zucchini

Zucchini a la Otto – Your New Favorite Zucchini Recipe

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 zucchiniWarning: This recipe will ruin you for any other zucchini recipe ~

It all started with a post on Facebook. It often does. Either there, or with a memorable meal I try to recreate.

One of my favorite Portland pizza places posted a tantalizing photo of a seasonal zucchini dish they’d made that caught my eye and inspired my inner chef.  Next thing I knew, I suddenly had a bumper crop of summer zucchini piling up on my counters and I knew the first thing I wanted to make… Pizzaria Otto’s Zucchini. Because it’s that good, and one can only eat so much zucchini bread. A little hunting down the key ingredients, and a few trials later, I had discovered a zucchini recipe that I not only devoured as my main course but was one I wanted to make again and again. Good thing there’s plenty more summer zucchini coming in.

Pair this spicy dish with a dry pinot gris or albariño like Archer Pinot Gris or Abacela Albariño.

zucchini
Zucchini a la Otto
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zucchini
Zucchini a la Otto
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan.
  2. Saute zucchini until browned, cooking in batches, one layer deep. Remove browned zucchini from pan to finish the remaining slices.
  3. Put all the browned zucchini back in the pan and add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Remove to plate and serve immediately.
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mushrooms on toast

Mushrooms on Toast – Classic, Versatile, Healthy

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mushrooms on toastI love a recipe that serves many purposes. This recipe is just that, and will surely become a staple in your repertoire. For me, Mushrooms on Toast is a snapshot of my childhood, delivering a plate of nostalgia and comfort in every bite. I’ve seen recipes for Mushrooms on Toast dating back to the early 1900’s. My mom told me that her recipe came from when they lived in England. She said that it was a dish served after work as a snack before the dinner meal. That may or may not be true, but I do know that it can either be a light and healthy breakfast, a satisfying snack, a quick and tasty dinner, or an elegant appetizer; you decide.

Whatever you decide to make it for,?just ensure there?s enough leftovers for hash the next morning, because that might be enough of a reason to make this dish in and of itself (just ask my son Shayden).?You can substitute many of the ingredients for whatever you have on hand, creating new and exciting versions every time you make it. And the piece de resistance?

Mushrooms are one of those lesser known super foods. They?re loaded with protein and nutrients, and often referred to as the meat of the vege kingdom. If you?ve ever had a portabella off the grill or in a burger, you understand what I mean. Mushrooms are?also low in fat with medicinal properties proven to enhance immune function. So take advantage of an easy recipe with health benefits too many to count, and enjoy again and again.

I?ve modified my mother’s recipe and created a variation of the classic Mushrooms on Toast recipe to suit my tastes dietary needs. Traditionally, this recipe is laden with butter, heavy cream, and creme fraiche, and though delicious, it’s not healthy. This version is paleo, and with an easy substitution of vegetable broth for chicken, it?s vegetarian and vegan as well.?Use curry powder in place of the herbs, or substitute rosemary and/or parsley for the thyme and sage. You can even try adding red pepper if you like a little kick. The beauty of this dish is its versatility. Make it your own.

I served it with a 2015 Knudsen Vineyards Chardonnay that I used for cooking as well.?The dish brought out the attractive savory and herbaceous qualities in the wine. Tomorrow I intend to try it with Duck Pond 20-year-old sparkling wine. Reviews to come, stay tuned.

mushrooms on toast
Mushrooms on Toast
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Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
mushrooms on toast
Mushrooms on Toast
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Put oil in large saut? pan and heat over medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and stir.
  3. Add mushrooms and stir.
  4. Add whole sage and thyme.
  5. Let cook until mushrooms release their liquid and are soft.
  6. Push mushrooms and herbs to the side of the pan.
  7. Add oil and let heat up.
  8. Add flour and stir into oil and brown slightly to make a roux.
  9. Add wine and broth and stir throughout mushrooms until sauce thickens (about 1-2 minutes).
  10. Discard cooked herbs.
  11. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  12. If too thick, add additional liquid as necessary (you need to use your cooking instincts here).
  13. Toast bread.
  14. Spread mushrooms over toast, garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs, and serve immediately.
  15. If serving as appetizer, cut toast into triangles for bite size finger food.
  16. If serving for breakfast, top with a fried egg, or serve over scrambled eggs.
  17. If serving for dinner, pair with a side salad and glass of white wine.
  18. Use curry powder in place of the herbs, or substitute rosemary and/or parsley for the thyme and sage. You can even try adding red pepper if you like a little kick. The beauty of this dish is its versatility. Make it your own.
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moroccan tagine

Lean, Mean, Moroccan Tagine

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I recall?my first dinner party with new friends after moving from an?isolated mountain town in Colorado to the bustling urban city of Portland, Oregon.?Most wouldn’t think of Portland as a bustling city, but compared to the hermit lifestyle I?d been living post-college, mixing and mingling with sophisticated?people while sharing an ethnic and?thoughtfully prepared meal was practically?culture shock.

My hostess selected Moroccan food and designed her whole menu around the theme, with lamb tagine as the centerpiece. To say I was impressed would be putting it mildly. Up until that point, I don’t think I’d even tasted Moroccan food, much less cooked it. And when the complex combination of spices first hit my nose and then my tongue, I?was blown away by the array of smells and flavors. For the next few months, I kicked myself repeatedly for not?immediately asking for the recipe. And by the time I did finally ask for it, my hostess?couldn?t locate it, but thought it was in one of her magazines from the summer.

Armed with a list of her subscriptions, I visited my local library and scoured the shelves on?a quest for Moroccan Lamb Tagine. Amazingly, I found the recipe she’d used?in an issue of Sunset, and though I?ve modified the recipe to suit my personal taste, it has since become a staple meal. Especially in colder weather. The heat and the spices warm you to the core, both body and soul.

Some (definitely the ex-boyfriend) would be wagging a finger at me, saying how I ruined a perfectly classic dish by going?against the natural order of things. And maybe they’d be right; my additions might not be not traditional, but I think the changes are sound and create a better overall dish. The original recipe called for lamb (no potatoes, carrots, or currants), but?you’ll just have to trust me?on the improvements (or try both ways and judge for yourself). I think you could also use portobello mushrooms for a vegetarian/vegan alternative.

Enjoy your Moroccan Tagine?with a sweeter style white wine. I selected an Oregon Gruner Veltliner from Reustle Prayer Rock, but I think an off-dry Riesling would be exceptional as well. Alternatively, you could?serve this with?red wine (especially if you make it with lamb), try a young Zinfandel to complement the spice profile.

Lean, Mean, Moroccan Tagine
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Servings
6 people
Servings
6 people
Lean, Mean, Moroccan Tagine
Print Recipe
Servings
6 people
Servings
6 people
Instructions
  1. Brown meat in 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot (cast iron dutch oven preferred), then remove from pan.
  2. Add onions and garlic, stir often until onions become limp (not browned).
  3. Add all spices and stir 30 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, and potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Reduce heat, add olives, currants, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for one hour.
  6. Serve alone or over fluffy cous cous in large bowls, garnish with cilantro.
  7. Delicious served with warmed flatbread to soak up the broth. I buy ready-to-eat naan at New Seasons Market for ease.
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Pesto? Oregon Style (Arugula and Hazelnut, Natch)

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pestoCome the summer basil, and you’re sure to find pesto as a staple in my fridge. And bags of it in the freezer which I store for later use (because prolonging the bounty of the summer is half the fun of bringing in the summer bounty).

And while traditional Italian pesto is nothing short of delicious, I love this vegan variation using Oregon hazelnuts and an unlikely for the?base. Because not all pesto needs to be based on herbs. Arugula and Hazelnut Pesto offers a certain spiciness that I adore. Add the earthy flavors of the toasted nuts and you’ve got yourself a topping that’s perfect?atop salmon, grilled chicken, smoked turkey, in sandwiches, over any kind of pasta, pizza, salad dressing, or just as a spread for some good ol’ crusty bread. It’s so wonderfully versatile, like Frank’s Red Hot, you’ll put that sh*t on everything.

Double the recipe if you like, and put the?leftovers into sandwich bags to?freeze for whenever the pesto mood strikes.

Pesto? Oregon Style (Arugula and Hazelnut, Natch)
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Pesto? Oregon Style (Arugula and Hazelnut, Natch)
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Add the arugula and spinach (if using) to a food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds.
  3. Add the garlic, hazelnuts, salt, and pepper.
  4. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Process until smooth.
  5. Taste to adjust seasoning and consistency. If it's too thick, add more oil.
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Kachka Horseradish Vodka

Kachka Horseradish Vodka – Vodka with Attitude

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Kachka Horseradish VodkaOnce in a while, you find a restaurant that can do no wrong. Kachka is that place. Every dish the kitchen turns out is better than the last. It’s the kind of place that’s both different and the same. It reminds you of home, comfortable and familiar, at the same time, it’s foreign and exotic. I still don’t how they do it, but they do. Then they go and make something like horseradish vodka and?you wonder, hmmmmm. And?you taste it. And then you’re convinced that they?must be related to?Midas and everything they touch just turns to gold. Or goodness. Or greatness. And you find just another reason to love them more.

Kachka‘s owners Bonnie and Israel Morales founded Troika Spirits to expand their audience of Soviet food fans. Kachka Horseradish Vodka is made by New Deal Distillery, located just a few blocks away, but the owners hope to be crafting thier own spirits in the near future. Each bottle is made with whole locally sourced horseradish root and a drop of honey for balance, but be careful, it might just?make you jump out of your pants!

Starting March 11, 2016, Kachka Horseradish Vodka will be available at New Deal Distillery and at Barbur Liquors, Pearl Specialty Liquors and Uptown Liquors after March 17th for $27.95.?The Morales’ recommend picking up a bottle and doing as a Belarusian babushka would do, #clinkeatdrinkrepeat.

Katcha recommends freezing the vodka and to sip or shoot it in between bits of food (think oyster shooters). Obviously terrific in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe, try a drizzle over oysters in the half shell or mixed in cocktails like the Kachka Dirty Martini (recipe below).?More cocktail recipes coming soon to www.troikaspirits.com

 

 

Kachka Horseradish Vodka
Kachka Dirty Martini
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Kachka Horseradish Vodka
Kachka Dirty Martini
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Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir well, Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of pickled cucumber on a pick.
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Grapefruit: The Unforbidden Fruit

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grapefruit-newCitrus is the perfect pick-me-up. It elevates a cocktail, adding a touch of bright acidity, it brings our recipes to new heights, adding balance where needed, and it lifts our winter spirits like a dose of bright sunshiny goodness.?The grapefruit is one of my favorite citrus fruits to prepare. I love it in salads, with shaved fennel and romano, or simply all on its own, providing much needed vitamins and nutritional benefits.

This recipe (originally meant to be posted for Valentine?s Day so bookmark this for next year) encapsulates love and life in a beautiful and tasty way. It incorporates the sour and bitter of the fruit with sugary sweetness, spicy heat and savory herbs; things all?great relationships?should?provide. Perfect for solo breakfasts, brunch parties, or even for dessert, this recipe is simple to prepare, gorgeous to look at, and complex on your tongue as you try to identify each of the ingredients.

Originally a cross between a Jamaican sweet orange and the Asian pomello, grapefruit?s nickname was the Forbidden Fruit when first documented in the 1700s. Currently, China is the world?s largest grapefruit producer. This recipe is anything but forbidden.

Grapefruit: The Unforbidden Fruit
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Grapefruit: The Unforbidden Fruit
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, rosemary and pepper flakes in ramekin and sprinkle over grapefruit halves.
  2. Top with rosemary sprigs.
  3. Serve and enjoy.
Recipe Notes

Note: sugar mixture can be made well ahead of time for ease and stored for up to one week if you choose to make extra and eat this as a healthy breakfast all week long.

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Taking Your Chicken Strips to the Next Level

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chicken1A chicken dish adults and children will beg for? You won’t believe it’s true.

This crunchy chicken dish combines the heat from red peppers (left off of the kid’s serving), with?sweet honey and sour dill pickles for a tastebud tickling dish that everyone will enjoy. It’s like your sophisticated friend and the girl next store all wrapped up in the perfect package. Intriguing yet comforting at the same time.

Serve it on skewers as finger food for Game Day parties or for your favorite Friday night dinner, since it’s easy to cook on a weeknight (I always make enough for leftovers).

But fair warning, your friends and family will ask for this again. Enjoy!

Taking Your Chicken Strips to the Next Level
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Taking Your Chicken Strips to the Next Level
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place 1/2 cup of spelt flour in a bowl.
  2. Mix remaining flour and the rest of the dry ingredients and place in a big plate.
  3. Dredge chicken in flour.
  4. Coat with egg.
  5. Cover well with flour/breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Heat oil in large pan and add chicken. Cook until golden on both sides (about 7 minutes).
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Skewer or put directly onto plates, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve with chopped pickles.
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Red Wine Poached Pears

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pears_wineMy dear friend Claudia is one of those natural cooks, the kind you envy in their effortless way about the kitchen. She?doesn?t need to follow recipes, just cooks by instinct and experience. I could start a food blog for her recipes alone ?Cooking with Claudia? (hmmmmmm, idea engine turning).

When she made this dessert for Christmas Eve dinner, I knew it was one of those recipes I?d make again and again. The color is gorgeous, the simplicity is impressive, the taste is decadent and delicious, and well, it?s made with wine. And since it?s easy, elegant and even somewhat healthy, I begged her for the recipe and am excited to share it?with you now.

First and foremost, don’t skimp on the wine.?The recipe calls for pinot noir, but any light bodied?red with good?acidity will do. I used this bright and exciting WillaKenzie Estate Gamay Noir (full review here), but you could most certainly use a pinot meunier also. If you?re looking for a lighter variation (say for an all seafood dinner), use a dry white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. You?ll be missing the lovely color, but none of the flavor.

Ideal recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo diets.

Other phenomenal Oregon reds to consider using:
Teutonic Pinot Meunier
The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Meunier
Brickhouse Gamay Noir
Division Wines Gamay Noir
Chehalem Gamay Noir
Evening Lands Gamay Noir

Red Wine Poached Pears
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Red Wine Poached Pears
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan (large enough to hold 4 pears), combine the wine, the orange juice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves.
  2. Add the pears and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, turning the pears occasionally, until they're easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. Using a spoon, gently transfer the pears to individual plates or bowls (don't make the same mistake I did by using tongs).
  3. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Return the liquid to a simmer and cook until syrupy and reduced by two-thirds, about 15 minutes, depending on size of pan.
  4. Let sauce cool and then spoon over the pears.
  5. Garnish with orange or lemon twist.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream (optional)
  7. Enjoy!
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Cranberry-Clementine Simple Syrup

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syrup2

Enjoy the bounty of the season?with this simple Cranberry-Clementine Simple ?Syrup recipe. Use it to jazz up cocktails (like my Suburban whiskey cocktail), drizzle for dazzling French toast or pour over ice cream for captivating color and flavor.

Cranberry-Clementine Simple Syrup
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Cranberry-Clementine Simple Syrup
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain into jar and cool for at least one hour.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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The Suburban – Think Outside the Glass

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cocktail2I do love me a good Manhattan. So using a favorite as inspiration, I?ve created my own rendition of the classic cocktail. Call it the Suburban, well, cause I don?t live anywhere near Manhattan. Not even Manhattan Beach. I live in the burbs, but I promise, you don?t have to live there to enjoy it.

Made with a seasonal, homemade cranberry-clementine simple syrup (click here for the recipe) and rye whiskey, this simple but impressive cocktail will surely become one of your favorites. I know purists will turn up their noses (and close this window), but I have a little thing for?North American Whiskey. Though my go-to is usually?George Dickel or Blantons (which is a blend of corn, rye and malted barley), the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Canadian Whiskey is quite good in a cocktail. All on its own, you?ll find it sweet with caramel and molassas, distinctive with apples and pie spice and smooth, without being alcohol hot.

The Suburban - Think Outside the Glass
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The Suburban - Think Outside the Glass
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place ice in cocktail shaker, add whiskey, vermouth, syrup, and bitters.
  2. Rub the orange peel around the rim of the glass.
  3. Strain cocktail while pouring, garnish with orange peel.
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