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

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Tuesday Night Dinners

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Caesar Salad at Cafe Castagna.

We have started a tradition of going out to dinner on Tuesday nights. Originally, we were thinking maybe every other Tuesday, but this month went to three places — of course, I am certainly not complaining. We tried two new places: Bar Avignon and Nostrana and revisited an old-standby: Cafe Castagna. This post is mostly pictures, enjoy!

Bar Avignon
2138 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97202

I liked the food a lot. Also, it was a very cozy space. But, jwa and I were both a little surprised with the vibe. Not really uninviting but not that inviting either. It was weird, the whole time we were there I don’t think I saw any of the staff smile at all. I’m perfectly willing to assume it was just a strange night or something and go back again, though. I really want to love this place. And it’s totally walkable from our house which is a huge score. C’mon, Bar Avignon, cheer up! I think you may be secretly awesome.

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Arty menu shot.

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Ambiance through a water carafe.

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Paprika spiced hazelnuts.

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One of . . . → Read More: Tuesday Night Dinners

Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon

carrot soup

This is a great all-purpose soup. You can make it in the summer with a pound of garden or farmer’s market carrots, or any time with a bag of peeled carrots, as in the original recipe. We actually have the bag of carrot snacks in the fridge quite often and if they don’t get used for…snacks, I am often wondering how to use the bag up fast. This soup was the answer.

Usually I am so-so on carrot soup but something about the flavors here just clicked for me. It was especially good the next day, as the different ingredients had time to come together and meld. I’m also already forming a plan to use this recipe in the Fall with some butternut squash or pumpkin for the carrots!

Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit magazine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1-pound bag classic-cut peeled carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups low-salt vegetable broth (you can also use chicken broth)
1/2 cup orange juice (about 1 orange)
1 tbsp brandy
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
Fresh tarragon sprigs for garnish

carrot soup

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; sauté until onion . . . → Read More: Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon

Sesame Ice Cream

Sesame Ice Cream

This was a revelation in my ice cream making adventures. You see, I already had the cream but I also had only fat-free milk at home. And I was too lazy to go to the store and get some whole milk. Well, I thought, it might be weird anyway because of the sesame oil, so I should just make it with fat-free milk and see what happens. It’ll be an adventure!

Because it was an adventure, I chose to make a half recipe from the original recipe I came across in Food & Wine Magazine. I also halved it because that recipe used 8 egg yolks, which I have a problem with on a completely non-rational level. Eight egg yolks = crazy. A half recipe using only 4 egg yolks = sensible. I have no idea why.

That all said, wow, was this delicious! I didn’t miss the extra fat from the milk at all. And, truth be told, I did kind of monkey with the ratios a bit and used half cream to milk, instead of a quarter cream to milk as called for originally. But still, this was so smooth and creamy. I loved it. . . . → Read More: Sesame Ice Cream

Asian Chicken Noodle Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Asian Chicken Noodle Salad

Well, it looks like this is the second salad post in a row. I will fix that by posting about ice cream next!

This recipe made a great cold lunch. You could serve it hot or warm, but I think it works just as well as a cold salad. The nice part there is you could roast all the veggies the night before (or in the AM), when it is cooler, toss it all together (minus the dressing), and then serve it later in the day, with the cool mango-sesame dressing. I actually made the salad at night, divided it out into bowls, packed the dressing up on the side, and both jwa and I had it for lunch at work the next day.

The original recipe just had snap peas, but I substituted green beans and added a bunch of other vegetables (and decreased the grilled chicken to one breast, instead of two). I also chose to use frozen mango pieces, instead of the original recipe’s prepared, jarred mango chutney.

You can really add whatever vegetables you like here — as few or as many that you’d like. I kind of just used this as an . . . → Read More: Asian Chicken Noodle Salad with Roasted Vegetables

It’s Summer! Roasted Corn and Edamame Salad

Corn and Edamame Salad

The other day, I checked the freezer and discovered a bag of frozen, shelled edamame. Then, I searched online for something interesting to do with it. I found something that was both interesting and delicious, for this is a very tasty and refreshing salad. The ginger works well, as does the garlic I added to the original recipe, which sadly, had none. So sad. Everything needs garlic.

Anyway, we had this salad on the side with some Japanese grilled fish (salmon). That recipe is here and was also quite good. Together, the pair made a great, light Summer dinner.

Oh! And big discovery — I pulled the husks and silks away from the cobs, rubbed the corn with olive oil and grilled it on my grill pan! About 15 minutes total time and it was done and ready to use in the recipe. That’s a nice alternative to going outside to grill for just a couple of ears of corn (especially here, as it was just in a salad and not to be eaten on the cob). I was quite proud of myself for coming up with this method of cooking corn inside, because I . . . → Read More: It’s Summer! Roasted Corn and Edamame Salad