Thursday, September 3, 2020

OSU Pop up Dinner

My husband, Craig, is known for finding some of the most unique things (but I’ll get back to this later). 


Quite a few years ago we were introduced to CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and quickly became spoiled!!  A CSA project is a system that connects local producers/farmers with consumers (that’s me), allowing the consumers to subscribe to the harvest of a farm or group of farms.  Generally, you buy a share of that year’s crop, which then gets delivered on a regular schedule (usually once a week).  Some CSA’s even include farm events throughout the growing season. By attending these CSA farm events, Craig and I have expanded our knowledge of chickens, farming and canning as well as having the opportunity to try “new to us” produce items we would have not probably tried (Kohlrabi and  Broccoli Rabe, just to name a couple).  


Now, back to Craig and his ability to find unique opportunities, He found a seafood CSA. What?  Mind blown!  Soon after signing up, we received a pound (plus) of fish every Tuesday. The fish we received was absolutely the freshest fish I’ve ever tasted, straight out of the waters of Juan de Fuca. Black Cod, Striped Salmon, Coho. I’m drooling just thinking about it. 


Since moving to Portland, we’ve tried a few different CSA options.  We even tried an egg CSA. Nothing ever really seemed to fit our needs. 


So that brings me to today (remember those unique abilities of Craig?).  He asked me if I was interested in signing up for a Pop up Dinner.  Okay, that peaked my curiosity.  OSU was offering a vegetarian dinner (for two).  I’m game, let’s do it!  

A bit of background information about me, in our house I plan every meal down to the pepper grains. Seriously.  And I don’t like to divert my meal plans either. I quickly catch myself from being offended if someone spontaneously invites us for dinner. I’m like, what the hell, now I have to shift the menu. With this new adventure, I shifted Taco Tuesday to accommodate our Pop up Dinner, as well as added some fresh salmon as a side (our neighbor had just returned home from fishing and offered us a HUGE salmon fillet).  

The OSU Pop up Dinner box included items to prepare Baked Ratatouille, Nectarine Radish Fennel Salad and Apple Pear Blueberry Crisp. All of these recipes are vegetarian and gluten free. 

Baked Ratatouille 

12oz tomato sauce 

1 eggplant, thinly sliced 

1 zucchini, thinly sliced 

1 yellow squash, thinly sliced 

3 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced 

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 


Herb topping: 

1 T basil, minced 

1 T thyme, minced 

1 T parsley, minced 

1 clove garlic , minced 

olive oil 

salt and pepper to taste 



Mix herb topping together. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 375°. 

Place the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 10 inch round pan. 

Stack 1 slice each of eggplant, zucchini, tomato, yellow squash and onion. Repeat this step until all vegetables have been used, Then place vegetable stacks around the pan, on top of the tomato sauce. 

Lightly salt and pepper. Top the vegetable stacks with the herb mixture.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. 


Nectarine Radish and Fennel Salad



1/2 cup olive oil 

3 T white balsamic 

1 T honey 

1 t dijon mustard 

2 T lemon juice 

4 T mixed chopped fresh herbs (mint, tarragon, thyme) 

Salt to taste 



2 nectarines, diced 

1 bunch small radishes, very thinly sliced 

1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced 

1 shallot, very thinly slice and separated 

2 green onions, thinly sliced 


In a medium bowl, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients.  Mix to blend.  Set aside. 


Place all the sliced vegetables and fruit into the bowl and toss to coat, making sure to separate the radishes and shallots, so they don’t stick together.


Pear, Apple & Blueberry Crisp 



2 pears, peeled, cored and diced 

2 green apples, peeled, cored and diced 

1 cup frozen blueberries 

1 t cinnamon 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 t lemon juice 

2 t cornstarch 



1 cup oatmeal (I used 2 Bob’s Red Mill Blueberry Oatmeal Cups) 

1/2 cup butter, melted 


Combine apples, pears and blueberries in a bowl.  Add lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Toss to coat. 


In a separate bowl, mix together the oatmeal and butter until combined. 


Preheat oven to 350°. 


I divided the fruit filling between 6 greased ramikins, but you can place the fruit filling into a greased glass 



Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Halibut, Calabrian Style with Lemon Dill Rice

I few years ago I was researching recipes for a catering we were doing, when I came across this recipe...well a version of this recipe. It inspired me to make tonight’s dish. If you watch any cooking shows you will hear them refer to using Calabrian Chilies. So when I saw that the original recipe was “Calabrian style” recipe, but it didn’t include chilies, I knew I had to work it in. 

Also, the ventilation in our house isn’t the best, so I decided to make the dish on the grill. Pulled out my cast iron, which was perfect for this dish. 

Here’s what I made....

Halibut, Calabrian Style


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1¼ lb. fresh halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tomato, chopped
  • 2 Calabrian chilies, chopped
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges

  1. Stir together 2 Tbsp. oil, the lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add fish and toss to coat. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
  2. Remove fish from marinade, discarding marinade, and pat fish dry with paper towels. Transfer fish to hot skillet over medium-high heat; brown 1 minute on each side, then remove from skillet.
  3. Add flour to skillet; cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Stir in wine, chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, chili’s and half of parsley. Simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Return fish to skillet; cook until it flakes easily with a fork, about 1 minute. Serve with remaining parsley, lemon zest, and lemon wedges.
  4. Serve over lemon dill rice.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Chicken Katsu Tacos

I always go down that rabbit hole, when a video recipe pops up on my feed. Usually I’m intrigued enough to make it 3/4 of the way through, at which point they drop whatever they are cooking into a vat of oil or drown it in freshly made queso. Which has the tendency to lose me. This recipe however, snagged me right in. I mean.....Katsu is one of my favorite things to order at a teriyaki restaurant. And tacos, well, tacos. Combine the two and I’m in. 

For this recipe, I used what I had. I had chicken beast, I so I replaced breasts for the thighs. And actually forget the sugar in the Tonkatsu sauce, but it still tasted great. Enjoy!

Chicken Katsu Tacos



  • 2 cups  vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour


  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce


  • ½ green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste


  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • sesame seed
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges


  1. Make the chicken: Fill a heavy-bottomed, high-sided skillet with about ½ inch (1 ¼ cm) of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place the chicken thighs on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until all of the thighs are between ¼ in (6 ml) and ⅓ inch (8 ml) thick.
  3. On the cutting board, season the flattened chicken on both sides with the salt.
  4. Add the panko, eggs, and flour to 3 separate shallow bowls.
  5. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, then in the panko. Gently press the panko into the chicken to ensure a thick, even coating.
  6. Working in batches, carefully fry the chicken in the hot oil for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Set on paper towels to drain and immediately season lightly with salt.
  7. Make the tonkatsu sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
  8. Make the cabbage slaw: In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt until well coated. Season with additional salt if needed. Set aside.
  9. Wrap the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
  10. Slice the chicken thighs into ⅓-inch (8 ml) thick pieces. Place about half of a thigh worth of meat onto a flour tortilla. Top with about ¼ cup (25 G) of cabbage slaw, a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro. Repeat with remaining chicken to make 8 tacos total. Serve with lime wedges alongside.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Biscuits and Gravy

During quarantine, I’ve been doing a lot of baking, and experimenting with recipes I’ve wanted to make, but just haven’t. Today I decided to make biscuits. Now I don’t begin to believe I’m a biscuit maker, since all of my In-Laws live in the south, I would never compare my biscuits to theirs!

After reviewing quite a few recipes, watching a few videos, several failed attempts years ago, I think I finally get it.  I had been overworking the dough.  Here’s what I came up with....

Buttermilk Biscuits


  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surface 
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3 sticks salted butter (¾ pound), cold, cut into ½-inch pieces or grated 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, plus 1 large egg for brushing 
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, or as needed, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing 
  • Pinch flake salt


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the butter and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are even and about the size of peas.
  2. Stir in the beaten eggs with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in 1½ cups buttermilk until the dough comes together into a sticky mass. If it is too dry, add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition, until it reaches the correct consistency. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  3. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Use your floured hands to press it into a round roughly 14 inches across and about ½ inch thick.
  5. Use a floured 2¾- inch round cutter to cut out about 20 biscuits. If necessary, collect and pat out the scraps to cut more biscuits.
  6. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, arranging them so that they all are touching.
  7. In a small dish, beat together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon buttermilk. Brush the mixture on the top of the biscuits. Very lightly sprinkle with flake salt.
  8. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan on a rack.
  9. Biscuits are best the day they are made (and ideally fresh out of the oven!). Serve with strawberry jam or sausage gravy, if desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Oh,’s the Sausage Gravy

Sausage Gravy


  • 4 oz Sausage (I had frozen patties, so I chopped up 2)
  • 2 oz Butter, cut up 
  • Flour
  • 1 cup Milk (give or take a few ounces)
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Fry up the sausage. Once browned, add in the butter, stir until melted. 
  2. Reduce temp to med/low. Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk until combined. Mixture should be dry. If it’s not add more flour and continue to stir. You’ll want to continue to cook the flour/butter/sausage for a few minutes to reduce the flour taste. 
  3. Slowly add in the milk, and stir to combine.  As the mixture thickens, add in more milk to “thin” the mixture out, until desired thickness.
  4. Add pepper to taste. 

Oh and a gratuitous picture of Zoey, my sons chef, taster, sniffer and kitchen companion. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

I do love cooking Asian foods at home. Yes it is way quicker than take out or delivery. And what’s better, you can use what you have. Don’t have chicken? Use pork, beef or even shrimp. Don’t have colored peppers? Use celery or just another color pepper. You can always add in stuff too. Like baby corn, bamboo or water chestnuts would be awesome. 

Or just stick to the recipe. Like I kinda did. 

Kung Pao Chicken


  • 2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced (about 3 chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 Green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 Bunch green onions, white and green parts, cut into 3" pieces
  • 1/2 cup Cashews (or peanuts)
  • 10 Dried red chili peppers, cut in half to release their heat
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh ginger, minced or grated

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1/3 cup Rice vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar


  1. Make the Kung Pao sauce: combine 1/4 cup of soy sauce, rice or sherry vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce or (tamari) with cornstarch in a large bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Toss chicken breast pieces in the soy sauce-cornstarch mixture to coat and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over high heat. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, stir-fry the chicken pieces until lightly browned and cooked through—about 3-4 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
  4. Once all of the chicken is cooked, use the same skillet to finish the dish. 
  5. Heat one tablespoon of sesame oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, stir-fry the bell peppers for about four minutes, until they begin to soften. 
  6. Add the green onions, cashews, ginger, garlic, and dried chili peppers. 
  7. Stir-fry the vegetables for 2 minutes before adding the Kung Pao sauce and the cooked chicken breast. 
  8. Bring the pan to a simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened— about 2 minutes. Serve over white or brown rice.