Wednesday, 13 April
Epicurean Excursion from Portland Walking Tours

David of Portland Walking Tours was kind enough to send me the press release below. It sounds like a blast, and definitely something the Spousal Unit and I would want to do once we're settled in to the new house:

Portland Walking Tours Announces an “Epicurean Excursion”

A fun, informative, unique (and filling) way to experience Portland’s Pearl District

(Portland, OR) April 14, 2005 - Portland Walking Tours announces a new walking tour featuring the city’s culinary delights. Starting April 16 th at 10:30 am and operating every Saturday until December, this “Epicurean Excursion” walking tour is a fun and educational adventure, where walkers will sample food and drink and meet artisans in their shops, all in the beautiful and thriving Pearl District. Everything is included in the price of $59 per person.

Walkers will taste the best of Oregon--local produce, teas, jams and jellies, beer, pizza, coffee, sorbettos and gelatos, fresh chocolate truffles, and artisan breads and sweets fresh from bakery ovens. We recommend that walkers don't eat before the tour.

This “Epicurean Excursion” walking tour features themes including:

  • Local and Sustainable Goods,
  • Demonstrations and behind-the-scenes chats with the Artisans, and
  • Portland’s Liquid Assets (microbrews, teas, olive oils, wines, coffee, and, of course, rain - our liquid sunshine).

While destinations will change depending on timing, seasons, and availability, a sample April itinerary includes the Pearl Bakery (handmade breads and pastries), In Good Taste Cooking School (jams and jellies), Tea Zone (loose leaf teas), Hot Lips Pizza (handcrafted pizza and homemade berry sodas), Bridgeport Brewery (microbrews), Via Delizia (deserts and coffees), and more. Walkers will also learn about the ever-changing face of the Pearl District and the neighborhood’s interesting history, including the real story of Pearl Marie Amhara, for whom the area is named.

The “Epicurean Excursion” walking tour is every Saturday, starting at 10:30 a.m., and runs approximately 3 hours. The tour starts at the Visitor Center at Pioneer Courthouse Square (under the Starbucks at SW Broadway & Morrison). The price for Adults, Seniors and Youth is $59.00 per person, with group discounts beginning at 9 people. The price includes all food, drink, and Portland Streetcar access. Tour maximum is 15 walkers, so while advanced ticketing is not required, it is strongly recommended. We expect this walking tour to regularly sell out, so book in advance.

About Portland Walking Tours

Portland Walking Tours offers guided tours exploring the food, history, art, architecture, fountains, parks, and unique places in the City of Roses and surrounding areas. The company also provides private tours, school field trips, step-on guide services, airport greeter services, and speaker services to the meeting industry. The 24 hour information and ticketing line is (503) 774-4522. Additional information and online ticketing are available at www.portlandwalkingtours.com. Portland Walking Tours is a member of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association, the International Culinary Tourism Association, LifeBalance, and is an AAA "Show Your Card and Save" partner .

Monday, 13 December
The Gripper

Standard disclaimer: I am neither shill, nor "bzzagent" nor anything else associated with the marketing industry.

I used to poo-poo anything but a wood cutting board. Plastic was ugly, and the only problem it solved was contamination--not much of an issue when you don't cook meat at home.

Lately, my old cutting board had gone to the land of bad smells (okay, maybe contamination is a problem), and needed replacing. First, I tried one of those fancy laminate boards. It was heavy, I bought one too big for our dishwasher, and it was LOUD. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! every time I chopped something.

Next, standard wood. It was kinda heavy, and I had to put no-skid mats beneath it, but it was quiet and normal and safe.

Then I saw one of these on the shelf near the salad spinners. It claimed to need no wet dishtowels or clever mats to keep it from skidding. Also: not ugly. I'm a sucker for bright colors. Finally, it was a lot less expensive than its wood counterparts. So I tried a small orange one.

Suddenly, I felt very wasteful for going through all those nice wood boards. Which I gave to someone else. The Gripper, as this bright plastic wonder is called, really works. It's light, attractive, affordable, dishwasher safe, and doesn't slip. I have two now, and feel like I've finally found the perfect cutting board.

Thursday, 08 July
Keeping Greens

Redfox has some most excellent tips on prepping greens for storage. I'd been doing the salad thing since I saw it on Alton Brown (though alas, no room here for a salad spinner), but the parboiling is new to me. It sounds like a splended idea.

Sunday, 23 May
Sunday Cooking

Today's theme: balls. I was cooking mostly with an eye toward bento boxes for the next few days.

Finally, out of theme, I cooked a pot of adzuki beans with barley, adding salsa and tomato.

Balls, I say!

Monday, 17 May
Sunday Cooking

Much in line with the esteemed Redfox on Saturday, I had a most pleasant Sunday putting together yummy things for the rest of the week. The (unintentional) theme was "things we can slap on a bagel for a quick yum."

From What's Cooking: Vegetarian, I whipped up the Lentil Pate. Sadly, it didn't set up properly, but it still makes an amazing spread.

I also marinated some veggies in garlic tamari and olive oil, and roasted them for sandwiches. They are almost gone already. Dinner was an open-faced sandwich: slices of good french bread spread with pate and topped with roasted veggies. Oh my, but that was good.

Quick Vegetarian Pleasures has a marinated mushroom recipe I used for the second time yesterday. It involves a little olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, a couple cloves of diced garlic, a sprig or two of chopped parsley, and salt. Leave it in the fridge for about 24 hours, and give it a turn (I put it in a plastic keeper, so I just shake it, baby, shake it) when you think of it. The result are wonderful shrooms you can use in anything. Okay, except maybe ice cream.

I also got rid of our over-abundance of Manic Organic fruit--mostly oranges--by putting together a quick fruit salad. Many oranges and a little juice, a couple sliced bananas, a pear and an apple, some unsweetened coconut (the Spousal Unit informs me this marks my salad as trailer park cuisine. To that I say: "MY PEOPLE!"), a bit of honey, and a bit more of real maple syrup. This, unlike marinated mushrooms, was most amazing with ice cream, I tells ya.

Was there something else? Oh yeah, another batch of Onion Confit, with mushrooms added in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Hubby has that on a sammich for lunch.

All in all, fun was had, and food was et.

Saturday, 19 April
You were right, Mary

I've had brief flirtations with cooking from time to time, but finally, I understand. It has, at last, gotten into my blood but good.

About, oh, 15 years ago, I worked in a small personnel office for the local rag. Therein worked Mary, the Assistant Director, who dreamed of running a bookshop on the coast (I think she finally made this dream come true). Mary was sweet, wise, and a bit high strung. When I once expressed my love of food processors and culinary shortcuts, she stared aghast and said that she couldn't stay sane without the promise of chopping and slicing at the end of the day.

While this savage beast is only marginally soothed by the cutting and the sharpie-sharp, I do enjoy practicing my knife skills--which are getting slowly better every day. There is a certain joy to be taken in the delicate matter of a finely sliced clove of garlic, and a deep satisfaction in cooking something nutritious and yummy.

Besides, Bill does the cleaning.