Monday, October 22, 2007


Having just returned from Mexico, I decided to hit Autentica's brunch on Sunday to see how it stacked up. I had read many great reports over at, so I had a couple things in my mind to try. First: shrimp in spicy broth. Well, not really what I expected. It was 4 big shrimp, butterflied, tail and shell-on with legs in a bowl of red broth that was surprisingly, not spicy at all and very fishy. One thing I have never mastered is peeling hot shrimp with utensils, so I made a mess of myself removing the shrimp to a napkin, peeling them and returning them to the hot broth. Besides not being spicy, the broth was one-dimensional. It was a little better after adding some red chili table salsa and lime, but I didn't finish it. The shrimp were cooked well and tasted good. Bf got the huevos rancheros that came with ham and black beans. Pretty yummy, though also very mild. The ranchera sauce was great and I ordered tortillas to help him scoop up the sauce. The ham was very thin and so-so, while the eggs were done right and the beans very flavorful and just salty enough. For apps, we had the shrimp and octopus ceviche and a chicken sope. The ceviche was was in a cold tomato broth and the seafood was tender and flavorful. The saltines on the side were good with it, tho I wish there were a few more. The sope was the clear winner. A small, thick tortilla-like base topped with shredded chicken, beans, cabbage, crema, avacado, onions, cilantro and maybe some other things I'm forgetting, piled on a plate. Each bite was the perfect bite. Next time I'm ordering a pile of these.

It was expensive. The 4 dishes above, plus 2 spanish coffees came to $48. (How did it compare to Mexico? Who knows, since I ate very little "authentic" food while I was there - our all-inclusive resort featured mostly buffet meals. I had a few carnitas tacos that rocked, and some good scrambled eggs with chorizo.)

5507 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 287-7555

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

into the sunset...

Tomorrow I am flying to Ixtapa, Mexico for a one week vacation. It's my birthday October 18th and I'm going with my family. Should be a fun trip! Here's some pictures I found online to help get the drool going..

Friday, October 5, 2007

Apple Pie

I made the first apple pie of the season last night. For the first time, I used Martha Stewart's pâte brisée recipe for the pie dough. I am now officially a big fan. It was easy to assemble in the food processor, rolled out beautifully, and the buttery flakiness can't be beat.

Martha's Pâte Brisée

Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Tried-and-True Apple Pie

1 recipe Pâte Brisée

3 lbs. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
Juice of one lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out one disc pie dough to 2 inches larger than diameter of pie plate. Transfer dough to glass pie plate, pressing into corners. Trim dough to 1/2 inch past edge of pie plate.

Combine apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add the dry ingredients to the apples and toss to coat evenly. At this point I like to let it sit for 5-10 minutes, so the sugar mixture and the apple juices form a caramel-like syrup in the bottom of the bowl. This is a good time to roll out the other pie crust.

Stir apples, then pour into the pastry-lined pie plate. This amount of apples should create a generous mounded pie. Scrape the bowl to get all the caramelly goodness into the pie. Dot with butter.

Lay the other crust over the top. There should be some overhang. If it's too long, trim it, but I usually just tuck it under the bottom crust lip and press to seal. At this point, you can flute the edge or use a fork to make a pretty design. I'm a fluter. (If you don't know how to flute, here's a video!)

Use a sharp knife to cut a couple of small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Some people like to brush the crust with milk or an egg wash and sprinkle some sugar on it. Me, I leave it plain.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Cover crust edges with some foil or a pie ring to prevent burning or overbrowning. Now it's ready to go in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil or pie ring and bake for 20 minutes more. Pie is done when the crust is golden brown and the apples are soft (but not melted like applesauce!).

Let cool on a rack for an hour or so before cutting into it, if you can. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, or my favorite, freshly whipped cream.