Category Archives: bread

A Portland Character Sketch

I thought y’all might like to see a bit more of Portland, my new home. I haven’t posted anything on it specifically since Tax Day, so here’s a bit more on its character, and why I’m still thinking it’s a great place…

William Carlos WIlliams

So Much Depends… a red wheelbarrow on NE Alberta St

Art. Is. Everywhere.

dutch baby

Lemon-anointed Dutch Baby at Helser’s on NE Alberta

So is good food. It’s pretty much a playground for foodies.

Ken's artisan pizza

THE famous Ken’s artisan pizza

After many months of wondering, I finally tried a Ken’s pizza (Pizza Night at the Bakery is every Monday night, and it gets a bit crazy). Delicious.

sandwich from Biloxi

A pulled-pork po-boy mash-up from new restaurant Biloxi on N. Mississippi Ave.

This fine sandwich was even served alongside the chance to view the entire crew of Portlandia chowing down on N. Mississippi Ave. Those are julienned fried pickles, folks. Someone takes themselves seriously…

peach panna cotta serratto

Peach panna cotta at Serratto in NW

This panna cotta at a local Italian restaurant almost made me weep, it was so good. I’m not usually a plain-cooked-milk person, but the vanilla, the peak-of-perfection local summer stone fruit- made me eat more than I should have.

bacon sandwich Radio Room

PT’s Breakfast Sandwich at Radio Room on NE Alberta St.

This one I discovered while meeting a friend at the Radio Room, a restaurant that has defied the trend and NOT become a McMenamin’s. Its style and personality do it credit, as you can see from their site. Also, this breakfast sandwich was amazing, and I did manage to have leftovers from that colossus.

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The spread at Olympic Provisions has to be my favorite by far. They specialize in salumeria–curing, spicing, and drying their own meats–but if you had given us only their vegetable dishes or their chilled roasted shrimp masterpiece, we would have been just as happy. Everything was done to the highest standard and with the most vivid imagination for flavor combinations, and they worked! Amazing place in inner SE Portland.

hush puppies and pulled pork at bite of oregon

This was a find at the Bite of Oregon festival: hush puppies that rivalled those found in the heart of Virginia, if you can believe it. Crisp and dark on the outside, moist and flavorful corniness on the inside, with peppers and red onion. Scrumptious.

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Another local NW Portland place that I’d heard about long before I actually got to go: Smokehouse. Definitely takes it smoking seriously. We were there mid-way through the evening and they were out of their smoked chicken, so I’ll have to wait on that (I’ve only had it once before in my life, but it was just about perfect), but in the meantime, their pulled pork made for 4 meals, and their sides–baked beans and braised greens–kept up for two leftover meals.

Lovejoy chocolate tart with lemon and raspberry

Finally, just to show I’m not completely biased toward Ken’s, here is something I came across at Lovejoy Bakers, another sandwich/ bakery place in NW. Their sandwiches left me a little cold, but this, a chocolate tart shell with lemon curd and raspberry coulis inside? Bliss.

 

 

 

And of course, there is also the bizarre, hipster side of Portland, as advertised… (Collage has awesome-sounding craft workshops for $5, 10, 25, which I’ve been meaning to try out…)

vintage german doll legs

Doll legs to be had, along with a lot of Dia de los Muertos-themed items, at Collage

Couldn’t resist this juxtapostion…

catholic church and pbr beer truck

PBR, Beer of Hipsters Everywhere

 

…so those have been some of my adventures! Largely spurred on by visits of lovely friends from around the country, but also by great recommendations from new-found Portland friends. (Thank you.)

Yep, Portland and me, we’re like two peas in a pod.IMAG5058

Disagree? Got any sizzling tips to add to this list? Jump in to comment, Portlandians!

A Few of My Favorite Things, in a quickbread

Today’s post begins with a Guessing Game. What is this a picture of? 
The answer will come in the next post! For now, we turn our attention to a delicious new conquest:

Chocolate Banana Gingerbread

How did this come about, you ask? As usual, with the need to use up soon-to-be-gone ingredients. In this case it was ripe bananas, the last bit of molasses, and cookie crumbs (that were also used in a certain pie). I love it when things work out like this- you feel economical and thrifty while at the same time ending up with a gorgeous load of sweet baked goodness. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you manage to do two things at once, like laundry and paying bills, except better! Because this gingerbread is sure better than the mostly-dried clothes I get from my building’s dryers…
I found the recipe on a blog I am only recently following: How Sweet Eats. I’m not sure if it’s How Sweet It Is or How Sweet Eats- she has both. Either way, I am hooked, because her writing is hil-ar-i-ous. Go to this post, read all the way through the recipe, and tell me that you didn’t laugh. “Stupid legs.” She has a genius for internal comic dialogue.

I loved the combination- banana bread, gingerbread, and of course: chocolate! I stuck mostly to the recipe on this one, although I didn’t have enough molasses to equal her amount (1/3 instead of 1/2 cup), but called it close enough. I substituted 1/3 whole-wheat flour for all-purpose to no adverse effect. And instead of turbinado sugar, I sprinkled the top with my ground gingersnap crumbs for an extra sparkle of spice.
The result had a gorgeous moist, practically gooey, crumb, an even crust on top, and filled the role of “Semi-Healthy Dessert” in my household to a ‘T’.

Yes, infinitely better than semi-dried clothes. 
Don’t forget to guess the subject of the photo above in the comments! No telling what the scale is…

Creative Endeavor Year

 What a delicious last couple of days.
Beet greens rescued from limpness, crisped up with bacon goodness

With New Year’s Eve on a Saturday and New Year’s Day on a Sunday this year, some may have groused about losing days off work, but I made the most of the celebrations not being smooshed into a few tired late-night hours, only to be confronted with the office coffeemaker the next morning. Ha!
I successfully kick-started my Creative Endeavor Year! I’ve stated lately what I’m interested in, and how differently I want to orient myself, so you maybe have an idea what I’m talking about. No? Ok, then I’ll go first with activities from the last few days, and then would you please chime in?
Lists. Yes, I made lists, in different places, on different-sized scraps of paper, and with overlapping topics. Maybe a little overzealous, but now I get to synthesize! Places I want to travel, places I might want to move, key areas of focus for my new work, my annual review, and goals. Totally exciting, right? Well it is for an introverted organizer.
Slowly Scrambled Eggs (you’re allowed to zone out while scrambling!)

Writing. Yep- as the new tagline indicates, I’m going to let writing take up a lot more space in my life this year. The focus will be on this blog, as I navigate the transition, and on the novel, which will give me a product and some experience in creative process (little out of practice).

Outdoors. A long run, several moderate-length walks in the cool air- clearing the clutter that tends to clump onto my brain if I spend too much time inside. You know what I mean: meant-to-do’s, errands, shoulda-coulda-woulda’s. Unless these get out and on a list, they just hover over my shoulder and make me unproductive or regretful. For me, moving at some speed outdoors tends to banish these thoughts. I return refreshed, like my brain had been through a permanent press and spin-cycle!
Apple, cinnamon-sugar, and perhaps a little butter was involved

Back-to-Basics. Return-to-Roots. (I like alliteration, OK?) On NYE, I made my first loaf of bread in the bread machine I received for Christmas, and have been finding ways to appreciate the simple white slice since then. Today, I tried out my first batch of plain yogurt in the new yogurt-maker, and await the results tomorrow morning. While there are a lot of blogging cooks out there who know how to combine many beautiful exotic ingredients for amazing dishes, I like to take the more minimalist approach. Because really, life is what you make of it. So if you don’t have pimenton de vera or spelt flour or fresh cilantro when the urge to create in the kitchen strikes, don’t fret. Take what you’ve got, and figure out how to honor that. In fact, I think that’ll be the philosophy for this Creative Endeavor Year.

Stale croissant, melted chocolate = uncomplicated souffle
I’ve been cooking pretty simply in the past month, both because of the desire for wintry comfort food and the need for something simply being enough. Call it an overworked metaphor if you like, but here are a few photos to inspire you to take a stab at this philosophy. Whatever you’ve got, honor that.

You may see several of the items listed in my Favorites List, which is no accident. What’s on your List?