Winter is almost behind us, but I wanted to share a few photos from my trip to Ashland for the Ashland Culinary Festival in November. I stayed at the Iris Inn and spent the weekend enjoying the cooking competition, sampling the food and drinks at the festival, and taking in the mid-century modern decor at the Ashland Hills Hotel.
Aside from the festival, I had the opportunity to visit Irvine & Roberts Vineyard to try their amazing chardonnay with a priceless view. The culinary highlight was dinner at Mäs for the seven-course tasting menu. It had been years since I’d visited Ashland, best known for the Shakespeare Festival, but loved the opportunity to see it at the end of autumn and can’t wait to return hopefully next year for the culinary festival.
The last month has been a whirlwind of Thanksgiving, final projects of the year, and preparing for my upcoming trip to Mexico City. And, of course, holiday party after holiday party. At this point in December, I just look at the spread of food, drinks, and desserts and already feel full. Thank goodness for bubbles and creative interpretations of the vegetable platter.
In the spirit of the season of indulgence, I’ve elevated this party staple into a centerpiece with the help of two pistachio-inspired dips that are super easy to create with the help of No Shells Wonderful Pistachios. The first is a pistachio herb sauce, which essentially takes a handful of bright, fresh herbs, combined with creamy avocado (inspired by the best tip every from Green Kitchen Stories Magic Sauce), and roasted pistachios. It’s sweet, spicy, and citric with a freshness from the herbs and roasted nuttiness from the pistachios. I like to swirl in a dollop of crème fraîche for added creaminess.
The second dip is a beet hummus. To be honest, I’ve never really been on board with beets. I’ve wanted to love them for their earthiness, amazing color, and abundance of vitamins and minerals. It’s hard to love something that often requires it being slathered in goat’s cheese to be palatable. But I think I might have turned a corner with this beet hummus. There are a lot of beet hummus recipes out there that essentially add in beets to a standard chickpea hummus recipe. I’ve gone and omitted chickpeas altogether and replaced them with pistachios. A bit of extra lemon juice and an extra swirl of oil and sea salt on top, and it has changed my mind about beets entirely.
These dips are best served with a variety of fresh vegetables, such as thin asparagus, watermelon radish, cucumbers, romanesco, snap peas, purple cauliflower, carrots, and endives. Arrange on a platter and serve with extra pistachios. And bubbles. Always bubbles.
Pistachio Herb Sauce
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/3 cup roasted and salted No Shells Wonderful Pistachios
2/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic
1 small chili
1/2 tsp sea salt
Juice of 2 limes
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend on high about 2 minutes until smooth. Add salt, oil, and lime juice to taste. Serve slightly chilled.
Pistachio Beet Hummus
3 medium red beets
1 cup roasted and salted No Shells Wonderful Pistachios
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tspn sea salt
1/4 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
Remove the ends from the beets and use a peeler to remove the outer skin. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and add to lightly-salted boiled water for 10-15 minutes, until soft. Drain and let cool.
In a food processor, add the cooled beets, pistachios, garlic clove, olive oil, sea salt, water, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and then add lemon juice, salt, and oil to taste. Serve slightly chilled.
This post was created in partnership with The Wonderful Company. Thank you for supporting the incredible, hand-picked brands that make my work possible.
It's been a long road coming, but I'm so proud to share Becoming Mexican, a project that explores heritage and cultural identity. By seeking out people, food, products, places, and stories with a connection to Mexico, I hope to forge a relationship with the country of my paternal great-grandparents.
We start with an interview with Marcus Mejía, who grew up in rural Oregon and had great-grandparents who immigrated during the Mexican Revolution. A story similar to mine. Marcus turned to winemaking and created Bad Hombre Wines in response to the 2016 election.
Becoming Mexican also aims to provide a platform to counter the current political framing of immigrants and to showcase the incredible work of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and the creative force they add to the world. At a time when families are being separated and those who dare to hope are met with aggression, I want to showcase the daughters and sons of immigrants. Just look what we can become.
I hope this project sheds a few rays of light on the experience of second-, third-, fourth-generation immigrants and the sometimes complicated, sometimes vague relationship we can have with our roots. We live in the now, but the way we look and feel is often informed by a past that isn’t directly ours. I want to claim some of that past for myself and examine how having a stronger connection to that past will shape my future.
I've had the incredible opportunity to live on three continents and travel the world extensively, but I've never had the chance to get to know Mexico. It's time.
Over 4,000 photos later, Feast Portland is officially over for the year. It was an amazing four days of seeing all of my favorite people in Portland’s food community, tasting incredible food and drink, going to afterparty followed by afterparty, and photographing it all for the Feast team.
I’ve talked with several people about how the festival is a very different experience for me than most. Given that I need two hands to photograph, I tend not to eat and drink much. The shot list is extensive and I logged about 5 miles a day jetting around the festival grounds at ‘80s vs ‘90s, the Tillamook afterparty, the Grand Tasting on Friday and Saturday, Night Market, Smoked, and Brunch Village. And, when the last after party wraps, the other photographers and I head out to cull and edit our 10 favorite images of the day, waking up a few hours later to do it all over again.
It’s a marathon, and I love every minute of it.
There were 10 things that stood out to me above all. And, given the different sort of experience that I have, they aren’t your typical favorite bites or best brand activations. But they were my favorite nonetheless.
1. Tea leaf reading. At the Thursday night afterparty and Sunday’s Brunch Village, Smith Tea offered tea leaf readings. The line on Thursday was too long and I had more work to do, but on Sunday the line was shorter and sweet Frances Dyer from Little Green Pickle let me skip ahead a spot. The reading meant so much and the reader was so spot on that it brought me to tears. The words she shared were so encouraging and the experience so unexpected, it was undoubtedly my favorite moment of the weekend.
2. Scissor lifts. Event photography is intense, but one of the best parts of it has to be the scissor lifts. First, the team at Fuller Events is amazing and I have a blast working with them each year. At the main events, we coordinate a time to get aerial overview photos of the festival. The moment I get to step away from the bustle and rise up into the air is always so calming. I love the perspective it provides (literally and figuratively) and the sweet moment it gives the team to pause amidst the bustle of the festival.
3. Ping Pong at Party at Steve’s House. The Saturday night afterparty at a warehouse in NoPo was such a blast, not least because of the ping pong tables. I love ping pong and may have bragged to one or two people that I was pretty good. That didn’t show at all that evening (I blame the colored lights, fatigue, and alcohol), but I still loved it. I ended up leaving the party early to go to another afterparty, and really wish I had stayed for another round or two.
4. The crew. The people I have the opportunity to work with at Feast are so top notch. First off, Elizabeth and Jannie, who oversee the creative team, give that perfect mix of direction and freedom that I thrive on. Second, the other staff photographers, Alan and Aubrie, as well as the video crew. They are such a blast to work with and we feed off the energy and creativity of each other. We feel like such a great team and encourage each other on in our work. There isn’t an ounce of competition and it feels awesome.
5. Tina and Christina. Two fourth year festival attendees that I met on the second day who were hilarious, kind, and so enthusiastic about everything Feast. I ended up seeing them at pretty much every event and afterparty. More generally, I have such a great time interacting with the festival attendees. It wouldn’t be the same experience without all the people who eagerly pose for me or stop me to say hello because they’ve seen my photography. I have incredible conversations in the blink of an eye and moments of genuine connection with people I may never see again. Or at least not for another year.
6. Noah and Kate dancing. There was so much dancing at Feast this year! It all started with the incredible music at ‘80s vs ‘90s on Thursday and continued at the Tillamook afterparty that evening. I’ve had the opportunity to work with both Noah (of Order of Operations) and Kate (of Lauretta Jean’s) individually, and witnessing them owning the dance floor was so fun. I love how Feast takes people out of their normal environment of interacting and allows us to all have a blast together.
7. The music. Mentioned above, but it deserve a spot of its own. The music was pretty epic. Can their be a Feast soundtrack please?
8. The Austin crew. I had the opportunity to photograph Hot Luck during its inaugural year and was pleased to discover that some of the team was in Portland for Feast. So fun to hang out with them and remember all the fun we had in Austin.
9. Bonnie Morales’ interview with Bon Appétit. One of my favorite parts of the Grand Tasting is when the BA team interviews chefs in a sort of fireside chat. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Bonnie, Kachka’s chef, for several years and always love getting to hear more about her background, inspiration, and journey of putting Russian food back on the culinary hot list.
10. Nong’s at Brunch Village. At the tail end of the last major event, I hadn’t eaten much. The sweet team at Nong’s was serving a delicious breakfast rice bowl. I’d eaten a bite earlier in the morning and went back to tell them how much I loved it. They ended up making me a heaping bowl and it was so revitalizing. Nong’s can never go wrong, but this was the ultimate satisfaction for a very hungry photographer. The perfect ending to Feast.
Tucked in the farmlands east of Eugene, Mike Satterstrom cultivates table grapes in a region better known for its wine grapes. And peaches. And blueberries. Really, anything except table grapes. Last autumn, I headed south to meet Mike and photograph the grapes and vineyard during an editorial photo shoot for the July/August 2018 issue of 1859 Magazine.
It was nearing the end of harvest and the leaves on the vines were transitioning from green to yellow, orange, and brown. Workers still had plenty to do, with grapes hanging in abundance from the trellises. The early morning fog was slowly giving way to the sunshine as we began to explore the farm.
Originally from California, Mike moved to Oregon with the intent to retire, but couldn’t resist planting table grapes when he saw that few others were growing them for the local market. Despite health issues and age, he was fueled by skeptics who thought it wouldn’t be possible.
He proudly showed me around his farm and invited me to try each type of grape he had available, varieties such as Jupiter, Lakemont, Interlaken, and Mars. Even though this editorial photo shoot took place nearly a year ago, I still remember the way those grapes tasted. Read more about Mike over on the 1859 website or in the latest issue.
When I lived in Seoul in my early 20s, my go-to meal was soondubu jjigae. A spicy tofu soup with seafood that was served with a steaming bowl of rice and always left me in need of a nap. It was delicious, ubiquitous, and so satisfying. Whenever I'm at a classic Korean restaurant, it's the first thing I look for on the menu. But I've never had the desire to make it at home. Part of its perfection is the atmosphere, but I also don't tend to cook with seafood myself. A habit leftover from my vegetarian days.
Or maybe it's because, when I'm craving Korean food, nothing quite tops the ease and satiation of bibimbap.
"Mixed rice" is a Korean classic and the first dish I was introduced to in Seoul, years ago. Korean food has taken off in Portland recently, thanks to restaurants like Han Oak and Revelry, but back then, it was something you had to search for and just wasn't on my radar. So when I landed in Korea, everything was new, even the food. The approachability of bibimbap makes it a great first dish for a newbie. On the surface, it looks just like rice and veggies, with optional seasoned meat and an egg on top. But the flavors that come together make it one of a kind.
The real kicker though is the sauce. Gochujang is like the salsa of the Korean world, with each grandma holding a secret family recipe and an essential part of nearly every meal. The customary brand in its plastic red container seemed more intended for cooking into soup than as a sauce. When I discovered KPOP gochujang, I loved it's versatility and the just-thick-enough texture that makes it perfect for drizzling into bowls of bibimbap. Recipe follows, enjoy!
1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks and sauteed with oil and garlic until just soft
1 bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped and wilted over steam for 2-3 minutes or until soft
1 small daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
1 pint shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound mung bean sprouts, lightly seasoned with sesame oil, salt, and pepper
1 cup dried seaweed, cut into matchsticks
4, eggs, fried to taste
4 cups cooked white rice
Divide rice into 4 bowls. Top with cucumbers, carrots, spinach, radish, mushrooms, bean sprouts, fried egg, and seaweed. Drizzle with gochujang to taste. Serve with kimchi and other banchan. Enjoy!
Pistachio milk is back! In December, I shared a recipe for pistachio milk egg nog, and now I'm bringing you a recipe perfect for the last days of summer. Around here, we're soaking up the warm August nights and doing the best we can to find respite from the wildfire smoke that hangs in the air, making it dangerous to go outside for extended periods of time. I've been practicing keeping my air conditioning off except during the afternoons on the hottest days and opening all the windows at night to cool the house off. Trying to save the world, one degree at a time. Frosty drinks help immensely.
Cool and refreshing with a nutty, earthy flavor, this pistachio milkshake is top of the list. I love adding hemp seeds to smoothies, salads, and soups, so I thought a dash would be delicious in the milkshake and sprinkled on top. I added a small amount of spirulina to naturally enhance the green color, but it can be omitted.
While it's most common to make pistachio milk with raw pistachios, I love the ease of Wonderful Pistachio No Shells. They are lightly salted, but giving them an overnight soak makes them ready for blending and reduces the risk of a salty milkshake. The roasted nuts enhance the nuttiness of the milkshake and gives it an added depth that I love.
Wishing all my friends in the northern hemisphere fun and cool drinks on repeat as you enjoy these last days of summer!
Makes 2 milkshakes
2 cups pistachio milk (recipe follows)
2 frozen bananas
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 ice cubes
1/2 tsp spirulina (optional)
Place all items in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. Top with a sprinkle of additional hemp seeds and enjoy!
1 cup Wonderful Pistachios No Shells lightly salted
4 cups hot water (plus more for soaking)
Cover the pistachios with 2 inches of water and soak overnight at room temperature.
Drain pistachios and add to a high speed blender. Add hot water and blend on high for 1 minute.
Carefully pour blended nuts through a cheesecloth-lined sieve or nut milk bag. Squeeze out remaining liquid. Cool completely, then transfer to a bottle or container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Note: Leftover pistachio milk can be enjoyed on its own or with a touch of maple syrup, cardamom, and rose water stirred in.
This post was created in partnership with The Wonderful Company. Thank you for supporting the incredible, hand-picked brands that make my work possible.
The term soda fountain conjures up quaint images of kids perched on barstools eagerly awaiting a thick milkshake or a sky-high sundae that only costs 25¢. For a small taste of that idyllic scene, Brooklyn Farmacy is just the place. Brooklyn Farmacy is an old-school soda shop and former apothecary in Carrol Gardens Brooklyn and the latest partner in the Not Just Dessert series with Tony's Chocolonely.
When Tony's Chocolonely first opened their Portland office, I was eager to help introduce the U.S. market to the slave-free chocolate brand that I had known and loved during my years living in Amsterdam. The idea of partnering with top pastry chefs in Portland and beyond was inspired by my love of dessert, of course, as well as a curiosity to see what some of my favorite professionals would create with the chocolate.
Partnering with chefs at local restaurants would result in incredible desserts that we could share with customers in key markets. For those not in the immediate vicinity, I'd share the recipe and photos from the collaboration so they could recreate the dessert at home. The collaboration with Brooklyn Farmacy is the eighth in the series and exciting in its use of milk chocolate caramel sea salt. A first!
The resulting dessert is a lemon soaked vanilla cake encircled by a strawberry milkshake with chips of Tony's dark chocolate. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and encased in a milk chocolate caramel sea salt hard shell. The next layers bring a mountain of whipped cream, topped off with strawberry compote. Soda fountain dreams come true.
The dessert is available for the month of July at Brooklyn Farmacy and stay tuned for the recipe. In the meantime, check out the other recipes in the series.
This post was created in partnership with Tony's Chocolonely.
During my annual spring getaway to Austin to meet Sarah Natsumi Moore, a fellow photographer and dear friend, we spent several days at Lake Austin Spa Resort for a photo shoot and to soak up the incredible atmosphere. Our friendship that started on the canals of Amsterdam when we were both students has given way to a peer mentorship that has encouraged me to new heights in my business and my personal life.
Each spring we gather together to talk photography, business, money, life, and so much more. Having the opportunity to spend a dedicated amount of time together each year for the past three years has been life changing. And having the opportunity this year to do so amongst the serenity and wonder of Lake Austin Spa Resort, well, that just can't be beat.
Lake Austin Spa Resort is the epitome of relaxation. A schedule offering a plethora of activities ranging from guided meditation and yin yoga to kayaking and hiking. Personal core training classes are followed by speakers discussing how to reveal more joy in life. Pretty much heaven. And all of this takes place in a picturesque setting on the shore of Lake Austin with three pools, a next-level spa facility, and a menu of 'conscientious cuisine' by Chef Stephane Beaucamp that reflects the harmony of the environment.
Each trip to Texas shows me a new side and I can't wait to see what next year brings!
This post was created in partnership with Lake Austin Spa Resort. Thank you for supporting the incredible, hand-picked brands that make my work possible.
The 2018 World Cup is finally here! While my love for football (soccer...) isn't nearly as great as my love for food, every four years I'm pretty excited to cheer on my favorite teams in this incredible international event. In a complete shock, two of the teams I typically cheer for, the U.S. and the Netherlands, did not qualify for the tournament. All the more energy then to go towards cheering on the German team, my favorite team of all. Their power, consistency, energy, and ability to play as a complete team won me over years ago and I've been a fan ever since.
Other than the thrill of the game, the second best part of the World Cup is, of course, the fun that comes with each match! I love watching together with friends, toasting our favorite teams, and sharing food and drinks. On Sunday morning, Germany will play its first match against Mexico and I'll be gathering with family and friends for the 8am kickoff. Most of the friends are Mexican, so the good-natured rivalry will be at its peak.
Inspired by this first match, I created this recipe for a flavor-filled bowl packed with protein from the beans, rainbow quinoa, and chicken. Fresh veggies and herbs create a bright, vibrant dish that is easy to share at a gathering and a much healthier alternative to the typical snacks that accompany sporting events. Wonderful Pistachios No Shells makes it so easy to incorporate pistachios into the recipe, no cracking required.
For this recipe, I used the lightly salted variety, but the roasted and salted pistachios also would work just as well, while adjusting the final salt level to taste. Not to mention that the new bright green packaging is pretty much the same shade as the jersey of the German goalie Manuel Neuer. I'm going to believe that wasn't an accident. Enjoy and let the games begin!
Rainbow Quinoa Fiesta Bowl with Pistachio Crusted Chicken
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 egg white
1/2 cup finely chopped Wonderful Pistachios No Shells lightly salted
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup rainbow quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 cup English cucumber, thinly sliced on the diagnol
1/2 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice from 2-3 limes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tspn - 1 Tbsp Tapatio or other hot sauce, depending on spice level
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves removed from stems
Heat oven to 400°F.
Place egg white in a shallow bowl. Combine the pistachios, bread crumbs, pepper, and salt in another shallow bowl. Dip each chicken breast in the egg white, followed by the pistachio mixture.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high. melt the coconut oil and then sear each side of the chicken for 7 minutes until dark golden brown. After the second side has cooked, place the skillet directly in the oven for an additional 7 minutes. Remove carefully and place chicken on a cutting board to cool before cutting into thin slices.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, hot sauce, lime juice, and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Mix and then add salt and pepper to taste. Add more lime juice to thin the sauce, if desired.
In a large serving bowl, combine the quinoa, chicken, red cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, corn, avocado, the remaining cilantro, and the sour cream sauce. Serve at room temperature.
This post was created in partnership with Wonderful Pistachios. Thank you for supporting the incredible, hand-picked brands that make my work possible.
Fresh figs are one of my favorite fruits, bringing back memories of my 2011 road trip through Turkey. But the short season has me yearning for them long before they return to the market. When pastry chef Mandy Groom suggested using fig leaves in a recipe for the latest Tony's Chocolonely collaboration, I was intrigued to taste the results.
The Not Just Dessert series harnesses the creativity of top pastry chefs in Portland and beyond to create unique desserts using Tony's Chocolonely's slave-free chocolate. For the June collaboration, I called upon my friends at Olympia Provisions, best known for their artisan charcuterie. While salami, sausages, and pickles might be the first thing to come to mind when you think of OP, their two restaurants in Northwest and Southeast Portland boast incredible dessert menus.
Starting with the inspiration of the fig leaves from the tree in her front yard, Mandy toasted the leaves over an open flame for a smoky flavor to complement the chocolate. She opted to use chocolate chips in the ice cream, rather than make chocolate ice cream for an added textural component. Choux pastry profiteroles create an elevated ice cream sandwich and a honey-dark chocolate sauce adds the perfect finishing touch.
Stop by Olympia Provisions NW or SE during the month of June to get a taste of the dessert, or recreate your own using the recipe at the end of the post. Enjoy!
Toasted Fig Leaf and Tony’s Chocolonely Milk Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Recipe by Mandy Groom, makes 3 cups
¾ cups whole milk
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 medium sized fig leaves, washed, dried and toasted, in a pan or over a fire
5 egg yolks
2 oz. Tony's Chocolonely milk chocolate, grated with vegetable peeler
Heat milk, cream, sugar and salt in a stainless steel pan until just about to simmer. Turn off heat. Add toasted fig leaves to cream mixture and let steep for about 20 minutes. Using tongs, take out fig leaves from cream mixture. Temper cream mixture with yolks. Return to the stove and cook until an anglaise is reached. Strain and chill. Process in ice cream freezer. When frozen to desired
consistency, add grated milk chocolate and stir to combine.
Tony’s Chocolonely Honey-Dark Chocolate Sauce
Recipe by Mandy Groom, makes 1 cup
3 oz. Tony’s Chocolonely 70% dark chocolate, chopped finely and set aside in a bowl
1 oz. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp honey
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt
In a stainless saucepan, heat butter, honey, cream, water and milk until hot. Carefully pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for five minutes, then stir to combine. Serve warm.
Recipe by Mandy Groom, makes 8 medium cream puffs or 24 small cream puffs
4 eggs, room temperature
½ cup water
½ cup whole milk
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
In a stainless steel saucepan, bring water, milk, salt, sugar and butter to a boil. Take off of heat and add flour. Mix with wooden spoon. Cook out flour for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Put dough in mixer with paddle attachment and stir for about a minute. Add eggs, one at a time and beat dough until smooth. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop dough and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and cook for about 12-15 more minutes, or until puffs are golden and crispy on the outside.
Cut open and fill with a generous scoop of ice cream and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Enjoy!
This post was created in partnership with Tony's Chocolonely.
Mother's Day is just around the corner and I'm celebrating with a giveaway! Read on for all the details.
Elena is nearly 4-years old and eager to do everything on her own. She loves to help in the kitchen, but is always looking to do more and more independently. I'd be happy with a breakfast of some of my breakfast favorites: yogurt oatcakes, walnut maple fan rolls, or crêpes.
But for the sake of her age and independence, I'm thinking something simpler might be just her thing. My ideal Mother's Day would begin with the quintessential breakfast in bed with plenty of coffee, donuts, and a cloud of cozy blankets piled around me. Add in a newspaper, fresh flowers, and a bit of sunshine, and I'd be one happy mama.
For one lucky person, this could be your morning! I've partnered with some dear friends in Portland to offer you the chance to win a bedding set from Parachute Portland, a 3-month coffee subscription from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a $50 gift certificate to any Blue Star Donuts in Portland, a mug set from Notary Ceramics, and a 20 image postcard set from yours truly. Follow all partners on Instagram and sign up here for a chance to win, and to read the all-important terms and conditions. Good luck!
This post was created in partnership with Parachute Portland.
At the beginning of April, Marcus and I took a trip to Oregon's Willamette Valley to celebrate our anniversary weekend. We don't spend nearly as much time there as I'd like, especially considering it's less than an hour from Portland. We were excited to have a few days to explore, sip wine, and enjoy the region without needing to rush back to the city.
The weather forecast predicted a storm over the weekend, but it was sunny and warm as we drove toward Dayton. The perfect start to the weekend. We headed for Red Ridge Farms, where we were staying in the Garden Suite. It was the epitome of a room with a view, nestled about the gift shop with two balconies overlooking the gardens, lavender fields, vineyards, and olive grove.
When we arrived, we popped open a bottle of Chardonnay and went out to explore the grounds in the afternoon light. Red Ridge Farms is home to Oregon Olive Mill, the first commercial olive mill in the Pacific Northwest. We wandered through the grove and, when the gift shop closed up, we felt like we were the only people for miles around.
The next morning, we made breakfast and coffee in the sunny kitchen and then enjoyed a tour of the olive mill, nursery, and Durant Vineyards tasting room, which boasted a view of lambs frolicking among the vines. The clouds moved in and the first raindrops started to fall as we headed to McMinnville for lunch at Valley Commissary. Our first tasting was a 1pm with Kelley Fox Wines, followed by a visit to L'Angolo Estate, and the grand finale, a private tasting at Antica Terra. There was a mixup with our dinner reservations, but we were happy for the excuse to return to the Garden Suite and relax with pizza from Red Hills Market. It was a complete downpour at that point and we wanted nothing more than to curl up on the couch with a blanket and glass of Pinot Noir.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at the Garden Suite once again while listening to the radio and reading the newspaper. I loved being able to cook breakfast right there and not have to rush out and find food first thing in the morning. All the comforts of home, minus one energetic toddler. We lingered until the last moment before check out and then reluctantly packed our bags to head home, a few bottles of olive oil and wine heavier than when we arrived.
This post was created in partnership with Red Ridge Farms. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We're facing a week of endless rain in Portland, the kind that's ideal for baking something sweet. Which makes me all the more excited to share the latest Tony's Chocolonely Not Just Dessert collaboration featuring 180, an irresistible xurrería here in Portland. Their classic Spanish-style xurros are crunchy, subtly sweet, and perfect for dipping in a warm cup of xocolata. However, my favorite item on their menu has always been the bañados. chocolate-covered xurros with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. The more chocolate, the better, right?!
For the Not Just Dessert collaboration, they took the chocolate to another level with samoa cookie inspired xurro fries. A generous drizzle of hot fudge created with both milk and dark chocolate, a generous drizzle of coconut caramel, and two sprinklings of toasted coconut. No dipping chocolate required, but I wouldn't be one to judge.
The recipes inspired by Tony Chocoloney's slave free chocolate are increasing in number! Check out: semolina chocolate chunk fritters, chocolate mousse, spiced chocolate shortbread, lavender-infused dark chocolate ice cream, and brownie krinkle whoopie pie with chocolate tahini buttercream. Stay tuned for more to come!
Samoa Xurro Fries with Tony's Hot Fudge and Coconut Caramel
All the information you need to know about making authentic Spanish-style xurros from 180's recent feature in Sunset Magazine. To make xurro fries, simply leave them straight, rather than looping them and pressing the ends together, as described in step six.
200 g sugar
60 g water
160 g coconut cream
45 g coconut oil
Cook sugar and water to a light amber color. Add coconut cream and reduce slightly. Remove from heat and add coconut oil.
Tony's Hot Fudge:
30 g coconut oil
155 g coconut cream
170 g corn syrup
50 g brown sugar
20 g cocoa powder
110 g Tony's Chocolonely milk chocolate
60 g Tony's Chocolonely dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients except chocolate and vanilla. Bring to simmer for 5 minutes until melted. Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla. Stir to melt chocolate. Serve warm.
Once the xurro fries are finished, line them up on parchment paper and drizzle generously with coconut caramel. Sprinkle with toasted coconut shreds. Then drizzle generously with hot fudge. Top with additional toasted coconut. Serve warm and enjoy!
This post was created in partnership with the amazing people at Tony's Chocolonely. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I'm so excited about this month's Not Just Dessert collaboration with Tony's Chocolonely, sharing the story of slave-free chocolate through delicious desserts. We've partnered with Sqirl in LA who created this incredible Brownie Krinkle Whoopie Pie with Chocolate Tahini Buttercream. It's decadent, chocolatey, and the tahini and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Plus, it came with a side of sunshine and blue skies, which makes any dessert taste 10x better.
The collab with Sqirl and Tony's coincided with a food bloggers retreat in Palm Springs that took me down to Southern California. After the retreat ended, I headed down to LA to photograph the dessert at Sqirl and was joined by Sarah Britton, Eva Kosmas Flores, and Trisha Hughes. We shared an epic lunch together, where I fell in love with Sqirl's Crispy Brown Rice Kabbouleh. We ended the lunch splitting the whoopie pies and taking a million photos, aren't they something?!
It was a fantastic opportunity to spread the message of slave-free chocolate in the LA community and we were excited to work with owner Jessica Koslow and pastry chef Sasha Piligian. They've been playing around with the dark and milk chocolate bars and scheming up new ways to use them in the kitchen, including gluten-free hazelnut Tony Chocolonely cookies, which will be on the Sqirl menu Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16.
If you're not in LA, you can make this Sqirl creation inspired by Tony's Chocolonely slave-free chocolate at home: Brownie Krinkle Whoopie Pie with Chocolate Tahini Buttercream, recipe at the end of the post. Here's wishing you a side of sunshine and blue skies to go with the whoopie pie!
Krinkle Whoopie Pie with Chocolate Tahini Buttercream
½ cup canola
1 ¾ cup sugar (390g)
4 oz Tony Chocolonely's dark milk chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup AP flour (139g)
¾ cup rye flour (59g)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp black cocoa powder (or regular cocoa)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
powdered sugar for rolling
2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
2 oz Tony's Chocolonely milk chocolate
2 Tbsp white sesame tahini
In a double boiler melt dark chocolate and have ready.
In a mixer with paddle attachment, mix the sugar and oil until combined. Stream in melted chocolate. Add eggs and vanilla one at a time. Mix until combined. Add all dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mixture will resemble brownie batter.
Put batter in refrigerator at least 30 minutes - 1 hour until firm. Roll into desired ball size. Roll cookie ball in bowl of powdered sugar. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
To make buttercream, add egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heat proof bowl. Heat over a double boiler until sugar is dissolved and warmed through. Mix in stance mixer with whisk attachment on high speed until meringue forms and bowl is cool to the touch. Add butter slowly scraping bowl. Once butter is fully incorporated, add melted chocolate and tahini. Salt to taste.
This post was created in partnership with Tony's Chocolonely. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The past few weeks have been such a whirlwind. An unexpected 2-week trip to Berlin for a funeral and then flying immediately to Palm Springs for a food blogger retreat. It seems like a lifetime ago that I had the opportunity to wander around Portland with the lovely Erin Hiemstra of Apartment 34, checking out all the best design spots for a Travel Portland promotion.
I'll be sharing some of the other spots that Erin and I visited, but unsurprisingly, the first stop of the day was Spartan Shop, which is worth a post of its own. Spartan Shop is a beautiful space filled with thoughtfully curated items: tableware, home goods, furniture, books, jewelry, fine art, and much more. It's pretty hard not to want one of everything.
Currie Person, a native Texan, first opened the shop in Austin where it quickly gained a following before relocating her family and eventually the shop to Portland. Such a fantastic addition to the city and I loved getting an in-depth look at the space with Erin.
A few weeks ago, I was at a restaurant wrapping up a project when the chef offered me a butterscotch cookie as I headed out the door. I broke off a small corner with a smile and thanks. I walked to my car, devouring the cookie, and immediately regretted not taking the whole thing. Maybe it was the butterscotch that initially made me wary, a flavor I haven't tasted since I was probably 6-years old and eating a Dairy Queen dilly bar. The flavor was so distinct, I knew I wanted to experience it again.
To celebrate the re-release of Bull Run Distillery's Chinato Barrel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey, I decided to experiment with marrying the flavor of bourbon-spiked cookie dough with butterscotch and chocolate chips. The result did not disappoint.
Bull Run Distillery finishes this bourbon in barrels of Chinato D’Erbetti, an Italian-style sweet vermouth made by Cana's Feast in Carlton, Oregon. The bourbon is finished for up to a year in the Chinato barrels, which lends an extra level of dryness and an added herbal complexity that comes through in the cookie dough. In addition to butterscotch morsels, I couldn't resist adding in chocolate chips as well more chocolate is always better. After devouring a spoonful or two of dough, this recipe typically makes about 30 cookies, so I always freeze half for the next month. Recipe at the end of the post!
Chinato Bourbon & Butterscotch Chip Cookies
3 cups ivory wheat flour, plus 2 Tbsp
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp Bull Run Distillery Chinato Barrel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Blend in egg, vanilla, and bourbon. Slowly add flour mixture until well blended. Add in oats, butterscotch chip, and chocolate chips. Chill covered in fridge for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. Enjoy!
This post was created in partnership with my friends at Bull Run Distillery.
For the first Tony's Chocolonely collaboration of the year, I was thrilled to be able to work with Ryan Fox and Ben Hjelm at Nomad to spread the word about slave-free chocolate. Ryan and Ben used Tony's dark chocolate to create a lavender-infused ice cream that they paired with poached and fresh blood oranges and topped with a sprinkling of heather flowers.
For the month of February, Nomad will be offering the dessert on their tasting menu at the chef's counter, as well as à la carte in the bar. Tony's also will be giving away small dark chocolate bars to all guests because there's no such thing as too much chocolate.
To help bring attention to the mission of Tony's Chocolonely, we threw a small gathering with friends to celebrate the new dessert. Human slavery in the cocoa industry is an ongoing problem, yet many people remain unaware of, despite the ubiquity of chocolate. The fact that the cocoa industry in east Africa is so reliant upon forced labor, often of children, is hard to reckon with the amount of pleasure so many people get from chocolate. Tony's is not only committed to shining a light on the issue for consumers, but also in changing the industry as a whole.
If you're not in the Portland area to check out this incredible dessert from Nomad, then definitely give it a try. The recipe at the end of the post, and if you're inspired to keep baking with slave-free chocolate, find the full list of Not Just Dessert recipes here. Enjoy and stay tuned for more!
Lavender-Infused Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Poached Blood Orange
500 g milk
500 g cream
210 g egg yolk
200 g sugar
100 g lavender
200 g Tony’s Chocolonely dark chocolate, chopped
Poached blood orange:
250 g sugar
100 g water
1 blood orange, sliced horizontally
heather flowers for garnish
Whisk together the egg yolk and sugar, set aside. With a kitchen torch, burn the lavender until it starts to smolder, about 30 seconds. Place in a small pot together with the cream and milk. Heat until 170°F. Remove from heat, then temper in egg and sugar mixture. Strain over the chopped chocolate and then mix until chocolate is fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until cooled, at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and spin according to the instructions.
Mix together the sugar and water in a small pot over a low heat. Add the blood orange slices and cook gently in the syrup for 1.5 hours. Cool and serve next to the ice cream with additional segments of fresh blood orange.
Christmas is almost here! It will be quite a different year with all my siblings traveling elsewhere, but my little family will celebrate with my parents and - truth be told - I think we're all looking forward to a quieter celebration. I've probably been a little too relaxed about it because I haven't wrapped any gifts, sent family cards, or even finished most of my shopping. But we went to see The Nutcracker yesterday and have baked dozens of cookies while listening to Christmas carols. More cookies are in the works, of the chocolate variety.
I'm thrilled to be partnering with Tony's Chocolonely on a series of collaborative recipes inspired by their delicious, 100% slave-free chocolate. The first collaboration is with Nora Antene, the pastry chef at Tusk in Portland, who created Christmas Spice Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Tony's limited edition mulled wine milk chocolate bar. The cookies are on the Tusk dessert menu now through December 24. Guests who dine at the restaurant on Christmas Eve will receive a special gift from Tusk and Tony's.
If you're inspired to keep baking with slave-free chocolate, I also recommend chocolate mousse or semolina chocolate chunk fritters from our Valentine's Day series. Find the full list of Not Just Dessert recipes here. Stay tuned for a new recipe coming in January and wishing everyone happy holidays!
Tony’s Chocolonely Christmas Spice Chocolate Shortbread
Recipe created by Nora Antene
225 g butter, soft
90 g brown sugar
50 g granulated sugar
4 g salt
4 g vanilla extract
275 g flour
65 g cocoa powder
3 g baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp clove
1 bar Tony’s Chocolonely mulled wine milk chocolate, chopped into 1 cm cube
Flake salt, for garnish
Cream butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and slowly add to creamed butter. Mix in chocolate pieces until combined.
Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper to ¼ inch thick. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Cut into circles or favorite holiday shape, and sprinkle with fleur du sel. Bake at 350°F for about 8 minutes or just until the cookies puff and crack. The cookies will be very soft, but will firm up after cooling. Enjoy!