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National Pumpkin Day: Let’s Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

October 26th is National Pumpkin Day so let’s live it up with this spicy and satisfying soup!

Aside from being just plain delicious, the aroma of roasting squash and then chiles will make your kitchen smell like Fall with a capital F. You can certainly use canned pumpkin here, but there’s something to be said for diy-ing it—the slightly caramelized edges, the satisfaction of scooping out the velvety goodness from the golden pumpkin shells—it’s all part of this soup’s charm. That said, we all have jobs and responsibilities and using canned pumpkin is certainly a valid life choice. I am not judging. Promise.

But after all of the roasting and/or chopping, this soup comes together fairly quickly. Ideal garnishes include fried tortilla strips and chopped cilantro (or maybe even roasted pumpkin seeds or shredded cabbage) and if you want to substitute the pumpkin, an acorn or a butternut squash will do the trick nicely while still keeping the autumn theme intact.

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup
About 4 main course . . . → Read More: National Pumpkin Day: Let’s Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

This cake is unlike any other I’ve made. Well, except for the apple cake that it’s based on.

But, here, in this rebooted version, pears replace the apples and pecans replace the walnuts. The pears are peeled and thinly sliced and then mixed into a very light batter. During a second trip into the oven, the brown sugar and pecan topping firms up and turns golden brown, with an almost custardy cake beneath. It’s really pretty amazing.

There may seem to be a number of steps, but don’t fear, it all comes together very easily and the only special gadgets you need are a cake pan and a couple of spatulas. So give this fall dessert a try!

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake
About 8 servings; Adapted from the Apple Lady Apple Cake in the Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Cake
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup 1% or 2% milk
3 large pears, cored, peeled, and sliced into thin wedges — I used 2 Anjou and 1 Starkrimson

Topping
1/3 packed . . . → Read More: The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Green Romesco Sauce

Salmon with Green Romesco

Romesco, a Spanish pepper and nut-based sauce, is typically made with red bell peppers, producing a bright red and flavorful summery sauce. This version mixes it up a bit with mildly spiced poblano peppers and it’s easily one of my most favorite things to do with poblanos. It’s also suitably fall-ish, in my opinion.

Besides, no matter the season, what’s not to like about roasted peppers, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, and nuts? This romesco recipe is adapted from the cookbook, Grilling for Life by Bobby Flay. But really, I’ll let you in on a little secret–you don’t have to grill anything if you don’t want to. You can of course, but your oven will do all the work quite easily.

Speaking of the oven, the salmon gets a sear in a hot pan, then finishes cooking in that very appliance. When we had this meal, some warm and tender lentils were tossed with a little of the romesco sauce for a great side.

And if you do find yourself with any leftover sauce, it’s especially tasty with pasta with some crumbled goat cheese on top.

Salmon with Green Romesco

Salmon with Green Romesco

Salmon with <span style= . . . → Read More: Oven-Roasted Salmon with Green Romesco Sauce

Fried (or not) Avocado Tacos with Creamy Poblano Ranch

Avocado Tacos with Poblano-Buttermilk Dressing

If you haven’t already tried coating avocado with breadcrumbs and then frying, what exactly have you spent your life doing?

It’s okay. You can start now. Using this preparation, the outside gets delightfully crunchy and inside, the avocado is all ripe and creamy. But, if you’d rather not fry, you can achieve pretty much the same results by baking the coated avocado wedges in the oven.

This recipe produces wonderful summer tacos–little avocado wedges on a tasty refried beans pillow. Garnished with shredded cabbage and cheese, as well as salsa, you really can’t go wrong here. Plus, if you prepare the Poblano Ranch Dressing too, you’ll make it better!

I’ve made these tacos both ways; frying in peanut oil and baking in the oven. I found that the frying leads to a bit more of a uniform and golden crispiness, but rotating the avocado wedges in the oven did a fairly good job of even browning as well.

Since avocados can be bland, the key to maximum tastiness is to season the flour well and also to hit the finished avocado wedges with a sprinkle of kosher salt.

Avocado Tacos with Poblano-Buttermilk Dressing

. . . → Read More: Fried (or not) Avocado Tacos with Creamy Poblano Ranch

Kerrin’s Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Really, what is better than a fresh gooey chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven? Air conditioning? Well, yes. But…it’s not the chocolate chip cookie’s fault that August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Do not blame the cookie if the weather is too hot to even think about turning on the oven.

That said, and as I write this on the 3rd, we’re about to break records for the hottest day ever on Earth in the Pacific Northwest (108 degrees F in Portland), so let’s think back to a cooler time–gentler time when I opened up my copy of Dorie’s Cookies and found this amazing and alt chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Buckwheat flour! Whole wheat flour! A sprinkle of fleur de sel on top! They are healthy! Kind of…for cookies. In this version, I also added vanilla and I upped the nuts, as one tends to do if the occasion calls for it.

So, if you can safely turn on your oven, you might want to celebrate August 3rd by baking a batch of these wonderful and interesting chocolate chip cookies.

Spoiler: The cookie dough needs to chill in the refrigerator for at . . . → Read More: Kerrin’s Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies