22 Search Results for portland

Notes from Oregon

October 10, 2017

It’s almost unimaginably beautiful up around Mount Hood – and stunningly cold.  At lunch the other day at the beautiful Timberline Lodge, we came outside to find the ground white, the air filled with snowflakes. But as we drove down to the base of the mountain the temperature dropped a few degrees every mile, and at the bottom of the mountain we found sunshine and a balmy weather in the fifties.

I came to judge Wild About Game, a beloved local cooking contest where chefs from Portland and Seattle compete in cooking dishes made with antelope, guinea hen, wild boar and rabbit. One of the pleasures of the event was that I got to spend time judging with the wonderful Justin Chapple of Food and Wine and Karen Brooks of Portland Magazine.

My two favorite dishes in the contest were these:

Niihau Ranch Hawaiian antelope meatballs in a spicy tomatillo sauce with crisp fresh radishes by Paul Osher of Seattle’s  Porkchop and Company.  Antelope is a difficult meat – extremely lean and a bit gamy, and this preparation showed it to wonderful advantage.

But the most brilliant dish of the event came from Sarah Schafer of Irving St. Kitchen, who showcased guinea hen in this ambitious and delicious preparation that used every single part of the bird, from that ballotine – all tender softness with the crunch of pistachios on the outside – to the smoothest, silkiest liver mousse I’ve ever experiences. The little gizzard salad with its marigold petals and whipped chive oil was lovely.  Most astonishing of all, perhaps, was the cracker up above, somehow constructed out of jus and skin and tapioca flour. I wanted to keep eating it forever.

Is this the best cornbread I’ve ever eaten?  Definitely.  The night before the big event, last year’s winner, Eduardo Jordan of June Baby in Seattle, cooked a memorable dinner for the judges.  Among the astonishments was this okra, catfish and einkorn gumbo,

and these chittlins….

Then on to Portland, where I’ve been munching around.  A couple of highlights:

The most wonderful eggplant and tomato soup – rich, warming, utmost comfort – eaten outside on the patio at Nostrana.

And this Isaan albacore laab at the wonderful Padee, one of my favorite Thai restaurants anywhere. The raw fish, tangled with chilis, scallions, shallots, fish sauce, sawtooth mint, tiny tomatoes, kaffir lime – rolled up in lettuce leaves and topped with more herbs – hits every button.  Pure pleasure.

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A Great Old Seattle Cookbook

May 16, 2017

Last week’s plucky Portland cookbooks left me eager for more from the Pacific Northwest.  So here’s the first of several books, published between 1896 and 1944, that offer a small taste of early Seattle. Keep in mind that when Clever Cooking was first published in 1896, white settlements were less than 50 years old. 

Old cookbooks often show traces of their former owners. But I’ve rarely seen a cookbook as personal as this copy of Clever Cooking, which Mary Packard has written all over. 

Here’s a sweet, economically-minded detail: 

This rice pudding cream pie (of sorts) looks delicious: 

And then the book itself. Here’s a beautiful omelette recipe:

Chop 4 dozen truffles.. Perhaps to be serve alongside the definitively titled…

I find Mrs. Bone’s Kentucky Roll so confusing I almost have to try it:

And last, the original vegan gelatin: sea moss farine was made of the seaweed known as Irish moss or carrageenen.

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Hop Bitters, Potato Caramel Cake and One Strange Curry

May 8, 2017

Here’s another cookbook from Portland, Oregon, a 1973 reprint of a 1913 cookbook published by the Portland Woman’s Exchange. As James Beard reminds us in the introduction (Beard was born and raised in Portland), the Woman’s Exchange was a national movement dedicated to providing otherwise unemployed people with a market for their crafts. (When Beard wrote the introduction, the New York Woman’s exchange still existed).

Of the Portland Woman’s exchange, where the pictures below were taken, Beard writes:

I remember it as an old residence on Fifth Street, where it ran a small restaurant and sold excellent food, such as English crumpets and muffins, wonderful cakes, beautiful candies, and other items that could be ordered specially.

This rich (and perplexing) scene features a table-side chaffing dish:

A lovely teaching environment: Many of the book’s recipes have a distinct West Coast flair. I wonder how easy it was to get coconuts in 1913 Portland: 

Here’s a mulligatawny-inspired approach to eggs:   Mashed potato in cakes: 

And this astonishing recipe for bitters gives you a glimpse of an era when sugar was still sold in huge loafs, and housewives mixed up herbal tonics. (The closest thing I can find to Buchn is the “buchu” plant native to South Africa.) In all the early 20th century cookbooks I’ve perused, I’ve never encountered anything quite like this: 

Curious about mandrake? This Matt Simon article, about the hallowed root  is worth a read.  Medieval Europeans believed that  mandrake uttered a blistering scream when it was uprooted. (See below.)

And for fun, here’s an old sugarloaf, which fell out of production in the United States in the late 19th century with the rise of granulated sugar. The nips next to it were used to cut it: 

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Cook Spaghetti Three Hours…

May 5, 2017

Like Lizzie Black Kander’s Settlement Cookbook before it, the Neighborhood Cookbook, first published in 1912 in Portland, Oregon was intended to raise money for a Jewish Women’s center that offered lifestyle classes to the poor – cooking, sewing, even laundering. These centers were essentially finishing schools for immigrants, pushing an agenda of assimilation and civilized economic independence. But unlike the Settlement Cookbook, the Neighborhood Cookbook features all kinds of Jewish-ish delicacies, and embraces an almost slapstick enthusiasm for the nearly forgotten timbale (essentially ground meat or vegetables turned into large muffin tins.) There are 14 kinds represented. For that sensibility alone it’s fun to read. 

I liked seeing these matzoh recipes, one of which is basically gussied up matzoh brei. It’s also fun to reflect on a time when shredded wheat with milk got it’s own special recipe: 

A small sample of timbale recipes: 

Three whole recipes for goulash:

This zany thing defies introduction: If you feel sorry for that poor pasta, include these asparagus, string beans and all other veggies in your sympathies:

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Gift Guide: Aprons for Everyone

December 6, 2016

I don’t wear aprons. Suiting up with a clunky piece of linen feels overly cautious – as if you’re expecting to make a mess.  And I hate the way most of them feel; they are literally a pain in the neck.

Recently, however, I’ve switched camps. The fact is, most cooks do make a mess, and I’ve realized that an apron gives you permission to stop worrying about tomato sauce splotches on your sleeves.

What changed my mind? The Chezpron,  which removes the pressure on your neck and makes cooking pure pleasure.

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But it turns out that buying an apron for someone else requires a bit of humility. Everyone has his own apron requirements.  Here are two more that – although they do tie around the neck – might be just the thing to make your friends happy.

Here from Japan’s Fog Linen: 097-b_0571

and another from Hand-Eye in Portland, Oregon:handeyekitchenstripe

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