Food+Drink

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Black Pepper Beef on Hazelnut and Blue Cheese Cracker

Heidi Tunnell Catering Cresswell | heiditunnellcatering.com Chef Heidi Tunnell Black Pepper Beef on Hazelnut and Blue Cheese Cracker Makes 100 crackers These little crackers are great just for snacking on or for use with a cheese platter. Crackers are a chef’s best friend and something I recommend to home cooks to make and keep on hand in their freezer. You never know when that unexpected guest is going to stop by and it makes for a unique appetizer. Total time: 90 minutes Ingredients 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened 1/2 pound Rogue blue cheese 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/4 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts Directions Cream butter and cheese together. Add flour, salt and pepper, scraping down the sides as needed to fully incorporate. Add your finely chopped nuts at the end. (Make sure these are finely chopped or…

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Best Happy Hour

Winner: Porters, Medford The happy hour at Porters Restaurant and Bar is a doozy. Located in the 1910-era, extensively renovated passenger train depot, this American classic is must-see on any stopover in Medford. Snag a stool at the old ticket counter (a.k.a. bar) or find a table on the patio in summer and order a drink and one of the daily specials. The popular “Get Giddy for 3 Fiddy” (4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close) features a full bar and twenty food items, from $2.50 for bistro garlic fries to $3.95 for a chicken Caesar wrap or Oregon mac and cheese. Get a dollar off any beer and wine on tap during “Tappy Hour,” from 9 p.m. to close. Runner-Up: 23 Hoyt, Portland Slip into this hip neighborhood eatery on Northwest 23rd Street for a welcome break from the day’s activities. The happy hour menu at…

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Best Beer

Winner: Ninkasi Total Domination IPA Ninkasi has gone from zero to 100,000 barrels in six years, with that number expected to triple in the next eighteen months. The first batch of Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA hit the market in 2006, and since then, beer lovers have been lapping up the hoppy brew. The Brewers Association, a trade group that tracks industry trends, named Eugene-based Ninkasi the fastest growing regional brewery in the country in 2011. Total Domination along with Believer Double Red Ale, Tricerahops Double IPA and Oatis Oatmeal Stout are on tap or in bottles throughout the West. Ninkasi does not have a brewpub but visitors are welcome in its tasting room for a pint and bites from visiting food carts. Runner-Up: Boneyard RPM IPA In beer-soaked Bend, Boneyard got started by recycling other brewers’ cast-off equipment. Two-plus years later, the brewery can’t keep up with demand and “our…

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Ten No-Cook Impromptu Appetizer Ideas for the Holidays

Your halls are decked. You have a good start on your shopping. It’s the “drop by” guests that have you worried. During the holidays, when friends are more likely to stop by spur of the moment, is also when we are most strapped for time. So, what do you serve these impromptu guests when your prep time is limited?

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Harvest Hands: Part II

The romance of working at a winery isn’t much different from a relationship. 

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Red Ridge Farm Bruschetta

This simple bruschetta has become an anticipated dish at the Oregon Olive Mill’s Olio Nuovo Festival.

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Vin Glacé Cake

King Estate pastry chef Tobi Sovak’s moist, golden vin glacé cake uses the winery’s vin glacé wine.

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Meal Planning: A Holiday Stress Reliever

With the holidays upon us, our evenings grow a little busier and the time for cooking dinner can feel scarce. During times such as these, meal planning is especially beneficial. Meal planning is a time-saver, a stress reducer and it prevents me from unnecessarily buying or wasting a lot food.
I try to have my weekly meal plan written out by Sunday night. I decide how much time I have for cooking each evening, taking into consideration the activities going on during that specific week. Using the plan, I can then write out my grocery list.
Some weeks I’m organized enough to write out my meal plan in my planner. Other weeks it gets written down on the back of my grocery list while I’m at the grocery store. Some weeks the meal plan shows up on multiple Post-It notes that I stick on the fridge.
I don’t stress about the method, just that dinner ideas for the following week get written down somehow-someway.
To help myself out even further, I came up with themes for each day. When I’m stuck on what to plan out or I’m at the grocery store frantically trying to come up with ideas, I think of my themes and let them guide me toward a decision.
THEMES OF THE WEEK:
Meat{less} Monday: Could be a vegetarian meal or a roast chicken depending on my mood.
Taco, Thai or Tuscan Tuesday: Doesn’t have to be those specific types of food, but the idea is to choose a more ethnic dish to make.
In-the-Water Wednesday: A meal with seafood.
Throw It On the Table Thursday: Leftover night. I go through the fridge and throw on the counter any random bits of food that need to get eaten.
Family Friday Pizza Night: My night off from cooking. Pizza delivery.
Spontaneous Saturday: Maybe I found something at the Farmers Market that morning that I want to cook up. Or I want to try a new recipe. Or we want to go out.
Soup on Sunday: Just what is says.
Don’t overthink it. Simply make it a weekly habit to write down a dinner idea for each day. When the question, “What’s for dinner?” comes up … you’ll have an answer.