Sunday, January 31, 2016

I baked a cake. This citrus ricotta cake.

This "baking a cake" thing all started because of THIS Instagram post form Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine Bakery. I saw the post and instantly wanted to make substitutions, no variations...I wanted this cake. Then, it sealed the deal when I saw Deb of Smitten Kitchen...made.the.cake. 

Do I have a gluten allergy? No. But, who cares? Look at this need it. So, I walked to the store, got myself some Cara Cara oranges, almond flour and ricotta. My Saturday was committed to baking a cake. 

Now, this cake isn't "hard" but I would say intermediate because it has quite a few steps. Baking takes patience and I usually don't stray too far from my baking recipes and this one is no exception.

Since I don't trust myself with "loose" baking instructions, I opted to follow the Smitten Kitchen recipe but followed Elisabeth's lemon inspiration. I used Cara Cara Oranges and lemon...not Blood Oranges. I couldn't find the darn things, Cara Cara Oranges are wonderful and delicious for baking, juicing and eating as they are. 

I did use zest and juice from the oranges AND lemon but honestly, do whatever you would like. Pick one or use both. I just happened to have the lemon so opted to use it and the color is magical. Also, I did a lot of citrus layering since I cut so many slices but get creative and lay the citrus anyway you would like!

Citrus Almond Ricotta Cake 
adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt's version of The River Cafe's Torta di Ricotta e Polenta

via Smitten Kitchen 

My baking notes: 
- I baked at 300 degrees for 55 minutes...15 minutes longer but this recipe is pretty forgiving with the ricotta so it won't dry out easily. Just monitor closely after 40 minutes. 50 minutes is probably the sweet spot for my oven.
- I skipped the glossy finish...just went with the brown sugar glaze.
- Cut your parchment paper perfectly or you might end up with some bubbling...hence the lines across my cake. I am so freaking lazy...don't be lazy. Cut your perfect parchment paper circle.

Now, go bake this cake so you can use that pretty cake plate of yours. Duh.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Until Next Year Tomato Season.

This is my farewell post to my absolute favorite vegetable season. See you next summer yummy BLTs and delicious Caprese salads. I will also miss this play on traditional bruschetta from one of my favorite bloggers. I usually follow How Sweet Eats recipes to a tee, but I made a couple modifications because well, I was lazy and wanted to skip steps like grilling. I don't have a balcony for barbecuing in my new apartment and walking to the communal BBQ is just.too.far. No, not at all, but I love raw corn so here we go!

It is pretty darn close to her recipe, so feel free to jump over to her blog at take a look too.

Tomato, Corn, Basil + Whipped Roasted Garlic Cheese Crostini 
(adopted from How Sweet Eats)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1 baguette, sliced
12 ounces of sheep's milk cheese (goat cheese or feta cheese works too!)
2 tablespoons of whipped cream cheese
1 head of roasted garlic
2 ears of raw sweet white corn, cut from the cob
1 pint of heirloom tomatoes (grape, cherry, sun golds...I love the color)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

-Place sliced baguette onto baking sheet and bake until golden, about 8-10 minutes (bake longer if you want it really crispy)
-While bread is baking, add cheeses and roasted garlic cloves to a food processor and blend until creamy.
-Toss corn, basil, sliced tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.
-Spread your whipped roasted garlic cheese on your baguette and then top with the tomato/corn/basil goodness.

Eat as many as you possibly can! That's what I do.

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Food Worlds Collide

I know, I know, I was so ambitious and started 2015 with a blogging bang. And then...I took a four month hiatus but I promise, it was for good reason! At the end of February, I took a new kick ass job working with three great restaurants in SE Portland. The opportunity to work closer with food and beverage was a no brainer. The Portland food and beverage culture is amazing and I am lucky to work with such a welcoming and creative community of people.

With that said, I will try to share more of my eating adventures in the city but forgive me if I spam you with the food and drink happenings out on SE Division. Now I have even MORE access to the 411 on Portland events, so I will keep sharing the details! Check out the latest post on about my obsession with if you didn't already know.

Here is a quick snapshot of all the goodness we have going on at The Woodsman Group.

The Woodsman Tavern

Ava Gene's

Roman Candle Baking Co.

I look forward to sharing more adventures with you!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sausage (or not) Stuffed Mushrooms

I feel like most people either LOVE or HATE mushrooms and I definitely used to be one of the haters. Over the years, I have experimented with recipes and find that I like them more and more. Will I eat raw mushrooms? No. Will I eat sautéed mushrooms in a balsamic glaze? Of course. I will also eat these little guys too...stuffed with sausage or not. 

This was my last minute Super Bowl appetizer and I think everyone liked it. I wanted to please the masses, so I made some stuffed with sausage and some vegetarian. There were even some anti-mushroom eaters that seemed to enjoy them too. I is healthy, right? 

Sausage (or not) Stuffed Mushrooms 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

24-30 white mushrooms (approx. two boxes)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 links of Italian sausage (casing removed) 
2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
3 ounces of Gruyère cheese, shredded (I used Trader Joe's Cheddar Gruyère Cheese)
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste 

- Pop the stems off the mushrooms and place cavity side up on a baking sheet. Bake until mushroom caps are tender, 8-10 minutes. Chop half the mushroom stems and reserve. 
- Cook the sausage on the stovetop until brown. Set aside in a separate bowl.
- Add oil, garlic, onion and the mushrooms stems to the pan. Sauté until tender, 3-5 minutes. 
IF cooking vegetarian, add the oil to a separate pan and cook accordingly. 
- Add spinach, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix in the pan until spinach is wilted. 
- Remove filling from the heat and start adding to your mushroom caps. Fill each mushroom and top of the cheese. 
- Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 

Share with all your friends and enjoy! 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Benedict to Remember at Olympic Provisions

Why has it taken me this long to have brunch at Olympic Provisions? I know I have told you about the SE location for dinner but now it is time to tell you about the NW location for brunch. One of my goals this year is to walk more...anywhere and everywhere. Sunday seems to be the easiest day for me to do this. I decided to head towards Industrial NW Portland and just happened to be passing Olympic Provisions. Coincidence they opened at the EXACT moment I walked by? I don't think so. Brunch was my destiny for the day. 

I was the first one in the restaurant but that didn't last long. The server was great, super helpful and offered great recommendations. She said all the Benedicts were great but specifically called out the traditional and the prime rib. Since it was my first time, I went for the traditional. HELLO...delicious. Honestly, my new favorite in Portland. The hollandaise sauce was flavorful but was not too rich. The ham was sweet with a little crisp and the eggs were poached to perfection. Oh and the potatoes...yeah, those are special. A layered potato situation made in an onion reduction...Chef's speciality. Similar to a gratin, with the layer potatoes, but just so much better. 

I think Olympic Provisions is a Portland staple and consistently I leave satisfied. Next time I am trying those chilaquiles...for sure. My server was kind enough to let me run back to the kitchen for a photo (my apologies to the patron waiting for their food...had to get the shot, duh.)

Also, a nice spot to visit solo because there is bar seating and seating near the window suitable for the "one top." It was a gloomy day so I don't have any beautiful views to report, but it was nice to have a window seat.

If you are feeling fancy after brunch, walk over to Steven Smith Tea for a yummy tea tasting too.

1632 NW Thurman Street
Portland, Oregon
open mon 11am - 3pm | tues- fri 11am - 10pm | sat & sun 10am brunch! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Flax Seed Banana Bread

My weekday morning routine usually consists of a green smoothie and a "healthy" muffin or yummy bread. Let's be honest, I could eat a buttery almond croissant every morning but I try to save those for special occasions. You know, like the weekend. :)

One of my all time favorite recipes is this Banana Almond Muffin recipe but when I want to do something different with my ripe bananas, I go for a more traditional banana bread. This recipe is great because it is made with coconut oil and maple syrup. I even add greek yogurt for some protein. The yogurt is an alternative to a banana so, if you don't have the greek yogurt, just add in another ripe banana instead.

Flax Seed Banana Bread
adopted from my fav, Smitten Kitchen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 large ripe bananas
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup flax seed

- Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with some of your coconut oil and set aside.
- In a bowl (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer), mash up the bananas and then mix in the yogurt.
- Whisk in egg, coconut oil, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla.
- Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and still until combined.
- Still in flour (1/2 cup at a time if you are using the mixer) and the flax seed.

Pour mixture into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean when you test it.

Note: Let the bread cool in the pan before you remove it. I have no patience so I usually pull my bread out too early and haven't allowed it enough time to cool and finish baking in the warm pan. It is easier to slice if it is cooled too.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Good Vibes at Cooper's Hall

This was my third trip to Cooper's Hall and it won't be my last. I like the ambiance and the "good feel" this place has. Every time we go, my girlfriend and I daydream about how stunning a wedding reception would be. It is just so lovely.

Cooper's Hall is a working winery and taproom, so it is very industrial, which I love. All their house wine is served from the tap and we all know how crazy I am for this. Remember when I discovered Vancouver Urban Winery in B.C.? It reminds me a lot of that place. Of course, they have beer on tap and craft cocktails to please the masses, but I always go for the wine.

The first two times I visited CH was just for wine at the bar but I couldn't help but notice all the great food coming from the kitchen. At first, I didn't think it was really a place to order food, but I was dead wrong. Since I have no self control, I decided this time I would try the house stew - green chili pork with white bean and hominy. Yeah...I will be emailing for the recipe. Oh, and let's add some crème fraîche and serve with bread too. So good.

I can always count on a great night with great company at CH. This visit, I decided on their white wine flight so I could try their Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay and Cascadia White. My favorite was the Cascadia White because it was crisp and refreshing. 

You can visit Cooper's Hall on a cold winter night for the warm and cozy vibe or check it out in the summer when they have all the rolling garage doors open. You won't be disappointed! 

404 SE 6th Ave
Portland, Oregon
open mon-thu 4pm - 10pm | fri-sat 4pm - 12am