Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goodbye Mr. Buttermilk

This afternoon, I whipped up Buttermilk Biscuits, thanks to a great recipe from Tyler Florence.  Recipe link:

They turned out really well.  One thing about baking I hate is cutting butter in little pieces and then cutting it into flour.  To make this easier, I freeze the butter and grate it into the flour.  It makes the whole dang process much easier and faster.  I also don't end up with buttered fingers and a mess.

Throw them in the freezer for brunch or a hearty breakfast
Flying Factoid:  Tyler Florence grew up in good ol'Greenville, South Carolina where I grew up.

Next ingredient to use up:  Instant Espresso Powder

Caffeine makes me pretty hyper and a little frantic, so this will be interesting.  Good thing, I pass off most of the baked goods to Emil.  *grin*

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Buttermilk, Instant Espresso Powder and Mumford & Sons

I have wasting food.  Especially perishable goods.  It's easy to bake off something and freeze it.  So, I had leftover buttermilk from last week's Pancakes with Peachy Compote.  They were FANTASTIC! 
Pancake Recipe.  I've made them twice in two weeks.  Sorry, no pic to post.  We were too busy working our way through the mound of pancakes.  Totally makes more than 12 not be fooled.

Back to the leftover buttermilk....I just found a super easy recipe for Banana Buttermilk Bread.  It's in the oven right now, and it smells heavenly.  Banana Bread Recipe.  I have 2/3 cup of buttermilk to go, so I'll make something else tomorrow.

My goal next week is to use up the instant espresso powder.  Stay tuned for new recipes!

I'm obsessed with the Mumford & Sons CD right now.  It's constantly on, and I just downloaded "The Cave" as my ringtone.  Their music is the reason I want to take banjo lessons.  Can you picture me in a band, playing banjo at a little coffee shop in downtown Bend??

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coffee and Miscellaneous

I've been pushing myself to get out a little more.  Whether it's driving around without a GPS, walking around downtown, or setting up meetings with nice folks around town and learning more about Bend.  I spent all winter holed up at home working on my book, and I've lost some of my social skills.

Yesterday, I had a morning meeting at the cutest coffee shop, Bend Mountain Coffee.  It's quaint, and the guy whips up a delicious latte.  The perfect place to hang out alone or with friends.

For lunch, Bend Brewing Company was recommended for their good food and always great service.  I arrived just before 2, and the place was pretty empty.  After chatting with the bartender, she said most folks were in the night before for Locals Night.  The steak sandwich was good, and I appreciated the friendly service...most of the employees said hi.  Did I look sad sitting at the bar by myself?

Anyway, I'm certainly enjoying Bend and Redmond.  Folks are nice and quick to offer suggestions on places to eat, see, and do.  I miss my peeps in Alaska daily, but I'm hoping to make some good friends here too.

Oh yeah....I checked out Sisters Coffee Company on Monday.  What a cute building!  The interior reminds me of a hunting/fishing lodge in Alaska.  It's super inviting and cozy!  Picked up a pound of Cowboy Coffee to try out for our next round of company.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brother Jon's Public House

I've been dreaming about the Captain Jack Sparrow sandwich from Brother Jon's Public House ever since I tasted it last week.  Today, we did a quick trip to Costco to purchase goodies for our first round of visitors and stopped in for a super early lunch at Brother Jon's.  Unlike me at all...I tried something new, even though I really wanted the Captain Jack Sparrow again.  The club sandwich with smoked chicken instead of turkey.  It was HUGE!  And, delicious!  They also had four other sammies on special and three soups, so I tried a cup of the potato leek soup.  Very good!

Emil will enjoy the remaining monstrous half of my club sandwich tonight while he's at work.  Are you surprised I shared?  Yep, me too.  He did share a bite of his Captain Jack Sparrow with me! 

Look how much space just half of the club takes up on my plate!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekend in Portland

We took a little mini-break in Portland before three sets of company swoops in for fun visits over the next few weeks.  Started off on the lovely streetcar and took it into downtown.  Stopped in to Penzeys Spices, one of my favorite places to purchase spices.  LoMo turned it on to me when she gave me a giftbox several years ago.

We walked through Saturday Market and picked up a plate of noodles with teriyaki chicken before heading over to Voodoo Doughnuts.

The doughnut line was about 150 feet long just to the door.  We waited in line for 25 minutes and moved up about 15 feet.  Progress was slow, and we were too anxious to hit up Powell's for a browse.

After buying some books at Powell's and walking back to the hotel in Nob Hill, we drove over to Pine State Biscuits.  I love them!  I saw them featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives....couple of North Carolina guys (shout out to Erica) started Pine State, and they know how to do biscuits right!

The Reggie:  Fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and sausage gravy

The Chatfield:  Fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and apple butter

Fried green maters

I love their second location!  Cute spot in Alberta, open in the evenings, and more seating than the other location.  We stopped at Voodoo doughnuts (different location) on the way back to the hotel for dessert.

After shopping at Nordstrom (I SO miss you!), and eating at Burgerville, we headed back to good ol'Redmond.  Now, it's time to plan menus for incoming company and clean the house!  YAY!

P.S.  One more pic...saw this on our way out of town.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brother Jon's Public House

I am in love.  The Captain Jack Sparrow sandwich at Brother Jon's Public House is DELISH.  I almost jumped off my bar stool and hugged the entire kitchen staff.  I also appreciate Kristin, the bartender, for recommending the sandwich!  The bread is so soft...incredibly soft, smack your mama soft!  There is ham, pineapple, pulled pork, cheese, sauteed onions, and a touch of mayo piled high on this lovely sesame bun.  Four pickles, and a generous helping of fresh cut fries.  Perfectly seasoned.  No salt, pepper or ketchup required.

Truly, I wanted to eat the entire sandwich in one sitting, but I saved half for dinner tonight.  Probably 30 WW points, but totally worth it.  I'll work out hard tomorrow to make up for it.

One fantastic sandwich!

It's also a very cute restaurant...small, 12 tables.  I went alone for a super late lunch and sat at the bar.  Huge kudos to the super guy at Bend Oregon Restaurants  He mentioned Brother Jon's multiple times on his website, and it totally lived up to his hype.  Next visit, I'll try the club sandwich!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chocolate Malted Whopper Cookies

This is what happens when you spend five bucks on a jar of Ovaltine for one little cruise websites looking for other recipes to use the stuff up!  Luckily, I found a good recipe from Dorie Greenspan. 

The cookie texture is very different, almost cakelike and not too sweet.  The malt isn't super pronounced, and I gave up chopping the Whoppers after they kept pinging onto the kitchen floor.  I ended up with about a cup of chopped Whoppers and a healthy handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Don't bake them for more than ten minutes, or they will be dry.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup instant malted milk powder (Ovaltine etc)

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick with 3 extra tbs)

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup whole milk

  • 2 cups malted milk balls, coarsely chopped (I use Whoppers, 6 oz in total)

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Sift together flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt set aside.
    3. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth.
    4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each one.
    5. Beat in the vanilla.
    6. Reduce mixer to low add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and mix well.
    7. Pour in the milk & mix.
    8. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well.
    9. **The batter will look more like frosting than cookie dough.**.
    10. Put mixer on low or mix by hand the malt balls and the chocolate chips/chunks or whatever you are using. I prefer doing this by hand.
    11. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2" apart.
    12. Bake for 10 minutes, when cookies are done they will be puffed and slightly soft to the touch.
    13. Let cool for 2 minutes then place on cooling rack.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Ash Wednesday

    Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and I haven't decided on what to give up or what to do for Lent.  When I was younger, I ALWAYS gave something up for Lent.  People would ask me if I was Catholic, and I told them no, but never bothered to wonder why I was asked that so many times.  Turns out it's optional for Presbyterians (me) to give up something for Lent, I think.  Or maybe I'm just making that up.  Oh well.  I really should ask my Mom.

    I always look forward to Lent though.  In the past, I've given up coffee, chocolate, popcorn (so very hard), and fried foods.  For the popcorn, I went to the movies on Easter Sunday morning to stand in line for a buttery popcorn, not to see a movie.  It was a great breakfast.  When I gave up fried foods, my acne cleared up, and I lost ten pounds.  There really are many benefits to Lent.

    Anyway, I will come up with something to do tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I'm doing a big presentation tomorrow morning for work.  Wish me luck!  You know how I feel about presentations....

    Monday, March 07, 2011

    James Beard Drop Cream Biscuits

    Why haven't I made these biscuits before?  Oh yeah, it's because I grew up in the South and love Bisquick. 

    An open container of heavy cream stared at me every time I opened the fridge, so I looked up some recipes to use it up.  I hate to waste ingredients, especially expensive ones.  These biscuits are good.  Just plain good with some butter and jam, right out of the oven.  I chose to roll them out instead of the drop method...

    They puffed up quite well and not too much sweetness.  I'll freeze the rest of the biscuits.  A treat on a rainy day with chicken noodle soup or an egg scramble will be yummy with them!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (double-acting)

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

    1. Sift dry ingredients together.
    2. Fold in cream until it makes a soft dough that can be easily handled. (You may need to add up to a full cup of cream).
    3. Turn on to a floured board and knead for about one minute.
    4. I make these as drop biscuits: Take a large mound of dough (one heaping tablespoonful) and dip into melted butter. (I brushed the tops with butter)
    5. Arrange biscuits on a baking sheet spritzed with baking spray. Bake at 425 for 13-16 minutes.

    Saturday, March 05, 2011

    Toomie's Thai Restaurant

    Last week, I stumbled across a website featuring Bend restaurants, and the reviewer is HILARIOUS.  He's sharp, honest, and doesn't apologize.  I SO want to eat out with him.  I'll even pick up the tab.  His comments and snappy retorts remind me of Josh Niva, giving me a hard time on our daily walk for morning coffee back in Anchorage.

    Visit his website:

    We are checking out some new restaurants since we're having three weeks of various visitors come to town soon, and I want to take them out for some good chow.  Tonight, we went to Toomie's Thai Restaurant.  First of all, it was not busy at all for a Saturday night at 7 p.m.  I've noticed several restaurants aren't busy at peak the economy really that bad in Bend?  I have to wonder...don't people eat out anymore??

    For an appetizer, we had these delightful steamed dumplings filled with pork, chicken and shrimp served on top of fresh bean sprouts, chilies, garlic, green onions, and a sassy soy sauce.  It went along nicely with my Thai Iced Tea.  Dinner order was Toomie's special fried rice and a spicy pan fried chicken with red peppers, garlic, onion, chilies, bamboo shoots, and thai basil.  I have to be honest...I didn't care for the fried rice.  Kind of mushy and too much coconut milk, not enough peanut sauce.  I will give them props for using peanut sauce though.  I did like the chicken dish, and the spice was just enough.  We'll have to go back for lunch and give some other dishes a try, particularly their soup.

    Here are some pics of the food:

    Steamed Dumplings

    Where's the rice?

    Spicy Chicken (#56 on the menu)

    On a side note:  A special shout out to Spencer Shroyer, who is leaving Anchorage Daily News.  I will miss reading his articles, but I'm excited to hear about his new adventure.  He's my go to guy for restaurant picks, as he knows all the best places in every city.  I may hit up Pine State Biscuits next weekend in Portland, Spencer!!  Fried green tomatoes!

    AND, I finally watched this week's episode of Top Chef.

    1.  I was really nervous for Richie.  Thought he might get the boot.  Phew.

    2.  I LOVE Dan Barber.
    My goal is to visit Blue Hill at Stone Barns for a tour and a taste of good local food.  Maybe it can be a treat when my book is published.
    Iditarod 39

    Today is the ceremonial start of the Iditarod, and I'm sad to miss it!  There are 62 mushers this year.  I'm rooting for Lance Mackey again.  Tom B., Katie, Erik and I met him last year at the State Fair.  He's just lovely!  Very friendly and kind enough to pose for several pictures.

    Last year, a bunch of friends and I watched the mushers go by on the trail by Tom B.'s house.  It was so much fun!  Beer, spiked hot chocolate, warm muffins (thanks, Karli!), and good friends.  We called out their names as they passed and wished them luck.  At work, we had an informal lottery and drew names of mushers.  Payouts for first to scratch, red lantern (last to cross the finish line), winner and other categories. 

    Several years ago, Chef Sara and I had the opportunity to work at Riversong Lodge, which is located right on the Iditarod Trail near Lake Creek.

    In the middle of the night, we had a huge bonfire and hot toddies.  In the distance, we would see a faint headlight.  As they drew closer, we would call out,"who are you?"  They would respond, "number 21, Dallas Seavey!" Then we would clap and yell good luck to him.   It was fun and a once in a lifetime experience!

    I'll be monitoring the race closely from here.  GO LANCE!!!

    Official link to Iditarod:
    Local coverage: