Food+Drink

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The Oregon Strawberry

Most mornings in June, starting at about 5:30, Chris Christensen is out in the strawberry fields of her 250-acre farm in Albany, picking the perfectly ripe fruit. “I’d rather sit and pick than do anything else” says Christensen, a third-generation strawberry grower. “There’s that quiet moment when the crew gets down to do it, and the birds are going, and you’re in your own thoughts. I’m giddy.”   As she deftly plucks the berries from the plants, she’ll pop a few into her mouth, savoring the natural sugar and juice that combines in an intense flavor found only in an Oregon strawberry. From farm-stand shoppers to food scientists and high-profile chefs, people with discriminating taste buds agree that this state produces the most intensely sweet, red and juicy strawberries. Even the world’s strawberry cognoscenti, mostly food professionals, know this. Yet, the berries are still relatively obscure, in part because production…

Ceviche

The Oregon Strawberry Recipes from Chef Leif Eric Benson

Fresh Driver Scallops and Oregon Strawberry Ceviche (serves 4-6 as an appetizer) Basil ½ cup olive oil ½ cup fresh basil leaves ½ cup fresh spinach leaves Scallops 8 ounces fresh scallops, trimmed and diced (1 cup) 4 ounces Oregon strawberries, washed and diced (1/2 cup) 3 tablespoons basil oil (recipe above)    juice from one lime 1 tablespoon minced chives    salt, to season Oregon Strawberry Vinaigrette 3 egg yolks 2 tablespoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard 3 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar    juice from ½ a lime 1/3 cup olive oil 2 cups fresh, ripe Oregon strawberries, washed    salt and pepper to taste For Scallops Combine ingredients and reserve. Serve chilled with Oregon strawberry vinaigrette, basil oil and, if desired, micro greens and crostini. For Basil Oil Purée in blender until smooth For Vinaigrette Place egg yolks, mustard, lime juice, water and vinegar in a…

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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Pinot Gris

Serves 4-6 Ingredients: ½ pound butter ½ pound Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate, or other fine chocolate 2 eggs 6 tablespoons sugar ½ cup pinot gris  or good brandy ½ pound wheatmeal biscuits, coarsely crushed Slightly sweetened whipped cream, for garnish ½ cup coarsely chopped dry-roasted hazelnuts, for garnish Directions: A day ahead butter, the sides of an eight-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with buttered wax paper. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler. Beat the eggs and sugar together until foamy, and add the melted butter and chocolate. Add the brandy and crushed biscuits. Stir together gently, and pour into the paper-lined pan. Refrigerate overnight. Day of Unmold, peel off the paper, and slice into servings. Garnish each serving with a generous dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle with the chopped roasted hazelnuts or shaved chocolate, if desired.

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Oregon Winemaking

At the northern edge of Oregon’s winemaking region, a Napa Valley couple staked a claim and began a new life of biodynamic farming and making wine with a big table at its center.

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Wine Country Manila Clams

 
Take a tour of Oregon’s famed wine country in the  Willamette Valley to get your hands on the perfect Pinot for your next meal.

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Pear Salad with Pinot Noir Glaze and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4 Ingredients: Pears 2 Bartlett or Anjou pears 1 bottle Oregon Pinot noir ¼ cup of sugar 1 star anise ½ teaspoon black peppercorns ½ teaspoon kosher salt   Vinaigrette 1 medium shallot, finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 1¼ cups olive oil 1 cup toasted walnut pieces ½ cup white wine 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard   String Potatoes or Frites 1 russet potato, peeled 1 quart canola oil   For assembly 3 cups of mixed greens 1 cup of crumbled Oregonzola bleu cheese   Directions: Peel the pears. Combine the remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for five minutes. Add the pears, and cook them over medium-low heat for about twenty minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from the liquid to a bowl of ice water for one minute to stop cooking. Reserve liquid. Continue reducing…

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Coq au Pinot Noir

Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 1 bottle plus one cup Oregon Pinot noir 1 onion cut in ½ inch dice 2 carrots cut in ½ inch dice 2 celery ribs cut in ½ inch dice 4 whole cloves 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns 1 bouquet garni* 1 whole chicken cut into pieces (or a combination of parts, bone in and skin on) Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 1 tablespoon flour ¼ pound smoked bacon, cut into lardons, or ½ by 1 inch oblong strips ½ pound white mushrooms 20 pearl onions, blanched in boiling water and peeled * Bouquet garni is a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a couple of bay leaves tied together with kitchen twine.   Directions: A Day Ahead Combine the bottle of Pinot noir, the diced onion, diced carrots, celery, cloves, peppercorns,…

Stuffed Salmon with Bay Shrimp and Crab

Serves 4 Ingredients: Stuffed Salmon 1 cup beurre blanc sauce (recipe below) 4 5-ounce salmon fillets 6 ounces bay shrimp 6 ounces Dungeness crab meat 6 ounce brie cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes 3 tablespoon mayonnaise 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill Pinch of salt and pepper   Beurre Blanc Sauce (makes 1 cup) 6 ounces white wine 3 ounces white wine vinegar 3 whole black peppercorns 1 shallot, quartered 1 cup heavy cream 6 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces 3 ounces cold, salted butter,cut into pieces Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare the beurre blanc sauce and set aside. Split the salmon fillets lengthwise to form a pocket for the stuffing. Combine the shrimp, crab, brie, dill, salt and pepper. Gently blend in the mayonnaise to bind the mixture. Divide the stuffing mixture between the four pocketed fillets. When full, let the flaps cover the stuffing so…

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Dungeness Crab Sliders

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? If you have a 9-year-old like I do, you probably know the answer to that question. SpongeBob himself would approve of this tasty crabby patty slider. I have eaten spider crab from the Mediterranean, blue crab in New England, stone crab in Miami, soft shell crab in Louisiana and even the impostor “crab with a K,” but, in my opinion, nothing compares with the delicate sweet flavor of the Dungeness crab found here in the Northwest. An afternoon of picking crab from the Bell Buoy in Seaside, Oregon is just as much of a beach activity as a long walk on the promenade, flying a kite on the beach or twenty mindless games of ‘Fascination.’

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad

If you’re searching for something fresh, look no further than this lovely concoction of greens and fruit topped off with Dungeness crab meat.