Happy Anniversary Blog: Two years and counting

February 22nd, 2011

It’s been two years since I started this blog as a sort of companion piece to my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland. Since the beginning I’ve aimed to keep my posts short and sweet and informative for Portland food folks and visitors. I hope it’s been helpful.

This time last year I celebrated one year of blogging with a sort of year-in-review. It was a nice way to take stock so I’m doing it again for the two-year marker. Thanks for stopping by now and again. Thanks for chiming in now and again. Thanks to each and every one of you out there who celebrate our local food scene in Portland and beyond. Here are some blog highlights from the past year…

I started off February 2010 with our semi-annual Cincinnati chili feed. Can’t beat Gartner’s dogs, spicy Cincy chili and finely grated Tillamook cheddar…

Sometimes 3-ways are sloppy. Cincinnati chili 3-ways that is...

Portland International Film Festival followed shortly after. PIFF is my favorite local film fest and we always do PIFF + Pizza. Was going to giveaway some tickets here for this year’s now in its final week but unfortunately got too busy. Go to PIFF while you still can!

Cheese followed by egg...

I won an Excalibur Food Dehydrator and made my first batch of spicy beef jerky late March. It was amazing and I’ve made it many times since…

Thin sliced tri-tip ready to marinate and dry...

In May I had my first interview in The Sun Magazine with one of my favorite people — Sandor Ellix Katz

I never thought this day would come...

Several weeks later I had a kick-ass book launch party for Food Lover’s Guide to Portland the day it came out — July 1st, 2010…

The best celebration I could have hoped for. So much fun.

At the end of summer my boyfriend and I went on a magical 10-day sailing trip around the San Juan Islands and I blogged about our DIY galley cooking in three installments…

We have a stainless grill too but most of what we cooked on the boat happened here.

In the fall we put together a filled-to-the-gills second annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust…

Biwa's rocking kimchi with big chunks of daikon and lots of fire.

Late December I got to press hard cider with our friend Nat and he gave me a carboy of the stuff to take home and ferment myself…

Nat sorting through one of the last Newtown Pippin apple bins.

And just in time for the new year I made miso for the first time. In a month or so I’ll be checking on it…

After mashing the soybeans you mix that with the brined koji...


Eat, drink and be hairy!

DIY Galley Cooking (And not cooking…) On A Small Sailboat Pt. 3

December 15th, 2010

We have a stainless grill too but most of what we cooked on the boat happened here.

This is my last installment for small boat cooking. Our sailing trip to the San Juan Islands late September/early October seems so far away now so it’s nice to go through the photos again and share some of the food and drink ones with you. In my last post I left off at our arrival on Lopez Island. I’ll keep it chronological and start at Lopez here.

Please let me know if you have any special boat foods you like to make — either before the trip or while underway…

We got to spend a couple days and nights with great friends on Lopez and before we set off again we had this Odlin Bay picnic with really good sandwiches that Sandy made and all sorts of cheese, chips and snacky goodness.

Lunch on Matia was leftover peanut, serrano and garlic pasta with hardboiled egg and pinto bean sandwiches

We ate at Doe Bay's Cafe on Orcas Island a few times. This was their fresh from the garden list for a week in late August. Soooo good.

Doe Bay Cafe rocked. We ate our breakfast sandwich with pickled onions and garden greens and huevos while calming our sea legs.

Second mug shot -- literally. Kathryn Taylor Chocolates in Eastsound on Orcas was awesome and served Stumptown. Hello cappuccino.

Farewell dinner with Sandy and Vern back on Lopez Island in their outdoor dining room.

That's what was for dinner -- fresh Vern-caught Dungeness. It doesn't get better than that in my books.

We cooked the potatoes and corn on the fire in the foreground and everything else in the outdoor kitchen behind the bus.

DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat Pt. 1
DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat Pt. 2

DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat Pt. 2

October 27th, 2010

Das boot.

I knew that I’d enjoy cooking on the boat. The size and ingredient constraints, being outdoors, simple tools and equipment that can drive some batty is actually fun for me. These are problems that I enjoy solving.

Problems such as how to store and cook fragile eggs on a small boat, how to prepare things such as pasta, rice and beans in the shortest amount of time as possible — aka with the least amount of fuel so as to not run out. Well, I really enjoyed working these things out and making tasty food on the boat during our two-week sail in late September.

I’m not trying to say that our trip was all about food. Most of the time we were jibing and tacking for long stretches with little more than a piece of beef jerky hanging out of our mouths and exploring all sorts of amazing San Juan Islands including James, Lopez, Jones, San Juan, Sucia, Matia and Orcas. Along the way we saw pods of porpoises, lots of seals, sea lions, otters, blue herons, and even a bald eagle. Two weeks in the San Juan Islands treated us well.

When we were sailing Tyler was captain and I did as he said. When we were cooking I was captain and he did as I said. I know that you care about food and drink too so here’s a bit of what we prepared on the boat and saw and did along the way. Part three will soon follow…

After we crossed Rosario Strait from Shannon Pt. Homemade cherry wine at our first stop -- James Island.

Breakfast the next morning -- meusli with nectarine (thank you Kim Carlson!) and strong coffee. There was an otter not too far away eyeing our food the entire time.

Once we got to Lopez Island later in the day Vern pulled up his crab pot in Odlin Bay where we buoyed the boat. He caught all of these Dungeness in only two hours.

Coffee on Jones Island with the Blacktail Deer.

Dockside cooking at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.

En route to Sucia Island we called Waldron Island Turkey Island b/c we decided that once we were alongside that island we could eat these. Canned beans and fresh jalapenos do wonders for boat sandwiches.

DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat Pt. 1

DIY Galley Cooking On A Small Sailboat

September 23rd, 2010

Out of the water and ready for the San Juan Islands.

When you read this we’ll be en route and setting sail for Lopez Island, our first stop, on this boat above on our San Juan Islands sailing trip. The past several weeks have been a confluence pretty much of two things — book events and boat readying.

Early this summer my boyfriend and I decided that at the end of summer/beginning of fall we’d finally take our 19-foot, 1970s O’Day sailboat out for a real spin and, of course, take a much needed vacation.

We bought the boat with our neighbors last summer and have been up and down the Columbia where it’s been moored ever since. This will be the first big journey — ten days sailing around the San Juan Islands.

There’s been a lot of preparation including getting it out of the water, scrubbing it, decking it out with more down-below storage, purchasing a dinghy, barbecue, lights and then some. We’re in the last leg though now since we leave on the first day of autumn — September 23rd.

To be honest, my boyfriend has done the bulk of the work but my job is important. I’m stocking and setting up the galley. Well, we don’t actually have a galley so it’s more setting up the makeshift galley.

I looked at some books at Powell’s on galley cooking and got some good ideas but didn’t feel like any were worth buying. Really, I think the most important thing to galley cooking is planning ahead, just like camp cooking. Learning to work with your small cooking space, stocking up with minimal and long lasting ingredients and some full-flavor tricks up your sleeve are all important. Having a food dehydrator doesn’t hurt.

We’ll be stopping at a lot of markets and farmers markets (my friend Rachel’s mom is the editor of the publication that I just linked to here) during the trip to stock the larder and we’ll also be checking out the local cuisine. Here’s some of what I’ve cooked up for the trip…

I turned these Brooks plums from our front yard tree...

Into dehydrated plums.

And I turned these backyard Gravensteins...

Into dehydrated apples.

I made a big batch of spicy beef jerky.

Stocking up...