Summer Pasta: Farmer’s Market with a side of Kitchen Sink

Summer pasta: a combination of all of the Farmers Market finds you forgot to eat!

Summer pasta: a combination of all of the Farmers Market finds you forgot to eat!

I feel like every season has an appropriate pasta sauce to go with it. I can’t imagine autumn without brown butter (and its ubiquitous partner, sage) or winter without a rich Bolognese. Spring seems to be the time for pesto — either traditional basil or a new riff like this parsley version.

Summer pasta sauces seem less structured and more, well, see the title of this post…

They stem from that moment when all of a sudden you realized you bought a bunch of beautiful produce but have been so busy hiking, camping, bbq-ing and river floating that you forgot all about it. And they usually consist of ripe tomatoes, squash, herbs, garlic, peppers and whatever odds and ends you come across while cleaning out your fridge.

I made this pile of pasta last week while I realized (in a slight panic) that I had things that needed to be eaten before they turned to the dark side. I took one look at everything I had pulled out of the fridge, and immediately started digging for some pasta. All types of veggies can find harmony when mixed with pasta. It’s a fact.

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Gratuitous Food Pics: Portland’s Plate & Pitchfork

Grilled Octopus Salad w. White Beans, Calabrian Chilies and Sugar Snap Peas

It’s cold, windy and rainy days like this one that make me long for summer. A big part of summer for me is cooking outside as much as possible, often with my husband who is a chef in Portland. If we’re not grilling in our own backyard, we’re cooking alfresco for special events sourced through the restaurant.

This past summer, we did an extravagant pig roast for Archery Summit Vineyards and an urban garden dinner for The Portland Fruit Tree Project. Last summer one of my favorite events was a collaboration dinner with the chef of Lardo (Portland’s latest media darling who is now a good friend) for an event called Plate & Pitchfork.

Plate & Pitchfork brings chefs together with local farmers, so each chef gets paired up with a farm, uses their produce and puts out a multi-coursed family style dinner at the farm. It’s pretty awesome.

Here’s some scenes from our dinner which was held at Sun Gold Farm in Forest Grove. We served about 120 people, using one gas burner and two huge grills.

Octopus a’grillin

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What To Do When You Meet Your Meat

It’s rutting season and this guy means business

My job is to sell meat. And not just any meat but meat from animals that are locally raised, humanely treated and able to roam freely over acres of land. These animals are cared for by people who actually do care for them, which I was able to see first-hand on a recent trip to our elk farm.

A few lucky co-workers and I got to travel with our boss on a tour with a team of employees from the well-known, acclaimed restaurant the Herbfarm. We watched as the yearlings were fed and then saw the rest of the herd. The bulls were in full rut and we could hear them buggling from across the field. Only one still sported his antlers (George, pictured above) as the farmers usually remove them after velvet so the bulls don’t hurt each other as they vie for the attention of the females.

We saw a room in the barn covered in antlers, each one tagged so the farmers know which animal and what year they are from. It made for a pretty impressive display.

A room full of racks

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Gratuitous Food Pic: Fry Bread with Pulled Pork

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Navajo Fry Bread with Pulled Pork, Radishes, Cilantro and Chive Creme Fraiche

My husband did a cooking demo at the Montavilla Farmer’s Market last month and I got the opportunity to help him. This is the dish we gave out as samples to the very eager crowd, alongside several dessert versions topped with fresh berries, nutella and/or whipped cream. Needless to say, it was a hit!