Udon Noodle Salad with Hard Cider Sesame Dressing

Udon Noodle Salad with Hard Cider Sesame DressingBig squishy noodles, I was craving big squishy, satisfying noodles and a use for my Hard Cider Sesame Dressing. It was a good choice. I had a hard time deciding on a noodle but udon was the most available fresh noodle at the store. Fresh noodles have a completely different texture than dried noodles when cooked. They turn out much more tender and fat.

I boiled the noodles according to the directions, using the seasoning packet. Noodles have more flavor when cooked in broth. I was hungry so I didn’t let the noodles cool but combined them with the veg immediately. I liked the way it slightly wilted the greens. Cold noodles are good to though. Continue reading →

Brew BQ – A Pacific Northwest BBQ Joint

BrewBQMeat, I wanted meat…and alcohol. It had been a very long stressful week. Most of my meals had been vegetarian or veg with token pieces of chicken or seafood. Don’t get me wrong, I like going vegetarian but after a while I need meat, particularly when stressed. So when my coworker suggested dinner out on a Friday night I had two requirements:  alcohol and meat; chicken, fish, seafood, or hamburger need not apply, only chunks of meat carved from a large animal.

Luckily my coworker enjoys meat and drink as well. We spent quite a bit of time trying to think of a place that would fit the bill but not let us overspend or over eat. At least Brew BQ is fairly inexpensive.

Brew BQ is a hole in the wall place next to Flattail Brewery. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. I’m not sure how to describe the decor, but I’ll go with upscale Southern shack or maybe upscale redneck shack. Lampshades and chandeliers are from pint beer glasses (with various logos) and 22 oz. bottles. There’s an image of the “mud flap girl” made of bottle caps on one wall and across from her there is a matching image of a truck driver (complete with belly and cap) in the same pose. Continue reading →

Hard Cider Sesame Dressing

Hard Cider Sesame DressingThis is a tribute to the Portland Cider Summit going on this weekend. Luckily, it turned out tasty!

It’s nice to see that America’s original beverage is coming into its own. I became a fan a few years ago. My friend and I attended The Oregon Garden Brewfest for a couple years, I even volunteered one year (I recommend either going or volunteering, either way you’ll have a good time), sadly I couldn’t make it this year. The funny thing is I usually spent most of my tickets on cider instead of beer. Oregon brewers tend to ignore lagers and are heavy on IPAs and ales. Good ciders are available though and not just apple cider, there’s pear, cherry, and blackberry. So, when Wandering Angus posted on Facebook that the Cider Summit was going on in Portland again I messaged my friend immediately!

Cider has a range of flavors that differs from sweet to richly fermented. Each cider house has several takes on their idea of cider. Each season makes a difference as well, much like wine. The sweetness of the fruit making a big difference to each year’s pressing.

I don’t know why I decided on this combination but it worked. The sesame brings out the taste of fermented apple. It’s pretty pungent on its own but blends beautifully on a salad. I found the ginger paste at an Asian market. It doesn’t give much ginger flavor to the dressing but it definitely adds something. I have not tried fresh ginger, I think it would be a completely different flavor and might overpower the hard cider. If you can’t find ginger paste, I would use powdered ginger. Continue reading →

Double Rainbow Sorbet

Coconut is one of my favorite flavors. Coconut cream pie, coconut latte, coconut Italian soda, I’m a little coco-nuts! Ha ha! So one day at the co-op I wanted some ice cream but not all the fat and dairy. They have all kinds of frozen treats made with coconut but not that many coconut flavors. It may seem a slight distinction but it makes a taste difference. So the Coconut Sorbet from Double Rainbow really stood out to me.

Double Rainbow Coconut Sorbet (2) Continue reading →

Rosemary Balsamic Dressing

Rosemary Balsamic Dressing

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember. – William Shakespeare

Rosemary has been on my mind lately. Perhaps it’s Memorial Day that brought it up. Rosemary has long been associated with memory and improving memory and it has a wide range of uses, you can find more information here. There is a quite sadness around rosemary for me, she is so often associated with death that it’s hard to remember her role in other more festive occasions (such as weddings).

There is nothing sad about the taste of rosemary though. Its strong resinous flavor will wake you right up. It’s best to make this dressing a few hours or several days before use so that they herbs can infuse the vinegar and oil. The dressing also makes a great marinade and dip for bread. The salmon in the photo was marinated for about an hour before being grilled and it was awesome.

So, make this tasty dressing today to improve your memory and avoid the plague! Continue reading →

Eggs in a…with a Blanket

There are many names for this dish. So far I’ve heard Eggs in a Cradle, Egg in a Hole, Toad in a Hole (I don’t know where that comes from!), Eggs in a Basket, Hens in a Basket, and, “I didn’t know it had a name.” I think my introduction to this dish came from Moonstruck. Rose is in the kitchen making this when Loretta comes home from her first night with Ronny. I came across the recipe again in a kid’s cookbook, Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters
. I couldn’t remember if I had ever had this dish, so of course I had to fix it right away. The idea of the blanket came from this book as well.

This recipe is simple and infinitely changeable. At its very core you need bread, eggs, and butter; from there you can add anything.

Cut a hole in the bread, butter each side and put in a preheated frying pan over medium heat. Break an egg into the hole (I break it into a small bowl and then pour, it’s easier). Flip the bread once the white is set (as you would with a fried egg).

101_4375 Continue reading →

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Spring in a bowl, that’s what we got here. As a kid, asparagus season was met with dread. Maybe Mom should have tried serving it raw instead over cooked. I had no idea you could eat asparagus raw until I was an adult, well into my 30′s. Wasted time, I tell ya. Raw asparagus has a sweet gentle taste compared to its cooked form (of course, I like the cooked for now as well, as long as it’s not overcooked).

The dressing will work just fine if you only heat it enough to incorporate the honey. The picture shows it that way, I was too hungry to wait for it to reduce. It’s much better if you can reduce it some, but it’s tasty either way. Continue reading →

Savory Oatmeal

Savory Oatmeal

So one day I wanted something comforting but wasn’t sure what I had at home that would fit the bill. Oatmeal had the right texture and filling capacity but I did not want something sweet (I know, shocked me to. I don’t know what was up). Eureka! Savory Oatmeal. I’m pretty sure I am not the first person to think of it (my Scottish ancestors eat a lot of oatmeal I’m sure), but I don’t remember seeing it before. Topped off with a fried egg and served with some vegetable juice it fit the bill just fine.

I used Italian seasoning and of course garlic but you could use just about any combination that tickles your fancy. Continue reading →

Butternut Squash Fondue/Soup

Butternut Squash FondueThis is an odd yet yummy recipe. Depending on the size of the squash you use (and its moisture content I’m betting) it’s either think, creamy soup or fondue. The first time I made it, it was a little too thick and cheesy to be soup. So I broke out the bread cubes and called it fondue. Since there is only so much fondue one person can eat by themselves I took it to work so that my guinea pigs coworkers could tell me what they thought. Everyone gave it the thumbs up and agreed that it should be a fondue instead of a soup.

The weather has taken a quick turn to winter again it seems and I had a squash hanging out on the counter asking when I was going to use it (food doesn’t talk to you? Hmm, you should have that looked into).

To be quite honest, I like this squashy fondue better than traditional fondue. Plus, you have the added benefit of the nutritional veggie base. You can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and you can keep it low fat by using nonfat broth and Neufchatel cheese.

The hot sauce and paprika don’t make the dish hot or even spicy but they definitely add depth to the flavor, that something you can’t quite put your tongue on. It will still be good if you leave it out, they weren’t in the first version. Continue reading →

Salad Topper: Chive Blossoms

Chive BlossomHere’s something pretty to throw on your salad. Mid spring or early summer chives send up a woody stock that blossoms out into a lovely purple flower. Chives are part of the onion family and while their flavor is mild their blossoms are not. They seem to concentrate all their power into one fluffy flower! These are fairly hot. I usually throw them into a tossed green salad served with a creamy dressing like ranch. The dressing helps counteract the assertiveness of the chive blossom. You could certainly use them in other salads. You could also serve them on a crudite platter as is.

Toss the salad gently as chive blossoms can fall apart. They are compound flower, rather l a dandelion seed head and fall apart easily. Their color can range from crayon purple to lilac. I think mine need to

Chive Blossom Profile

be repotted and are blooming a bit lighter than usual this year.

Chives are an easy plant to grow. Give them a decent size pot, good soil, and a spot in the sun and they will be quite happy on your porch or balcony.

Have you used chive blossoms before? How did you use them? I’ve been considering battering and frying them. Has anyone had them that way?

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 144 other followers