Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Restaurant Review! Nick's Italian in Mcminnville

I'm back!

I know blogging is dead and this should be on facebook or twitter or tumblr but I don't care. This is a good venue because no one will ever read it, this is entirely for my own amusement.

On to the review! Ken the winemaker was kind enough to take Tim and I out to an end of harvest lunch at Nick's Italian in Mcminnville. I'd certainly heard of Nick's, as it's been there since 1977, but never seem to end up at mid range Italian places, I guess figuring if I'm spending money it should be on something I can't easily replicate at home like sushi or Thai. Nick's proved me wrong. I have cooked a lot of mussels in my life, a lot of different ways but the mussels at Nick's blew me away. For around $12 we got about 20 big, plump, soft mussels in a delightful red broth. I wanted to drink it right out of the bowl but settled for dunking copious amounts of bread. We all guessed on the ingredients and pretty much settled on ripe tomatoes cooked way down with garlic and shallots, then butter, red wine and parsley. But there was a mystery taste none of us could name. Tim suggested saffron, maybe that was it. Certainly the highlight and it went great with my 09 Amity Pinot Noir.
Everything else was good but not standout. We started with the bread and oil, cheap at $2. Tasty, fruity oil, lots of house baked bread, but just spongy white loaf, nothing too special. After the mussels we had a caeser salad. Totally solid and good sized but a little bland, I like more lemony, fishy flavor. Ken and I both got pizzas, I chose the chantrelle, bechamel, spinach and salami. Good but I didn't love it. I traded a slice with Ken and his gorgonzola, pear and arugula was much more to my liking, I would order that one next time. I tried a bite of Tim's lasagna and was confused. Lots of pine nuts and a strong citrus flavor, like lemon zest. Not for me.
I will certainly be back, the rest of the menu looks intriguing and we hear the owners are opening a charcuterie a few blocks away.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boat Farm Kale Slaw

a large bunch of kale (I used Nero de Toscana but any variety will work)
8 garlic scapes
1 bulb green garlic
1 large poblano pepper
juice of two lemons
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. goat feta
(optional) a spoon of anchovy paste or a generous shake of Vietnamese fish sauce

First, make the dressing. Grill the scapes until they are lightly charred and droopy, the garlic bulb until it is squeezable and the poblano until it is blistered and a little soft. Toss the scapes in a food processor or blender, squeeze the garlic clove in as well, discarding the papery shell. Take the pepper off the grill and into a bowl of ice water. When it is cool strip the skin off, halve and discard seeds. Add it to the food processor along with the lemon juice, mustard, anchovy or fish sauce if desired and a little olive oil. Pulse, adding a little oil at a time until the dressing is creamy. Cover and chill.
Cut the kale into thin slaw like strips, toss with dressing in a large bowl. Garnish with crumbled feta. Excellent with a 2009 Cherry Hill Pinot Gris.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Some peppers, grilled until lightly charred. I used a mix of Thor, Fish, Holy Mole and Jalepeno.
Some tomatillos, grilled until they begin to split.
the juice of 2 limes
6 or 8 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
a few grinds of black pepper

Let the grilled items cool then pull the stems from the peppers, leaving seeds intact. Toss everything into the food processor and blend until somewhat smooth.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Anaheim peppers stuffed with chard and goat cheese

I had planned on lamb chops for dinner but they were still rock hard so I went to plan B : take a walk around the garden. Anaheim peppers and chard needed to be picked.

8 large Anaheim peppers
10 large leaves rainbow chard
3 small tomatoes
4 crimini mushrooms
a small zucchini
1 jalepeno pepper
3 cloves garlic
a few sprigs of thyme
10 basil leaves
4 sage leaves
2 eggs
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup hard goat cheese
2 pieces of stale bread
sea salt and black pepper

Cut the peppers in half, take the seeds out and lay in a baking pan. Cut everything else up into little bits, mash it together in a big bowl, stuff it in the peppers and bake at 350 until a golden brown, maybe 25 or 30 minutes.

Verdict : Pretty good but a little dry. Could have benefited from some type of tomato sauce across the top. I might try it again with the addition of some spicy sausage or ground lamb.

Are you gonna eat that is back! I often feel an urge to share what I've just cooked or eaten or harvested but even though I'm on facebook and have two OTHER blogs, TeamWreck and Boat Farm, this might be a better forum. I'm hoping Munchie will join me in this newly invigorated blogging effort to offer recipes, restaurant reviews and ruminations.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My kind of energy bar

From the New York Times :

The combination of protein with carbohydrates is particularly important, he said, ensuring that the blood sugar boost from the carbohydrates isn’t too rapid, and that it lingers, providing energy for a longer period of time. The salt is equally essential, he said, because a cyclist can lose so much sodium through sweat.

His recipe for sushi rice bars:

3 cups medium-grain Calrose or sushi rice, cooked

6 eggs

Soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos (a soybean-based liquid protein concentrate)

A handful of prosciutto or cooked bacon


Balsamic vinegar

Scramble the eggs with the soy sauce or the Braggs Aminos. (“The guys like the flavor of the Braggs better than the soy,” Mr. Lim said.) Add the prosciutto or bacon. Pile the rice, eggs and pork into a 6-by-9-inch pan. Pour a small amount of balsamic vinegar and soy on top. Salt to taste. Mix and mash into the pan. Let sit for 20 minutes, then, using a silicon spatula (“anything else and the rice will stick,” Mr. Lim said) cut it into 1 1/2-inch squares. Wrap in foil. Yields about 24.

As a sweet alternative, use “a big jar of Nutella, a bunch of all-natural peanut butter and the same amount of rice,” Mr. Lim said.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Risotto: A Photo Essay

So, tonight I made a risotto with delicata squash, sage and pecorino romano cheese. It turned out really well so I thought I'd share a few photos of the whole process. Risotto is one of those things I love but often don't make because it is quite laborious (ie constant stirring). But the results are undoubtably worth the effort. I ate this with some roasted turnips, steamed chard with soy and honey, and a nice petite syrah. Overall, a very enjoyable culinary experience.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I heart New York

Here's a picture of one of the many delicious sandwiches I consumed while in New York City last week. Salami on wheat with everything. Jaden and I stopped by Andy's Deli at Columbus and 86th on the way to the Natural History Museum. It was crowded with neighborhood regulars, a few cops, and a street sweeper all fixing their rapt attention on a small TV in the corner playing Game 2 of the Yankees-Tigers series. In fact we had to wait to place our order until Derek Jeter grounded out to end the inning. As a Yankees fan I have to say it was pretty awesome, kind of like a mini Stadium. Jaden declared his BLT "one of the best" he's had, and at only $3.85!
The rest of the week's eating was in a similar vein, as we were hampered by budget constraints.
On my last visit Munchie and I splurged on Les Halles for lunch (worth it), but this trip was all about pizza, bagels and more pizza.
The best slices we had were at La Rosa on Smith Street in Brooklyn, where we met old roomie BLDZR on a rainy night. It was decent, but no Apizza Scholls or even a Pizza Oasis, though the price was right, $20 for 6 big slices, 2 beers and a soda.
The best bagels we had were from Windsor Terrace Bagels on 9th near Bartel Pritchard Circle, where we usually retired with our boiled bread and beverages to feed the sparrows and converse with crazy people while we ate. One morning there were several hundred old baseball cards from the 70s and 80s scattered all over the circle. They were in terrible shape, creased and even folded, but J collected a stack and they were fun to look at.
We didn't make it to a lot of NY institutions I had planned on visiting, Katz's, Gray's Papaya, Patsy's Pizza, Ess-a-bagel, the Red Hook Ballfields, but we did meet J's buddy Perry for a late breakfast at his favorite diner in Greenwich Village...of course I've forgotten the definately starts with an "Sh", maybe Shosicki's, Shesnicki's, I don't know, maybe one of our readers (there are at least 2, judging from the comments) can help me out. The menu was certainly memorable, so huge it was confusing, there were at least 50 different pancakes, 50 different omelettes, and some really wierd combinations. It kind of reminded me of Portland in some ways, patrons seemd to hang out for a long time, it was self sevice coffee and I was severely reprimanded for answering my cellphone.
On our last full day we had brunch at The Milagro Grill in Park Slope. I'm not always a fan of nouveau, semi-fancy Mexican places that are crowded with yuppies but I have to admit my breakfast burrito was exceptional. Full of delicious roasted red peppers, chorizo, potatoes, scallions and cheese with queso fresco on top and some really good chipotle on the side. Rich, thick and smoky at first with a building heat aftertaste, it made the dish for me.
On the way home we had the added bonus of a short layover at O'Hare around dinnertime. We almost wished our flight was delayed so we could venture into the city to see friends and visit La Pasadilla, Mr. Beef, El Taco Veloz, etc. As it was we made do with the O'Hare branch of The Billy Goat. I had a servicable Italian beef with hot peppers. It couldn't hold a candle to Mr. Beef on N. Orleans or even Michael's on Sandy and Ankeny in Portland but for airport food it was superb.