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.