BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Archive for November 2008

Pudding-like persimmons

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Hachiya persimmons

Hachiya persimmons

 

I didn’t even know I liked persimmons. But boy am I glad I stumbled upon these heart-shaped Hachiya ones at the farmers market. You must let them ripen until deep orange and swishy soft. You will then be rewarded with sweet, creamy flesh that leaves a slight astringent residue on the teeth. It’s a perfect fall fruit. I think I ate them in China but really am trying them again for the fruit time here. The Hachiya kind are much softer and sweeter than the more common, flat fuyu variety.

Here are some persimmon desserts I’d like to try: a semifreddo and this sundae recipe, although I would just use plain vanilla ice-cream, or better yet, vanilla Coconut Bliss, which is all the rage here.

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November 16, 2008 at 12:57 am

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How to peel ginger

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Cool way to peel ginger with a spoon so you don’t sacrifice those flavorful little nubs:

http://video.bravotv.com/player/?id=815623

Have ya’ll ever tried this? I’ll never take to the precious root with a peeler again.

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November 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm

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Last fall day on the farm

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Lunch at Gathering Together Farm before it closes for winter.

Lunch at Gathering Together Farm before it closes for winter.

Happiness.
Happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The near perfect weather (nearly 60 degrees with the rare absence of rain) inspired us to head to neighboring Philomath today for lunch at the Gathering Together Farm cafe. They shut down to the public this weekend and will only sell at the Corvallis Farmers Market for a few more weeks. What will we do here come December, January, February and March?

We shared too nutmegy kabocha squash soup, a rabbit-lamb-pork sausage and red sauerkrat plate and a salad with bok choi-like greens. The laid-back garden cafe borders the farm stand and has an open tandoor clay oven.

What will you miss most this winter?

Gathering Together is one of the true gems here. Having brunch there in September right after we moved made me feel more at ease here. Maybe I should try to work there?

 

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November 14, 2008 at 12:36 am

The Simplicity of Soup

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Sesame-Eggdrop (Veggie) Soup by Mollie Katzen

Sesame-Eggdrop (Veggie) Soup by Mollie Katzen

When it’s gray and I don’t feel like an inspired cook, I turn to soup. Tonight, it was a gingery Sesame Eggdrop Soup, with tofu, veggies and a cider vinegary bite. Citrusy Brazilian Black Bean Soup fed us the other night. Both are from the cute little Mollie Katzen’s Soups (a la Moosewood Cookbook) easel book from my friend Ann.

Katzen loves stirring eggs into her vegetarian soup for protein (as in her Mediterranean Lemon, like the Greek avgolemono), which I’ve also made.

Have you turned to soup lately? It’s hard to mess up. Any recipes you’ve made to pass along?

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November 13, 2008 at 12:57 am

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Small town Evite etiquette

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In New York and even Baltimore, guests often wait until the last minute to respond to an Evite invitation, buying time to see if they approve of the emerging party list.

However, that’s apparently not an issue in Corvallis. We finally got around to sending out an Evite for a house-warming party last night. Already, nearly half of our 40-some invites have said they will attend. People are pretty genuine here.

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November 12, 2008 at 1:20 am

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Sandra Tsing Loh: like Oprah on Fire

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Sandra Tsing Loh holds court at Wordstock in Portland.

Sandra Tsing Loh holds court at Wordstock in Portland.

 
Live Wire! at the Aladdin Theater in Portland.

Live Wire! at the Aladdin Theater in Portland.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

The food wasn’t even the highlight of the weekend in Portland. No, that was seeing Sandra Tsing Loh, the writer, comic performer and feminist first amendment icon turned public schools activist, who is just about my favorite person on the page these days. We especially love her bi-monthly column in The Atlantic.

At the Live Wire! radio show Saturday night, she read a five-minute stream from her new tome, Mother on Fire, squirming with nervous energy and flailing her arms as she recounted the woes of a 40-something perimenopausal woman clinging to her last strings of sanity, as she and her young children navigate the segregated, class-obsessed world of education in L.A.

But uncensored Sandra, holding court for a full hour at the Wordstock festival Sunday, proved to be the real treat. She lamented a feminist movement (though she embraces it) that drained our public schools of uniquely nurturing female genius, a movement that has never exalted the mothers-on-the-move powerhouse organization for change: the mighty P.T.A.

And she blasted politicians (Barack Obama included) and other journalists in the chattering classes for not putting their money where their mouth is by sending their children to public school. It’s like cops living in the suburbs, away from the violent inner-city districts they patrol, she said. They don’t have that same stake in the community where they work.

Readers chewed her out on an New York Times election blog for taking Obama and Biden to task for sending their children to private school while Sarah Palin sent her progeny to the humble little public school in Wasilla (granted there are less options there, and now post-campaign, they will surely go to Wasilla Prep:)). So President Obama, heed her call and send Sasha and Malia to D.C. public schools! Then the public might again worry more about our failing urban schools and less about the puppy you’re bringing to the White House.

 

Besides, Tsing Loh works a crowd just like your great supporter Oprah, bouncing around with a microphone to her seated audience members, treating them as equals as they ask a question to her face.

Written by baltimoregon

November 11, 2008 at 2:18 am

Stuff White People Like: Portland

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Portland's downtown Saturday farmers market

Portland's downtown Saturday farmers market.

Pickles for sale at the market. The garlic dills were delish!
 
 
 
 
What’s not to love about Portland? We got our fix of urban culture this weekend: hip restaurants, a stimulating lit festival (Wordstock), dancing to bhangra/reggaeton/world fusion beats in a converted warehouse club (where we learned in Portland, the cops hardly mind if folks openly smoke joints on the street.)

 

Still, we miss that East Coast diversity. As perfect as the Portland Farmers Market was, with its artisanal cheeses and breads, rainbow of winter squash, hearty greens, home-cured pickles and soothing herbal teas, it felt, well, somewhat sanitized and white. Baltimore’s two main farmers markets, on the other hand, in Waverly and downtown under the JFX overpass, forge community among the races, classes and cultures that might overwise be oblivious to eachother’s corner of the city. Baltimore has this irrepressible energy that you miss.

At the Holocene club Saturday night, the DJ played “Shake It To The Ground” by Baltimore’s own 15-year-old club queen, Rye-Rye. Ah, memories of shaking it one last time this summer at Artscape. Just read that the Sri Lakan/British MC M.IA. will release a Rye-Rye CD on her new record label. Sweet!

And for all you moms out there, this is “Stuff White People Like.”

Written by baltimoregon

November 10, 2008 at 1:18 am

Simpatica

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Portland has no shortage of culinary mysteries, including rare supper clubs such as Simpatica Dining Hall. We keep indulging on food since we don’t spend money going out to bars with friends here.

Inconspicuously nestled in a warehouse district in Southeast Portland, the “restaurant” has one family-style seating Friday and Saturday nights (online reservations required) and Sunday brunches that require quite the wait.

The chefs and hostesses treat the 30-some customers as guests at their intimate dinner party. For $40 a person, we had these simple yet succulet four courses:

Fresh Porcini Mushroom, Fennel and Arugula Salad (with shaved parmesan and the raw porcini were delicately shaved and marinated in lemon/olive oil)

Handmade Pappardelle with Rabbit Sugo (spiced with pungent fennel pollen)

Herbed Roast Leg of Lamb (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, garlic) with Braised Cavolo Nero (black kale) and Natural Jus

Glazed Viridian Farms Pippin Apple Bread Pudding with Warm Brandy Custard

Yum-Yum! We aren’t worthy. We’re living beyond our means I fear.

http://www.simpaticacatering.com/

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November 8, 2008 at 2:12 am

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Marketplace reports from WYPR in Baltimore

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We were surprised to hear the public radio economics show Marketplace was reporting on location from Baltimore today. Host Kai Ryssdal was in town to describe how the fallout from the financial crisis in affecting America’s cities beyond the power centers in New York and Washington. He says the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center ER is a good snapshot of the local economy.

The hospital serves a large population of former Bethlehem Steel and GM plant workers who had good industrial jobs ripped out from under them long before this current economic crisis.

You can here the story here: marketplace_cast3_20081106_64

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November 7, 2008 at 12:55 am

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The kindness of in-laws

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Despite the election excitement, my spirits have sunk a bit since the dreary grey days have commenced here. So I was especially cheered to receive packages today from both my sister-in-law and in-laws (those terms still don’t quite roll off the tongue).

Julia in New York sent us an NYPD shirt (her unlikely new employer) and a sweetly crafted Brooklyn bag perfect for farmer’s market shopping. The gifts really capture the two worlds she’s living in there.

And Dan’s parents kindly sent another book from Powell’s. I’ll finally visit this great booksellers in the flesh when in Portland for the Wordstock festival this weekend. The book is What Should I Read Next? by Jessica Feldman, their University of Virginia English professor friend who coincidentally grew up here in Corvallis. Feldman is also on the board of the acclaimed Virginia Quarterly Review. Her new anthology compiles recommended readings in literature, history, politics, math, science and religion, etc. from 70 UVA professors.

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November 5, 2008 at 6:50 pm

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