gastronomy & grain

ASIAN PEAR WINE - SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2012!

Today I bottled 1 gallon of wine I made from our Asian Pear tree.  Approx. 15 pounds of fruit, some local Oregon honey, and yeast; that’s pretty much it!  Going into the bottle it tasted good, a little like Mead, a little like a sweet white like Riesling, but still young and with a bit of time to age.  Hoping this one will be ready to sample for Thanksgiving & Christmas in 2012.  If you’ve got a fruit tree, why not make some wine from it?  There are many easy recipes, that require only minimal equipment and very little cost.  Especially when you already have the fruit.  I look around my neighbors yards and see neglected trees, and unpicked fruit left to rot.  Located in Portland, OR in a neighborhood that once contained an apple orchard, some of those original trees are still around; old, gnarled, and majestic.  Oh neighbors, shame on you for letting that fruit go to waste!  

CANADIAN BEER!

While visiting my father in law near Blaine, WA, we made a border crossing, entering British Colombia for a day in Vancouver.  Heather and I had the privilege of living in Vancouver while Heather was in grad school.  Vancouver is an amazing city, surrounded by majestic mountains and the Salish Sea, it is a truly vibrant international beacon waiting at the far reaches of Cascadia.   It was there, that I truly discovered beer.  Prior to moving to Vancouver, I enjoyed a good IPA, but still typically drank mostly Pabst.  Untapped was my love of beer, like a 6th sense waiting to be awoken, longing to experience the myriad of beer.  I enjoyed wine, or a nice whiskey. 

In British Columbia, it is expensive to drink.  Beers, even your watered down DOMs, are priced at the $5 - $7 range.  A glass of wine starting at 8 bucks.  My experience was this; the cheaper lager styles had less alcohol than in the US and were typically sweeter than I was used too.  And at this time, most of the bars around town didn’t have much beyond Alexander Keith’s IPA for craft beer; lots of Molson, Heineken, Kokanee, or Sleeman’s Honey Lager.  I wanted more bang for my buck, and something that didn’t taste like sweet skunk water.  I wasn’t looking to get drunk, or break my bank, but desired that pleasant light n’ fluffy cloud that envelopes you with a nice pint of Ale.   First I discovered Steamworks Brewery.

http://www.steamworks.com/thirsty

Steamworks offers up a nice selection of your typical craft beers; Pale, IPA, Stout, Porter, Lager in a pseudo-fancy atmosphere with decent pub food.  Not much character here, but the beer was good, and their Empress IPA brought me a much-needed change from what most of the pubs I frequented had to offer.   In British Columbia, you can purchase beer, wine, and liquor all at the same store.  Beer selections as the B.C. run liquor stores was mostly DOMS, but they had a small selection of local beers; Granville Island, Phillips Brewery, Howe Sound Brewing, & Bowen Island Brewing Co. became my gateway into craft beer.   

During our day trip into Vancouver, we stopped for lunch in historic Gastown at The Irish Heather. 


http://irishheather.com/

They have a great selection of beers with all my Canadian favorites; Phillips, Howe Sound, and Driftwood.  It was on this day, I sampled R & B Brewing’s R & B Red Devil Pale Ale on cask. 

http://www.r-and-b.com/?page_id=4

Definitely worth it’s weight in gold; the Red Devil is an English-style pale ale with a coppery red hue.  Slightly hoppy floral aroma mixes nicely with malty sweetness, and a dry refreshing finish.  Perfect pairing with the Steak & Guinness Pot Pie I feasted on!

Thank you Vancouver! 


LOCAL BEER IS ALIVE & WELL IN THE GREAT STATE OF WASHINGTON!

        

Local beer is alive and well in the great state of Washington.  This Christmas, my lovely wife Heather, and trusty bulldog Mo set out for the rolling hills of the Palouse. 

Miles upon miles of wheat fields laid out like a giant patch work quilt stretching across the land, carried us along until we reached our final destination, Pullman.  Pullman is a town approaching 30,000 people, made up of 2/3 students and 1/3 university support or farmers.  Wheat and lentils.  I grew up there, my family moved there in 1983 from Canterbury, Kent in the UK.  Culture shock; we went from school uniforms, marmite, beans on toast and the real football to dirt bikes, hamburgers, baseball, and soccer.  I talked funny, didn’t have a dirt bike, and couldn’t play baseball.  In England, because my parents were American, I was called a Yank, in the U.S. I was called a Limey.  Both countries like beer.

Between all of the students, thirsty professors, and hard working farmers the consumption of beer thrives on.  In the last few years, in answer to the need, two breweries have opened up giving beer drinkers a much needed alternate to consuming the watered-down corn-rice swill knows as the domestic (BUD, COORS, etc.), or as I’ll refer to them here as DOMS.    I see it happening all over, beer lover’s want something more than those DOMS, and craft breweries are opening up all over to provide towns and cities with wonderful local beer.

Armed with a growler from one of my Portland, OR favorites, Occidental Brewing Co., and a healthy appetite for beer, I set out in search of brew.  In Pullman, there is Paradise Creek Brewery and Palouse Falls Brewing Co.  Both are brewing up great beers.

http://paradisecreekbrewery.com/?page_id=19

Paradise Creek lives in Pullman’s Old Post Office building.  Built in 1930, and opened in 1931.  Pullman residence took great pride in their post office.  The building cost a whopping $107,000 80 years ago and served as a “fine example of design from the modern influence of Neoclassical style prevalent in federal buildings at the time.”  The main lobby was finished in 3 types of marble; Gravena from Alaska for the base, Alaskan Tokeen marble for the wainscoting, and Vermont Metawee for the threads of the stairs.  All of the light fixtures and hardware were solid bronze, while the woodwork was red birch with a mahogany finish.  Modern plumbing throughout, barred windows, window guards and lookouts, and steel caging made this structure the pride of Pullman.  In 1976, Pullman had outgrew the post office, and a new one was built.  A sad day for the building, but maybe this had to happen so a path could be laid for Paradise Creek.  In 1978 the building was bought by an entrepreneur, and after making some alterations opened the building as the Old Post Office Theater, with a number of other businesses operating in the NE corner of the building.  As a child I remember seeing Goonies there, among many other great movies.  In 1992 I worked at the Theater selling movie tickets and popcorn.  Fast forward to 2010, Pullman opens it’s first in-house-production microbrewery.  Paradise Creek operates with a 7 barrel system.  And they do make some fine ales.  Their pub serves up great food in a comfortable setting with a much needed change from the usual sports bars and dives that serve the community.

Palouse Falls opened around the same time, although I’m not totally sure about the exact date.  

http://www.palousefallsbrewing.com/brews.html

They seem to have a larger brewing space, but no pub.  They do have a tasting room for sampling their brews, and picking up growlers.  Unfortunately, most of my visits to Pullman occur during holidays when much of the town shuts down.  Both breweries were closed, but I did manage to drink a pint of PFs Crimson Pride at South Fork Public House; another much needed dining option for the Pullman community.  They have a great beer list with a few locals, and a number of other beers from Washington and Oregon.  The food is pretty good too.  The Crimson Pride is a deep crimson colored ale with a solid hoppy bitterness, and a clean refreshing finish.  If you ever find yourself in Pullman, or given the possibility to pass through, definitely make these two locations stumbling stops along the way.

After spending 5 days in the Palouse, Heather, Mo, and I set out to pay her Dad a visit for NYE at his place near Blaine, WA.  A short 5 miles to the Canadian border, and a Pacific NW paradise nestled in the forest with amazing ocean views.  On our way, we made a quick stop at one of my favorite Washington Breweries, Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham, WA. 

http://bbaybrewery.com/

I love this place, and after 7 hours on the road, I was thirsty and excited to see what Boundary Bay had on tap.   They had my favorite of theirs, an Imperial IPA; full bodied, copper hue, strong alcohol content, and an aggressive hop blast.  This is an amazing IPA.  I also sampled their Scotch Ale, and picked up a 22 oz bottle of that, along with a growler full of their house IPA.  Over the next few days I managed to finish off the growler, and started planning our next destination beer stop.  Touring breweries can be hard work, but it’s nice to make them a final stopping point after a day of exploring the countryside.  A few miles down the road lies the Skagit River Valley.  The SRV hosts a plethora of organic farms, a number of great microbreweries, and one the best places to view eagles.  In the winter, a vast amount of bald eagles travel from as far away as Alaska to eat the dead salmon carcasses that abound the Skagit River and it’s tributaries.  The best time to view this is from late November through January with a peak from Christmas to the mid January.  From the I-5 we headed east of WA20 for Rockport and the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center.

http://www.skagiteagle.org/index.php

In Rockport, and all along the 20, which follows the Skagit River for a bit, I counted at least 15 eagles swooping through the sky or perching in the trees.  A rare occasion to view these majestic winged creatures of the sky; I was in awe of their beauty.  

After heading back down the 20, we took a turn north at the town of Seedro-Wooley and headed up the 9 for our beer stop.  About 40 minutes from Seedro-Wooley, on the way to Mt. Baker lies the Beer Shrine of the North Fork Brewery.

http://www.northforkbrewery.com/

Love this place!  Great ambiance, as if I stumbled into a Swiss chalet – rustic cabin – German beer lodge pizzeria all in one!  The walls were lined with beer bottles from the past.  So many I had never heard of.  The place was packed with people who mostly had just finished a day on the slopes of Mt. Baker, we had to wait 20 minutes for a table.  After getting seated I was quick to order, and started out with a fine example of the Barleywine.  It was delicious; dark in color, with a sweet malty alcohol finish.  After that I tasted 3 oz samples of their Strong Scotch Ale, IPA, and nitro Extra Special Bitter, which lead me to a pint of IPA.  A nice balance of malt and bitter hops, North Fork makes a nice IPA with clean crisp finish.  We dined their too, and gorged our selves on yummy cheese sticks, which was basically a cheese pizza without any sauce cut into smaller strips, a massive ceasar salad, and a great veggie / meat combo pizza.  A much needed meal after a long day of exploring the area, and an excellent match when sampling brew.  Pizza and beer, pizza and beer, come on everybody PIZZA AND BEER!  Yes that was a beer chant!

Local breweries rise up!  While munching on pizza and enjoying my IPA, I got to thinking about those beer bottles along the wall, and wondering who drank them and where they were brewed.  Burger beer, brewed in Cincinnatti in 1934, Holiday Beer from Wisconsin, Grand Prize from the Gulf Brewery of Houston from 1935 – 1964.  Jax Beer from the French Quarter of New Orleans; constructed in 1891, and at one time was the 10th largest brewery in the world, but went bankrupt in the 1970s.  Kamm’s beer’s history threads back to the late 1800s, coming into fruition in 1935 and holding strong until the 1950s.  And Oretel 92, the flagship beer of Oretel in Kentucky in 1906; an earlier version of this began in 1892, hence the name, but like the others it either went bankrupt or lost it’s independence to some corporation.  It’s time for the little people, or more accurately the real people to take back beer production and bring a local spin to the citizens who love their beer.  Take that money out of the pockets of major beer producers and distributors and give it back to the hard working business owners, brewers, and give folks something to be proud of.  Beer is more than a beverage just to get drunk on, back in the old days everyone drank beer because it was the only safe beverage children, adults, and old folks could consume.  Everything in moderation!  Beer provided liquid sustenance for folks; a meal in a mug!  Remember that, along your travels, and remember to stop in at the local brewery and enjoy a pint for the people.

Wine Tasting Thanksgiving Weekend

I’m so ashamed to say that in all my Oregon years, I had never ventured out to wine country. It’s so close, so beautiful and so much fun. With my  mom and brother in town for Thanksgiving we decided to head out to the special Thanksgiving weekend festivities in the North Willamette Valley and taste some wine. We got a late start out to the vineyards. We all wanted a chance to taste and there are only so many hours in the day, so we only got to two wineries. Sadly, I didn’t make it to the Wine Maker’s Studio in Carlton to taste my FAVORITE vintner Andrew Rich, nor did I take notes on all the wines, so I can’t give you a run down for each glass. I guess I will just have to make another trip out there soon. Anybody want to join me?

First Stop… 

Brunch. We headed to a restaurant called Farm to Fork in Dundee. The restaurant is tucked into a newer development and hotel called Inn at Red Hills. It was bit like eating in a pottery barn store. I was hoping for a place with a bit more country character, but the food was delicious, so no complaints there. Matt and Brendan ate the Farmers Hash which I eyed with envy as I ate my smoked trout beet salad and eggs. 

Finally, off to the wineries… 

Trisaetum 

Trisaetum is a family run winery whose moniker is a combination of their children’s first names. It’s located in Ribbon Ridge and boasts a gorgeous wine cave and an art gallery that displays the owner James Frey’s paintings and photography. 

We were greeted by the Grandparents and led down the tasting path, starting with a White Pinot. Apparently after a light pressing, the skins of the Pinot are removed resulting in a rose colored wine that lightens to white after aging. 

Next we headed into the wine cave to sample the best blend of their coast vineyard Pinot barrels and the best blend of their Ribbon Ridge Pinot barrels. 

Then we headed upstairs to the gallery to sip the Artist Series which is a single clone Pinot chosen for its earthy notes. 

Lastly, we sampled the Estates Reserve Pinot which combines the best barrels from both the Coast and Ribbon Ridge Vineyards to create a super Pinot. It was good! 

Last, but definitely not least, Solena and Grand Cru Estates

This place is beautiful! Oddly enough, it’s another family run winery named after their daughter. This may be a trend that I am just not familiar with, or I need to do some more tasting to find out that it’s a coincidence.

My understanding is that Solena is a biodynamic winery. As a practical method of farming, biodynamics embodies the ideal of ever-increasing ecological self-sufficiency just as with modern agro-ecology, but includes ethical-spiritual considerations. This type of viticulture views the farm as a cohesive, interconnected living system.

This is apparent in the architecture of their Winery/Tasting Room, outfitted with solar panels and an open air tank room. 

We began the tour in the cellar barrel room with a really tasty Chardonnay (which I normally don’t like). 

Then we headed up through the open air tank room to the tasting room upstairs where we tasted 8 (yeah, 8! I stopped because I was driving) Pinots.  Unfortunately I couldn’t tell you which were the best, or what their qualities were. But, I can tell you they were yummy and well worth the trip. Brendan gave mom a bottle of the Chardonnay for her 65th birthday, which Matt and I helped her with. One of the best Chardonnays I’ve had. 


On a winter’s day, Cascade Barrel House!

There’s nothing better, or at least not many things, on a cold breezy sunny winter’s day, than warming up at the pub over a few brews.  My mother-in-law, Patti, and I hit up Cascade Barrel House.

http://cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com/

The epicenter of sour beers in the Pacific Northwest, barrel aged, blended, and fruit additions make Cascade a must-visit beer destination o’ Portland.  My first taste was the Sang Royal; a Northwest sour double red aged in port barrels, and blended with a strong Northwest sour red, and then fermented with 110 lbs of NW cherries for 6 months.  Amazing!  Dark brownish red in color, with a nice malt backbone that balances out the sourness perfectly. 


Patti tried the Rhubarb Crisp; “a NW-style sour beer that is a crisp, refreshing blend of beers that were barrel aged for 7 – 12 months.  Bright sweet notes of rhubarb and raspberries greet you in the nose.  A light tartness of ripe berries and fruit sweetness intermingle on the palate, giving way to a light sparkling bite of rhubarb and slight nuttiness in the finish.”  Light red pinkish hue, and everything else the description reads is spot on.  I sampled this one, tart and sweet, a slow drinker for those that enjoy sours and fruit beers. 


I also tried the Test Flight IPA, a nicely balanced IPA made with Falconer Flight and Centennial hops.  Dry hopping with Calypsos hops gives it a spicy finish.  For those that enjoy hoppy resins and spice, this is a great IPA. 

And finally we tried  tasters of their winter Scottish Ale, the Defroster.  At an enjoyable 7%, this beer will help ward off the winter chill.  Brewer’s Gold, Fuggles, and Goldings mingle to create a great winter brew!  Thanks Cascade Barrel House!

BEERS OVER BEND

A couple weekends ago, Heather and I journeyed to Bend, OR with friends Layne and Nicole.  We stayed at Nicole’s family cabin 30 miles outside of Bend, and spent a few days hiking, enjoying nature, and yes, drinking beer.  On Sunday we decided to head into Bend and foot it between breweries doing our own version of the Ale Trail.  The day began with a disappointing surprise; that Boneyard Brewing was closed on Sundays, doh!  Oh well, next time.  We didn’t let that keep us down, and if anything, getting the extra walk in, further justified the beer and food fest that ensued. 

First successful stop; Silvermoon Brewing.

Definitely worth the stop, the pub was comfy with a earthy Bohemian sports bar thing going on.  They had a great selection of beers, and Heather and I tried all 9 with their taster tray.  Highlights were both the Hoptagon Imperial IPA and the Hop Knob IPA, as well as the Snake Bite Porter and Andre Le Geant, a Belgian Trippel.  Named after the WWF wrestler, whose love for beer inspired this tasty Belgian brew.  Brewed with a Belgian yeast strain from the famous Westmalle Brewery.  Although this one ranked high, the Hoptagon won my heart.  A big IIPA; enter the Hoptagon and wrestle with Andre.  Snacked on a veggie plate with dip, and waffle fries covered in blue cheese, YUM!

Heather’s thoughts on the place…

I liked the Porter and the Hoptagon but, seriously, what is up with zero ambiance at brewpubs? Sponge painted walls? I wish people would take note from pubs from the olde country (yes, I meant olde). And the food, was fairly typical bar snacks, not incredible, but ok. 

Our second brewery pub stop was at Deschutes Brew Pub, one of our states oldest craft breweries, I do love me some Deschutes. 

Although my feeling is, that to try their really good beers, you must visit the Bend tap room.  They have many more beers on tap than the Portland pub, and many that aren’t bottled and sold in stores.  As we munched on mediocre Deviled Eggs and yummy fried chickpeas, I started with a 12 oz glass of Old Sam Hein.  Now I have to admit, I ordered this one purely for it’s name, and I enjoyed it very much.  Listed as a local favorite made at the brewery every year since it’s inception.  A little spicy, lightly hopped, with a bit of a creamy mouthfeel.  Sam Hein was a refreshing standout amongst the plethora of IPAs piling up in the PAC NW.  Heather had the Abyss; a dark Imperial Stout with a hint of molasses and licorice, this was clocked in at a whopping 11% ABV.  Wow! Second up for me, was the Dissident; an Oud Bruin, which is a beer style hailing from the Flemish region of Belgium.  This sour brown ale is Deschutes only wild yeast beer, using Brettanomyces to give the beer it’s sour taste.  Fermented in isolation from their other beers for 18 months, and divided between pinot and cabernet barrels; keeping this beer in isolation created a monster stumbling in at 10.5% ABV.  My final tasting was the Stoic; a Belgian-style Quad.  A medieval brew aged in a combination of rye whiskey and wine casks; a must for Belgium beer lovers and anyone interested in trying one of these “old” beers.

Heather’s thoughts: 

Yes, I love me some Deschutes, as well. More bourbon barrel aged, please! Notice my “lady beer” size. I love “lady beers”! No need to over do it. I’ve not eaten much at this pub, so I can only say that the chickpeas and deviled eggs were alright, but nothing to write home about. 

Our final stop was gave us a much needed mile long walk, crossing the river, over to 10 Barrel Brewing. 

This was my favorite.  Hands down, best atmosphere, best beer, and best food.  Although at this point I’d had a few and stopped noting the beers I was sampling, and as I write this I’m having trouble remember which beers I tried!  Ha, well, I know I had an ISA.  The India Session Ale; deep gold with orange highlights, citrusy aroma of grapefruit, and a massive dose of dry hop.  Summit, Cascade, and Centennial hops went into this clean, crisp, delicious beer.  I believe the second brew I had was a Belgian style, but it isn’t listed on their website.  The ambience was modern rustic with a mixture of wood and metal work to create this beer destination point along the Ale Trail.  The food was good, I had a 4 cheese mac with pancetta.  We ended the cold night sitting around a blazing fire at their outdoor patio, and that’s when I forgot what I was drinking.  Definitely will re visit 10 Barrel on our next Bend excursion.

Heather’s Thoughts: 

Thank the lords! Finally a brewpub that looks good in Bend! I loved it. The beer and fireplace. I just ate a salad and it was good. The mac and cheese looked delicious, but too big. 

On Monday, we set out and hiked the majestic Smith Rock.  Like something out of Jurassic Park, this craggly rock mound attracts climbers from all over who attempt to traverse the many faces of this prehistoric beast.  Well, we aren’t climbers of that sort, but hiked the trail up and around, getting some much needed exercise and an amazing view of the surrounding countryside.  After the hike, we had a short drive to Redmond, OR for a stop at Cascade Lakes Brewing 7th street location. 

Friendly service, small town hospitality, and some good staple brews make Cascade Lakes Brewing a great stop after exploring the area.  We feasted on some mozzarella sticks and plato’ hummus.  My first beer was their Centennial IPA.  I have a love for the Centennial Hop, which I grow in my yard and use in most of my homebrews.  Listed as a local favorite, I can taste why, with that hoppy oak flavor the Centennial brings forth.  Second try was the Harvest Ale, their take on the Fresh Hop brew.  A hoppy brew with a bitter tang to it, a stand out for the season of Fresh Hop brews.  It’s great to see smaller towns with breweries in them.  Bottom line is folks like beer, and you can do the world good by supporting these local craft breweries.  Forget about domestics, go local, go regional, go foreign; try something new!

Heather’s Thoughts: 

Smith Rock was incredible. The colors and smells blow my mind. It’s such a special place. I definitely got a burn going and deserved the trip to Cascade Lakes. We had great service. The beer was good, but what beer isn’t after a big hike? Support your LOCAL BREWERY!

THE MORNING AFTER

Bourbon Banana Bread French Toast with Bourbon Banana’s and Olympic Provisions Bacon. 

BBBFTBBOPB!, oh and Mimosa’s!

My Life With Chanterelles

For a few months out of the year, Mother Earth gives us the gift of that peachish yellow colored fungi, the Cantharellus Cibarius, the Golden Chanterelle, the Girolle, the mothership taste explosion that the earth gifts to us from the mossy earthen floors of coniferous and birch forest’s all over the world.  East of PDX, and many other areas throughout the Pacific Northwest, these golden delicacies can be found during the fall months; Heather and I found some great spots beyond Estacada, OR.

Although records show Chanterelle’s were eaten as far back as the 1500s, it wasn’t until the 1700s that the gourmet fungus became the highly prized delight foraged throughout the dark forest’s of North America, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Starting in late September, we ventured out in hopes of gathering these flowers of the earth, and after a few trips had gathered a great abundance of the Girolle; and so began my culinary experience with the Chanterelle.  Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve managed to work them into at least one meal each day, and here are a few recipes I’d like to share.  

Chanterelle Pate’ 

2 cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion

1 cup toasted hazelnuts

1 lemon

1 sprig rosemary (remove stem)

2 tsp oil (almond or olive)

salt to taste

Preheat over to 300 degrees.  Lightly salt hazelnuts. Toast hazelnuts for 20 minutes.  Saute’ onion, garlic, mushrooms in oil until liquids have dissolved.  In a food processor, combine the mushroom mixture with the hazelnuts until mixture is smooth.  Squeeze lemon and fold in lemon juice.  Serve with crackers, bread, and veggies.

Pumpkin Chanterelle Soup 

1 lb fresh chanterelles, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed

2 tbsp almond or coconut oil

5 oz fresh pumpkin, cut into large cubes

1/8 tsp ginger powder

1/8 tsp cumin

¼ tsp ground pepper

a pinch of cinnamon powder

a pinch of allspice

salt to taste

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 quart broth (chicken or veggie)

½ cup white wine

2 tsp gin

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

½ cup fresh basil

Saute’ onions in oil until lightly browned.  Add most of the garlic and chanterelles (set aside a small amount to garnish), pumpkin, salt & pepper, and spices.  Cook until pumpkin is soft.  Reduce heat if necessary.  Add broth, gin, and white wine.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Reduce heat.  Blend mixture in food processor or blender.  Adjust seasoning with salt & cayenne.  Dry saute’ (without oil, etc.) chanterelles until water pools around mushrooms, drain water, continue until no more water appears.  Set aside.  In a separate pan or skillet, heat 2 tsp oil and saute’ remaining garlic, fresh basil leaves, and chanterelles.  Sprinkle mixture over top of soup with parsley.

Chanterelle Yam Hash 

1 cup chanterelles, chopped

1 medium sized yam, chopped into small cubes

2 tbsp oil (coconut or almond)

2 cups kale, chopped

½ cup fresh basil

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 egg

1 slice sharp white cheddar cheese

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  In a pan, dry saute (without oil) chanterelles at a medium heat.  As water pools around mushrooms, drain out, and continue to saute until no more liquid is cooking off from the mushrooms.  Set aside.  In a skillet, saute yams in the oil until tender.  Add the kale, basil, salt & pepper, and saute for another 3-5 minutes.  Add chanterelles and garlic.  In the skillet, thoroughly mix, and saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Work ingredients together in a small pile, place slice of cheese atop, and crack egg over top.  Place skillet in over and back for 5-7 minutes until egg is backed sunny side up!

Bolognese sauce with Chanterelles over Polenta 


4 cups fresh tomatoes

5 cloves garlic, pressed

1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 tsp coriander seed, crushed

2 tsp fennel seed

3 tsp red pepper flakes

3 tsp black pepper

4 tsp salt

1 cup red wine

½ cup broth (veggie or chicken)

1 tbsp oil (almond or olive)

1 lb ground beef (ideally, fat content 5% or less)

2 cups chanterelles, chopped

4 cups water or broth

2 cups polenta

¼  cup butter or oil

½ cup grated parmesan

1tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 cup parsley, chopped

Preheat over to 350.  Sauce!  In a medium to large sized pot, sauté red onion and 2 of the cloves of garlic in ½ cup broth until onion is soft.  Add whole tomatoes, half of the basil, half of the coriander and fennel seed, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, and red wine, and cook at medium high heat for 5 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Polenta.  Grease baking dish with oil or butter, add polenta, water or broth, ¼ cup butter/oil, parmesan, 1 clove pressed garlic, paprika, oregano, half of basil, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp salt.  Stir mixture thoroughly, place in oven and back for 20 – 25 minutes at 350 degrees. In a separate pan dry saute’ (without oil, etc.) chanterelles until water pools around mushrooms, drain water, continue until no more water appears.  Set aside.  In a blender, blend tomato sauce mixture until smooth.  Set aside.  In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil and add ground beef, 1 clove pressed garlic, remaining coriander and fennel seed, plus remaining salt and pepper and red pepper flake.  Cook until meet has browned.  Add most of the chanterelles (set aside a small amount for garnish), cook for 3 – 5 minutes stirring occasionally, then add tomato sauce, and stir in.  For garnish, take remaining chanterelles, 1 clove pressed garlic, 1 tsp salt, and a pinch of fresh basil and saute’ for 3-5 minutes at medium heat.  Cut polenta into squares, pour sauce over, garnish with chanterelle mixture and fresh parsley and serve!

 

Snack Nuts

I love to snack on nuts more than I should, but if you’re going on a hike or a road trip, there’s nothing quite like spiced nuts to settle your hunger. These are also great for holiday gatherings! 

I’ve been trying out different recipes and here are two of my favorites… 

Indian Nuts

Raw cashews

Candied ginger chopped

Raisins 

Unsweetened shaved coconut

Pinch Cardamom ground

2- 3 Tsp Sambahar Curry 

1 Tsp Berbere

Tbs Coconut oil 

Tbs Agave

pinch red pepper

1 Tbs Sherry Vinegar

Finishing salt to taste

Roast at 250 for 15-30 min

Spanish Nuts

Raw Almonds

Cranberries dried

Red pepper flake

Pimenton De La Vera Dulce

Raw Cocoa powder

Finishing Salt

Spanish Sherry Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

Coconut Oil

Finishing Salt

BREW DAY - EXPERIMENTATIONS IN BEER & WINE

                        

Monday was a brew day!  Tumbling (or stumbling) into fall, which is really just a short segue into the soggy droning winter, I realized I was out of beer.  In times o’ recession, brewing is a thrifty way to stock up your fridge with tasty suds and take care of some of your Xmas gifts.  If you’ve got some brewing friends, or gardening friends, or hunting friends, or soap making friends; then booze is your trade currency in the black market of urban farmers, crafters, brewers, and hunter gatherers o’ da Pacific Northwest.  I had lots of Centennial hops stored away in my freezer waiting for a brew day, so I cracked open a couple bags and started slanging grains.  First up was my take on a holiday ale.  I wanted to do something a little lighter than your typical (if there is such a thing) Holiday Beer.  I started with my usual IPA recipe, but added some honey malt, and changed up the yeast replacing American Ale yeast with Scottish Ale yeast.  I also added some coriander and orange peel during the final minutes of the boil.  Upon checking my original gravity, I was elated to find I had reached 1.064.  High hopes for this one, which is already bubbling away.  I will be drinking this one by the end of the month.  Please comment if you are interested in some trading!

Second up for my brew day projects was racking my Asian Pear wine.  This was an easy one, basically just transferring the liquid from one brewing vessel to another.  In our garden, we have an ancient Asian Pear tree.  For the last 3 years I have been saying, “I’m gonna make me some drink from dem fruits”, but the stars never lined up for this to happen until now.  I started this about a month ago, and it won’t be bottled until after the new year, and won’t be ready until this time next year; just in time for the holiday season!  I did sample the goods, and so far so good!  Last year I did a Blackberry Wine with some Sauvie’s Island Blackberries, and it is good!  There is a plethora of fruit growing out there; along hikes, in alley’s, in your neighbor’s backyard, or in your backyard that can be turned into booze, jams, pickles, and many other treats.  Know your food, take pride in your local!

After getting the wine out of the way, I moved on to my Stout experiment.  The Stout has always been a beer I enjoy, but don’t drink too often.  Dark, hearty, heavy, chocolaty heaven, gosh, why aren’t I drinking these more?  Heather loves em’, so I figured I needed to start brewing em’.  This was my first attempt at a Stout, and I spent a bit of time reading about the different qualities found in Stouts and mulling over the different ways to accomplish these qualities with the massive amount of ingredients that can go into these special brews.  We wanted chocolate, we wanted oatmeal, we wanted a smoked flavor, and we wanted some cardamom.  I ended up using 7 different grains in this one, and added 1 oz of cardamom and a cup of Lapsong Souchong smoked tea during the final minutes of the boil.  As with her brother the Holiday Pale, she is also bubbling away into fermentation bliss.  This one won’t be ready before the holidays, but will for sure provide sustenance through the new year’s winter drag.