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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Katrina Blair author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds at Reed College for free & open-to-the-public event this Thursday

November 10th, 2014

I'm really looking forward to the years to come with this book. Great wild edible reference by Katrina Blair with an intro. by my friend and food hero Sandor Ellix Katz.

A fine fellow in my life called me a hedonist in a sweet and loving way this weekend — it was my birthday weekend after all — and I agreed wholeheartedly before adding that I do well by my happiness-above-all-else and pleasure-seeking ways because I genuinely love the natural, wild side of life in addition to my less wholesome proclivities.

When it comes to food and drink that means that I favor whole foods and quality ingredients, homegrown fruits and veggies, homemade ferments and most importantly here — wildcrafted foods. (I especially love wildcrafted Munchos. I forage these in this region primarily from Plaid Pantries.) I started foraging when I moved to Portland in 2002 and every year I seem to add a couple more foraging favorites.

Some things that I look forward to harvesting from the wild annually in the Pacific Northwest include morels and chanterelles, stinging nettles, dandelions, miner’s lettuce, sorrel, blackberries +++

I’m so lucky to have received an advanced copy of Katrina Blair’s book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds just out from Chelsea Green. My friend and food hero Sandor Ellix Katz wrote the intro. and I agree with him when he writes: “In our contemporary society, most people grow up with minimal connection to the natural world around us. Most of us can identify many more corporate logos than plants. Yet plants are incredibly important and without them we could not exist.”

Katrina’s book is a very personal, dig deep look at 13 of the world’s most common wild edible plants that includes all sorts of DIY projects and recipes (100+) for the plants including info. on fermenting, dehydrating, making oils from and sprouting these wild edibles: dandelion, mallow, purslane, plantain, thistle, amaranth, dock, mustard, grass, chickweed, clover, lambsquarter and knotweed. Half of these wild edibles are already my friends and the other half I want to become more acquainted with. I’m looking forward to using this book as my guide.

Katrina is in town this week for a fun, free and open to the public event at Reed College. Maybe I’ll see you there?

When: Thursday, November 13 from 4-6pm
Where: Meet at Eliot Hall Room 314 Reed College
What: Go for a wild plant walk with Katrina Blair, wild-foods advocate and author of the new book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. Return to the Aspen Utility Room for a presentation and wild green juice sampling.
This event is hosted by the Reed Outing Club

Yard Fresh Pt. 30

May 15th, 2014

My kitchen is being remodeled by my friends at St. Johns Design Build. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

I haven’t done one of these since last summer! Holy shit time flies. Lately I’ve been wishing that there were a way to expand time to fit more of the best of life in. I don’t necessarily want the days to be longer I just want to be writing, sailing, cooking, loving, swimming, travelling and on and on and on contemporaneously somehow/someway. So that each would be enjoyed fully but a different part of me would be present for each. I’ll go do some more drugs now. Sorry.

So, I’m getting my kitchen remodeled! Finally. My super talented friends at St. Johns Design Build (they don’t have a website yet but once they do I’ll shout it out here) — Brian McVay, Clarence Jacobs and Rude Graves — are kicking ass doing a complete overhaul. Things that I’m really looking forward to: the original fir floor being sanded and finished, my new-to-me kick-ass professional-style Dynasty gas stove, sweet-ass tiling by Rude, old bleachers made into beautiful new cabinets and drawers and shelves by Clarence, a bar, maple chopping block peninsula, paperstone counters and all sorts of other magic by Brian and crew. Life is sweet. I’ll put up some photos of the progress in the next several weeks.

In the meantime, near and dear friends in the neighborhood are happy because I’ve been using their kitchens more and I also have a funky little interim kitchen in the back of my house in the utility room with a hotpot, rice steamer and toaster. It works and it’s actually been fun to have some cooking restraints. It’s like camp cooking, boat cooking etc. — pushes you to be creative and work in new ways with what you’ve got.

It’s been a really fun spring so far and I hope you’ve been doing well too. I just finished writing the Tasty Brunch Book proposal with John (now it’s with our agent, next to the designer), I’m working on all sorts of food-plus projects at Hawthorne Books, working on a still secret book project, little here and there on my novel and Food Lover’s Guide to Portland 2.0 review copies go out NEXT WEEK and it publishes in three short months. Madness. In the very best sense of the word.

Here’s what I’ve been eating. What have you been cooking and eating?

Miso, bacon, fish sauce, broccolini spaghetti. Really good.

Mission Street Food's Braised Sausage with my friend Kalera's kraut, Reverend Nat's Hard Cider and house German sausage from Western Meat Market on Lombard.

Miso rice with homemade kimchi.

Rice cooker steamed Dover sole in homemade miso/ginger/lemon sauce with asparagus.

Nettle'ing with Jess. Made all kinds of dishes with them. Morel nettle risotto, sauces, tea yada yada. Love nettles.

My haul.

Found this huuuuuge morel in my backyard. Was too waterlogged and gone to eat but still had...

The last of the dehydrated/foraged ones from last spring. Have been making a lot of risottos with them. My friend Jess, different Jess, took these from the Mother's Day risotto I made for her and Rich with red-veined sorrel from the yard and my homemade plum wine. Tasty.

Racked and then...

Bottled the plum wine. 100 bottles this year from the Brooks plum tree in my front yard.

Also bottled last year's dandelion wine and started this year's. Make it every year with my friend Michelle and her daughter...

These guys!

Dinner becomes breakfast. Spag and eggs. One of my favorites.

Still cooking from the Toro cookbook. Forever and always. Toro's piperade and boquerones over pan-fried polenta.

For our first kitchen remodel meeting/party made a big batch of kimchi fried rice and it, of course, became breakfast the next day. So good.

Cook and eat something good tonight!

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Yard Fresh Pt. 27

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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Portland Fermentation Festival 2011 Redux

October 21st, 2011

Matt Choi serving up his spicy, crunchy, awesome kimchi.

What an amazing event and turnout! Yes, we know that many of you got stuck in the long line last night that snaked down the stairs, out the building, and around the block but we hope with all hope that you stuck it out and found that the wait and the crush was worth it. We put Portland Fermentation Festival together every year with a shoestring budget + heaps of volunteered hours and we’re so grateful that Ecotrust puts up with us every stinking (literally) year. Thank you again Ecotrust! We love you.

But yes, we do hear you, it was too crowded and the line was too long this year. We’ll problem solve and come back in briny style next year for 4.0. Thank you so much to everyone who exhibited, volunteered and attended! Portland Fermentation Festival is an annual love letter to our fair city. True blue Portland spirit fuels it and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks again to everyone who was a part.

If you’d like to keep up with local fermenty goings-on please check out our website, Facebook and Twitter. This year we had a very generous serving of media attention. Here’s a slice of that coverage if you didn’t get enough firsthand last night…

Willamette Week
Portland Tribune
OPB
Portland Farmers Market

I was able to take a good amount of photos at the festival last night before we opened the doors as well as after…

Erica Fayrie's as good as it looks sauerkraut with beets.

Eva Sippl's Eva's yummy Herbucha in the house.

Lynne Van Dusen's Vine to Brine lacto-fermented sodas. Really tasty.

Festival co-organizer Mr. David Barber of Picklopolis aka King of Brine! Ghost pickles! Ah!

Peg Butler and posse serving up krautini (fermented cabbage tonic), fermented garlic, sour dills and sourdough rye. Yum!

Galen Williams and Pete Mulligan's delicious hard cider.

Biwa chef-owner Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz serving up Biwa's hurts so good spicy daikon kimchi.

Earnest and Sumiko Migaki of Jorninji Miso cooking up a stockpot of their amazing miso, and sampling miso sauce and amazake made with their own koji.

Allen Field rocking his spicy kimchi and Turkish sauerkraut.

Nat and Sarah West sampling tart and tasty hard cider. Ridiculously good.

Anna Stulz with more fiery good kimchi.

And then the doors opened and the crowd moved in...

Courtlandt Jennings' Pickled Planet with all sorts of big, briny goodness.

Curious Farm's Cathy Smith serving up leek horseradish kraut, fermented chili sauce and more.

And the crowd kept growing...

Hank Tallman's Mama Hank's Pickled Veg. The spicy fermented green tomatoes were kick-ass good.

The line wrapped around the staircase out the door of Ecotrust and around the block within twenty minutes. We knew that the festival was going to be big this year but we didn't realize it'd be this big. Wow.

The lovely Kate Patterson sampling her festival favorite-- fermented salmon. Mmmm.

Festival organizers David Picklopolis Barber, me, and Mr. George dapper foodist Winborn right before the doors closed at 8pm.

One of the better looking cleanup crews in town! Good night and good luck.

Thanks to everyone who made the third annual Portland Fermentation Festival happen! We love you.

Portland Fermentation Festival 2011 — Save the Date!

September 12th, 2011

Save the date!

I’m so happy to announce that we’ve set a date for the third annual Portland Fermentation Festival — Thursday, October 20th 6-8pm at Ecotrust! Thank you SO much Ecotrust for kindly allowing us to stink up the space yet again! We couldn’t do it without you.

And we couldn’t do it without YOU! We hope that you will come out and celebrate the wide world of fermented food and drink with us this year. More than 500 of you did last year so maybe you’ll each bring a friend and we can double attendance. Actually, that might be a little too crowded.

If you don’t know about the Portland Fermentation Festival listen up. At PFF you get to hang out with fellow food/drink fermenters, exchange cultures and recipes, get advice from local food fermentation enthusiasts, and sample everything from sour pickles, miso and kefir to cheese, hard cider, and mead. Good stuff.

We’ll be getting more details out in upcoming weeks here and over at the official website but for now the main issues to attend to are 1.) Sign-up to sample fermented food and drink at the event here 2.) Shoot us an email if you’d like to volunteer at the door or for set-up/clean-up at info at portland fermentation festival dot com. In exchange for volunteering you’ll get good things, we promise.

Check out some previous Portland Fermentation Festival coverage:

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland 2010
Willamette Week 2009
Willamette Week 2010
KBOO Food Show 2010
Mix Magazine 2010
Learn to Preserve 2010

More details soon!

Third Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
Open to the public, all ages

When: Thursday, October 20th 6-8pm
Where: Ecotrust’s Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center on the second floor, 721 NW 9th Ave., #200, Portland, OR
What: Sample and learn about all sorts of food and drink ferments
Cost: $5 at the door
info@portlandfermentationfestival.com
Twitter @PDXFermentFest
Facebook Portland Fermentation Festival

Yard Fresh Pt. 13

July 18th, 2011

Baked this Saveur Magazine strawberry pie with Hood strawberries from the front yard, lemon zest and juice.

I always like these blog posts but when the garden is kicking in they’re even more fun. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of spinach, arugula, Hood strawberries, honeyberries, blueberries, sugar snap peas, nettles and fresh herbs from the front and back yard. In my front yard herb garden I have rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage, bay, mint, lemon balm, peppermint, fennel, chives, thyme, valerian and chamomile. I use the first five year-round and the remaining from spring through early to mid winter.

Coming in now we’ve got tomato plants searching out the sun, all kinds of beans and pickling cucumbers gaining ground, garlic curing, asparagus going uneaten so the root system gets bigger and better for next year, rhubarb thickening, blueberries ripening and seedlings trying to scare up some more sunshine. So there’s a lot more good food to come.

If you have a garden, how’s it growing? Any new edibles you’ve got in the ground or are planning to cultivate this year? If you don’t have a garden what early season eats have you been enjoying?

Pickled this asparagus that a neighbor gave us for my boyfriend's Grizzly Tattoo shop opening party in early June. It went fast.

Everything in this arugula, ribboned fresh herbs (including oregano, mint, lemon balm, fennel, chives) and chive blossom salad was from the front yard except the toasted hazelnuts. Dressed it with a Jorinji Miso, lemon vinaigrette. Look forward to this every year.

Made potato tacos in the evening and the next morn used the filling for this tostada topped with a sunny side up egg.

Look forward to making this every year too -- hazelnuty arugula pesto with lots of lemon juice, parm, garlic and olive oil.

Pesto and tapenade spaghetti topped with parm.

Straight up Hood strawberries and honeyberries from the garden.

Mustardy tuna salad sandwich with homemade cornichons.

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Vegan Iron Chef Ticket Giveaway!

June 27th, 2011

Last year's Vegan Iron Chef in Portland. Photo by Lucas DeShazer.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to be here for the second annual Vegan Iron Chef Competition this year — but if you are I’ve got a pair of tickets for one lucky commenter. Since last year’s event sold out quickly I’m doing this giveaway early so those who don’t win can go ahead and purchase tickets ($12 advance/$15 at door/$100 VIP tasting seats).

Comment below on the best vegan dish you’ve eaten out in Portland recently (or a vegan dish you’ve made at home recently if no restaurant dishes stand out) for a chance to win a pair of tickets.

From the press release:

Three chefs from the community’s favorite establishments will prepare dishes inspired by an unveiled secret ingredient for a panel of esteemed judges and a live audience, while the event is live-streamed to anticipated thousands.

The event will be co-hosted by bestselling cooking author Isa Chandra Moskowitz of The Post Punk Kitchen and local artist and zinester Nicole J. Georges.

Our chefs are Kitchen Dances’ Piper Dixon, Homegrown Smoker’s Jeff Ridabock, and Dovetail Bakery’s Morgan Grundstein-Helvey.

This year’s judges include Julie Hasson from Native Bowl and Everyday Dish, Aaron Adams from Portobello Vegan Trattoria, Grant Butler from The Oregonian, John Janulis from The Bye & Bye, and last year’s crowned Vegan Iron Chef, Quasu Asaase Yaa.

Live music, exhibitors, sampling, trivia, and raffle prizes round out this can’t-miss event.

Tickets ($12 in advance/$15 door; $100 VIP tasting seats) are available at VeganIronChef.org. Sponsorship opportunities available now.

Vegan Iron Chef is a nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, with a mission of spreading the message of veganism by showcasing the art of vegan cuisine and celebrating community. Other cities are encouraged to join the Vegan Iron Chef network, hold their own competitions, and unite for regionals and finals in upcoming years.

Vegan Iron Chef Competition
Sunday, July 10th, Competition 5-7:30pm; after party until late
Event @ Refuge PDX

Yard Fresh Pt. 12

May 23rd, 2011

Spanish rice and beans with basted egg and bacon.

Beet salad with lemon and olive oil and a salame cheddar sandwich.

Beet salad inspired by Evoe's with a creamy Dijon vinaigrette tossed with herbs from garden and green leaf.

Janie Hibler's Elk Pot Stew (with mince rather than stew meat) from her book Wild About Game made with elk that our neighbor hunted. Lots of cinnamon, ginger and chile. Mmmm.

Elk pot stew with rice and egg for breakfast the next morning.

Bacon chive and cream cheese scramble with potato hash.

Beet and nettle risotto tostada, kale with lemon and Zenner's red hot.

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How to Forage for Nettles

May 3rd, 2011

Stinging nettle booty.

I love nettles. I even grow them in my yard. But the small patch that’s in the enter at your own risk section of my garden — raspberries and nettles — is really only good for a few scrambles a year. That’s not enough. I need to make big platters of nettle lasagna, dinners of nettle risotto, early spring nettle pesto. You get it.

We harvested A LOT of nettles recently and here’s my advice — gloves, scissors, bags and don’t bring the dog. The last part is difficult but please heed the warning. Ours whimpered for hours after because he stung his foot pads. Poor guy. We just kept soaking his feet in cold water and applying cortisone. You could tell it really hurt.

Don't forget your gloves...

Nettles as far as the eye can see.

On the positive side we made a lot of delicious things from our nettles and didn’t get hurt in the slightest. (Lots of risotto as you can see because we’ve been craving that with the cold, dark weather we’ve been having this spring.) Wear gloves when collecting and preparing nettles and remember that just a few minutes of cooking gets rid of the sting.

Golden beet and nettle risotto.

Nettle risoto finished with cream and asiago.

Sounds strange but this nettle tostada the next morning was awesome.