Copenhagen: a canal tour and the first round of Danish dogs

Our first round of Danish dogs: I got a rød pølse, the classic red sausage, my husband got the spicy beef sausage, oksekrydder.

Our first round of Danish dogs: I got a rød pølse, the classic red sausage, my husband got the spicy beef sausage, oksekrydder.

We spent our second day in Copenhagen exploring the city in the best possible way — by boat.

While it’s impossible to pretend you’re anything other than a tourist when you take a canal tour, there’s nothing quite like seeing a city as colorful as Copenhagen from the water. Besides, with my Nikon strapped securely around my neck for our entire vacation, I don’t think we ever had a chance to pass as natives anyways.

The tour was wonderful – even better than I could have hoped. We used Netto, on the recommendation of travel guru Rick Steves, and it was shockingly inexpensive (around $7 a person) and very well done. Our guide spoke three languages and the tour lasted a little over an hour.

The spire of Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Savior's Church) peeking out on the skyline.

The spire of Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Savior’s Church) peeking out on the skyline.

Copenhagen Canal Tour

The tour boat took us to see some of the major historicalsights, including the famous Little Mermaid and past the royal palace, Amalieborg, but we also wove leisurely under bridges and through the port district of Christianshavn. Click on the photos to enlarge and read the details…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Reykjavik: The first 24 hours

Flying into Iceland - the steam coming up is from one of the many geothermal pools.

Flying into Iceland – the steam coming up is from one of the many geothermal pools.

My husband and I arrived in Iceland on Saturday morning at 6am. For being half asleep and totally jet lagged, we managed to make the most of our first day of vacation.

We left the Keflavik airport and headed directly to the Blue Lagoon, the most famous of Iceland’s geothermal pools. This is a popular spot with tourists since it’s a perfect place to soak out the aches of air travel.

Inside the Blue Lagoon

Inside the Blue Lagoon

Continue reading

Zucchini pancakes with fried corn & sungolds, for when summer continues to linger…

Zucchini Pancake with Roasted Corn, Sungolds

A rainbow of happy vegetables!

I was getting ready to post about a fantastic braised shortrib pie that I made on a recent rainy day when suddenly the weather here in Portland did a swift about-face. While braising beef sounded good a week ago when it was blustery and cold, the sun is now blazing and we’re enjoying 80 degree weather with only more blue skies on the horizon.

So I decided instead to revisit a recipe that I made a month or so ago, when I was too swamped with summer’s craziness to edit the pictures, let alone write a post about it. And since I’ve still seen plenty of pretty produce in the markets, there’s time left to fit this in before the cold is upon us!

This dish came about because my friends at Gourmandistan posted their zucchini pancake recipe (accompanied by their recipe for a fried corn relish) and it all sounded too good to pass up. My parents had just handed off several zucchini and summer squash from their garden and I’m a sucker for anything with fresh corn so Michelle and Steve’s post was a basically a double whammy of perfectly timed temptation.

Continue reading

Chilled tomato soup for the last dregs of summer

IMG_8506

Deep inside, I know that autumn has officially arrived. The weather has cooled off considerably here in Portland and the markets are full of squash and new crop apples. But my mind — and stomach — aren’t quite ready to let go of summer.

And one of my favorite things about the late summer months in Oregon are the perfectly ripe, juicy tomatoes.

I can even tell you a story about how great these tomatoes are. Growing up I hated tomatoes. Oh sure, I loved marinara sauce but fresh tomatoes were not a part of my diet. I picked them off of hamburgers and out of sandwiches for years. Even in college I gave serious side-eye to people who ate cherry tomatoes by the handful. I just didn’t get it.

Then I moved to Oregon and started cooking at a little family run restaurant in the industrial/art area of NW Portland (now the luxe Pearl District). I remember walking to the Farmers Market with the head chef/owner and watching as she bought a flat of pristine sungolds.

Beautiful Oregon sungolds

Beautiful Oregon sungolds

Continue reading

State Fairs and a crazy chaotic state of affairs

What I have not been doing enough of!

This summer I have not been doing enough of this.

September is slowly killing me. I have been so busy I’m surprised I have found time to breath! The weekend of Labor Day my husband and I went on a romantic retreat, the following weekend was Wild About Game, last weekend I went to Tacoma to see my family (and go to the fair which is an annual tradition!) and this weekend is Feast.

Every day this week there are pre-Feast parties for those of us involved in the event. Wednesday night I attended one where Chef Paul Qui served up Albacore tuna and grilled pork. Last night I went to a party called Pork of Ages where there were more than 20 roasted pig heads lined up (seriously!) and I got to meet author Ruth Reichl (yay!).

Continue reading

Scenes from an Urban Garden Dinner Party: Part II

DSC_6542

Last week, I showed you the appetizers that I helped put together for a dinner benefiting the Portland Fruit Tree Project. My husband, the chef for the event, didn’t just stop at creative snacks. He prepared a five-course dinner as well, one that was so delicious we converted a 10-year vegetarian into a carnivore for the evening. I’d call that a massive success!

Here’s what we served after the passed appetizers were done.

Course 1: Salad of roasted beets, plums, goat cheese, mung bean sprouts and crispy quinoa.

Course 1: Beets, plums, goat cheese, mung bean sprouts and crispy quinoa

The beets were roasted, the plums firm but juicy, the cheesy was tangy and the fried quinoa added a happy crunchy texture.

Course 2: Homemade tomato leaf strozzapreti with Connie’s tomatoes and fresh basil in a  Parmesan brodo.

Continue reading