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!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hood River Strawberries

As if I needed another reason to love Hood River. The soil around that city is very rich from Mt. Hood. There are all kinds of fruit orchards and fields in the area. These were my first strawberries from this area - and they are delicious!! So fresh, and wild - the flavour is outstandingly true.

My plan was to muddle these strawberries in a cocktail - I couldn't resist eating a small handful straight off. :) I did make a great cocktail - muddled strawberries, blueberries, cherries and a few leaves of basil (with a touch of sugar). I added like juice, then a big glug glug of tequila and some triple sec. Delicious!!


Any French chef loves a good shallot! I used them a few ways tonight. 1) I chopped half a shallot and fried them to a crispy finish. These topped my steak. 2) I chopped half a shallot and sweated it over heat, then added a cup of heavy cream & reduced it in half. Then I added some Gorgonzola and pepper - this was the sauce for keith's steak. 3) I finely chopped a shallot and added it to red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and a dash of habanero pepper sauce. This was for the raw oysters.

Pickled Golden Beets

I made a special dinner tonight for my husband. He started a new job today, so I treated him to a decadent dinner - NY strip steak smothered in a Gorgonzola cream sauce (just for him - my lactose intolerance makes this a meal just for steak was covered in crispy shallots). As a side dish, I pickled some golden beets.

My darling husband was amazed that I pickled my own beets. I love how cooking impresses him. :) I peeled 3 golden beets and sliced them. In a pot, I put a mixture of red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, black peppercorns, salt, and brown sugar. I brought it to a boil and then tossed in the beets. They cooked for about 15 minutes until tender. They were delicious, tangy and tender!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Watermelon juice

Quintessentially summer - I love watermelon. Yet last summer I began juicing it for cocktails. Here's a big pitcher of fresh watermelon juice...the possibilities are endless!

Caprese skewers

I love this appetizer - so easy and fun. Alternate small fresh mozzarella balls with grape tomatoes and fresh basil. Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and you have a perfect summer starter!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cannon Beach

Today we wandered around Cannon Beach, OR. We walked along the beach and I desperately combed the sand for some fresh mussels. Closest I got was this huge claw.

After many photo ops near and around Haystack Rock, we grabbed lunch - Fish & Chips for me! Olive oil & vinegar for my salad, vinegar & ketchup for my fries, Amber Ale for my happiness.

Full Sail

We spent a day in Hood River and took a tour of the Full Sail Brewery. Fascinating process - beer making. So I simply had to get a sampler at the pub after the tour.

Mirror Pond

I was early to the airport, so I had to wait for Kate & Deb's plane to land. Good thing there was beer.

Pork loin chops

So easy and delicious - I coated the pork in Herbs de Provence and a little salt & pepper. Then I seared them in a hot pan - just a few minutes each side. Served with a mash of potatoes and celery root, and some wilted spinach with champagne vinegar.

Flank steak

Marinated, seared quickly and sliced. Served over crostini and drizzled with horseradish sauce and topped with arugula dressed in lemon & olive oil.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It's been a bit grey and rainy, so I wanted something comforting tonight for dinner. Quick & simple dish with tons of flavor!

I started by browning some sliced Italian sausage. Then I added some chopped white onion & red pepper (capsicum in AU) with a pinch of salt to get them breaking down. I added chopped eggplant with the skin on! Seasoning: a bit of garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt & pepper. I then added a can of whole tomatoes (rough chopped with the sauce) and a small can of tomato sauce. Bring to the bubble and lower the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. I cooked the pasta al dente and then added it to the sauce. 4 big spoonfulls of riccota went in next and I stirred the whole thing through. I piled it onto a pasta dish, added some parmigiana and a tiny drizzle of olive oil (plus a little more red pepper flakes for me). Exactly what I wanted - warm and comforting!

Cocktail du jour

keith made the cocktails tonight. He didn't share the recipe, but I can report that it contained the following:

Gin (option to use vodka instead)
St. Germaine liqueur
Soda water

Deliciously refreshing! And the garnish was a big sprig of lime and a cucumber slice. I have a feeling this is going to become a summertime favorite around here!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Port Manhattan

Cocktail du jour at Crush Bar this afternoon. I'm going to learn this recipe - it included brandies cherries!

Burritos...for breakfast

I know I've mentioned breakfast burritos before, but they're such a great meal! This morning they were based completely on what I had in the oven. :) so simple - I scrambled some eggs, and as they were cooking I crumbled some queso blanco into the
(left over from last night). Once the eggs were done, laid out 2 flour tortillas and put a small amount of shredded cheese in the middle. I piled the eggs in the middle and rolled up the burritos. I added a pile of shredded cheese on top, and popped it under the broiler to melt the cheese. Finally they were finished with some salsa verde and sour cream.

I love a hearty breakfast on Sunday mornings!

Taco salad

I know, it doesn't look all that amazing. But I had a craving for a taco salad. keith makes it from time to time, so I thought I'd give it my go. I had half of each a white and red onion in the fridge so I started by sautéing those with a little salt. Once they started to soften I added a pound of ground beef. Once it was browned I totally cheated and added a packet of Lawrey's taco seasoning (seriously - the contents are pretty natural). At the same time, I added a can of diced tomatoes, a can of green chiles and a handful of shredded purple cabbage (not traditional, but it was in my fridge!). I brought this to a boil and lowered the heat, then let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. During the last few minutes I crumbled in some queso blanco.

To serve - I crumbled some tortillas on a plate, and a handful into the dish (stir it through). Pile a generous amount of the taco salad onto the plate. Top with a few more crumbled tortillas, some more chopped cabbage, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream. I also added some sliced jalapeños to my plate.

It may not look gorgeous but it was comforting and delicious!!