Sunday, August 9, 2015

the Peddler and Pen Tavern… my new love!


It's not often a place I've been to for dinner, cocktails, etc., gets their own story.  But, when I read the reviews for the Peddler and Pen, I knew I had to go!

We met our niece and her boyfriend who live nearby for dinner and drinks last night and as always, I got to pick the place. I chose this Peddler and Pen since I have read so many great reviews about them. We walked right up the stairs to the front porch and sat outside there to enjoy the cool August night in Portland.  Ordering a few cocktails, we perused the menu and we each picked something a little different. I am a vegetarian so I went for the vegan hotdog in a brioche bun with chips.  Hubby ordered a hotdog wrapped in bacon with chips as well.  BTW… the chips are homemade potato chips not crispy per se but perfectly cooked and they come with a great little dipping sauce.  It was about 8pm and we had waited all day for this meal so we were starving.  Everything was delicious!  Besides being one of the sweetest places in Portland, the Peddler and Pen Tavern has so many good things going for it.


Inside near the bar, there's a bookshelf filled with books so if you go, be sure to take some of your read books to trade out.  I brought these, pictured here home and have already picked out a few in my own book collection to take back next time I go which will be soon I might add.




Be sure to take a love letter with you too!  You can take one and leave one at this little mailbox just as you enter the steps up to the porch in to the tavern!


And finally, this!  I am not sure we're all in the gutter but seriously… I hope I never stop looking at the stars!  The Peddler and Pen is the sweetest and so please go check them out soon!  The porch is perfect and so is everything else about this place.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015

A TEA PARTY… IN THE WOODS! INFO FROM HOUZZ.COM AND MY TEA PARTY STORY!



I had to share this tea party story from Houzz.com with you.  I love tea party's and some of you have seen a few of mine right here on White Bread and Jam!  Last year our trip through the Aufderheide Scenic Byway was made even more spectacular because of our tea party in the woods!

We found a horse camp along our route and picked the perfect table under the umbrella of old firs and other ancient trees to set our table with vintage linens, just picked flowers, Chintz and candles.  We shared our picnic and sipped wine and tea in this forest.  This will be a day I will never forget.  Take this story and take your tea party someplace unique, special or new!




Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe using Pickled Blueberries!


I had a jar of left over pickled blueberries and didn't want them to go to waste cause I can only drink so many of those Pickled Blueberry and Mint Tom Collins!  I thought I should try baking them in to a coffee cake.  It turned out great and I also found that the cake tasted better after letting it set out over night. There's was less "pickle" and more blueberry taste and so here's the recipe:

Pickled Blueberry Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350F and tuck some parchment paper in to a square 8x8 baking pan.

You'll need for the CAKE:

1-1/4 c flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter at room temp and I always use unsalted when baking
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 c milk

For TOPPING:

1/4 c flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
2 T cold butter
1/3 c chopped walnuts
1 c left over Pickled Blueberries or you can use fresh or thawed frozen

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  In your mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth for about 1-2 min.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat till smooth again.  On a lower speed, beat in dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients, until blended. Just a note here… I actually cut the milk in half and used some of the pickled blueberry juice as liquid. Also note that if you do this, the cake part of the coffee cake will be a little purple or blueberryish which is fine.

For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender or fork until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Stir in the nuts.

Spread the batter in the prepped pan.  Pour or sprinkle the 1 c Pickled Blueberries if that's what you are using, over the batter.  Sprinkle topping over that and bake about 45 to 50 min or until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean.

For the best flavor, let cool, remove from pan and wrap loosely in saran and let sit on the counter over night or for at least several hours.  I tried it straight from the oven and then a while later but the best flavor came from letting it sit over night.

The basic recipe here came from The Big Book of Breakfast by local author, Maryana Vollstedt complete with my changes to make it with those leftover pickled blueberries!

It's been a hot summer in the Pacific Northwest but it hasn't stopped me from baking.  I have enjoyed making the pickled blueberry recipe found on link at the top of this story and I've enjoyed baking with berries and other goodies I receive in my weekly CSA box.  Please let me know if you bake this coffee cake and if you have any variations, let me know that too!  Happy Baking!!




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pickled Blueberry Mint Tom Collins!… a cocktail for summer!


Following a favorite bar/restaurant on Instagram, got me going when I saw that they made a cocktail with pickled blueberries.  You might know the place… Old Salt Marketplace on NE 42nd Ave. not too far from where I live.  So, instead of heading over, I decided I'd try to make this one at home.  I did promise however, to head over soon to check out their version.

I got an over flowing pint of fresh blueberries in our CSA box a few weeks ago so it made sense to begin the picking process.  You'll find the recipe below but I have to tell you first… I halved the recipe using only that one pint and I change pretty much every recipe I touch so just an FYI, I didn't can these once I was done, I just poured them into a jar and put them in the fridge.  I have learned how to can but decided I don't want to begin without all the right equipment and plus, I didn't expect them to last very long.

The Tom Collins recipe is from the old Mr. Boston Cocktail book and I haven't changed it much at all but this is my version:  Put 2 oz. good gin into a shaker or in my case, a glass jar.  Add lemon juice from half a lemon, 1 teas. powdered sugar and a bunch of ice.  Put the lid on and shake well.  Using a cocktail strainer, pour the contents in to a glass that has had 1 tablespoon of these pickled blueberries added to the bottom.  Add ice and one mint leaf and fill with club soda!  I used an 8 or a 12 oz. glass to make mine last week but use whatever you want.

Besides using the pickled blueberries for this cocktail, I have added them to oatmeal for breakfast, topped strawberry shortcake with them and plan to bake something with the remainder unless of course more cocktails get made.

Have fun making the pickled blueberries and this cocktail!  Summer will be over before we know it and as I say this, it's raining and cold outside my window.  But… it's supposed to hit the 90's again by mid-week. Stay cool friends!

Catherine's Pickled Blueberries Recipe:

Ingredients 



Directions
  1. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice berries onto the center of a 8 inch square piece of cheesecloth. Gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen twine to secure. Place spice sachet into a large saucepan and pour in the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes. Stir blueberries into the vinegar; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. As the blueberries heat, gently shake the pot. Do not stir to avoid breaking the berries. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Pour berries and liquid into a colander set over a bowl. Remove spice sachet. Transfer berries to hot, sterilized canning jars; reserve the liquid. Return liquid to saucepan and place over high heat. Stir in the white and brown sugars; bring to a boil. Boil until thickened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Ladle hot syrup over berries, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with sterilized lids; screw on rings.
  4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 15 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Goodbye to the lawn and say hello to an interesting and creative outdoor space at your home!… From California to Oregon!



I loved this article complete with photos from Houzz.com.  It hit me in particular because I was born and raised in California and moved here to Oregon almost eight years ago.  Since then I have noticed the warmer winters, the dryer weather and have been able to count on one hand how many times I have worn my "heavy" coat over the past two years.  Kind of scary but it's the real deal.  It's what's to come and so we learn to deal with it.  I keep telling myself that one big reason I moved to Oregon was because of the cooler wet weather.  I hate hot summers but have learned to accept that changes that are coming.

Forgotten finds late last winter!

One of the things we had decided when purchasing our new home last year here in Portland was that we'd have no lawn.  No grass to mow, no mower to maintain or edger to keep sharp.  We paid someone to till the soil just to loosen it up a bit and we smoothed it out and added chunky bark and some dust as well to areas we may want to plant in someday.  A three-in-one soil was tilled in as well before the bark went down so quite literally our entire yard, front and back is garden ready.

From there we have planted three trees and I've been told… no more trees please by you know who;)! Our yard is smallish so I tried to keep to the spruces but the ornamental type.  One Paper Bark Maple to balance out the house and the front yard and I'm done with trees, for now.  There were already two Japanese Maples out front so those stayed as well.  I wanted a raised garden so we got these two tubs leveled and filled with rock and soil and for the second year in a row, I have a flourishing garden pouring from them.  You'll see those pics and descriptions in my next story but I have to say, I love container gardening!

We have built one more raised bed out of wood and I think that's how we will do the rest.  I love neat and tidy and the wood bins are all so straight, it's easy to keep a garden in line.  Right now we have corn growing in a small bin and I really love the containment of it.  And, since we tilled and laid bark and dust, the weeds, which are few by the way are easy to yank out.  I also have many potted veggies and flowers around as they are easier to keep from going crazy as well and with less watering I might add.

Off season in my container gardens!
The whole point to this, and my garden and yard is that we intentionally decided against grass.  So much tending but mainly the watering is what would have killed us.  Water is expensive here in Oregon for some reason we can't figure out but mostly, we wanted to plant our yard in native, butterfly and bee friendly,  easy to maintain and care for plants and trees.  Reduce the work, reduce the water use and help what is natural here flourish and be fed.  It just made sense to us.

We are still working on this yard front and back but we have made a huge dent and are happy so far with our planting choices over the past year.  Whether here or in California, this garden and yard would flourish on very little water and that makes us feel good about our choices.

I would love to hear about how you have cut back on water use and what types of plants you have planted to keep things native.  Just leave your ideas and story in the "comments!"

NOTE:

My next story will be about the details of my garden and our plantings.  Some tips on starting a garden from seed, when to plant trees and larger foliage and how to maintain a garden throughout the year!




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Where shall we go today?… dining in Portland's NE neighborhoods!

Food Truck on NE 42nd next to Pollo Norte!

Last week before I left for Texas, we finally got over to Pollo Norte and the Kim Jong Grillin food truck on NE 42nd.  You know about my list right?… it grows and then shrinks but then grows again because quite frankly, I live in the best place in the world for food!  With restaurants and food carts/trucks everywhere in my city, I have tons of choices every day.  Lately, I've been taking in my neighborhood here on the east side and finding out that a lot of people seem to think that this is where the best food in Portland is found.  I'll have to agree a bit with them but seriously, if you are in Portland, there is delicious food to be found in every neighborhood, in every nook and on every street!  There is no neighborhood untouched by good food!

Bibim Box!  It's vegetarian!

I sent folks in to Pollo Norte to get orders in while I trekked over to check out the Kim Jung Grillin food truck.  Upon recommendation, I ordered the  Bibim box with this egg and other veggies including kimchi! I didn't know if I really liked kimchi or not because I have been kind of afraid to try it but let's just say, this whole box was filled with flavors I cannot properly describe!  The rice was perfect and a little fried/crunchy which I loved as well as all the veggies were prepared perfectly for my taste.  I  also got another box of deliciousness to share at the table and it was devoured before I could get a decent photo. This along with the chicken, rice and beans from Pollo Norte combined with our beers, was the best dinner I'd had all week!

Table outside of Pollo Norte filled with good food!

I've been head long in to food for most of my life, surrounded by it, and immersed in it and for the past 8 years, it has consumed my life.  I have started food tours in other cities that are still running I might add, I have written and photographed food and drink as well as tasted and swooned over many delicious bites all over Oregon and beyond.  I have to say that there is no doubt I live in the best place to keep these awesome experiences coming by the droves.  It's because of chefs and folks in the business working hard to be the best of the best while admiring the others that do the same jobs, I have this to live for and share.  I have never seen a food city like this one.  To each their own but to share and collaborate and support is even better.  This seems to be the mantra here in Portland by every chef, every purveyor of delicious food and drink and it makes for an interesting place to just be.

Thanks to Pollo Norte for being in my neighborhood and thanks to Kim Jong Grillin for parking your truck next door!  Looking forward to seeing this area grow with many more new additions to add to my big plate!

The guys at Pollo Norte!

Handmade tortilla filled with good stuff!


 Note:  I highly recommend Pollo Norte and Kim Jong Grillin on NE 42nd Ave.!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Clyde Common… finding the essence of a good restaurant in Portland!

Popcorn snack with tōgarashi, honey and butter with a Heater Allen Pilsner!

I recall the first time we went for dinner at Clyde Common.  It was a few years ago and my husband still talks about the chicken he ate.  He still believes it was the best he ever had.  Fast forward a few years and there's a new chef in town that seems to have the right combo in creating even more amazing dishes in the kitchen of Clyde Common.

Meet Carlo Lamagna, Executive Chef at Clyde Common right next to the Ace Hotel in downtown Portland Oregon.  Influenced by food from all over the world,  Chef Carlo's past sounds a bit like any child growing up in house where everyone is a good cook.  However, his home was in the Philippines where he grew up and eventually his skills expanded from there to many areas of the country as well as the world.  So, it's not surprising to me that some of the flavors I enjoyed at Clyde Common yesterday at lunchtime not only piqued my interest in a big way, they brought out the essence that I think is a major part of what each chef needs to share in his or her own cooking.  A personal laying on hands so to speak and something that says, this isn't just your typical dish sitting here.  To be special, one must exude the confidence to do things a little different while offering the familiar as well.  For example, the popcorn starter yesterday was seasoned with tōgarashi, honey and butter.  Those flavors were amazing together and washed down nicely with a local pilsner I might add.  This is just one simply amazing little snack that made my day and made me wish I could find a corner and hide with a vat of that popcorn and perhaps a little more beer to sip and enjoy.


Clyde and Olympia Provisions Charcuterie!
Many more dishes were ordered and shared and we chatted for almost two hours as we photographed the food and drink in front of us.  Always a treat to be invited to these events, I have Little Green Pickle to thank for this one!  With hands in every delicious pot in Portland, this marketing firm knows where the good food is.  Thank you for the invite and thank you Chef Carlo and Clyde Common for the treat of your delicious food.

notes:  Clyde Common is located next to the Ace Hotel in downtown Portland.  This perfect location allows for an awesome lunch, cocktail, happy hour and/or supper next time you are nearby or even for brunch on the wknds.  Just an FYI… I love the dining room however, the upstairs loft is cool and a bit more intimate if that's what you're looking for.  And… thanks again to Little Green Pickle for the invite.  

Executive Chef Carlo Lamagna!
*Although I did not pay for my lunch at Clyde Common, my thoughts are my own.