Monthly Archives: February 2010

West Side Trip

I bit back a Maria reference up there.

Beth and I just got back from a trip over to Oregon. We’re getting married in Salem this spring, so we took a trip over to work out some details.

I wish rosemary bloomed in Idaho. I stole a flower from a gigantic rosemary bush outside Nichol’s Nursery in Albany, OR. It tasted like (and this will come as a shock) extra-perfumey rosemary. If I could have more, I’d use them as a garnish on something nice when I wasn’t concerned about looking like a foodie douchebag. I used to think flowers were an overrated decoration(especially the $1/oz petunias you see at grocery stores), but there are a bunch of blooms out there with actual flavor. Beth grew a lot of Borage last year to bring bees to her garden- those flowers taste like cucumber. Arugula blossoms are quite pretty and peppery. I’m about to revert to the habits of my youth: if it looks interesting, put it in mouth. I haven’t done that for a while after some early missteps- my mom still tells the story about me with a thorn pinned through my tongue and the roof of my mouth.

Speaking of mouth trouble, I made a silly choice this weekend. I’ve been wanting to visit Cascade Brewing’s Raccoon Lodge for a while now- the sour beer styles they brew are supposed to be among the best in the nation. We got over there on this trip, and I tried two sours- a gose with hibiscus (speaking of flowers!) and cranberry, and a sour belgian blonde with blackberries (which was awesome). I also had the bad idea to get happy hour nachos. Imagine eating tortilla chips and then drinking something almost as sour as lemon juice. Yeah. At least the beers were tasty enough to make up for it.

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Kufta, Part 2:

Time for one more shot of the Kufta Kebab. This time it’s a Syrian preparation of kebab wrapped with muhammara, walnuts and yogurt. I saw a recipe in a newsstand Bon Appetit magazine the day after I made Kufta, and I couldn’t resist giving it a shot. That recipe called for pomegranate syrup, which I didn’t have, so I made an approximation with lemon juice, honey, and a touch of molasses. If I’d had grenadine, I’d have used that and lemon juice.

The important part of the dish, though, is fire-roasted red peppers. I spent a couple hours over a bbq grill last fall, roasting a dozen or two red bell peppers until the skin charred and split. It’s just as easy to do a few over a gas burner, or under the broiler, but it’s hard to match the smoky char of the bbq. I love my grill. This year I intend to try making my own charcoal for it, but that’s still a ways off.

BTW- don’t try to warn me about the dire health and environmental harm caused by charcoal grilling. I once ate s’mores roasted over a railroad tie fire. The Earth is frankly relieved that all I’m doing is charcoal grilling.

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