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

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Awesome Onion Goggles

Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange Pound Cake

cake

Oh my god, this was so good. I think this is the best cake i’ve ever made. I think this will be my signature cake, you know, if I ever need a signature cake.

I wasn’t even sure this was going to turn out as I basically combined two recipes, substituted some ingredients and just hoped for the best. It’s a little spicy, very vanilla-y, with a little hit of citrus.

This cake uses cheese! Intriguing! But, instead of all ricotta cheese, I used one cup of mascarpone and 1/2 cup of ricotta — but you could use all ricotta (what the original recipe with the cheese called for if you wanted to). I just had the marscapone on hand and I wanted to use it.

The cake has a light texture and a wonderful flavor. It doesn’t even need a glaze or powdered sugar!

Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange Pound Cake
A combination of two recipes — an orange ricotta pound cake by Giada De Laurentiis and a vanilla cardamom pound cake in Gourmet magazine
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, freshly ground (or just use ground cardamom)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, . . . → Read More: Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange Pound Cake

Rustic Italian Ciabatta

ciabatta

Oh, look, it’s more bread! And not just any bread but some tasty, crunchy, chewy ciabatta.

This is very similar to the French loaf recipe, but there’s no sugar and you shape the dough into two, flat, rectangular loaves. There aren’t a lot of pictures here — mainly because I think I was just lazy. This, like the French round, is from the treasure trove of King Arthur Flour online recipes — specifically the yeast breads > French & Italian.

Rustic Italian Ciabatta
Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Website
1 1/2 cups cool water (12 ounces)
3 1/2 cups Bread Flour (or King Arthur European-Style Artisan Bread Flour (14 3/4 ounces)
2 tsp dry active yeast (the original recipe said instant yeast — is that something different? I used dry active)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir the water, 2 cups of the flour, and 1 teaspoon of the yeast together, cover and let rest at room temperature for several hours, or overnight. Here’s what I did — we were going out of town for the weekend, so I mixed the starter up and stored it in the refrigerator for about 2.5 days.

ciabatta

Add the remaining flour, yeast, . . . → Read More: Rustic Italian Ciabatta

Curried Carrot Soup with Coconut & Cashews

soup

This was a recent experiment that ended up as a tasty dinner and then lunch the next day. I used a basic carrot soup recipe with ginger and lemon to start but then added a lot of other things to it (curry powder, cashews, coconut cream). It made a very interesting, satisfying soup.

My inspiration for adding all of those extra ingredients were a really wonderful bowl of soup I had a couple of years ago at The Cricket Cafe on Belmont and a recent lazy approach to dinner in the form of Pacific Foods Cashew Carrot Ginger soup.

I think you could easily substitute coconut milk for the cream (it won’t end up as creamy) but you’ll save some fat for a dessert or something. I went ahead and froze my leftover coconut cream in three batches for other recipes. That’s what I do when I open a can of coconut milk and don’t use it all. I’m assuming it will work with the cream as well. No one comment and tell me it won’t work. Do not crush my dreams!

Also, I just want to add that I got the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook for my . . . → Read More: Curried Carrot Soup with Coconut & Cashews

Why I Cook

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Yesterday, Michael Ruhlman posed a question on Twitter as to why food bloggers cook. It’s short and bullet-pointed, but this is why I cook.

It’s fun and relaxing (especially if you have a glass or two of wine while cooking).
Otherwise, my husband would eat dry ramen noodles & take-out burritos. (Probably not all the time, but sometimes, yes.)
I love eating.
It’s a creative outlet.
It seems familiar and comforting — I have fond memories of my mother and I watching Julia Child on TV every Saturday afternoon.
It’s healthier. I know what I am eating and how much fat/salt is in there. And, if there is a lot of fat in there, I put it there on purpose. Ha!
The successes are really great feeling. When I baked my first loaf of French bread, (last month!!) even if it wasn’t perfect, it was still recognizable as bread. And it tasted like bread. That was so awesome.

Bonus Question Why I blog about it:

It’s nice being part of an online community of people who are passionate about food and love cooking too. I also just really, really like taking pictures . . . → Read More: Why I Cook

Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs

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We have been trying to reinstate “Vegetarian Saturdays” since the new year began and because we ate a lot of food last year over the holidays. But then, I’ve also made Flank Steak Roll-Ups Pinwheels and Braised Short Ribs, so we’re not all that vegetarian-y lately. Anyway, this was a recent no-meat Saturday meal. I made it without the pancetta listed below and with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Next time, I will use maybe half the pancetta called for and probably the chicken broth (just because it’s what I normally have on hand).

That said, this was a good pasta dish! And I love it whenever you can use the pasta water to help make the sauce. I did want a little more fennel, though, so I adapted the recipe below to use three fennel bulbs instead of the original two. I also caramelized the fennel first to give it even more flavor. I can’t imagine how good it would have been if I did that in the pancetta fat.

Anyway, use meat, don’t use meat, this is still a good, satisfying pasta meal. Below, I listed the recipe with the pancetta and chicken broth but just omit/sub . . . → Read More: Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs