Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bijou Cafe, Oatmeal and Fruit

Here's another really fun place I went to in Portland.  First, this town has quite the personality, and this restaurant embodies the 'vibe'.
Okay, here comes my signature jib jab.
So, I am walking down the street, to go there, and here's what I come across.  There's these - I will call them - trailers, sitting in a corner pay parking lot.  They seem like 50 year old converted camping trailers, turned roach-coach/food truck.  They aren't the all stainless food truck type thing, but more the corrugated siding style of the 60's camper trailer, with the fold up sides, enabling the 'store front' or service front.  So, they are all lined up, virtually touching each other like cars parked in a parking lot.  Each has a sign, offering food, like Thai, or hot dogs, or Indian, or vegetarian, or what have you.  It's like this totally ad hoc idea, yet structured.  It's easy to see personality in each little place.  Everyone doing their own thing, yet somehow finding a community theme.  I wonder, and bet, the food in these things are great.I think these are the ones I saw.
So, anyways, I am cruising over to Bijou Cafe and next I see this totally cool building with neon lights coming diagonally out from the corner of the building- again, maybe a 50's - 60's sign - something like outdoor Portland - a sporting goods place.  Neon lights are so, um, unconventional for a sporting goods joint!  Yet, cool.  So, next to that is like a little local grocery store, a place to get your nails done, and in the middle of it all, a strip joint.  I am thinking, wow, way to not make a big deal out of it.  I just find it so interesting.  The tolerance for it all....  It seems to be the Portland way.  Passion and ,compassion.  Which takes me to Bijou Cafe.  I can feel my whole self smiling as I walk in the door.  It's casual, comfortable, original, and somehow, I can feel the passion.  There's a comfortable confidence with my wait person, setting me up with a cappuccino.  So, I can see they have jazz performances... It's all totally cool.  I see another guy having the oatmeal, which looks incredible.  How, you wonder?  Well, its got nuts and fruit in it.  So, I find it on the menu and it's toasted filberts, and some specialty raisins, sliced apples, pears and bananas with some special kind of brown sugar.  So, yeah, fresh grapefruit juice and oatmeal and awesome coffee.  So, she brings it to the table, and everything - I can see the attention to detail.  The filberts are perfectly toasted.  Dry, and seriously tasty.  The raisins!  Even the raisins have this bursting with sweet, sour flavor, and of course the fruit is all organic-type stuff.  And the brown sugar has some deep brown color.  I am sure, again, something special.  And then, they even asked me what kind of milk I wanted.  Okay, maybe a surprise, I like non-fat.  
So, anyways, here's our version at home.  It's Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Steel Cut Oats, mixed roasted salted nuts (walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios)  bananas, blueberries, apples sliced thin and yeah, skim milk.  The coffee cup is another story, and also from Portland, and it is Polish pottery from the Polish Pottery Place.  It's not much of a website, but a great store, and loved the woman who runs it.  It's in her house, just off of 23rd, about half way down.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tomato Basil Coconut Soup

I am trying to replicate a delicious bowl of soup I had in Portland, at a French bakery/patisserie called St Honore.  Holy smoke, it was exactly what I was looking for, after eating 'travel' food for the previous couple days - it was one of those dishes that just goes beyond expectations.  I saw tomato basil soup on the board, and didn't even notice the coconut...  So, when it was served, and I tasted it, wow!  It was so rich and healthy tasting, the coconut seems to neutralize some of the tomato acid, and makes such an awesome flavor.  It's a big robust flavor, for a tomato soup.  Mmmm.

So, here's what I am trying.  I haven't tasted it yet, but it smells good!

1 red onion, chopped
1/4 c olive oil (or less.  I didn't use this much)
1 can 28 oz Organic Tomatoes (Trader Joes)
2 tsp oregano (dried - didn't have fresh)
20 sprigs of fresh thyme (stripped from stems)
2 bay leaves
bunch basil leaves (roll up and slice thin)
1 14 oz can coconut light milk (Trader Joes)
16 oz vegetable broth (1/2 box - Trader Joes - DO NOT USE the Hearty version)
1/4 c shredded medium coconut
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil.  Add tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano.  Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add coconut milk, basil and coconut.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Blend in blender, 2 -3 cups at a time.
Garnish with slivers of basil leaves and coconut.

Try toasting the coconut.  Try Thai basil.  Pinch of kitten hair.  Preferably Bingly.

Kirsty made this incredibly delicious salad to go with.  It's greens, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and red beets.  She makes the dressing too, so I will have to check in on what goes into it.  The whole meal was so perfect for dinner.  Yes, the soup was awesome.  I added the coconut little by little with the intent to mellow the tomatoes.  I don't think I got to a full 1/4 c, and it seemed to release more of its sugars as it simmered.  In the end, it was so good, and I would even go so far as to say- it was as good as St. Honore!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mount Tamalpias Mountain Biking

Okay, something new to post... Yep, mountain biking. These pictures are of an awesome ride up on Mount Tamalpias. The shot with the vistas includes the ocean, just outside the golden gate, if you look carefully, you can see the north tower of the Golden Gate bridge and the Sutro tv tower.

Okay, something new to post... Yep, mountain biking. These pictures are of an awesome ride up on Mount Tamalpias. The shot with the vistas includes the ocean, just outside the golden gate, if you look carefully, you can see the north tower of the Golden Gate bridge and the Sutro tv tower.

I got a mountain bike about 6 months ago, maybe not quite that long ago. It was quite an interesting turn of events, which, as you may have guessed, I can go on and, at the risk of being so predictable, here goes. So, actually, the timing can be traced back to a post I did a while back, on going skiing. I went with an old friend, Matt, I reunited with. We went skiing, and during our awesome ski trip, I said, I am really looking forward to getting a new mountain, trying to make a long story short, he says, I mountain bike. So, a couple weeks later, I am at the bike shop, texting back and forth with Matt, on what I am looking at, and he is texting me on what to look for, and say and request. So, after about 30 texts, I am leaving with a bike, super nice bike actually. Way nicer than I would have gotten without his help. Thanks Matt!! I hope you know how much I appreciate your help on that! So, I got a Trek EX9.0 something. Looking back, the previous post was in March, so I got the bike in April.

So, anyways, these guys rode with me for my birthday ride. Starting in Fairfax, and in the end, riding up and over the Bolinas Ridge and then down the super steep Willow Camp Trail into Stinson Beach.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Persimmon Bread

This is adventure bread. Lisa, let me know when you read this. You kept saying, come over for some persimmons, so I did. We tried to meet up, but kept missing each other, so I waited for a your front yard, and admiring your huge gorgeous persimmon tree with lots of perfect fruit on it...and then, well, I let myself in the backyard, and noticed, hmmm, a step ladder and a branch trimmer...hmmm....what if I ... just cut down a couple...okay 4 or, geez, what if that's not enough? Fine, 10-12 persimmons.... So, here's the persimmon bread. It was really tasty. Thanks for the recipe, Lisa! The persimmon adds a light deliciousness to it. I will add the recipe soon.

Okay, soon is a relative term... Thanks Lisa Barto!

...and here is the bread I make!  The persimmons need to be super-ripe...they'll feel like water balloons when ready.

This simple quick bread uses sweet and spicy persimmon puree. We liked the slightly tart flavor from the golden raisins, but omit them if your prefer.
Yield: 2 loaves, 12 servings each (serving size: 1 slice)


  • 3  cups  all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
  • 2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 1  cup  ripe Hachiya persimmon puree (about 2 fruits; see "Persimmon Puree Pointers," below)
  • 1/2  cup  1% low-fat milk
  • 1/3  cup  butter, melted
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/3  cup  chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3  cup  golden raisins
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add persimmon mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until blended. Stir in walnuts and golden raisins. Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool the loaves completely on wire rack.
Persimmon Puree Pointers. Ripe Hachiya puree is easy to make by following these tips:
To speed the ripening process, freeze the fruit overnight or until solid. Thaw the persimmon; when soft, it will be sweeter and less astringent.
Cut the ripe fruit in half. Scoop the pulp out with a spoon.
To achieve an even consistency, place the flesh in a mini-chopper and process until smooth. This ensures the persimmon puree will incorporate evenly into batters.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Creamy Dressing Caesar Salad

Okay, this is another recipe that exemplifies where I am headed with this blog. It's all about friends and family and the connectedness through food (and recipes). So, Sarah and I have sort of a little special bonding around making food. She gets so
excited and driven when she gets going, I love getting caught up in the wave with her. Okay, so she has these other blogs she follows, food and fashion blogs. One in particular she has shared with me, and I have perused, is the Closet Cooking (or something like that)...he has incredible recipes, and what is super impressive is his incredible photos of his creations...

So, here's the recipe. We leveraged a couple things, including the closet cooking and somewhere else... Basically, a little this, a little that...whatever's in the fridge... Pog is not a huge vegggie fan, so this was a perfect deal for tonight, since Pog was at Rugby practice.

1/3 c plain (good) yogurt
2 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 minced garlic clove (ok, that was a big clove, but much garlic)

Combine everything in a bowl with a whisk.

Romaine lettuce head, shredded
Broccoli florets
Avocado - cut up
Cabbage - sliced up fairly thin.
pine nuts and croutons to taste
Parmesan cheese grated to taste

Okay, that was a lot of salad, but none left for tomorrow....and holy smoke,
crazy too much garlic I will be tasting for a while. Sarah loved it.

Dad's Jicama & Lime Salad

This salad is especially delicious, with a spicy kick in the dressing. Kathy, Mike, and Lisa, thanks so much for sharing the recipe!! Lisa, thank you for making it for my birthday! What an awesome day of festivities, food, friends, and family! It's my version of the 4 basic drives... The 4 F's as Moira explained; wait, what? Let's just go with it's what I say. Anyways, Lisa, I am so happy to have you for a sister-in-law! Sorry, no pictures yet. Next time...

Nevertheless, here we go. Serves 4. Double or triple as needed, it goes fast, and we loved it in the morning with Anne's enchiladas.

3/4 c vegetable, olive, or a mixture of the two. I am going out on a limb, and say, go with the olive, if at all possible
1/2 tsp grated lime zest (colored rind only)
1/3 c fresh lime juice (you might need 2 limes)
1/2 c (packed) cilantro (course chopped)
2 Serrano or 1 jalapeno peppers (to taste) stemmed and chopped
salt to taste
1 medium (1 lb) firm, unblemished jicama, peeled and cut into sticks
(1/4 inch is a good width, 2 inches a good length)
1 medium bunch watercress, large lower stems broken off (about 2 c)
4 good-size romaine leaves, cut crosswise in 1/4 inch slices (about 2 c)

Combine oil, lime, zest, cilantro, chiles and a scant tsp salt in blender.
Blend until smooth. Pour into jar with lid.

In large bowl, combine jicama, watercress and romaine. Shake dressing to combine,
then drizzle on about 1/4 c. Cover and refrigerate remaining dressing for another salad (or two!). Toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt if you think necessary. Serve right away.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cranberry Pecan Meyer Lemon Scones

Okay, this is something I made a long time ago, and I am getting
so many requests for the recipe, I am posting it here, so everyone
can get it. Okay, fine, I had one request, but I did want to post
it anyway. They were good, just probably not on my New Years diet plan...

Oven: 375 degrees F bake 15 minutes, use parchment paper

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp meyer lemon juice (if you have other lemons, you may have to cut down. These have a lighter, sweeter flavor than the std commercial ones.

3 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp meyer lemon zest, finely grated
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted chilled butter (or salted, but cut down salt)
2 c fresh cranberries (you can substitute dried at 1 cup)
1/2 c pecans, coarse chopped
1/2 c skim milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix together really well-flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon zest in large bowl.
Chop up butter into small chunks, and mix in the flour mixture with your fingers (or pastry cutter). Work it until the dough turns to a corn-meal-type consistency. Then add cranberries and pecans, lightly blend until distributed. Add milk and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Mix together with fork, until dough comes together in a large clump,
and add additional milk if needed. Roll into a ball, then flour the counter and roll
out. I cut with a round cookie cutter, around 3 inch diameter. Lay out on parchment paper, and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly brown. What I do is, half way through the baking, pull them out and glaze them. If you glaze too early, the glaze kind of burns on the cookie sheet and around the scone edges. Not a big deal, but you can avoid by glazing after 10 minutes or so. I also add more glaze once they come out of the oven.