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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Adventures in Fried Chicken: Recreating the Cover

Bon Appetit's Fried Chicken Sandwich

I’ve done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen over the years — making everything from foie gras torchons to my favorite dim sum treats. But one thing I have always stayed away from attempting is fried chicken. It just seems like one of those things best left to the professionals — Southern grandmas, fast food joints and Thomas Keller. Plus there are plenty of places in Portland that make it easy to just go out for fried chicken when the craving hits — I’m looking at you, Country Cat.

But when reading the April issue of Bon Appetit, I was seduced by the cover recipe: a mile-high, slightly sloppy fried chicken sandwich. Conveniently enough my friend DB and I had plan to cook together but didn’t have a menu in mind. I sent him the link to the recipe and he was sold.

We started out making the spicy sauce (Hellman brand mayo mixed with shaved garlic and hot sauce, easy enough) and the cole slaw. The slaw recipe made us hesitate for a second — pickle juice used as a dressing? But we went for it…and oh man, I am so glad we did (more on that later!).

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A toast for a friend…


I sent a text yesterday as we have both been traveling, but I felt like he deserved more than that (though I’m sure we’ll celebrate in person when we see each other next). So here’s to my pal DB — hope you had an awesome birthday. Much love, my friend!


Anyone who regularly reads this blog will not need help identifying which bottles are mine and which are his…please don’t hold the flavored vodka against me — it makes an excellent smoothie!

Things that make me happy: Adventures with Friends

My friend DB and I are big on adventures. So when he emailed me a link to Syun Izakaya, a sushi place in Hillsboro, I made us a reservation immediately. It was a journey — an hour each way using public transportation. What awaited us though was well worth the effort. The sushi, sashimi and grilled mackerel were delicious and the menu was extensive, ensuring that we sat there for several hours eating and drinking (hence our use of the MAX).

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from the night:

A Pretty Plate of Pickles: So far we haven’t come across a pickle plate that we haven’t ordered. No matter how full we are, there seems to always be room for a pickle.

One of the best things about our meal was our discovery of Teba Gyoza, a Frankensteinian dish of gyoza-stuffed chicken wings. The wings are partially deboned (just the wing tip is left) and the midjoint is stuffed with porky garlicky goodness. Then the whole thing is fried. Yes, it was borderline crazy and yes, it was amazing.

Teba Gyoza (stuffed chicken wings) — with dippy sauce and fried tarro chips

* As a side note, I did some internet digging about these crazy little guys. If you ever decide to make them (DB??), here’s a good site to look at. *

Last-Minute Grilled Eggplant

If you’ve come here looking for a delicious fried chicken sandwich, click here instead:
Bon Appetit’s blog used the wrong link!

So I’ve mentioned before that my friend DB and I have a standing date almost every Saturday to cook together. Sometimes we have a well-thought-out game plan of what we want to make and other times we fly by the seat of our pants. Both have the potential for failure or success.

The last time we got together, we succeeded fantastically. And even though we had a basic idea of what to make, one of the best things we prepared was almost an after thought. The menu was fairly simple, Korean-style grilled shortribs and some grilled zucchini. Which if you haven’t made these shortribs yet, you really need to do it now! They are so ridiculously good! Here’s a post with the how-to basics and a few recipe ideas. And here’s a picture for inspiration, of course!

But we needed something else to snack on so the wheels started turning. DB had brought over an eggplant so while he cooked it on the grill, I ran to the kitchen to see what else we could add to it.

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Swine & Wine: Happiness is a roasted pig

Pig Roast in the Red Hills

As I get closer to celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary with my husband, I think about how lucky we are that we found each other. While all the usual reasons come into play — yes, we make each other laugh, blah, blah, blah — the main reason is our obsession with food. By obsession, I mean that our conversations so often revolve around menu ideas, ingredients, cooking techniques and food in general, that any normal person would probably want to shoot themselves.

Beyond mere “foodies,” our love for all things culinary is a bit more intense because (as a chef and a meat sales rep, respectively) we are both firmly planted in the industry.

So, when he was personally asked to cater a pig roast for 120 people for Archery Summit Winery, I was thrilled to be involved. Their wines are fantastic and their tasting room has the best view I’ve ever seen in Oregon. And roasting up a couple of pigs in the summer sunshine and cooking with two of my favorite people (my friend DB also helped out) sounded like a great way to spend a Sunday.

The event actually took place in the Archery Summit vineyards at Red Hills. This is what we were surrounded by:

Soon all those seats will be filled with hungry people!

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