Yard Fresh Pt. 31

June 19th, 2015
My new batch of miso salted in and in the crock! The oldest I have now that's still fermenting is 5 years old.

My new batch of miso! The oldest I have now that’s still fermenting is 5 years old.

Well, well, well, it’s been a year since I did one of these installments. Time flies when you’re having fun and I’ve been having a lot of fun lately. Candle both ends as usual. The last Yard Fresh I wrote in May 2014 right when my kitchen was going into remodel surgery. That seems like years ago — so many parties and dinner parties and cooking fun has transpired in it since. I am so grateful to my good friends at St. Johns Design Build for making my kitchen dreams come true. I couldn’t love my kitchen more or recommend these fellows more highly for any home remodel project.

I’ll get to the food photos in a second but here’s a quick recap. of the past few months. I got to do my very first writing residency for my novel at The Sou’wester in April and it was awesome. I cranked out 3,000 words a day on average and even managed to cook and eat all kinds of tasty treats that you’ll see below. I also got to go to San Francisco in early May to interview one of my food heroes Mark Bittman for a magazine I’ve subscribed to and loved for years. That interview won’t publish for awhile and I’ll be sure to let you know when it does.

For now, I’m still loving my work at Hawthorne Books which recently merged with Dzanc Books, working on my novel one day a week, we just finished the Tasty Cookbook proposal (we originally proposed a brunch book but now it’s AM plus PM dishes mmmm) and our agent is sending it out, I’m working on a hard cider book with someone near and dear, we’re about to set the date for the 6th Annual Portland Fermentation Festival this fall and get cracking on that again, I’m doing all kinds of fun things with Team Gorham as always, and I’m working on something with the fine folks at Inkshares this summer. Sheesh. That’s a lot.

This summer I plan to be the river rat that I always am when the days are long and this time around it will often be with my sweet, sweet fellow Jimbo. That makes me very happy. I also plan to camp and cook outside a lot and use my pie irons often. We’re going to the Outer Banks with my family in a month. I have 200 bottles of homemade plum wine to bottle this year from the Brooks Plum tree in the front yard. And, you know, drink. Friends make the world go round so I will be playing in the sun with them a whole heck of a lot in upcoming months.

Hope you’ve been working on good projects, having fun with friends and family and cooking and eating delicious food. I harvested my garlic one month early this year — so hot these days! — and now I have flashy trout’s back lettuce and kale and soon tomatoes, chiles, zukes etc. SUMMMMMMMMMER! Love to you and hope you have an incredible summer. Do all the fun things as much as you can. Summer is magic and it always goes fast.

I didn't actually cook this buuuuut isn't it pretty?! My super talented friend Tom Humphrey designed it and John G and I and his team worked our arses off putting this FIFTY page book proposal together. Going out to publishers this week!

I didn’t actually cook this buuuuut isn’t it pretty?! My super talented friend Tom Humphrey designed it and John G and I and his team worked our arses off putting this FIFTY page book proposal together. Going out to publishers this week!

Potato taco time! My friend Raquel's late mom Anna taught me how to make these. These mean summer and love to me.

Potato taco time! My friend Raquel’s late mom Anna taught me how to make these. These mean summer and love to me.

Potato tacos at night aaaaand potato tostadas in the morning! With soyrizo and eggs. Yummmmm.

Potato tacos at night aaaand potato tostadas in the morning! With soyrizo and eggs. Yummmmm.

Plum wine bottling and drinking with my housey and friend. And the White Wolf. Only 25 more gallons to go!

Plum wine bottling and drinking with my housey and friend. And the White Wolf. Only 25 more gallons to go!

Plum wine in Grolsch bottles and getting fizzzzzzy.

Plum wine in Grolsch bottles and getting fizzzzzzy.

Flashy Trout's Back lettuce from Territorial Seed. Have twenty this size in the backyard. Salad Dayzzzzz

Flashy Trout’s Back lettuce from Territorial Seed. Have twenty this size in the backyard. Salad Dayzzzzz

Straining my homemade vinegars -- plum wine vin and grapefruit. My friend Gilion gave me the vinegar mother and I've made a bunch of these and pineapple vinegar so far. Love them.

Straining my homemade vinegars — plum wine vin and grapefruit. My friend Gilion gave me the vinegar mother and I’ve made a bunch of these and pineapple vinegar so far. Love them.

Nettle pesto fixings -- olive oil, toasted hazelnuts, asiago, olive oil. Added bonus: flash boil the nettles for the pesto and you get nettle tea too.

Nettle pesto fixings — olive oil, toasted hazelnuts, asiago, olive oil. Added bonus: flash boil the nettles for the pesto and you get nettle tea too.

Nettle pesto orzo with home canned tuna and pickled peppers.

Nettle pesto orzo with home canned tuna and pickled peppers.

Beach Bloody Mary and oyster bar with friends. And TINY TABASCO!

Beach Bloody Mary and oyster bar with friends. And TINY TABASCO!

Backyard garlic harvest one month early this year.

Backyard garlic harvest one month early this year.

Razor clam deviled eggs!! Sou'wester owner Thandi brought the clams to my trailer and I made us these with preserved lemon, pimenton and lots and lots of olive oil. One of my best deviled eggs to date and I LOVE deviled eggs. Dreamy.

Razor clam deviled eggs!! Sou’wester owner Thandi brought the clams to my trailer and I made us these with preserved lemon, pimenton and lots and lots of olive oil. One of my best deviled eggs to date and I LOVE deviled eggs. Dreamy.

Mr. Bittman's wacky good Manchurian Tofu and Cauliflower from his latest cookbook How to Cook Everything Faster which I love and have cooked a ton from.

Mr. Bittman’s wacky good Manchurian Tofu and Cauliflower from his latest cookbook How to Cook Everything Faster which I love and have cooked a ton from.

Leftover mac and cheese from Dig A Pony with my kimchi and eggs. I want this now!

Leftover mac and cheese from Dig A Pony with my kimchi and eggs. I want this now!

I'll leave you with this picture of spring/summer happiness: solo early eve Sazerac on my trailer stoop at the Sou'wester. Life is sweet.

I’ll leave you with this picture of spring/summer happiness: solo early eve Sazerac on my trailer stoop at the Sou’wester. Life is sweet.

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Yard Fresh Pt. 28

August 22nd, 2013

I've been making this rhubarb syrup the past few years with rhubarb from the front yard and it always turns out great. I mixed it with margaritas and also used it with my new favorite kitchen gadget below.

I’m still enjoying this incredible summer as much as possible (trips to the river, plum wine, dancing, reading, camping and much more) and working less than usual before the Toro Bravo cookbook storm hits. Right now we’re in the planning stages for the tour that commences in one short month. (You can pre-order the cookbook now from Powell’s and Amazon.) We’ll be heading to New York, DC, Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle, Boise and Eugene this fall for the book! I’ll post more details about that soon as well as about the cookbook launch party. For now, save the date for it — the evening of Tuesday, October 15th at Toro Bravo. If you’ve never been to a Toro party before expect to stay late and party hard. It’s going to be crazy fun.

The garden is growing and in full swing and mostly I’m getting a lot of tomatoes which are my favorite in the summer. I could eat them for just about every meal — in a scramble for breakfast, sliced with a little salt on toasted bread with mayo for lunch, chips and salsa for a snack, in a sauce or saute for dinner. I never get sick of garden fresh summer tomatoes. I also have pickling cukes, green beans, zucchini, grapes and all the herbs and more going strong now. Life is good.

Here’s some of what I’ve cooked and eaten lately. What have you been happily eating?

I've wanted one of these for awhile and now I finally have one! Fizzy water around the clock. Mostly I just drink it straight up but it was pretty tasty with the rhubarb syrup.

Harvested the 90 or so softnecks and left it to cure a little too long. Pretty dry but that's ok. I think I'll roast some and store it in oil.

Butter lettuce, Choi's white kimchi (homemade), boiled egg, radish, scallions and miso lime vinaigrette. Really good salad.

First tomato haul with some of the early Concords.

River snack. Cottage cheese, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simple and perfect.

Late night camping trip bar prep of gingery Bloody Mary mix and margarita mix made with two bags of limes.

Backyard tomato plants.

Sweet pea tomatoes or, as Kylie likes to call them...TINY TOMATOES!

Salame rolls with chipotle, preserved lemon cream cheese and a cornichon topper.

First spicy garlic dills of the season! Many more to come.

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July 19th, 2013

In late May I went on an incredible morel hunting camping trip in Washington and collected SIX pounds of morels! This is a morel cream sauce with eggs and rice for breakfast after I got back to town. So good.

I’m really sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here but I’ve been crazy busy finishing up two book projects and now I’m shutting down the mind machine a bit for some much needed summer fun. I plan to work as little as possible this summer. I’ve already been on a trip to Missoula and now I’m off for a week in Maine. After burning the candle on both ends for the past year I have absolutely no guilt about telling my usually very strong work ethic to fuck off.

Even though the Toro Bravo cookbook (you can pre-order it now!) is pretty much out of my hands now and soon to be on press for its fall release I’ve still been cooking from it. (I’ll put together another cooking from the book post again soon too.) I’ve cooked and eaten a lot of other tasty things lately as well now that the garden is just about in full swing. Lately I’ve been eating a lot of arugula and greens, sugar snap peas and various herbs and berries from it. I harvested the garlic and it’s curing in the utility room. Next up: tomatoes, cukes, chiles, green beans and more. I love summer.

Here’s some of what I’ve cooked and eaten lately…

This is what went into the sauce above the night before -- morels, lemons, garlic, homemade plum wine and cream.

With sorrel from the garden and Edelwiess sausages over toast. Yum!

The dehydrated haul after eating a bunch fresh while camping and once home.

Homemade kimchi rice, egg and cheese never gets old.

Baguette sandwich with Freybe salame, tapenade and pickled peppers.

Some of the best deviled eggs I've ever made with fish sauce, kimchi, chives, sprinkled with togarashi.

Used these spring onions in a bunch of things...

This year's plum wine! 100 bottles!

More morel fixings...

Not too pretty but very, very tasty.

The end of the arugula...

Arugula hazelnut preserved lemon pesto and my little friend.

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2nd Annual Ulisse Edera Tomato Sale

May 6th, 2013

Get tomatoes next Friday grown from seeds that this man, the late Ulisse Edera, grew for years -- 100 year old, tomato seeds that he brought to Portland from Italy. Photo courtesy of Keith Skelton.

Want to buy this man’s Italian, 100-year-old heirloom seed tomatoes for your garden? Wish granted. Go to HOTLIPS Pizza’s 2nd annual, Ulisse Edera Tomato Sale — a one-day plant sale at its Ecotrust location next Friday, May 17th from 9am-5pm. Each one-gallon tomato plant will be $10 and 100% of sales go to support Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Here’s more info. pretty much straight from the press release…

HOTLIPS owner, David Yudkin, has saved seeds and propagated these 100 year old tomato plants since meeting the late Ulisse Edera in 1984 in Edera’s garden south of Portland in Milwaukie’s Ardenwald neighborhood, where many of Portland’s early Italian truck farms were located.

Born in Canelli, Italy, in August, 1890, Ulisse was an orphan raised by three different families, finally in Colcavagno, Austria, where he attended school. After serving in the Italian Army, Ulisse followed his brother to the US at age 23, hand carrying tomato seeds on the voyage. Ulisse filed citizenship papers at La Grande, Oregon in 1916, and in 1917 joined the US Army. The brothers made weekend visits to the Italian families living in Ardenwald, who farmed and sold produce at the Portland Farmers Market. It was there he met his wife, Daria, and at age 31 Ulisse and Daria were married. In 1925 they built a house on 32nd Avenue in Ardenwald and continued farming on 22 acres then known as Johnson Creek Farms. They both lived in that house the rest of their lives with close Italian neighbors and many friends nearby.

Every inch of Ulisse’s small yard was planted with vegetables and flowers. He grew 200 pounds of garlic every year, drying it and selling it, along with homemade vinegar. A visit with Ulisse always included a taste of his “bagnait” on dried bread with a sip or two of red wine. Visitors left his house without a bag of garden delights picked during their visit. Ulisse died at age 103. Though he had slowed down some, he was still gardening, cooking, preserving foods, hunting mushrooms on Mt. Hood, welcoming visitors and visiting neighbors at that time.

About Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, (a private 501(c)3 non-profit), was founded in 1989 as Friends of Opal Creek to gain protection of the Opal Creek watershed for future generations to study and enjoy, a goal we achieved in 1996. Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center maintains and stewards Jawbone Flats, a rejuvenated historic mining town in the heart of the 35,000-acre ancient forest watershed of the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area. We are located on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains, one hour east of Salem, Oregon, and approximately two hours from Portland, two and a half from Eugene and three from Bend. Opal Creek’s Mission” “Promoting conservation through educational experiences in wilderness.”
www.opalcreek.org

About HOTLIPS

Founded in 1984, HOTLIPS is a Portland family-owned business with five pizza restaurants and a line of real fruit soda. Our mission is to preserve culture and celebrate humanity through rich culinary experiences, and by joining others in finding new and sustainable ways of doing business. Currently with 135 on staff, we train our folks to get out and talk about sustainability, ask questions, think of new things. We spend a lot of time teaching, taking our show on the road. We love what we do.
www.hotlipspizza.com

2nd Annual Ulisse Edera Tomato Sale
Friday, May 17th
9am-5pm at HOTLIPS Pizza @ Ecotrust
721 NW 9th Ave., #150
Portland, Oregon 97209
www.hotlipspizza.com

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

Yard Fresh Pt. 26

March 20th, 2013

Surprised it took me so long to finally tackle Tom Yum soup. I made mine with a lot of galangal, ginger, lemongrass, lime and fish sauce and kept it simple with just prawns. I made it when I was sick with a dumb cold and it made me feel better right away.

I’ve been eating out a lot lately but that’s not because I haven’t wanted to cook I just want to see people and be out and about and, of course, there is so much good food to be had in Portland. I’ve also been pretty busy and it’s been nice to turn off the mind machine and let others cook sometimes.

That said, I’ve still cooked a fair few tasty things lately and I’m very happy that more foods will be coming from my garden sooner than later. I’ve planted my peas and this weekend I’m going to get more veggie beds ready and start some seeds indoors. A lot of herbs are coming up now too — oregano, mint, sorrel, fennel and then some. Please leave a comment here and let me know of anything you’ve recently cooked, eaten or planted that you love.

Some of what went into my Tom Yum soup. From top left Thai basil, Thai chiles, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, lemongrass, galangal, ginger.

Really simple Spanish braised beef with mash from Claudia Roden's The Food of Spain. Warmed me right up.

Quick salad with Toro's tapenade, anchovies and a garlicky citrusy vinaigrette with broiled cheese bread.

Planted sugar snap peas a few weeks ago but none have come up so planted another round this weekend.

Took this a few weeks ago -- red-veined sorrel, oregano and mint popping up in the garden.

Ham, egg and cheesy breakfast. Top of the morning.

I made a batch of Choi's Kimchi and it turned out great.

And then I made kimchi jjigae with a jar of it which I order all the time and have never made. Really good.

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November 19th, 2012

Plum wine sangria that tweaked from the Toro Bravo white wine sangria recipe. Mmmm.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these and to tell the truth I’ve been so busy meeting our final deadline for the Toro Bravo Cookbook (WE DID IT!) amongst several other big deadline projects I really haven’t been cooking all that much. That said, I’ve made a few tasty thing lately and I’m going to share them with you here. Have you cooked anything really good in the past few weeks?

First roasted bird of the season -- stuffed with lemon and seasoned with a lot of olive oil and smoked paprika.

Last batch of spicy garlic dills. Didn't go overboard this year like I tend to with these...

And the last haul from the garden -- mostly went into soup...

Made twice as much plum wine this year -- all from the Brooks plum tree in the front yard. Should have about 100 bottles come spring!

Potato tacos became potato tostadas for breakfast. One of my favorite breakfasts...

Grilled sockeye that my neighbor caught (I'm so lucky) with grilled cauliflower and stewed green beans.



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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

Yard Fresh Pt. 23

August 20th, 2012

The best cocktail so far of the summer Hood strawberry margaritas with Hornitos, strained strawberry juice, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Wish we still had strawberries...

We’ve been eating a lot from the yard these days with much more to come. It was in the 90s for a good enough stretch that the fruits are ripening and the zukes and cukes are going crazy. Hope you’ve been eating good local fruits and veggies lately too…

There is a reason people go crazy over Hood strawberries for the short window that they're available every year. They're that good.

First garlic harvest...

Second garlic harvest a couple weeks later. It was a pretty wet spring and early summer and I lost a lot of garlic to rot.

Made these for a 4th of July barbecue. Blended chipotle chiles and lime juice into cream cheese and then wrapped it in Freybe salame topped with a bite of homemade spicy garlic dill pickle. They went fast.

I always look forward to hazelnut arugula pesto...

Beet salad with a creamy Meyer lemon vinaigrette. A couple years ago I had an incredible beet salad at Evoe on Southeast Hawthorne and I've been dreaming of it by making various versions at home ever since.

Great year for lettuce. One of our many heads of delicious flashy trout's back lettuce.

All of 2012's cherry plum wine is bottled -- nearly 50 bottles. So good. The plums in the front yard are ripening now and I'll probably start this year's plum wine this weekend.

It's not exactly edible but wanted to share with you this Powell's promo. that includes my book and a whole bunch of other great food and outdoor books from publisher Sasquatch Books. 30 percent off all of these titles for a limited time at Powell's Books.

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2012 Tour de Hives

August 6th, 2012

Check out this year's 2nd annual Tour de Hives put on by the Zenger Farm Bee Group.

The Zenger Farm Bee Group has organized Portland’s second annual Tour de Hives and it’s taking place in backyards near you on Saturday, August 18th in celebration of National Honey Bee Day. Local backyard beekeepers will host self guided apiary tours throughout the Portland area from 1-4pm in order educate the public about urban beekeeping and how to be a good steward of the honeybee.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Tour de Hives website at a sliding scale of $5-15. Children are free with an adult. All proceeds benefit Zenger Farm. I’m not sure if I’ll be back in town by then but if I am I hope to see you there. Sounds fantastic.

One week prior to the event, a tour map and site addresses will be emailed to ticket purchasers. For the self-guided tour participants transport themselves to each site, and set their own pace exploring a wide spectrum of urban beekeeping styles. A full list of tour guidelines is available online. And I think that they’re still looking for volunteers if you’re interested in lending a hand.

Following the event from 4-6 p.m. tour participants are encouraged to head to the Lucky Lab on Southeast Hawthorne to continue the conversation. For more information, contact Sydney Mead at sydney@ecotrust.org, or visit the Tour de Hives website.

About Zenger Farm

Founded in 1999, Zenger Farm is a working urban farm that models, promotes and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. It now consists of 9.7 acres of farmland and wetland in outer southeast Portland. For more information visit www.zengerfarm.org.

Tour de Hives 2012
www.tourdehives.com
Organized by Zenger Farm
Saturday, August 18
Self-Guided Apiary Tours: 1-4 p.m.
Post Event Gathering: 4-6 p.m. at Lucky Lab (915 SE Hawthorne Blvd.)
Tickets can be purchased online at a sliding scale of $5-15. Children are free with an adult.