Another Food Lover’s Guide to Portland Coming Soon

April 29th, 2013

Food Lover's Guide to Portland in good company at Powell's.

Portland has a small, tight-knit food community. Since moving here in 2002 I’ve recognized that more and more every year. Everyone seems to know everyone in the culinary world and it’s a very supportive and celebratory community for the most part. Sure, there’s competition but not nearly as much as in many cities and it’s usually friendly competition. All of this speaks to why I was really surprised to find out that a book of the same title as mine is coming out this fall — Food Lovers’ Guide to Portland, Oregon by Laurie Wolf.

I heard about it first through the grapevine a few weeks ago and went straight to the source. Wolf confirmed that, yes, she is writing a book with the same title. I have to add here that I think it’s a good thing that you can’t copyright titles. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m surprised, however, that someone would do this.

I’ve researched, written and promoted my book for the past five years — no small feat. Luckily, Sasquatch Books and I were already planning a reprint and future revision of my book. Now I just have to burn the midnight oil for the latter so that my revised edition comes out at the same time as Wolf’s. I may be challenging someone to a Food Lover’s Guide to Portland duel this fall. We shall see. Silver linings.

The ORIGINAL Food Lover’s Guide to Portland, by Liz Crain
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern in Portland

April 15th, 2013

Portland shoot for Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods last summer, airs next Monday night!

Last spring I got a call from a producer of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods asking if I wanted to help out with an upcoming Portland episode. She’d seen my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland, had checked out my blog and wanted me to help choose subjects and themes for the upcoming Portland show. We had a lot of back and forth for a few months before they came to Portland to shoot last summer.

I know a lot of the folks that they ended up featuring but I’m sure that there will be some surprises as well. People and businesses that I recommended include Steve Jones of Cheese Bar, Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Geoff Latham of Nicky USA, Earnest and Sumiko Migaki of Jorinji Miso, John Cleary of Newman’s Fish Company, David Barber of Picklopolis, The Frying Scotsman, The Big Egg, Andrea Spella of Spella Caffe, Gabe Rosen of Biwa, Gena Renaud of Yume Confections and Naomi Montacre of Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply. These are the folks that I remember talking about but I know there were more.

When the crew came to town last summer I got to tag along for a day. I haven’t seen any of the show yet but if you watch it imagine me crouched between storage racks behind the sound guy when Andrew is making a very strange sounding ice cream (hint: smoke and bones). I even got to introduce myself to Mr. Z and we talked a bit about Vassar our alma mater. Now, more than a year later, the show is finally airing — next Monday night on the Travel Channel. I’m really looking forward to tuning in.

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Essential Pepin

April 8th, 2013

Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin is a great comprehensive cookbook for the home cook.

This is an enormous cookbook as it should be since Jacques Pepin has aimed to cook down and encapsulate his entire career with it. I’ve been a fan of Pepin’s for years. I first got to know him as many did — through his televised PBS cooking series with Julia Child — Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. I love how at ease they are with one another. Jacques prefers black pepper, Julia prefers white and they bicker about it on camera. You get their character and humor unlike a lot of today’s highly groomed food television folks. I also really enjoyed reading Pepin’s The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. If you’re looking for an engaging read that takes you through the learning and becoming of a chef read it. It’s such a good book.

I’d been talking about how I wanted Essential Pepin, which came out in fall 2011, for awhile and then one day out of the blue my ex-boyfriend’s mom sent it to me in the mail. Love her. Here are some of the things that I’ve cooked from it…

The first dish I made from Essential Pepin is the chicken diable and it turned out great -- pan seared chicken with a red wine vinegary tomato sauce. Served it with sauteed sprouts, hazelnuts and white rice.

I often give scraps and trimmings to my dog but I made cracklings out of some of the skin since there was so much. Yum.

Really good breakfast the next morning with the leftovers.

I cooked up a big batch of Pepin's kidney bean and beef chili and got a lot of use out of it mixed with rice and coconut milk for dinner and sauteed up with eggs here for breakfast.

Pepin's not so pretty but very tasty lentil bulgur soup.

Essential Pepin
by Jacques Pepin
Pub. date October, 2011
704 pages
$40, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Zenger Farm CSA Accepts Food Stamps

April 1st, 2013

SNAP recipient Jennifer Dynes and her daughter, Annie, picking up their Zenger Farm Share. Photo courtesy of Zenger Farm.

There are so many great food events in Portland and lately I haven’t had time to go to many. One of my favorites of the past several year’s has been Friends of Family Farmers’ free and open to the public InFARMations held at Holocene every second Tuesday night of the month. The last one held featured Zenger Farm’s new SNAP for CSA toolkit and I wish I could have gone and learned more about it. Here’s the gist straight from the source:

Zenger Farm is launching a new toolkit to help Oregon CSA farmers begin accepting SNAP dollars (formerly known as Food Stamps) for their member shares. This is a key component in the fight for better access to good food for all.

Fast facts:

• SNAP brings more than $1 billion in federal food money to Oregon each year.
• Zenger Farm Shares was one of the first Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) in Oregon to accept SNAP.
• While the traditional CSA model supports farmers by assisting with the upfront costs of farming, that same upfront capital investment is often a barrier for households on limited incomes.
• In 2011, Zenger Farm received a grant to develop a toolkit to help Oregon CSA farmers begin accepting SNAP dollars. This toolkit will be rolled out at community meetings and conferences across the state, as well as through online webinars in 2013.

More info about the toolkit and program
More about Zenger Farm Shares