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Portland, Oregon food blog with over seven years worth of recipes, restaurant features and food photos.

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Finally! And it’s Beautiful! And Happy Halloween!

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Yesterday, we had our marmoleum kitchen floor installed and we love it. It’s completely worth not having a refrigerator in the kitchen for the next 36 hours while it continues doing whatever it’s doing before we seal it Wednesday night. We do have a fridge in the garage though, so that is helpful. I’m just not doing much cooking for the next couple of days. Again, though, completely worth it!

floor

The Details
I seriously thought this would never happen. We started by going to Marion’s Carpets, which stocks marmoleum and in the beginning, seemed that they would be easy to work with. Nope. Now, perhaps carpet through them is fine, but trying to get Marmoleum purchased and installed through Marion’s was like trying to get the kitchen floor covered in gold, with the work only being able to be completed by exotic and highly-skilled, yet surly circus animals. Also, Marion’s was very bad at returning phone calls. In addition, we had to put a deposit down for materials before we could get an estimate (we got this back). Oh and they are overpriced. Blah.

Plus, the contractor they sent out never left us with a bid sheet or . . . → Read More: Finally! And it’s Beautiful! And Happy Halloween!

WCC10: Curried Acorn Squash & Leek Flan

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Round-up here!

The theme this month was to use a neglected gadget. I didn’t have to look far for this one — my immersion blender. Ever since I got my food processor, I’ve hardly ever used it. I only grabbed it last week for the white bean soup because both the food processor bowl and the blender were dirty. But for this Tenth Weekend Cookbook Challenge, it was the hand held blender I turned to first.

The dish I chose was a Curried Acorn Squash and Leek Flan from the Williams-Sonoma Autumn cookbook. The original recipe calls for pumpkin but I had an acorn squash, so that is what I used.

The only other thing I changed in this recipe, was that I didn’t make the sauce described in the cookbook. For that they took some of the squash and cream, held it out of the flan, and used it for a sauce, along with some chicken stock. Instead, I reduced some apple cider, spices, chicken stock and used that. More syrupy and less fat than the cream option. I thought it worked well (and I was also using the sauce for a pork tenderloin I made that night . . . → Read More: WCC10: Curried Acorn Squash & Leek Flan

SHF24: Mini & Delightful Grapefruit Cakes

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Round-up for the event is posted: here

My post for Sugar High Friday this month, hosted by Cook Sister, is something that I have wanted to make for quite some time. The recipe is from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto & Julia Moskin. I originally was thinking of making grapefruit cupcakes for the Je Mange la Ville birthday thing, but instead decided on lemon and chocolate-stout. So, grapefruit cakes got bumped.

Until today, that is. I used the regular cake recipe and used a 2-inch biscuit cutter to make mini cakes for this SHF’s theme — mini bites of delight.

Mini Grapefruit Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
3 eggs separated, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
3 tbsp grapefruit zest
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the frosting
1 grapefruit (2 if making a full-size cake)
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp grapefruit juice
1 tsp grapefruit zest
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
mint leaves

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan (square or round).

zest

Whisk the egg yolks in a mixer with the paddle attachment (it . . . → Read More: SHF24: Mini & Delightful Grapefruit Cakes

The Best Sauce Ever: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Jus

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One of the reviews at Epicurious said of the sauce for this pork,”I could drink it with a straw.” It’s not like I can pass up a recommendation like that! And, after making it, I totally concur. Bring on the straws, I say.

The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons of butter (practically a whole stick) — imho, not at all needed. I used 1 tablespoon of butter and the sauce was very rich, flavorful and straw-able just like that — and a bit healthier.

For the pork, I used my old-standby way of preparation — slather with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and fresh chopped rosemary. Sear in an oven-proof pan, roast to finish cooking. I always pull it out around 145 and it’s always perfectly moist, tender and juicy.

We had this with the curried acorn squash and leek flans — my WCC10 post (coming early next week) and some braised brussels sprouts. Quite a nice Fall dinner!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Jus
2 cups apple cider
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped onion
6 whole allspice
3 large fresh thyme sprigs (or a big rosemary sprig, which is what I used)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 bay . . . → Read More: The Best Sauce Ever: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Jus

Rigatoni (Penne) alla Vodka the Cook’s Illustrated Way

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Yes, we’re taking a break in the Fall Foods Fest (Pumpkin!) for a post about vodka sauce. Typically, penne is served in this dish but I had some fresh pasta from Pastaworks so there you go.

This recipe was in the most recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine — a subscription that I make far too little use of. One of the tips they list is to use good quality vodka. Rot-gut booze will produce sub-standard, rot-gut sauce. Okay, I can get behind that sentiment and luckily I had some Crater Lake vodka from Bendistillery in the freezer. (Hmmmm, did luck really have anything to do with that?)

I also bought heavy cream (something I try to not use very much of) specifically for this recipe and another recipe that I will be posting about later in the week for WCC10.

Was the cream purchase it worth it, you ask? Hell, yeah.

Penne alla Vodka
Mostly from the Nov/Dec 2006 Cook’s Illustrated.
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 salt
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb penne or rigatoni pasta
2 tbsp finely chopped . . . → Read More: Rigatoni (Penne) alla Vodka the Cook’s Illustrated Way