. In his mind, he's a member of the department as well. He spends his days going and helping imaginary people. The first thing he says when we have to go out the door on a call is, 'Are you going to go help people?' He has the sweetest heart and everybody falls in love with him. It makes up for his activity level," Aly said.

Rhett also enjoys helping Aly prepare meals for their family.

"I will give Rhett things to cut, he cuts with the wrong side of the butter knife because that's how we taught him, if I'm making salad, we have squashed cucumber in our salad because he helps chop things up."

And Ryan?

"He burns water, we don't talk about it," Aly said, laughing. "If I wasn't around, he would live at my mom's house because he wouldn't survive."

Aly doesn't remember her earliest cooking experience.

"I have pictures, I don't remember it, my mom allowed me to make my own peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I was, like, 2-years-old. I was painfully independent – like Rhett. I always wanted to be in the kitchen. She just gave it to me and knew it was going to be a disaster. I was kneeling on a chair at the table covered in peanut butter. I don't remember, but I think I got it all out myself!"

Later, her grandmother taught her the basics, and then some of cooking.

"I was not really receptive to my mother when I was young to learn to cook," she said sheepishly. "When my grandma came to live with us when we were in Utah to help my mom – who was a single mom – she was the one who taught me how to cook. My grandma is incredible. She taught me how to cook with anything we had in the house. She was extremely into nutrition and health – and still is, she has been her whole life – she taught me the science behind foods, how to make them taste good, she really is what taught me to dive in and become fearless. My mom looks at me and says I have never been scared to do anything, I'll just do it.

After Rhett was born, Aly decided she wanted to learn how to ferment foods. "I watched hours of YouTube videos and learned to do vegetables, fermenting my own sourdough starter. My family tries new things, like, 'Try this kimchi!'"

In addition to all things healthy and fermented, Aly enjoys anything deep-fried. "The Bloomin' Onion from Outback Steakhouse, really anything deep-fried! Bar food, fair food, anything that is going to give you a heart attack, I am so about it! I love cheeseburgers and breaded jalapeno poppers, curly fries, I love trying different kinds of fries. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be a deep-fried carb!"


Café Rio's Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

Five Boys Baker

1 packet Hidden Valley

Ranch dressing

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup mayonnaise

2 small tomatillos,

husks removed and cut

in half

1/2 bunch fresh


1 jalapeno, seeded

1 tsp lime juice

1 clove garlic

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill in a refrigerator.

Homemadesandwich bread

Aly says: This is my absolute favorite bread recipe I make just about every week.

3/4 cup cane sugar (I

often sub for coconut


3 cups warm water

(baby bottle tempera-


1 1/2 Tbsp active dry

yeast (not instant)

1/3 cup coconut oil,

melted (can sub for

vegetable oil)

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp salt

7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups

bread flour (I often sub

for kamut flour, in

which case I decrease

the amount of flour to

about 7 cups)

Combine sugar, warm water, and yeast in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Let stand for 10 minutes while the yeast poofs and dissolves.

Add oil, egg and salt into yeast mixture. Mix to combine.

Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well and kneading well in between. Don't add all the flour at once, especially towards the end. How much flour you need depends on a lot of variables - you don't want dough that's too dry. It needs to be elastic and slightly sticky, but not so wet that it leaves moisture at the side of the bowl.

Knead 5 minutes by hand or 2 - 3 minutes in a mixer. Cover dough with a clean dish towel and allow it to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Then punch down. Allow to rise for a second time, covered, for 30 - 45 minutes.

Separate dough into three equal sections, or for mini loaves separate each of those thirds into thirds again (nine total) and with a rolling pin, roll into sections into a rectangle.

With each section, roll it from bottom to top and put seam side down into a greased mini loaf pan. (Or, if making three larger loaves, use a 4.5 x 8.5 inch loaf pan.) Cover with a towel and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.

Bake at 380 degrees for 20 minutes for the minis or 24 minutes for the larger loaves. Take out of loaf pan, let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


My Fermented Foods

1 large napa cabbage

3 carrots

1 small daikon radish

1 bunch of green


4 Tbsp salt

1 small chunk of ging-

er, peeled

3 cloves garlic

1 apple, peeled

2 Tbsp Korean coarse

red pepper

1 Tbsp fish sauce

Sterilize glass mixing bowl with boiling water or wash well with warm soapy water.

Wash napa cabbage and cut into long thin strips (julienned style) and place it in the mixing bowl. Add salt and gently start massaging salt into cabbage leaves for a couple of minutes.

Cut carrots, daikon radish and green onions into long thin strips (julienned style) then add them into the cabbage bowl. Massage until all vegetables are coated in the salt and starting to soften.

Use food processor or blender to puree ginger, garlic, apple, red pepper and fish sauce until smooth texture is achieved. Combine the mixture with the vegetables in the bowl.

Start putting vegetables into glass jars and ensuring that the vegetables sit below the brine. Leave the ferment away from the direct sunlight for 1-2 weeks ensuring the vegetables are submerged the whole time.

Once the desired flavor is achieved transfer the jars into refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. The longer jars are kept outside, the stronger the flavor of ferment.


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