Dandelions are really taking over. Now there’s this ultra-dangerous mutant version. I’m going to try and swing back by the spot I saw it in a few days and see if it transitions to its standard yellow mop top.
Whoever’s up in the Thomas the Train bike is on his grind. All the little kids on the Hawthorne Bridge wanted to be this little guy. Me too, sort of. . . Not really.
There’s really no way else to put it: this dude hustling over the Burnside Bridge looked like he’d just been bone’t out by a pony. It was a trip.
Well, since we had our baby, I have found it difficult to keep up with posts for this blog. I have a tendency to let posts get a bit unruly from time to time over here, and thus I started an easier, less demanding blog project that revolves specifically around doughnuts. If you are a reader of this blog and happen to consider reading about doughnuts, or eating them, an adequate or better use of a part of your day, then my other blog will no doubt quickly become required reading for you. If not, than perhaps you enjoy hyperbole? That’s the main two things going over there. Doughnuts and hyperbole. I still intend to post here, and maybe, very often again, someday. But, we’re going through a lot of changes at the moment, so for the time being it will be sporadic at best.
Without further ado:
ps: I would actually be happy to have guest posts on Destination Doughnut, so if you are interested in doing a doughnut review, then by all means, email me at email@example.com
I went for brisk jog after work today, and when I got home from doing that I proceeded to give (take?) all of those burned calories right back. I’m usually always lusting after a cheeseburger, and occasionally I’ll pop into a place and have one, but up and away prefer to make them at home, especially when the weather is properly in favor of firing up the grill. Gabrielle and I used to go to a bar called The Victory Bar back before we became parents. Now we don’t really go to bars at all, but we often want to, and we also often want to drunkenly consume delicious, heart-stopping bar food of all sorts and regret it in the morning. That’s a rarity, too. Anyway, this burger is modeled after the one they serve at Victory, and one of the burgers that I find a deep yearning for from time to time. Their version is a venison burger with crispy leeks and a worscestershire aioli, with the option to add Rogue Blue. It comes with a few simple bread and butter pickles, and fresh fried potato chips. My first deviation was to forgo the venison once I discovered that the price per pound is outrageous, at least at the place I happened to be shopping, in favor of plain old ground hamburger, 20% fat content (the only way to go burger-wise, imo.) The second was to add bacon, which requires no further explanation. The way it stakes up is like this, from bottom to top: hamburger bun from New Seasons Market (a passable if not great roll) toasted on the grill with olive oil, Edmond Fallot Dijon Mustard; 1/4lb beef patty; crumbled blue cheese, two bacon strips (from CHOP); some pickled red onion (it’s yellow b/c I pickled it a jar w/ golden beets); fried, crispy leeks (thinly sliced green part); and some worcestershire aioli, which I can’t explain because ours didn’t quite work out, but it still had a great flavor. We rounded out the plates with some sautéed baby bok choi, and a gang of Kettle Chips. This was one of the top burgers that I’ve ever made at home, but I have to withhold a few points due to my aioli fail. It’s probably due to laziness, but I already had some homemade mayonnaise in the fridge, and I just tried to stir in some worcestershire sauce, and it fell apart, and became pretty watery, but like I said it was still pretty tasty. I just love the creaminess of mayo on a burger. It’s probably my favorite burger condiment, over-all, so I did miss that component. But, I’m nit-picking. On days like this, I like to get all my glutinous tendencies out of the way, so after Gabrielle left for work, Lucia and I took a walk down to The Sugar Cube, and split a slice of chocolate bread pudding. . .
Life is really such a burden sometimes.
Last night I was explaining to Lucia that in a consumerist society you go out and buy yourself some things that you want on payday. She didn’t quite understand what I was talking about because she’s still a baby, so I thought to actually take her out and show her what I meant.
We made our way across the Burnside Bridge and to our first stop, Powell’s City of Books. I told her that we were looking for the latest volume of the Canal House Cooking series. She thought we should ask for help, but I told her that I already new what section it was in, and we headed right for it. As you can see in the picture, she was a little hesitant, still trying to grasp the idea of buying something. Usually people just set things down in front of her and she just takes whatever she wants. You could see that she was starting to get it, though.
Lucia really loves the Sleigh Bells album Treats, so next we headed back to the east side, and stopped at Everyday Music. Maybe it was because it was something she really wanted, but this whole concept definitely clicked once I presented her with the record.
As anyone who has extra money knows, buying things can stir up a pretty vicious hunger, so next we headed over to Dove Vive to pick up a par-packed pizza to take home for dinner. While we were waiting, I drank an Old German, and Lucia charmed the diners, dancing to some Fela Kuti, and asking people how they liked their wine. (Lucia likes it when Mommy drinks wine, especially when she drinks Willamette Valley Pinot’s.)
We were both borderline starving by the time we got home, Lucia so much so that she was prepared to dig right in, baking be damned!
The whole family loves Dove Vivi! They make their pizzas on a cornmeal based crust, and you can order as little as a slice of any pie on offer. We usually get two halves. Our favorite standard menu item is the House Sausage made with mozzarella, house-made fennel sausage, caramelized onions, marinated green peppers, and tomato sauce. So we got half of one of those, and half of the daily special, Tasso Ham made with mozzarella, fontina, spice-rubbed hot smoked ham, sautéed greens, and caramelized onion, this being one of the best tasting pizzas I’ve eaten in a while. Some of their experimental pizza specials can be a bit of a stretch, but this one is an absolute winner in my book.
Anyway, Lucia ate way too much, and after all that shopping, the fourth slice put this little Noodle straight to bed!
Sometimes, (full disclosure: often) after I prepare something for dinner, I look down at the plate and I ask myself what my problem is, and wonder why it is that I can not manage to put together a reasonably-sized dinner; why I inevitably fix a plate that is at least 2 times bigger than what I need to eat. I was faced with this difficulty of portion yet again as I prepared to sit down to the Newshour, and an enormous plate of food composed of 2 sunnyside-ups, 2 fried polenta cakes, and 2 of Voget’s smoked porkchops:
Realizing that I probably only really needed 1 each of these things, I shrugged my shoulders, and vowed that Next Time, I will be more careful about how much food I put on the plate! I moved to the table and began to eat. About half-way through the meal, I realized that in this case, though, I had not actually made a mistake of portion, but rather of proportion, and what I really needed was a third egg. You see, I ran out of runny goodness, with smokey pork to spare! Yes, I learned a valuable lesson that day. . .
I decided to make, it turned out, a rather large pot of carnitas the other day from a rather motley crew of random pork shoulder pieces suspended in the condensed ice in my fairly antiquated ice-box. Eating mountainous portions of tender, caramelized and crispy carnitas is great, and all, but what really heightens the experience for me is having a vibrant, fresh foil to play off of the rich lusciousness of the heavily seasoned meat. I turned to Plenty, a cookbook comprised of articles collected from Yotam Ottolengi’s weekly article ‘The New Vegetarian’ published in the Guardian newspaper. Leafing through the pages, I came to the recipe titled Sweet Winter Slaw, and saw in it the perfect match for my particular craving. It pairs and abundance of cabbage with plethora of tropical fruit, and things get even more intense with the addition of sweet & salty & spicy nuts!
The most difficult part of this recipe was squeezing almost have a cup of lime juice out of these limes that I bought that turned out to be a touch mealy. Everything else was a breeze; just chopping, slicing and measuring. To make the dressing combine: 6 1/2 Tbls lime juice, 1 chopped-up lemongrass stalk, 3 Tbls Maple syrup (or, agave nectar), 2 Tbls toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, an 1/4 tsp red chile flakes in a small sauce pan and boil to reduce to a syrupy consistency, 5-10 minutes. Strain, set aside and allow to cool, then wisk in 4 Tbls light olive oil. You can obviously play around with the sweet/salty components of this dressing. I would argue that the only truly essential components are the limes and lemongrass.
The recipe calls for macadamias, but suggests peanuts as an alternative, and that’s what I used since I had some on hand. This was the truly eye-opening component of the recipe, because I had never caramelized nuts before, and was struck by the ease with which a rather pedestrian snack staple could be elevated into something so extraordinary that constant snacking becomes lost in a crunchy fog of peanuty sugar-dust. These are unstoppable!
Place 1 cup of peanuts in in a frying pan and dry roast over medium heat for a few minutes. If you are already using dry-roasted peanuts, you won’t have to spend too much time dry-roasting (but it’s probably a good idea to get the heat up on em’ for the rest of steps.) Next, add about a tablespoon over butter to the pan, and allow it to melt completely, stirring the nuts with a wooden spoon to coat evenly. Then, add 2 Tbls Sugar, I/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp chile flakes, all at once, to the pan and stir constantly for just a few minutes until the sugar begins to caramelize, and it all looks irresistible, then turn them out onto a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool.
Just a note of personal safety: if a nut jumps out of the pan, DO NOT attempt to retrieve it and throw it back into the pan. Hot sugar is mean. I’ve learned this from experience (too many times.)
From here on out, it’s all slicin’ and dicin’ baby! With a BIG bowl at the ready: finely shredd about half a Savoy cabbage, and half a red cabbage; cut 1 mango into thin strips; cut 1 papaya into thin strips; seed and slice 1 red chile; roughly chop about a 1/4 cups (1/2 a bunch) worth of mint leaves, and 1 1/2 cups (basically a full bunch) of cilantro. Toss all of these ingredients together, then add the dressing and toss again.
My only deviation from the recipe is to reserve the caramelized peanuts and to add just before you are ready to serve the slaw. This is another lesson that I have learned in regards peanuts, but it never seems to stick: peanuts get very soggy, even super crunchy and sugary ones. I had to make a second batch of them for the leftover slaw the next day.
Look at the vibrancy of this salad! It really is a terrific combination of ingredients, and yields quite massive amount of food. I’m not sure why it is named a winter salad aside from the cabbage. I’m looking forward to whipping up a big bowl of this for a picnic now the spring is creeping up on us.
As for the carnitas, at first I went with the traditional food cart-style with a simple dressing of chopped onion and cilantro:
But the next day, I went for it and topped the heaping mounds of carnitas with the slaw. Truly a revelation: Best Taco Ever!?
Link: to original Sweet Winter’s Slaw recipe
Ben’s Carnitas template:
“5-6 lbs pork shoulder, cubed (1 in deep by 3-4 in long)
2 cups h20
325 covered 2, 2.5 hrs
Pull meat, reduce sauce
Mix meat with sauce
Place on trays in oven, broil till crispy (5-6 min)
This is pretty basic explanation but you should be able to figure it out. Typically put one orange and one lime skin/husk in while cooking. oregano/cumin measurements are a liberal cover. Oh, I’ve also gotten to replacing about a cup of the liquid with booze. have tried bourbon and dark beer, both have been fine, former probably better if you’ve got it to spare”
Before we left the house I managed to give her a nice big bottle which knocked her out for a little while. She was getting a kind of fussy as I was preparing for us to leave, but then she fell asleep on my shoulder. When she’s asleep is the best time to sneak a bottle in. Otherwise, she rejects it outright.
After we hit the bank and the post office we walked past a cool mural at FAB PDX down on Distillery Row. I tried to talk her into a few distillery tours, but she told me she only likes tequila, and none of those guys are making that yet.
So we headed down to the water front and checked out the Hawthorne Bridge. You can get right down on the water via these little mini-piers they have set up. They are pretty cool spots, pleasantly undulating in the currents of the water. There were two other guys down there. One was reading and the other was fishing and enjoying a cold one.
After that we headed over to Pioneer Courthouse Square to check out this protest the Radical Left was having this afternoon. The theme was ‘How is the War Economy Working for You?’ Lucia thought it was a bore, and decided to sleep through it. But, you can’t expect a little noodle to understand these kinds of things yet. Her dad wanted to go down because he has a few strong feelings and opinions about what is going on in this country. Unfortunately, I was turned off by the scene. There is a reason these folks are on the fringe. Stoned, disheveled, and crazy isn’t a good look for anybody (except maybe really hot babes, of which there was decidedly none here), let alone folks who are trying to save the world. It just comes off as amateurish, and basically laughable, which is how most people I overheard passing by on the street read the event.
I’m sure this could sway a few minds, though:
After that we headed over to Powell’s to pick up a few books. Bringing a stroller into that place is not advisable, but we stopped giving a damn about people’s opinions of stroller pushers a few months ago. People melt when they see this baby, anyway, lol! She slept through this particular nightmare shopping experience. We bought the Ottolenghi cookbook Plenty. We love Ottolenghi around here these days. Fabulous, fresh and and easy seasonal recipes abound! Highly recommended!! We also got a copy of the latest GRANTA, this quarters theme being ALIENS (the illegal or otherwise immigrant kind, mainly) then got the hell out of there, and back down to the water-front. Lucia was getting antsy for a bottle by this point, but she has a pretty sophisticated palette, and scoffed when I offered her a bottle of cold milk. We were lamping in front of the Steel Bridge as she rejected my meager offering.
On our way back to the house Daddy decided to check this bombed-out warehouse in the SE Industrial District.
Lucia thought it would be funny to re-enact the scene from Tropic Thunder where Tugg Speedman gets riddled with bullets running back to the helicopter. Not really sure what brought that on, but we went with it. She’s a funny bird.
Speaking of funny, Lucia couldn’t get enough of the Sunshine Room, even after I told her that this is where heroin-chic junkies ascend to the outer-realms. I made her promise she’d never wear neon-orange lipstick, unless she grew up to be eccentric and rich.
This is when it finally dawned on her where daddy had taken her:
I’ve decided to ramp up my presence on Zazzle, and thus far, I am most satisfied with this Pig’s Head Postage Stamp. About every 4 or 5 months I get a check from them for 50 bucks or so because people in Australia seem to love the bacon shoes I designed and posted a couple years ago. So I thought, Why not stick some bacon on some other shit? That’s what I’ve been doing today, along with some other designs revolving mainly around beets. Heh, what the hell, right?