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Live Food Blogging at the IFBC Portland

24 Aug

This weekend I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference held this year, right here in Portland. It was three days of work (I volunteered), networking, and learning.

This post is from a crazy attempt at “live food blogging” during a speed tasting event we did on day 1. By the end, I was too hopped up on sugar and coffee to make any sense of anything. Though there were 21 vendors present, each table only made it through about 10 vendors each in the time allotted.

Here is my valiant attempt to blog live, as I tasted and conferred (with the lovely Janelle over at Talk of Tomatoes), listened and was brochured, typed and procured (goodies for my temporarily absent table mate, the irascible, Vicki Winters over @mybigmouth on Twitter, who was checking into the hotel downstairs.) In the end, I got a little too loud and silly (after 2 extremely small cups of coffee and about 5 pieces of chocolate — I am such a lightweight!) with the wonderful ladies at Table 22!! Cheers to Janelle, Miss Vicki, Megan, Jacqueln and the gorgeous gals of Maxwell PR — had a blast with you all.

Enjoy!

 

First up: Oregon Blackberry-Ginger Dressing over Salmon and Summer Vegetable Salad

Served: by the Chef from Adalu Stew (uses food as the foundation for cancer care to optimize health) on a small bamboo app spoon

IMPRESSION:Delish, fresh, light, clean and with a clear asian influence

 

Second: Silverspot IPA (Pelican Pub and Brewery)

IMPRESSION: This beer is 6%ABV English style IPA, not hoppy, the IBU is 55 (not gluten-free)

BONUS: Portion of the proceeds goes to collaborative habitat restoration for the threatened species of Oregon silverspot butterfly

 

3rd: Nicky USA Purveyors of specialty game and high quality meat (local PacNW)

Dish: Tartar Water Buffalo on a cracker, Jacobson’s sea salt, lemon, capers

IMPRESSION: So delicious, fresh and savory, yet light with the lemon

 

FOURTH: Rockfish Bakery Cafe, Lincoln City, Oregon

DISH: Sourdough Bread

IMPRESSION: I didn’t taste it (not gluten-free) but tablemates say it’s very good bread, great chew, good crackle,and a mild sour flavor. “It’s worth the carbs to eat bread this good!”

Cool Stuff: Naturally risen bread, takes 2 days to make, simple ingredient recipes

 

5th: Wild Caught Oregon Albacore (OregonCoast.org, Lincoln, City, Oregon)

DISH: Classic Tuna Salad sandwich

IMPRESSION:Yum! Looking at the fresh canned/jarred tuna and finding out how to get from my local Oregon fisherman (will fill you all in later on a future blog!)

 

6th: Jacobsen Sea Salt

DISH: small bites, sourdough bread with butter, honey and sea salt

IMPRESSION:Lovely seas salt, knowledgeable purveyor

7th: Happyrock Coffee Roastery

DISH: Coffee (just a taste in a dixie type cup)

IMPRESSION: nicely roasted flavor, not too acrid and it packed a caffeinated whollop!

 

8th: Coastal Mist Chocolates

Dish: Box of chocolates for the table to share! Yay!

IMPRESSION: Gorgeous looking chocolates, not sure if they’re fair trade or not. Some flavors were really interesting like the yuzku, others (like the marshmallow filled) left something to be desired. All were beautiful looking though and it was awesome of them to give each table a box.

9th: Temptress Truffles

Dish: sliced apple with truffle salted caramel sauce

IMPRESSION: Divine — this was the BIGGEST hit at our table. Not only was her truffle sauce out of this world BUT she was just too sweet and adorable to not fall in love with her! You MUST support this micro-business — she’s the real deal!

10th & Final: Fishes Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

Dish: 1 slice of a crab roll with Oregon wasabi

IMPRESSION: Yum! But I needed more and some saki. 🙂

 

 

 

Bonus: Blackberries are high in antioxidants and fiber

 

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Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Dog Muffins (*Gluten-Free)

4 Mar

What? Wait? Did I say, “corn dog muffins?” OK, I did — but did I really say, “Gluten-Free?” (Yes!)

“No way,” you say, “there’s all kinds of fillers in hot dogs and usually that means wheat.”

Not when you use hot dogs that are filler and preservative-free (no nitrates or nitrites and no MSG — YAY!) and the great thing is these corn dog muffins taste every bit as decadent as their recipe title sounds (sans the gluten-free moniker.) I made them as something a little different for lunch one day and with a hubby and a young son in the house, for whom hot dogs are always a welcome sight, it felt like a no-brainer. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Recipes, Week #3: Four Courses with Virtual Potluck and Taste

9 Feb

Nobody wants to spend their whole night in the kitchen on Valentine’s Day. You want to cook, present, eat and get on with the canoodling– am I right? In this, our final V-Day menu we show that cooking at home on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be super labor intensive — just scrumptious.

The four courses we’ve have paired here are easy for most anyone to make but still elegant and tasty. Sometimes simplicity is the key.

Each week, four of our 12 bloggers has put their best food forward as part of a 4 course “Lovers Feast” and what Valentine’s Day is complete without a TASTE-y libation? We teamed up with Otis over at Taste on The N8tion.com for custom cocktails to go with each course — they even whipped up some yummy non-alcoholic beverages for those of you who don’t imbibe (See week 1.)

BONUS: Here’s my favorite SNL sketch for this time of year, “The Lovers,” featuring Christopher Walken: http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=275058

 

Final Valentine’s 4 Course Lover’s Feast Menu

APPETIZER: Milisa at Miss in the Kitchen serves up sensually Creamy Mushroom Egg Rolls

INTERMEZZO: Donna at Cookistry: Flowered Cheese Course (an array of tasty cheeses with a touch of romance)

ENTREE: Here on The GrooVy Foody: Steak Frites with Gorgonzola sauce, caramelized onion and sauteed mushrooms

 

 

DESSERT: Nelly at Cooking with Books brings sumptuous Hot Chocolate Poached Pears

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Pomegranate, Beet Root and Blood Orange Sorbet

2 Feb

Valentine’s Day — synonymous with hearts and the color red.

It has a long history, steeped in blood.

Blood that runs through your veins, pumps from your heart, through your body, quickening your pulse, as your heart flutters and your skin becomes heated, flushed pink– maybe red, in anticipation of the touch of your loved one.

My favorite love poem is by Pablo Neruda.

I share it with you today, not only because it is utterly beautiful but because it speaks to the heart of the dish I have created for you this Valentine’s Day.

Salt Rose (or rose salt, as you like it.)

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

This is the root of my dish. The deepest hues of red found in nature, imbue this dish with its ruddy stain and yet — I didn’t wish it to be sweet. Even with citrus and sugared beet and pomegranate, I wanted this dish to be like love — deep, sensual, sometimes dark, with a bit of a bite but paired always with the purity of something creamy, soft and pale in juxtaposition — like joy, like a new baby’s fragrant flesh, like the naiveté of a young lover’s first kiss.

As I thought about the flavor palette for this Intermezzo, I chose beet root for its earthy, dark taste, with just a hint of sweetness; blood orange for its fragrance and hue but also its citric zing; pomegranate for its sour as well as sweet qualities; and then I decided on thyme. Rosemary seemed too obvious and might just overpower, stealing the show but thyme — thyme is a gracious herb, yielding and harmonious, it nurtures and supports other flavors with its warm, aromatics. And thyme fittingly, originates from the  Greek word thymon, meaning “courage.” The kind of courage one must muster to declare your love for the first time — thyme is also long considered an aphrodisiac.

But we were still in danger of being a little too sweet. It lacked ardor, it needed something stronger, like that bite on the neck at the height of passion, to take it over the edge — radish. Sharp, spicy, could turn bitter if used in the wrong proportions. It was risky, like love — radish was perfect.

Pairing it with a creamy, but tart and earthen scented goat cheese, sprinkled with thyme leaves and crushed almonds would ensure a rich, silken mouth-feel, with neither flavor (sorbet nor cheese) becoming overbearing. The almonds would lend the dish some much-needed texture and crunch to round out the experience.

The result was divine.

My husband raved and devoured it.

I ate each bite slowly, luxuriating in the flavor play and textural balance.

Digital camera on the fritz- this is what you get when you go old skool. New pic to come.

A small serving goes a long way.This dish is meant to whet the appetite for a richer meal and the promise of what comes after. . .

Pair it with the drink created especially for it by Otis’ from Taste on The N8tion,  or with a slim glass of dry champagne to cleanse the palate.

But whatever you do — enjoy!

Savory Pomegranate, Beet Root and Blood Orange Sorbet

  • 1 1/2 lbs red beets, trimmed, peeled and cut into four
  • 3 large or 4 med radishes, cleaned, trimmed and cut in two (leave the peel in tact)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed blood orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 sprigs of thyme leaves removed and crushed between your fingers
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cover the beets with just enough water to completely submerge them and boil until they are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Halfway through cooking time, add the radishes and cook until fork tender as well.

Drain the water.

Process the hot beets and radishes in a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients, until smooth puree is formed.

Chill the mixture for an hour, finish with an ice cream maker as directed by manufacturer or freeze in an airtight container for another 2 to 4 hours before removing to serve. Let thaw 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with creamy chèvre , topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and crushed almonds.


Beer-y Good Hot Wings: Virtual Potluck Tailgate Party with Victory IPA

1 Feb

We love Buffalo wings at my house. When my hubby and I were dating we enjoyed noshing on these spicy wings often. Since then I have learned to make them at home, including some deliciously insane variations like my take on Portland restaurant Pok Pok’s Thai wings (I’ll post this soon!) and the boneless Buffalo hot wing, as well as experimented with other bloggers yummy hot wing dishes like Can You Stay for Dinner’s Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls(these are insanely good!)

BJs makes a great hot wing plate

So when Lewis Bear Distributing approached us to share three of the beers on their roster for a SuperBowl tailgate recipe party my first thought was– Hot Wings!

Now, I’ve seen loads of recipes for beer battered and beer marinated chicken around here on the “internets,” but none seem to pair the beer marinated chicken with Buffalo sauce. I wondered why– seems like such a natural fit to me. Which is why I decided to do it. And the results were not disappointing!

Photo courtesy of Donna Currie of Cookistry

Some of you may be thinking– where did your Build a Better Me ideals go? How can you go from A Tasty and Healthy New Year to deep fried butter n’ beer basted hot wings?

Two words: Myth and Moderation

THE FRYING MYTH

Yes, frying in oil can be bad for your health but the type of frying we’re talking about here is either shallow frying or frying at the wrong temperature– both of which cause the food to soak up that excess oil, and help to clog your arteries. The kind of frying we’re going to do, done at higher temperatures in a deep fat fryer, happens so quickly that the oil creates a crust, locking in the moisture and creating a seal that keeps the oil from soaking into your food.

You can also use healthful oils like coconut (though in this recipe I’d don’t recommend it because of its unique flavor and the fact that you want the Beer-y goodness to come through.)

From Wikipedia:

If performed properly, deep-frying does not make food excessively greasy, because the moisture in the food repels the oil. The hot oil heats the water within the food, steaming it from the inside out; oil cannot go against the direction of this powerful flow because (due to its high temperature) the water vapor pushes the bubbles toward the surface. As long as the oil is hot enough and the food is not immersed in the oil for too long, oil penetration will be confined to the outer surface. However, if the food is cooked in the oil for too long, much of the water will be lost and the oil will begin to penetrate the food. The correct frying temperature depends on the thickness and type of food, but in most cases it lies between 175 and 190 °C (345–375 °F).”

MODERATION

Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation– even moderation.” This woman really knew how to suck the marrow out of life– quite literally. 😉

I like to follow that advice and occasionally throw caution to the wind and have a good hot wing, a gooey hot fudge sundae or a few cocktails.

Though, we’ve already established that deep fat frying is not necessarily bad for you and its generally accepted these days that butter is preferred to trans fats, a whole stick of butter is a little excessive, but NOT if you’re looking for flavor and heat that stays through to the bone. So don’t make these all the time. But make them.

THE OUTCOME

These came out amazing and using the Headwaters Pale Ale by VictoryBrewing, gave them a juicy hoppy goodness that did not overpower the Frank’s Red Hot but rather complimented its heat and flavor. They were Beer-y good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 Lbs of Fresh Chicken Wings
  • 1  24 oz bottle of Peanut Oil
  • 1/2 cup or 1  stick butter
  • 1 1/2 Cup of Franks Original Red Hot (nothing else is as good and nothing artificial!)
  • 1 bottle of Victory IPA
  • 1 plastic or paper bag of unseasoned flour

Directions:

Using poultry scissors, separate the wings at the joints, discarding the wing end nub.

Marinate the wings in the beer for 2 hours to overnight depending on the depth of beer-y flavor you want.

Preheat oil (use a deep fat fryer and making sure your temperature is right before submerging your wings.

Put the some of the wings in the bag of flour (if using paper, double bag to avoid breakage)

Shake the bag to coat all the wings evenly with flour. Do this in small batches so as to not overload your pan and decrease the temp of your oil.

Once the is hot, place that small amount of wings in the fryer (your fryer should be comfortably full with no wings piled on top of each other — be careful not to overload.)

Fry until they are golden brown

Remove the wings from the fryer and lay them on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath to catch any excess oil that drips off.

Melt the stick butter in a saucepan on medium heat and add the Frank’s Red Hot, whisking to ensure it’s properly mixed and not separating.

Serve the wings tossed or drizzled in the sauce or for those who want a little less heat, serve sauce on the side .

Accompany with ranch or bleu cheese dressing, celery, cucumber and carrots to cool the mouth and an ice-cold beer.

Makes 32 wings

If you like hot wings as much as I do– you might want to check out this Tumblr site called Fuck yeah, hot wings!

For a chance to win some Beer-y tasty swag from Lewis Bear visit the host page at 30AEATS.

The beer was provided for the express purpose of this recipe by Lewis Beer Distributors.The photos are not of my actual hot wings (they looked amazing!) due to a camera malfunction — I hope to get my baby back from the shop today.