Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thursday Night Supper: Thai Peanut Pasta

Jenna got a job at Portland Lutheran (yay Jen!) and, even though kids won't be there until the 31st, has been going to her classroom to do lesson planning, create her syllabus', meet their staff and prepare her classroom. With busy schedules last week we wanted something quick and settled on one of Jen's mom's recipes that we tend to crave.

Our Menu:
Fresh Spring Rolls
Thai Peanut Pasta

Fresh Spring Rolls

In place of a salad we opted for Spring Rolls. We already had a lot of the ingredients, it fit with the peanut style pasta, and I made them at my Thursday Night Supper so I knew they would be fast!

Click here for the ingredient list and instructions.

Thai Peanut Pasta - written by Jenna

This recipe has long been a Jenna and Kelly favorite. Although Felicia (my mom) and Vicki (Kelly's mom) always traded recipes and the made the girls their favorites, Vicki is allergic to peanuts so I always invited Kelly over on Thai Pasta nights (affectionately called Peanut Butter Pasta when we were younger). This was our first time making it ourselves and it went pretty well! 

- 1/3 c. hot water 
- 1/3 c. peanut butter 
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 2 chopped green onions
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 pkg linguine pasta
- 2 chicken breasts
- splash of olive oil
- any desired veggies, we used broccoli, peppers and carrots

Cut chicken breasts into strips and cook over med-high with a little splash of olive oil. Stir and turn chicken regularly until golden colored and cooked through. Should cut easily into pieces and show no pink when cooked.

While chicken is cooking, boil water for pasta, and mix peanut butter, hot water and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix rice vinegar, chopped garlic, sugar and green onions.

Cook other veggies until unthawed if frozen or cooked to desired consistency over med-high heat with a splash of olive oil. While doing this, cook pasta according to package directions.

Finally mix all ingredients together and serve. Enjoy with white wine or the cocktail of your choice!

This recipe serves 6, so double for larger parties or it your want delicious leftovers for lunch!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thursday Night Supper: Picnic in Washington Park

Washington Park hosts free concerts throughout the summer, so last Thursday we decided to pack a picnic and hit up a concert in lieu of a more traditional supper. 

Our Menu: 
Curried Chicken Salad with Lettuce Wraps
Hummus with Carrots, Cucumbers and Pita Chips
Crostini with Caramelized Onions
Fresh Grapes
Fresh Cherries

Oh yeah, and lots of wine...

Curried Chicken Salad (adapted from Epicurious.com)


  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  •  salt
  •  black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 firm-ripe mango (3/4 pound), peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes (5 ounces), halved
  • head of lettuce, washed 


Bring 4 cups water to a simmer with chicken broth in a saucepan. Add chicken and simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover, then let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and cool 10 minutes. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces. 

While chicken is cooling, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, curry, lime juice, ginger, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken, onion, mango, grapes, and cashews and stir gently to combine. 

Serve in washed lettuce cups. 

Crostini with Caramelized Onions: 

  • butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced


For crostini: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush baguette slices with melted butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake 15-20 minutes.

For caramelized onions: Heat oil in skillet on medium-low. Add onions, cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. 

And the rest is pretty simple. Just pick up some of your favorite hummus and pitas chips as well as fresh cucumbers, baby carrots and cherries. Use your leftover grapes from the chicken salad too.

And don't forget some paper towels or napkins. Those chicken salad wraps can get a bit messy! 


Portland Beer Events You Shouldn't Miss!

Yep, that's right, more beer events this summer in Portland...I know you're all super surprised since BrewFest just happened and that was enough beer and crowds to last you until next summer, but get over it and don't miss these upcoming brewtastic events!

What: Beer 'n' Burgers!
Where: Hollywood Fred Meyer, 3030 NE Wiedler
When: Saturday, August 20th, 12-3pm

Beer and burgers, the perfect combo! Portland Monthly and Fred Meyer are hosting this event to benefit Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Pay $17 for beer 'n' burger sampling in advance online or $20 at the door. If you don't, or can't, drink beer pay $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Taste beer from these 10 local breweries and be sure to try the burgers and vote for your favorite. Seven local brewhouse chefs will be competing for the best burger title!

- Deschutes Brewery
- Burnside Brewing Co.
- Bridgeport Brewing
- Henry's Tavern
- Widmer Brothers Brewing
- Laurelwood Brewing
- Alameda Brewhouse
- Full Sail Brewing
- Buckman Brewing
- Ninkasi Brewing

A little more on the nonprofit, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Their mission is to support the Oregon Hunger Task Force with a goal to end hunger by focusing on the root causes, primarily build families' economic stability so that all Oregonians can have the ability to provide and access to a balance, healthy meal. 100% of the net proceeds are going to Summer Meals Program, so sip on beer, sample burgers and know that while you're filling up, you're helping Oregonians in need do the same!

What: PDX Beer Week
When: August 19th - 28th

Apparently Portland has the most breweries in the world, and a lot of enthusiastic beer drinkers, so what is a great way to explore the craft beer community? Dedicate a week to events that help you do just that. PDX Beer Week is basically a 10-day party celebrating Portland and the surrounding region's achievement, and downright passion, for beer!

Start the party off right by hitting up the PDX Beer Week Kick Off Party on August 19th at The Horse Brass Pub (4535 SE Belmont St.) Show up at 5pm and stay until close!

Some other events that we might suggest checking out:

- Katie has had a few of the unique, and amazing, creations from Salt & Straw, an Alberta Street favorite and I'm sure the 5 Beer Ice Creams they have developed for this event will not dissapoint! Check them out Monday through Friday.

- As ladies, we have to promote the August 20th, "The Love of Beer" Premier at Bagdad Theater. This documentary showcases the women of the craft beer industry. Enjoy $3 beers from Deschutes Brewery and Bend Brewing while hearing from a panel of awesome women in the Oregon craft beer scene, followed by the film!

- Ok, we love sushi and Jen has got us hooked on sake bombs, but mix it up with a Beer and Sushi Pairing at Roscoe's on the 22nd. YUM.

- We are totally fans of a good brunch and typically enjoy it with a mimosa, or two, but in honor of PDX Beer Week we suggest hitting up East Burn on the 28th for Ninkasi Brewers Brunch. Brunch is awesome, beer is awesome, so enjoy them at the same time! Tickets are $30 and you get three brunch plates and beer pairing.

There are a TON more events so check out the entire schedule here at the PDX Beer Week website.

Of course, all good things come to an end, so don't miss the Closing Street Party at Bazi Bierbrasserie on Hawthorne Street on the 28th. Lots of different brews, some Salt & Straw ice cream and a damn good time. Have fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Portland Restaurant: Dan & Louis Oyster Bar

What: Dan & Louis Oyster Bar
Where: 208 SW Ankeny St.
When: Mon-Thurs, 11-9pm, Fri-Sat, 11-2am, and Sun 12-9pm

As an early celebration for my Papa's 82nd birthday my parents took Mimi, Papa, Adam and I out for dinner at Dan & Louis Oyster Bar. After fighting downtown Portland traffic, parking, walking through, and consequently breathing in, some serious Portland Old Town garbage/street smells, and taking ibuprofen for my never ending headache, we arrived at our destination.

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar is an Old Town landmark that opened it's doors in 1907. Over 100 years later, it continues to be family owned by the fifth generation of the Wachsmuth family. With quite a reputation and over 100 years in the biz we expected something exceptional.

Dad, Papa, Mimi, Adam and I all started with Oysters On The Half Shell ($21.50 dozen). My mom is not a fan, but the rest of us were pleased with our Nisqually oysters. They are on the smaller end, but not as tiny as the kumamoto oysters I had during my previous visit.

Oh, my Mom, Mimi and I also started with Lemon Drops ($7). Nothing compared to Perry's, but enjoyable.

Adam ordered a bowl of the Clam Chowder ($7.50), which seems appropriate since it's his most recent food obsession (other than nightly sushi). Served with oyster crackers and bread, Adam's clam chowder hit the spot!

Papa, like Adam, wanted a sure favorite and ordered the Oyster Stew ($7.50 single portion). He had been looking forward to it since this is a stew you can't get just anywhere and he had no plans of making at home, but ultimately he felt the stew was "not bad, but not quite as good as I thought I remembered. Neither was the restaurant as a whole."

Overwhelmed by the menu my mom and I decided to each order different things and share. I went for a cup of the Clam Chowder ($4.50) and the Dungeness Crab Cakes ($15.50) off the appetizer menu, while my mom ordered the Calamari ($16.50) with asparagus and shrimp salad. The calamari was alright, but I don't think my mom or I felt like, for $16.50, it was the best plate of calamari we'd ever had.

The clam chowder was hearty and delicious. The crab cakes were good, and by that I mean fried, but I tend to like chunks of crab meat so I feel like I'm getting some serious, real, crab. Also, they were in the most perfect round, smooth, balls. They seemed unreal and I can't help but wonder how they get them that perfect?

The shrimp salad came with the calamari and was really simple. Like the Dungeness Crab & Bay Shrimp Louis ($13.50 half, $22.50 full) that my dad and Mimi opted for, the mixed greens were of a bagged nature. The menu states that the salads are served with "Fresh Romaine," but they instead they were an overwhelming amount of mixed greens that overpowered the less than generous amount of crab. Unfortunately, not the best crab or shrimp louis' this group has had.

Here's the deal. The first thing Mimi and my dad said when they sat down was that this is the place their dad's each liked to come for a delicious specialty that they didn't get at home. So, the history is definitely there, but they need to step it up. There are so many restaurants in Portland that turn out great food at great prices and this isn't living up the expectations of people that used to go there. The consensus was that there is a feeling of nostalgia around Dan & Louis, but it just wasn't as good as everyone had hoped, or remembered.

Still, it could be worth checking out for a cup of chowder and oysters. Maybe hit up their HH Monday through Friday from 4-6pm.

Oysters on the Half Shell
$15.95 Dozen

Cajun Fried Oysters

Garlic Parmesan Fries

Oyster Sliders
$1.95 Each or $4.95 for 3

1/2 LB Cheeseburger

Fish Tacos 
$1.95 each or $2.95 for 2

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Portland Happy Hour: Bread and Ink Cafe

What: Bread and Ink Cafe
Where: SE Hawthorne & 36th
When: Mon - Sat 3:30 - 6:30pm HH, Sun 3:00 - 6:30 HH
Honeys Heart: Raspberry Lavender Lemon Drop 

Last week I had back to back babysitting on the Eastside so Jen, Michael and Adam met me for HH on SE Hawthorne in between. Jen and I met at Bread and Ink Cafe at 4:30 (notice the empty restaurant photo above) and started our extended HH by sharing a Raspberry Lavender Lemon Drop ($6.50).

We sipped our cocktail, which was my favorite item we ordered, and perused the menu, ultimately deciding we would be happy to eat anything on it.

Adam arrived next and, being a sucker for anything that even resembles strawberry or raspberry lemonade, ordered the same drink. Since Jen and I had already been sitting there for half an hour, we ordered the Hummus Plate ($4.50) to share. It was fresh and the hummus was really good, but I always feel like I could do this at home, so why buy it?

Michael finally made it back to Portland after a day of work in Salem and we were able to really get started. Michael opted for a couple Mojitos ($6.50) which he somehow managed to finish before I was able to get a sip, but he claims they were really good.

For the rest of our dinner we shared the Black Bean Cakes ($4.50), two orders of the Bacon Provolone Basil Sandwich ($5.25) and some Cheesy Home Fries with Grilled Onions ($3.75).

Next to the drink, my favorite item was the bacon provolone basil sandwich. It was a normal size portion for HH prices and something I would be inspired to recreate at home with my panini maker.

The black bean cakes were slightly disappointing for both Jen and I, though Michael thought they were super tasty. We had hoped they would be a little chunkier and crunchier. Good flavor, but not totally impressed.

Still not completely satisfied, Michael tried to get another order of the black bean cakes, but we convinced him to go with something new. The cheesy home fries with grilled onions were definitely super cheesy! Honestly who isn't going to like potatoes and cheese, but once again I was left feeling like I could make this at home.

As we finished up the cheesy fries a table near us was getting their HH order and I realized we did this all wrong.

This is what we ordered:

Cheesy home fries with grilled onions ($3.75)
Bacon provolone basil sandwich ($5.25)
Black bean cakes ($4.50)
Hummus plate ($4.50)

But, by the end of the meal I decided that this is what we should have ordered:

Grilled asparagus with herbed chevre ($4.75)
Gnocchi verde ($5)
Five grilled Gulf shrimp ($4.75)
Curried chicken with cardamom rice ($5.75)

Well, maybe we could keep the bacon provolone basil sandwich, and of course the drinks, on the list. Everything we ordered was good, just simple, so if I return I would go with some different items. It was inexpensive, the service was great and overall a pleasant break between kids!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thursday Night Supper: Brunch for Dinner

Last week, we made dinner at my house again, but this time Katie and I created and executed the menu. After spending the day working for Boogie Wipes, Katie and I originally planned a small plates style dinner, but then we remembered we didn't want to spend very much money and we didn't want to make 5 different things.

Instead, we decided on Brunch for dinner which included German pancakes (or Dutch babies), bacon (with option of an egg sandwich), fruit skewers and, of course, mimosas. Inexpensive, easy, and delicious.

German Pancakes

- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 5 eggs
- 4 tbs butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put butter in a 9x14" pan and put in the oven to melt.

Beat together flour, milk, and eggs.

Check the butter occasionally to make sure it's not getting too browned, then once the oven has reached 425 pull your pan out and add the flour, milk, and egg mixture. Put the pan back in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Take it out of the oven, cut it up and enjoy!

Fruit Skewers

Katie was recently inspired by Jello Shot Test Kitchen's fruit and jello skewers so she thought this would be a cute spin on serving fruit rather than just throwing it all in a bowl. Fruit is always tasty and this presentation does give it a little something special. And best part, so easy! 

- Fruit
- Skewers

Pick out the fruit you want, wash and cut (if needed.) In our case we chose raspberries, blueberries, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe.

Skewer and serve!


- Bacon

So this one is pretty obvious and I'm not even going to write out any steps. Either bake it at 425 for 12 minutes, or fry it up in a pan! To make an egg sandwich (which Adam opted for) just fry an egg in a little of the bacon grease and put on a toasted english muffin with a slice of cheddar cheese and of course, bacon.


For mimosas, we've recently been inspired to change it up with different types of juice other than the traditional orange juice. So far my absolute favorite is fresh grapefruit juice, but last Thursday we tried it with raspberry lemonade which was pretty tasty.  

- Champagne
- Fruit juice (your choice!)

Pour a good amount of champagne into your glass, we just went with normal wine glasses instead of smaller champagne flutes. Also, there's no need to buy expensive champagne. We use cooks because it's the cheapest and we seem to go through these rather quickly!

Add a splash of your favorite juice, garnish with fruit and enjoy!

See you next week!

Portland Happy Hour: Cruzroom

What: Cruzroom 
Where: 2338 NE Alberta St.
When: Sun-Thurs, 4:30-6:30pm and Fri & Sat, 4-6:30pm
Honeys Heart: Pork belly taco ("Green Acres")

So, surprise! Doug came back from Guatemala two weeks early!

To celebrate, we headed out to Cruzroom on NE Alberta (which, not coincidentally, is also one of the stops on my first Dishcrawl) for some happy hour tacos.

We started out with drinks. Cruzroom is big on infusions and during happy hour they're only $4.

I'm currently on a spicy-drink kick, so I opted for the "Deathstar" Ancho Chili-Apple Vodka mixed with ginger ale.

Bad call on my part. I guess I forgot that I don't like spirits flavored with apple. Also, ancho chilis are actually pretty mild so I didn't get that kick I was looking for either. And, if I did ever order this drink again, I wouldn't do it on a hot, summer day. It's much more suited for late autumn or winter.

Doug tried the "Colonel Potter" Double Fig Scotch mixed with 7UP. I was worried that 7 UP might be too sweet to pair with the fig scotch but it was actually pretty delicious. Good choice, Doug.

For food, we started with some Titos ($4): made-to-order tortilla chips tossed in asiago cheese and pico de gallo spice with a side of guajillo salsa and cheese sauce.

Loved that the chips were homemade and the combo of asiago cheese and pico de gallo spice was tasty and unique.

Happy hour tacos are only $2. I tried the Green Acres ($2) with roasted pork belly and apple-vinaigrette slaw topped with cotija cheese and the Broken Bean ($2) made with Halloumi cheese fried extra crispy and served over citrus black beans and topped with a roasted corn and chipotle salsa.

I love anything with pork belly so the Green Acres was the obvious favorite. However, the Broken Bean was also very tasty. I was surprised to find that they used the tortilla as a little bowl, but it worked. The crispy cheese was delicious and nicely complimented by the citrus-y black beans.

Doug ordered the Phuket ($2) with marinated Thai lemongrass chicken fried with a splash of coconut milk and topped with a peanut Asian slaw, the Green Meanie ($2) with slow braised pulled pork in a green tomatillo chili sauce topped with a roasted tomatillo poblano chili slaw and the Green Acres ($2).

He liked the pork belly best ("it's one of the best tacos I've ever had") and liked the Thai one as well. The pulled pork taco was good too, but being the most traditional, it wasn't quite as exciting as the other tacos we tried.

Overall, Doug and I very much enjoyed the food at Cruzroom. As Doug was quick to point out (being an expert about these things), most of the tacos are not at all authentic... but they're still delicious. I'll definitely be back both with Dishcrawl and on my own.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thursday Night Supper: Sushi and Spring Rolls

The first Thursday Night Supper was at Adam's and my house, and we felt the pressure to create a fun, memorable, and delicious dinner. For weeks, Adam has been wanting to make sushi since he swears he could eat only sushi for the rest of his life. 

We decided to try it, and figured we should do it right! So we wandered to Beaverton to hit up Uwajimaya, a "quality Asian grocery" since they were sure to have everything we needed.

Our appetizer was fresh spring rolls. I always order them when we go for Thai food and I figured if Adam was going to attempt sushi, I could do spring rolls. Turns out, they're really easy!


- Rice Paper
- Vermicelli noodles (or "Rice Sticks")
- Tofu, extra firm
- Green leaf lettuce
- Fresh basil
- Fresh Cilantro
- Cucumber
- Carrots
- Peanut Sauce

Cook the vermicelli noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, strain and run under cold water.

Cut tofu into strips about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the cucumber and carrots into strips, wash the lettuce and chop the cilantro and basil.

Saute the tofu for a few minutes on each side until slightly crispy with a little olive oil, or for more flavor mix in some sesame oil, soy sauce, and ginger.

Fill a bowl with warm water and place one rice paper in until soft. Take the rice paper out (and put another in) and lay on a damp kitchen towel.

Fill the rice paper with all your fixings. Roll it up, cut in half, and serve with peanut sauce!


- Short grain rice (Sushi rice)
- Seasoned rice vinegar
- Nori
- Shrimp
- Avocado
- Cucumber
- Sushi grade tuna
- Sesame seeds
- Wasabi
- Pickled Ginger
- Soy Sauce
- Bamboo rolling mat

Cook the rice according to the package directions. When cooked, pour the rice out on a cookie sheet and fan while sprinkling with a few tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar. Avoid buying the plain rice vinegar, because then you'll have to make it seasoned with sugar and salt.

Once the rice has cooled, lay out a sheet of nori (the seaweed flat square) on the bamboo rolling mat. Leaving an inch on each end, place a thin layer of rice over the nori.

Lay your desired ingredients for that roll in a strip on the end closest to you. In our case we did a few rolls with shrimp, avocado, and cucumber and a few with raw tuna and cucumber. Mostly we just mixed and matched!

Roll it up, tightly, and using a serrated knife with a little water on it cut into pieces.

Place the rolls on a plate and serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Other sushi roll ideas if you aren't comfortable handling the raw fish could be California rolls with crab or using smoked salmon with a little cream cheese and cucumber.

Also, a couple bonus tips: If you want the rice on the outside, lay down a sheet of plastic wrap over the bamboo sheet. And if you're a fan of some spicy mayo, just mix mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce. So easy!

Of course each meal needs a good DRINK!

- Pok Pok Som pomegranate
- Club soda
- Gin

For this Thursday night, I (well really Katie made them!) recreated the drink that Katie and I had at Ping. We wanted the rhubarb, but that isn't sold "retail" so pomegranate was the next best option.

Mix 1.5 - 2 ounces gin, a little Pok Pok Som (depending on how much flavor you prefer), then fill cup with ice and club soda.