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Chana Dal Chowder with Turmeric, Ginger and Garlic

Chana Dal Chowder with turmeric, ginger, and garlic

Feeling a little meh? Forget the chicken noodle soup, this is what you want when you’re craving a big bowl of comfort!

This is a meal for chilly days or sleepy evenings when you’re not quite sure if you’re catching a cold or if you just need to recharge. It’s thick and hearty and satisfying in a way you’d expect a chowder to be but with only a small amount of cream.

Chana dal beans* are a type of split chickpea (a Dezi chickpea to be precise) that sort of resembles a yellow split pea in appearance. They are very high in fiber and typically used in traditional Indian cooking. And once you stock your kitchen with a bag or two of these small and sunny yellow legumes, you will find that you will want to use them in all kinds of things—soups, stews, even hummus.

That said, you can also use the same amount of plain ol’ brown lentils in this chowder instead. And if you want to swap the broth for diet or convenience, go ahead and use a vegetable or a chicken one.

. . . → Read More: Chana Dal Chowder with Turmeric, Ginger and Garlic

Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

For Christmas, I received the Toro Bravo cookbook and although there are many pages ear-marked, this is the first recipe I’ve made from it. And I have to say, although I deviated a bit from the recipe (and took some shortcuts), this was delicious!

I did add some yellow bell pepper and (full disclosure) I used a bag of cubed Trader Joe’s butternut squash (because I had some and I needed to use it). I can only imagine how awesome this would be with freshly cubed squash. If you use a big squash and you have more than 12 oz cubed, just use extra cream and harissa, or straight-up double the rest of the ingredients.

This is great on the side of some grilled fish or chicken. Or just add a huge salad and make it a vegetarian meal. Also, definitely get the book for the original recipe — it will be even better! (Spoiler: there’s butter involved).

* Ingredient note: The original recipe calls for Rose Petal Harissa, which you can find at PastaWorks if you live in Portland. I used the Harissa paste in the yellow tube. That worked great, although, it is a bit . . . → Read More: Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

FFwD: Boeuf à la Ficelle

FFwD: Boeuf à la Ficelle

I really tried to like this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe for Boeuf à la Ficelle. I did! But, no, and I wasn’t the only one that didn’t quite care for it. To begin with, neither of us are big meat-and-potatoes eaters. And my general feeling is that if I’m going to make steak, I want to make it count. Poaching a piece of beef tenderloin (I only used a half of a pound because there were only two if us and I had an inkling of how this was going to go), does not in any way, shape, or form count. This one was kind of doomed in our house from the start, I suppose.

That said, this is really only one of a handful of recipes from this cookbook that I haven’t enjoyed – so, that’s a pretty good track record for Around my French Table, actually.

Also, we have been in the middle of an out-of-the-ordinary SNOWPOCAPLYSE! here in Portland, so I couldn’t get all over town to find oxtail (although – marrow bones were no problem), so I made due with a packaged beef broth that I then added . . . → Read More: FFwD: Boeuf à la Ficelle

Winter Comfort Food: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Just the other day, we got teased with about 10 minutes worth of snow. It didn’t stick or anything, but during a winter that so far has been extremely mild*, it was a nice 10 minutes. The kind of 10 minutes that make you want to go roast a chicken. And if you don’t want to roast a whole chicken, then at least maybe some chicken thighs.

A very nice aspect to this recipe (no matter what season you choose to make it) is that it is fairly one-dish. Especially if you marinate in a freezer bag. The honey in the marinade should give you a nice, darkened crust to your chicken.

And, like I mention below, the brussels and potatoes aren’t going to get that dark – if you want more color, just pop them under the broiler while the chicken rests.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

. . . → Read More: Winter Comfort Food: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet

Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet

I tend to neglect my ice cream maker with a fair amount of frequency. It’s stored out in the garage freezer, so it’s not like I see it all the time to help remind me. Plus, it seems like some of my previous ice cream/sorbet experiments have not blown me away.

Enter this Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet…Blown away!

So creamy, pretty much ice crystal free, and a not too sweet, but with a totally dessert-like flavor. And such a pretty pink color. It reminds me slightly of my beloved, gone-but-not-forgotten Grapefruit Sorbetto at Cafe Pallino. I think I am going to try sherbets more often (mostly fruit juice, but also with cream), or at least make more custard-less style ice creams. I seem to have more luck with those types — in terms of texture. Luckily, all of my ice cream maker experiments have tasted delicious.

For this, I used Penzey’s cardamom seeds but Savory Spice Shop also carries them. You could just as easily use 4-5 cardamom pods, smashed, to steep with the cream. Or, if you have neither, skip it all together and go for more of a Blood Orange Creamsicle . . . → Read More: Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet