Posts Tagged ‘dining’

Cherry Clafoutis and Another Kitchen Gadget

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Recipe, Sweets, Vegetarian on July 15th, 2010 by Audrey – 3 Comments

I am not really a gadget-y person when it comes to kitchen tools. I like basic tools that have many uses, are well made, and stand the test of time. Normally, I scoff at bagel-slicers (hello, knife?), garlic presses (oh, hi knife), apple peelers (wow, I can do this with a knife!), and cheese spreaders (a fancy name for a fat knife). This may be a result of having operated in very petite kitchens for all of my adult life, where I did not have the space to store unnecessary gadgetry, or a well-internalized yearning for minimalism. But all this fell away when I was faced with a mountain of glorious, crimson cherries that I hauled home from Saturday’s farmer’s market. (This is what happens when you go there without eating breakfast. Oops.)

Oregon is well known for its abundant cherry crops, along with our neighbor Washington, and we even invented that weird scarlet orb that is now commonly accepted as the maraschino cherry, a necessity when the country went through that crazy era of Prohibition and the traditional, alcoholic version was excommunicated. Truth be told, I did not like maraschino cherries as a kid. I abandoned them in Shirley Temples or pawned them off on other kids. Nor did I like anything that was cherry flavored – popsicles, lollipops, medicine, blech! – and so I deduced that I simply did not like cherries. Little did I know, “cherry flavor” bears no relation to the flavor of an actual cherry. Go figure! It took some coaxing and a trip around the world to reintroduce me to the naked beauty of a fresh cherry, and awaken a love for the fruit. Which brings me back to the present day, standing before a mountain of red glories, with a smaller, blushing yellow foothill of Rainier cherries* alongside it. read more »

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp and Sultry Savannah

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipe, Sweets, Travel, Vegetarian on June 22nd, 2010 by Audrey – 1 Comment

Strawberry RhubarbSummer has been hesitant in arriving here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been blessed (eh?) with a wet spring, and it seems to be lingering, though as I write today the sun is just beginning to fade on this, the longest day of the year. Yeah yeah, I’ll probably be glad sometime in August that we got a nice, moist start to the dry season (yes, Portland has a dry season), but my drowned shell peas and slug-savaged bush beans in the garden do not have that kind of perspective. Innocent victims. Fortunately for our vitamin D-starved souls (and complexions), DG and I were lucky enough to have a chance to escape the chilly spring weather a few weeks ago with a quick jaunt to sultry Savannah, Georgia, where we got in a good dose of sunshine, humidity, and southern cooking. We had a native host who introduced us to family and friends, and showed us the sights and the hidden secrets – we even saw an alligator! Just walking around like he owned the place! Amazing. I’ve included a few culinary highlights of the trip at the end of this post. read more »

Seattle and Cake

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipe, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian on May 25th, 2010 by Audrey – 6 Comments

Space NeedleAs much as I love my home city of Portland, I’ve pretty much always got a chronic case of wanderlust, and so there’s nothing like a couple days out of town to shake off the dust of routine and get me feeling fresh and happy to be home again once the trip is through. This past week, DG and I hightailed it up to Seattle, where we had the chance to reconnect with some great friends, as well as take advantage of some of the city’s excellent eats and drinks. (I’ve spotlighted some of our best finds at the bottom of this post. Check it out!)

We had the great good fortune of being able to be temporary lords of the manor (and cat-sitters) at a friend’s house up there while they were in the land down under. The chief benefit of this arrangement, aside from the palatial setting (compared to our one-bedroom apartment), was that we were able to entertain a big group of friends and host a pot luck dinner – I didn’t feel quite up to the task of cooking for everyone in someone else’s kitchen, but wanted to get everyone together for good times on our own turf. Luckily, with this crowd, I knew would be a stomach-pleasing endeavor, and indeed it was. read more »

Where in the World is Can Do Kitchen?

Posted in Business, Food, Travel on May 25th, 2010 by Audrey – 1 Comment

Cuban Mix Sandwich

This is not a peach. It is an incredibly delicious Cuban Mix Sandwich with fried plantains and cafe con leche that I had in Key West.

I have a very distinct memory of sitting at my kitchen table in the wee fourth-floor apartment I shared with my roommate in Aix-en-Provence, France. Our tall windows were thrown open and I could see into a kitchen in the building across the narrow street. A warm breeze ruffled the dish towel flung over the oven handle. In my hand: a white peach, fresh from the market milling around in the place below my window. My first white peach, so ripe it nearly burst from my touch. I sat alone there in the kitchen, bit into the fruit, and savored every ray of sunshine in its flesh. So sweet and unresisting to my bite, the juice ran down my elbows and onto the table. It was bliss.

Moments like these are snapshots from my life when food has shaped an experience and enriched my sense of time and place. I have relished many, many culinary moments in my travels, whether it be a tearing into a mysterious purple mangosteen in a back alleyway in Thailand or slurping matzo ball soup in a New York deli, and I want to start sharing these moments with you, dear reader. I’m going to weave these tales into upcoming posts, along with photos and links. Check in from time to time to witness my tasty travels, and when you visit the same places I do, you can try some of my discoveries, and share your own recommendations with me!

It is my hope that you will live vicariously through these posts, but also take notice of your own singular taste-sensation moments. These are inspirations for what we can create in our own kitchens, as well as opportunities to tune into the tastes that we’re experiencing and link them to past tastes, memories, likes, dislikes, and desires – feedback that informs every cooking decision we make. The more taste experiences our tongues and minds have, the richer our palates, and our ability to build from this base.

I grant you your culinary passports, friends. Hop aboard, and let your tongue be your guide!