Hard Cider Pressing with Nat

December 27th, 2010

Nat sorting through one of the last Newtown Pippin apple bins.

In early December I got to help out a friend with the last cider press of the apple season. Our friend Nat West has been crafting his own cider and hard cider for a few years now from gleaned, traded and orchard picked local apples and this year was the biggest. He thinks his total apple haul this year clocks in at about 5,800 pounds, which translates to roughly 500 gallons of cider.

This year’s apples included a mix of Newtown Pippins, Lady, Jonagold, Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill, Brown’s Apple, Hereford Redstreak plus about 1,000 pounds of mixed varieties gleaned from various local spots. I helped out with the last of the Newtown Pippins — about 250-300 pounds.

The agreement was (and is with a lot of Nat’s friends) that in exchange for helping out for a shift of apple milling and pressing I’d get to take home a carboy of that day’s cider. I thought that sounded great and I was really happy to get to work with and learn more about Nat’s awesome set-up.

Basically, Nat mills his apples with a retrofitted garbage disposal and presses them with a hydraulic press in his garage. Apples are stored and rinsed in bins and buckets in the driveway and once the juice is pressed it’s kept in 55-gallon drums in the basement during fermentation and then stored largely in kegs. Nat lets his cider go anywhere from six to eight months.

Nat doesn’t sell his cider he just drinks it and trades with it. Really good stuff. Here are some photos…

Nat rinsing the apples before I put them through the apple mill aka retrofitted garbage disposal in the garage.

I filled bucket after bucket with apple pumace shown here. It oxidizes pretty quickly while in queue for the press.

Nat's awesome hydraulic cider press.

Hard cider fermenting in the basement in 55-gallon food grade barrel.

Most of Nat's cider goes directly into kegs but he bottles some for friends.

Read about my cherry wine here.

Ready about my plum wine here.

Read about my dandelion wine here.

Vij’s Cookbook

December 22nd, 2010

We've been reaching for this one a lot lately...

My boyfriend and I went to Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. for the first time several years ago and we’ve been dreaming of going back ever since. We remember just about everything we ate there that night including the wild boar curry and the lamb popsickles in fenugreek cream curry. Now we can do our best to recreate both at home thanks to Vij’s cookbook.

We’ve been cooking our way through Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine the past several weeks (I hear that Vij’s at Home is good too) cooking everything from ground beef curry and Vikram’s mom’s chicken curry to warm fennel salad and garam masala roasted almonds. Our house smells great and we feel so loved by this book and its recipes. If you’re a fan of Indian food too I highly recommend it. (And if you need a last minute gift for someone who loves to cook, consider this book.) Here’s some of what we’ve made so far…

This ground beef curry and warm fennel salad was the first meal we made from the book. It was so good we made it again the next week

The leftovers became this awesome breakfast the next morning.

Vikram's mom's chicken curry recipe is delicious.

The beef short ribs in a cinnamon red wine curry is one of our favorites so far.

That made an awesome leftover breakfast the next morning too.

It might be a little tricky sourcing the mango powder (aka amchur powder) for these garam masala roasted almonds but it's worth the hunt. If your in Portland Fiji Emporium on North Interstate is a great spot for East Indian ingredients.

Other ingredients that I picked up at Fiji Emporium...

Had to get some of these because they're as pretty as they are tasty.

Fiji Emporium
7814 North Interstate Ave.
Portland, Oregon

Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine

Yard Fresh Pt. 8

December 20th, 2010

Red curry tuna salad with medium boiled eggs and homemade spicy garlic dills.

There’s been a lot to report here on the blog lately so posts like this tend to get put on the back-burner. Even though I made most of these foods weeks-to-months ago I still hope you find something here to inspire you or at the very least just make you hungry. I promise that the next Yard Fresh installment won’t be so delayed and will actually reflect the season. Happy eating!

One more thing, if you want to purchase signed copies of my book you can get them straight from the source with shipping included here.

Roasted chicken with sauteed chanterelles, annaheims and zuke and rice.

Lamb kibbe stuffed zukes topped with a thickened warm yogurt sauce.

And breakfast with leftover kibbe and corn tortillas. Kibbe migas sounds like a funny combo but it was delicious.

Lemon cuke, grape tomato and French feta salad with oregano, mint and vinaigrette.

Since we didn't get many, we cherished the tomatoes we got this year -- simple and unadorned.

Yard Fresh Pt. 7
Yard Fresh Pt. 6
Yard Fresh Pt. 5
Yard Fresh Pt. 4
Yard Fresh Pt. 3
Yard Fresh Pt. 2
Yard Fresh Pt. 1

DIY Galley Cooking (And not cooking…) On A Small Sailboat Pt. 3

December 15th, 2010

We have a stainless grill too but most of what we cooked on the boat happened here.

This is my last installment for small boat cooking. Our sailing trip to the San Juan Islands late September/early October seems so far away now so it’s nice to go through the photos again and share some of the food and drink ones with you. In my last post I left off at our arrival on Lopez Island. I’ll keep it chronological and start at Lopez here.

Please let me know if you have any special boat foods you like to make — either before the trip or while underway…

We got to spend a couple days and nights with great friends on Lopez and before we set off again we had this Odlin Bay picnic with really good sandwiches that Sandy made and all sorts of cheese, chips and snacky goodness.

Lunch on Matia was leftover peanut, serrano and garlic pasta with hardboiled egg and pinto bean sandwiches

We ate at Doe Bay's Cafe on Orcas Island a few times. This was their fresh from the garden list for a week in late August. Soooo good.

Doe Bay Cafe rocked. We ate our breakfast sandwich with pickled onions and garden greens and huevos while calming our sea legs.

Second mug shot -- literally. Kathryn Taylor Chocolates in Eastsound on Orcas was awesome and served Stumptown. Hello cappuccino.

Farewell dinner with Sandy and Vern back on Lopez Island in their outdoor dining room.

That's what was for dinner -- fresh Vern-caught Dungeness. It doesn't get better than that in my books.

We cooked the potatoes and corn on the fire in the foreground and everything else in the outdoor kitchen behind the bus.

DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat Pt. 1
DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat Pt. 2

THREE for Tuesday!

December 10th, 2010

Paul Gerald's 2nd edition of Breakfast in Bridgetown is out!

I don’t usually have multiple plans on a weekday night but next Tuesday , December 14th there are three fantastic food events that I’m not going to miss and all of them are free and open to the public. I don’t know how I’m going to pack them all in but I will. Here’s the scoop…

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday!

Breakfast in Bridgetown Party
5:30-8pm @ Cafe Nell

My friend and fellow PDX writer Paul Gerald is throwing a killer breakfast-for-dinner launch party for the second edition of his Breakfast in Bridgetown book at Cafe Nell. There’s no charge to attend but you do need to RSVP here.

Here are the details straight from the source:

* Cafe Nell is at the corner of NW 20th and Kearney, and they do have a parking lot.
* “Breakfast for dinner” provided by Cafe Nell, including cups of hash, quartered Monte cristo sandwiches, house made pork sausages, Pumpkin breads, shrimp and grits, silver dollar pumpkin pancakes. Mmm!
* Signed breakfast books for $16 each, or two for $30.
* $2 from every sale will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank.
* Full bar available with amazing cocktails
* Short program around 6:30, with comments from the author, contributors Nick Zukin of ExtraMSG.com and Brett Burmeister of FoodCartsPortland.com, and perhaps a little snippet from Portland’s appearance in the PBS documentary Breakfast Special.

This is how in the field, literally, a Friends of Family Farmers internship can be.

Friends of Family Farmers End of the Year Celebration and InFARMation
5:30-10pm @ Holocene

Come out and celebrate the end of the year with one of my favorite local organizations — Friends of Family Farmers. One of the best part of the night is the silent auction that will benefit FOFF programs and initiatives. Here’s the schedule followed by a list of some of the awesome items that will be on auction…

5:30 Door to Holocene Open – come early to order food, get drinks (food and drink is not paid for so bring your $) and socialize

6:15 Friends of Family Farmers – don’t miss this short presentation of our programs and successes over the last year, pretty impressive for such a small group if we say so ourselves.

6:30 Silent Auction Starts, Live Acoustic Music & MC

8:00 Silent Auction Ends, Live Auction Starts – some of the bigger auction items will be dealt with by our auctioneer

8:15/30 Greasy Chain String Band – dancing and celebrating! Winners get to cash out and take home their items!

This InFARMation (and Beer!) is 21+, so don’t forget your ID.

Some of the many amazing items on the silent auction list…
* Pig Butchery Class Gift Certificate – Portland Meat Collective & Camas Davis
* Private Breadmaking Class with Professional Baker from Nostrana – Giana Bernardini
* Raw Honey-White Clover, Raspberry Blossom & Forest Wildflower- Mountain Meadow Honey Co.
* Loaf of Rustic Bread per Month for One Year – Grand Central Bakery
* Pizza Gift Certificate – Hot Lips Pizza
* Fruit Trees from Local Sustainable Nursery – One Green World Nursery
* Three Night Romantic Getaway in Yachats Cabin – Sue Tate & Dave Morgan
* Widmer Party Pack (1/4 Barrell, Tap & Tub, Sleeve of Cups and Ice) – Widmer Brewing
* Basket of Rogue goodies and Rogue Beer – Rogue Ales
* Magnum of Bethel Heights Justice Vineyards 2007 Estate Pinot Noir – Bethel Heights Vineyard
* Handcrafted Wood Cutting Board – The Joinery
* One-Year Family Membership to OMSI
* $75 Gift Certificate to to 50 Plates in the Pearl – Ginger Rapport of 50 Plates
* $50 Gift Certificate for Feed Concentrates – Concentrates NW
* Laptop Lunch Box – Mirador Community Store
* $75 Gift Certificate to Meriwether’s Restaurant. Specializing in Farm to Table Meals
* $50 Gift Certificate Higgins Restaurant & Bar. Cuisine rooted in our Northwest Soil
* $20 Gift Certificate from the Urban Farm Store, a Family-Owned and Operated Local Business
* Farmer Love Basket – A Collection of Goodies from Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply
* 2 Tickets to to the September 24th Farm to Fork Farm Dinner at Kiyokawa Family Orchards
* Holiday Wreath Lovingly Handcrafted with Local Greens by Kelly Ingram

Food Innovation Center’s Time to Market Showcase
6-9pm @ the Food Innovation Center

I already wrote about this fantastic event in this week’s Willamette Week so I’ll just point you in their direction for the scoop.

Homemade Soybean Miso

December 6th, 2010

Soak the soybeans (or whatever legume you are using for the miso) overnight and cook them the next day until soft.

Every year I try to make at least one new type of food/drink ferment. This year it’s miso. One of my favorite discoveries while writing my book was Earnest and Sumiko Migaki’s local Jorinji Miso. They cracked the world of miso wide open for me and now I appreciate it more than ever.

I love Jorinji’s misos and have been lucky enough to try a lot of their more unusual products such as lima bean miso, chickpea miso, miso butter cookies, aka-shiso juice and amaranth juice.

Now I’m trying my hand at home miso making because I’m curious and I love fermented foods. I used Sandor Ellix Katz’s recipe from Wild Fermentation to make my first batch of soybean miso in the photos below. Now I just have to wait a year until it’s ready!

If you're making miso you need to source koji. I bought my koji at Uwajimaya but I know that People's Food Co-op also carries it along with a lot of other Asian markets...

Commercal rice koji. You can also buy other grain koji as well as inoculate your own koji if you buy the mold culture.

Koji mixed with a strong brine and a couple tablespoons of mature miso...

After I mashed the soft, cooked soybeans I mixed that with the brined koji and mature miso mix above...

Finally I salted my fermentation vessel (a food-grade bucket in this case) and packed the miso in. I added a good amount of salt to the top before weighing it down with a plate and covering it with a towel. I'll let you know how it tastes a year from now!

Read about my homemade red bean miso.

Chanterelle Foraging

December 1st, 2010

We braved hail and lots of rain to get these suckers.

This fall was a record mushroom harvesting season here in the Pacific Northwest — chanterelles especially. I’d never been chanterelle picking until this year but I’ve gone on a lot of other mushroom hunts and I love it. I love being out in the woods without a trail to follow and that combined with the magic and mossy hunt of golden chanterelles makes for a perfect rainy weekend day with friends.

And rain, and even hail, it did a few weeks ago when went chanterelle picking. We got dumped on but warmed up in the car afterward with dark rum spiked hot apple cider and homemade bacon apricot cornbread muffins with maple buttercream frosting that our friend Teresa brought. She spoiled us. And as if that wasn’t enough we chased our snack with an early dinner at Tad’s Chicken ‘n Dumplings a.k.a. the chic dump.

I did a quick sort and clean of my mushrooms once I got home because even though I used scissors to harvest, leaving the mycelium intact and also leaving the muddy base behind, there was still (as there always is) a lot of dirt and needles to get rid of. After I cleaned the chanterelles I put them on a pan and warmed them dry in the oven.

We got a good amount from our spots but it wasn’t a huge haul. I think we each got 3-4 pounds. That’s what it felt like. I made two things with mine — a really good risotto and a penne pasta with chanterelle cream sauce. Both were delicious.

Here’s some more tasty chanterelle posts from local and afar food folks that I love:

The Portland Pickle
Good Stuff NW
Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Chanterelle risotto with crispy fried sage leaves and bacony brussels sprouts.

Penne with chanterelle cream sauce and toasted hazelnuts.