Some would say that pot roast is ordinary fare suitable only for family dining. Nonsense I say – with good presentation, a beautifully plattered pot roast dressed up with it’s accompanying vegetables and sauce should delight even the most discriminating diner. After all, this baby sits on a lofty pot roast plateau by virtue of including porcini mushrooms and a Willamette Valley Pino Noir in the sauce.
The cold weather snap may be gone, but the mood of the season and the lingering nip in the air has me craving warm winter cocktails. I’m not talking Aunt Sue’s eggnog, which I avoided like someone sneezing, or Irish whiskey either. With so many creative Oregon distilleries making flavored vodkas and gins such as Hood River Distillery’s Yazi Ginger Vodka, House Spirits’ Slabtown Whiskey and Ransom’s Old Tom Gin, it’s time to give the whiskey and gin toddy a distinctly Birkenstock makeover.
Boiled Apple Cider Syrup – Reviving an Early American Tradition for Flavoring Apple Pies, Baked Beans and More
Boiling fresh pressed cider into a thick syrup, much like the sap from maple trees, was common in colonial New England. Hardly a pantry was without this sweet-tart ingredient used for sweetening and flavoring dishes from baked beans to pies and fruit cakes.
Enjoy the syrup drizzled over pancakes, waffles or corn bread. Use some to sweeten mashed yams or sweet potatoes. Brush winter squash or carrots with it as a glaze. Try it in vinaigrettes and as a sweetener in barbecue sauce. Drizzle some in a mayonnaise based dressing for a knockout Waldorf salad. And it pairs ever so nicely with vanilla ice cream.
I have been caramelizing apples with sugar, cinnamon and chipotles for some time now to use as a condiment alongside Forever Roast Pork, a classic recipe from Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena California.
Placing the sweet-hot-cinnamony apples center stage in a rustic tart seems like the perfectly natural thing to do, especially when sitting under a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a great combination – trust me.
If you’ve got vegetarian guests coming for dinner this Thanksgiving, or just want to try something different, here’s a mushroom tart that works wonderfully as an entrée.
The most time-consuming part is caramelizing the onions, which must be done slowly at medium heat not to burn them. So I’ve cut corners and used Pillsbury crescent dough, which makes a wonderfully buttery and light crust. You can also just make your own pie crust instead.
I love shrimp! I love bacon! Shrimp loves bacon and bacon loves shrimp. We’re such a lovey-dovey group
Grinding them both up into some savory meatballs for pasta in a creamy sauce seems like a perfectly natural thing to do.
As a twosome, shrimp and bacon go back a long way. Back in the cocktail buffet days they appeared on tables as devils on horseback, a variation of angels on horseback. Often oysters or chicken livers stood in for the shrimp.
The green in this dish comes from the tomatillos and chiles, not from green garlic which are garlic plants harvested before the cloves form and mature. Garlicky it is and green as a shamrock with hints of pink from the shrimp peeking through the piquant emerald sauce.
Gulf shrimp are plentiful and it’s only natural that many would be dressed up in the bright, chile laden flavors of Mexican cooking. This dish can be searingly hot or mild depending on the type and amount of the small chiles.
In Spain, tortillas are the Iberian equivalent of Italian frittatas which use beaten eggs to bind all the ingredients together. Spanish tortillas utilize sliced potatoes and onions as the main ingredients and are sometimes further embellished with small bits of Serrano ham and/or piquillo peppers. In our house, frittatas are a catch all for rendering leftovers into something new for dinner.
If you’re looking for an earthy ingredient, look no further than mushrooms, especially wild, foraged ones fresh with the smell and taste of the forest floor.
Mushrooms are the meat of the vegetarian world. They offer a meaty umami flavor to many dishes. Umami is a Japanese word which translates to pleasant savory taste.
Bill loved all chile peppers and the hotter the better. You could tell when his endorphins kicked in by the beads of perspiration popping up on his bare scalp and forehead, like his own personal rain forest. I once gave him a bottle of fine Lustau Sherry in which I had allowed a few fresh Serrano peppers to marinate for a few weeks. You would’ve thought I had given him the keys to chile heaven. Daughter Marilyn fell in love with it and wanted her own bottle. That was some smokin’ sippin’.
I believe a fine plate of vegetarian chile rellenos sitting next to some southwestern rice would be a fitting tribute to Bill.
The flu. Cold. Sniffles. Crud. Whatever you call it, the evil that is aching muscles, stuffy sinus, scratchy throat, pounding headache, malaise, and coughing that seems to be going around is taking its toll. Every culture seems to have a common cure for this ailment. When Americans feel this way, we usually think of chicken [...]
Cumin and cilantro – two of my favorite ingredients that bring big flavor to food. I’ve enjoyed a love affair with cumin since I strolled into Pendery’s spice store in downtown Fort Worth Texas. As I opened the door I walked into a warm, heady aroma of roasting cumin. My love for cumin was sealed with a sniff.
Cilantro, on the other hand, doesn’t envelope you with a strong fragrance that can fill a room. In order to enjoy a whiff, you must bruise a leaf and lean in for the scent.
Insalata Caprese, a simple salad in the style of Capri, is so simple that you must use the very best ingredients in season or it will by ordinary at best. The required ingredients are fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and good olive oil.
It is traditionally served as an antipasto. Additional ingredients are often added and could include garlic, balsamic vinegar and in this rendition, sopressata, an Italian style dry salami. Let’s go one step further and push it right into the primo course by including some freshly cooked bow tie pasta.
Several times a year, I make matzo ball soup. Invariably at the dinner table, Vic and Pranee will reminisce about Mrs. Stoker’s matzo ball soup which was shared with them numerous times when they lived in Houston and even recount seeing the numerical tattoos on her arm from days spent in a Nazi concentration camp. I feel proud that they say my soup passes the Mrs. Stoker quality test.
After several months of making sourdough artisan loaves and baguettes, I got tired of bread and the sourdough culture went into the back of the fridge for a deep sleep. It wasn’t until early summer that the notion of sourdough pancakes came to me as I was looking for a way to use up some farm-fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market. Since then I’ve used the sourdough culture to make sourdough pancakes mixed with bananas, blueberries, and finally late this summer, topped with peaches tossed in triple sec.
When you’re busy or tired and don’t want to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen, one-pot recipes can be a life-saver. Risotto is one of these dishes in my repertoire that fits the bill. It’s easy, versatile, adaptable to a lot of different ingredients, and makes a satisfying meal. One thing [...]
We had gotten a whiff of the lore about Oregon white truffles more than 10 years ago, before my partner, Charles Price, and I moved to Oregon from Baltimore. But it wasn’t until a few years after we got here that we truly were infected with the truffle bug. At first, the idea of Oregon [...]
Most regions of the US have traditional party dips – In Texas we enjoyed guacamole and a wonderful hot dip made from Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chiles mixed into melted Velveeta (you read right….Velveeta and it’s addictive.) In Maryland it was, of course, Maryland Crab Dip. So it seems perfectly natural that our wild salmon would end up as the main ingredient in a Pacific Northwest party dip.
I’ve enjoyed quite a few salmon dips since moving to Oregon and Linda Weiner Petrin’s is the one I love the most and she is generous with her recipe.
One of my treasured memories from Baltimore was enjoying meals at The Womens Industrial Exchange tea room on Charles Street. One of their time honored items was a tomato aspic served with a homemade mayonnaise. It was summer on a saucer.
Vic and I had the pleasure of trekking through a cool, damp grove of young Douglas firs in Yamhill County with Jack a few years ago and returned home with a nice bounty of white truffles and even a couple of large black truffles. When I told Jack about anointing a chilled cream of corn soup with his oil, his face lit up with a broad smile of approval and suggested adding dried onion and mushroom powder to the ingredients.
Sometimes you serve up something everyone loves and wish you could boast, “Yes, it’s my very own secret recipe.” Alas, honor requires me to fess up that a slight tweek to a Blueberry Barbecue Sauce created by Crescent Dragonwagon is all I did.
I merely officiated for a shameless shotgun wedding of blueberries and blackberries all gussied up with ingredients from Crescent’s recipe. I can assure you that nothing naughty occurred between a passionate blueberry and an innocent blackberry resulting in a bruised out of wedlock cultivar. The couple lived happily ever after by dressing up a couple of hot chicks slow smoked on the barbie.
Cold chopped chicken dressed up with fruits, nuts and highly seasoned with curry powder appeared on my radar screen sometime in the 1980s. It was and still is a most definite hit.
This is a hearty, chilled salad with the pungent flavor of Indian curry balanced with the addition of fruit and an accompanying side of summer fruit dressed up in a nutty, fruity poppy seed dressing.
The utter simplicity and ease of making this is a welcome dessert in the heat of the summer because there is very little cooking required – just simmering the berries and sugar until they give up their juices. The vibrant colors alone make this a stunning showstopper. You could dress it up with a fancy mold, artfully garnish with whipped cream and maybe some roasted, chopped hazelnuts. Yum!
After months of the demands of everyday life, a demanding job, caring for an aging parent tie me up in knots, I look forward to fishing on the jetty at Garibaldi and applying nature’s pressure to my stress points, a kind of Shiatsu for the soul, if you will. Plus, if you’re lucky, after a day of fishing, you’ll end up with a seafood bounty of rockfish to cook for your family.
Combining fruits to salad greens is a great way to enjoy seasonal fruits such as strawberries in a way that makes the most of their flavor.
Oregon strawberries are coming to the end of their season, and a great way to enjoy them is to combine them in a light salad with arugula. The peppery flavor of arugula highlights the flavors of the strawberries and addition of crumbled goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts adds layers of texture as well as flavor.
One of the ways to enjoy the flavor of Oregon cherries is in a no-bake cherry cheesecake. Fluffy and airy, it’s almost like a chiffon.
The topping for this cheesecake uses cherry preserves and it makes for a dazzling presentation at dessert time.
You don’t have to fire up the grill for great barbecue baby back pork ribs or pulled pork barbecue. It will take longer, but you can just sear the meat in a pan and then plop it in the crock pot (a.k.a slow cooker), add the barbecue sauce and let it slow cook for most of the day. You’ll be surprised at the results. And while we’re on the subject, I just can’t understand why anybody would by barbecue sauce. It’s just so easy to make and it’s so much fun to improvise.
A well dressed Boccone Dolce can be a stunning presentation for a wonderful meal or celebration. Imagine someone presenting this and saying, “I made this just for you.” Whatever effort you put into this will be returned with praise – not to mention the pleasure of enjoying a slice yourself.