A Week Away…

June 24th, 2010

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland Book Launch Party Invite

A week from today on Thursday, July 1st, from 6-9pm at Fortune Tattoo I hope that you’ll join me in celebrating the launch of my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland! It’s been a long time coming and I’m more than ready to celebrate with friends and fellow Portlanders. It’s First Thursday after all so if you’re hitting up the galleries head across the river for a bit and celebrate PDX food and drink.

((ATTENTION: My boyfriend, Tyler Adams, no longer co-owns Fortune Tattoo. Visit his North Portland shop — Grizzly Tattoo — which opened June, 2011! For more info. visit www.grizzlytattoo.com, 503.265.8146. Grrrrrrrizzly!))

If you scroll down on the invite above you’ll see some of the fine food and drink folks donating incredible stuff for the party. These are some of my favorite Portland people and I’m so happy that they’re helping me out in this way.

I’m also grateful to my boyfriend Tyler Adams and his business partner Ms. Mikki for hosting the party at their open-since-April-1st tattoo shop — Fortune Tattoo. THANK YOU guys! Toward the end of the night I’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky book buyer that involves needles and ink. I wonder what it is…

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland — Book Launch Party
Fortune Tattoo, 1716 East Burnside St., Portland, OR
Thursday, July 1st — 6-9pm
Food. Drink. Music. Books.

Friends in Green Places

June 21st, 2010

The back steps. Rain having its way...

I’m lucky to have friends like my friend Karen enrolled in the horticulture program at Clackamas Community College and doing all sorts of amazing garden and landscape design projects around town. Last year Karen gave me A LOT of garden starts for my veggie garden and this year she did the same. She has a beautiful, inspiring and enormous garden and cultivates various seeds for her program.

This year it was a lifesaver for my garden. Especially since it’s buy no seeds year

Cheers to Karen Schwartz!

And there's still all of these left...

Bring on the sunshine! NOW!

The Cheese Bar Spectacular — Monday, June 21st 6-9pm!

June 17th, 2010

Why I wake up in the morning...

I don’t think that the fact that I LOVE cheese is a secret to anyone who reads this blog. The thought of a cheese-less existence sends shivers down my back. It would be a bleak, cold, tasteless world were there no cheese in it.

Next Monday night Portland’s cheese haven, Cheese Bar, is hosting a rare, wonderful cheese event. From 6-9pm at Steve Jones’ Cheese Bar you can try 101 of Steve’s favorite cheeses. I did not mistype. That is 101. No, not 10.

Steve has partnered up with Adam Berger of Ten 01 to host this awesome event. Along with 101 of Steve’s favorite cheeses you can saddle up with wine selections from Ten 01’s sommelier Jeff Groh, cocktails by Kelley Swenson, and local beers on tap.

Tickets are $39 in advance or $49 at the door and include all the cheese you can taste, two drink tickets for draft beer or wine by the glass, and a $5 voucher for Cheese Bar. There be six wines at $5/glass and local draft beer at $3/glass.

Get your ticket while you still can because they’re going fast at www.brownpapertickets.com. If you want a more exclusive experience, 50 VIP tickets at $59 a pop are available. That gets you a 5-6pm more intimate tasting with sparkling wine and champagne.

If you want to read more about Cheese Bar check this out.

Eat cheese!

Cheese Bar
6031 SE Belmont St.
Tuesday-Sunday 11am-11pm

Jacques Pepin and Les Ouefs Jeannette

June 15th, 2010

Les Ouefs Jeannette from Jacques Pepin's memoir The Apprentice.

*****First off I just want to let you all know that I’ll be on the KBOO FOOD SHOW tomorrow WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16th at 11am talking about PDX food and drink and my book. So if you’re able to tune in please do. If you don’t catch it and want to listen after the fact there’s a handy dandy audio file you can catch here. Onto les ouefs…*****

There’s more than one way to fry an egg. And there’s more than one way to fry a hard boiled egg. We’ve been watching the late-90s television series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home the past few weeks. I never saw this program when it originally aired and I’m really enjoying it.

Unlike most current TV food shows this one allows you to be in the kitchen (Julia’s home kitchen) and see entire processes and dishes through. In other words, the only music is at the beginning end, there are no crazy extreme close-ups or frenetic shots. It’s the real deal and who better to learn kitchen wisdom from than Jacques Pepin and Julia Child. Charmed.

I’ve read all sorts of Julia Child books and articles but I’d never read anything by Jacques Pepin so I decided to pick up his 2003 memoir The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen a couple weekends ago at Powell’s Books for Home and Garden. I ran into a couple fellow food folks while there, one of which recommended picking up a Grace Young book. Next time.

I’m really enjoying Pepin’s memoir. So much so that I recently prepared a recipe from the book for a lazy and lucky weekend breakfast — Les Ouefs Jeannette. Jeannette was Pepin’s mom and this delicious hard boiled egg dish is a complete original.

For it I whipped hard boiled egg yolks with chopped garlic, milk, chives from the garden and then some, returned the blend to the halved eggs, and reserved a bit of the filling for the dressing.

Then I fried the eggs stuffed-side-down while making a warm dressing with the remaining filling whisked with olive oil and Dijon-style mustard. We plated the eggs, drizzled them with the dressing and ate them up with some buttery toasted baguette and andouille sausage. Mmm.

Although I haven’t given you the complete recipe I think you can take it from here and be creative. It’s a great book and I hope to one day own the TV series so I can turn to it like a cookbook. Two big thumbs for both. Two big thumbs UP for both.

Hard boiled eggs halved, filled with whipped yolk mixture, and fried till golden in peanut oil.

Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, 22 episodes

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

by Jacques Pepin
2003, Houghton Mifflin

Clackamas Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair

June 9th, 2010

More than just bees at the...

It seems kind of funny to post about an event so after the fact but the annual Clackamas County Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair in Canby in early May was a good one and there’s always next year. Besides, it might give you a little push in the right direction in the midst of this rainy, grey spring. Any garden inspiration is golden at the moment when so many of us are cursing the soggy ground we walk on.

LaAnn Locher of Lelo in Nopo, aka the Sassy Gardener, clued me in to this fantastic plant sale. I’m not sure if I read about it on her blog or heard about it on her radio show but one way or another she planted the seed. A few days later I found out that my friend Karen would be there. What really sealed the deal was going with my friend to Woodburn the same day to visit a very special dog at Project Pooch. All signs pointed to this year’s Spring Garden Fair.

I walked around the many outdoor, and a few indoor, booths and even though I paid the cursed $4 add-on fee of the precious on-site ATM I only bought one thing — some Lucifer Crocosmia bulbs for my mom for mother’s day. Not that I didn’t see A LOT that I wanted. I just tried to keep it to inspiration and ideas. It worked.

Here’s some of what I saw…

Lots of pretty plants...

My friend Karen (on the right) of Ferguson's Fragrant Nursery.

Ferguson's booth...

More than just plants. My friend Alison (in the photo) and I dream of one day owning some Red Pig Garden Tools.

Clackamas Master Gardener Spring Garden Fair

Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves

June 7th, 2010

My new favorite...

I think it’s supposed to be sunny and warm sometime soon. That’s what I’ve always experienced in Portland since moving here in 2002 at least. Since our summer growing season is so short here I feel ripped off when fall rain and grey overstays its welcome into spring, now verging on summer. I recently looked at some photos from last season’s garden and this early June one made me particularly sad…

Some of my from seed plants this time last year.

Alas, alas summer will be here at some point and my seedlings will take off and all of those fruits on the vine and trees will ripen up for picking. We have quite a lot of fruit in our yard — plums, pears, blueberries, raspberries, honeyberries, seaberries, kiwi, pineapple guava and then some. Usually we eat most of it fresh but as the trees mature and the berry bushes get bigger the yield spills over and we make things to carry through the season and into the fall and winter like plum and cherry wine, kiwi preserves and fruit spiked hot sauces and salsas.

I’m really looking forward to reaching for that book in the photo above — Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves this summer and fall when the harvest basket is full. In its pages are 200 recipes divided into various fruit chapters ranging from apple, blackberry, cherry and grape to gooseberry, medlar, papaya, pomegranate and kumquat.

None of Ziedrich’s recipes call for commercial pectin. The only pectin Ziedrich uses is the natural kind, the kind already present in the fruit. Here are a few recipes in the book — coconut caramel jam, rose hip butter, lemon curd, cataloupe jam with mint, cider syrup and raspberry vinegar.

Linda Ziedrich is one of my favorite Oregon food writers and I’ve written about her a bunch. She’s responsible for one of my favorite and most used cookbooks after all — The Joy of Pickling.

All of our conversations had been over the phone (she lives on a farm near Scio) until earlier this spring when I finally got to meet her in Portland at the IACP Culinary Book Fair. We talked for awhile and she was kind enough to sign her newest book which I bought there…

Thank you Linda Ziedrich.

The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves
by Linda Ziedrich
2009, Harvard Common Press
Paperback $17.95

Potato Tacos

June 3rd, 2010

I've loved you so long...

My much loved friend Raquel and her dearly departed mom have taught me a lot over the years. Although I didn’t get to spend too much time with Raquel’s mom the time I did we were usually cooking and eating. Raquel has been a vegetarian for years and so her mom had all sorts of Mexican vegetarian dishes that she liked to prepare for her Raquel and her friends. One of my favorites were her potato tacos.

I’d never heard of these until I met Raquel when we were both working in Yosemite National Park. I don’t think that we ever made these there — although we were always cooking something good — but her mom made them for us when we visited Raquel’s family in nearby Vacaville. I’ve since made them with Raquel in San Francisco (she used to work here) where she lives and in Portland when she visits. I was missing Raquel the other day so I decided to make them on my own. Although they didn’t have the most special ingredients — Raquel and her mom — they were still delicious.

I don’t usually put recipes up here but this one is so good and easy to translate that I’m going to. Without further ado…

Quarter and boil your potatoes until they’re mashed potato soft — usually about 30 minutes. I’ve used blue and red potatoes for these but the best are good old russets in my opinion. You can leave the jackets on or peel them — I usually peel about 2/3 and leave the rest on for bite and flavor.

While the potatoes are boiling chop onions and cilantro, mince garlic, grate a little cheese — whatever you have on hand, juice a couple limes and prepare your taco fixings. I usually put sour cream, salsa, grated cheese and tomatoes in mine but I use whatever is good and fresh.

Potato taco time...

When the potatoes are done cooking drain and mash them. I mash them by hand so that some small chunks remain to give the tacos some bite and structure. Mix in the onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, a bit of cheese, salt, and some chile if you like. Get creative with this part if you want but I like to keep it to these ingredients.

Put a few tablespoons of any veg. oil in the pan, peanut is really nice too, and turn it to medium-high. Lay out your corn tortillas and slap half of one side with the potato mix.

The potato mix keeps for days and you can change up the fixings...

When the pan is up to temp. put the tacos in and fold them in half pushing them into the pan and putting a spoon or something on top if they try to flop open. Cook until golden brown on that side and then the other. Remove onto paper towel, fill and eat!

I think you'll love these potato tacos too.

Portland Downtown Takeout

June 1st, 2010

The case of the fork that tried to eat me. Nong's Khao Man Gai poached chicken and rice hides in there.

Since early fall I’ve been working downtown as an editor at Hawthorne Books. I love taking the Max to and from work, being downtown, and I absolutely love my job. What took some getting used to however were nearby lunch options. Our downtown office doesn’t have a huge amount of dining spots nearby and although I try to bring lunch with as much as possible as life gets busier takeout gets easier.

I have my favorite block-away-spots and I go to those so often I get burnt out. When that happens I usually make more of a trek for the SW Alder Street and 10th Ave. food cart pod. Here are some of my favorite downtown takeout options as of late…

It's hard to have Taste of Jakarta's nasi padang too often. It's so bleeping good.

Kenny & Zuke's breakfast leftovers for lunch -- the 222 -- two eggs, two latkes, two slices of pastrami. I'm sorry if this reheat is sacrilege Nick but it's so good...

Taste of Jakarta
1239 SW Jefferson St.

Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen
1038 SW Stark St.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai
SW 10th and Alder St.