Happy Anniversary Blog: Three years and counting

February 27th, 2012

It’s been three years since I started this blog and I still really enjoy doing it. It’s especially good for me now that I’m freelancing less. Most of my writing work these days goes to writing the Toro Bravo Cookbook, being an editor and publicist at Hawthorne Books and working on my fiction.

I pitch a story every now and again but this blog has become my most regular outlet for local food stories. I’m grateful to have it and to have loyal readers. I try to give you as much news and inspiration as I can here and I hope that you enjoy it. Below is a look back on the past year for the blog. (I did this sort of recap last year and the year before if you’re interested.) Here’s to 2012 — Year of the Dragon!

Without further ado…

Spring 2011 was a really good one for nettles and I harvested a ton of them. Unfortunately I learned from experience that you should never take your dog with you foraging for them. Our poor, poor wolfie.

Stinging nettle booty.

Spring quickly became summer in fly-by fashion since my boyfriend was busy getting his new business up and running — Grizzly Tattoo on North Williams. I helped him kick it off in style with a huge, tasty opening party in June with food and drink donated from local restaurants, bars, breweries, food carts and me, myself and I. It was grand.

So much good food and drink from Tasty n Sons, The Bye & Bye, EaT Oyster Bar, Pix Patisserie, Che Cafe, Jaime Henderson and Hopworks for Grizzly Tattoo's opening party.

With crazy long lead times a lot of stories that I got assigned right after Food Lover’s Guide to Portland came out in summer 2010 published in the summer of 2011 as well.

My dog claims to be co-author.

Late in the summer I got to tag along on a Hardy Plant Society Kitchen Garden Group outing to Montinore Estate vineyard and winery just outside Forest Grove. Some of that trip went into a story about biodynamic wine that I wrote for Willamette Week about Katherine Cole and her excellent book Voodoo Vintners

My friend Karen checking out the bull horn stuffed with...at Montinore Vineyards.

Summer sped by — honestly it didn’t feel like we had much of it — and we had an incredible third annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust in October. We got a ton of publicity for it leading up and a line out the door and around the block of Ecotrust where it was held. We’re working on getting more space for this year’s festival.

Festival organizers David Picklopolis Barber, me, and Mr. George dapper foodist Winborn right before the doors closed.

Wordstock 2011 was a blast as always in October. I was there for my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland and also with Hawthorne Books where I’m an editor and publicist.

Todd Sattersten, me, Kelley Roy and Jen Stevenson after our panel at Wordstock 2011.

Lucky Peach magazine from McSweeney’s made its debut in 2011 and I wrote about it after the second kick-ass issue came out in the fall.

Second issue of Lucky Peach hot off the presses!

And then several short weeks later we got to announce that McSweeney’s Books is publishing the Toro Bravo Cookbook, due out fall 2013, that I’m writing, David Lanthan Reamer is photographing and my boyfriend Tyler Adams is illustrating. Fuck yeah! Go Toro Bravo!

This is the proposal that our agent sent out to seal the deal with McSweeney's Books.

Thanks for reading, thanks for being you! Happy 2012!

For Your Viewing Pleasure…

February 21st, 2012

Left to right -- Tyler, John and Josh testing the couscous for the Moroccan tuna in the Toro Bravo Cookbook, due out fall 2013 from McSweeney's.

It was a busy weekend work-wise so I’m not feeling up to putting together a blog post at the moment. That said, I hope that this photo will give you a little food for thought as well as an eye into what I’ve been up. We’re having a lot of fun working on the Toro Bravo Cookbook these days…


Portland’s Yard, Garden & Patio Show Feb. 17-19, 2012

February 13th, 2012

Turn your weeds into wine -- dandelion wine! I'll be talking all things fermented at this years Yard, Garden & Patio Show on Saturday, February 18th at the Oregon Convention Center.

My good friend Karen Schwartz of Calendula Garden Design is involved yet again in a big way in this year’s Yard, Garden & Patio Show at the Oregon Convention Center February 17-19. She and her friend Carol Senna of Melingo Studio Landscape Design are the coordinators/organizers of the Incredible Edible Garden which includes espaliered fruit trees, a preserving station, dining area, stacked stone beds and much more. Here’s the scoop straight from the YGP website:

You are in for a very special treat. This year’s Incredible Edible Garden is being transformed by garden designers Karen Schwartz and Carol Senna into a lovely French jardin potager. The goal of the potager, an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden, is to make the function of providing food aesthetically pleasing. Plants and garden structures are chosen as much for their functionality as for their color and form to offer year round interest.

Raised beds, charming wattle fencing, tucked away dining spaces and creative, edible screening options will be on display. We hope you’ll be enticed into the growing garden-to-table movement. Experts will be on hand to provide bed preparation, planting, plant selection, preserving and other food and gardening-related tips and information. Even if food gardening isn’t in your future, you’ll be inspired by the design elements the garden offers. We’re very excited for you to see it.

It’s a very elaborate and time consuming project and I can’t wait to walk through Karen and Carol’s Garden along with the other several other life-sized gardens fully decked out and on display for the show. General all ages admission to the show is $10 and you can purchase tickets in advance or at the door.

Here’s a little more info. from the website:

Enjoy daily performances by Ahmed Hassan host of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers, the spectacular 7 Gardens of the World, Outdoor Cooking Classes, and fun for all ages. Experience our Garden to Table – Incredible Edible Garden, Free Garden Seminars & Demonstrations, the Remarkable Green Market and more.

I’m really happy that Karen invited me and many other local folks to attend for hour to two hour slots to answer edible gardening questions. The programming that I’m involved in is called Meet the Experts! and you can check out the schedule here. I’ll be hanging out and answering questions about new harvest extension techniques and food and drink fermentation from 2-3pm on Saturday, February 18th at the Incredible Edible Garden. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, I’d call myself an enthusiast but there are folks participating in Meet the Experts! who are indeed experts who you might be interested in checking out including Vern Nelson, Linda Ziedrich and many others.

Please stop by and say hello. Hope to see you there!

This weekend!

Portland’s 2012 Yard, Garden & Patio Show
February 17-19, 2012 at the Oregon Convention Center
Tickets are $10 all ages and available at the door. Or you can…
Buy tickets in advance

Yard Fresh Pt. 19

February 6th, 2012

One of our best skillet breakfasts to date -- pulled pork, cheddar, onion and eggs.

We’ve gotten a lot of good news in the past few weeks — one of the biggest causes for celebration being McSweeney’s picking up the Toro Bravo Cookbook that I’m writing with John Gorham, with photography by David Lanthan Reamer and illustrations by Tyler Adams! (We’re busy working on it now and it comes out in fall 2013.) With all of that celebrating comes a certain number of meals out and cava corks popped.

Still, we’ve made some tasty food at home as always and below is some of what we’ve been cooking. Hope that you’re doing well and eating well too. Please chime in with anything you’ve cooked lately that you’ve loved.

This was our first meal with the spicy pulled pork that I recently made -- straight up on a bun with spicy garlic dills.

Then we had it over turmeric rice and that was great for all of the sauce.

This Meyer lemon miso pasta with hazelnuts, carrots and cilantro was really fresh and tasty.

And so was this saute of turkey and brussels sprouts with a light gravy over rice.

We make this sort of a snack platter a lot in the winter -- cheese breads with grated onion, homemade pickled beets and honeycrisp apple.

Dungeness drizzled in Meyer lemon butter on a soft Viet-French baguette with mayo and Sriracha. So fucking good.

Yard Fresh Pt. 18
Yard Fresh Pt. 17
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Yard Fresh Pt. 2
Yard Fresh Pt. 1