For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 6

September 17th, 2012

Chef John Gorham whisking egg whites for Toro Bravo's salt cod fritter recipe for the cookbook, the book's photographer David Reamer to the right, and my set up in the foreground. Only 10 more recipes to go!

We leave this week for our week-long trip to Spain for the Toro Bravo Cookbook (McSweeney’s Fall 2013) and I’m so excited! I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while and to have it come at the end of the cookbook writing process not long before our final deadline is perfect. John Gorham, Toro Bravo chef-owner, got us all tickets and rooms (incredibly generous) for this eating/drinking pilgrimage. Going on the trip: John, the book’s photographer David Reamer, myself, the book’s editor Rachel Khong from McSweeney’s, Toro’s chef de cuisine Kasey Mills and Toro’s charcuterie manager Josh Scofield. I’m probably not going to post for a few weeks because of the trip and everything going on when I get back but I thought you might like this peek into the book. We only have 10 recipes left to test! Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the last bit of summer.
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 5
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 4
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 3
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 2
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 1

Hillsdale Paella Party 2012

September 10th, 2012

Chef Greg Higgins cooking up paella for 300 people at last year's Hillsdale Paella Party.

Last year I wrote about the Hillsdale Paella Party here and I’m doing it again because there’s a 5 foot paella pan involved (!) and all sorts of other tasty food and drink and I really like the community behind this Hillsdale Main Street, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing Hillsdale, second annual event.

I’m going to pull all of the most important info. from the press release below. If you’re interested in attending I suggest getting a ticket sooner than later (purchase tickets here) because last year’s event sold out. From the press release…

This Saturday you’re invited to eat, drink and be merry for a great cause with the largest paella offering in the Northwest — cooked up by James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Higgins. Desserts will be by Portland’s Baker & Spice Bakery, with executive baker Julie Richardson who just released her new book Vintage Cakes. Latin music will be by Ojos Feos. This year more 300 Portlanders will attend to support this annual fundraiser.

On September 15th, guests will escape to Spain in an outdoor summer setting here in Southwest Portland, enjoying Spanish wines, live music, gourmet tapas and desserts, along with traditional paella. “When added to the outstanding tapas, still raved about after last year, and the decadent desserts created and donated by Hillsdale’s own Baker & Spice Bakery, this year’s event will be one-of-a-kind.”, says Hillsdale Main Street Executive Director Megan Braunsten.

While attendees dance to Afro-Cuban and South American style music, enjoy wine and tapas and, they will also be entertained by the making of the paella. The paella dinner, a tradition in Valencia, Spain, is a means of bringing the community neighbors together to connect, share in the meal and have fun. The paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish including saffron, shrimp, chicken, sausage and vegetables, cooked in a large round pan (a paella) outdoors for large groups of people.

Sponsors include Wyse Kadish, Willamette Week, Baker & Spice Bakery and Food Front. Hillsdale Main Street, one of the three Portland Main Street programs, is a program of the Hillsdale Community Foundation, a 501c3 whose mission is to make Hillsdale a better place to live, learn, work and shop by fostering community building and by raising and distributing resources. A portion of the proceeds will also go to benefit the Neighborhood House Emergency Food Box Program. Neighborhood House now serves approximately 14,000 low-income children, families and seniors around the city each year through programs that educate children and parents, feed and house hungry and homeless families, and assist seniors so that they can continue to live independently.

Hillsdale Paella Party
Saturday, September 15th, 2012
In the Hillsdale Business District in the big tent next to Bank of America at
6309 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, Oregon 97239
$100 per person (Proceeds benefit Hillsdale Main Street and Neighborhood House Emergency Food Box Program)
Purchase tickets
Contact Tamairah Boleyn for more information:
tam at korkagewine dot com

Portland Garagistes Pt. 1

September 3rd, 2012

There are many ways to use a garage...

When I was a full-time freelance food writer I got used to rejection. If you can’t accept the lack of a timely response too often eventually followed by rejection then you shouldn’t freelance because that’s unfortunately the nature of the beast most of the time. I learned how to spin very different pitches for the same story as well as restructure stories for numerous local and national publications. Now that I’ve published a book, am working on another book due out fall 2013 and am editor and publicity director at a publishing house I have less patience for that process so I mostly just write stories that I’m asked to write or put things that I’m interested in up here on my blog.

A while back though I met one too many people in Portland crafting delicious foods and drinks in their garages and decided I should write a story about it. I set up interviews and spent a good amount of time in garages throughout Portland talking with folks about the delicious foods and drinks that they craft in them — a dessert maker, a cider maker, a winemaker, a beer brewer and a Persian pickle maker. I learned a lot and had a great time.

When it came to pitching the story the process took much longer than I remembered. I know that editors are very busy and receive an never ending, steady supply of pitches — some good, many bad — so I understand their often delayed responses to a certain degree. This is all a long way of saying that I tried and failed a few times to get this story published nationally and locally and I don’t want to try to spin it any more. I’m doling it out to you in five installments here over the next several weeks because I love these people and think what they’re doing is inspiring and important and, of course, delicious. I should have put this up here in the first place because it would have been a longer, more developed story if I hadn’t tailored it so much. Stop complaining. Without further ado…

Portland Garagistes

In the Bordeaux region of France the term “garagiste” was coined in the mid 1990s when a group of winemakers began a movement of small batch wines, often made in their garages, that bucked the Bordeaux standard. I like the name “garagiste” and think it fits in spirit with what the five Portlanders featured here are doing — making tasty stuff in their garages.

Sure, a kitchen is for cooking but they can get cramped and sticky hot — especially when you’ve got a five-gallon homebrew pot simmering on the stove top for hours. I don’t cook anything in my garage but in the past several years I’ve moved a lot of my food and drink ferments into the utility room at the back of the house. That’s where I make and store crocks of miso, carboys of homemade fruit wines and hard ciders and buckets of kraut and sour pickles. More and more Portlanders are taking that kitchen extension one step further and into their garages.

I spent time with five such folks checking out their set-ups (all of their garages are average-sized at 250-350 square feet) and tasting what they make. Some are crafting commercial products and see their garage as an affordable space to work with while others just enjoy the larger square footage and freedom to be a little dirtier, a little scrappier, and a more isolated and less distracted by the outside world. Portland is fairly temperate so the home garage never gets too hot or cold. Nothing a couple space heaters or fans can’t fix.

Stay tuned for Portland’s “Garagistes” to be featured in five upcoming installments:

Pickler Charles Attarzadeh
Sweetmaker Cheryl Wakerhauser
Cidermaker Nat West
Homebrewer Aaron Cohen
Winemaker Jan-Marc Baker