Monday, December 15, 2008

Jen's Hungarian Mushroom Soup

I love it, but had never made it before last weekend. Almost absurdly simple and just about fail-proof, this soup will be added to my short list. I used plain white button and cremini mushrooms this time, but may jazz it up with some chantrelles, porcini or shiitake mushooms next time.

Jen's Hungarian Mushroom Soup
serves 4

1/4 c. butter
2 c. chopped onions
1 lb mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 tsp. dried dillweed
1 T. paprika
1 T. soy sauce
2 c. chicken stock
1 c. milk
3 T. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. parsley
1/2 c. sour cream

Sauté onion & mushrooms in butter over medium heat about 5 mins.
Stir in dill, paprika, soy sauce, chicken stock.
Lower heat to simmer, cover for 15 mins.
Whisk milk & flour together to make a slurry, add to soup, stir and cook 15 more mins, covered.
Stir in salt, pepper, lemon, parsley & sour cream.
Optional: use immersion blender to blend*
Heat thru. Eat!

*or, transfer to blender and blend, in batches.

Couple things:
I mistakenly added 2 tablespoons dillweed instead of teaspoons. It was a little more dilly than normal, but not in a bad way.
Advice - use your fingers to blend the milk and flour; the whisk just makes it harder.
We had the first bowls of soup unblended. I really, highly recommend blending it to combine flavors.
No pictures - I can't find the camera battery charger!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Roasted Squash Soup

Zucchini being the exception, I have never been a fan of squash. I hated the bitter yellow squash often sautéed along with my beloved green zucchini and the cloying sweet butternut squash soups that were more suited for dessert. One soup I tasted this summer changed my mind. It was from Genoa, that paragon of Portland dining that is nearing its last service. The menu called it "Summer Squash Soup with Marsala and Cream". To my delight, it was savory, not sweet. I ate it up and started to reconsider my squash qualms.

Last week a nice lady from the John Ross gave Brian a butternut squash. Then, a delicata squash arrived in my Organics to You box. I decided to try my hand at roasting the squash and making a soup.

After perusing the web and asking my ex-linecook fiancé, I determined the best way to roast these squashes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or your Silpat and preheat the oven to 400° F.

Slice the stem end off of the squash, then cut it in half the long way. It will smell like pumpkin! Scoop out the seeds with a sharp spoon. Make sure to clean it well and get all the threads.

Place the squash halves cut-side down on the parchment. Add water to the baking sheet. I didn't know how much to add, so I just dumped about 2 cups on it.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven. I set the timer for 30 minutes to start. After 30 minutes the delicata was ready to take out of the oven. Since the butternut was bigger, it took an extra 15 minutes. You'll know when they are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork and they are kind of squishy. (Or squashy.)

I set the squashes to cool on the cutting board. When they were cool enough to handle, I began to remove the skin. I mostly tried to scrape out the insides with a spoon, but they broke apart into smaller pieces. I found it easiest to peel the skin off with my fingers. Some stubborn pieces wouldn't budge, but they were tender enough to eat, so I just left them. After skinning the squash, I placed them in a container and froze them till I was ready to make soup.

Roasted Squash Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced small
4 celery ribs, diced small
2 roasted squash, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock*
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 cup evaporated milk**

Place a heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, onion and celery. Cook about 10 minutes until tender. Add the roasted squash and pepper, stir to combine and heat. Cook 5 more minutes. Add the chicken stock and parsley, salt and pepper. Let it come to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.

When the squash has broken down and all the vegetables are tender (it should look like bubbling mush), use your immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, puree the soup in batches in a regular blender. (Don't fill the blender more than 1/3 full lest you burn yourself.) I like the texture a bit rough, so we didn't puree it until absolutely smooth. Also, you don't want to overdo it. Like potatoes, squash are very starchy and can become gummy if over-processed.

When the soup is pureed to your preferred texture, stir in the evaporated milk. Turn the heat back up to medium-low and heat it through. Don't let it boil.

We served it plain, but it would be quite good with some herb oil, gremolata or even walnuts.

*Add more stock for a looser soup, and less for thicker.

**Don't get it mixed up with sweetened, condensed milk! Half & half or cream would work here, too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

I can't believe I've never tried them before! It's the simplest thing. Not even a recipe, simply a method.

Acquire 3# Roma tomatoes.

Slice off the end and in half lengthwise, creating tomato soldiers*.

Scoop out the seeds with your finger over the sink.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or your Silpat.

Place tomatoes cut side up, 12-16 halves to a sheet.

Use a pastry brush to apply a thin lacquer of olive oil to each tomato.

Sprinkle each tomato with salt.

Optional: Add rosemary leaves, whole garlic cloves, black pepper or tarragon.

Roast in a 200°F oven for 6 hours. Yes, six hours.

Eat. Plain or on toast, with pasta or on pizza.

*Tomato soldiers is what I called them while prepping boxes and boxes of tomatoes while working at Papa Murphy's through my formative years.

Inspired by Orangette

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Genoa Closing

Now this is a surprise. After 38 years, Genoa closes. I am glad I went in August for the first time. It was truly a first-class restaurant. And that Boccone Dolce! Man....

The story is here via Egads at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Organics to You

I'm doing my own version of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month, where dedicated folks post every day in the month of November). I'm going to try to post ONCE a week.

My first Organics to You bin arrives tomorrow! This is what will be inside:

3 sm. Gala Apples
2 Anjou Pears
2 HoneyCrisp Apples
1 Hosui Asian Pears
1 bunch Kale
1 Peppers
1-1.5lbs. German Butterball Potatoes
1 Onions
1 Garlic
1 Winter Squash(mixed types)
1 bunch Parsley
1 Celeriac(Celery Rt.)

I also added a loaf of bread from New Seasons and a dozen farm-fresh eggs. Yippee!

Also yay for kale and celeriac! Sounds like a good soup for fall.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WCC#32: Garlic

This month's Challenge is hosted by Carla of Chocolate Moosey and the theme is Garlic. It was a toss up between Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic and 44-Clove Garlic Soup. Can't go wrong either way, in my opinion. I've been trying to work my way through my recipe bookmarks - I now have 198 - so I checked out what I had tagged under garlic. The soup sounded good, too, but Brian (no longer bf and hi, I'm Lisa, by the way) loves chicken, so I went with the classic Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. I had been wanting to try this recipe since seeing Ina Garten make it on her Barefoot Contessa show. This one I found from smitttenkitchen, who in turn got it from the NY Times.

The recipe is pretty simple, especially if you can find those already-peeled garlic cloves. This was the first time I tried them, and I am officially a fan. These we picked up at Fred Meyer near the bagged salads and mushrooms.

I used my Lodge Dutch Oven for this with good results. I made some changes, though - I didn't use the chicken stock called for in the last step because I didn't have any made. It seemed to have enough liquid - and what's the point of browning chicken, creating perfectly crispy skin, and then sogging it up with too much liquid? I used chicken thighs instead of a whole cut-up chicken as well. Next time I make this I won't start with the heat on high like the recipe suggests as my garlic got a little browner than I wanted. It was still good, though. The recipe's a winner, especially served with Brian's mashed potatoes.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

from "Bistro Cooking" by Patricial Wells via the NY Times and Smitten Kitchen

1 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
About 40 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned broth (optional)

1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place a deep, nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add oil and butter. When fats are hot but not smoking, add chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin turns an even, golden brown, about 5 minutes. Work in batches, if necessary, and carefully regulate heat to avoid scorching skin. Turn pieces and brown them on other side for an additional 5 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Bury garlic cloves under chicken to make sure they settle in one layer at bottom of skillet. Saute, shaking or stirring pan frequently, until garlic is lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add wine and stock (if using), scraping bottom of pan.

3. Cover and continue cooking until juices run clear when a thigh is pricked, 10 to 15 minutes more. Check this after 10 minutes, because mine was definitely done then. Serve chicken with garlic and pan juices and, if desired, rice or potatoes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Belly Timber

Seems like most of the brou-ha-ha over Belly Timber has to do with the name. For all y'all who don't know, it is "Victorian slang for all sorts of food". I get it. You stoke a fire with timber, you stoke your body with food. I kind of like it, even. So there.

Belly Timber resides in a big Victorian house on Hawthorne. This place popped to the top of my must-go-to list with the mention of pork belly eggs benedict. So you might say I knew what I was going to order right from the get-go. However, I had a hard time passing up the roasted mushroom & herb omelette with sheeps milk feta, the smoked sausage and potato scramble with chive sour cream, the fried chicken & waffle with bacon butter and maple syrup, the potato frittata sandwich with romesco and arugula on toasted sourdough, and the BT burger with housemade fries and bone marrow aioli. Yes, all of those sounded divine (and still do), but I ultimately decided to go with my original choice, the Belly Benedict - poached eggs, roasted pork belly and hollandaise. The decision was made even easier by the recommendation from the only other occupied table in our room. "You must get the benedict. The hollandaise is the best I've ever had." You had me at hollandaise. I'm a big fan.

And it lived up to its promise. Thick slices of delicately roasted pork belly sat atop a nicely crisp English muffin topped with perfectly poached eggs in a slip of hollandaise. I was feeling extra decadent and ordered an extra side of hollandaise. Once or twice a year isn't going to kill me... An interesting thing to note: the benedict came with a salad on the side. Very nice. The tangy dressed greens were a nice foil for the richness of the benedict and that luscious hollandaise.

My friend ordered the bacon and banana stuffed french toast with honey mascarpone and pecans. Not my thing, sweet breakfasts, but she seemed to like it just fine. I had a bite and liked the bacon in it.
The next time I go, I think I may have to go for that mushroom omelette and try a side of grits with it.

Belly Timber
3257 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-3277

Monday, August 18, 2008

What to do

We are jaunting off to the White River Amphitheater to see Radiohead on Wednesday and then camping on the Puget Sound. Like many others this time of year, I am contemplating camping meals. I have a flat-iron steak in my freezer. Will we eat that? Or should I stick to hamburgers, sausages and BBQ chicken?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Farmer's Market and Clafouti

It's my favorite time of year. From April to October, Portland is awash with farmer's markets in every part of the city. Most weeks, I hit the one at Ecotrust in the Pearl.

My favorite booths are Rogue Creamery, Nonna's Noodles, and the berry and tomato vendors.

I also enjoy the flowers,

the produce,

and the seafood.

Most recently, I shared a half flat of berries with my friend Allie.

With it, I created clafouti.

Mixed Berry Clafouti adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

1 teaspoon butter
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, and/or sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate or eight 6- to 8-ounce custard cups or ramekins with the 1 teaspoon butter; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, milk eggs, melted butter, vanilla, almond extract. Combine flour, sugar and salt in another small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet. Beat until smooth (batter will be very loose and liquidy and may have some small lumps - it's ok).

Arrange mixed berries in prepared pie plate or custard cups. Pour batter over berries. If using custard cups, place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes for pie plate; 25 to 30 minutes for custard cups or ramekins, or until puffed and light brown. Cool for 15 or 20 minutes on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over top. I also used turbinado sugar once - it added a nice, sweet crunch. Serve warm.

Makes 8 slices.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bowie Post

KINK FM 101.9 is playing 4 David Bowie songs at the top of each hour. I don't know why, but it's making my day!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Chef Crush sent me to Lucca. I confess, I do follow the site. The next best thing to checking out hottie cooks in person is to see them through the eyes of the Chef Crush Girls!

Lucca hasn't really been on my radar. There's plenty of Italian restaurants in Portland, after all, and there have been a couple of restaurants in Lucca's spot that have failed, so I'm used to ignoring that corner as I go by.

One night Bf and I were thinking about going out somewhere casual and cheap, and I was surfing the interwebs as usual, trying to get an idea of somewhere different to go. Somehow I landed on Chef Crush, and immediately saw people I knew: Mike and Jordan from Ten 01. Yay for those cuties! On the second page, there he was, the ultimate blast from the past: Kjell from Lucca. Junior year in high school, my friend Beth and I took two brothers to our semi-formal dance at St. Mary's Academy: Kai and Kjell (pronounced "Chell"). In the Chef Crush pic, Kjell is standing in front of the wood-burning pizza oven. Okay, so I knew where we were dining that night.

Lucca is situated on the corner of NE 24th and Fremont. Six patio tables provide a quiet spot to enjoy your food outside. The main dining room and bar are divided by a low wall, with two-tops lining the bar side of the wall, where Bf and I sat. Right in front of the pizza oven, in fact. You may think this was my doing, but no, this was the hostess' whimsy. I just have good luck like that.

Right away I saw that Kjell was indeed working the pizza station that evening. Of course I had to go over right away and say hi, I haven't seen you since I was 16, but here's a picture of that dance we went to, remember? Of course he did remember me and we had a chance to catch up. Ahh, memories!

So on to the food. The menu is simple and broken into categories: Antipasti, Soups and Salads, Mains, Pizza, Pasta, Sides. Okay, that's a lot of categories, but there are only a few options under each and it all fits on one page.

We bypassed apps and had a cocktail each instead. I ordered the chopped salad (romaine, radicchio, crostini, pine nuts, Rogue Creamery blue cheese vinaigrette) and we ended up sharing it. Very flavorful.

For mains, Brian ordered the Bucatini and Meatballs while I just had to have a pizza. I chose the Arrabbiata and added sausage.

The pizza was fabulous. The only thing I would change would be a little more browning/char on the bottom. That's it. The crust was thin and mostly crispy with a good flavor, the sauce accented the toppings and was of the proper amount, and the cheese was that absolutely perfect melty consistency. To tell the truth I have been craving it ever since!

Brian's bucatini was ok, but I thought the sauce needed more salt and herbs. And maybe wine. The meatballs were tasty, though.

Verdict: Will return to Lucca in heartbeat for the pizza and salad. And cute boys.

3449 NE 24th Ave (at Fremont)
Portland, OR 97212

Open for dinner Tues-Thurs 5-10 PM, Fri-Sat 5-11 PM, Sun 5-9 PM
Newly open for lunch Tues-Fri 11:30-2 PM
And for brunch Sat-Sun (no hours on website)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ten 01 Anniversary Dinner

  • Oysters on the half shell - apple-pink peppercorn mignonette
  • House made duck prosciutto salad - date puree, toasted oregon hazelnuts, endive, smoked oregonzola
  • Pea tendril salad - lemon ricotta, pickled ramp, radish, oranges
  • Crudo of hamachi - grapefruit-green peppercorn vinaigrette, shaved fennel, radish, orange
  • Crab salad - fava beans, English peas, cucumber noodles, caviar
  • Sweet corn bisque - maitake mushrooms and scallops with brown butter and truffle foam
  • Lorinon Rioja Reserva 2003
  • Bacon wrapped braised pork belly - pickled spring onions, chorizo, lentil-parmesan vinaigrette
  • Foie gras mousse - blood orange pistachio moutarda
  • Sauteed Alaskan halibut - poached shrimp, chickpeas, asparagus, green garlic broth
  • Pan roasted sea scallops - spring vegetable-farro risotto, shaved asparagus salad, crispy sage leaf
  • Roasted spring lamb chops - confit artichokes, garlic puree, goat cheese gnocchi, lam jus
  • Roasted palmetto squab - stuffed with foie gras, bacon-wrapped with a barley-turmeric vinaigrette
  • Flight of ice creams - salted caramel, Dutch chocolate with toffee crumbles, mint chocolate chip, dulce de leche
  • Chocolate peanut butter mousse with caramelized bananas
  • New York cheesecake - balsamic roasted strawberries and hazelnut scone

Big thanks to Chef Jack Yoss, Sous Chef Arturo, Sommelier Erica Landon, Pastry Chef Jeff McCarthy, mixologist Kelley Swensen, Didier, Meghan and all the staff at Ten 01 for making it a special, wonderful evening.

My favorites were the halibut, scallops, foie mousse, corn bisque, hamachi crudo and ALL the desserts. Seriously, I'm not much of a dessert person, but I ate all of mine and most of Bf's.

Funny: my notes on the sweet corn bisque say it includes "scappol". That's one way to spell scallop..

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Anniversaries!

Stupid me forgot my blog-iversary, which was May 25! Happy Blog-iversary to me.

Bf and I celebrate our two-year anniversary today. We are going to Ten 01 for a special dinner that bf arranged with Chef Jack Yoss. I am looking forward to an amazing meal and a wonderful time with my honey. And many more...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pastry cream from hell

Pastry Cream: 3
LadyC: 0

For Easter I was asked to bring dessert to my family's dinner. No problem, I'll make the Chocolate Cloud Cake and a blueberry tart. I still have blueberries in my freezer from last summer. I made the pastry cream the night before, using the recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I have made pastry cream before with this recipe. It turned out fine, like a thick vanilla pudding. This time, when I had risen the next day, baked the tart shell, rinsed the blueberries and picked through them, got out the pastry cream from the fridge where it was chillin' all night, it was still runny. Okay, well I'll just use it anyway. It will probably be fine. Nope. Not fine.

First I overfilled the tart shell. Probably only needed to use about 2/3 of the cream. Then I arranged the blueberries prettily on top of the cream. It's more time-consuming than one would think. It looked pretty for about 15 minutes, then we had to transport it over to my dad's house. The runny pastry cream sloshed before we had even reached the car. I was screeching with anxiety about it, yelling at bf not to spill it as I was driving (as smoothly as possible). Once we reached my dad's, I looked at the tart and realized it was no use worrying about it anymore. The blueberries had sunk into the cream and there was cream spilled over the edge of the crust. I set it on the counter and fussed over it a little bit, then let it's just a tart, just a dessert, after all. When it was time to cut into it, it was a soupy pile of creamy blueberries. Everyone did seem to enjoy it, though. At least it tasted good.

A few weeks later I was making a fruit tart for a lady at work. I found a different recipe online for pastry cream and decided to use that instead. Well, this one had a different problem. It seized up so fast it was like hard jello, all in one molded clump. Okay, so I went back to the BH&G version. After all, I had made that successfully before the Easter disaster; maybe I just forgot the cornstarch? Uh, no. I made it, chilled it and it was still soupy the next morning. At that point I gave up and went for my backup plan.

That's right, I had a feeling this might happen.

So, I got up at 5 AM and combined mascarpone cheese with heavy cream and vanilla in my mixer till it was very thick. I spread that in my perfectly baked tart shell and topped it with sliced strawberries, red plums and blueberries. For a shiny effect, I melted apricot jam with water a saucepan over low heat until it melted, strained and cooled it, then brushed the cooled glaze over the berries. It looked perfect and was a hit.

I aim to try again. Pastry Cream, I will not let you defeat me!

Here's some pictures of my beautiful tart crust. At least I got that part down.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Confidential to Uncle Brian

Through a little Googling, I found this interesting tidbit:

From Freaky Trigger, a UK blog:

"Sweetbreads: culinary term for the pancreas or thymus. However a lot of people (myself included) still think sweetbreads are testicles...But the culinary term for testicles is sometime sweetmeats.

Wikibooks has the best definition I have ever seen: Sweetmeat is the culinary name for testicles. Despite the name, sweetmeat is not sweet and is usually not considered to be meat."

The moral of the story is sweetbreads = glands &
sweetmeats = testicles.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I Won! I Won!

My dear Lizzy from Lizzy Dishes Portland hosted a contest giveaway and I won! I won a $50 gift certificate to the new Pearl restaurant Mercato.

Thanks, Lizzy!

Friday, April 25, 2008


The WCC Vintage Cookbooks entries are due tomorrow! I'm sorry to say I probably won't make it and haven't even cracked the book.

My time has been spent cruising the farmer's market every Saturday, cooking pot roast after pot roast (bf can't get enough of it) and doing a little baking for some nice residents at work (Hi Lynne!)

Last week I bought some heavy cream at the market, intending to make butter with it. But, I haven't gotten around to that, either.

It's the season for change in the LadyConcierge/bf world. Bf has decided to take a break from cooking professionally and has landed a sought-after position with good benefits. Who knows, it may turn into another career entirely.

I had a pretty nice dinner last week with the Portland Foodies at OCI. No one can really beat that deal: 4 courses for $14. At lunch it's 3 courses for $9. Of course, students are cooking and serving for you, so there's some missteps that go along with it. But at $14, who cares? I chose the oysters on the half shell, romaine salad, veal saltimbocca and chocolate dream tort. We were treated to a tour of the kitchens, where mini chefs-to-be were cooking up stock, perfecting grill marks on eggplant, and baking oodles of bread.

Tonight I hit up Biwa for some ramen and pork belly skewers with my friend Allie. She was another pork belly virgin converted. Whoo hoo, that makes two for me! The ramen was good as usual, but not as good as the first time I had it. The noodles are very creamy-tasting and rich, and I loved the addition of the Chinese BBQ pork. It's the broth that was a little off. Just not as charred-tasting as before. Still really good, though.

Next weekend I'm heading to Rockaway Beach for a little getaway. Can't wait.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


A new Vietnamese restaurant opened down at the South Waterfront near work. Having a third option for lunch is cause for celebration in of itself, but that it's Vietnamese and I can get my beloved pho, well, break out the fireworks. So far I've just had a few things: crispy spring rolls, salad rolls, fried shrimp, lemongrass beef bahn mi, and green papaya salad.

The restaurant just opened on Tuesday (2 days ago) but I was lucky enough to be invited to the sneak preview last Saturday. Both the crispy spring rolls and salad rolls were great - I missed the dipping sauce, tho. The salad rolls had a generous portion of herbs. I did not like the bò lá lốt (grilled steak wrapped in grape leaves) though - too dry and bitter. I don't know if I've ever had them before, so it might just be my taste. The fried shrimp had a little bit too much batter, but it was tasty and hot.

My lunch yesterday was the lemongrass beef bahn mi and the green papaya salad. The bread was awesome and crispy crusty outside and the beef was flavorful if a teensy bit tough. It had lots of cilantro, carrots and daikon, not enough jalepenos for me, tho. There was a little too much mayo on there. I don't know if that is the norm. The mayo is made in-house according to the menu, and tasted good. The whole combination was tasty and filling. It is a 'premium' bahn mi in size and value. The papaya salad was really good, too. It came with 4 "Tiger Prawns" on a skewer (I would call them 3-inch shrimp), crushed peanuts, fried shallots and basil and cilantro in a fish-saucy lime vinaigrette. It was a very generous portion, but at $6.50 I hope so. I had half of it left over, making it a good deal for me.

Today I'll order the pho.

**Update: Just came back from lunch. Got take-out combination hanoi beef pho with lean steak, brisket and meatballs. Very nice overall - good broth, lots of meat and lots of noodles. Garnish a little skimpy - no culantro. :( Noodles were a smidge overcooked. Pho Oregon still has the #1 place in my heart, but this one is pretty good, plus it gets a billion punk-rock points for convenience.

**Update 4/18/2008: Tried the wonton noodle soup for lunch today. From the menu - "shrimp and pork dumplings, fresh garden vegetables and egg noodles in chicken stock". Overall a good dish. The dumplings were the best part - so flavorful and plump. I was pleasantly surprised to see the egg noodles were akin to vermicelli noodles in size. I like skinny noodles! In this case the noodles were perfectly cooked, but maybe too many? Bright carrots and broccoli along with bok choy made up the veggies. My only quibble is with the broth. I needed more salt and I thought the broth wasn't hot enough. Those are both very minor and easily fixable things, tho, so I would definitely recommend this soup. Next time I might order extra dumplings and fewer noodles.

Bambuza Vietnam Bistro
3682 SW Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239

Open Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm
Fri-Sat 10am-10pm
Closed Sun

Lunch is limited menu/take-out only.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge Round-Up

Hey, everyone! The round-up for WCC26: Pressure Cookers, Dutch Ovens and Crockpots is up. Thanks again to Lis from La Mia Cucina for hosting (and for thinking my pot roast looked good!)

April's theme is Vintage Cookbooks and is hosted by Carla of Chocolate Moosey. Pick a recipe from a cookbook written earlier than 1980, make it, blog about it, and send it all to Carla at mooseymoosecc AT hotmail DOT com. All entries are due Saturday, April 26.

I'm especially excited about this theme because I received Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas and haven't cooked anything out of it yet. Guess I got some reading to do...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mom's Mac-n-Cheese

My mom did all the cooking when I was a kid. Good, homemade meals where nothing came from a box and there were no concessions to finicky kids’ developing taste buds. We ate a lot of baked chicken and fish and steamed veggies. There was salad at every meal. My favorite food was artichokes, steamed whole and eaten with melted butter and lemon. I still like anything with melted butter and lemon. Mom was a health nut, though, so we didn’t see a lot of fatty comfort foods. When she did bust it out, she did it in style.

My brother’s absolutely favorite dish was and still is Mom’s Mac-n-Cheese with salmon. We always had crates of jarred salmon in the pantry, courtesy of family fisherman friends happy to share. Tucked in amongst cheese-cloaked noodles, the salmon elevates the humble dish to rock-star status.

Mom's Mac-n-Cheese with Salmon

6 tbls butter
6 tbls flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 cups milk
3-4 cups (i use 4) grated medium cheddar cheese
1 tsp (or to taste) Tapatio hot sauce
3 cups cooked noodles
1 tall can good salmon
1 cup green onions (optional)

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat (add salt). Add flour. Cook for a minute until a little bubbly. Add milk slowly! Turn heat to medium.

Meanwhile, cook noodles.

When the sauce thickens and starts bubbling, take off heat! Now add the cheese and the hot sauce.

Finally, combine cheese sauce, macaroni noodles, green onions (if using) and de-boned salmon together in a large oven-proof bowl or casserole dish.

Sprinkle top with another cheese layer. Or just use slices of cheese like I did.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

We cut the middle out cause it was fun.

A couple suggestions...Next time I make this, I would cut down the noodles to 2 cups. 3 cups of noodles made for a dense dish and I like a lot of sauce. Also, I think adding garlic and topping this with toasted breadcrumbs would be tasty.