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  • A meal of memories: Albacore Enchiladas with Cream and Mexican Cheese Sauce

    A meal of memories: Albacore Enchiladas with Cream and Mexican Cheese Sauce

    September 22, 2014 | 4 Comments | More

    Call it a mid-life crisis. Call it sentimental. Call it what you will.

    I think that cooking is a way of conveying love and sharing a meal means sharing that love.
    I was thinking of my cousin’s recent visit when I pulled the albacore out of the freezer and decided to make albacore enchiladas. I had purchased the fish in Newport, right off the boat, while my cousin and his wife were taking a tour of Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

  • Sublime albacore recipes use 5 or fewer ingredients

    Sublime albacore recipes use 5 or fewer ingredients

    September 9, 2014 | 0 Comments | More

    I never tasted fresh line-caught albacore until I arrived in Oregon. I didn’t know what the all the fuss was about until I tasted it myself. Call it skepticism. Call it one of Oregon’s lores. Seafood lovers I met after I moved here sang the same chorus: Once you taste freshly caught albacore, you’ll never go back to Charlie or the “chicken of the sea.” Here are two simple and delicious recipes that use five or fewer key ingredients. Try fresh albacore and you’ll be hooked.

  • Peach jam kissed with a touch of cinnamon

    Peach jam kissed with a touch of cinnamon

    August 31, 2014 | 0 Comments | More

    I’ve always been intimidated by making jams and preserves. But my neighbors Matt and Brenda Russell make it seam so easy that anyone could do it. Even me.

Recent Articles

Summer is perfect time for sangria

Summer is perfect time for sangria

With summer upon us, I’ve been wondering why sangria isn’t a more popular summertime drink in our wine-drenched state. Sangria’s a great summer party satisfier, refreshing, fruity and it’s easy to make a large batch.

July 29, 2014 | 2 Comments More
Cockle cakes, chowder go together like Sonny, Cher

Cockle cakes, chowder go together like Sonny, Cher

Clam cakes and chowder go together like spaghetti and meatballs, fish and chips, cake and ice cream

July 20, 2014 | 0 Comments More
Dish brings back bittersweet memories of Dad

Dish brings back bittersweet memories of Dad

Father’s Day. It’s always held such an ambiguous place in my life. I’ve never celebrated Father’s Day for as long as I can remember.  To say that I’ve had somewhat distant relationships with the father figures in my life, my three stepfathers, is putting it mildly. I never knew my biological father. It’s not to [...]

June 15, 2014 | 4 Comments More
Smoked steelhead bruschetta and Left Coast White Pinot Noir: A perfect welcome for spring

Smoked steelhead bruschetta and Left Coast White Pinot Noir: A perfect welcome for spring

Bruschetta using bread from The Bread Board made with smoked steelhead, miner’s lettuce and tomatoes and yellow bell pepper. Pair it with a great Oregon white pinot noir and say welcome to spring.

April 25, 2014 | 2 Comments More
The Bar at Heathman Restaurant & Bar. Courtesy of Heathman

The Heathman Restaurant & Bar celebrates spirited partnership

When we moved to Oregon about 10 years ago, one of the allures of Salem was that we were still within distance of hearing the siren calls of Portland. So we imagined ourselves spending occasional weekends in the Rose City whenever we tired of our provincial roost. One of those places we hung out at [...]

April 20, 2014 | 0 Comments More
Beyond brews: McMenamins has history in wine, too

Beyond brews: McMenamins has history in wine, too

Edgefield and McMenamins are names most Oregonians associate with beer and pub-style food. But wine? Yes, they do make wine. In fact, pretty good wine. When you think of Oregon wine, pinot noir comes to mind. But there is a burgeoning syrah scene in the Northwest, and one of its most enthusiastic fans is McMenamins [...]

April 20, 2014 | 0 Comments More
Easy lamb entrée for Easter reflects Oregon flavors

Easy lamb entrée for Easter reflects Oregon flavors

For Easter, lamb as well as ham are traditional entrees. So I set out to create a low-intimidation lamb recipe that can be easily tackled by most home cooks as well as include uniquely Oregon flavors.
For this recipe, I use lamb chops, which are easily found at grocery stores (even Winco carries them) and are easy to cook, and I combined them with an herb rub of sage, rosemary and juniper berries to complement the flavor of the lamb and then included a glaze using Marionberry jam and a crust of hazelnuts and bread crumbs to give it a signature Oregon flavor.

April 13, 2014 | 1 Comment More
Porcini and Pinot Noir Pot Roast

Porcini and Pinot Noir Pot Roast

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.

January 27, 2014 | 2 Comments More
Pasta Shells with Tuna, Capers, Lemon, Olives and Tomatoes – A No-cook Sauce

Pasta Shells with Tuna, Capers, Lemon, Olives and Tomatoes – A No-cook Sauce

In the world of canned tuna, there’s much more than Starkist or Bumble Bee. Water packed tuna was all the rage a few decades ago for those eating on the lean side but oil packed, especially olive oil packed is the best choice for ultimate flavor – even if you just eat it out of the can with a fork. A multitude of tuna salads can reach ethereal heights if made with high quality tuna and our home canned fish will provide the back bone for this chunky, no-cook pasta sauce.

January 24, 2014 | 1 Comment More
These Oregon-flavored warm drinks will take the chill off your holiday party-goers.

Cozy up to warm drinks made with Oregon spirits

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.

January 4, 2014 | 0 Comments More
Boiled Apple Cider Syrup – Reviving an Early American Tradition for Flavoring Apple Pies, Baked Beans and More

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.

December 18, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Chipotle-glazed Apple Galette

Chipotle-glazed Apple Galette

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.

November 14, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Oregon Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Tart fit for a Thanksgiving vegeterian feast

Oregon Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Tart fit for a Thanksgiving vegeterian feast

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.

November 7, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Spaghetti in Cream Sauce with Shrimp and Bacon Meatballs

Spaghetti in Cream Sauce with Shrimp and Bacon Meatballs

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.

November 4, 2013 | 1 Comment More
Green Garlic Shrimp Enchiladas

Green Garlic Shrimp Enchiladas

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.

October 26, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Tortilla Española – A Chip off the Old Block

Tortilla Española – A Chip off the Old Block

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.

October 19, 2013 | 3 Comments More
Warm Chanterelle Salad with Speck, Poached Eggs and Marsala Vinaigrette

Warm Chanterelle Salad with Speck, Poached Eggs and Marsala Vinaigrette

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.

October 16, 2013 | 0 Comments More
A Vegetarian Chile Relleno in Loving Memory of Bill Butts

A Vegetarian Chile Relleno in Loving Memory of Bill Butts

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.

October 11, 2013 | 4 Comments More
Soups for the cold, flu, or what ails you

Soups for the cold, flu, or what ails you

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 [...]

October 7, 2013 | 12 Comments More
Cumin-roasted Halibut with Cilantro Sauce and Warm Corn Salad

Cumin-roasted Halibut with Cilantro Sauce and Warm Corn Salad

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.

October 4, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Warm Caprese Pasta Salad with Sopressata

Warm Caprese Pasta Salad with Sopressata

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.

October 3, 2013 | 1 Comment More
Chicken Soup with Leek and Chive Matzo Balls

Chicken Soup with Leek and Chive Matzo Balls

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.

September 29, 2013 | 1 Comment More
Sourdough pancakes topped with peaches, a perfect way to start the day

Sourdough pancakes topped with peaches, a perfect way to start the day

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.

September 29, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Shrimp RIssoto with Okra, Celery and Red Bell Peppers made using Flav-R-Pac's Gumbo Mix.

Flav-R-Pac frozen vegetable mixes make Shrimp Risotto a snap

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 [...]

September 29, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Charles Price holds a portion of the truffles he found during our truffle-hunting trip with Jack Czarnecki.

On the trail of truffles

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 [...]

September 23, 2013 | 0 Comments More
Linda’s Smoked Salmon Dip

Linda’s Smoked Salmon Dip

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.

September 18, 2013 | 1 Comment More
Tomato Aspic – A Quivering, Chilled, Jellied Tomato Salad

Tomato Aspic – A Quivering, Chilled, Jellied Tomato Salad

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.

September 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More