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Breakfast for the Hungry & Still a Bit Sleepy: Zucchini, Basil & Parmesan Muffins

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I love these muffins — for they helped me use up some zucchini and the pepper and parmesan is a nice change from the typical zucchini bread spices. Also, sliced in half with a sausage patty in between makes a great breakfast!

You could also easily turn this into zucchini bread, just start checking on it’s doneness after about 35 minutes or so. If I had to guess, I’d say 45 minutes for bread.

Zucchini Basil Muffins
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable shortening, softened
1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (add more if it doesn’t seem moist enough — I think I used somewhere between 1/2 – 3/4 of a cup)
1 1/4 cup coarsely grated, well-scrubbed and drained well zucchini (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp + 2 tsp Parmesan cheese

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In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of cheese and the pepper.

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In a bowl cream together the shortening and the sugar, beat in the egg and the buttermilk, beating until the mixture is combined well. . . . → Read More: Breakfast for the Hungry & Still a Bit Sleepy: Zucchini, Basil & Parmesan Muffins

SHF#34: Stumptown Tiramisu

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This month’s Sugar High Friday challenge is hosted by The Passionate Cook and the theme is going local. So, being in the Pacific Northwest and all, I thought coffee. And the one coffee dessert I have always wanted to make but never have is Tiramisu!

So, Sunday afternoon, jwa and I walked to one of the coffeehouse closest to our house — Haven — and got 8 shots of espresso (that’s about a cup total). Woo! On the short walk home, it was very hard not to take some slurps of the espresso but I made it — all the coffee made it back for use in the dessert.

I’m not sure tiramisu counts as a local specialty — does Portland have a local dessert specialty? But, Stumptown coffee is definitely a local specialty, so hopefully that’s close enough. Besides, a dessert that requires about 8 shots of espresso? Yeah, that seems very Portlandesque to me.

The recipe that I based this on is one by Sara Moulton (minus the the hazelnuts). This rendition of tiramisu which uses both marscapone and low-fat ricotta, turned out quite well. I used two bigger than single serving glass bowls . . . → Read More: SHF#34: Stumptown Tiramisu

Quick Dinner: Hummus & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts + Good Samaritan Carrots

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A fairly quick and healthy dinner. Minimal cheese. Spinach. Beans. Carrots. See? Pretty healthy. We had this meal two Sundays ago, after we got back from Port Townsend. I believe I used roasted garlic hummus but you could use any kind you like. You could also, of course, make your own hummus or hummus-like dip.

The Parmesan cheese on the outside of the breasts give it a really nice and tasty crust. The sprinkle of Parmesan on the inside is just for fun. Fun!

Hummus and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup hummus
8 or so spinach leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
Optional: Your favorite spice blend — for instance, I used a little Sunny Paris (probably about 1 teaspoon total)

Spread a piece of plastic wrap out over a cutting board and lay a chicken breast down. Fold a layer of the plastic wrap over it and pound the breast out until it’s much thinner. Repeat with the other breast.

Sprinkle a little seasoning mix if using and lay down some spinach leaves on each flattened piece of chicken. Divide the hummus between the breasts. Sprinkle each with a little Parmesan.

. . . → Read More: Quick Dinner: Hummus & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts + Good Samaritan Carrots

WCC19: Vanilla-Coconut Shrimp + Lady in the Water

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For Weekend Cookbook Challenge #19 the theme is dinner and a DVD and is being hosted by Chef Girl. For this WCC, I pulled out my brand new copy of The Joy of Cooking and thumbed through the seafood section as one of the movies we had at the house via netflix, was, “Lady in the Water.” It’s a little bit odd, unexpected, it makes you wonder if it’ll be any good or not. Then there’s the movie. Hahahahaha. Just kidding.

And, if I hadn’t just started a new job, I would have picked a well-loved and favorite movie for this and not just used the most recent netflix option but, hell, I am tired — Lady in the Water it is. Although, we are at some point planning a Rushmore / The Royal Tenenbaums dinner film festival soon. It just didn’t happen for this WCC event.

Anyway, vanilla bean in a coconut-y, somewhat Asian-inspired shrimp dish — could it work? Let’s find out!

Vanilla Coconut Shrimp
Based on a recipe in The Joy of Cooking, although, I added the garlic, shitake and red bell pepper
1/ 4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
12 shitake mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 . . . → Read More: WCC19: Vanilla-Coconut Shrimp + Lady in the Water

Summer Spaghetti Sure Hits the Spot

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Too hot outside? Yep. I agree. If you can suffer through the boiling water and the grill pan (if you choose to add the tuna), this is a great meal. I just serve it room temperature. It’s delicious. I usually use frozen albacore tuna from Trader Joe’s — just defrost it the night before in the refrigerator and it’s ready to go.

Instead of the basil and dill, you could also use different herbs — really whatever you like. Plus, with all the veggies and white beans, this is very healthy. Hooray!

Summer Spaghetti
1/2 lb spaghetti
1/4 cup green or black olives (I used green, stuffed with feta)
1 bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Englished cucumber, diced
1/4 tsp dried oregano (or more fresh if you have some)
1/2 cup feta (or more)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Olive oil
Splash of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Fresh Dill, chopped (about a tablespoon)
salt and pepper
Optional: Grilled albacore tuna, lemon

Add all the veggies and beans in a big bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, some salt and pepper and a little olive oil.

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Cook the pasta. Toss with the veggies. Let come to room temperature and if . . . → Read More: Summer Spaghetti Sure Hits the Spot