Roasted pheasant stuffed with wild rice served with pomegranate and persimmon sauce makes a flavorful winter dish.
After our initial taste of the 2007 Prismé, Pinot Noir Blanc, Vic utters, “Quelle surprise!” while scratching the phrase in his notebook.
We three tasters look at each other as if to say, “Can we just linger here with this bottle for the rest of the day and order in the butter-poached lobster in truffle cream sauce?”
I play with the sauce first by taking a modest taste on my fork, then twirl a bit of potato in it and let that play around in my mouth. I finish with a crumb of bread before piercing the egg to begin the slow flow of the yolk, giving the sauce its final caress. It’s moments like this that make you look over the table and quietly ask your dining partner, “How was it for you?”
Peaches are among those juicy-sweet fruits that one eats hand to mouth with abandon, risking its abundant sweet nectar’s dribbling all over you and your clothing. It’s just you and the peach becoming one, oblivious to the rest of the world.
The ginger ale soft drink as we know it is a descendant of many generations of ginger drinks probably originating in Eastern Europe. Some were alcoholic and some were not, and I’ll bet virtually all delivered a kick and personality you won’t find in the high-fructose corn syrup versions available at most supermarkets. This homemade one will not disappoint. Three kickers in the form of ginger, lemongrass and chiles tamed with sugar and water make for an exotic, energizing, cooling and healthful refreshment.
Every year on the weekends around Memorial Day and Thanksgiving, vineyards and winemakers in the Willamette Valley invite the public to taste their latest wines in their cellars or tasting rooms. Many of these are boutique wineries that cannot operate tasting rooms year ’round, so this is your chance to discover newer and smaller producers.
Wine tasting ranks almost as high as outdoor activities in Oregon and it does get you out in nature, too, off the main roads and into the rolling hills of the vineyards.
“Two poached eggs served on garlic croutons with pearl onions, bacon and champignons in a red wine and foie gras sauce served with pommes frîtes,” read the menu at Café Campagne in Seattle. This was the first of multiple seductions to lure me to the Pacific Northwest. As seductions go, it was tasty and I wanted more.
I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of the event I attended on Sunday, March 14, 2010. However, I’m no stranger to McMinnville, Oregon, and am well aware of its importance in our state’s wine and culinary history.
The sheer numbers of exhibitors were a welcome sight but a bit overwhelming. Especially heartening to see were the many newer and smaller purveyors of food and wine.
Assuming that Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is is an ancient recipe, let’s say Medieval or 500-1500 years old, what was cutting edge, gastronomically speaking, then? Maybe this was it. One can certainly believe that a large handful of garlic wields phenomenal power. Raw garlic is powerful; pulverize enough of it and you could probably make a train take a dirt road or an onion cry.
Of all the benefits of living in Oregon and especially the Willamette Valley, food, wine and beer-tasting events rank high. Willamette Valley Vineyards is one of our state’s most gracious hosts and promoters of Oregon’s abundance of artisan food products.
The 7th annual Wine, Pear and Cheese Jubilee on the weekend of March 6 and 7 featured a rich selection of cheeses from Willamette Valley Cheese Company in Salem and The Rogue Creamery in Central Point. USA Pears offered a beautiful selection of fresh Oregon pears along with recipes and information about this elegant Northwest fruit.
Traditional Coq au Vin is usually thought of as a tough old bird braised in red wine, usually Burgundy. However, like most recipes, they get re-invented as they move from region to region. In Alsace, this dish is called Coq au Riesling and is a most elegant and lighter version of the original. Serving it with Hazelnut Spaetzle seems like the perfectly natural thing to do since Alsace has a rich heritage with both French and German influences.
How generic can you get with a recipe? How about “Pasta with House Sauce”? In truth, how often, especially when time is an issue, do we turn to pasta to help us put a meal on our table? It can be the “go-to” for stretching quantities when unexpected diners are coming. It can help turn boring leftovers into something new and fresh, as well as serving as a dependable base for knockout sauces. And…….it’s nutritious, satisfying and inexpensive.
The foods of Spain are equally as rich in history and flavor as those of the Greeks and Romans and are tinged with abundant Moorish touches. Gwyneth’s Clams was inspired by a dish the four foodies enjoyed at Casa Pintos in Cambados. They were enthralled with the freshness, simplicity and the inclusion of fresh bay laurel and a copious amount of Albariño wine.
When I came across a recipe for Sole Piccata with Grapes and Capers in Bon Appétit, I knew I had to try it. It was one of those “Holy capers Batman, this dish goes super kapow!” recipes. The grapes added a bold dimension without overpowering the lemon and capers but stood next to them equal in flavor. This is a weeknight dish that you can have on the table in a reasonably short time and can be dressed up for company if you don’t mind cooking at the last minute.
Oregon truffles have begun coming in and none too soon either. Some years they arrive in time to grace our Thanksgiving table. Some years we’re just glad to see them come in at all.
These precious babies were a real surprise for me upon arriving in Oregon in December of 2002. On my first visit to one of my favorite food markets, I spied two glass custard dishes in the produce cooler with strange shaped “things”. My mind was saying, “Could these be truffles in the supermarket?” I leaned over to take a whiff and was nearly swept off my feet by their earthy, intoxicating perfume.
Parmesan-crusted Halibut is a simple preparation worthy of standing alone with perhaps a spritz of lemon or a tartar sauce. It can also be dressed up in grand style with a heady Sauce Marseillaise which is tomato-based along with copious amounts of garlic, black olives, capers and anchovies. Nothing shy in this sauce! Steaming clams in this sauce and adding to the presentation is probably gilding the lily but sometimes it’s fun to put on the dog.
Chicken Marsala is one of my main “go to” dishes when I’m too lazy to look for something new. Over the years I have added onions or shallots and mushrooms. Recently I found a recipe on epicurious.com for Chicken Marsala with Sage. Adding the sage to my evolving recipe was a hit, and using oyster mushrooms instead of white or crimini was perfect. The family proclaimed it the best Marsala I have made to date.
“Tonight: Pinot Noir Braised Duck Legs with Roasted Pears and Onions” I wrote in my status quote on Facebook. Friends as far away as Texas declared they could be here by dinner time. Jane Owen, oboist with the Fort Worth Symphony and frequent spokesperson for the duck in Peter and the Wolf, sounded ready to make the trek if only her orchestra schedule would allow. Gail Cook, arts aficionado and book reviewer, was nursing an injured foot and requested special pampering in the form of room service. Would that I could! Alas, in the next few hours 23 commentators had joined the trail.
Pranee doesn’t eat meat (meat=beef to her; pork, poultry and seafood are still on her “A list”) but occasionally renders up some beef dish for her hungry sons. Not long ago, she surprised me with her Beef with Peppers. She noticed the tears and sweaty scalp all the way through my enjoyment while asking, “Too spicy?” “No,” I wheezed, “just right.” Tears and reactions such as perspiring aren’t always synonymous with sadness or discomfort. Sometimes wonderfully spicy food will just shoot you straight into an endorphin high.
There were lulls in the morning, with no bites, but we were often treated to schools of iridescent and brilliantly hued jellyfish. Some were tiny and others had tentacles trailing several feet. It was an impressive show. An even more stunning show was the ever-changing and colorful dawn viewed from offshore.