Project Fruit Tree & Adventures in an Urban Garden of Eden

Sous Vide striploin, served on a bed of fresh tomatoes, plums and garnished with puffed wild rice.

Sous Vide striploin, served on a bed of fresh tomatoes, plums and garnished with puffed wild rice.

Last weekend marked the third year that my husband, my friend DB and I cooked for a party of 40 to help benefit the Portland Fruit Tree Project. The PFTP does a series of “Orchard Banquets” every summer to raise money and for the past three years they’ve asked my husband to donate his time by heading one of the dinners.

This year, like last year, we lucked out and had the honor of cooking our dinner at Tabor Tilth, a crazy, magical dream in urban gardening. (If you want your mind blown, click this link to watch a video about the garden, hosted by the woman who owns it.)

My husband, because he is constantly ambitious with his cooking, always dreams up amazing menus for this dinner, which has become the event that DB and I look forward to helping him with the most.

And clearly other people look forward to it too. Many people from last year’s dinner attended this one and we heard from staff that our series sold out a month in advance. I guess the word has gotten out that my husband throws down when it comes to food!

Here’s some pictures from last Sunday’s soiree…It should also be mentioned that many of the produce used came from Tabor Tilth, some of which we foraged for the day of the dinner. Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked fruits and veggies!

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IPNC: My favorite midnight snack is a foie gras torchon

Wine, glorious wine, at IPNC 2013

Wine, glorious wine! IPNC 2013

As a college student, my to-go snack after a night out was always a super crisp apple and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Years later, I still eat my fair share of fruit and cheese, but at post-work afterparties my co-workers and I snack in style.

First, a little background:

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Messy, awesome & delicious: scenes from a crawfish boil

Portland Crawfish Boil

Crawfish Boil in St. Johns

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’re probably familiar with that bridge in the background. It’s the St Johns bridge in Portland, OR and it means I’m cooking at my friend DB’s house.

These pictures were all taken at his Fourth of July crawfish boil. Being a bit crazy, he shipped 45# of live crawfish from Louisiana. Then, worried he would run short on food, he bought an additional 10# of Oregon crawfish. I had no idea we even had local crawfish!

Each batch was cooked in a flavorful broth of seasonings, onions, garlic and lemons. Potatoes were thrown in first and then the crawfish were added. Once they were bright red and cooked through, the heat was turned off, corn and andouille sausages were added and the mixture sat for 20 minutes to allow all of the flavors to permeate.

Then the pot was dumped out on a newspaper-covered table for guests to enjoy.

And enjoy, we did. When I left, completely stuffed full of great food, he was on batch number four, with another 10-12# of live crawfish still remaining!

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Why I love being married to a chef, Part II

This was my dinner a few nights ago, served al fresco on our new patio!

Little gem salad w/ feta dressing, grilled corn and Calabrian chiles

Little gem salad w/ feta dressing, grilled corn and Calabrian chiles

Grilled & Smoked Poussin with "crazy water" and purslane

Grilled & smoked poussin with “crazy water” and purslane

Backyard Sunset

Backyard Sunset

Vacation Cooking: Why I Married a Chef

The main reason we rented the place we did in St. Martin is because it has a fully equipped kitchen. One trip to the Grand Marche and we were all set to make a few meals “at home” instead of eating out. Luckily I got to sit out on the balcony while my husband did the cooking!

Soft Boiled Egg, Mache, Lemon Zest Salad...with some Foie Gras and Proscuitto thrown in for fun...

Soft Boiled Egg, Mache, Lemon Zest Salad…with some Foie Gras and Proscuitto thrown in for fun…

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Gratuitous Food Pics: Where the wild things are (eaten)

I’ve written time and again about how much I love my job as a meat distributor. My hands-down favorite part is being able to eat the dishes that chefs create with our meat — from the basic cuts to the more unusual offerings. These pictures are a perfect example of offal at their best.

The restaurant Kingdom of Roosevelt is fairly new to Portland, though the chef has been around for a while and is even slightly infamous in this town for entirely different reasons. The menu is not for the faint of heart — take a peek at the last picture if you don’t believe me — but let me tell you, the food is incredible. Every dish was superbly executed, not something that happens often especially with such ambitious ingredients.

Fallow Venison Heart Tartare, Venison Marrow Bone and Arugula Salad

Fallow Venison Heart Tartare, Venison Marrow Bone and Arugula Salad

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