Looks likes fall has officially arrived in Portland. Not sure how we feel about its return yet.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Signs of Fall
Friday, October 28, 2011
Bachelorette/Bachelor Blow Out
A few hours of pampering later we headed back into Portland and enjoyed a great southern feast at the Delta Cafe. We had plans to meet up with the boys for a Zombie Rock Show downtown , but had an hour to kill so a little kareoke was in order.
We finished off a pot of coffee and headed downtown in the warm fall night. We arrived in old town, decided the cover cost for the show wasn't worth it and ended up at a cozy bar enjoying more cocktails and gross bachelor/bachelorette themed shots, before heading over to the adult arcade Ground Kontrol for beers and old school arcade games and pinball. The evening ended with sidewalk photoshoots and more fried foods. With a groom/bride/group of friends like this, the wedding is going to be crazy fun!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Taken from the window of my office building.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Harvesting and Preserving Our 2011 Garden
One of the quincessential Pacific Northwest things to do is have a small garden and spend the summer months growing your own food. This year with our mid-summer wedding we decided we'll still have a vegetable garden, but select vegetables we could harvest at once in the later part of summer. For example we decided to plant an Heirloom Goliath Tomato verses a prolific constant ripening cherry tomato. This beauty grew large over the months of July but only started to bare large green tomatoes in mid-August into late September.
As the green fruits grew and grew and grew, but didn't turn red we started to think we'd have 100lbs of green tomatoes to deal with, but with a couple hot September weekends our tomatoes started to turn red and our plan to can and preserve for use in the winter was back on track.
Our decision to attempt canning our tomatoes was solidified with this bad boy. A pressure cooker/canner purchased with some wedding money.
Sure we could have easily purchased a simplier water bath canning pot, but this 23-Quart Pot is also a pressure cooker. We could easily make a pot of beans for a huge group of people in less than an hour or cook a whole chicken in under 40 minutes! We also heard it's the safest way to can tomatoes which was our main objective. We started by sorting our fantastic harvest of tomatoes by size and whether they had an blemishes.
We were really surprised by how beautifully round and picture perfect the Goliath variety was. The largest firmest tomatoes were saved, later sliced and dehydrated into little round disc that we reconstitute in broth or water for our spanish rice, soup and flavoring bases for just about anything.
All other tomatoes were then prepped to be skinned and prepared for stewing or tomato sauce.
We quickly dunked the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water. After 40 seconds most the skins would visibly split and we would scoop them out and immediately dunk them in a bowl of cold iced water. 5 seconds later the skins easily peel off. Half the tomatoes were cut into quarters for stewing and the other half were roughly chopped for tomato sauce.
We cooked the tomato sauce down for two hours and immediately poured the sauce into the canning jars.
The pressure canner had weights and gauges and initially seemed very scientific and dangerous, with the boiling pressurized air/water situation, so we didn't document watching the pressure build and maintaining the heat so the pressure remains within a certain zone for safe canning.
We can tell you the tomato sauce was alot sweeter than we imagined, the stewed tomatoes had a smokey kick due to some roasted jalapenos we added and we were able to capture a little bit of summer with ingredients grown in our own backyard or within biking distance. We think even our cat Cleo approved.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
He's Done It Again
We were invited to a tapas themed special birthday celebration and we brought this tuna tapa bites. Yes, they were as good as they looked.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Honey We're Home!
Although we live in a quaint older part of the city we do dream of living in an open industrial space like this one found in Chicago. The subway tiled kitchen wall, the railed barn doors, the open space, concrete floors, full glassed kitchen pantry wall and an elevator that opens right into your living room. This is a space we'd be happy to call home!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Tribute to Tributes
On a rainy Sunday afternoon we braved the NW shopping crowds in search of some new kitchen appliances and furniture. To reward ourselves we decided to get some fries from one of our favorite spots in town, Tribute's. We've been going to Tribute's for their Philly Cheesestakes and Hot Pastrami sandwiches for ten years now. They have great thick crust pizzas too.
We were hit with two sad pieces of information upon ordering. One: the deep-fryer was not working, so we weren't going to be rewarded with the crispiest fries. Two: Tribute's had recently lost their lease and will be closing on October 9, 2011! We were told a new location is in the works and they will be back. Let's hope so! The Hot Pastrami we got was fantastic! Come back soon!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Summer Staycation, Part II
A prime example of summer in Portland is having late night dinners. We made plans to meet up with friends for dinner on the south side of town and with plenty of sunshine before we decided to make a day of it and tour around town exploring. Portland was hit with a late summer heat wave and we wanted to be near the water, we had no idea we'd have a near deserted riverfront beach area to ourselves!
It may have something to do with the long bike ride back up.
Since we were being adventurous we decided to try a local taqueria in their new industrial location. We've been visiting Cha Cha Cha (Ole Ole) taquerias for ten years and we were skeptical of a possible "starbucking" of this family owned chain popping up in every hip neighborhood across Portland, explaining the two years we waited to try this one. We were pleasantly surprised that the prices weren't any different from their other less glamorous locations and decided to test the consistency of their menu by ordering our 'usual' - potato taquitos and a fish taco. The taquitos were a slam dunk and the fish taco was substantial and fresh, but missing the spicy mayo that usually tops the bland whitefish.
We needed to find a possible gift or at least a card so we detoured through a couple of neighborhoods full of new shops we have yet to check out.
Before we knew it, it was almost time for our dinner reservations. We left with plenty of time to bike to yet another constantly changing Portland neighborhood. As we biked in the warm summer night we passed the PICA building lit up with a summer art installation. It was a near perfect summer day.