Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dirty Flogger

A take on the classic named by Holly. With almond & jalapeño stuffed olives.

Almond stuffed olives

Trying something new in our dirty martini. We're celebrating the house we'll be renting come July!!


I know I've mentioned this before, but it's different this time. It's similar to a previous post - salmon rubbed with fresh chopped dill, capers, drizzled in lemon juice with some salt & pepper and then broiled to perfection. But this time the salmon was fresh from an Oregon river. And can I just tell you - the flavour is intensely different! It's fresher, and that's the only word I have. Buttery - yes. Meaty - yep. Flaky - oh yeah. Delicious - check. But fresher is the kicker. Holy crap!!

Although can I gripe for one second? I love salmon. I pay a lot for good, fresh salmon. So when did the fish-folks at our favourite healthy & organic markets decide WE were responsible for scaling and de-pin boning our own fish? God I hate doing both of those things!!

I piled some rock salt on the pan, and broiled it for maybe 13 minutes. I served it with some rice that was seasoned with some fresh roasted garlic! Yum!!! I love the Northwest!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Post-Memorial Day Memorial Day dinner

There's something very comforting about brats and potato salad. Takes me back to backyard cookouts from years gone by. And while I didn't make this meal on Memorial Day, it certainly would have been fitting.

Johnsonville brats (come on, they really are good) - slowly simmered in beer for about 20 minutes. I used a nice India Pale Ale. French roll for the bun, ketchup on one side, sweet & hot mustard on the other. A little shredded cheese went on top of the hot brat, and then I piled on sautéed sweet onions and green peppers.

I was wondering what side dish would be good as a side. Potato salad jumped to mind. Ian Garten has a delicious recipe, and I followed it nearly to the letter. Here is my recipe (and her original differences):

1 lb. small white potatoes (Ina: 3 lbs)
Pinch salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup half-n-half (Ina: buttermilk)
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
2 Tbl raspberry-wasabi mustard (Ina: whole grain)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion

Fill a pot with water, add a big pinch of salt and add the potatoes (whole). Being to the boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are softened but not falling apart. Drain them, and then put the potatoes in a bowl covered with a cloth for 15 minutes to keep them lightly cooking.

As those are resting, whisk together the mayo, half-n-half, mustards, salt, pepper and dill. Cut the potatoes into halves or fourths (based on size), and make sure they come to room temperature. Put the potatoes into a bowl and add the dressing - just enough to coat all of the potatoes. Don't overdress it! Add the onions and celery, and put it in the fridge to chill.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Tried out a few new cocktails tonight. The first was a take on one developed at the Waldorf Astoria years ago. Crushed black peppercorn, mint leaves, fresh strawberry juice, lime zest, like juice & vodka. Admittedly not our favourite drink, but a fun new experiment.

Another Sunday cocktail - muddled cherries, lime juice, vodka, cranberry juice & Red Bull. A perfect pick me later in the evening (when you're not ready for the evening to end!).

Pastrami hash

I love a good hash. It's such a hearty breakfast. For brunch today I went with a pastrami hash (couldn't find corned beef anywhere!) I had it cut thick so I could chop it up.

A little olive oil in the pan, and then in with the diced potatoes. Add a little salt to help break them down. Once they are all coated in oil & salt and start sizzling in the pan, add a cup of chicken stock. Some will be absorbed by the potatoes as they soften. Cook, turning often, for at least 15 minutes until they start to get soft. Add chopped onion (1/2 sweet onion) and cook for another 7-10 minutes. When the potatoes have begun to get color, and have softened, add the chopped pastrami and stir through to mix. At the same time begin cooking your eggs (I do 2 per person, sunny side up - finished under the broiler). You don't need to season the hash anymore in this case because of the seasoning on the pastrami.

Pile the hash onto your plate and top with eggs!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I love fresh mint - the smell, the flavor. I got some at the store today, and it ended up being somewhat of a debacle. The poor woman at the register had never seen fresh mint, and didn't know how to ring it up. Frantically she asked other employees - no one had ever seen a bunch of fresh mint. The manager was baffled and had to go find the mint mixed in with the herbs to figure out what to charge me. Even then, she had no idea, and instead made up a price. After 10 minutes I was too annoyed to argue. But what fascinated (and saddened) me most was that no one had ever seen fresh mint before. Granted as a child we never used fresh herbs - in fact it wasn't until college that I knew parsley was more than just a decoration for the dinner plate. But come on, mint?? At least I got it and could rush home to make mojitos (to accompany the roast lamb shoulder). :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prosecco: my choice for bubbly

Champagne can only come from one region in France. So everything else is sparkling wine...except for Prosecco. Italy's answer to champagne. The flavors vary as much as any type of wine. I found and love LaMarca, but for a change in trying Cupcake prosecco. I've seen their wines around and have been intrigued. And for the sake of my husband I bought it because of the name. :)

Sugar cube soaked in bitters

It's a building block for so many things. Add whiskey and a twist of lemon: Old Fashioned. Muddle with orange and add whiskey, St. Germaine and you have an Elder. But tonight I think this beauty will sit at the bottom of a wine glass and I'll pour Prosecco over top. The bubble further dissolve the cube, and you get sweet and bitter at the same time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Perfect Margarita

Tequila, Triple Sec, Sweet & Sour, Cuerva Gold Tequila, and a float of Grand Marnier. This is Friday!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


There is something quite refreshing about a classic like the Cosmo. Good vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime. So simple, do delicious. It just screams "Thursday!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cherry pitter

How my life has changed since my friend Holly gave me a cherry pitter. Days of slicing the cherries in half and digging out the pit are long gone. No more stained fingers! And I'm done in a fraction of the time. So simple, yet so pleasing!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


So simple, so elegant. Old-school thought insists a true martini should be gin-based, but I'm of the new school of thought - vodka all the way. There's something seductive about the way a person cups the cool glass as beads of perspiration form from the chilled vodka inside. Traditionalists will argue that it's not a martini without vermouth, and I would argue back that I need nothing more than Grey Goose vodka with a small splash of olive brine to make it dirty. Shaken, not stirred, and poured into a glass over three olives. Olives with pimentos should be the last choice - only if there's nothing else to use. Instead try whole green olives that encourage you to suck the meat off the pits. Or better yet, olives stuffed with something that will also lend a hint of flavour to the vodka. Bleu Cheese stuffed olives are a definite favourite. However right now I'm thoroughly enjoying olives stuffed with jalapeños. A lovely spice to an already perfect martini.

Indulge. Enjoy. And for the love of god use a good vodka!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quietly returning...

It's been forever, but I've had some fantastic food & drink moments that are begging to be shared.

Gin & tonic

Blood oranges

Live crabs

Stout after a hike

Robust red after a hike

Baby bok choy


Holly and I after a day at the farmers market

Raw oysters

Portland is a city of beer

VCR at home

Scotch and port