30 June 2009

Bands, Burgers, Red Velvet

Who the heck is that great looking band, you might be wondering.
Well, I will tell you- it's the hottest group to come out of Fossil, Oregon yet: The Wheeler County Rambler's. Who's that handsome drummer, you might also be wondering. That's my dad! Hire them for your next private function in Fossil.

The burger pictured here was made at the skyline tavern- by us. You can sign up to use the outdoor grill and cook your own food and drink their beer whenever you want. We stacked the jukebox with music we like and it almost felt like we lived in the west hills with a view of Beaverton. Grilled eggplant and onions, cheddar cheese and fatty beef made this the best burger so far in my book. Mmm... fat...

And finally, red velvet cake. We just had our bi-annual family trailer-camping trip. This season we checked out the Mount Hood forests and lakes. It was freezing cold- I got the chance I've been waiting for to wear fleece pants over my jeans and 4 sweaters all at once- it was bulky. I now know what I will look like if I continue to eat a strict diet of biscuits and charcuterie- it wont be good, but it is almost inevitable as I have no plans of quitting any of my hobbies (food, resting).

Also while camping Kevin and I cooked up another good dinnah of boston butt braised in milk with garlic and herbs. It cooked for hours and hours until the milk had reduced to a hideously (see previous post for images) delicious "milk jam" and the pork did that thing where it falls apart and makes you cry with happiness. We enjoyed it along side a zingy slaw and some very spicy radishes. For fathers day/happy birthday dad cake I made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut. I did not master this recipe yet and therefore would not dream of posting it. However I am happy to experiment and will post it when I get it right. I think the key is more food coloring and less worrying about putting 3 tablespoons of dye into a cake for no good reason besides tradition and delight.

24 June 2009

Gnarly Pork Butt in Milk

It don't look good.. but it is and was.

More on that later.

16 June 2009

Small Potatoes

In my family, we call new potatoes Charlie Boys. I found some of the tiniest ones I have ever seen at the market today and bought them just for the hell of it. I have posed them next to a grape and a raspberry to provide context of how very small they are. I plan on adding them to a special recipe tonight- beef with herbs, white wine and mustard. I'm taking the goose pot out for a test spin and it only seemed right to making something french in it. It also seemed right to make such a feast tonight as we finally signed the papers and are real life homeowners (or as my friend Grey says, "homo-ners" the way only a gay person can).

As you can see in the photos, I have started a new hobby: terrarium-ing. These are my first two and I plan on making one million. Please note the blooming air plants and the fancy glass containers that both cost $1 (kind of like the goose pot). I don't know if the plants I selected all have the same requirements as far as light and water go (I actually do know and they are all different-SHEESH.) but I am crossing my fingers and trying to cater to their needs as best as I can.

And, finally, a gratuitous shot of Jacky Scrapple in front of a bowl of cherries from the tree. Don't worry, the season is almost over and then I will be forced to take photos of something else.

15 June 2009


On Saturday night we we presented with the staff meal challenge. We (servers) were to bring in ingredients, and they (cooks) would do something with them. So, with mole sauce in mind, I brought in a bag of dark cocoa- only to be told that this was "lame", "impossible", and that I "must shop at 7-11 for Christmas presents".
So. Let it be known that I will NEVER bring in anything for those monsters again. We ended up having mac and cheese with vegetables and spicy chocolate milk. It was very tasty and bad for you.

Despite that naughtiness, it is a glorious time of year at our restaurant. Some of my favorite things are featured on the menu right now (Pasta with tripe! Strawberry shortcake! Rabbit with mustard sauce!). We are getting in the most beautiful early summer produce. I am getting very excited for my garden to start producing some veggies I can cook with- it looks like the purple bush beans may come first!

In other news, I recently had a very dramatic day of estate sale-ing that started with fun and laughter and ended with someone running over my foot and me bursting into tears.

At the first sale, I ran directly to the kitchen. On the stove was a big, dirty, chocolate brown dutch oven-type pot. My heart, it fluttered. Could it be? Yes. It was, in fact, a 15 quart Le Creuset goose pot. The bottom looked awful. Maybe rusted, and maybe missing some enamel. (After Kevin spent the afternoon scrubbing, it emerged as a perfect specimen.) The gentlemen running the sale appeared to be more college sports kinds of guys than french cookery fans, and they were selling the pot for $1.

$1. Please see above for photo. Also notice jewel colored Italian metal cups and our new backyard bar (the trailer).

As far as the foot incident goes, lets just say a certain person that I love didn't realize that I was exiting our slowly moving car and somehow the back of my heel was nearly crushed. It was painful, but I got a milkshake AND a magazine cut-out of Mount Hood to make me feel better. Both were very soothing.

07 June 2009

Music and Pork

On Friday night, the stars aligned, and yet again Kevin and I were invited to a meat filled dinner by our friend Ian. He works at Simpatica Dining Hall and this weekend he got to write the menu and cook dinner for everyone. His muse was the pig, and we ate a lot of it. It started with headcheese with spicy pickled beets and mustard. Headcheese is delicious but kind of creepy (you know I don't mind eating face, it's just the gelatin part that gets me) but I found Ian's to be very pleasant. The next course, my most favorite of all, was risotto with sugar snap peas, sharp cheese of some kind, and a big slice of caramely pork belly. If only I could have a big bowl of that right now for breakfast... The main dish was double thick pork chops that he roast on a spit in front of the restaurant (we got to stand next to it and sniff on it for a few minutes before we went inside to sit down) with sweet smokey grits. And of course, dessert was great too- caramel ice cream with pralines and candied ham chips. Ian explained that he made the ham chips by boiling them in a thyme simple syrup- then he reduced the hammy simple syrup and made an incredible caramel sauce with it. This was a perfect evening because it started with going to Lille and tasting some of Dave's chocolates, then the pork dinner, and ended meeting up with Dave again for some vermouth! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I just can't wait until I'm an old lady and can be a vermouth alcoholic.

Last night, another fateful evening of delight. We managed to scrape together some tickets to the sold out Neko Case show on craigslist! I started listening to her this winter after years of claiming to hate her, and fell in love. By now my love has grown so much, it's stupid. Her voice is SO BEAUTIFUL, and live it is unreal. She had a pedal steel player. My heart belongs to the pedal steel, especially one being played under a tasseled lamp such as this one was. She also had a large owl painting/cutout that her tour artist made for the stage, and it looks just like Jacky Scrapple.

One great moment was when Neko said "this next song is about waking up and not knowing where you are, only to realize you're in prison and have to clean toilets for the rest of your life" and her backup singer said "That's better than working in a restaurant." And the crowd when crazy. It was a service industry kind of night, I suppose.

I also liked her hair and clothes. I could not see her shoes which was a sad thing. She did not play my two real favorite songs but I was still able to squeal and say "my favorite!" a lot of times anyway (I have a lot of favorites).

And she has a running video in the background of pretty things like cartoons of little girls combing tigers fur and killer whales swimming through the sky.

I'll stop.

03 June 2009


The garden is in full sprout mode. My starts (tomatoes, peppers, basil) have all added on some serious inches, and the rest are doing their best to catch up. We found the ultimate vintage lounge chair and cast iron fire pit, and the bar is fully stocked. And yet Kevin and I are in the weirdest, most stressful position right now where we are waiting for our loan to finalize, but are living in the house in the mean time. So we don't own it... but we are supposed to... but we don't really feel comfortable unpacking... let alone getting comfortable... So. Mostly I am just having old man problems like heartburn and a short temper and Kevin is suffering horrible allergies and isn't his usual chipper self either.
My dad bought us a stove, being the hero that he is. It is from the 1950's and not only has two ovens but also one of them is a convection oven. He bought it "for my baking". Awww! Dad, didn't you get the memo? I've moved on to frying*!!!!!!! Seriously though, I hope we don't have to move out and find a place to store this thing. It's fucking huge.
I have decided, as an effort to avoid studying for finals (really- the fun never stops) to post a few photos from our fabulous rental property that hopefully by tomorrow will be ours for keepsies. Please admire my fruit trees, giant yard and stinky dogs.

*Now available at Pine State- my very own fried to order strawberry rhubarb hand-pies. They are SHIT HOT.