Archive | August, 2011

And…we’re back.

31 Aug

After 5 days of good quality family time, the ocean, and of course wonderful food, we are back in Portland. It’s always tough to pinpoint the highlight of a trip home to the beautiful Carmel, California, but I would say consistently the winner is our long time ritual of lunch at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch. For those of you who have been there, you need no explanation as you are familiar with the breathtaking views, more than relaxing environment, and the amazing cuisine created by Craig vonFoerster, our longtime family friend and old housemate when I was probably 8 years old.

Nine out of ten of my most memorable food experiences have taken place in this restaurant, (mainly the time we stayed through an early lunch into a late dinner thanks to an abundance of amazing wine and great company) and if you ever find yourself in Big Sur, its an absolute must.

For more info. check out http://www.postranchinn.com/dining/, and note, the website doesn’t do it justice.

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The Importance of a Good Hor D’oeuvre.

24 Aug

Probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen are small bites for entertaining purposes. I think its a combination of the-women-love-things-that-are-made-miniature in me, along with how satisfying it is to deliver something to your guests that is simple yet detail oriented and tasteful. It sets the tone for what’s to come. I always feel sad when I am at a catered event and the start falls short with plastic looking appetizers or plates that are just straight distasteful. A couple friends and I catered a wedding last summer for 180 people in a park with no electricity, running water, or kitchen. I can say with confidence that all of our starters were spot on and aesthetically beautiful. The key is using high quality ingredients that combine well together and not moving too fast or taking shortcuts. I encourage anyone with personal favorites to share them as well, as you can never have enough up your sleeve. Hope you are all enjoying the summer day and thank you for staying tuned…

Homemade Chocolate Sauce. It’s this easy…

24 Aug

I had my first class today teaching low income, pregnant ladies/new families how to cook on a budget (through the Oregon Food Bank, check out their website to read about their amazing organization, http://www.oregonfoodbank.org). For the first meal I made lean beef tacos with all the fixings. I  was trying to think of some sort of dessert that would be quick, easy and that would go along with the Mexican themed cuisine of the evening. I decided to make an orange-cinnamon chocolate sauce served over fresh strawberries, and was truly amazed at how simple it was.

If Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup is your stand by, this recipe is something you should really consider, especially if you are feeding it to the little ones. I was not surprised but was still shocked by the ingredients on the bottle. Its just chocolate sauce. These are straight of Hershey’s site:

HERSHEY”S INGREDIENTS:

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP; CORN SYRUP; WATER; COCOA; SUGAR; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE); SALT; MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES; XANTHAN GUM; POLYSORBATE 60; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING

I hear Vanillin is the new it thing these days…

But really, we should try not to eat these things when its so easy to prepare something even better in no time at all.

So, the recipe is as goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or regular milk if that’s whats easy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • touch of orange zest and cinnamon (both optional)
  • pinch of salt

Alright so here is the hard part. This makes about a cup and a half or so.

Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon and salt.
  • Bring to a low boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve hot or chill in the fridge for a thicker sauce.
  • That’s it.

I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more food-filled-fun soon to come.

Asparagus

22 Aug

A large part of my background is in nutrition. I went to Bauman College in Berkeley, where I completed both the Nutrition Educator and Natural Chef program. I have also worked in restaurants my whole life, literally since the womb. What I have taken from both of these worlds is a love for high quality, well prepared food, with a keen interest on how it works in our body and how it affects our health and well being. I welcome you to our first food fact, something I totally geek out on with two of my favorite books, Whole Foods (not the store) Companion, A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers & Lovers of Natural Foods, written by Dianne Onstad and The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray. So, without further ado, Asparagus…

A member of the lily family, Asparagus was used medicinally long before it was eaten as a vegetable.The actual medicinal property is a substance called asparagine, nature’s most effective kidney diuretic, which breaks up the oxalic acid and uric acid crystals in the kidneys and muscles and eliminates them through the urine.

It contains substantial amounts of aspartic acid, an amino acid that neutralizes the excess amounts of ammonia that lingers in our bodies.

It is considered a blood builder due to its chlorophyll content, and contains many of the elements that build the liver, kidneys, skin, ligaments and bones.

It is also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, folic acid(to all my pregnant ladies out there), vitamins C and A, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B6. It is also rich in protein compared to other vegetables.

Asparagus loses many nutrients, as well as flavor within the first few days after purchasing. Buy fresh and eat quick, and until you do, store in the fridge with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel…

Hope you enjoyed our first food fact, and stay posted for the next one to come!


Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella. They never fail.

21 Aug

Definitely a tough choice between a BLT and a Caprese sandwich for me, but lately I have re-discovered my love for these simple, healthy and easy to make snacks. All you need is fresh basil, good mozzarella cheese (I sometimes use goat cheese to change it up), a loaf of bread of your choosing,  and ripe tomatoes, which, here in Oregon at the moment are in full bloom. Top it off with some home made reduced-balsamic and a little salt and you have yourself a gourmet lunch in minutes. Make into a smaller version on crostini for a perfect party appetizer.

Reduced Balsamic:

This is a serious staple for me. Not only does it add a wonderful sweet acidity, it also visually really finishes off a dish. Basically you are concentrating the vinegar, cooking it down to a thick, almost syrup like texture. I keep it in a small squeeze bottle in the pantry or fridge, and it lasts for a long time. A little bit goes a long way, and be aware of who is in the house while you are making it as it definitely puts off some serious fumes.

Directions:

I’m sure there are text book ways of doing this, but this is how I go about it and it works well every time.

Pour a large amount of decent balsamic vinegar into a medium pot, and bring to a simmer uncovered over medium-low heat. Reduce heat as needed and allow to cook anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or so. The longer you cook it, the more it condenses and the sweeter it gets. To test its readiness, place a metal spoon in the pot. When its done the liquid should coat the back without disappearing.

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

20 Aug

Here is a simple and delicious recipe that I made the other night for a warm summer supper. This picture shows them before we flipped them out of their ramekins, and before they were topped with fresh raspberries cooked down with sugar and lemon.

Recipe:

2-teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2-cups heavy cream

1/2-cup sugar

1-cup fresh goat cheese, softened

1 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2-teaspoons pure vanilla extract)

1-cup buttermilk

Directions:

Sprinkle gelatin over 4-teaspoons of water to soften.

Combine cream, and sugar in a large saucepan.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, never boiling.

Turn off heat and whisk in goat cheese until completely smooth.

Add the vanilla and gelatin and whisk until gelatin is dissolved.

Whisk in buttermilk and then strain through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher type container.

Lightly grease 6-8 small ramekins.

Poor the mixture into the ramekins and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.

To serve, carve around the Panna Cotta carefully and flip in onto desired plate.

Top with whatever you please, or nothing at all, and enjoy…

If you have 20,000 pounds and a year to spare…

17 Aug

http://www.schoolofartisanfood.org/

Check out this school in the UK, The School of Artisan Food, located outside of London in the Sherwood Forest. They offer a year diploma program in butchery, cheese making, chocolate, preserving and brewing. You get to choose one as a major & one as a minor and basically become a master of the craft. They also offer short term classes that range from introductory baking to artisan ice cream making and everything in between. Attending this place is definitely on the top of my dream/wish list.

Step One…

12 Aug

Welcome to our new blog, The Kitchen Sink. We are two young adults living and working in Portland, Oregon, a city known for its love of good food. We hope to make this site one of exciting recipes, resources, food facts, inspiring photography and whatever else presents itself along the way.

Thank you for stopping by and we hope you enjoy!

Best,

Chloe + Pete