Oregon-grown hot peppers can spice up any meal

written by Sophia McDonald | photography by Amanda Loman Chili peppers have long been considered an aphrodisiac. The theory goes that the capsaicin, or spicy compound, in these colorful vegetables triggers a release of endorphins as it hits the tongue. That little release of pleasure makes your body warm and ready for other pleasurable activities. Oregon-grown hot peppers aren’t available in stores or farmers markets around Valentine’s Day, but those lucky enough to have stocked up on chili powders and fermented hot sauces from Crossroads Farm near Eugene can still get their spicy fix. Debbie Tilley, who operates the 25-acre organic farm with her husband, Ben, has been producing value-added goods for decades. She used to specialize in dried flower arrangements and ornamental produce, including strings of chilis similar to the ristras found all over New Mexico. “About [the year] 2000, dried flowers died. Dead in the water,” she said….

Home Grown Chef: The Spice of Life

written by Thor Erickson | photography by Charlotte Dupont My wife’s brother-in-law is a great cook. He has no formal training in the culinary arts, yet Kelley is one of the best cooks I know. Not only does he have the right instincts for flavor and texture, he practices great technique, has a mind for weight and volume conversion, and keeps a seriously clean kitchen. I know that his upbringing as the second youngest son of six kids in 1960s, pre-Disney-World Orlando played into this. When he was not horrifying his mother by repairing motorcycles in the living room while blasting Lynyrd Skynyrd, he was helping her make supper. A decade ago, well after Kelley had moved to Tigard, he gave me a Christmas present—a quart-sized Mason jar of what his homemade label declared “Three Jackass Rub.” He and a couple of neighborhood buddies had made the spice blend, primarily…

Global Eclectic

Get the global eclectic look of Siefkin’s unique home at these Oregon-based marketplaces Don’t have any international travel plans in the near future? Take a stroll through Cargo instead. With locations in Astoria, Portland, and online, Cargo offers handmade crafts, vintage treasures and décor items from a vast array of countries. We’re partial to the selection of textiles, including vibrant kantha quilts from India and ikat pillows from the Ivory Coast. https://www.cargoinc.com/ If inspired by Siefkin’s use of Tansu chests, plan a visit to Aurora to shop at Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage and seek out similar, unique storage items, such as a Mid-century basket locker or early-1900s oak printer’s cabinet. You never know what you might find. www.auroramills.com Mix in a few modern pieces with the vintage gems after perusing the wares at the Portland-based Good Mod, a Mid-century furniture warehouse that also sells its own custom designs and those…

Frank Makes features fun woodworking creations

written by Juliet Grable In one of Frank Makes’ most popular YouTube videos, a lawn chair seemingly assembles itself. Large slabs of Sequoia march across the lawn and file into the shop. A skill saw rips a board, sans operator. Wood chips pile up on the floor next to the drill press. Near the end, the pieces of the chair leap into position, and the wood clamps, having done their job, clamber down from the newly assembled chair and scamper across the floor. Both the film and the chair are the creations of Frank Howarth, a soft-spoken mad genius who lives in southwest Portland with his wife, Bonnie, and kids Claire and Calvin. His popular YouTube channel, Frank Makes, has nearly 500,000 subscribers. Howarth’s films document woodworking projects ranging from the practical to the whimsical. Some are items from the honey-do list—bookcases, kitchen drawer organizers— others, such as a turned…

Oregon Truffle Festival

written by Jen Stevenson | photos by Kathryn Elsesser The holidays may be but a mulled-wine-muted memory, but Christmas is just beginning for Oregon truffle lovers, as a diverse group of local and international farmers, chefs, mycologists, vintners, dog trainers and the truffle-obsessed gather in Eugene and Yamhill Valley for winter’s much-anticipated annual Oregon Truffle Festival. Spanning two fungi-filled weekends in January and February, the fourteen-year-old festival is ripe (literally) with opportunities to celebrate and sample Oregon’s black and white gold. Score tickets to the decadent six-course Grand Truffle Dinner featuring acclaimed Portland chefs Greg and Gabi Denton (Bistro Agnes, Ox) and Gregory Gourdet (Departure), learn about the latest advances in truffle science from the world’s leading experts during the two-day Truffle Growers’ Forum, follow along with professional four-legged foragers during an authentic Willamette Valley wine country truffle hunt before sitting down to a lavish luncheon, or sniff, sample and…

DIY: Hang a Gallery Wall

Kristen Siefkin’s gallery wall is the focal point of her petite home, and includes all different media, such as paintings, framed textiles and prints. Their subjects remain diverse as well, ranging from the abstract to a precisely rendered woodblock print. Chances are, you have a similar array at your disposal. The beauty of the gallery wall approach is that it needn’t be too “matchy-matchy.” Siefkin gave us her tips for displaying with panache. GET PERSONAL Siefkin’s only rule for purchasing art is to buy what you like. She doesn’t believe the different pieces have to have a similar theme, color, frame style or size to them in order to be hung together. “In my opinion, you can make anything work,” Siefkin said.  DO A TEST RUN Having decided what to hang, trace each piece of art on to craft paper and cut out each shape. Affix the templates to the…

New Coastal Trail Coming Soon!

Corvallis to the sea will soon be possible, thanks to a new trail. written by Amira Makansi There is something alluring about the idea of hiking from one place to another without interruption. From the Pacific Crest to the Continental Divide to the Appalachian, hikers in America have tested their mettle against trails that span thousands of miles and traverse the breadth of the country. But you need not walk from Mexico to Canada or Georgia to Maine to achieve the sense of satisfaction that comes from crossing a great distance on your own two feet. Soon, hikers will be able to walk from the heart of the Willamette Valley to the Oregon Coast on a 60-mile stretch of uninterrupted trail. The Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Partnership has finished construction on the first half of a trail that will lead—as the name indicates—from downtown Corvallis through the coastal mountain range and finish…

Tillamook Air Museum shows off jets in a World War II hangar

written by James Sinks In World War II, to help safeguard military and cargo flotillas, the U.S. Navy launched blimps that could spot enemy submarines from above. The airships were housed in garages in strategic spots on both coasts. The northernmost in the West was in Tillamook. Today, you can still stand in the belly of one of the mammoth hangars, known as Hangar B. Its twin, Hangar A, burned to the ground in 1992. Calling the place big is an understatement—visible for miles, it is among the largest free-standing, clear-span wooden structures on the planet. During the war, with steel in high demand, the Navy looked to the forests of the Northwest to frame the architectural marvel, where a latticework of old-growth beams soar 192 feet overhead. Now home to the Tillamook Air Museum, Hangar B shelters fighter jets, including an F-14 Tomcat; a locomotive; a piece of the…

Bozeman, Montana: An outdoor lover’s paradise

written by Katheryn Houghton There’s a reason people are discovering Bozeman. The town’s growing fast, but with fewer than 50,000 locals, Bozeman has held onto the character that comes with a small ski community framed by mountains. There are packed storefronts with places to eat, drink and find local creations, from leatherwork to plays with live symphonies. The sun rises over the Bridger Mountains and dips behind the Tobacco Roots with forty-three peaks reaching beyond 10,000 feet—what to do between those ranges is endless. For ambitious hikers, Sacajawea Peak is a 4-mile trip pared with a 2,000-foot elevation gain. Those who take on the trail are rewarded with views from the highest point in the Bridgers, Bozeman’s nearest range. Sypes Canyon Trail offers a less-steep family day hike. The 4-mile round trip weaves through a creek-fed canyon on the west side of the Bridgers and unfolds to rocky open sections…

Oregon’s Adventure Coast

written by Sheila G. Miller Growing up in the Portland area, the Northern Oregon Coast was easier to access than other coastal areas. That was where I learned that sweatshirts were beach gear and “laying out” was something for other coastal states. But in all my years as an Oregonian, I had hardly set foot on the Southern Oregon Coast except to drive through on my way elsewhere. That changed this fall, when I spent a few days in Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston. This area of the coast, like other parts of Oregon, was greatly impacted by the timber industry. In 1947, just three years after Coos Bay gave up Marshfield as its name, The Oregonian called the city the “Lumber Capital of the World.” As Oregonians know, that came to an abrupt end in the 1980s, and the area has been searching for its next big thing…