I saw a starfruit at the grocery store and realized I hadn’t had one in maybe twenty years? I remembered my mom came home with one one. I brought it home and sliced in for a garnish in my Koval gin and Q ginger ale cocktail tonight. If you haven’t ever had one, it’s a bit citrusy and has a soft flesh like a grape. They do have seeds, but are big and easy to remove. Cheers!
I love stew.
In particular, beef stew. There’s nothing quite as simple and comforting as a slow cooked, filling, and savory meal. I typically have a go-to recipe that I vary little from, but I thought I’d try a new twist using golden beets, celeriac, anchovies, and herbs de Provence. The recipe I used is from Chris Kresser’s site.
Stewing meat, vegetables, and spices together doesn’t get any easier. I like the ease of starting with a lot of fresh ingredients (and perhaps a few shortcuts if you don’t have your own stock or tomato sauce at hand), and ending up with something so hearty.
You start by sauteing the onions and shallots in your heavy bottomed pot. Add garlic when your onions are nearly finished (garlic can burn easily), then add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot save for a couple cloves of chopped garlic that you’ll add at the very end for a little punch.
celery root/celeriac (You could also use turnips, parsnips, or carrots)
red wine and beef stock
bay leaves and anchovies
tomato sauce, tomato paste, and herbs de Provence
grass fed beef
Once you’ve put all the ingredients into the pot, you simply leave it in the oven for a few hours. The low, slow heat does all the work tenderizing your meat and vegetables, and it melds all the flavors.
You can see even more photos of this stew on my Flickr page.
I like whiskey and bourbon. I like to order an old fashioned.
I don’t always enjoying paying a bartender eight to ten dollars though.
Cherry season has come (and almost gone) here in the Pacific Northwest, so I thought I would try my hand at making my own cocktail cherries since we all know maraschino cherries are super gross.
2 lbs of red cherries
4 cups of drinkable brandy
2 cups of sugar
2-4 sticks of cinnamon
4 allspice berries
Rinse the cherries in a colander. Remove the stem and pit the cherries. Place the cherries in a jar.
In a saucepan, heat the remaining ingredients on medium low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Pour the liquid over the cherries. Let the mixture come to room temperature (or ice bath it) then stick it in the back of your fridge for six weeks. You could alternatively water bath can it, but I am too lazy for that at this point. Although I might have considered it if I had gone cherry picking.
In six weeks, you’ll have perfect cocktail cherries, but I’ve also put them in a homemade chocolate chili ice cream.
1/2 -1 tsp of sugar
several dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
1 tsp of club soda or water (optional)
1 brandied cherry
1 giant ice cube or sphere
1.5 ounces of Bulleit bourbon or whiskey
1 orange wedge or peel (optional)
Put the sugar, bitters, and water in a glass. Mix or muddle them together. I like to muddle in my cherry too at this point and it would be a fine place to throw in an orange peel or even lime for something crazy, but try it without muddling fruit for your first time so you know what it really tastes like. Add one big ice cube. This is important. It’s preferred to have one large ice cube, so there is less surface area to melt. The original teaspoon of liquid is going to get your flavors melded together, and now your ice cube will slowly melt and the extra liquid will open up the flavors of the Bulleit, but you don’t want lots of little ice cubes because they will just water down your drink. Lastly, pour the Bulleit over the top and enjoy!
There’s this place in Portland that really has it figured out.
How do you combine pancakes and fun in a restaurant? I know what you are thinking, “Pancakes are already fun!”
And I say, “No, they get fun-er. More fun. Having all the funs.”
I introduce you to: Slappy Cakes.
Slappy Cakes offers several batters for pancakes, but the twist is THAT YOU GET TO COOK THEM YOURSELF AT YOUR TABLE!
You choose your batter:
You have choices of toppings and ingredients too! We picked lemon curd and blueberries.
You might be thinking, “I don’t really care for pancakes or waffles or any of the sweet breakfast foods.” And that’s fine, they have a full menu.
First of all, HAPPY NATIONAL DONUT DAY!
I hope you got to celebrate! David and I had planned to visit our favorite donut place in all the land (so far): BLUE STAR DONUTS! But by 11:30am, they had sold out. They make fresh donuts everyday for that day, and they stay open until they run out. It’s crazy. They are crazy. The donuts are seriously the best I’ve ever had.
They use a French based brioche bread recipe to start. Then they craft their magical donuts in the open style kitchen. Everything is clean and modern. Very simple. They have maybe ten to fifteen flavors of donuts per day (and I think that may be overstating the number.)
We were fortunately able to visit Blue Star when David’s brother Thomas was in town. We shared five donuts, and all of them were super delicious. We could hardly decide which to get. May I recommend a donut party with your friends? Order a bunch and share! Seriously. You will want to try them all.
Lemon Poppy Seed
This was a classic fritter.
And a classic cake style
The famous Maple Bacon
Blueberry Bourbon Basil
Meyer Lemon & Key Lime Curd
Thomas’s face pretty much says it all.
And here’s a link to their Yelp reviews.
These little buddies are magical. Just make them paleo food eater or not. They are the perfect combination of sweet, salty, tangy and bacon. Make them for yourself at home (they taste delicious even cold), or prepare them for a party. Although I don’t know how to share something this delicious. It’s difficult, but some of you are more generous than I. You could also make this dairy free by stuffing the dates with an almond or something else, but I recommend the goat cheese if you would prefer to reach nirvana.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees WITH THE BROILER PAN IN IT. That way, when you put the bacon on the hot pan, it’s less likely to stick and pull your precious bacon away with it.
Count your dates.
Cut your bacon in half. (I had ginormous dates, so I did full pieces of bacon for the pictures.) Now, you either have more pieces of dates or bacon. Whichever one you have less of, that’s how many you can make. I am assuming here that you have about eighteen pieces of bacon after cutting them in half. One of the small goat cheeses should do you, but you should always buy the larger one because GOAT CHEESE.
Soak eighteen plus extra toothpicks in a little bowl of water (a couple extra in case any of your toothpicks are janky and break)
Prep those dates-they may have pits if you didn’t pay attention and buy the de-pitted kind. Take the pits out, remove any stems, and use a knife to slice them open from top to bottom.
Then, shove some goat cheese inside with a butter knife. Put in as much as you want. It’s okay if it shows out the side. Stuff them all before wrapping them in bacon. (Trust me, it’s easier and reduces the risk of cross contamination.
(At this point, you could eat these or bring these to a vegetarian party. Or serve up extra dates and goat cheese while waiting for the bacon ones.)
Then, wrap each one with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Do them all, and by this time, the oven and pan should be ready!
Place them all onto the broiler pan (they should sizzle! Be careful!) Give them a little room-no touching! Put them into the oven and turn them once after about 10-15 minutes. They should be done after 20-25 minutes, BUT IT DEPENDS ON THE SIZE OF YOURS! And also your bacon crispy preference. The dates and goat cheese do not need to cook, so the only thing you have to worry about is the bacon.
I read a lot of blogs about paleo/primal/caveman/whatever-you-want-to-call-it eating. THERE ARE SO MANY. One of my very favorites is The Paleo Mom. She’s someone who came to paleo eating because of a lot of health issues. Her writing comes with a scientific perspective; she has a PhD in Medical Biophysics. You can read more about her journey here and here and here. (That last link has some super inspirational before and after photos!)
She shares some great recipes and this is by far my favorite: Perfect Paleo Pancakes
They are super simple, only six ingredients: green plantains, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. You could always add extra spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. I topped mine with kerrygold butter and maple syrup. They really hit the spot when you are craving something special. I especially love how easy they are to make and flip. The texture is perfect and they keep well in the fridge for second breakfast.
Get out all your ingredients. Heat your pan with some coconut oil. Then peel and rough chop two green plantains. Throw them in the food pro with four eggs, two teaspoons of vanilla, three tablespoons of coconut oil (I’ve also used coconut butter here), a half teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Wazz it up until the plantains are all chopped up.
Then spoon it into the pan! The pancakes bubble a little and crisp up around the edges perfectly. Flip it! Cook the other side! Then slather them up with whatever paleo or mostly paleo ingredients you believe in! My vote is butter and maple syrup for the classic angle, but you could serve and eat with fruit or nut butters if you are into that sort of thing. I’d imagine that these pancakes (without the added vanilla) would be great as a bread substitute as well, although The Paleo Mom has some recipes for that too.
Last week, David and I decided we needed to celebrate so we searched for happy hours on Yelp and we choose The Sapphire Hotel based on the reviews and the menu. Their website claims long roots into the history of Alberta Street:
The Sapphire Hotel was originally a turn of the century seedy hotel in Portland, Oregon inhabited by sailors, travelers and ladies of the night. They rented rooms by the week, night or by the hour and spent long days and evenings in the lobby drinking, laughing, eating, talking and kissing.
Aside from entertaining one another you could count on the presence of a mystic, traveling musician or a handful of gypsies to lend some fun and adventure to your night. As the years went by, the area around the hotel grew more affluent and the ladies of the night took jobs as shop girls along the avenue. The artists began to sell their work at the galleries that cropped up along the Avenue and the rooms became upscale apartments leased to the people in the local community.
There’s a long list of signature cocktails, wine and beer followed by a shorter list of tasty food.
I ordered the hour hour special marionberry margarita and (I think) David got the Common-Law Girlfriend.
I couldn’t resist ordering a couple happy hour appetizers in addition to the food. We chose pickled veggies and nuts & olives.
Dinner was a seared tuna nicoise salad and a meze platter. Two thumbs up! Give them a try for some ambience and delicious drinks and food!