Portland Day 4 + travel to a beach

Right now Jay is laying on the couch on the bottom level of our tugboat house. Today we enjoyed lots of laughs, good food, a gorgeous day on the beach and I’m enjoyed the sounds of the Columbia River with all of the windows open from the second floor of the tughouse.

We had a late brunch at Tasty n sons that was AMAZING! Tasty potatoes, sweet biscuts, French toast and a biscut bfast sandwich with fried chicken.!

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Cannon beach – about 1.5 hours west of Portland

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We drove through the wilderness – winding roads, about 1,600 ft elevation at the highest point and huge trees. Seriously I cannot believe how many and how enormous the trees are in and around Portland. We spent a good chunk of time taking Polaroids at the beach, watching dogs fetch driftwood in the waves and little kids frolic in the icy cold water. We walked up and down the streets near cannon beach enjoying touristy shops and some ice cream. Our ride back into Portland was not as nice we hit lots of traffic and were whiney that we had missed our designated nap hour!

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We also had a late dinner at Beast which was amazing! They have family style seating and only two seatings per night. I’m to sleepy to explain all of the dishes but just know that Jay and I ranked this meal in the top few of all time.
Celery soup:

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Charcuterie plate:

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Quail:

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Beet salad:

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Cheese plate:

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Rhubarb Rosé soup:

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Filed under Breakfast, Chicken, Dessert, Main Dish, Meat, Restaurants, Reviews, Savory, Soup

Portland Day 3

Today was another awesome day. Everyone keeps telling us that we picked the best week to come to Portland because this is the first sunshine they have had in a long time. Jay and I are constantly amazed by the enormous trees and how green it is here. Seriously the garden/farming season is miles ahead of where we are in Columbus. Trees and flowers are in full bloom. Ramps and rhubarb are on every menu right now. Everything is so fresh.

Today we slept in and enjoyed a slightly stale voodoo donut before heading out in the afternoon. We had lunch at Grüner and really enjoyed the sunshine and heat on our way there. We shared the cured meat & cheese plate — speck, spicy coppa, chop salami,
liverwurst canapé, country pâté,fourme d’ambert, pickles, house-made pretzel, beet-pickled egg . . . . . . . . . . .

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Jay had half a grüner grinder — black forest ham, spicy coppa, rabbit mortadella, fontina, pickled green tomatoes, red onion, arugula on a toasted hoagie roll and half salad.

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I enjoyed the grilled rainbow trout, broccoli raab, yukon gold potatoes, sautéed radishes, horseradish beurre blanc.

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We walked around town and went into several unique shops and a cool downtown target. The sun was super hot and made us tired so we enjoyed a nap at our tug house with the windows open and a view of the river.

We ate dinner at Roe – a fancy smancy seafood restaurant in the back of Block & Tackle. We sat at the chefs table and enjoyed a multi-course seafood dinner with wine pairings. We didn’t take pictures of our food (shame, shame) but did steal the paper menu to reminisce about later. All in all a wonderful day and we are ready to move to Portland and own a house boat…

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat, Restaurants, Reviews, Savory

Portland Day 2

The gorgeous view from our deck this morning: 20140429-214426.jpg

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We started our day off right at The Original “dinerant.” Jay had steak & eggs and I hand polenta cakes. Super yummy!

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Next we went on to a cool neighborhood that had hipster shops and many breweries. I got my haircut (which I had been dying to do!). We also went to the Japanese Gardens uptown. We took so many pictures with our little Polaroid and only a few on our phones. The weather is glorious here today by the way.

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For lunch we stopped at Clyde Common for delicious pork rillettes, a bacon sandwhich and a fish sandwhich.

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We ended our night at A Taste of Portland at the Crystal Ballroom and sampled many small plates, beers and liquor. We got some swag bags for buying VIP tickets too! :)
We are in love with Portland and the gorgeous weather we had today.

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Filed under Breakfast, Drinks, Main Dish, Meat, Pork, Restaurants, Reviews, Snacks, Uncategorized

Columbus>LA>Portland

To say this past week has been amazing would be an understatement. We had lots of family and friends in town in the days leading up to our wedding. Jay and I are so lucky to have had them around to distract us from the stresses of the weekend. Everything came together beautifully!

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Monday morning we got up at 4am Cbus time to travel to Portland for our honeymoon. We had a layover in LA (which is the worst airport ever) and finally landed in Portland at 2pm local time.

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We are staying in a lovely houseboat on the Columbia River that used to be a tugboat! We took an hour nap in the sunshine on our bed overlooking the river. It was heaven!

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For dinner tonight we headed for downtown Portland and stopped into Departure. It is located in a beautiful area filled with shops and busy streets. We entered through a building called The Nines and rode up to the 15th floor.

20140428-232443.jpgThe view from our table was gorgeous!

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We had an amazing dinner of small plates:

Kampari Sashimi

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Crab Fried Rice

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Shrimp Shumai

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BBQ Beef Steam Bun

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Grilled Octopus

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Definitely the highlight of the night was talking with the table next to us – they were two couples from Fort Worth, Texas. We got to taking about how much we were enjoying the food and drinks and they wished us well on our honeymoon. At the end of the meal we found out they picked up our bill when they left. What an act of kindness – we are looking for the right moment to pay it forward. I’m still surprised and speechless and probably would have skipped dessert and coffee had I known someone else would pick up our check!

We also stopped by Voodoo donuts!

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Filed under Main Dish, Restaurants, Reviews, Snacks, Spicy

Tomato Paste

20120918-213520.jpgI love tomatoes more than the average person, I would say. I could definitely pick one up and take a bite out of it, and be really satisfied. So, it’s kind of strange that, for me, a fresh tomato seems kind of ruined when it is cooked to be made into sauce or ketchup. I do not like ketchup at all. It is so acidic. When I make anything that has tomato sauce I find myself copying from my mother and grandmothers and adding a little something sweet to the sauce to cut the acidity. My favorite addition is brown sugar. One grandmother uses plain table sugar, and the other grape jelly to do the same trick. Maybe it is because I was always spoiled by such sweet sauces that I have never liked spaghetti from anywhere but home.

Every week when Jay and I venture to the local farmers markets and I see piles and piles of tomatoes, I die a little inside. Because, two people couldn’t possibly eat that many tomatoes, but I want them all. The farmers around here grow a rainbow of different varieties, and I want them NOW!

So, I decided the best way to maximize our tomato purchase but minimize the yield, is to make tomato paste. This week we bought about 8 large, deep red tomatoes for $4. Score. For some reason, slowly cooking down the tomatoes into a paste brings out the sweetness in them. Whatever it is, I like it. And, Jay says I am an old Italian grandmother at heart today. Maybe this polish girl is proud of that, okay?

Also, I’m really wishing I could send you the smells this is creating in our house. Garlic an onions cooked for hours will surely ward off all vampires for tonight.

Tomato Paste from Gilt Taste

6 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3 pounds super ripe, juicy tomatoes
¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches salt

Cut, chop, purée!

Heat oil in large heavy bottomed pan over medium-low heat.

Roughly chop garlic and onion and blend in a food processor/magic bullet (onion smoothie anyone?) and pour into the pan. Cook and stir frequently, about 15 minutes or so. Add a pinch of salt.

Roughly chop tomatoes, and puree them to liquid in the food processor.

Strain

Strain tomatoes (optional)
If you’re unhappy with tomato skins and seeds, pass the pureed tomato through a fine-mesh strainer.

Cook tomatoes

Pour the tomato into the pot, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil. Add a couple light pinches of salt. Reduce heat to a simmer, give it a stir, and wait. You’ll cook it for a long time, but it’s hard to say how long since tomatoes differ in water content. Bank on 90 minutes or more.

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Wait
Wait.

Wait some more
Wait. And stir, too, more frequently as the tomato loses its juice and thickens. Keep cooking and stirring. It’ll get thick and annoyingly splattery for a while, as it gets to a pizza-sauce thickness. You can partially cover the pot when that happens, then uncover it again when enough water’s boiled off so that it no longer splatters.

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You’re almost there
When it starts to look pasty, you’ll notice that it’ll get stickier. Keep stirring, clearing the pot, mixing back in the thin, darkening layer at the bottom, and spreading the paste out. At some point, it may look like the oil wants to weep out; this is good. When the paste suddenly sticks together like a dough and slides around the pot, you’re done.

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Store

Turn paste into a dish or bowl and let cool. Pack into containers, press a layer of plastic wrap directly on to the surface, and store in the fridge for weeks, or in the freezer for months. Stir into anything.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Savory, Tomato

Skinny Coconut Shrimp

Jay and I have been stuck in a little bit of a food rut lately. Eating healthy has left us with a smaller bank of recipes we enjoy. We usually try one new recipe a week, but every other day of the week is the same. Monday chicken, Tuesday pork tenderloin, Wednesday chicken, Thursday veggies, Friday chicken, Saturday chicken, Sunday chicken. You get the point.

This week we are trying a new recipe everyday. So, when we had skinny coconut shrimp last night it was a real treat. A much needed break from chicken. This recipe was a recent pinterest find and it turned out to be really delicious!

I am always weary of trying a recipe with perfect pictures and not many suggestions, or a “here is where it all went wrong” story. Have you seen the pinterest-gone-wrong blogs? That is where my fears really come from. Have you seen the gorgeous layered rainbow cake in a mason jar that looks amazing and easy but really turns out looking burnt and not so rainbowy? I am afraid of those incredible fails. I usually find that there is something I should have done differently in each recipe, but I hate a complete fail. Especially the kind where you have to throw the entire recipe away.

Pinterest photo (thanks google):
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Pinterest fail (thanks google):

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Anyways, this is not a failed recipe. So make it, now! Enjoy.

Skinny Coconut Shrimp adapted from Skinny Taste

1 lb (24) large raw shrimp, peeled and deviened (weight after peeled)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp panko crumbs
2 tbsp all purpose flour (you will only use 1 tbsp)
1 large egg
pinch salt
non-stick spray

For the Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup mango chutney
1/2 of a peach
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425°. Place a baking rack over a cookie sheet, & lightly spray with cooking spray.

Combine coconut flakes, panko crumbs and salt in a bowl. Place the flour on a small dish. Whisk egg in another bowl.

Dip

Lightly season shrimp with salt. Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture.

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Lay shrimp on the cookie sheet; bake in the middle rack for about 10 minutes. Make the sauce while the shrimp are cooking. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce.

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Sauce

For the sauce, combine all the ingredients and place in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Main Dish, Savory

Peach Ginger Cupcakes (for two)

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Jay and I have been working hard to change our 1) diet and 2) our exercise habits. One thing that has really helped is in our journey thus far is not restricting our diet. Yes, we eat fresh veggies and lean meat everyday. BUT we have still enjoyed fried foods at the fair, eating “out” sometimes, and most importantly desserts like ice cream or cupcakes. I LOVE trying new recipes and small batch recipes so I know I won’t be tempted by 12 cupcakes sitting on the counter. I’ve found that I still have cravings for pizza with pizza on top or Oreos dipped in hot fudge and peanut butter (by the way I’ve never actually eaten either of those, I just dream about it) but the cravings are curbed by indulging on a smaller scale.

These Peach Ginger Cupcakes for Two are the perfect sweet treat to end any day. I found the frosting to be a little too sweet, actually.

Peach Ginger Cupcakes adapted from Dessert For Two

Makes 4 cupcakes.

Peach puree:

1 large peach
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Cupcakes:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I keep mine in the freezer and grate it just before using)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Peach Buttercream:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons leftover peach puree
1 cup powdered sugar

Purée

Peel and dice the peach and place it in a small bowl with the brown sugar. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute. Blend in magic bullet or blender, set aside to cool.

Preheat

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 4 muffin cups with liners.

Mix

In a small bowl, beat together the veg. oil and sugar until well combined.
Add the egg, ginger and all but 2 tablespoons of the peach puree and beat until combined.

In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour this over the wet mixture and mix just until combined—do not over mix.

Bake

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Divide between the muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, until just slightly golden brown on the edges.

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Let cool completely before making the frosting.

Frosting

To make the frosting, beat together the remaining 2 tablespoons of peach puree with the powdered sugar and butter. You may need to add more sugar for the frosting to reach desired texture, this depends on how juicy your peach is! Frost the cupcakes and EAT!

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Enjoy!

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Filed under Dessert, Snacks