Vegging Out

So, I am making an effort to participate in this thing commonly referred to as "clean eating" for awhile. I think this means a lot of kale, spinach, zuke, beans, grains and the like in my foreseen future. (I guess grated parm doesn't really fall into that category, but I can bend the rules a touch.) I apologize if any upcoming recipes/posts do not resonate due to their lack of meat, fat, and unrefined sugars.

Best believe I will still be throwing back summer cocktails though.


Green Figs

"One should not allow a lifetime to pass without indulging in the culinary experience that is eating a green fig" - a dramatic statement I can now make after this afternoon.

My coworker brought in some green figs from her backyard (!!!) and it was hands-down the best fruit I have ever had. (not to mention they are very adorable looking, in an alien way) It was like biting into a million little maple syrup filled capsules of love. It was one of those experiences that made you ask yourself, "Why haven't you been eating these the past 25 years of your life?" Kind of like, "Why did I just now start wearing flatforms?"

Some of the words greatest questions go unanswered I guess. But seriously. LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY!

(Currently seeking folks who want to go in on harvesting a fig farm. Lets talk.)


Chocolate Chip Cookies

I haven't baked any cookies in a long while. I think it could be the never-ending heatwave I have already mentioned in numerous posts, or the fact that the last few batches I have made have turned out just so-so. But for some reason this week, I was really wanting a chocolate chip cookie, and after my coworker gave me this recipe to try, there wasn't much that could be done to change my mind about making it.

I have never chilled a cookie dough before that I can recall, but I think it really makes a difference in the 'height' of the cookie. Starting with a cold dough reduces the spread of the cookie, and makes for a luscious and chewy result.

1 3/4 + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate chips & chopped walnuts

I'm assuming most can go through the motions of preparing a cookie dough recipe, but just in case...

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Beat in the egg, the yolk and the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in parts. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Cover the bowl and chill for 6-24 hours.

Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes. Racks should be positioned in the lower and upper-middle positions and swapped half way through.


Bulgur Salad with Spiced Eggplant

This dish is a riff off of a recipe from Bon Appetit, which serves the eggplant as a main course and the bulgur on the side. I love to make it as a hearty salad I can take for lunch during the week, served with a dollop of tangy plain yogurt on the side.

Bulgur is a super healthy and super easy grain to prepare. All it requires is a splash of hot water and some soaking time. You can find it in the bulk section of most supermarkets.

Recipe Substitutions:
  • In lieu of roasting the eggplant, I cube and saute it in the same spices as the recipe, which cuts down on the cooking time and makes for a cooler kitchen in the hot summer months.
  • Instead of pricey pistachios, I toast slivered almonds.
  • I dice up shallots to toss in, rather than red onion, as raw onion can tend to overwhelm any recipe.
  • Preserved lemon peel can easily be subbed out for fresh lemon zest.
The veggie, legume and herb combos for this bulgur-based dish are nearly endless! Dream up a tasty sounding combo and make it your own!


Fig & Pancetta Pie

Recently, my beau made fig, pancetta and arugula pizza topped with fontina and a parmesan balsamic cream sauce drizzle. (I am a very lucky human being.) I am absolutely in love with figs and am so happy they are back in season!

For the cream sauce, just reduce heavy cream and balsamic vinegar (amount depends on how potent you want the flavor) and grate in some parmesan cheese until things thicken up a bit.
Then, drizzle it on everything.


Weekend Roundup

 Another hot one here in Portland this weekend. I kept cool by drinking my fair share of liquids and traveling about town seeking out the cities breeziest/tastiest spots.
Started out Saturday proper with a bright, floral americano from Heart roasters.

I would live here, if they let me.

Off to Belmont Station for Puckerfest 2013 - a celebration of sour and wild ales, my favorite for summer! Friday night featured Cascade and Block 15 brewing. Cascade was my favorite of the weekend with their 'Kiss the Ginger' sour, made especially for the fest, brewed with ginger rye and blackcap raspberries. Perfection.

Saturday featured the Commons and Du Garde. Check out the weekend's menu here for more about the breweries and beers!
Hung a right over to Mount Tabor for a bike ride, some rays and the breeze.

Had to soak up some of that booze at Leroy's Familiar Vettles, a BBQ cart direction adjacent to the Landmark, which is basically my new favorite patio spot in town. Delicious ribs, brisket and mac n cheese.

Sunday morning egg, arugula and red pepper/jabanero jam bagel a la chef Nathan
Headed out for a walk and found some wild plums in a beautiful shade of citrine!
Beating the heat at Fifty Licks with some summertime cones.
Strawberry cilantro cheesecake! They make the ice cream the same day the berries are picked, which results in amazing, fresh strawbery flavor.
What did you you eat this weekend?



After a few days in Cali, it was time to cruise East (in a dope tropical two piece) to the hot, hot, heat of the Vegas strip. Seriously though, it was 120 degrees. What do you do when it's that hot? Don't bother with makeup, wear as little clothing as possible, and drink and eat until your body can no longer gauge the temperature. Water consumption and sunscreen help too, or so I am told.

Immediately upon our arrival, my BFF and our host for the weekend treated us to a boozy brunch filled with mimosas and her mom's famous Monkey bread. I would eat this for days, but I would look like Ricki Lake circa 1995 if I did.

After tanning (read:baking) by the pool, we headed off to Bachi Burger for some local grub. What transpired was a binge of sorts, to address it lightly.

Burger 1: Carmies, Miso dressing, Japanese slaw, fried egg

Oxtail Fries? Okay.
Burger 2: Sweet onion marmalade, caramelized bacon, aged gruyere, sauteed shitakes
Burger 3: Shishito peppers, fried egg, apple vinaigarette
All burgers: amazing!

Time for the strip, drinks, and a Beyonce show! Snaps below!
Me by an entirely too fake looking waterfall display. Vegas, baybee
Drunk vegan by a meat cooler

Just another slop on the strip. Vegas, it was real!


Work Bites

A top contender for one of my all-time favorite snacks: crackers & cheese (dill havarti, smoked gouda and fontina) with prosciutto and fresh fig. One of these days it will be PC to have wine at work, right?


I wish they all could be California...

I guess one cool thing about becoming and adult is that your friends begin to sprawl out all over the country, providing you with a map of the continental U.S sprinkled with possible vacation destinations. 
I peaced out of Portland a week or so ago to go visit my pals Kate & Amy who live and work in Los Angeles, CA. The trip was full of sun, more succulents than I could handle. and lots of food. I failed on the documentation part of this, as many-a-time I was so eager to dig in to my culinary findings that I forgot to snap a photo. Enjoy the snaps below featuring some of my tastes and travels!

Went for an early morning stroll and stumbled upon Two Guns espresso.
Just a vacationer and her americano

Brealfast with heat! Eggs from Hell from North End Cafe.
Nate, Lyla and I, bonafide.
Kate and her afternoon onion ring.
Hummus omlette (I know, sounds weird. It was amazing!) with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and other goodness from the Local Yolk.
Sky high biscuit!

Farewell California! Off to Vegas we went, but more on that later!


Beat the heat

Portland summers are just the best. Clear blue skies dotted with the occasional fluffy cloud. Cool breezes transporting the aroma of peonies and late-blooming lilacs. Misty mornings that allow for a cup of coffee on the walk to the bus stop without the risk of overheating.

Yeah. This week was not like that.

Cue the excruciatingly warm waits outside for a late bus. The proverbial upper lip sweat as you begrudgingly walk your dog during the hottest point of the afternoon, her looking back at you with a resentful eye. Laying restless in bed as your box fan pathetically swirls more and more hot air around your bedroom.

The above is a more accurate description of this weeks events. So obviously, turning on my oven or cooking something on the stove for longer than 5 minutes was not in the cards...

This week I made a shrimp bruschetta of sorts, with sauteed shrimp and an avocado salad atop toasted french bread. The shrimp were simply seasoned with a bit of paprika and chile powder which paired nicely with the cool mixture of avocado, cilantro, scallion, jalapeno and lime. 

A quick meal for a hot weeknight, with only a few moments of heat from the stovetop and toaster required.

Hope everyone had a great fourth!