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Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's Cookin?: Alaskan BBQ Salmon


I made this dish last week sometime. I liked the flavor of the glaze but didn't grill it as suggested. I baked my salmon with the glaze on it and rebasted in between cooking. I think it would have been much better grilled as the honey and sugar would have caramelized better. This is a very tasty recipe!

Alaskan BBQ Salmon

1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1 dash liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 (4 lb) whole salmon fillet

1) Preheat grill for high heat.
2) In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey, liquid smoke and vinegar. Mix well until most of sugar is dissolved.
3) Brush one side of the salmon with the basting sauce. Place the salmon on the grill, basted side down. After about 7 min, generously baste the top and turn fish over. Cook for about 8 min more, the brush with more basting sauce, turn, and cook for 2 min. Take care not to overcook the salmon as it will loose its juices and flavor if cooked too long.

Lazy Sunday Morning

Ahh....once again a lazy Sunday morning where I can sip my coffee and read my Sunday paper. Just so ya'll know, I'll be MIA for a few days. I have company in town and I believe we're headed to the beach. There will be no cooking going on here! Just eating. I'm sure I'll take them to a few of my favorite places (places I've already talked about).


Hopefully we'll get to go to the Oregon Zoo to see my little 300 lb baby friend. He's sooo cute! I think we're also headed to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

To make up for being MIA, I've blogged about each of the Street of Dreams homes we visited. It'll post on Monday. Have a great weekend and see ya soon!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2008 32rd Street of Dreams

The 2008 Street of Dreams was held on Mt. Scott, in the new Alamont neighborhood.  This year's show featured 6 homes with stunning views wrapping around from as far south as Salem to Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier in the north.  The views in and of itself was jaw dropping.  You could picture yourself sitting on your back deck sipping  glass of wine or a beer while staring off into the distance.  

Many of the homes this year featured outdoor living areas.  Grill areas were prominent, as well as peaceful spots to lounge.  Some homes features covered outdoor areas equipped with outdoor LCD televisions.  These are designed to withstand the elements ($8,995, www.genesishometech.com).  

My favorite feature was the mini foot spas by Ashiyu.  The decorative resin bowl is lined with river rocks.  Hot streams of water caress your feet or increase bubbles for a nice foot massage.  These look heavenly and I will definitely be looking into these.  ($1500-2500, www.ashiyu.com)

Another neato gadget I saw was the Lawn Robot.  Just think of it as a lawn Romba.  This thing was cool!  The Automower allows you to save on gas by spending only $2 a month to automatically mow your lawn.  The grass self-mulches and uses less water and fertilizer.  (www.thelawnrobot.com)

My favorite home this year was the Cherith Brook by G&B Northwest Construction.  It is a traditional Northwest home with 11,037 sf.  It featured 4 bedrooms, 6 full bathrooms and 2 half baths.  It was priced at $2,950,000.   
I have tons of pictures from inside the home so I'll review them separately.  Give me some time to sort through the tons of pics I took.  And just so you know, for some weird reason, we missed one of the homes (The Summit) and were too lazy to walk down the hill to see it.  Sorry folks!  

All in all, I was impressed by the views.  I wasn't impressed by the power lines that were located across the street.  Who would pay a million dollars to live across the street from something so large and obnoxious?  Also, the area was very steep and hilly.  Winter driving sounds horrible.  I also felt that the homes were lacking that pizazz quality.  In the former Street of Dreams I've toured, you could see the money in action.  The kitchens featured the latest gadgets and gizmos and the electronics were plentiful.  Not so this year.  It really seemed scaled back.  Maybe it was because so many homes from last year's Street of Dreams didn't sell.  Maybe the builders were trying to play it safe this year?  In any case, it didn't seem to me like a true million dollar neighborhood.  

Some of the homes were beautifully crafted though.  There were lots of ideas to be had from many different homes.  Be sure to look through the pics for ideas for your own home!  The Street of Dreams runs through September 14th.

Restaurant Rambling: Benihana





Last week we had my co worker's baby shower at Benihana. Benihana is in Beaverton, right off of 217 (near Washington Square). We sometimes have gatherings here because they can accommodate large (and often rowdy) groups. We had a group of about 16 and commandeered 2 of their tables.

Benihana is a Japanese restaurant and is known for it's teppanyaki. Your group sits around a teppanyaki table and your personal chef cooks up your meals to order and in the meantime provides lots of entertainment. I've been to Benihana only a handful of times. Teppanyaki dinners are a little on the spendy side ($20+ for dinner). In that particular night (a Tuesday), they were fairly busy. There were a lot of birthday's being celebrated. The servers will sing you Happy Birthday in English, then in Japanese and take your picture.

I chose to share some sushi with a coworker instead of the traditional teppanyaki dinner. I ordered a miso soup, the Philadelphia Roll (salmon, cream cheese, scallions & cucumber) and a Caterpillar Roll (eel, cucumber, avocado & roasted sesame seeds). The Phili roll had too much cream cheese for my liking. The Caterpillar roll, however, was excellent! Their sushi is also on the spendy side. I believe the Caterpillar was about $10.50. EEEK!!

It's definitely a fun place for special occasions, but be ready to feel the sticker shock later. I'd rather stick to my friendly hole in the wall Japanese joints. But hey, it's always nice to get together outside of work with a big group. We all had a great time!

Benihana
9205 SW Cascade Ave
Beaverton OR
www.benihana.com

Restaurant Rambling: Ikenohana



Sorry, I've been behind on my blogging...so many pictures, so little time. I went to Ikenohana sometime last week....

Mmmm...Ikenohana. I've been going to Ikenohana for the past 6 years or so. I discovered this gem in a strip mall in Beaverton (on the corner of Murray and Allen) years ago. When I first started going to Ikenohana, there wasn't a sign to distinguish it in the tiny strip mall. If you blinked, you might literally miss it. I think the sign said "Japanese Restaurant". A couple of years ago, they finally installed a sign that says "Ikenohana". Some friends and I joke that we've been such loyal customers, we probably paid for their sign.

Ikenohana is a true Japanese restaurant. Since discovering Ikenohana, I never looked back. I've been faithfully coming back to Ikenohana for it's wonderful employees and it's wonderful Japanese food. We've been going so often, we notice when there's staff turn-around. I complain all the time that all my favorite waitresses never work anymore. *sigh*

My favorite dish hands down is the Nabeyaki udon. They serve the best nabeyaki udon I've had. The broth is so good and you can tell it's made from scratch. Sometimes I can get so full that I can't eat anymore noodles, but I'm sure to drink the broth. Tee hee hee, weird...I know! I love the veggies they serve in the udon...from the flavor-ful shitake mushroom to the spinach and the carrots. It's also served with chicken (which I never eat), 2 pieces of shrimp tempura and a poached egg. I literally order the udon 80% of the time and have never ever ever been disappointed.

If I'm feeling like a real piggy, I'll also order a spider roll. A spider roll is a soft shell crab deep fried and rolled with lettuce and cream cheese and a teriyaki sauce. It's the best spider roll I've had in Portland yet! I also like the combination dinners. You get to choose 2 entrees and they're very filling. My favs are the salmon teriyaki, beef teriyaki, tempura and saba. I love the tempura here. It's not soggy at all and has excellent flavor. Again, some of the best in Portland! Their sushi is okay. It's inexpensive and filling but not the best in town.

Other favorites are the Bento dinners. Try Bento B for a treat. Also, the Zaru Soba Bento is very good. If you're in the mood for good Japanese food, look no further. Ikenohana is the place to go!

Ikenohana (in the Highland Hills Shopping Center)
14308 SW Allen Blvd
Beaverton OR 97005
(503) 646-1267
www.ikenohana.com

Friday, August 29, 2008

More Elephant News



I just think this little guy is the cutest dang thing! So the latest on the baby elephant is that his mommy is really bonding with him. What's not to love? This week, he was introduced to the rest of the Oregon Zoo herd aunties (Chendra and Shine). Apparently at first they didn't see the little guy. They greeted his mommy Rose Tu. The little guy was not to be denied, so he started making low rumbling sounds. Now that must've been cute! Aunty Shine heard him and lowered her head to eye level to get a peak of the new addition.

He's slowly being introduced to his new Aunties and is bonding well with his mommy. The Oregon Zoo just announced that they are allowing visitors to see the baby elephant!! Starting tomorrow, August 30th, they will be letting 30 visitors in at a time to view him. How awesome is that?? You can bet that I'll be going to the zoo soon to see him!!

What's Cookin?: Seared Scallops w/ Bacon Salad


Earlier this week I happened to find myself in the seafood section at Haggen's market and saw that they had some beautiful scallops. I love scallops! I decided to get some but had no real game plan in mind. I thought of just searing them on a salad. This is what I came up with.

I chopped up about 2 slices of bacon and pan fried them until they were crisp. With a slotted spoon, I removed them to a bowl. I salted and peppered my 5 pieces of scallops and seared them in the bacon grease (mmm....bacon grease) for about 3 minutes per side. I deglazed the pan with some white wine and lemon juice and added the bacon back to the mix. I placed my bacon and scallops on a bed of lettuce for an instant dinner. Viola! Quick and simple supper!

Restaurant Rambling: Siam Society

Siam Society is located in the NE Alberta District of Portland. I've been there several times. They have a decent happy hour menu that runs all day on Tuesday and from 4:30-6:30pm on most other days. The happy hour menu is served in the bar and in the patio area. Try one of Siam's mixed drink concoctions. They're mighty tasty!

While happy hour is good, dinner is better. I've tried several of their dinner entrees. My favorite thus far has been the Panang curry ($18). It's a wonderful curry with spicy Thai chilies and kaffir lime, lemongrass and galanka root. It's served in a copper pot. You can even choose your protein. It also had some delicious eggplant in it. I love eggplant! Last night, I went with the beef. The curry is perfect. It has just the right amount of kick to make you wanting more. The beef is a good portion and well worth the money.

My friend had the Sexy Beef. I just like to say it cause I can't say Sexy Beef without giggling. LOL!! I've had the Sexy Beef before (tee hee hee) and it was good. It's strips of flank steak in a creamy coconut sauce with Thai chilies, bell peppers, oyster mushrooms, & roasted garlic.

I wish I had thought to bring my camera so I could share a picture of the curry. It was mighty pretty. There's more pics on their website: www.siamsociety.com/photos/html#grid

Siam Society
2703 NE Alberta St
Portland OR
(503) 922-3675
www.siamsociety.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Diaper Cake



We threw a co-worker a baby shower. She's having a little girl. I decided to make her a diaper cake. I've never made one before so I was a little leary. It was actually really simple.

Ingredients:
- 2 packs of 36 count diapers (buy 2 different sizes. I used Pampers brand Sensitive Swaddlers size 1 and 2)
- 1 package rubber bands
- 1 large rubber band
- 12 oz bottle Johnson's Baby Wash
- string
- 1 roll of 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon
- one 4 oz. baby bottle
- tulle circles
- one 6 pk baby wash cloths
- safety pins
- 1/4 inch wide ribbons (to tie lollipops)
- lollipop sticks
- pack of artificial flowers
- cardboard base

Bottom Layer:
1) Take your package of larger diapers and roll each one. Start rolling at the open end. I rolled into the pattern on the diaper because I wanted the white showing. You could choose to roll away from the pattern and let the pattern show. Once the diaper is rolled up into a jelly roll, secure with a rubber band. Roll up all your larger sized diapers and set aside.

2) Take your large rubber band and place it around your Baby wash bottle. Grab about 5-6 rolled diapers and stick them inside the rubber band, forming a ring around the bottle. Use the rubber band to secure your ring. Continue to add diapers around the middle ring until you form a circle base and have used up all the diapers. It will form about 3 rings around your bottle of baby wash. Arrange the outer layer of diapers to the seams are in the inside and are not showing. Take your string and encircle the entire 1st layer of your cake. Tie string off tightly so that diapers don't slip out. Remove rubber band to reuse for the next layers. With your 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon, wrap around your bottom layer (make sure to hide the rubber bands around the diapers as well as the string). Tie ribbon off.

At this point, your bottom cake layer is done. You will have half the bottle sticking out and you will use this to make your 2nd layer.

Middle Layer:
3) Take your smaller package of diapers and do the same thing. Roll each diaper up and secure with a rubber band. Take about 5-6 diapers and form a ring around the baby wash sticking up from your bottom layer. Secure with the large rubber band to help you. Make a second layer around your middle layer with an additional 12 or so diapers (or more). Make sure you middle layer is smaller than the bottom one (around 2 layers of diapers). Again, go around your cake and rotate out layer of diapers so seams are facing inwards.

4) Tie string around your middle layer as you did before. Remove large rubber band. Cover string with wide ribbon and be sure to hide rubber bands wrapped around diapers and string.

Top Layer:
5) Use your large rubber band to assemble the last layer. It maybe easier to assemble this on a flat surface. Arrange 1 layer of diapers in your large rubber band. Place on your cake and stick 1 diaper down above the bottle of baby wash. Stick your 4oz baby bottle in the center of your last layer. Note, you will likely have left over small diapers.

6) Again, secure with string then wrap wide ribbon around top layer.

You now have successfully complete your basic diaper cake. You may decorate it as you please. I kept it simple and made little washcloth lollipops to stick around the cake and bought flowers to complete it.

Lollipop Washcloths:
1) Open up your washcloth and roll it up starting at one end. Once rolled up, roll from left to right to complete a jelly roll. Secure with a safety pin. Stick a lollipop stick in your lollipop. Cover with tulle and secure at base with 1/4 inch ribbon.

2) Complete all lollipops. Place randomly throughout cake. Also randomly place flowers.

Viola, a diaper cake!! The project cost me about $45-50 but I had some leftover supplies. She really loved it!


Rose Tu and Baby Boy



Awww, well it looks like Rose Tu is finally showing her motherly instincts. She has now been reunited with her baby. Zoo officials were worried when shortly after his birth, Rose Tu began kicking the baby and they were immediately separated. Now it looks like it maybe a happy ending after all! Isn't this a precious picture?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder is showing now in the theaters.  The movie was filmed on the Garden Island of Kauai.  YEAH!!  It features an all star cast: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black.  It also features cameo roles by other Hollywood actors.  I don't want to spoil it for you so I won't give too much away. 

The film is friggen hilarious.  It's stupid, raunchy humor...and a perfect man movie.  A lot of the jokes are totally offensive and not PC one bit but ultimately rip roaring funny.  Although mostly a guy movie, I had a great time.  I laughed so much, at times I wanted to pee my pants.  Robert Downey Jr. gives a great performance as an Aussie actor who undergoes skin pigmentation surgery to turn black.  Downey Jr. is "the dude playing the dude disguised as another dude".  

Also, I would advise to pay to go to the film just to see one of the cameo actors shake their booty.  It is mighty hilarious!  Even if you dislike this guy, you will be rolling on the ground laughing....I guarantee it!

Remember though, it is rated R (and for good reason).  Leave the kiddies at home.  And if you are in the least bit offended by vulgar humor, don't see this movie.  But if you are looking for a side splitting funny movie, get out there and see it!   

You can view the trailer at www.tropicthunder.com

Harry Potter Fan Unite!!



I had been meaning to blog about this sooner but I was still upset.  DAMN those Warner Brother's big wigs!!  If you haven't head the heart-breaking news yet, I'm so sorry to be the one to break it to you.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince is now being pushed back from its November 21, 2008 premiere to July 17, 2009!!  WTF??  Who else thinks we should band together and cast a RIDDIKULUS spell on those morons??  Or maybe we should STUPEFY them first?  If you come up with a plan, let me know.  

It all comes down to $$.  Studio executives decided to move the movie release to get more bang for their buck.  They wanted it to serve as an "ideal window for a family tent-pole release".  BAH HUMBUG!!    

Read the entire story here.

I guess I will just have to sulk for the next 11 months!!  Where's my wand when I need it??    


It's a BOY!



A 286 pound baby boy was born to Rose-Tu at 3:56pm on Saturday, August 23rd at the Oregon Zoo. The baby Asian elephant's father is Tusko.

Immediately after the baby elephant's birth, Rose-Tu appeared startled and kicked her baby. Zoo-keepers immediately attended to the baby and separated mother and child. They have given the baby a check-up and everything appears okay. They will slowly re-introduce Rose-Tu to her baby calf.

Awww, welcome to Oregon little one!!

For a news story, click here.
Photo from www.oregonlive.com

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Travels: Lincoln City

Ah...the Oregon Coast. It's a beautiful place to visit! The temperature in Portland was around 85 degrees today but at the coast, it was a gorgeous 70! It was chilly with the wind blowing inland that I actually needed a jacket at times.

Oregon beach lovers don't mind the chill. The beach was packed with adventurers. Kids were brave enough to be in the water (brrr!!), jet skiers were zooming around, kayakers were testing the waters, fishermen were crabbing from shore and believe it or not, there were crazy people in their bikinis hoping to get some sun. CRAZY!!


The sea lions were out in full force. The were all nesting across the bay on an island. There were so many of them. They'd take an occasional break from sunbathing to play in the water. They were very cute!


The birds were out and weren't very shy at all. Gulls and pelicans shimmied on the beach looking for handouts.


I was intrigued by the fisherman who were crabbing from the shore. Their lines weren't very long at all. They were setting traps right along the shore. Amazing! Guess what was bait?? CHICKEN! There were catching pretty good sized crabs. This little guy was one a man pulled up but was too small. He let him go and here he is making a mad dash for the water, then getting buried in the sand by a wave. Bye bye little guy. We'll see you when you're all grown up!

After having lunch at Mo's and playing on the beach for a while, we were off to shop. We stopped at the Tanger Outlet Mall. My favorite shop is the Coach outlet! Lots of great deals to be had here. I did manage to find a purse (how does that always happen to me??). I also got shoes at the Naturalizer store that were 70% off making it $19.00. Score!!

What a fabulous day at Lincoln City!!

Restaurant Rambling: Mo's


What's better than a cup of clam chowder on the beautiful Oregon Coast? Lucky for you, there are 6 different Mo's locations in Oregon. Since we were traveling to Lincoln City, we decided to make a lunch stop at Mo's.

Mo's has quite a history. You can read all about it here. The first Mo's opened in 1944 in Newport. Can you believe that today, Mo's Chowder Factory turns out about 500,000 pounds of clam chowder a year!! Unbelievable!

Mo's serves a delicious bowl of New England style clam chowder. The clams and bacon are plentiful and there's just enough potatoes to keep you happy. Don't be shy. Get the bowl, you'll be sorry if you just order the cup. Or get a vat of chowder and chow down family style! If you're looking for a more filling meal, try one of their seafood sandwiches. My favorite is the Oregon Bay Shrimp Salad Sandwich with a cup of clam chowder. Mmmm....delicious!!

Aside from the food, you may also be treated to a window seat. From your perch, you can view all the action along the inlet. You can watch the birds dive bomb other birds or watch the sea lions frolick in the water.

Mo's
Newport - original location
622 SW Bay Blvd
Newport OR
(541) 265-2979

Newport Annex
657 SW Bay Blvd
Newport OR
(541) 265-7512

Lincoln City
860 SW 51st St
Lincoln City OR
(541) 996-2535

Cannon Beach
195 Warren Way
Totovana Park OR
(503) 436-1111

Florence
1436 Bay St
Florence OR
(541) 997-2185

www.moschowder.com

Friday, August 22, 2008

Restaurant Rambling: Chart House


I'll have to say if we're talking restaurants with a view, Chart House maybe second behind PCG. Chart House offers views of Portland, the Willamette River and Mount Hood in the distance. Parking is awful here so be sure to valet. The specialty here is seafood also.

We went for dinner following our Street of Dreams adventure. We were all starving. We started with a few appetizers. The Crab Stuffed Mushrooms (baked in a white wine sauce) was yummy. The Coconut Crunchy Shrimp (served with sweet plum sauce) was also quite tasty.

For dinner I tried the Savory Sea Bass (herb crusted sea bass served with wilted arugula & artichoke hearts). It was very moist and delicious.

One of my dinner partners allowed me to take a picture of the Halibut and Artichoke Hearts. I got a taste of this and it was also very delicious and the portion of halibut was very generous.

For dessert, we all shared their signature Hot Chocolate Lava Cake (Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, molten center, Dreyer's vanilla ice cream served with warm chocolate sauce and Heath bar crunch). Dang, there goes my time at the gym today!

Chart House
5700 SW Tewilliger
Portland OR
(503)246-6963
www.chart-house.com

Restaurant Rambling: Papa Haydn


Today was massage day! I went to the gym for a quick workout then headed to Dosha NW. I forgot to call ahead and request not to have the same gal I had last time. Last time I went to Dosha for a massage, I just didn't feel the gal did a good job. I was still knotted up and sore after the massage. But I forgot to call and when I showed up...YIKES, it was her again. This time I told her I wanted a deep massage (as last time I told her medium pressure and it wasn't much) and I wanted her to concentrate on my back, neck and shoulders. Holy moly, this time she came with the muscles. She made sure to work out all the kinks. At one point I was thinking I might cry it was so sore. But I held it in and left feeling so relaxed and kink free. She was very good. I wonder if I'll bruise tomorrow?

Anyways, after my massage, I was hungry and wanted a quick but light lunch. I was really craving a salad. I decided on Papa Haydn. Now I've told you about them before. They're located on 23rd in NW Portland. They're the ones with the yummy desserts.

Papa Haydn also has a decent lunch menu. They always have yummy salads and an amazing French onion soup. After glancing at the menu, I knew what I was having. This is their Pickled Beet Salad. Local beets are pickled and served with field greens, shaved asparagus and a lovely champagne vinegrette. The salad was just the right blend of flavors. The 2 beets had different tastes that made it all the more appealing. It was a lovely lunch for $8.95.
Just in case you're wondering....No, I didn't have dessert. I'm going to dinner tonight and am saving my calories. I won't say it didn't cross my mind though!

Restaurant Rambling: Portland City Grill

If you ever want to have dinner with a spectacular view, there's no place like Portland City Grill.  They have hands down, the best views in the city.  PCG is located in downtown Portland and has commanding views of Portland and the Cascade Mountains.  You have wonderful views of the bridges also.  They are known for the seafood with a Northwestern, Island and Asian influences.

Myself and some of the girls from work went specifically for Happy Hour earlier this week.  We've been to happy hour many a times.  They actually have a decent food menu.  Drinks, however, are where they get you as there are no specials and they're all overpriced anyway.  

PCG has one only 1 happy hour, but 3!!  Happy hour is Monday-Saturday from 4:30pm - 6:30pm, Monday-Thursday from 10:00pm - 12:00am and again on Sundays from 4:00pm to closing.  Woo hoo!!  

On this particular evening, nothing really grabbed me.  We did order the Thai Lemongrass Beef Tenderloin Satay ($4): flattop seared with Asian slaw and garlic ginger vinaigrette and the Kung Pao Chicken ($3): red & yellow bell peppers, sweet onions, peanuts, sticky rice & a spicy sauce.  On other occasions, I've favorited the Tossed Baby Field Greens Salad ($3): baby greens, champagne vinaigrette, feta cheese and hearts of palm  or the Papaya Cucumber & Avocado Stack ($2): papaya, cucumbers, avocados drizzled with sweet papaya seed vinaigrette and served with lotus root chips. 

We perused the dinner menu to see what the seafood specials were.  Hmmm....oink oink.  I was drawn to the Seared Northeastern Sea Scallops ($26):  citrus coulis, crispy sushi rice cake and wilted frisee salad.  Mmm...it was definitely good.  The scallops were prepared perfectly and the citrus was a great combination.  One of my friends tried the Wild Northwest King Salmon ($390: lemon thyme grilled, oyster mushroom risotto, pancetta, grilled asparagus and pea tendril salad.  I tried a bite and it was quite delicious!  My other friend was a good girl and stuck to the happy hour menu.  



We had a great time.  Dinner was amazing and the views can't be beat.  

Portland City Grill
111 SW 5th Ave (30th floor)
Portland OR 
(503) 450-0030
www.portlandcitygrill.com    

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Teaser: Brownies


What's better than a batch of freshly made brownies and a tall glass of milk?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Green Goddess: Which organic foods to buy?

There's a lot of hype these days about buying organic foods. Just what does it mean when a food is organic? Organic foods undergo strict legal regulation. Organic foods are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers and processed without food additives. Livestock are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones.


The USDA has 3 categories to identify organic foods:
1) 100% organic: made with 100% organic ingredients
2) Organic: made with at least 95% organic ingredients
3) Made with organic ingredients: made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict regulations on the remaining 30% of ingredients (no GMO's - genetically modified organisms)

I have slowly tried to incorporate more organic foods into my kitchen without breaking the bank. Organic produce can sometimes seem more expensive just due to the higher costs associated with organic growing. Some foods have less of a chance of containing pesticides and are okay to buy the non-organic forms. Here are some lists of the most important things to buy organic:



Hopefully you found this helpful. Cheers!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wine Tasting: 2007 Erath Pinot Gris


This is a very light and refreshing white wine.  It has hints of lemon and pear with a melon ending.  Erath is produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Great with seafood, turkey or pork.  

Restaurant Rambling: Pizzicato



Mmmm....pizza!! I love pizza! I should rephrase this...I love good pizza! One of my favorite pizza placed in Oregon is Pizzicato. They make yummy pizza, they have a wide variety of selections and the best part is that they have many locations around the city.

They have excellent salads. My favorites are the Spinachi (spinach, pine nuts, fresh tomatoes, red onions, feta and balsamic vinaigrette) and the Arugula Pear (arugula, baby lettuces, pear slices, candied walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinaigrette). Tonight I was feeling like the Arugula Pear salad. I've made versions of these at home. It's a great salad to wow dinner guests with!

I was also thinking of being good and going for a vegetarian option for the pizza. I ordered a Very Veggie pizza (roasted peppers, red onions, black olives, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, mozzarella and tomato sauce). But instead of the onions, I requested fresh Roma tomatoes. Yum!! It's just the perfect combination of veggies that you hardly miss the meat!

Other favorite pizzas of mine are the Molto Carne (Parmesan sausage, pepperoni, Carando Canadian bacon, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, black olives, mozzarella & tomato sauce), Puttanesca (fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, feta, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil) and the Wild Mushroom (shiitake, portobello, oyster, crimini and other seasonal mushrooms, Chevre, roasted peppers, red onions, fresh thyme, mozzarella, roasted garlic and olive oil). Any pizza you choose would be a good bet! They have some amazing combinations!

And as an added bonus (as if you needed more reasons) if you eat in, they serve beer and wine. Excellent!!

Pizzicato - Murray Hill
14845 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Beaverton OR
(503) 579-4889
For more locations, click here.
www.pizzicatopizza.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

Restaurant Rambling: Cadillac Cafe



Remember how I told you I love breakfast? I actually planned my appointments today around breakfast. There are several excellent breakfast eateries on the Eastside. I happened to be going over there today and had to make a decision.....where to go for a tasty breakfast?

I decided on Cadillac Cafe since it was close to where I needed to be and I've been hearing so much about their breakfasts. Apparently this place is so popular that on the weekend, people line up around the corner for a taste of heaven!

I went on a weekday when it wasn't too busy. I got in without a wait (yipee!). I did notice, however, that the place filled up pretty quick. I've been told that the Hazelnut French Toast is the cat's meow. I'm not a big fan of hazelnuts so I opted for the Custard French Toast. OMG....yum!! It was the perfect breakfast. I will definitely be back! I was so hungry but could only eat 1 1/2 of those yummy french toasts. Such a waste. I've also heard the chicken apple sausages are to die for. I would have ordered them as a side but I saw the person next to me with a stack of french toast and thought....better not ziggy piggy.

Cadillac Cafe
1801 NE Broadway St
Portland OR 97232
(503) 287-4750

The Hills Season Premiere



Okay I'll admit it, I watch The Hills. It's one of the few reality TV shows I can stomach (that and Hell's Kitchen). I can't help myself. It's like TV crack for me. It's sorta the 90210 of the 00's. Oh don't pretend you never watched 90210. People denied watching it but I know they did. It's like a train wreck and you can't look away. And yes, I realize it's all fake but I can't help myself.

I think it's weird how they tape ahead and what you're watching actually happened months ago. Then, they show up in the media and it leaves you very confused because they're seen with so and so but in the show they're with so and so. Yep, prime time soap opera. I love it, I thrive on it! Besides, I'm a Spedi hater! I can't stand that pair!

So take a break from the Olympics and watch with me.....you know you want to!!!! The Hills Season Premiere is tonight on MTV!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Restaurant Ramblings: Biscuits Cafe

Mmmmm...breakfast. I love breakfast!! I even love having breakfast during other meals. Portland has many excellent breakfast choices. People do love their breakfasts here!

I went to the gym today and post workout I was starving. Unfortunately, I realized this only after I zoomed past one of my favorite breakfast places. Then I remembered Biscuits Cafe has a new location on Barnes Road. I zoomed over there for a bit to eat.

One of my favorites on the menu is the very excellent corned beef hash. Talk about a mountain of food!! It comes with hash browns, 2 eggs and a choice of: biscuits, pancakes or toast. Try the biscuits. They're yummy with the freezer jam.

Today I was feeling a little risque. I needed to order something I've never tried before. I settled on the Country Benedict (buttermilk biscuits, sausage patties & poaches eggs smothered in gravy with a side of potatoes). Mmm....heaven! I have to say they were very good and filling. Remember how I was starving? Well I was soon very full and felt like being in a blissfull food-induced coma. It sure hit the spot.

If you're craving Biscuits, don't fear...they have many Oregon locations!

Biscuits Cafe
Oregon City
19273 Molalla Ave
Oregon City, OR 97045
Phone: 503-655-3612

NE Portland
5137 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213
Phone: 503-288-8271

Stadium District
103 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97210
Phone: 503-295-3729

Barnes & Miller
460 SW Miller Road
Portland, OR 97225
Phone: 503-297-3880

Beaverton
16755 SW Baseline Rd
Beaverton, OR 97006
Phone: 503-614-2876

Mount Scott - Johnson Creek & I-205
9201 SE 91st Ave, Suite 100
Portland, OR 97266
Phone: 503-777-2800

Canby
102 N. Ivy St
Canby, OR 97013
Phone: 503-266-1441

www.biscuitscafe.com

Friday, August 15, 2008

You know it's HOT HOT HOT!!

UGH!! Turn on the AC!! It's HOT in Portland. Yesterday we had record highs of 102!! This is one time of the year when sometime I actually think to myself, "thank goodness I work today".  Yeah, that's some scary talk!  

We're in store for 103 records today and maybe even 100 on Saturday.  Hot dang!!  Someone make room in the swimming pool for me!  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Green Goddess

Okay so I'm not a total go green freak, but I do like to do what I can to help save the Earth.  My theory is that if everyone does just one thing or a bunch of little things, we can all help.  So every once in a while, I will pepper you with going green suggestions.  You can ignore me if you like, but you'll find that these suggestions are not only Earth-saving, but can be pretty snazzy!  


- Feed 100 Recyclable Bags: I have my recyclable bags that I bring with me to the grocery store and farmer's markets, but this is one that is a must have.  This bag is being sold exclusively by Whole Foods.  $10 from the sale of these bags will go to provide 100 meals for hungry school children in Rwanda.  Most of these children were directly affected by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  An estimated 800,000 men, women and children lost their lives.  (Whole Foods, nationwide; $29.99)

- Green swimwear (yeah, sounds weird huh?):
  - Aaron Chang makes swimsuits out of fabric made from post-consumer plastics.  The plastics are made into a purified polyester yarn.  
  - www.faeriesdance.com sells some Earth friendly swimwear.
  - Anna Cohen represents Portland, Oregon by making her swimwear from surplus polyester/lycra fabric leftover from Olympic speed skater outfits.  Go team USA!

- Market Basket: A cute alternative to shopping in style.  Makes great farmer's market shoppers.  ($39.99)

- Rain Tees: Buy a shirt from the Andira Rain Tee Collection and a child in Costa Rica will receive a tree to plant to replace one that's been destroyed.  The shirts are eco-friendly and made of a blend of organic cotton & bamboo.  ($35)  **Update: emailed the designer and apparently they are currently still in production and set to ship out to retailers Nov 2008**
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Restaurant Rambling: Voodoo Doughnuts

I can't believe I've never told you about Voodoo Doughnut yet. Krispy Kremes who? Voodoo Doughnut used to open at weird times of day (or should I say night?). I believe their hours used to be 10pm-10am or until sold out. They are popular with the late night crowd. Believe me, there has been known lines at midnight for a delicious treat. I am happy to report they are now open 24/7. Yes, you heard me right!! They are located in downtown Portland on 3rd Ave (just South of the Burnside Bridge), just between Berbati's Pan and The Paradise Theater.


If you're looking for plain Jane maple glazed doughnuts, Voodoo may not be for you. If you are looking for stomach-aching, sugary-sweet pastry concoctions, you maybe Voodoo material. Just a word of caution, these are not rated G doughnuts. Some can be just a little over the top. Voodoo Doughnut specializes in off the wall doughnuts. Here's just a small sample:


Voodoo Doughnut: Their name-sake. Your own personal voodoo doll. Complete with pin (er, pretzel).
Triple Chocolate Penetration: Chocolate doughnut, chocolate glaze, Coco Puffs
Maple Bacon Bar: Yeah you heard me right.....BACON!!!

Cock-n-Balls: Apparently popular for bachelorette parties. Triple cream filled with a personalized saying.

I should also add that there have been creations such as the Robitussin, Nyquil glazed and Pepto Bismol doughnuts but the FDA layed the smackdown on Voodoo. However, there are many other delicious treats. Try the Grape Ape, Arnold Palmer, Dirt, or Dirty Snowball. The choices are endless. Stop by today!!

Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Ave
Portland OR
(503) 241-4704
www.voodoodoughnut.com

**All images from Voodoo Doughnut because I wasn't fast enough to snap shots before the box of doughnuts were raided**


Monday, August 11, 2008

Upcoming Epicurean Events

Here are a few of the epicurean events going on:  

2008 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Labor Day Weekend (Aug 29-31, 2008), Sonoma, CA.  If you're going to this, I'm sooo jealous!  I checked and it's my weekend to work.  (pouting in the corner)

- Slow Food Nation 2008, Labor Day Weekend (Aug 29-31 2008), San Francisco, CA

- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Sept 26-Nov 9, 2008, Orlando, FL.  More info here.

- NYC Wine & Food Festival, Oct 9-12, 2008, New York, NY

- Eats3, Oct 23-25, 2008, Scottsdale, AZ

- San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, Nov 12-16, 2008, San Diego, CA

Cayman Cookout January 16-19, 2009 in the Cayman Islands.  

- South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Feb 19-22, 2009, South Beach, FL 

- Pebble Beach Food & Wine, April 16-19, 2009, Pebble Beach, CA

________________________________________
As a side note, Forbes Traveler listed their picks for Best US Wine & Food Festivals in their May 2008 issue:

- Food & Wine Magazine Classic, Aspen CO
- New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, New Orleans, LA
- Wine Enthusiast Toast of the Town, various cities
- Charleston Food & Wine Festival, Charleston SC
- Blue Ridge Food & Wine Festival, Blue Ridge, NC (upcoming: April 16-19, 2009)
- Vegas Uncork'ed, Las Vegas NV
- Southern Breeze Wine & Culinary Fest, various cities (upcoming: Sept 12-14, 2008 in Santa Rosa Beach FL)
-  Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, South Beach FL
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Orlando FL
- San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, San Diego CA

Restaurant Rambling: Papa Haydn

Today was pedicure Monday.  My friend and I like to take her daughter (my 6 yo friend...oh wait, 6 and 3/4 year old friend) and we all get our toesies done.  I wish I had my macro lens so you could see her cute little toes.  My little friend chose purple for her pedi (I'm shocked as I thought pink was her color).   The gal doing her nails was so cute and painted a flower on her big toe and put a tiny shiny pink crystal in the middle of the flower.  She also put little white dots on her other toes.  I chose purple also.  My little friend tried to convince me that I wanted flowers on my toes also.  I told her maybe next time.  I think she may hold me to it next time as she was very insistent! 

We had originally made dinner plans for my little friend's favorite restaurant, Typhoon.  They serve Thai food and we go there on 80% of our "dates".  I was shocked when she said she wanted to go to Papa Haydn.  

Papa Haydn is a popular Portland restaurant located on the busy NW 23rd neighborhood.  They're not exactly known for their food.  Don't get me wrong, the food here is good.  It's just that the desserts are king here.  They have about 20-25 different desserts.  You notice them as you walk in the restaurant.  It's hard not to notice them....they're staring right at you.  Sorry for the glare...it was a nice and sunny day.  Mmmm....drooling yet?    

I was already thinking of dessert so it was hard to decide on an entree for dinner.  I finally decided on the ravioli that was stuffed with cheese and asparagus.  It was topped with a ragout with kalamata olives, tomatoes, red peppers, onions and eggplant.  It was also drizzled with roasted pepper oil.  My dinner was delicious.  I was surprised that my little friend agreed to try a ravioli (she usually isn't that adventurous....no sauce she says).  She said, "mmmm, it's delicious".  I'd have to agree with her.  It was so good, I ate it all. 

My little friend had the watermelon lemonade which she said was yummy.  She had the noodles with butter and parmesan cheese for dinner with a side of asparagus.  My big friend had the burger and fries.  The burger here is pretty good.  If you have it, splurge for that added bacon and cheese for $1.  You won't be sorry!  
But don't worry, I still had room for dessert.  It was very difficult to decide as there were so many yummy choices.  I had originally thought I would have a slice of this pretty Marionberry cheesecake.  OMG....YUM!!  But at the last minute I changed my mind and had the Blackberry Tart.  Now this was to die for.  Notice that my sauce is smeared in the left hand corner and a berry is noticeably missing??  My little friend beat me to it before I could snap the picture.  No sooner had the picture been taken did she make a bee-line for the white chocolate curl sticking out of the top.  LOL!!  The bottom was a shortbread crust....it was soooo good!!  

My little friend had her favorite dessert, the Pretty in Pink.  It is very pretty, let me tell you.  My big friend had the triple berry cobbler with ice cream.  Oh man, so full!!    

Papa Haydn's is a great place to stop just for desserts.  They do a to-go at their dessert bar.  But if you have time, stay for a meal.  Lunches are great on a lazy weekend but they tend to get busy.  They also do brunch.  Dinners are great here too.  During nice weather, they offer seating outside on the sidewalks.  It's great for people watching.  

Papa Haydn's has 2 locations.  One in NW 23rd and the other on SE Milwaukie Ave.  Two great locations for some of the best desserts Portland has to offer!!

Papa Haydn
701 NW 23rd Ave 
Portland, OR

5829 SE Milwaukie Ave
Portland OR 
www.papahaydn.com

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gidgits and Gadgets

I have a couple of neato finds to share this week:


- Frisper Freshkeeper Vacuum Sealer:  This is a great option for people that love the idea of a Foodsaver but hate the inconvenience of it's clunkiness.  The Frisper is the size of a computer mouse.  Set includes 5 1-quart and 5 1-gallon bags.  Replacements are available for purchase separately.  (Sur La Table, $79.95)  

- Italian Ravioli Makers with Rolling Pins:  How cute are these??  Imagine making your own butternut squash ravioli.  How quick and easy would this be?  (Sur La Table, $26.00 each, rounds and squares available)

- Ice Cream Topping Carousel: Okay if you have kids, this is the cutest dang thing!  (Sur La Table, $39.95)

- Italian Tomato Press: This is a fantastic buy for all of you gardeners.  If you find yourself with an overabundance of tomatoes this season, why not make sauce.  Skinning and seeding tomatoes are never fun.  This press does everything for you.  Made in Italy. (Williams-Sonoma, $34.00)

What's Cookin?: Prosciutto Roasted Figs

On my lazy Sunday, I happened to be at Whole Foods. I actually had something in mind that I needed but never found it. What I did find though, was some Black Mission Figs. Have you ever had a fresh fig? Okay, dried figs and Fig Newtons don't count (tsk tsk tsk).

The Black Mission Figs are purplish black on the outside. Inside, however, you'll find pretty, pink flesh. A fresh fig is very sweet and the textures dance in your mouth. The flesh is very soft and chewy and the inside seeds are crunchy and pop in your mouth. Figs are an excellent source of fiber, potassium & manganese. They are also low in calories (yipee!).

The following recipe is for 40 figs. This is a great quicky appetizer when figs are in season. I downsized a lot and only made what I had. I had both blue cheese and Manchego leftovers (what a coinkidink). Manchego is a Spanish cheese that can be found in specialty stores such as Whole Foods, New Seasons, etc.

Prosciutto Roasted Figs
Courtesy of Tyler Florence, www.foodnetwork.com

40 small fresh Mission Figs
4 oz. Manchego or Blue Cheese, cut into small raisin sized pieces
20 slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prep cheese by slicing into small raisin sized pieces and slice prosciutto in half (long ways). Wash your figs and dry on paper towels. Make a small slit in the side of each fig and stuff with a piece of cheese. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each fig to enclose fig like a little cocoon. Stand the figs upright on a sheet pan (line with foil).
Bake for 12-15 minutes so the prosciutto melts slightly and forms a skin around the figs. Season with ground black pepper.

These are terrific hot or at room temperature.

I served them with some bread and olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper for dipping. Dang they were yummy!!