Monday, December 31, 2007

Feliz Navidad - Mole pt. 3

The day of reckoning. I've got a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it. Honestly, it wouldn't have gotten done without a lot of help from LP and DS. Many thanks...

First, blend up the chocolate, nut, seed, and bread mixture with a little turkey stock into one sauce. Then, blend the dried and fried chiles and a bit of stock into a second sauce.

Second, brown the turkey in lard.

Third, in reserved lard, warm, darken, and thicken chile sauce before adding chocolate mixture. Finally, add 5 cups stock, and simmer for about an hour.

Fourth, bake the turkey, covered in the finished sauce, in a roasting pan. Then, after baked, pull meat out of sauce, cool, remove skin and debone.

Finally, place the deboned turkey in serving dish, pour sauce over, sprinkle with sesame seeds, garnish with a little cilantro, and serve with rice and tortillas.

CC (from The Devouring Woman) and her father made a tortilla soup, and BC made a tres leches cake. We had Negro Modello and Tequilla Rickeys to drink.

All in all, a fantastic Christmas meal with good friends...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad - Mole pt. 2

My plan is to combine days 2 and 3 together, leaving day 4 on it's own so that Christmas day isn't too crazy. To make a long story short, it doesn't happen...

Day 2 calls for cutting up the turkey and making the stock. Seems simple enough... While the stock is simmering, I can complete day 3's tasks (finish the sauce, brown the turkey in lard and bake it, etc). Except that the I need the stock to make the sauce. What was I thinking? Why didn't I read the recipe in full?

So, this morning, Christmas morning, I am starting early. The dried, lard fried peppers are reconstituting, the stock is ready, and I'm prepared to cook the meat.

Wish me luck.

Here's a few pics of the bird and stock (thanks, CG, for the new cleaver!!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Feliz Navidad - Mole pt. 1

I'm making mole for Christmas dinner this year. I'm using Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican for the recipe, which is WAY too long and involved to copy here. I'll try to paraphrase for you, offering figures and illustrations where necessary...

Rick says you can complete the whole task in 7 hours from start to finish in one day, but that if you spread it over 4 days, the flavors are allowed to develop more fully, and it is less stress on the home cook. I'm tweaking his days a little, but it will be spread from Saturday, December 22 to Tuesday, December 25.

Bayless says "Day 1 - Assemble the ingredients and compete the toasting/frying" portiong of the recipe. I spend day 1 assmebling the ingredients and day 2 on the toasting and frying...

Saturday, the 22nd: I hit New Seasons first, and find most of what I need. I know I want to buy the lard from Viande. In addition, NS dosen't have the chiles mulatos I need. On my way downtown, I check Jesusito Market on N Interstate, Whole Foods in the Pearl, and Fred Meyer NW for the missing peppers. No dice. I arrive at City Market in the NW for the lard, and I hope they might have the peppers, but they don't.

I meet CC for lunch at Russell St BBQ, and she suggests checking for the peppers at Don Pancho carniceria on Alberta. Sure enough, they have what I am looking for.

Task 1 - Assemble the Ingredients - Check!

Sunday the 23rd: I start by measuring out all the ingredients, cuting, slicing, and chopping where necessary...

Next come the peppers. I have to stem, seed, and devein the dried chiles. That's 28 peppers. Takes a while, but I finally get them done.

Next, I toast the seeds (sesame, chile, and coriander).

Then the frying starts. I plop a generous portion of lard into my great grandmother's cast iron skillet and get to work. Peppers, almonds, raisins, onions, garlic, one by one, all adding amazing aromas to my house...

Then, I fry up a corn tortilla and some stale bread, and add all of the above (expect for the peppers) to a can of drained whole tomates and broken up Mexican chocolate.

Tomorrow? Deconstruct a turkey, turkey stock, soaking peppers, finishing sauce, and cooking turkey. Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My new cheese cave...

As some of you know, I worked the harvest at Ch. Coupe-Roses in France this past September. I spent two amazing weeks in the town a La Caunette, and I've put some pictures way down below, as (unfortunately) my trip isn't really the point of this post...

Everyone knows the French motto "Liberté, égalité, fraternité," right? While there, I learned the motto of the French table, "Pain, Vin, Fromage." We consumed this trilogy at nearly every meal (we substituted cafe for vin at petite dejunnier).

And for the cheese, my hosts had a fantastic little cheese cave in their fridge. I shit you not, it was a Tupperware brand "Cave a Fromage." I love cheese, and I wanted one of these, but instead of carrying it back with me, I decided to track it down once back in the states. You know, we have Tupperware here too...

Or so I thought. After an exhaustive search of the web and stores as well as e-mails and phone calls to Tupperware, I realized I was in trouble. Not only weren't these sold in America, they couldn't even ship to me. I found a few on French e-bay, but with the shipping and exchange rate, the price was out of control.

And then it dawned on me, CG's folks were heading to France the following week. Could they be persuaded to bring one home to me? After a few e-mails, they agreed. Then in late November, the cheese caves (yes plural) arrived. One small and one large. These are Tefal brand, not Tupperware, but I'm not complaining. These are even better than the ones I used in France. Merci beaucoup, Steve!!

I've been using them for a few weeks now, and I love them. The keep the cheese at a better humidity than what the fridge normally offers, and they filter the smells of more pungent cheeses as well. What a delight. In the cheese cave pictured above? Montgomery's Mature Cheddar from the UK (the guys at Setve's Cheese tell me this is the best wheel they've ever had, it is simply fantastic), Abbaye de Belloc (a sheep's milk cheese from the Pyranees), and Mary's Peak goat cheese pyramid from River's Edge Chevre (who is quickly becoming my favorite Oregon creamery).

If you are over in France and you like cheese, I'd recommend bringing one (or two) back with you...

Now for the pics of La Caunette. There are from my visit in early 2006, but I assure you absolutely nothing has change...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Long time readers of my little blog will know that I like a good cup of coffee. One of my favorites, Panama Esmeralda Especial, is back at Stumptown after a bit of an absence.

Here's what the Stumptown page has to say about this coffee...
The 100% geisha varietal from Hacienda La Esmeralda, known as Esmeralda Especial has won first prize in every single cupping competition it has ever been submitted in. The Peterson family first came across these trees on their farm in the early 1990's looking for a way to survive one of the most historically oppressive coffee market crises in history. The long, dangling arms, large cherries and minimal yield were unlike any varietal known in Panama to date. The Peterson's separated the coffee and entered it into the Best of Panama auction in 2004. It has commanded record prices at auction every year since. Stumptown Coffee Roasters has been committed customers of the Peterson's since 2004 when we bought the auction lot and will continue to bring our customers this unique coffee for years to come. With every sip, you will taste pineapple, clementine, key lime, papaya, mango, bergamot, all spice, and high percentage cacao, with a champagne grape finish.
I paid $21 for 3/4 of a pound, which seems quite fair to me for a top tier coffee. However, almost every other roaster on the web is charging more like double or triple that price for this Panama. Am I drinking the real deal? Maybe Duane Sorensen got a pre-auction lot before the price skyrocketed? Anyone know the story?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


My new (old) little car just hit 30,000 miles (or is it 230,000?).

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Impromptu mini-party at my place last night. We were thinking of trying to recreate a drink from Siam Society, the Midnight in the Garden (fresh blueberries pureed with vodka & a splash of fresh squeezed lime juice served on the rocks, according to their web site). But, realizing that blueberries aren't in season, we opted for cranberries instead. Since these little red beauties are a bit more tart than their blue siblings, we needed to tweak the rest of the ingredients a little...

Here's the recipe we came up with...
  • 1.5 oz vodka (we used Ciroc)
  • .5 oz Cointreau
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pureed cranberries (fresh cranberries and a little water)
  • .5 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Put all ingredients in shaker with a generous amount of ice, shake well, and pour into a cocktail shell
Yep, that's it. Super easy and super tasty.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Magnetic Fields

Howdy y'all.

It's be a while, no?

An MP3 of the first song from the new Magnetic Fields' record Distortion is up over at Stereogum. It's called "Three-way." The new track has that low-fi pop sound from the early Fields' albums Holiday and The Wayward Bus. I absolutely love it...

Stephin Merritt is taking the Fields on a seven city tour next Spring (their first tour since '04). The nearest stop to Portland is Seattle, where they are taking up a two night residency at Town Hall. I've got tickets for the March 7 show. Anyone want to tag along?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows

Anyone still checking this ol' blog? God, has it really been 2 months to the day since the last post (god capitalized only because it's the first word in the sentence)? Maybe you have it on rss feed on some reader or some such device...

So, the new Radiohead is out today. I paid 5 pounds at Something like 12 bucks? Seems fair. Only, I am a little disappointed. I got home from the Scout Niblett show at about 1:15 am (I was the last one standing, CG, LP, C&S left before the end) to find the access code in my inbox. I HAD to downoad right away and listen.

One of the things I always liked about Radiohead (esp. the recent stuff) is that they always seemed to be breaking new ground, trying new approaches and angles. With 'In Rainbows,' that doesn't seem to be the case. More of those electronic beats. A few tunes even hearken back to the 90's rock Radiohead (you know, an actual live drum kit?). Just nothing new.

Now, this is only a cursory listen. It just came out today, after all. And, it's still better than a lot of the shit that masquerades as music these days. I had just hoped for a little more.

Have any thoughts? Comment here, I'm curious if I'm way off base here...

Friday, August 10, 2007

23 Hoyt

CC and I (and 6 others) dined at 23 Hoyt earlier this week. The service wasn't the best. She tore them a new one on her blog The Devouring Woman...

PS, love the new design, CC.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My first Noris Dairy delivery

You have to love a farm whose motto is "Purity in Food."

Loyal readers (if there are any left after my long absence) may recall that I blogged about the lack of Noris Dairy products at New Seasons (and their subsequent replacement by the high quality but non-local Straus Creamery out of California). If not, click here for the old post... Theoretically, this change was supposed to have ensured consistent supply of organic, glass bottle dairy. New Seasons (at least the Arbor Lodge store) has still not been able to maintain that consistency.

So, I'm taking matters into my own hands. For an order of $15 or more, Noris will deliver to your door free of charge. I talked to a few of my friends, and we easily exceeded that dollar amount. This week, I got half and half, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and milk. Next week, more half and half, and probably some butter too. I can't tell you how excited I am to have Noris back in my house!

Here's how it works, you download an order form from Noris' web site, fill out out, and fax it in. I'd recommend calling after you fax the first time to see what day they will be in your area. When that glorious day arrives, put a cooler outside, leave a check for the correct amount, and when you return home, viola, dairy for you to enjoy.

Here's a direct link to the order form, in case you want to download and fill out right away (and who can blame you. Go for it!).

Need more convincing? Check out their "About Us" page.

And finally, this little blurb from Salon (from way back in 2005)...
Already, some small dairy farmers say the big dairies are squeezing them off the shelf. About 30 miles southeast of Bansen's farm, Franz Wenz, owner of Noris Dairy Inc., the only independent organic milk producer and bottler in the Northwest, says only large operations like Organic Valley and Horizon can afford to spend big bucks on flashy marketing and offer supermarkets exclusive deals at lower prices.

"The big guys can bury us," says Wenz, an Austrian native with bushy eyebrows and heavy jowls. "They can make exclusive deals and say, 'You just take our product and we'll give you a good deal.' The stores don't understand that they're hurting themselves when they depend on just one company that can then control the price."

To stay in business, Wenz and his family have carved out a niche by selling and personally delivering their glass-bottled milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream and sour cream directly to more than 300 customers in the Portland and Eugene area. Wenz says he and his family intend to stick it out, despite hard financial times.
So, today's lesson, boys and girls? Buy local. Support the little guy. Enjoy purity in food.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hey Mississippi Pizza...

...thanks for the fresh grapefruit juice in my Greyhound. I didn't care so much the seeds that made their way in, though. Lots and lots of seeds. I didn't know a grapefruit could have so many.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Trip to LA - Part 2

OK, long overdue post about my LA Trip with MS from back in September '06 (you can read Part 1 of the post here). I've lost most of the details, but here's a little photo tour of some of the things we ate. Lotteria Grill, Outdoor Grill, In N Out, Foster Freeze...

PS-If anyone is looking WAY in advance for a gift for my birthday or Christmas, check out the 4th photo below. Nice grill. I'm just saying...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Goat Curry

Time again for EP, my quasi-monthly dinner group, to reconvene. This time, it was my turn to host, and spurred on by my insanely late 'discovery' of Lee Scratch Perry, I settled on a Jamaican theme. Inspired by a trip to Montego Bay years ago for Scoop's birthday, the dish of choice was curried goat.

Other dishes present: Jamaican beef patty with Sauce Chien (Caribbean spicy dipping sauce which, as you can guess, means dog sauce), accras with black eyed peas, mofongo, red beans and rice, and banana-bacon skewers in brown sugar with avocado ice cream. To drink, rum punch and Red Stripe. (As EP evenings wear on, and more alcohol is consumed, in this case the punch and beer, fewer and fewer photos are taken. For this reason, unfortunately, most dishes were not photographed.)

I'll spare you the boring details, and simply give you a peek at the day of cooking and evening of eating with this selection of photos.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday Night/Monday Morning

Sunday Night

jerk chicken
coconut/allspice/cinnamon rice
sauteed garlic shoots
red stripe

Monday Morning

goat cheese omelete
(eggs, purple haze goat cheese,
scallions, fresh garlic, s&p)
nutella toast

Friday, May 18, 2007

Best Wine of the Year (so far) - Parts 1 and 2

I haven't written one of these entries in a while. Not because I haven't had any good wines recently, but because I haven't had any amazing wines recently. To make it into one of these posts, a wine has to be mind blowing, earth shattering, revelatory. Lucky me, I've had 2 wines in the past 2 weeks that achieve this lofty standard. Here they are...

Weingut Seebrich
Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Beerenauslese
Rheinhessen, Germany
2006 vintage

On May 7, 2007, my company held a really cool German wine tasting. We had 13 or so German producers in town, all pouring their newest releases for the buyers of the best wine shops and restaurants in town. In addition to this baker's dozen, our importer had two representatives pouring wines from another 7 or 8 wineries. Every table in the hall seemed better than the last, but one table and one wine in particular really stood out for me; Jochen Seebrich and his amazing '06 Beerenauslese (or BA for short). Not sure what BA is all about? Check this Wikipedia link.

My notes on this wine from the tasting are pretty limited. I've written 'searing acidity,' 'amazing,' and a big number 5 with a star next to it. I have a rough 1 to 5 scale when tasting wines. Very few wines merit a 5, which for me means things like 'buy a case,' 'absolutely unbelievable,' and 'worth the three times the price.' A 5 with a star next to it, well, you can imagine.

I've put in my order for a case. The wines should arrive in Portland in 2 months. There will be a scant 36 bottles for everyone else in the city. If you need some, give me a call.

Rubentis (Rose)
Getariako Txakolina, Spain
2006 vintage

We had a Spaniard in town for work all this week. On Wednesday, we met for happy hour at Patanegra. I went, we had had some good tapas and a nice Albarino. We talked about wine and the wine business. It was a good time.

We were to meet again on Thursday, this time at Andina. I've been to Andina a number of times, and enjoyed it, but I'd been to this party just the night before. I imagined more good small plates of food, more nice white wine, more talk about the biz. I decided to skip out.

Then the call came in. Txakolina rose was making an appearance at the table. I didn't know they even made such a thing. I had to go. I've tried whites from Txakolina and I've heard about their red wines, but never a rose. For more info on Txakolina, check out this Wikipeadia link.

As with the Txakolina whites I've had, this rose was a little spritzy, high in acid, with hints of fruit and plenty of minerality. One of the loveliest roses I've come across in some time.

It's not cheap, retailing for between $16 and $18, but it is definitely worth it. Alas, good luck finding any. Word is that the importer, De Maison Selections, imported a scant 50 cases into the states, and that 20 of them made it to Portland. I personally called or visited 6 of the finest wine shops in the city and only came up with 2 bottles. Most were long sold out, or never had the chance to buy.

If you see this, I highly recommend picking up a bottle or two. Chill it way down and drink it on a hot afternoon. You won't regret it.


Man, I like this place. Yeah, it's white. Yeah, it's very hip. Get over it.

Go in for some fine Belgian beer (they use correct glassware), cool and esoteric liqueurs, European estate made wines, and some killer food (I'm partial to the French fries that are fried in duck fat...). Also, cool ambient music from live DJs most nights of the week.

Upstairs from Andina in the Pearl.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Where's My Fino Review!?!

Tommy over at Macerating Shallots clearly beat me to the punch. I've had a draft of a write-up kicking around for weeks if not months, it's just that every time I go there, I try something new and tasty, and have to rewrite the whole thing. Hell, just last night Stan served us his 'pancetta basket.' House made pancetta, wilted arugula, garlic tomatoes, and oven roasted grapes. Mmm.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Here's a little recap of some of the more interesting things I ate last week...

Sat 5/5/07 - Le Pigeon (plus pre-meal drinks at Rocket)
with BC
a-Leek carbonara, in which leeks took the place of pasta
b-English pea risotto
c-Apricot bacon cornbread dessert
d-Bottle of Gruner Veltliner

Mon 5/7/07 - East Side Dining Club (hosted at Le Pigeon)
with BC, Y, and N
a-Grilled skewers, one with chorizo and banana, one with pork belly and watermelon
b-Ceviche with ancho popcorn
c-Venison "Tamales"
d-Black bean chilaquiles with a poached duck egg *
e-Grilled quail with mango, chiles, and prosciutto blanco (aka lardo)
f-Mexican drinking chocolate and housemade choco-tacos...
g-A couple of Spanish wines

Tue 5/8/07 - Rocket
with SS, GA, DJ, EK, and BC
a-Pork "Pocket Rocket"
c-Ginger pea shoots
d-Braised beef ribs
e-Some cherry dessert
f-Nut covered ice cream bar on a stick

Wed 5/9/07 - Clyde Common (opening night)
with BC and Y
a-Butter lettuce salad with rhubarb, aged balsamic, and parmesan
b-Asparagus with caul fat wrapped egg (poached)
c-Chitarra with nettles, walnuts, and pecorino
d-Whole roast fish with preserved lemon, olive sauce, and chickpeas
e-Charred hangar steak in harissa with grilled onion salad (mushrooms make an unannounced appearance)
f-a bottle of Gruner

Fri 5/11/07 - Pok Pok (plus post-meal drinks at Victory)
with CC
a-Khao man som tam
b-Khao soi kai
c-Mango and sticky rice with coconut milk
d-Cha manao

Honestly, a pretty serious week of eating.

* - Best thing I ate all week

Le Pigeon image nicked from
Other images from the restaurants' web sites